What I Know About Problems

Your problem may not be a problem

Your problem may seem bigger than it is

Your problem may not be your problem

Your problem may not take as long as you think it will

Your problem may add something to your life rather than subtract

Your problem may be a miracle in disguise

Everyone has problems

God cares about your problems

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Life and Longevity

Life is not measured by its longevity but by its quality. John Boy Walton, of the popular Walton series TV Miniseries, quipped, “Life is not measured by birthdays but by memories.” Life has its up and downs. Life always has those moments when we question the unexpected loss of someone we held dear to us but God said He alone is the giver of life. God expresses the quality of life is based on the fear of God so life and death are in the hands of God. There are parts of life and much of death we don’t understand. In fact, we know very little of what the other side looks like.

The Bible tells us about the streets of gold, the Crystal Sea, gates of pearl, the throne of God but little about what life is like in the eternal heavens. Jesus tells us He has gone to prepare a mansion for us but doesn’t tell us why we need a mansion in heaven. Jesus tells us there is no marriage nor giving of marriage in heaven; yet we will be known as we are known. Yet there is much about life in heaven we don’t understand. We wonder – what really awaits us after death, we speculate, wish and hope.

But there is one scripture in the Holy Bible that helps me more than any other. In Hebrews 11:1 -2b Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; …..  These witnesses are not mourning their passing but are rather standing on the balcony of heaven but watching below those who are still running the race. Not tears but applause. Not sorrow but cheering; Cheering on those who are yet to cross the finish line; Applause for everyone to run well; Applauding our efforts as we move closer and closer to the finish line.

In the stillness, of the midnight. Precious sacred scenes unfold,*  tears run silently down our cheek, in the pain of loneliness grips our soul, we are compelled to listen, to listen carefully to the soft applause of our loved one; “run, run well; keep on running, cross the finish line with faith; we applaud you.”

So while we may not see them it is definitely clear that they can see us and they are cheering us on – yes, you can make it.

 

*Precious Memories, original lyrics, © 1966 by Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co. J. B. F. Wright, author-composer of “Precious Memories” (originally copyrighted in 1925)

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

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It’s Up to You

It’s Up to You

Author – unknown

One song can spark a moment, One flower can wake the dream. One tree can start a forest, One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship, One handclasp lifts a soul. One star can guide a ship at sea, One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation, One sunbeam lights a room. One candle wipes out darkness, One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey, One word must start each prayer. One hope will raise our spirits, One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom, One heart can know what’s true. One life can make the difference, You see, IT’S UP TO YOU!

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Achieve Your Goals This Year

Goals like resolutions are often broken without the intended results we wished for – I know, I have done the same thing only to feel guilty and disappointed in myself. However, last year’s goals were beat beyond my expectation and create a greater confidence in God and my purpose in life. Whether jogging, writing, blogging, dieting, prayer, spiritual growth or business projections, you CAN do it.

Here are some of the tools I use frequently in setting goals:

Write Each One Down Writing down your goals is essential in “fleshing out” your dreams. Placing your goals on paper builds a system of checks and balances.

Develop a Bull’s Eye Be specific. Be focused. You may have to rewrite your goals, as I have done, they can’t be general, for instance, “write a blog” may be better stated, “write on my blog twice a week.” A goal must be “zeroed in on” if you are to be satisfied with the results.

Collect Pictures Gather pictures (I call them “visual reminders”) to consistently remind me of the goals I created and the hopes of accomplishment. Place them in a prominent position so you can view them frequently.

Build a Theme This has been a huge plus for me in accomplishing my goals. For instance, my theme this year is “APPROPRIATING.” Simply appropriate my dreams into life settings. Having a scripture underneath my theme is a double positive, my scripture this year is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Evaluate Often Check your goals often, don’t be disappointed if you didn’t accomplish one goal or two, I have set 18 Health, Reading, Praying, Living, Family and Financial goals this year, There will be many I accomplish, hopefully all of them but realistically some may fall by the wayside.

Do the Little Ones First You can build momentum to the larger ones by accomplishing the little goals first. I usually read my Bible, read my devotional, read a chapter in a book, pray, write in my blog, exercise and more; by 8:00 in the morning I have already accomplished half of my 18 annual goals. However, here is a caution, don’t be so mesmerized by the small goals accomplished that you’re not spurned on to the larger goals.

Don’t be Afraid of Baby Steps Some goals take longer, so I must be incremental, in other words, steps must be set to each goal, “How will I reach the goal?” For blogging, I set ten to twenty minutes to write so I can have two posts a week, maybe I write in the morning, maybe a little in the afternoon, but I stair step to the goal rather than take giant steps. Don’t be afraid to jog .5 miles for two or three months. Add 10% growth to your accomplishment the next month.

Pray About It Purpose in life is God-given and goals develop purpose in my life. It is reasonable to pray about the life I am living in God’s purposes.

Memorize Scripture This is something I stumbled upon to be honest. My wife and I decided to memorize together Psalms 91, not only did it erase fear but it placed our mind and spirit in a different frame of mind. Sharpen your mind by memorizing and meditating on the Word of God.

Celebrate Accomplishment When some goals have been accomplished I will go to a coffee shop, take my iPad and just savor the moment. Goals can’t be driven 24/7 – you must find time to think, relax and enjoy.

Comment: What system do you use to accomplish your goals?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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Spiritual Growth Habits for 2014

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Every year thousands of Christians begin their spiritual journey by diving into a devotional, Bible reading plan and usually, the Daniel Fast. Intending to make the best and most profitable increase in our inner man we go to the bookstore in search for the item that looks the best. Before you start; begin by discovering some of the devotionals, Daniel Fast plans and Bible reading plans outlined below.

Making the best of things begins by starting the best of things.

My Utmost for His Highest. This timeless classic is available in several formats, as well as, printed. If you have the YouVersion App downloaded on your phone or tablet https://www.bible.com there are several Bible reading plans available. A new addition this year is My Utmost For His Highest This special edition of Oswald Chambers’ timeless, widely read devotionals now includes Chambers’ personal prayers. From Discovery House Publishers. 30 days Journey. You will receive a daily reminder – if you wish; plus you can post to Facebook or Twitter your unique discoveries. Or, if you would like to read, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers on your computer just go to http://utmost.org for a year’s worth of devotional thoughts and uplifting insights. If you wish you can go to iTunes and download My Utmost for His Highest app for Android or IPhone for $4.99

Streams in the Desert. This classic poignant devotional comes in three volumes in written form; this treasure never ceases to speak to me. However, go to the iTunes store and get a free download for your tablet or phone http://download.cnet.com/Streams-in-the-Desert-Devotional/3000-20412_4-75246497.html It comes with a daily reminder, bookmark and ability to add notes.

7:14 Prayer. I am really enjoying the 7:14 Prayer app on my IPad but it also works on my IPhone. You can set your own prayer list, pray for preformatted guidelines for praying for your area schools, the nation and up to date news prayer requests. This amazing app has a live feed showing people praying around the nation and an appointment reminder to “pray today.” Available free on ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-14-prayer/id585072149?mt=8

Jesus Calling My wife just started reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, a missionary to Japan. She uses first person narrative as if God was speaking directly to you. Available at Amazon.com or your favorite book store.

The Daniel Fast Maybe you would like to add the Daniel Fast to your prayer habits during the month of January. The 21 day Daniel Fast basically shuns, sugar, flour, meats and focuses on vegetables, fruits and grains. This is a great way to begin healthy and concentrate in prayer. If you would like more information my wife and I always go to http://www.daniel-fast.com or there are several books available on the subject. And there is an app for that at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id598090882

Comment: Do you have a favorite devotional you are using?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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Engaged? What’s Missing?

The one thing missing from the engagement scene has been either overlooked or ignored.

The gathering of dating or courtship information is often overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Add engagement and the advice gets more intense.  Parents, pastors, teachers, friends and coaches give helpful, useful and insightful advice, in abundance. There is not a shortage to opinions, Tweets or advice.

But there is still one thing missing.

When my wife and I were dating and came to the serious discussions of marriage we both realized we were marrying for love, for life and for ministry. It was the last one, for ministry, that stopped us both long enough to weigh out the consequences of making a wrong decision; either marrying at the wrong time or worse; marrying the wrong person. Our ministry was at stake. Who we were and who we were to become was the bigger picture.

Upon mutual agreement, we separated temporarily, her going to be with some friends and me, staying in Texas, until we both heard from God and felt the peace of God. Like Isaac and Rebekah; we knew God had brought us together, now would God keep us together? During the many days that passed we prayed, fasted and listened to God. To better tune our ears into God’s will we both agreed not to have any communication between us during this time. Finally, on the same day we both felt the peace and when she called at 10:00 in the evening; I was ready to bring her back to Texas and begin planning the wedding day.

The one thing missing in many courtships and dating scenarios is the search for God’s blessing and

approval upon the marriage of two individuals who are in love with each other.

After 36 years we are happily married and enjoying the blessings of the Lord. While reading Proverbs recently I was alerted in my spirit about the numerous times God mentions a “wife” in the scriptures. It is a reminder to me of God’s involvement in our marriage.

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. God’s word is clear that sex belongs within the moral boundaries of marriage and it is to be enjoyable. The blessing of children and grandchildren are God’s reminder of His faithfulness and a His promise for the future.

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Simply God is intrinsically involved in the process of finding a good wife and brings His favor into the marriage. It isn’t a coincidence Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding – expressing His delight and approval on a Christian marriage.

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. While deceased mothers or fathers may leave an inheritance in their will – it is the cautious, careful and decisive wife which is a gift from God. God presents a man with a wife and crowns the marriage with His divine presence.

Comment: How do you pray for your marriage each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your marriage?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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The Ephesians Six Husband

prayerSome friends of ours celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary recently. Friends, family and acquaintances gathered to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other. If you were to ask her how the blushing bride did it, she would gladly reply, “I prayed for my husband every day.”

Of all the qualities of my wife, I am most appreciative of my wife’s one most important task, she prays for me.  She daily prays for me. Not only have I felt her prayers but I have seen the answer to her prayers frequently. My wife has a unique prayer pattern, she prays for me to become an Ephesians Six Man. She takes each verse and prays every aspect into my life. It is interesting to note the Armor of God follows the discourse on marriage; it isn’t difficult to believe it is intentional.

Ephesians 6:13-18  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

She visualizes placing the armor of God upon me each day. She prays the following according to Ephesians 6:

Armor “God will strengthen my husband to be able to stand against adversity and stand firm in the face of opposition.”

Loins Girded “God will always reveal truth to my husband’s heart and expose fads, false prophets, and foolish tales.”

Breastplate “God will cloth my husband in righteousness and he will live a pure and holy life.”

Feet “His light will shine and my husband will influence many for Jesus Christ.”

Shield “God will enable my husband to resist temptation. Pornography, seducers and illicit women will not appeal to him in any manner.”

Helmet “My husband’s mind will be open to the voice of God and he will be protected from wrong.”

Sword of the Spirit “The Word of God will grow in His life, be evident in his steps and be the love of his life.”

Prayer “Prayer will be my husband’s foremost desire and he will find sweet and precious fellowship in the presence of the Lord.”

Comment: How do you pray for your husband each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your husband?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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