Doing.Life.Differently

Daily encouragement as you follow His path

Is This The Day The Lord Has Made?

Yesterday was a day when I felt attacked in every area of my life – health, family, and job.  The day started terrible and got progressively worse with each second that ticked by.  As I drove in to work this morning, Max Lucado was being interviewed on the radio about his new book.  I didn’t catch the title, but the topic is how Christians find a way to see God on bad days.  Perfect timing…because yesterday I was like,  “Lord you must have gotten me mixed up with someone else.  I cannot handle all you are throwing my way.”   I had to recall power Scriptures to get me through the day. 

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

We were not given spirits of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. 

Today I can look back at yesterday and find many blessings and things to be grateful for.  Truthfully, everyday holds blessings.  We just have to decide to focus on them. 

Yes, God makes everyday.  He even makes our bad days, but He has the power and the authority to turn bad to good. He loves us and is concerned about us.  So whatever we face or go through, He knows about it and feels you will prosper because of or in spite of it.  Trust Him!  Then, rejoice and be glad…

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Let Go and Let God

Sometimes having faith in God is easier said than done.  But, I suppose that’s no different than anything else.  It’s easy to say we will do something.  Following through is another matter entirely.  Most of the time when we promise to do something, it is for the benefit of someone else.  When we promise to have faith in God, the benefit is all our own.  Trusting God completely frees you up to follow His lead.  If you allow God to orchestrate your life, then you don’t have to put forth all of your effort to decide what is best.  Consult the instruction manual, the Bible, and follow the directions.  You can move forward with confidence if you conduct your life this way.  He will never mislead you.  He will never forsake you.  He always has your best interests at heart.  He already knows the outcome, so He is so much more qualified than you to be the guiding force in your life.  Still, as humans, it is hard to let go and give up control.  But, it’s the best decision you will ever make.

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Focal Points Make All the Difference

My work day ended in chaos and discouragement yesterday.  I questioned my ability to make it through another day if I had to encounter those same obstacles that would greet me at the door the next time I entered.  Student behavior was at an all-time low, rivaled only by their disinterest in learning.  Colleagues seemed unwilling to play their roles in the educational process of the students with which we had been entrusted.  Copy machines mocked me as I attempted to make copies of important papers.  It seemed there was trouble at every turn.

But, my day hadn’t started that way.  At the beginning of the day, I was relaxed and peaceful.  I was looking forward to the challenge promised by every day spent in an inner-city middle school.  At the beginning of the day, I faced the same barriers as at the end of the day.  So, I had to figure out what the difference was.  I realized it was my focal point. 

At the beginning of the day, my mind was fortified by Scripture and prayer.  By the end of the day, I had switched to survival mode.  My mistake was self-reliance.  I relied more heavily on strategies and procedures to get me through than heavenly help.  I focused on what I could do instead of what I could trust Him to do through me.  When our focus is internal, we invite despair and disaster.  But, He promised perfect peace to those who keep their eyes on Him.  Today, I am going to do it His way.

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Workplace Negativity

Although I have missed a  couple of days posting to this blog, I have been doing better about updating recently.  The posting has become more regular, but God has been quietly requesting that I reduce the fluff.  In other words, He wants me to dig a little (or a lot!)  deeper and write about some issues that Christians may be grappling with on a daily basis.

The first topic that I will tackle is workplace negativity.  If you have been employed for any length of time, then you probably have experienced this phenomenon.  It is when employee morale hits an all-time low.  It is when you dread going to work.  It is when you start counting down to the weekend on Monday at10am.

I have had quite a few jobs and this situation seems to occur all of a sudden sort of out of the blue.  It really just sneaks up on you.  One day, you are feeling just fine about your work life.  You get up, you go in, and you do your job to the best of your ability with a smile on your face.  Then, you have a conversation with co-worker Z and your perception of the workplace turns south.

He or she brings to light all that is wrong at your company.  Procedures that are ineffective and outdated.  Equipment that is ineffective and outdated.  Even people who are ineffective and outdated.  Pretty soon, your outlook darkens as well.  And the highly contagious disease of workplace negativity spreads to infect yet another employee.

Once you realize what has happened, there are some decisions to be made.  Do I distance myself from “tainted” co-workers?  Do I engage in dialogue with them where I try to be a sun ray shining through thunder clouds? (FYI…this approach is draining!)  Do I find another job?

Before you do anything, you should pray.  Present your situation to the Lord and seek His counsel.  Then, do the hard part.  Wait.  Sometimes, this is the push we need to move on to another opportunity.  But, sometimes this is your new opportunity.

You don’t have to talk about being positive to the naysayers.  You don’t have to post an anonymous appeal for peace in the breakroom.  You have to kill them with kindness.  At some point during your childhood you were told that, “Actions speak louder than words.”  Now is your chance to prove it.

God may give you your walking papers and give you permission to seek new employment.  But if He tells you to stay, then you are responsible for being a light in the darkness at work.  Refrain from talking about people.  Stick to the  issues.  If there is a problem, only entertain discussions about possible solutions.  Be courteous and respectful to all whether it is reciprocated or not.  Do your job like you work for God.  Continue to pray so that God can guide your steps.

I hope this helps…  Have a blessed day!

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It’s Valentine’s Day

Today is the day the world has set aside for us to express our affections for the ones we love.  It is the day when we celebrate with chocolate, candy, flowers, and other trinkets and tokens of our amorous feelings.  As we delve into the festivities of the day, let’s take a moment to reflect on God’s two most important commandments.  1.  Love Him above all else.  2.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Personally, I think that if we do #1 even halfway well, then #2 is a piece of cake.  Everything is adorned in hearts, pink, and red for this special holiday.  God wants our hearts decorated with love EVERYDAY.  I am not knocking Valentine’s Day.  In fact, I am suggesting that we expand the celebration to include everyday, not just February 14.  What do you think?

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Judge Not…

It is so easy to spot the flaws of our fellow man.  We can easily discern what is wrong with someone else or why their own choices have landed them in hot water.  Judgement and criticism flow easily from our lips.  However, we must be careful when we speculate about the lives of others. 

First, it is not our place to judge lest we be judged.  The same way that we judge others will be reflected when God judges us.  We want sympathy and to be “given a break” when we miss the mark, but we often deny others that same pardon. 

Second, we cannot assume that we know what goes on in the minds and hearts of others.  Only God knows the heart of a man or woman.  We must learn to stay in our place and treat others the same way we wish to be treated.  Let God be God.

Warren Wiersbe said, “Christians think they are prosecuting attorneys or judges, when in reality, God has called all of us to be witnesses.”

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Content vs. Complacent

Don’t confuse contentment with complacency.  God wants us to be content – happy with what we have.  Complacency is settling for where you are without trying to improve.  Learn to be content, but continue to strive for success.  Just be sure that you seek God before things.  Use your blessingsto do His work.

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Are You Thankful?

For every unanswered want, there were ten needs that have been met.  Don’t overlook what God has already done for you.  How do you feel when your children are ungrateful?  Adjust your attitude to show gratitude.  Perhaps it will make your Heavenly Father more inclined to answer your prayers…

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Today…

Today I pray that your faith will be strengthened and that your faithfulness is swiftly rewarded.  Always count your blessings so that they continue to flow.  Be blessed and be a blessing!!

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