Welcome to Positive Life Principles. I’m Karol Ladd, and I want this website to be a source of inspiration and strength to you as you serve and love the people around you. You will find resources to refresh you and help you use your gifts and talents to reach out and touch the lives of others. Sign up for my blog below in order to stay connected and receive an uplifting weekly message from me.  

The Power of Your Example

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Who are the heroes in your life?  Take a moment to think about the people throughout your life who have inspired you to be a better person or encouraged you to stretch to greater heights? It may be someone you know personally or it may be a person you read about in a book or magazine or on the internet. It could be a former teacher or even a family member or friend. Most of us have at least one person we can point to and say, “She was a great example for me.  She inspired me to be a better person.”

For me, I have had several positive examples in my life. Mrs. Billman, my high-school Sunday School teacher was the picture of a godly women.  She knew God’s word and reflected its truths in her own life and challenged us as students to do the same.  Her gentle and wise way of dealing with people and leading us along God’s path demonstrated to me what it means to live for Christ and be a follower of His.  Her example inspired me to become a teacher. My dad was another powerful example in my life.  His enthusiastic and positive way of looking at life’s circumstances showed me how to turn my eyes toward hope and not despair no matter what life brings.  Dad sincerely cares about others and as I watch his love in action, I am inspired to reach out and be thoughtful and sensitive toward the people God places in my life.

On a broader scale, women like Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Fry and Joni Erikson Tada have served as strong role models of women who lived with passion and purpose despite the difficulties they faced.  Their stories have touched my life and inspired me in my journey to follow Christ. I can look back over my life and thank the Lord for the people God has used to influence me and develop certain traits within me. The powerful picture of people who live courageously and fearlessly for Christ can serve to ignite a fire in a new generation of believers.  It’s not necessarily what they say that matters.  It’s how they live.  The heroes in my life exemplify transformed lives.  They are sermons in action.

Edgar Guest is credited with writing a poem called “Sermons we See.”  I heard my dad quote this poem quite often when I was a young girl.  It speaks to the powerful influence our life example has beyond words.  Here’s the poem:

 

Sermons We See

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.

The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,

Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;

And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

 

I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,

But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,

But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

 

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.

When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind

Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me

To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.

And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today

Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

 

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;

One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.

Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,

For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.

Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,

I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.

(Edgar Guest, Collected Verse of Edgar Guest (New York, NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976), pg. 599)

We are life’s living lesson books. We have the opportunity to lead people down a good path through the power of our actions.  It is also possible to lead people down a destructive path as they watch our lives in motion. It’s rather convicting isn’t it?  And yet it also makes us contemplate the type of influence we have on others.  May we be examples of Christ’s love and live the message of the gospel in our daily interactions.

This is an excerpt from Karol’s book, A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. The DVD is on sale during the month of March for $5. Click Here for more info.

 

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Why Do You Worry?

Relinquish Your Worries

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Worries and fears can pop into our thought-lives as constantly as the pitter-patter of a spring rain. Whether it is the kids, the budget, the job or even the small stuff, each day is filled with opportunities to worry. It takes a deliberate effort to turn our thought patterns in a new and faith-filled direction. I like what Charles Spurgeon wrote about worry:

“Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve? You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. You would never even be able to adjust the sails, yet you worry as if you were the captain or the helmsman of the vessel. Be quiet, dear soul – God is the Master!”

I like Spurgeon’s boat analogy. It reminds me that I’m not the one steering the ship – and what a relief that is! God is not only master, He is with us. I think about Jesus in the boat with the disciples as the wind and the waves overwhelmed their vessel. Jesus was with them the entire time, yet He allowed the storms to come to show that His power is greater than our storms.

Spurgeon went on to write:

“Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!”

Our God is still the Master! Instead of trying to hold on to the worries, hold on to Him. Remember His unfailing love for you and listen to His voice that continually says, “Don’t be afraid”  (Matthew 14:27.

Press on Through the Challenges

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Bad starts don’t always determine how you finish. I’ve had a few rough starts in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Take for instance the one and only marathon I ran back in my college days as a student at Baylor University. When I lined up at the starting line of this momentous marathon race, I somehow didn’t realize there would be thousands of other people joining me. I guess I assumed there were not too many people on this earth who would choose to run in a 26.2 mile race. Well, let me just tell you there were so many people that I couldn’t even see the flags marking the starting line.  I began the race way, way, way back in the pack, and it took what seemed like an hour just to get beyond those first flags. Of course I couldn’t even think about stopping to tie my shoe or taking a look behind me. One false move and I would be trampled by thousands of Nikes.

Eventually the crowd began to thin out, and I worked into a pretty confident stride until I began to face new challenges like blisters in places I never imagined a person could have blisters and my socks feeling like sandbags around my feet.  Four hours and thirty-two minutes later I crossed the finish line with a smile of victory and a hearty sense of accomplishment (and relief).  I made it! I can’t begin to describe the feeling of excitement I experienced in knowing I set a goal and achieved it. The point is, I didn’t have such a glorious start to the race, but through persistence and perseverance there was a grand and sweet outcome.  At dinner that night we celebrated my triumph with family and friends, and of course I fell asleep in the middle of my mashed potatoes.

No doubt it is easy for any of us to become discouraged when we have rough spots in our lives, especially if they happen at the beginning of our journey. Maybe your marriage started off on a negative note, or your career got off on the wrong path or your childhood years were a disaster.  It could be that you simply had a bad start to your day and you felt defeated even before you got out the door.  The good news is, no matter how you start your journey, the beginning doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome. There are tremendous possibilities up ahead. Sometimes we must press through the challenges and keep our mind on the goal.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting what is behind me, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God is calling me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” God has a wonderful purpose for you here in this world. The marathon may get tough at times, but don’t give up. Press on.  God is not finished, and He has a plan that is bigger than your troubles. What may seem like a mess, could simply be the beginning of a beautiful masterpiece.

Remember, God is the God of hope, and He brings redemption to even the worst of situations. This week let your mind be filled with hope and possibilities as you face both victories and hurdles. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. Check out Karol’s DVD on sale for $5 only during the month of March!

Chasing Happiness

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Spring in Dallas just doesn’t make sense to me.  On any given day we may have a freeze warning at nightfall and 80 degree temperatures by the very next afternoon.  It’s crazy! They say if you don’t like the weather in Texas, just stay around for a couple of hours and it’ll change.

One March morning several years ago,  I stepped outside to get the newspaper and was hit with blizzard-like conditions. Well it may not have been that extreme, but it was one of those take-your-breath-away cold fronts that felt like a blizzard to this thin-blooded Southern girl.  By mid-afternoon of that very same day I was sitting out in the garden reading and enjoying some good ole Texas sunshine.

Personally, I love to be outside and love to read, so when I can find the time to enjoy both it is a happy afternoon. On this particular spring day, my personal reading agenda was the book of Philippians in the New Testament of the Bible.  Written by the apostle Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome, one could easily assume Philippians would be a real downer of a book.  On the contrary it is quite a delightful and uplifting read. In fact, the theme of joy sort of oozes through the pages from this unlikely author.

As I relaxed and tried to picture how Paul could possibly write such a positive message from a prison cell, I glanced up to see a white butterfly dancing around our garden. It was amusing to watch this fluttering creature touch a flower here, then off again to another flower there, then here, then there, then back to where it started again. It never stayed in one place for more than a few seconds as if it were pursuing something it would never find. Just as quickly as it appeared in my garden, it was off to the next field of flowers.

Observing the illusive dance of the white butterfly made me think about how illusive life’s pleasures can be. Just like this flitting creature, I realized how easy it is for me to flit, flutter and fly from one activity or person to another trying to find sweet nectar to satisfy my longings for significance and joy. I’m guessing you have felt those same feelings a time or two as well. The pursuit of happiness is common to us all.  The question is where does the chase stop, or does it? Are we fooling ourselves into thinking that there is something out there that will enrich our being and fill the hunger of our souls?

The irony of my butterfly encounter on the Spring day in Dallas, was that I was sitting there reading a book which highlights enduring qualities which transcend shifting circumstances and fleeting feelings. Paul (yes, from his prison cell) described a resilient joy, a consistent contentment and a peace which passes all understanding in his letter to the Philippians. Unlike the flitting butterfly, Paul taught the early Christians how to experience a true satisfaction of the soul.

So we must ask ourselves, “Does God call us to pursue happiness or to pursue Him and His purposes in our life?” I am convinced that our pursuit of Him leads us to experience a heart full of joy and true contentment as we live out His purposes in our lives. I want to encourage you to read the book of Philippians this week and consider what God teaches you about Himself.

“To seek God is to desire happiness; to find him is that happiness.”

Augustine

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This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. The DVD is on sale this month for $5. Click Here for more information.

When We Don’t Feel Loved

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There are times when we doubt God’s love because He doesn’t seem to answer our earnest prayers. He seems to wait or hesitate not listen. Let us not think that because God delays, that His love is diminished. Quite the contrary, His great love for us may cause Him to delay because He knows what is best for us. The following thoughts are from a timeless devotional called Streams in the Dessert. Originally published in 1925, it’s truths continue to speak to our hearts today.

Hard Love

“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” (John 11:6).

In the forefront of this marvelous chapter stands the affirmation, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus,” as if to teach us that at the very heart and foundation of all God’s dealings with us, however dark and mysterious they may be, we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging love of God. Love permits pain. The sisters never doubted that He would speed at all hazards and stay their brother from death, but, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

What a startling “therefore”! He abstained from going, not because He did not love them, but because He did love them. His love alone kept Him back from hasting at once to the dear and stricken home. Anything less than infinite love must have rushed instantly to the relief of those loved and troubled hearts, to stay their grief and to have the luxury of wiping and stanching their tears and causing sorrow and sighing to flee away. Divine love could alone hold back the impetuosity of the Savior’s tenderheartedness until the Angel of Pain had done her work.

Who can estimate how much we owe to suffering and pain? But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life. Where were faith, without trial to test it; or patience, with nothing to bear; or experience, without tribulation to develop it? –Selected

Check out Streams in the Desert for yourself.

10062: Streams in the Desert: An Updated Edition in Today"s Language Streams in the Desert: An Updated Edition in Today’s Language

By L.B. Cowman, edited by James Reimann / Zondervan

Filled with insight into the richness of God’s provision and the purpose of His plan, L.B Cowman’s Streams in the Desert has encouraged and inspired generations of Christians since its first publication in 1925. Now James Reimann, editor of the highly acclaimed updated edition of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, again brings us the wisdom of the past in the language of today, by introducing this updated edition of Streams in the Desert. With fresh, contemporary wording and precise NIV text, the timeless message of the original flows unhindered through these pages, lending guidance and hope to a new generation of believers. Let Streams in the Desert lead you from life’s dry desolate places to the waters of the River of Life.

Also, don’t miss February’s $5 book deal – Unfailing Love. For more information Click here.