Where to Focus Your Faith

March 31, 2020

Faith can be a touchy subject sometimes. We’re supposed to have it (the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God), but it is often difficult because we are supposed to believe in what our senses are not yet telling us. It is also difficult because things don’t always work out the way we expect, and sometimes opposite of the way we want. Even though it is for our own good when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we want, it hurts! We have prayed for the healing of loved ones who did not heal. We have prayed for “the one” to spend the rest of our life with, and they don’t show up. We have prayed for an increase in finances only to have more expenses instead.

I am not trying to paint a negative picture here. God always hears our prayers and answers in our best interest every time. The problem is that if someone has been hurt by difficult circumstances, regardless of the fact that God has them in our lives for good, it is very difficult to trust God and have faith in Him. I get it because I’ve been there.

My faith is generally good, though there are still plenty of times where doubt creeps in. The other night I watched a sermon from Andy Stanley on the topic of faith. I know I was led there by God because what I heard could have potentially increased my faith exponentially. I wanted to share this with you, especially if you happen to be struggling with your faith these days.

The main idea that struck me was this…. instead of focusing on what God will do for you, focus on what God CAN do for you. He references a Bible verse, Matthew 8:2 where Jesus heals a man of leprosy. The man kneels before Him and says, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” He knows Jesus can heal him. However, he leaves it in His will to do so.

Why is this focus much more effective? The explanation the pastor gave was this… when we focus on what God will do, we are asking on shaky ground. It is great to have faith that something you pray for will happen. However, as I said before, God doesn’t always answer the way we would expect. You are not 100% sure of what God will do, so that leaves doubt, and at least some wonder if God will come through, especially if you are remembering other times where your prayer wasn’t answered as desired. On the other hand, when you pray and focus on what God CAN do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. You know God can do ALL things. Nothing is impossible with Him. The leper acknowledged this in his prayer.

This is very powerful to me because it provided an incredible peace. In fact, I was immediately tested on this. In the middle of that same night, I woke up and heard water running in my basement. I realized that it was the sump pump that keeps the water out, and it wasn’t shutting off. It wasn’t flooding, but that potential was there. It was 1:30 am, so there was no one to call. All I felt like I could do was pray. And I prayed in the way I learned a few hours before. Sure, I wondered if I may still awake to a flood. However, I prayed knowing that God could easily fix this problem. I left it up to Him how and with what level of difficulty or damage. After I said the prayer that way, I felt a great peace. I certainly didn’t want a basement flood to happen, but I knew that even if it did, it was still for my good somehow. The next morning, within a few hours, I had someone here to fix and resolve the problem with just a small cost.

Once again, when you focus your faith on what God can do instead of what He will do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. There is no doubt He can do anything. Instead of trying to believe God will come through for me, my prayers are like, “I know you can do this. And I pray that you do.” Unlike praying for what He will do, which can lead to some wavering because of the uncertainty, this type of prayer allows me to focus more on His promises. That actually increases my faith even more!

For me, I feel like it has taken my faith to a much higher level. It has increased my confidence and trust in God, and I am more ready to accept whatever outcome He has for me. It has also brought me closer to Him. Also, I firmly believe you will receive many positive answers to your prayers the way Jesus answered the leper. “I am willing” is what He said in the next verse. And the leper was healed.

I will share a link to this sermon here. The ironic thing is that this is only a small piece of it and not even the main point. However, it has stuck with me, and as mentioned, it is a major faith booster.

I challenge you to focus your prayers this way. Focus mainly on what God CAN do, and leave what He will do to Him. I strongly believe your faith will grow too. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


How To Be Fruitful and Make a Difference

March 30, 2020

As we go through this difficult time with Coronavirus and so many other things on our minds, there are many people going out of their way to make a positive difference for the people around them. I am eternally thankfully for these individuals. Many others have the same desire to make a difference in their world too. However, some may be wondering how you can do so.

As I was doing my Bible devotion this morning, I came upon this verse which inspired me to share this with you. For those looking to make a positive difference, I think this will certainly help: “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” This is taken from 2 Peter 1:5-7. Please allow me to break it down quickly for you…

Faith – Start with an excellent foundation of faith in God and His promises in your life. Be confident that His power can make a difference in your life and those of the people around you.

Moral Excellence – when you demonstrate integrity, respectability, honesty, and strength in character, you stand out in your world. People will definitely notice.

Knowledge – Where can you gain great knowledge? The Bible is an excellent starting point for increasing knowledge of how you can make a difference, or for any life topic. The internet is loaded with valuable resources on how you can enable yourself and others to grow. Use whichever is best for you, and feed your mind with positive information.

Self-control – Mainly self-explanatory on what this means, but your ability to remain disciplined with your mind and emotions, especially in difficult situations, is another thing that stands out and allows your light to shine in the darkness.

Endurance – The ability to press on in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Godliness – Reflecting the same character traits of God. This can also mean remaining devoted to God and His cause.

Brotherly Affection – We’ve seen plenty of examples already of how people are going out their way to help their “brothers and sisters” in society. Your willingness to help in any way you can easily allow you to make a difference in your world.

I believe these verses make it very clear that, if you consistently demonstrate these attitudes character traits, you can make a difference in your world. This point is confirmed in the next verse…. “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As we Christians grow in Christ, we develop the above characteristics. And as those characteristics manifest in our personality and we make them a part of our very being, we become more fruitful and make a greater difference in our world.

Are you looking to make greater impacts around you? I believe God is showing us how with these words. The challenge now is to focus on demonstrating these attitudes consistently, then look for ways you can make a difference. If you pray for God’s help in all of this, He will certainly help you. You can and will make a difference, and I believe this can happen almost immediately. Enjoy the blessings 🙂

 


A Biblical Way to Remove Fear

March 24, 2020

In today’s society, there are plenty of things to be fearful of. As I write this, we are in the middle of a Coronavirus shutdown. In my humble opinion, much of this has been caused by fear. Besides this, our society has plenty of other things to fear. In our country, mass shootings have become regular news, and it seems like other disasters like fires, tornadoes, etc. are happening more regularly. There is plenty of fear on an individual level too as we go through difficult situations, face difficult people, and fight the demons that remind us of past mistakes and failures.

Ok, I know what you are thinking, and I hope you haven’t quit reading yet. This site is known for positive and uplifting inspiration. Why all of a sudden the doom and gloom? Those who know me well would know that I am usually very optimistic. And I still am. However, even the best of us have things in our lives to make us fearful, and that stuff isn’t going to just go away.

The thing is though, we don’t have to let fear run our lives. In fact, the Bible is full of verses that talk about being courageous and being faithful instead of fearful. For the sake of simplicity, I will focus on one that reminded me of letting go of fear recently. It is from I John 4:18 which says “perfect love casts out all fear”. What is perfect love? Elsewhere in I John, it says that “God is love.” God is perfect love. I’ve shared this several times recently, and this article describes it in detail, but an excellent definition of love I’ve seen is “seeing God in everyone and everything.” It makes total sense. When you love someone, you are in essence seeing God in them. This definition helped me to love myself in a non-arrogant way. When you love yourself, you are seeing and becoming aware of the God presence that lives in you.

Based on the definition above, I see perfect love as seeing God in every person or situation. When you see and remain focused on God in something, it automatically brings great peace! You know that God has full control of the situation. Instead of remaining fearful, it is much easier to have faith and know that the situation will turn out right, even if it doesn’t go exactly as we think it should.

The key is to stay focused on God. See Him in every person, and in every situation. When you consistently do this, you will feel more empowered. This empowerment and peace will overshadow the fears that you had before. It may not exactly make those difficult situations go away, but you will be able to rise above them so much more easily. God will never let you down. That enough is able to dispel all fear. He is there for you always. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


What Should You Focus Your Thoughts On?

March 19, 2020

As we watch the news during this Coronavirus outbreak, we can see that the entire world is focused on it. It is understandable, as this is a truly unprecedented event. However, I think too many of us are placing too much of our mental focus on this. Even though it is a very concerning situation that does need some of our attention and vigilance, I remind you that there are still so many good and positive things in the world to focus on as well.

My challenge to you today, among the negative news blitz, is to try to find those positive things. Those who know me well hear me say this on a regular basis…YOU GET IN LIFE WHAT YOU FOCUS ON. It’s a simple fact. If you focus on what’s wrong with the people or circumstances of your life, you will be given more reasons to complain. On the other hand, if you appreciate what you have and find the good in people and events in your life, you will experience more things in life to be thankful for.

I am not saying that simply thinking positive thoughts will make this disease or any negative situation in your life just go away. You do need to be vigilant and take common-sense, precautionary steps with this dangerous sickness. You also need to find solutions to other negative issues in your life. However, let us not put all of our mental energy on these things. Instead, let us focus on the thoughts that will bring blessings into our lives. Philippians 4:8 says to continually place your focus on positive thoughts. The Amplified version says it like this… Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

Not only are we to focus on these thoughts, but we are to focus on them continually. I like how it adds that if we center these wholesome thoughts in our minds, they sink into our hearts. What that tells me is that the more we focus our minds on these beautiful, edifying thoughts, WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT!

I challenge you again. As difficult as it might be these days, find times throughout the day to monitor your thoughts. What am I thinking about right now? Am I thinking worrisome, anxious thoughts? Or am I thinking pure, beautiful, positive, and wholesome thoughts? The more you do this, the more it becomes habit. If you find yourself thinking negative, unwholesome thoughts, do not fret. Simply turn your thinking around to reflect what is excellent, worthy of praise, etc. The more your thoughts are of this nature, the more the circumstances in your life will reflect the same positive, praiseworthy nature. If you need help in finding good things to focus on, I provide a day to day guide in my book 30 Days to a More Powerful Life.

The great thing about this is that the process doesn’t take too long. Sometimes I have gone days before I realize I’ve let my thoughts get out of control and I am feeling negative as a result. Once I regain control of my mind and think these positive thoughts, it is almost immediately that I begin feeling good and start to experience positive life results as well.

As the Bible verse would convey, God wants us to maintain positive thoughts about His goodness instead of the negative events going on in the world. Continue to think these thoughts, and let them sink into your being. You will then not only experience peace through difficult times, but you will also see the corresponding blessings play out in your life. Enjoy 🙂


Can This Coronavirus Shutdown Be a Good Thing?

March 18, 2020

As you know by now, the Coronavirus is taking over the world, forcing people and businesses to put life on hold. As of this writing, we are in the middle of the first week of schools, businesses, entertainment, and pretty much everything else shutting down. In fact, some cities have just begun mandated quarantines.

This adjustment and drastic slow down in life is definitely very difficult for all of us to get used to, especially for those of us who are so used to moving at a very quick pace. However, is it possible that this shutdown and life alteration could be a positive thing?

Before I answer the above question, I will first say that I understand how serious this situation is. I admit that at first, I didn’t. I had difficulty figuring out how a sickness that was less significant than others in the past was taking over society, while before life went on. However, as we are in the middle of it now, I realize how serious it is. Many people are becoming ill. Some are dying. Others have people they love that are being affected. For these people, this virus is not a good thing.

I will add that the virus and its impacts are not good for anyone. However, for this rest of this article, I admit I’m going to be a little selfish. Not in a bad way, but I will share things from my perspective and my situation. I am sure some of you are in a similar situation and can relate to what I’m about to share. My hope is that this post can ultimately be an inspiration to anyone who reads it.

So back to my question above. Please allow me to share some personal background. For the past few months, I’ve been a little down emotionally. Even though I have many great things and people in my life, I feel like I’ve been going through the motions, and feeling basically spiritually dead. I still pray, read the Bible, and listen to inspirational messages, but it has been just taking in info instead of being applied to make a difference. I’ve been feeling content, but not joyful. Satisfied, but not fulfilled. I know I’m here for a great purpose, but I still don’t know what that is, and feeling like I’m nowhere near fulfilling that purpose. I’m obviously tired of feeling this way, so I had a real heart to heart prayer with God, asking for His intervention. In my prayer, I was so desperate that I even at one point asked for some debilitating injury or even traumatic event in my life (not that I REALLY wanted that) because I felt like the only thing that would truly wake me up and drag me out of my comfort zone would be something that big.

Well, here we are. In effect, my prayer has been answered. I feel bad that it comes at the expense of other people, but the bottom line is that I am now receiving the downtime and chance to truly wake up and reach my destiny. I am a teacher at a school that may be off for 5 weeks, or it could turn out to be 5 months. I am unable to travel or take advantage of this time by attending sporting events, going out to eat, taking a road trip, or anything that I would typically do for leisure. I watch hours of sports every week. That’s gone indefinitely. I can’t even go to church these days.

Please know I don’t say this to complain. Yes, I miss my primary forms of entertainment. However, as I said before, this is exactly the golden opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’m not happy that people are sick and dying. Everything is shut down. Yet, I know I have an opportunity to turn my life around. I vow to take advantage of this new life-style. I am hoping that I am so ingrained in it that, once things do eventually get back to normal, there will be no going back. The changes I want to make in my life will already be firmly entrenched, and I only go forward from there.

There are several areas I desire to change, and that can be done starting now. Perhaps some of these resonate with you…

Personal/Spiritual – I have been fighting a major confidence battle lately. Much of that is because I have not spent sufficient time in prayer, meditation, or being spiritually in touch with who I really am. With so much downtime and very little interference, it should be much easier to get back on track spiritually, spend quality time with God, and see His spirit and energy in everyone and everything.

Family – I have the best family in the world, hands down. However, I tend to take them for granted. Since my wonderful family is in the same situation as I am, this is a wonderful time to strengthen the bond that we have. Quality time together will certainly be treasured.

My life work – As I mentioned earlier, I believe I am here for a reason. I am here to somehow make a difference on this planet and glorify God in the process. Overall, I am happy to be a teacher in a school and I believe I am making a small difference there. However, the negative environment, the sometimes difficult people, early wake-up calls, and constant stress on my brain leaves me unfulfilled and again thinking I was made for much more than that. Here is a golden opportunity to seek and find my true purpose, and to actively pursue it as well.

Health – I am generally a healthy person. However, as I have often neglected my spiritual side lately, I have also neglected my physical body. I have not exercised or kept very physically active. What a golden opportunity this is to get on an exercise routine (definitely not in the gym which is shut down and I never went anyway) and strengthen my body along with my mind.

Friends – I have some great friends. Again, I tend to take them for granted. This is a great time to renew friendships. We may not be able to meet in person as much (if at all), but modern technology makes it easy to stay in touch and share good times

The bottom line is that, as long as society is shut down, I want to take full advantage of the situation in order to renew my mind and body, and to renew my relationships with those closest to me, and with God. Once again, I want to be so changed for the positive and be living at such a high emotional energy level that when the pace of life gets back to its normal level, there will be no going back to the lower spiritual vibration I was at, even if I wanted to.

It’s not just me that has this chance. It’s an opportunity for everyone to do the same. I pray that you stay healthy. Use this time to make mental and physical changes that will make you a better person than you already are once this crisis is over. It’s my prayer that God will use this to bring people closer to Him, and it will actually make this world a better place. Enjoy the blessings 🙂


A Biblical Perspective on the Law of Attraction

January 27, 2020

One of my main goals in this space is to show how the ideas on Law of Attraction and those in the Bible go hand in hand. I firmly believe that the Law of Attraction, and dare I say many of the laws of science are Biblical.

In essence, the Law of Attraction says that what we receive in life is a direct reflection of the thoughts we think in our minds and the corresponding emotions we feel in our hearts. Basically, if we think and maintain positive thoughts, along with emotions such as love, joy, and gratitude, we will experience them in our lives.

I have studied this and lived it enough to know that it alone is totally true. As a Christian, I have found plenty of Bible verses to show that this is not just some modern-day thinkers trying to brainwash people into New Age philosophy. It is actual Biblical truth. It gets a bad name because many people use this law (which is as true a law as gravity, electricity, etc.) in a greedy fashion instead of using it for the greater good of humanity.

One key Bible verse that I’ve reflected on recently, is from Proverbs 4:23. The verse says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. An even simpler version says, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” I also love the Expanded Bible version which says, “Be careful what you think [L Above all that you guard, protect your heart], because ·your thoughts run your life [L life flows from it].

In my opinion, it can’t be any more clear that there is a direct correlation between the thoughts we think, what we feel in our heart and the quality of our lives. As a Christian, I understand that God’s will is supreme. I know that life is not always great, and there are reasons (often unknown) for that. Overall though, it is a simple fact, and if you don’t want to believe in the Law of Attraction information that the world supplies, go with the Biblical information that God Himself provides for us.

I will say it again, and I believe it more firmly every day. If you want a high quality, joyful life, then think high-quality thoughts. Follow the Biblical advice of thinking on whatever is good, honorable, and worthy of praise. To experience full joy, start from within. Be grateful for the big things and even the little ones. Then you will experience situations in your life that will be joyful for you and for those around you. When you create positive emotions, you will be given life situations that will also create those positive emotions.

I can write books on this topic (I actually have), and I hate to limit it to a short space here. However, as I further reflected on this verse, I found other articles that communicate the same message. I share them with you here…..

How to Guard Your Heart

What Does Guard Your Heart Mean in the Bible?

Remember what the verse says…protect your heart because your life flows from it. Be sure to think beautiful, joyful thoughts. Then the Bible says the same type of life will follow. Enjoy the blessings 🙂

 


How You Can Stand Out From the Crowd

January 23, 2020

Happy New Year!! Yes, I know I’m a little late, but even as we are 3 plus weeks into 2020, this is my first post of the year. I’ll start a resolution now to post more regularly here 🙂

Anyway, this first post isn’t even my writing, but it really caught my attention and I felt the need to share with my readers. Standing out from the crowd has been on my mind often during this first month of the year, and I felt like the list presented here is a goldmine of helpful information to help me and anyone reading this accomplish that goal.

I received this article in an e-mail and there was no article attached. As a result, I simply copy and pasted it to the end of this post. I will begin posting more of my original material in the next few days. As always, I thank you for visiting this site. I hope you find this article as helpful as I did. Have a great day 🙂

Eight Ways to Stand out From the Crowd? – by Charles M. Marcus
Sometimes I think we may feel that we have to do the big things in life to stand out from the crowd, to make a difference, but in my experience I have found that it is the little things that we do on a consistent basis that are usually the most powerful. I would like to share with you 8 ways that I have found help you stand out from the crowd.  Some are based on my own personal and professional experience, and some I have observed in other people who I admire and respect.
Make your own list, compare, but the main point of the exercise is to integrate the points in to your daily life and the key to its success is by implementing them.
1.    Make it a habit to follow-up with people promptly. It sounds simple, right? In my experience, and surveys regularly back this up, 67% (amazingly!) of people do not follow up in business.  Did you know that most sales are not closed until the sixth, seventh or even until the eighth attempt; very few deals are achieved on the first few attempts, and yet only three percent of sales people follow-up more than twice.
Whatever business you are in, if it involves making a sale, signing that contract, or building relationships, the best way to stand out from the crowd is to follow-up promptly, follow-through, and be persistent and determined. Don’t give up if you are initially rejected, keep following up!  Somebody once said, “a no is only a request for more information!”
2.    Equally as important as following-up is taking the time to respond to people who leave you messages. This is only common courtesy.  How often do we not find the time to follow-up with someone who has emailed us or left a voice-mail unless we know specifically why they have contacted us, and even then we do not always take the time to respond.
Not only is this bad manners, it is also bad business. How many important relationships have you missed out on by not responding to a message? The people who stand out from the crowd take the time to respond.
3.    When you are speaking to people, give them 100% of your attention, and I mean 100%. There is nothing more annoying or obvious to people than you having your own agenda and only waiting for the other person to take a breath so that you can jump in to get your point across or to turn the conversation around to yourself.
Develop your listening skills, most people are not truly good listeners. I have found that you gain much more from being a great listener than being a great talker. Be interested in other people and what their point of view is. Ask lots of open-ended questions. Dale Carnegie once said: “To be interesting to other people, you have to be interested in them first”. Wise and true words from a great and wise person.
4.    Get in to the habit, and that is all it is, of sending a hand written note or card to someone who has given you an order, a referral, or has been nice, courteous or helpful to you. It takes a few minutes, but means a lot to the recipient, especially in this day of impersonal and easy e-mail messages. I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate it when someone goes to the time and trouble of hand writing a letter or card to me, actually puts a real stamp on it and writes out my name and address on the envelope instead of a computer label. It personalizes it for me, makes me feel like I am more than just a prospect in a list of many for that person. Maybe I am making a big deal out of this, but from the response I get from people when I do this, I know it is appreciated.
5.    People expect the expected of you. Why not do the unexpected. Do you acknowledge people who for whatever reason do not give you that order, where you didn’t get the contract or make the sale?
Remember, they did let you make the presentation? Do you acknowledge the person who didn’t hire you for that job, but at least gave you the experience of the interview? Most people don’t take the time or have the discipline to do this, and yet, a sale or a job lost or a contract given to one of your competitors today, does not mean it is lost for ever. Do not give up, think long term, think about the relationship you may be developing, the connection you are building for the future, and not about the lost sale, or your bruised ego!
6.    If you belong to an association or a group either in your personal or professional life, and this includes a church, synagogue, mosque, etc., get involved. Do not get involved because you want something in return, but because you want to contribute. People will respect and acknowledge you for it, look at you and treat you differently.  And this is just an added bonus to the personal satisfaction of getting involved and contributing to something you believe in.  In the process you learn to become a leader instead of just a participant.
7.    Invest one hour a day, at least, to your own individual personal and professional development. You can take the one hour all at once, or break it in to segments, whatever fits in to your lifestyle and schedule. During that time read a book, maybe an autobiography of someone you admire or a business book, listen to tapes and the words of wisdom from the experts in the fields and areas of your life that you want to improve, subscribe to a daily e-zone with wonderful quotes or ways to motivate you, inspire you, and to challenge you.
We can all say we can’t find the time, but this is so important to your personal growth.  For many years the only thing I ever read was the sports pages of the newspaper when I was growing up in England. What a waste. I wish I would have devoted more of that time to my development. I am not saying you should not read the sports page or a good fiction book, or whatever interests you, we all need that down time for ourselves, but don’t do that at the expense of opening up your mind to new ideas and areas for improvement. Do not look at your education as an expense of time but as an investment of your time. Knowledge is wisdom when applied correctly.  Never stop learning.
8.    Stretch your comfort zone; do one new thing every day. Take a chance on something you have always wanted to try. Don’t be afraid of being rejected, of people saying no to you, or of failing.  The people who stand out from the crowd are the ones prepared to take that chance. I am not saying do something radical or fool hardy,  but you can become a sensible risk taker. We all have choices and decisions to make every day. We all know the things we want to do and the things we need to do.
Take some risk, defy conventional wisdom and make your own wisdom come true. My old boss, when I was a sales professional, used to say after every sales meeting: “Do you want to stay safe and be good, or do you want to take a chance and be great.”

The choice, my friends, is yours, every single day.

About the Author
Charles Marcus is a professional speaker, trainer and facilitator.  He works internationally with companies and associations who want to inspire excellence in their people.  For more information please contact his office. For contact details, visit his website at http://www.cmarcus.com