Eating an Elephant  

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Procrastination is some people's "disease". They think they can do it at a later time, just to put it off. Sometimes the later time will catch up with them (I've been victim). There are still other times that not starting is not defined by procrastination, but rather it could be labeled as scared, anxious, uncomfortable, non-traditional, etc.

Those other "labels" are just as damaging to starting a project, and getting ahead, as procrastination. Here is this week's quote pertaining to this principle...
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. ~ Mark Twain
There's an old, dry saying that asks, "How do you eat an elephant?"...One bite at a time. Projects may seem big, but they will get accomplished a "bite" at a time. However, there has to be a time when the bite is taken.

Any project is able to be completed, even if it looks big going into it. So, if/when you are wanting to get ahead, even when it seems it may not be possible, just get started. Then, create a priority list and "bite" them off one at a time. Whether you are planning a Presidential Campaign, a community event, a dinner party, or just trying to get your house in order, they all can be accomplished, little by little.

"Eating" on my elephant...Share/Bookmark

New Discoveries  

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One of the highlights of being a parent is watching Oliver as he learns and discovers new things. There are many areas that would fit in those two categories. He’s learned how to go up and down stairs (safely). He’s discovered that running too fast causes you to lose your balance. He’s learned how to put a tool on a bolt. He’s discovered how to put a straw in the correct place on a lid. He’s discovered that being too close to a door, after getting excited to go “bye-bye”, results in hitting his head on the door. Oh, the many things he’s learned and discovered, and I can’t describe how enjoyable it is to watch him as he goes through these phases.

Dreaming leads to discovering. What would happen if you woke up and didn’t get out of bed on any given day? Basically, it would come down to the fact that you would fail to discover what life was like that day. You would remain in bed, never to see the other side of the bedroom door. You wouldn’t know what was out there, waiting, patiently, to be discovered…by you!

Discoveries are awesome to be a part of. Whether they are self-discoveries or group discoveries. These moments are monumental in you figuring out something totally different than you’ve ever known before! Whether it is a new use for a chemical and method which a group of people can work together or somewhere in between.

Just as being a father I enjoy watching my little one make new discoveries, I can’t fathom the joy that our Father gets when He sees His children dreaming about ways they can serve Him, then watch them put it into practice!

Make discoveries!Share/Bookmark

Confidence - II Corinthians 3:4-5  

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Confidence can be exhibited at many levels. The sports star that led the league in a number of categories last year, received a contract extension, and is injury free. The business person who has a company that is doing quite well and their family is healthy and happy. The student who is liked by most and is receiving good marks. The married couple who have had a great marriage for years.

All those are possible areas of confidence. However, what happens when you take something away from the situation? The sports star suffers a rare disease and has to have his leg amputated. The business person has to close their doors due to a recession. The student who is hit by a car and has to go through therapy to even learn how to remember again. The married couple, where one spouse learns they have a tumor, so advanced, only weeks to live.

Where is the confidence in these situations, after these things have happened?

Confidence was higher in the first paragraph because each of those scenarios were about what the person did. None of it had to do with putting their confidence in God. It was their successes. Their situations.

When we fail to put our confidence in Him, any other confidence is empty. Yesterday, we continued to talk about the idea of living wide awake. To live wide awake, for God, means that we also must put our confidence in Him, as He leads us through life. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

  1. Appreciate the opportunities that come your way as ways to reflect Jesus to someone or some situation.
  2. Tell someone how much you enjoy being a Christian
  3. Reflect on the strengths you have and not the weaknesses
  4. See that you are incompetent without Him - acknowledge and accept
  5. Do not look at situations that come your way as obstacles in reflecting your faith, but as opportunities.
  6. Pray for opportunities for those you teach and their parents, those you work with and their families, for your customers, for your neighbors, for your household (if someone in your household doesn't know Christ), for ____ (you add anyone else)
  7. Look forward, with confidence from Him, to these opportunities to open up!

Waking up each day and looking forward to how God will use you is a little bit of what it means to live wide awake. If you are still going through your day, figuratively, under the covers, WAKE UP...get out of bed. There is whole world of opportunity out there waiting for you to be a "fragrance" of Christ to them!

If you're guilty of putting confidence in yourself, then you need to change it around. Change it so that you are appreciative of the talents you have, but understand that if something happened your confidence would not diminish because you already started putting your confidence in Him, not you.

I love the kind of mindset that looks for seeing how one can reflect Christ in everything they do and everywhere they go. I like to learn people's names, so that when I see them, then I can call them by name or ask, by name, how their day is going. This seems to be especially effective to those who have the "thankless" or menial jobs. Sometimes I will leave a note of appreciation for a maid in a hotel, that is one example of a thankless job.

Reflect Jesus with confidence!

Looking forward to the opportunities that will come my way...Share/Bookmark

In the Footsteps of Paul - by Ken Duncan  

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Living in modern-day America, it is quite difficult to envision what the Apostle Paul must have experienced – the land, sea, and the towns. Ken Duncan, author and photographer of “In the Footsteps of Paul: Experience the Journey that Changed the World”, takes us to many of the places that Paul was or likely was at during his lifetime.

This one hundred seventy-five page book is filled with stunning photographs of places that I will probably never see. As I read and looked through it I was intrigued to want to look deeper and deeper into the two dimensional pictures. I wanted to peak around corners and reach out and touch. However, I had to rely on the photos to give me a perspective of what life was like in Paul’s day. I tried to envision people walking around the streets. Paul getting into boats. Structures not being torn down.

This is a book which I will look at over and over again. Paul is a main character in the New Testament, so, as a minister, I will be teaching about him regularly. I feel that this book gives me a better visual insight as to who Paul was and where he went as he traveled. I think I will be more in tune with Paul as I will be able to open up this book and visualize him in the Scriptures.

The book does offer more than pictures, as there are hundreds of quotes and scriptures to help you be more acquainted with a particular picture.

It is a great resource book to have to help anyone visualize Paul and the life he led.Share/Bookmark

Don't Let Your Dreams Die  

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I've been dreaming lately. Dreaming of doing big things for God. Dreaming of being influential for Him. Dreaming of the outcome of what will happen when other people dream and put their dreams into practice.

Dreaming, envisioning, keeps me up at night. Some nights for hours, but it excites me at the same time. I get up the next morning with a variety of things still on my mind. Sometimes I have to write these ideas down before I close my eyes for the night so that I can make sure that I do not forget.

As this is a week centered around dreaming, it seemed only fitting to use this quote this week...
We grow by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light, which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true. ~ Woodrow Wilson
Dream, continue to dream, don't stop dreaming! Dreaming allows things to happen. Happening allows things to be created. Creation allows others to be affected.

How many people will you affect through your dreams?

Don't let your dreams die...Keep dreaming!Share/Bookmark

"The Great 8" by Scott Hamilton  

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There is not a person that I've ever met that could use more optimism. In a world of recession, divorce, & depression, optimism is always needed.

"The Great 8", by Olympic champion, Scott Hamilton, is a book dedicated to helping its readers become optimistic. Naturally, he uses skating as a method to explain how to be happy, when it seems like it may be impossible.

I enjoyed the use of figure skating examples and illustrations to help me understand the message Scott was trying to convey. I learned things I didn't know before about figure skating (like why it was called figure skating).

Scott makes great points that should help anyone achieve the goal of becoming more optimistic. For example, you've got to get up even when you've fallen, trust the one who is coaching you, learn through losing, clear your mind, be positive, smile, go last, get out of your rut, and stand in the spotlight.

One critique I would have about the book, is that it seemed there were times that the information about Scott's cancer seemed a bit repetitive.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to have a better outlook on life. It was an easy read but was very enjoyable at the same time.Share/Bookmark

What a Relief!  

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Several years ago, the Rolaid’s® commercial used this question in their ads, “How do you spell relief?...R-O-L-A-I-D-S”. After a meal of spicy food or junk food and your stomach feels in knots, pop in a couple of Rolaid’s® and things will feel better. Relief from anything is practically always welcomed.

This last week was a week of “relief” for many people. Wednesday was the day your taxes were due. After Wednesday, accountants could finally take a break. Each year is long and busy for accountants. Since I have my taxes done by a self-employed accountant, I will talk to her occasionally throughout the process of finishing up my taxes. I have heard how stressful it can be, but how much they look forward to April 16th! Both of the individuals that have prepared my taxes in my ministry career have taken off for a week or more after the tax deadline. April 16th is a day of relief. So how do accountants spell relief? A-P-R-I-L-1-6…what a great day!

Whether you are an accountant or a general tax payer, having your taxes completed is a nice feeling of relief. For me, even if I have to pay in, it is still a relief to have them completed.

I use the tax deadline day as a springboard for this week’s topic of relief. Having recently moved, then moved again, I know what it is like to set something down and not feel the burden that I had when I was carrying the load. In our house, I was “lucky” enough to get to carry all three pieces of a sectional down through our house and down the stairs. The stairs are not a straight shot down, so some of the pieces took some finagling to get them down the stairs properly. After three, I was welcoming that relief…with open arms!!!

Burdens are burdensome. I don’t say that with sarcasm, but to say that the whole concept of burdensome indicates that they weigh us down. Oftentimes, mentally, as much as, physically. With burdens, as much as we want to lay them down, we don’t. We tend to keep on carrying them like a child who cannot give up his pacifier or blanket. The child may know that they are too old, but cannot give it up.

Christ came to give us back the opportunity which sin stole from us. Sin separates us from Purity (God). We are no longer pure, so we have to walk around with the burden that we are stained. No one likes to walk around with a stained shirt, do they? There is such a relief to get that shirt off and put a clean one on. However, imagine no shirts available? You have to walk around your entire life with that stain. That is the way sin works. Once sin comes into your life, you must walk around your entire life with that stain because there is nothing you can do to get it off.

Christ died and was raised again to give us the chance to get the stain out. We thought there wasn’t a way to lift the stain, but Jesus said otherwise. The day when the stain is removed is such a relief! You finally get to relax a bit because your conscience is now clean. What happens when you “spill” something on your clothed-with-Christ outfit? Do you have to walk around with that burden again that you are stained? Thankfully, each day, you can have new clothes. We are able to be renewed day by day. You can lay the burden down. Not just the ones that may be stained with yesterday’s sins, but the other burdens/stresses that you are carrying around.

After taxes are finished, it is such a relief. After you put something heavy down, it is such a relief. After you give things to God, you will find such relief!Share/Bookmark

Living Wide Awake: Dream - Mark 10:46-51  

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What did you dream about last night? Was it scary or pleasant? Do you remember at all? I don't recall anything from last night's sleep, but I am sure there was some type of dream. You may not be able to control how much you dream at night or even what you dream. However, you can make a conscious decision to dream for God.

As I shared yesterday, my dream for the church is that everyone, from youngest to oldest, will be so passionate about their faith that they will look for God in everything they do. As I am about to start a new "cycle" of praying for every member, that is going to be on my prayer for each person.

I love to be inspired to dream. I enjoy thinking about no-holds-barred kind of future possibilities. When we limit ourselves, we are limiting God. As Jesus was able to use fish and loaves to feed a five thousand, what could He do with us?

This series is from a same-titled book by Erwin McManus. I haven't read it, I just came across it through an article in an e-mail subscription. We're going to be focusing on reshaping our thought process by seeing that God does put possibilities in our path, every day. Too often we miss that. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  1. Write down a dream you have for the church...what do you want to see happen? The possibilities are endless!
  2. Pray about your are you going to be an instrument in making it happen? Ask that it be His will. Thank Him, in advance, for working out this dream - whether it comes to fruition or not (in your time).
  3. The next interaction you have with someone, ponder why God may have timed that interaction the way He did...How did you reflect Christ to them?
  4. Then, ponder the next...the next...the next...
  5. Look forward to the open doors that may come your way as you look for God in these situations.
  6. Pray for God to open doors for you in your school, workplace, neighborhood, appointments, etc.
  7. LIVE WIDE AWAKE...don't hide under the covers!
I spent too many years staying under the covers for God, not seeing the life that was waiting for me out there. There were times I may have got out of bed, but those were the typical "Christian" times. The every day times, I generally was staying in bed. However, when I realized how much fun I could have by living wide awake and looking forward to seeing God in my day, I looked forward to the next hour with great anticipation. I learned about the fact that being a messenger for Him was so much fun. Nothing is ever the same in Kingdom work! Everyone's different, so every interaction is different.

I hope you enjoy your opportunities that God brings to you!


Miracles Amidst Difficulties  

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There have been lots of inventions or discoveries due to accidents. When you are looking for something and are recalling the story, you may say "It was the last place I looked". Isn't that kind of a dumb phrase we use? How many are going to find the object, but keep looking other places? Of course it was the last place you looked.

Not too long ago I read how a man was working on a new kind of glue, but the glue was not strong enough to do much. He thought he failed. However, it was strong enough to hold a piece of paper. Hence, what we know as the "Post-It Note" was created. Not planned; complete accident.

Too often we may see the difficulties that come our way as obstacles instead of opportunities. Take Helen Keller, for example, she had her fair share of obstacles, but look at the opportunities that came her way as she pressed on.

As you read this week's quote, I want you to focus on making the good bloom from anything bad...
Out of difficulties grow miracles. ~ Jean De La Bruyere

I really enjoy watching movies where someone goes through difficulties, but then rises to the top at the end. The Ron Clark Story, Glory Road, Hoosiers and Rudy are all on that list. When it seems practically impossible for something to change, it happens, or for a person to succeed, they do.

A movie may not have been made about your life, but I would bet that you've had difficulties in your life which grew a miracle. My wife and I have had that exact thing happen. We were married about eight months before we decided to try to have a child. For the next 8+ years, we were unsuccessful. At times, I had almost given up hope. Then, out of the blue, my wife notices that she is having symptoms that do not seem right. Upon getting a test, then two, then three, then four, and, then, five, (plus going to the doctor), we came to the understanding that we were going to have a baby!!! It was a great day...better than great!

What about your individual life? What is there that you are having a difficult time achieving? That may be exactly what is going to be the next miracle...don't give up on it...wait for it and keep working toward it!

Anticipating the next miracle...Share/Bookmark

You Can't Keep a Good Man Down - Inspired by the song by Newsong  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

One of the things I enjoy doing is playing. I enjoy playing around with Aubrey and/or Oliver. I enjoy playing sports. Since I’m human, I cannot just go and go and go. There are times when I need a rest. However, I enjoy playing so much that even after a bit of a rest, I want to be right back in the middle of things. A little “out-of-breath” is not going to stop me from continuing to participate!

Jesus also had to “take a rest”. He left his Deity and allowed His human side to “rest”. I use this word to describe a momentary time between humanity and ascension. Jesus needed to give up His weak flesh for the sake of you. Jesus died and was put in a tomb, taking a “rest”. This period of time allowed people, both good and bad, to wonder. They wondered if He would “rebuild” as He said He would. They wondered if people would try to steal His body. Others, probably, just wondered. Overall, their wondering didn’t phase His plan. They all found out that a little death was not going to stop Him from participating in eliminating sin from people’s souls. The following are some words from the song “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” by Newsong…

When they nailed Him to the cross by His hands and His feet and they put Him in the ground. Three days later everybody found out that ya can't, No you can't keep a good man down, no you can't keep a good man down

Though the title has the word “good” in it, I don’t think that that word is quite strong enough to describe who Jesus is. It may have gone the best with the way the song was written or maybe they were just using the cliché. Regardless, I think that a stronger word like awesome, magnificent, unbelievable, first-class, superior, overwhelming, breathtaking, amazing, or remarkable, may have been a little bit closer to a description. Maybe these words aren’t even close.

Jesus died because He had to for your lying, cheating, murders, denials, addictions, etc. Jesus didn’t just die on the cross and was then put in a grave to stay forever. Jesus escaped from the grave, allowing you to escape the nastiness that comes when sin sentences you to the grave. Because He escaped, we do not have to remain in the grave! What praise can you say to that?! How about…God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

Everlastingly thankful that I do not have to remain in the grave…Share/Bookmark

Live - Galatians 2:19-21  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

A final sermon in a series from John 11:25

lub-dub...lub-dub...lub-dub, goes the heartbeats of the heart. When you hear this sound, you know that the person is alive. When you are exercising your "lub-dubs" go faster, when resting, they go slower.

Most of us spend much of our lives in a resting state, regarding the heart beat. There is a need for the heart to be pushed a bit, so exercising is good. However, constant pushing from exercising will wear out the heart. Just like with any muscle, there has to be moments of rest for rebuilding. Too much rest and the heart doesn't retain the strength it needs to last the long haul.

Because of Jesus I have "lub-dubs" that can be heard in the soul. Being alive in Christ means there will be times of fast "lub-dubs" and slower "lub-dubs". The soul needs to be strengthened through faster "lub-dubs", but it also needs time of rest. Just like the heart, too much fast and we'll wear out, but too much slow, and we'll never reach our potential.

Yesterday, we ended our series from John 11:25 with looking at the concept of "live" (not "ly-ve"), and what it means to be alive in Christ. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  1. When one is sleepy, they might "slap their face" to wake them up...maybe you need to figuratively slap your soul so that it will wake up!
  2. Make a list of the things you enjoy most about being a Christian - be as minute as possible
  3. Make a list of things you would like to do, in your mission to serve and honor God.
  4. Pray that God would make you excited and be moving "for him" so that your soul-beat would be creating faster "lub-dubs".
  5. If you are finding yourself in a continual "resting" state, regarding your Christian walk, pray that your attitude would be different, so your "walk" would pick up the pace.

Imagine wanting to go see a concert and the singer not put on their best performance. Maybe their notes are great, but there is no vibrancy or energy in their performance. You'd naturally be disappointed, as you paid for the ticket. As God looks down at you, do you think He might be disappointed with you if you weren't showing any vibrancy in your life after Christ paid the price for you?

Let's be alive for Him!

Looking forward to God's surprises for me!...Share/Bookmark

Are You Afraid?  

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If you were given an open-ended budget, and you can pick the subject area, what would you get and why?

I think that one of the things I am afraid of is too many choices. When I am on the hunt for a new gadget, I will research and research information about the product. Then, I may wait and wait till I think I've found the best deal. However, when I have the opportunity to get "whatever I want" it can be more difficult than when I have parameters.

Mankind can have a tendency to have this same problem when it comes to pursuing life goals. Graduations are around the corner. Ask some high school Seniors about what they are going to do next year and you will get a wide variety of answers. However, they have put some direction in their life and are about to start the next phase to get to that goal.

What happens after all the schooling? Do we ever think that we can be great in something that we have no education in or something our job doesn't require of us?

That brings us to this week's quote...
Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great. ~ Fernando Flores

After college you may get married and/or have children. Those are areas which you can be "great", but you must not be afraid to be great! There are lots of other areas, which may depend on where you live, in which you can be great. You may have a job that isn't your favorite - you can still be great. There are always community areas of involvement which you can implement great ideas...and be great.

I really enjoy getting to know people in my community. I have always liked to be involved. It has been less than six months since I have been where we live now, and I feel that God has allowed me to be very involved. I feel that I may be at my max for formal involvement. I am officially involved with two community groups and about to be involved with another one. That is probably my limit because they could overlap or spread out from here. I don't know if I will be given the opportunity to do something "great", but I'm not afraid to take the step to get there!

Take that step toward doing something great!Share/Bookmark

Don't Make 'Em Hunt For It  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Last week, I pulled in to Sonic Drive-In to get a late night snack. As I was perusing the menu, I noticed an Easter-themed promotion of the Sonic Card (aka gift card). It read, “Don’t make ‘em hunt for it”. As Aubrey and I were sitting there trying to decide what we were hungry for, that phrase grabbed my attention and I couldn’t let it go. I turned around to Aubrey and directed her attention to it. I followed it up with, “That’s what I’m going to write about for a bulletin article the week before Easter.” So here it is…

One of the common events around the Easter holiday is egg hunting. I loved trying to find hidden eggs when I was younger. The mystery alone was fun to try and solve, where they are hidden. In addition, who can resist the candy that is put inside? That delicious, cavity-enhancing material is very appealing.

Easter is about the tomb and the Resurrection. In the early morning, the tomb was found empty. However, the days before it was filled. Though it wasn’t filled with chocolate, marshmallows, or jelly beans, it was filled with something sweet – to the soul. Jesus occupied that tomb. Jesus had just been flogged and tormented, resulting in His death on the cross. To make sure he was dead, they pierced His side. Then, they took Him down and laid Him in the tomb.

Three days later, on the first day of the week, two women approached the tomb, only to find it empty. Others looked inside, no Jesus. Where was He? He had risen. Though He had risen, Jesus didn’t even make His followers hunt for Him. He came to them.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:16) doesn’t say or allude to the “come” concept. The first imperative in Matthew’s account is “go”. Why do we put the word “come” in our church slogans…i.e. “Come grow with us”? We are taking the lazy way out of the command. We are to go – to them – not expecting them to come – to us.

This next week, the week before Easter, go. Go to the people and let them know the greatness of your Savior. It may lead to questions. It may lead to one being saved. You never know. However, accept His mission to go to the people, not expecting them to come to you.

The sweetness that comes as a result of the Gospel will also create a cavity. A cavity created as Satan and self are pushed out, now can be filled with Jesus!

Remember, don’t make ‘em hunt for it…Go!


Die - John 11:25  

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Continuation of series looking at the different words in John 11:25

Have you died today? If not today, when was the last time you died?

This was the question I posed to the church toward the beginning of the sermon yesterday as we examined death/die/dying.

It is easy to be selfish. You want something and you would like to get it. I think it is our nature. You can see it in kids, when they are told "no", they may get upset - or even worse. They desired permission to have something or go somewhere and they were denied. Our weak bodies generally lack the maturity to understand why we may not get something - even spilling over into adulthood.

Though we're growing all the time, one of the goals of a Christian is to die to self for the goodness of Him, the Kingdom, and others. When we don't "die" we may be holding on to something that doesn't allow us to flourish.

As we continue on with this concept, here are some applications to choose from this week...

  1. Give this day to God...all the problems, all the appointments, all the errands, all the phone calls, all the encounters, all the conversations, all the meetings...Everything you do today, consciously think about doing it to the glory of God.
  2. When something "dies" we miss them/it, but logically we cannot hang on to them/it, besides in memory. As you "die" daily, you may miss things about the past, but it is better to move do just that.
  3. Be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and die to the concepts incorporated with serving Him that are difficult for you.
  4. Look forward to next week when we talk about the joy of living!

Think about if Jesus didn't die to self, before He died on the Cross. He displayed humanity when He was asking God to "take the cup" from Him. I have to presume He'd seen crucifixions. He'd seen the pain, embarrassment, and agony that was associated with death by crucifixion. He didn't want to go through it. However, He died to self for the sake of you and me and went through with it.

Are there things you need to die to, for the sake of someone else? Maybe your family, your community, or your church? Maybe there's something that you are holding on to that is keeping a restrain on others? If you "died" to that, the future would be better, just like the future was better when Jesus died. Think about it.

Dying, while living, is not easy, but it is what is expected of us.

Dying, Regularly... (or at least trying)...


Giving Up is Permanent  

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It is no fun not to succeed. I think that everyone likes to win. It may not always be at "any expense", but, to this day, I haven't found anyone who doesn't like to do well at something. Whether it is an assignment at school, fixing up their house, dressing themselves, thriving at their job, or working with a committee. We are taught to do well from the obeying our parents/guardians. We get praised for a job well done and receive the opposite for bad choices we make.

When was the last time you felt defeated? It wasn't that long ago that I tried to accomplish something that I didn't go away from feeling "successful". I am my worst critic. This was something that I did put in my 100%, but the result didn't make it to that percentage. However, with anything, I look to the future and do not have hopes of giving up. That brings us to this week's quote...

Being defeated is only a temporary condition;
giving up is what makes it permanent. ~ Marilyn vos Savant
Most often I think of this quote relating to an insignificant matter - losing a game, bombing a presentation, failing a test, etc. However, what about other areas. What about a marriage relationship? Where you have difficulties with each other, do you give up or see that there is a future where things can be worked out? What about financial strain (one of the top reasons couples fight), do you give up on life or seek ways you can get help?

There are many other areas to discuss that are ongoing situations. Maybe it is work, in-laws, extended family, neighbors, or church. The situations that are only around for a bit are easy to not give up on, but those chronic, ongoing problems can weigh us down so much that we want to just quit.

I urge you, don't quit! I've been in difficult situations where I've wanted to give up, so I know what it means to stick with it. You are more valuable than giving up. Your marriage, job, church, or other situations are more valuable than to give up on them.

Continually learning the lesson...