Saturday, April 27, 2013

Copy Cat

Have you ever noticed how children love to copy everything they see and everything they hear? We have probably all been exposed, you know, to a person that copies, imitates, mimics, or follows our lead.

·         A co-worker or friend who compliments something we are wearing, and shows up the next day wearing it

·         Someone who picks up a unique (only to us) expression or saying and begins using it

·         Someone who adopts our ideas and then passes them off as being their own idea first

We all think (or we try to be!) original and one of a kind, but there are always going to be people who share our interests and/or admire something we have or do. (If we are honest, we do the same thing!) Besides, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…right?

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete, by being like- minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”  (Philippians 2:1)

Every day we are setting an example by the clothes we wear, the things we say, and the choices we make, and there are people who are going to be watching and imitating or following our lead. Personally, I find it flattering when my actions, ideas, or behavior influences others. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 to “set an example”, and we have to realize that our behavior does inspire others! We want to set a good example for others to replicate our action and activities, and we have to constantly guard our performance and manner because others are not only watching, but there is a possibility that what they see us doing will influence them to mimic or copy us.

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (I Timothy 4:16)

We may not realize just how many people are watching us, but they are watching! And we must constantly be aware of our image, and the things we say and do so that it makes a praiseworthy example for others to go by. We don’t have to be perfect, but we should provide a model of living that inspires others and lifts them up. As we think about the ways we motivate others, we are aware that we are a leader wherever we go…whether as a parent, spouse, boss, or friend. This is quite a responsibility that requires us to set our sights on Jesus and pattern our life after Him! The path we follow influences others to follow along the same path; our attitudes and behavior will be a witness for the Lord and others will want to follow that type of example.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Our lives are like a lamp, and if it doesn’t help others to see it is useless! Our job is to shine and let the light of Christ reflected in our lives help those who need an influence or mentor in their life. To be a positive influence on others we have to encourage them and shine with our actions and words, and as we let this amazing light shine, we give other people permission to do the same. When we commit to following and imitating Christ, we make a commitment to influence others and help them live successfully. There is always a chance that whatever we are seen doing will influence others to copy our behavior, and we should consider that as the highest form of flattery! 

Linking up this week with:

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Attitude Check

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

A common misunderstanding regarding a positive and optimistic attitude is that it can only come from a happy, healthy, and/or successful person.  But the truth is we don’t have to be prosperous or picture-perfect to maintain a positive attitude.  What we put into our minds determines our day and directs our attitudes, words, and actions towards others. It's so easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances, and I know that when I dwell on them with a negative attitude it has a contagious effect on those around me. We should not complain and discourage those around us because everyone around us carries some sort of baggage and heartache. When we chose to look at the bright side of life, our attitudes become filled with light; a light that affects not only us, but our environment and everyone around us! People who display and share optimistic attitudes with those around them encourage others to do the same.

The right approach to have when conditions and situations try to influence our attitudes is to persevere in our faith and draw closer to God.  We may not always be able to change the things that happen to us, but we can change the way we react to them, and what we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions. When we look at life from the right perspective we are more likely to be rejoiceful no matter what the circumstances…

…as we focus more on what we are grateful for we worry less about the things we may be lacking. It’s all about our faith that things are going to work out in the long run.

 It’s a good habit to get into when we actively search for the positive side of everything, because when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change!

"Whatever you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!" (Henry Ford)

Our attitudes act like a buffer between ourselves and the world, and when we keep a check on our behavior and reactions it makes it easier to deflect worries and negative thoughts. I am pretty sure that a person’s life isn’t determined by how hard they fall, but instead, by the amount of times they are willing to get up after a fall. It’s all about how we react to circumstances that we face and our determination to endure. We have to bring our attitudes into obedience with God’s Word, apply discipline to our thoughts, and believe that all good things are coming to us today; then do what is necessary to make it happen.  If we keep this in our daily thoughts it will give us a sense of hope and it will put us on the fast track as we go forward with God into the better life that He planned just for us!

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

 Linking up this week with:

USE this for BLOG

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Verbal Bullets

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)

We all know from experience that words can hurt, or words can help. We’ve probably all said some things that we wish we could take back, and I am sure there are times we can all remember when others have wounded us through their hurtful words.

~Their words~

During our lifetime we meet all sorts of people, and most of us care about what others think of us and don’t like to be judged or criticized. But people in our lives can hurt us with their words accidentally or intentionally, and either way their words can leave scars that take time to heal. Words of dishonor, sarcasm, judgment, and criticism (to name a few!) root deeply in our hearts. I am sure that many of us have recited to ourselves the childhood rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” to remind us that people’s words can’t hurt us. But even for those of us who believe we have a pretty tough exterior, we aren’t immune to negative language and words that offend or wound us, because even though hostile words may not cause us permanent damage they can and will sting and linger.
~Our words~

On the other hand, I am sure there have been plenty of times in our lives when we wish we had been more careful when speaking! The words we speak can either discourage or inspire; they can either destroy or build; and one thing I know for sure is that when they are spoken they can’t be changed or taken back. Words are powerful things and they certainly have the potential for great good or great harm. Our words are much more powerful than we realize, and when we open our mouth to say something, the words we speak have the power to break people and leave lifelong scars. Our poorly chosen words break one’s spirit and cause deep emotion wounds. There is a lot of power in the spoken word and clearly, it really doesn’t take long to realize that words have far more weight than we realize. Once we have released them from our lips they travel like the speed of light and nothing can be done to reverse the effect to those that hear them.

We know that words spoken to us have the capacity and power to affect the way we feel about ourselves, and we must realize that our words have the same impact on those around us.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs; that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

~God’s words~

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)

Our words go before us to announce the person that we are, and Jesus reminds us that what we say reveals what is in our heart. Our words must be a ministry to those who hear them, and as Christians whose hearts have been changed by His power we should be prepared to speak words full of blessing and a reason for hope to everyone. We should always allow our words to be uplifting and spirit-filled, because we have been blessed and are expected to use words that heal and inspire. When we use our tongues wisely to bless, heal, and give thanks to others, our words demonstrate the power of our faith and they are used as an instrument of His love and saving grace.

Linking up with these inspiring blogs this week:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Doors of Opportunity

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed My word and did not deny Me.” (Revelation 3:8)

When opportunities come knocking, are you ready to receive them with a smile? I have always thought of open doors as an invitation to encourage others to express suggestions, problems or concerns, or simply an offer of friendship and communication. An open door is an opportunity that can lead us to a place where we can use our gifts, abilities, and support to encourage others and help them grow.  It is an invitation to pursue our own dreams and ideas, and no matter how tired, weak, or overwhelmed we are we must walk through them. These are open doors of submission to God’s plan in our lives, and when He opens a door for you, no one can close it!
But what about a closed door? A closed door is typically not open for outsiders to express their ideas and plans. Behind a closed door is a private group of select people; it presents an obstacle in front of us, and we may feel restricted to enter. There are a few of us who would dare to open the door, but most of us are too scared of failure and rejection to open the door and walk inside. But closed doors for any of us can be an opportunity to move forward in our lives. They don’t mean that it’s the end of the road or that God has stopped caring for us. They are a way of telling us to change directions and move on from a situation that is not serving our highest interest.

“When one door closes, another one opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” (Alexander Graham Bell)

I think there are times in our lives when doors seem to open, and then there are times in our lives when doors seem to close. Waiting for God to open doors in our lives can be very difficult and it can be tempting to give up at the first, second or even the third closed door. But God wants us to endure any situation or setback until the right open door is made known to us! It’s important to remember that a shut door doesn’t mean it’s over for us, it just means that He is getting us ready for something bigger and better than ever before. We need to thank God for closing doors just as much as we thank Him for opening them; I am pretty sure that the reason He closes doors is that He has not prepared anything over there for us!

“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what He opened no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.” (Isaiah 22:22)

God will open a door for us when we allow Him to test our plans for our life. We can’t be so focused on a closed door of opportunity that we fail to see one which He opened for us. All kinds of doors are swinging and we can’t be afraid to take the risk of walking through them. God has the key to every open door, and He can change every situation and open new windows of opportunity. He will guide each and every one of us through the doors He wants us to walk through. We have to seek and trust Him even when we don’t understand what’s going on; He will shine a light that will lead us to the next open door, and when we find it we can’t walk through it…we must RUN through it!

 Linking up with these lovely ladies this week:

Charlotte @

Beauty in His Grip Button