How To Let Your Light Shine

August 16, 2012

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This…oh, I’m sorry. I had this song stuck in my head and didn’t realize it was time to start writing. Most of us know this song somehow, either from our own church experience or someone else’s. An appropriate Bible verse that goes along with it is Matthew 5:14-17, which says…you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it in a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men , that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven”

So let’s go back to our song, along with this verse. It tells us to let our light shine. However, it doesn’t tell us how to do it! Is there a way to let our light shine? I was reading the Life Application Bible, and they actually mention 6 ways we hide our light. Those are:

  1. Being quiet when we should speak.
  2. Going along with the crowd.
  3. Denying the light.
  4. Letting sin dim our light.
  5. Not sharing our light with others.
  6. Ignoring the needs of others.

Due to the fact that I like to focus on the positive, I turned these ideas around. Instead of discussing ways we hide our light, let’s instead talk about how we can shine our light:

  1. Share positive and encouraging words whenever possible.
  2. Express the parts of your personality that make you unique.
  3. Be willing to let God’s light shine in you.
  4. Do your best to do things right. Nobody’s perfect, but do your best to be your best.
  5. Look for opportunities to share the light with others.
  6. Serve others as much as possible and do what you can to meet their needs.

If you are seeking for ways to shine that little light of yours, I think this is a great way to do it. Not only will others be blessed, but you will notice a greater positive light shining on your own life as well.

Enjoy the blessings : )

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Positive Observations

February 5, 2012

There is a great deal of talk in the educational world these days about the accountability of teachers. One of the ways teacher performance is rated is a classroom observation by a school administrator.

I am a teacher. Although I understand the need for accountability, it makes me uncomfortable that my entire year’s performance can be judged in a 45 minute snapshot. In the correct manner, an observation is used to find some strengths, and help teachers find ways to improve their performance and student learning. At my school, it is taken a bit more seriously, and it does not make me comfortable that jobs are maintained or lost based on a single observation. Last year, even though my students are performing very well, I had received good reports in the past, and have a positive reputation in the school community, criticism from an adminstrator’s single observation almost cost me my job. It was another single good observation later in the year that saved me. Hence the reason for my lack of faith in our school’s system.

I use this information to illustrate an important concept. It was recently observation time for me again. As I prayed about it, I felt God telling me I had two options. I could focus on my distrust, negative thoughts, and feelings of inadequacy, or I could focus on His strength, positive thoughts, and feelings of success.  I quickly decided my chances were much better if I chose the latter.

Before the observation, I did two things. One is that I prayed for success. The second is an excellent enhancer to any prayer. I played out a successful teaching experience over and over in my mind. I saw the positive response of the students and my observer. I heard my positive, confident voice. I felt the satisfaction of student achievement as well as my own.

As I focused on these two things, there was no doubt that this would be a positive experience. As it turned out, my report came back positive and ideal. I learned of several positives that added to the positive classroom experience. I also learned some helpful information that could enhance those positives. Just as an observation should be!

I cannot stress enough the importance of experiencing positive observations in our minds. For any situation, when we see and experience success in our minds first, it plays out in our world, usually sooner than later. Success becomes natural because we’ve already “experienced” it many times. As I’ve said before, our subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real and imagined event. If it sees success, real or not, it will lead us there for more.

God has been kind enough to give us an imagination. Let us use it for our good and His by seeing and experiencing the events we wish to live out for real. Before long, it will no longer be a part of the imagination. Instead it will be our real, normal life experience. Enjoy the blessing : )


A Great Way To Increase Your Positive Energy

January 22, 2012

I have always admired people who have a constant, positive energy about them. It is contageous, and you can often feel their positive energy without them saying a word. This is the type of person I desire to be. When I am at my best, I exhude this quality. The challenge is for it to be an everyday, all the time thing.

I also continue to read how, the higher our positive energy level is, the more we open ourselves up for high level opportunities and blessings in our lives. When we are at this high energy level we become that magnetic person that lights up a room with our presence, and that people instantly know they can count on for positive energy and results, If only there was a consistent way to maintain this high, positive energy.

I received an e-mail from Dr. Robert Anthony today. It talked about this subject of maintaining positive energy. His idea was so powerful that I felt the need to share. His suggestion is this…the best way to maintain and increase our positive energy is to go out of our way to increase the positive energy of others. The more we do this, the more we keep our positive energy high and experience those desired blessings.

In his message, Dr. Anthony gives some simple suggestions. Besides doing acts of service lovingly, he says we can do this without even saying a word. I love this next suggestion, even though many would never even think of it. He says to project postive, loving thoughts to every person we come in contact with, whether we know the person or not. Simple things he suggests are a smile, or a silent saying of “I hope your day goes great”, or “God loves you”, or anything like that. If you do this in a sincere loving way, and invite God to get in the middle of it, great things happen. The other person will be blessed (even though you may not see or realize it), and it works to maintain and increase your own energy level as a result of the love that you are sending.

I believe this is a great way to, not only increase your own positive energy level, but to positively impact your entire environment. That is a constant goal of  mine, and if such a simple step can be used to do that, I am all for doing it. I’ve already seen how this works in my life. As mentioned, it is when I most love myself and those around me that I most feel the positive energy and receive the most blessings in my life. These are the times where I can just walk into a room and know that the positive energy is there with me and all of those around me.

Don’t let the simplicity of this idea prevent you from doing it. If you do it regularly and sincerely, you will be blessed beyond belief. Have an awesome, positive energy day!


Is It Positive or Negative? How About Neither?

December 30, 2011

In our society today, it is typical to judge the events and circumstances in our lives as negative or positve. It’s usually one or the other, right?

I recently read a very interesting article to challenge this notion. I apologize that I did not save or record the author and website to provide a direct link. I will provide the nutshell version. The author suggested that we avoid classifying things as positive or negative. The key is to just take each life event as it comes and to be thankful for it.

At first I thought this was one of those easier said than done challenges. However, after further thought, it made sense. In most cases, when someone sees something as negative, they tend to dwell on it. And when we dwell on the negative it only seems to get worse. When we see things as positive, we can dwell on that and be thankful. In this case, we are likely to see more of the positives in our lives.

I decided to try this philosophy. I will say that it has given me a great peace. When negative things have occurred, I have been able to focus on the event instead of the negativity of it. I took the time to thank God and ask that He use it for my good. In every case, my frame of mind became positive. It also took away some of the difficulty of maintaining positive thoughts. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself trying to remain in a positive frame of mind. This can then develop into a negative. When I just take things as they come using this philosophy,  the positive thoughts even seemed to arrive and remain more naturally. It actually makes it easier to stay in that positive frame of mind.

This formula may seem a bit too simple to some. However, I recommend you try it. It is very helpful in maintaining a positive frame of mind and an attitude of gratitude. When we do this, it affects our own lives and those of the ones around us in a very positive way.

I will conclude with a Bible verse that sums up this concept. The apostle Paul says…I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. (Philippians 4:12).

As always, I would love to hear your success stories. Enjoy the blessings : )


Can We Fool Ourselves To Success?

December 20, 2011

Here’s a funny story from the other night…I was talking to my youngest daughter about Christmas songs. We had also been talking about dogs, so I asked her if she had ever heard the Barking Jingle Bells song where the dogs bark in the tune of Jinge Bells. She said she hadn’t, so I put it on Youtube so she could hear it. The funny part is that I have a dog and a cat. When they heard this, the cat ran off, and the dog was going crazy looking out every window for these barking dogs. She then became one of them herself!

These were obviously not real dogs, but our pets were fooled into thinking that they were. How does this relate to my title? I am reading more and more how our lives are influenced by the beliefs of our subconscious minds. If those beliefs are positive, the outcomes and levels of success in our lives are usually at high levels. Unfortunately, the same is true with negative thoughts as our outcomes and success levels mirror that.

I am also reading about how the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between something real or imagined. For example, I’ve heard stories of people who imagined they put their hand in a bucket of ice cold water. Their hand then actually became cold! I decided to try this. I was in the car and wouldn’t be stopping for over an hour. I was thirsty. I imagined myself drinking a cold glass of water, and the cold water going down my throat and sinking into my stomach. I then enjoyed the imaginary sensation of having my thirst quenched. I laughed because I actually enjoyed the experience, and my thirst was gone!

I have discovered that, if I can fool my mind into believing my thirst is quenched, I can “experience” other successes as well. Anyone can do this. Think of a goal you wish to accomplish. Perhaps it is greater self-confidence. Or a more positive attitude; or better health; or anything. The key is to imagine that you have already accomplished it. See it happening in your mind. Experience the joy of its fulfillment. Smile and enjoy the experience.  As mentioned, your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined experience. It thinks it’s all real. What happens is that your mind begins to believe it. It believes that you are successful, healthy, positive, wealthy, or whatever else. And whatever your subconscious mind believes is carried out in your life. This is because we act according to the new positive belief, not the old can’t do one.

Knowing this information empowers us. Spend time each day to stop and play these positive mental movies in your mind. As you play these positive scenes, you are convincing your subsonscious mind they are true. You will act accordingly, and eventually see these scenes play out for real.

Ok, now that my dog and cat are back I need to go feed them. Enjoy the day’s blessings : )


The Magic Of Tebow

December 17, 2011

I’ll begin with this question…which athlete or celebrity have you ever idolized? Almost of all of us can think of at least one. Many of us looked up to these people as kids, but many also do so as adults. For me, it’s been a while since I really locked in on a celebrity or athelete and called them my favorite. However, for the first time in a while, that may change.

Many of you know the current football player named Tim Tebow. If not, here’s a brief introduction…He was a star football player in high school and college. However, the general consensus was that he was not a pro type quarterback and that he would not be successful in the NFL. However, he is now a starting NFL quarterback that has brought his team from last place to first, often by winning games late and in incredible come-back fashion. He is also an openly, devout Christian, and is quick to proclaim his views, openly thank God, pray, etc. This has attracted much attention, and unfortunately, some criticism. Either way, one has to believe that divine intervention has something to do with what’s been happening on the football field.

I enjoy football, but it is not one of my favorite sports. I watch a handful of games, but don’t pay much attention otherwise. That’s why I had heard of Tebow and all he was doing, but had never seen him speak. The other night, a football program was showing highlights from his most recent dramatic victory. I had to stop and watch. Afterwards, I was in awe. Not of the the come from behind victory, but of the amazing presence of this man.

Once again I will say that I do not play favorites when it comes to athletes or celebrities. However, this one was immediately different. I immediately saw several qualities that, if followed by myself or anyone else, could bring impressive victories to our own lives. They are obvious, but often taken for granted or not followed, at least in my case sometimes. They are:

  • Constant communication with God – I often pray, but sometimes lose touch with God throughout the day. After all, I am busy, and I am dealing with over 150 students and adults that demand much from me. OK, whatever. This young man was in prayer throughout the entire game. He’s on a field with almost 100 players involved, in front of 80,000 fans. He wasn’t ever too busy to pray and focus on God’s presence.
  • Gratitude – On this football show, the players were miked, so you could hear what they were saying. It was amazing how many times Tebow thanked God, and thanked the players around him for the great things that were happening.
  • Faith – Not only did He pray throughout, but he obviously had faith in God’s ability to lead him. This was evident through his language, communication, and demeanor.
  • Positivity – I did not hear a negative word come from his mouth. More impressive was the press conference afterwards. Even when asked some difficult questions, he smiled, provided a full answer, and gave full attention to the interview. Not once did you get the impression he wanted to be somewhere else.
  • Impact – Due to all of the factors above, his team was glued to his words and his leadership. They were completely sold on his ability to lead them to accomplish the goal. When we demonstrate the qualities above, people will do the same for us.

I don’t believe in idolizing famous people. They are human and often make mistakes (just like us). However, there are some positive examples that we can certainly learn from. Tim Tebow is one of them. After seeing this example, I have challenged myself to be sure that I demonstrate the above qualities on a daily basis. It is my desire that the people around me would see God’s light shining in me, and would look to me as a positive leader who can help them get to where they need to go.

The cool thing about this is that, with God’s guidance, we can all be this type of person. Let us take the time to communicate and meditate with God, regardless of any business or distraction. Let us faithfully know that He is with us every step of the way. He wants to and will answer our prayers as long as we believe. Let us be thankful for all that we have, and let us express our appreciation to those around us. And let us maintain a positive attitude, looking for the good in all things. If you follow these guidelines, you too can experience the magic of Tebow. Enjoy the blessings : )


The 15 Minute Challenge

December 11, 2011

I recently posted a time management article about breaking the day down to 15 minute increments to help manage the day more effectively and become more productive. It has been very helpful to me.

I recently read about another similar challenge that I wanted to share. It was from a minister who, in order to keep in close contact with God, made it a challenge to pray for one second out of every minute. As I read this, I thought it was a good challenge. However, it is hard enough for me to keep track of 15 minutes, never mind 1. When I thought of this further, I realized it is only one minute of every hour. I thought, “that’s it?” Only one minute every hour? This is easy to manage, but I thought I could do even better than that.

As presented in my recent post, it is very effective to break the day down to 15 minute chunks. You can manage it effectively, and things get done. I now present another challenge based on the information above. How about, in every one of those 15 minute chunks, taking one minute to stop, say a short prayer, think a wonderful thought, or do anything to connect with God at that moment.

Your next question may now be “does it work”? I will say that, at first, it is not easy to do. Throughout the first days, I missed several of my divine minutes. However, I am finding that by stopping every 15 minutes to connect with my Creator, I am reaping a bundle of benefits and blessings. I feel more peace; I feel much more in control as I know my day is being handled by the all-knowing Creator who looks out or my best interests; Instead of focusing on fears, I am focusing more on the power that is in me and readily available to me. As a result, I am also happier and more confident. I can already see the positive reactions of those around me.

This may seem like a difficult challenge, but the more I work it into my routine the easier it becomes. Do I still get caught up in the busy day and forget? Of course. However, it is becoming the simple truth that the more I follow this guideline, the more I experience the blessings mentioned above.

I now invite you to take this 15 minute challenge. I believe it will increase your days in a positive way. Please share your victories.

Enjoy the blessings : )