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.
What are the voices that tend to creep into your mind? Maybe it’s the voice of fear that whispers, “What if ……happens?” Or perhaps it’s the voice of self-doubt which scolds you and says, “You’ve made so many stupid mistakes – you can’t do anything right.” Maybe it’s the voice that continually beats you up in your brain sniveling, “You’re not smart thin enough, you’re not good enough, you never do enough.” The voices we hear come in many forms and fashions, but we don’t have to allow them to grow into weeds and overtake our minds. Instead we can pull them out by the roots and replace these thoughts with the seeds of truth.
Whether we are weeding a garden or weeding out the negative thoughts in our brains, we can apply the three R’s: Recognize, Root out and Replace. It’s amazing how quickly a weed can grow in our minds without us even realizing it. When it comes to the real flower garden in front of our house, I literally think weeds pop up overnight. Given a few days, and some of those pesky plants can grow to become the size of small trees! So we must be vigilant and alert, recognizing weeds at the point when they first appear. The apostle Peter wrote, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).”
It’s inevitable – doubts, discouragement and lies will pop into our heads. How do we recognize them? We need to take a moment to consider our own personal reoccurring thoughts – the ones that seem to grow in our own garden. For me personally, I struggled many years with self-doubt in every area of my life, from my physical appearance to my capabilities to even my relationships. I first needed to recognize that these were unhealthy and destructive thoughts. They were doing more harm than good. Often we grow comfortable with our fears and doubts, and fail to identify them as weeds. We must recognize that they are not based on God’s truth, and have a negative drain on our lives. These negative thoughts also prevent good seeds from growing.
Stop for a moment and consider, what are some of the destructive voices you are allowing to grow in your mind? Once you begin to recognize your own personal brain-weeds, then it is time to root them out at the core. If you have ever tended a garden you know that if you just whack weeds off at the surface level, then they will return. We must dig them out from the roots! For me, at the core of my self-doubt was really the doubt the God loved me. I didn’t believe that He created me for a purpose and had equipped me with gifts and talents. It was time to weed out the deep roots of doubt.
What is at the root of the negative voices that pop into your head? Dig deep for a minute and consider the core. Dealing with the root system of the weeds in your mind, allows you to dig them out and then turn in a new direction. We must replace the old ugly weeds with healthy, vibrant truth. Where do we find that truth? The Bible reveals that God is love. His very nature is love. He is good, and He is faithful. He is able to do all things. Oh what powerful and life-changing seeds we plant in our brain when we know God’s word! I recommend choosing at least one verse to memorize in order to help you crowd out the weeds that want to grow in your mind. Ask God to lead you to just the right verse to help you.
Next week, I will give you some of my favorite verses which I have memorized to help me plant seeds of faith and strength in my mind.
This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women on sale this month for $5!
God is in the courage-giving business. Throughout the Bible we hear the call again and again, “Fear not for I am with you.” God’s message is one of faith and courage, not fear and trembling. From Abraham, to Joshua, to Mary to the shepherds in the field, God has been proclaiming to the generations, “Do not be afraid.” In the Psalms we are reminded, “Even when I walk through the darkest valleys, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” There is comfort in knowing we are not alone, that God is close beside us through our difficulties. What a reassurance comes when we remember God’s voice saying, “I am with you.”
I’m reminded of the encouragement God gave Joshua as he took over the leadership of the Israelites, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:8,9).” God wanted Joshua to continually meditate on His commands and to walk in courage. Joshua had to face many difficult battles, but God gave him what he needed for each battle. God doesn’t want us to live in the discouragement of fear, but rather the courage of knowing He is with us.
Where is God calling you to step out into the uncomfortable? It’s easy for us to grow content in safe places, but are we willing to step forward in courage and face our fear? God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. If you are afraid, take some time to stop and be still. Remind yourself that He is with you. Ask God to give you confidence and direction, and also ask Him to dispel the fear and doubt in your life.
I pray that this week you will not allow fear to hold you back from what God is calling you to do. Be strong and courageous my friend.
A portion of this is from Positive Life Principles for Women.
One of the most important ways for us to engage with our culture is to encourage healthy conversation instead of shutting down conversations. How do we shut down dialogue? By failing to listen. When we are willing to listen to people God’s puts in our path and converse back and forth, we open up the possibilities for building into the lives of others. It’s easy as Christians to think it is our duty to set everyone straight and let them know where they are wrong. Jesus wasn’t afraid to engage with sinners. He asked questions. He loved and did not condemn. He showed us what it looked like to engage with the culture by reaching into the lives of people who needed His love.
Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” He went on to say, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6). So how do we speak the truth of God’s Word, while lovingly reaching out to the culture around us? We must be both gracious and wise in what comes out of our mouths, recognizing that those who do not know Christ do not see life through the same perspective.
Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.” Often Jesus answered a question with a question. Questions can help us get to the heart of the matter and lead people toward truth. Recently I had an e-mail dialogue with one of my readers that went something like this.
Reader: Do you think ___________________is a sin?
Me: Why do you want to know?
Reader: I want to know if God is mad at me.
Me: Why do you care if God is mad at you?
Reader: I want to know if I am disobeying Him. I don’t want to feel far away from Him.
Me: If you care about what God thinks about you, then you don’t need to know what I think about that sin, rather you need to know what God says about it.
I then led her to the passage in Romans 3 that reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We all have a sin problem, and yet God in His loving-kindness provided the solution to our sin problem through Jesus Christ. I led her to passages in the Bible about Jesus, so that she could understand His love and mercy, as well as His righteousness and His desire for your life. You see, we need to lead people to the love of Jesus first, because without Him, picking out this sin or that sin is meaningless and unfruitful. When someone is inquiring about sin, they either sincerely want to know what God thinks about sin, or they are trying to get you to say something so that they will feel offended (and sadly this is usually the case).
The message of the Bible is simple: We all fall short of God’s glory, and we all need Jesus. Our objective is to argue less and point to God more. Often our words can be misunderstood or not received in the spirit which we give them. The most important thing we can do is to refrain from surface-level disputes and instead get to the real issue of the heart. Ask questions, listen, engage in conversation, and lovingly lead people to the core issue of Christ’s love. Remember how Jesus handled the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees brought her to Jesus wanting Him to condemn her. Jesus wisely and gently responded by pointing out the fact that all have sinned. We all need Jesus. Our job is not to cast stones at sinners; our job is to point to the gospel of salvation.
Instead of condemning, we ought to be engaging and shining the light of Christ. Our first objective is to live biblically and examine our own hearts and motives, repenting and seeking the Holy Spirit’s help in living righteous lives ourselves. As we humbly reflect the love of Jesus in our words and actions, then we have the platform to lovingly share the gospel with a world that desperately needs Him. Am I willing to step out and touch the people who are different than me, just as Jesus did? It all comes down to asking ourselves, “Am I willing to take the time to engage in conversations and build relationships with those who need Christ?”
This is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. Click Here for more info.
We all tend to define happiness in different terms. For some, it’s a euphoric feeling when circumstances are ultra-fantastic. For others, happiness may be on the scale somewhere between joy and delight when we are with people we love or in a job for which we are passionate. Still others, may define happiness as a clean bill of health or a pain-free day. Whatever your definition of happiness is, you don’t need to wait for the right set of circumstances to experience it. Here are five positive steps to help you create your own happiness right where you are.
Gratitude Journal – Begin a daily routine of writing down at least five things for which you are grateful. Be specific and think about the people you met or the small joys you experienced over the last 24 hours. Go one step further and consider the blessings you can find in the challenges you are currently facing. Your mindset and perspective will begin to change as you choose to focus on what is good in your life, rather than what is frustrating to you.
Kind Actions – If you want to do a happy dance, do something to make another person happy. When you elevate others through your words or actions, you can’t help but experience a sense of delight. Whether it is a smile, or holding the door open or helping a co-worker or neighbor with a project, when you give kindness it will be returned to you in heaping doses of happiness.
Regular Exercise – Get up and get moving. Whether you go for a walk in the park, grab a short jog on the treadmill or stretch and do Pilates on your bedroom floor, exercise has a proven track record of releasing endorphins (the happy hormone in your brain) and providing a release from stress. As you form a habit of exercising at least five days a week, you will not only feel better physically, but you will experience emotional benefits as well.
Alone Time – In our overconnected culture, we rarely have time alone to relax, think and pray. We must take deliberate measures to disconnect from technology and have some time to communicate with God and listen for His direction. Stillness rejuvenates our soul. Set aside at least ten minutes a day to put away your phone and devices and spend some alone time with the Lord. Praise Him for His greatness, listen for His direction and cast your cares at His feet.
Forgiving Heart – In my opinion, one of the greatest robbers of joy and happiness is a bitter heart, filled with unforgiveness. Every day we have new opportunities to forgive others because every person we encounter has a few flaws or shortcomings. As followers of Christ, we reflect His forgiving nature as we forgive others. Release your resentments into the hands of a just and understanding God. He will heal your wounds and set you on a new path of freedom.
Start this week with a new mindset! Fear, anger, self-doubt or a critical spirit are just a few mental attitudes that diminish our joy in life. Identify the negative attitudes that you are allowing to dominate your thinking and make a deliberate effort to change your focus. Begin to live with a mindset filled with victory and hope, rather than defeat and negativity. Apply these five steps to your daily life. You don’t need to sit around and wait for happiness to happen – you can begin the journey on the road to happiness now.
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