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THE MAN

Charlie Williams (pictured below), is a wonderfully talented man, wrote and shared this poem with me this morning. I’m happy to call this man my friend! I hope it moves you as much as it moved me! Happy 4th!

The Man

charlie williamsI watched a tall willowy man, with a shock of radiant white hair
He was knelt in peaceful silence, deep within his prayer
His prayer was spoke for unity, in this embattled world
For all the goodness that’s within us all, to be universally unfurled
More patience and understanding, more kindness was his hope
More helping hands to those in need, a loving embrace to help them cope
A prayer for no more bloodshed, to be spilt by hatred deeds
A prayer to calm those with anger, which grows deep within their seeds
The cry for help to be answered, from the child that has no food
For we, are all responsible, no one, should we preclude
Let all the disenchanted know, that deliverance is very near
There’s no need to live in terror, and no need to dwell in fear
For we all can live together, let good hearts show us the way
Changing a life, one at a time, each and every single day
Blessed peace and harmony, should be the objective of us all
Eradication of discrimination, build a bridge, knock down a wall
Let the weary know relief, may all the abused slaves be set free
May happiness and joy be the glorious light, the blind can clearly see
Then a glow of light surrounded him, he was cocooned in the purity of love
The brightest, whitest light emanated from him, and lit up the skies above
He stood and turned and looked at me, the beauty of his eyes calmed me to my core
My heart swelled with exultation, Exquisite love raised me off the floor
For serenity, compassion and gentleness was mine
For now I was bestowed the secret, and its everlasting Love, divine
His prayers were now within me, and I will live them out each day
I will spread the word of Love and kindness, to all I meet along my way
A smile of love will be my weapon, for it is far greater than any sword
For I have gazed into the eyes, the loving eyes of My Sweet Lord.

CDW © all copyrights reserved.
7/2/15

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Battle Weary Soldier

Soldier for ChristWhen I looked at this picture on the morning of August 12, 2014, my soul was stirred.

You see, I had just heard the news that Robin Williams had passed away. I do not know what went through Robin Williams’ mind when he chose to take his life on that day, but I vividly remember endless days when I felt lonely, isolated and full of despair. I had been betrayed in one of the worst ways an individual can be betrayed and at the end of it all I wanted to take my own life. Fortunately for me, thoughts of my daughter flooded my mind and that kept me from harming myself!

For a fleeting moment, I thought again about just taking the same shortcut and immediately spend the rest of my life in eternity with Jesus. But I could not do it.

Because of the battles I’ve been facing (along with several of my closest friends) I have wanted to throw in the towel more than once these past few months! Instead of wearing a clean white dress (as shown in this picture) and holding my battle sword, I feel as though my outer clothes should really depict what is going on in my life. The white dress should be pictured with blood stains and be frayed, ragged, tattered, dirty, and torn.

The truth is . . . I feel “Battle Weary”! The term battle weary is used to describe soldiers who have been on battle lines too long and are tired of being there; it is also used to describe someone who has been doing any difficult job for too long.

Life is more than difficult and trials last much longer than I would like. Right now, I feel beaten, torn down, dense, depressed and non caring. When I ask the “why” question in my prayers I get no answer. When I ask the “when” question in my prayers I get no answer. When I ask “what am I to do” in my prayers I get no answer. Why do I keep getting up day after day after day when God is silent? I guess it boils down to trust. I know God loves me. I know He cares for me. I know that He knows everything that is going on in my life. To be honest, somewhere deep down inside of me I have hope in my soul. I also sense a lighted candle that silently says “keep going”. “Maybe today will be the day for breakthrough”. “Maybe today will be the day for a miracle”. Just maybe. God’s timing is perfect. Although I can’t see it now, I know He’s working everything out in a way that will bless me beyond what I could ask Him or even imagine!

Yes, I am a soldier in the army of my God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer. The Holy Scripture is my code of conduct. Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare. I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity and tested by fire.

I know my God is the author of unfailing love – steadfast love. The psalmist in the Bible says ““Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8).

If you, like me, are a soldier who is weary of the battle, I pray these verses uplift and encourage you as they have me:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

FOR STRENGTH:

Psalms 18:31-36 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

FOR TRUST:
Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Isaiah 41:10 “… fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

I’ll end with this quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

I hope all of you will stay on the battle field with me and claim the promise I continue to stand on:
Psalm 27:13: I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

REFLECTIONS ON JULY 4th – INDEPENDENCE DAY

freedomLike millions of Americans, my mind is on the Fourth of July holiday and what it represents: our freedom as a nation. The freedom we enjoy in the United States of America is a precious thing, bought with the sweat, toil and blood of the countless Americans who initially fought to obtain it (Revolutionary War), as well as those who have fought to secure it in the centuries since that fateful day in 1776.

Gratitude without measure wells up in my heart when I consider the brave men and women of the American military who, this Fourth of July, are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to combat the tyranny of terrorism. These soldiers stand in the train of valiant warriors who fought in the Revolutionary War (mentioned above), the Civil War, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Each of these conflicts—while unique in themselves—share the common goal of protecting American freedom. Today’s battles are no different.

But even as I value my freedom as an American, I am moved to consider a greater freedom—the freedom I found in Christ. It is the freedom that comes with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. “If you abide in my word,” our Lord declares, “you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Unfortunately, many Americans take “freedom” for granted. We place trust in our career, in money, in doing good works for others, in associations, etc., etc.

On July 4th, I ask myself, “What do I trust in?”. While I reflect on the freedoms I enjoy living in this country, I also remembered that my true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and that my freedom in Christ is, indeed, of infinite worth!

REFLECTIONS ON MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day for Facebook - 2 pics togetherI’m realizing how quickly time passes the older I become. The days, weeks and months disappear all too quickly and I now realize that the years seem to be accelerating. We’re told in James 4:14 NKJV, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Mortality is a given . . . all of us will die.

When a soldier leaves home to serve his country they are literally putting their lives on the line for us, Americans. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, it comes with a price, a price that our forefathers understood and our soldiers understand today.

Ronald Reagan said it best, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same”.

Today as I reflect on the price of liberty my heart goes out to the families of the men and woman who have served our Country, those who are currently serving our country and those who didn’t return home, who paid the ultimate price and left their earthly lives on the battlefields across the world.

As you enjoy your time with family and friends, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on what Memorial Day really means and remember those who have gone on before you.

God bless you!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

dance like no one is watchingPsalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (NIV Bible)

Do you ever look in the mirror and wished you were different? Maybe you are too short, or too tall, or too thin, or too heavy. The list never seems to end. Even the super model seems to be preoccupied with the one slight imperfection that nobody else even notices. It seems that most of us, in varying degrees, are not happy with the way we were made.

For some of us, it might physical dissatisfaction, while for others it might be that we’re not be smart enough, or outgoing enough, or etc. etc. etc. Our society has believed a lie that says we have to look and act a certain way in order to be accepted. Even those who make up the standards of acceptance feel unaccepted deep down in their hearts. No matter how hard we try to change our outward appearance in order to gain love and acceptance, I am afraid that it will always elude us.

True love and acceptance does not come from changing ourselves to become more loveable, for according to Psalm 139, we all already loved just the way we are. In verse 14, the psalmist cries out “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” When God created us, He made us exactly the way He planned. When He designed us, before we were even in our mother’s womb, He planned our size, the color of our eyes, the color of our skin, everything about us!
Just as He proclaimed His creation good in Genesis 1, He proclaims that we were made perfect in His site. When we believe the Hollywood lies that we are not good enough, we are in fact, disagreeing with how God made us. Your Father in heaven does not make junk! You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God’s work in your life is wonderful! You do not need to conform to somebody else’s image of success, but only ask God for ears to hear His delight in your creation.

The next time you look in the mirror, don’t be afraid of what you see, for you were made in the image of God, and He declares that you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

So choose today to live your life this way:

DANCE as is no one were watching!
SING as if no one were listening!
LOVE live you’ve never been hurt!
LIVE each day as if it were your last!

Waiting

WAITINGWaiting is difficult . . . crawling behind a car that is going well below the speed limit in a no-passing zone, tapping your foot in line at the coffee shop as someone scrounges up exact change, anxiously waiting for the mailman so you can get your hands on that check that was promised weeks ago, and, of course, trying to keep a great attitude in church on the very Sunday that you planned to meet friends for lunch at 12:30 and your pastor decides to include next week’s sermon in with this week’s. Maybe the toughest waiting is when we ask God for direction on an important life decision.

No, waiting is not easy, but God tells us to wait patiently for Him: His choices, His answers, His news, His guidance, His perfect spouse for us, His desire for our vocation, His Love, and yes, even His coming again. Waiting patiently means trusting God knows what is best for us because we are His children.
God desires us to wait for Him because when we acknowledge Him in all our decisions, we truly begin to walk in wisdom.

Dear God, help me to overcome doubts and the temptation of impatience. Help me to trust You with the choices and decisions of my life because You know what is best for me. Amen.

YOU ALREADY KNOW THE SOLUTION TO YOUR BIGGEST PROBLEM

untie knot
“We learn the ropes of life by untying its knots.”

– Jean Toomer

The thing that I’ve come to see over and over again when I meet with people is that they already know what they want. Many of them already know what their dreams are. They already know what they have to do, and yet they don’t do it.

And it can be a very intense process to break through all the limiting beliefs that hold people back from creating their dream life.

Here are some:

I’m too old.

I’m too young.

I’m not smart enough.

I don’t have enough education.

I have too much experience.

I’m overqualified.

I’m under qualified.

I don’t have enough time.

I don’t have enough money.

There are millions more, but those are some of the most common ones that I see. And what’s fascinating is that these beliefs can overtake people.

It’s always a miracle when I see individuals who begin to understand that they are not their beliefs, but their beliefs are simply patterns. So it’s not so much about learning to change who you are as it is learning to change certain patterns within you.

Scripture tells me: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Or, you can simply look at it this way:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I’ve always believed that when I have a limiting belief, it’s true in the moment, but not ultimately true.

There have been several times when I have had almost $0 in my bank account. My limiting belief was, “I don’t have enough money to start a business.” And while that might be true in a sense, what was also true is that people have started very successful businesses with less than I had in that moment.

And so I realized that perhaps a lack of funding was an opportunity to get creative.

So no matter what your limiting belief might be, that circumstance might be true in the moment, but there is always another way of looking at problems and circumstances so that you can call forth more resourcefulness and creativity than you thought you had.

While our circumstances might not be ideal, who you really are is FAR greater than that. Circumstances never ultimately dictate how far in life we go. Rather, it is how we respond to our circumstances that determines our path.

We are always responsible for how we respond to life.

In everyday life when you don’t get that promotion at work, or if you have been laid off (like I was last year) or fired from your job, you may feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s NOT!

Look at these people who were “failures” and then rose above their circumstances. They used the talents God gave them and came out on top! These are people are commonly known as “Famous Failures”! They remind me that “Failure” is just another stop on the road to success. Circumstances could have easily made them give up, but they didn’t! Their stories encourage me!

1. WINSTON CHURCHILL failed the sixth grade. He was defeated in every public office role he ran for. Then he became the British prime minister at the age of 62.

2. THOMAS EDISON’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Edison also famously invented 1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked.

3. HARLAND DAVID SANDERS, the famous KFC “Colonel,” couldn’t sell his chicken. More than 1,000 restaurants rejected him. But then one did, and today there are KFC restaurants bearing his image all over the world.

4. STEVEN SPIELBERG was rejected from his dream school, the University of Southern California, three times. He sought out an education somewhere else and dropped out to be a director.

5. MARILYN MONROE’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. Monroe kept plugging away and is one of the most iconic actresses and sex symbols of all time.

6. SOICHIRO HONDA was passed over for an engineering job at Toyota and left unemployed. But then he began making motorcycles, started a business and became a billionaire.

7. VERA WANG failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue and was passed over for the editor-in-chief position. She began designing wedding gowns at 40 and today is the premier designer in the business, with a multi-billion dollar industry.

8. WALT DISNEY was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Several more of his businesses failed before the premiere of his movie Snow White. Today, most childhoods wouldn’t be the same without his ideas.

9. ALBERT EINSTEIN didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labeled him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.” But Einstein just had a different way of thinking. He later won the Nobel prize in physics.

10. SIR ISAAC NEWTON was tasked with running the family farm but was a miserable failure. Newton was sent off to Cambridge University and became a physics scholar.

11. OPRAH WINFREY was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen. But Winfrey rebounded and became the undisputed queen of television talk shows. She’s also a billionaire.

12. VINCENT VAN GOGH only sold one painting in his entire life, to a friend. He sometimes starved in order to create the 800 paintings he’d eventually do. Today, his works are priceless.

13. DR. SEUSS’ first book was rejected by 27 different publishers. He’s now the most popular children’s book author ever.

14. HENRY FORD’s first auto company went out of business. He abandoned a second because of a fight and a third went downhill because of declining sales. He went on to become one of the greatest American entrepreneurs ever.

15. J.K. ROWLING was unemployed, divorced and raising a daughter on social security while writing the first Harry Potter novel. J.K. Rowling is now internationally renowned for her 7 book Harry Potter series and is the first person to become a billionaire from writing.

16. STEPHEN KING was initially so frustrated with his first novel, Carrie that he threw it in the trash. King’s wife found the manuscript in the trash and took it out. To date his 49 novels have sold 350 million copies.

17. MICHAEL JORDAN was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home, locked the door and cried. He is famous for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. He is also famous for his amazing leaping ability during basketball slam dunk contests; this ability earned him the nick names ‘Air Jordan’ and ‘His Airness’.

18. THE BEATLES were rejected by Decca Recording Studios, who said, “We don’t like their sound – they have no future in show business.” I guess The Beatles showed them!

So the question is, if you are experiencing limits in your life, how are you responding? Are you responding with a more limited view, or can you broaden your horizons and see that in this moment there is a greater opportunity for more creativity and resourcefulness than you thought you had?

And if that were true, what would you do?

Matthew 19:26 ” . . . With God all things are possible!”