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.  

Taking Time to Know Your Father

bsmsrdw_hek-maria

Isn’t it wonderful to think that we are invited to spend time with our Heavenly Father each day? How amazing to think that the High King of Heaven allows us to fellowship with Him through prayer and reading His love letters – His Word. There’s no perfect routine or formula when it comes to spending time with God. For me, I start off each morning with my journal, my Bible and of course a cup of coffee. I simply just sit still before God.

In my journal, I always begin by writing out at least five things I am thankful for from the past day. Without exception, I end up writing much more than simply five things, as I begin to recognize all the ways God has blessed me. I also deliberately thank the Lord for at least one challenge in my life, as I consider what God is teaching me through the difficulty. And I can sincerely thank Him for His presence and peace as I walk through those challenges. Another habit I have started is to thank the Lord for at least one thing about my husband each day, because it keeps me focused on his positive qualities and that’s always a good thing!

After I spend time thanking the Lord then I open up His Word, for a time of reading. He has given us His Spirit to lead us into all truth, so I begin by seeking His guidance. I invite His Spirit to be my teacher and open my eyes to new truths. Spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned, and we need God’s Spirit to lead us. I like how author Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote about the importance of encountering God’s Word with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit:

 

We must refuse to deal with the written Word without the quickening Spirit. Let us never take Scripture into our hand, mind, or mouth without realizing the need and the promise of the Spirit. First in a quiet act of worship, look to God to give and renew the working of His Spirit within you. Then, in a quiet act of faith, yield yourself to the power that dwells in you. Then wait on Him so that not only the mind, but the life in you, may be opened to receive the Word. The words of Christ are indeed Spirit and life.

          Murray added this prayer:

Lord God, I thank You again for the wonderful gift of the indwelling Spirit. Father, give me the Spirit of wisdom. May I know how deeply spiritual each word of Yours is, and may I know that spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned. Teach me in all my contact with Your Word to deny the flesh and the fleshly mind and to wait in deep humility and faith for the inward working of the Spirit to quicken the Word. May my meditation on Your Word, my keeping of it in faith and obedience, be in Spirit and in truth, in the life and in power. Amen.[i]

 

During my quiet time with the Lord, I use the One Year Bible, which offers a daily Bible reading with an entry from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in doable doses. This daily time of meeting with God is a time to read and meditate on the Bible and pray. You may choose other times throughout your week to study and dig into the Bible (which we will cover in chapter three), but for a time of regular reflection and daily growth, I encourage you to simply read and meditate on His Word.

For me personally, I also enjoy reading a devotional in addition to reading from His Word. Devotionals should not replace reading the Bible, but can supplement your quiet time. Most devotionals take a verse and expand on it with the author’s perspective or thoughts. At times, I may use a book with short chapters as a part of my devotional reading, such as The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer or The Names of Jesus by A.B. Simpson, or The Spirit of Christ by Andrew Murray or Here and Now by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It is a healthy practice to journal and write out what God is teaching you, so that you can reflect on it again or simply to help you identify and remember what you learned.

After a time of reading, I sit still and simply relax in His presence. I may go to the atrium and slip to my knees and praise and adore Him for who He is. I reflect on some of His qualities that I learned about in His word or in the devotional reading and glorify His name. After praising Him for His wonderful attributes, I humbly recognize my own sin, so I spend time confessing and opening up my heart before Him. Again, I’m still and allow His Spirit to remind me of anything that I need to confess that was not pleasing to Him. After confessing, I honestly can’t help but thank the Lord for sending Jesus as the payment for my sin. My heart rejoices that the Father has allowed me to be a part of His family through faith in Christ.

It is important for us to pour out our concerns to our Father, because He doesn’t want us trying to carry our own burdens. His invitation is to ask, seek, and knock. Finally, I ask for His direction and leading throughout the day. It’s interesting how thoughts pop into my head about things that need to be accomplished or issues I need to address or even how to order my day. I write down the thoughts He brings to mind as I ask Him to direct my path.

So that’s how I come to the table with my Father. How about you? There’s no perfect formula, just the invitation to dine with Him. Let us not neglect such an inviting feast with the King of all glory. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

This blog is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. Click here for more info.

 

[i] Andrew Murray, The Spirit of Christ (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1984), pp. 78-80.

 

Growing Stronger

One of my favorite daily devotionals is  Streams in the Desert  compiled by Mrs. Charles Cowman. The following story reminds me of the power of patience and allowing God to do His work in our lives. God uses the challenges we face in an essential way to strengthen our hearts and build our character.

kkcdc-sgkwq-volker-schnabele

 

I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is as entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibers having taken place. The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all — and it never is without great labor and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.

 

I happened to witness the first efforts of my prisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. Very probably the confining fibers were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo! immediately, and with perfect case, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see that marvelous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of divers colors which were all there in miniature, I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain. My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings.

 

I have thought of it often, often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress; and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Our Father’s love is too true to be weak. Because He loves His children, He chastises them that they may be partakers of His holiness. With this glorious end in view, He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through sufferings, as the Elder Brother was, the sons of God are trained up to obedience and brought to glory through much tribulation.
–Tract, Streams in the Desert

“For I consider our present sufferings not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

This month, my devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places is on sale for $5. Click here to order your autographed copy. 

pursuing-god-in-the-quiet-places

 

New Thinking for the New Year

thinking and results feedback

 

Why is it that we stay in the same rut, thinking the same thoughts and yet expecting different results? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Every January 1st offers the opportunity to make new plans and take positive steps forward in our life, and it begins with our thinking. As we determine to make improvements in our life, let’s begin with a fresh start and a positive perspective.

Every year, I like to think of a new motto, a key Bible verse and one word to focus on for the next twelve months. Here are mine:

Motto: Live Clean in 2017!  In every area of my life, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally, I want to clean out the old negative habits and form good healthy new habits.

Key Bible Verse: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity.”

My Word for the Year: Strength

Along with these inspirational objectives, I also like to ask myself a few questions as I think through specific goals. Here are three questions to consider for the new year:

  1. How do I want to improve from last year?
  2. Who do I want to get to know better this year?
  3. In what ways can I reach out and be a blessing to others?

Three simple questions that can guide your thinking for the new year. I hope it is a wonderful 2017 for you as you step out of the old and bring in the new.

 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  • The Apostle Paul

Pray, Reflect, Reset

vleqqkd8jpo-alisa-anton

My favorite time of the year is the week between Christmas and New Years. Of course, there is the obvious reduced stress level, with all of the wrapping and entertaining put to rest. The kids are happily playing with their new toys for a few days at least. I enjoy the sense that everything seems to slow down and shift into relax mode. This is the perfect time to prepare for the coming year with deliberate prayer, reflection and resetting of priorities and goals.

I want to encourage you to set aside some quiet time of reflection during this special week. Here are a few of my thoughts:

Pray – Ask the Lord to direct you and guide you in the coming year. Thank Him for the blessings of the past year and for His care and comfort through the challenges.  Seek His wisdom as you make new plans and ask for His favor and direction. Pray for your family members, your friends and your business. Most important, pray that His love flows through you in all you do.

Reflect – Consider the things that went well throughout the past year and think of ways to continue to build on your strengths. But also think about the things that were not so good – things that need to change or be adjusted. What do you need to do differently going forward?  Each year, I prayerfully ask the Lord to give me a Bible verse to focus on during the year (my 2016 verse was Romans 15:13) and to give me one word to focus on from that verse (my word was hope). As you take time to reflect, allow the Lord to lead you toward a verse and a word for 2017. I’ll tell you mine in next week’s blog.

Reset – The new year offers us an opportunity to reset with a fresh outlook and positive goals. Ponder and dream about what you would like to accomplish this year. What do you want to learn? Who do you want to get to know? What organizations do you want to join and what do you need to cut out of your schedule in order to take on new responsibilities? How do you plan to strengthen your physical health? What books do you want to read? What do you want to memorize? Think of all the areas in your life that you want to reset toward improvement.

That’s what I love most about the new year – it’s an opportunity to reset with a fresh start! I hope it is a wonder-filled week for you this week. Be intentional about being still and allowing true relaxation to take over. Often we find our strength and guidance in those quiet alone times. Listen and love well, and don’t forget to write your Thank You notes.

Glory of Israel

fullsizerender-2

Sovereign Lord… 

 I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!

Luke 2:30-32 NLT

When Simeon, a devout Israelite awaiting God’s Messiah, saw the baby Jesus he took Him in his arms and praised God. In our passage today we see Simeon’s proclamation of who Jesus is and why He came. God’s salvation, a light to reveal God to the nations, the glory of Israel; Simeon offered a heartfelt description of the Messiah. Known as the “Canticle of Simeon: or the Nunc Dimittis, (which are the first words of his prayer in Latin – “Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant…”) it is still sung in evening prayers in orthodox churches representing the confession and experience of believers.

The Savior of the world came through the Jewish nation. Sadly, although they knew the Old Testament prophecies, many did not receive Him. Jesus was the crowning glory of God’s people Israel, for through them came the Messiah – Jesus the light to all nations.

This is an excerpt from Karol’s Devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places