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.
Thanksgiving is all about remembering. It’s about reflecting on what God his done and His blessings in our lives. When it comes to life, we never want to forget the goodness of God. Our thankful hearts show that we trust His love and believe He can bring good even out of the worst situations.
As important as it is to remember and reflect on God’s goodness and blessings, there are several things we need to forget. The apostle Paul put it this way, “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.”
So what past things should we forget? Here’s three that come to mind:
Past mistakes – Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over mistakes we have made even years ago. We must recognize that we all make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. Don’t let your mistakes define you. Move forward and be who God created you to be.
Past sins – As believers in Christ, our sins are forgiven. Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s not a license to continue to sin, rather with a thankful heart we turn and repent and go a different direction. Christ came to free us from the burden of guilt and allow us to live in the joy of forgiveness.
Past offenses by others – It’s easy replay the hurts people have done to us in the past. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness can fester in our memories for years. Let’s stop replaying the hurts and wounds. As forgiven people, we too must live a life of forgiving others. This Thanksgiving, may we release the right to hold past offenses over someone else.
I love to see the pictures on Instagram of Thanksgiving tables as people gather with family and friends. Although the food and decorations are lovely, keep in mind that there is nothing more beautiful than a thankful heart, and nothing more ugly than an unforgiving heart (whether it is not forgiving yourself or others). May your table be stunning as it overflows with thankfulness this year, leaving the negatives of the past behind you.
When you think of the word “Caregiver,” what comes to mind? It’s interesting to think about different stages and times in our lives when we are giving care to others. Whether you are a:
Mom caring for the needs of your kids.
Spouse caring for the needs of your spouse.
Adult child caring for needs of your elderly parents.
Worker caring for the needs of co-workers.
Nurse or Doctor caring for the needs of patients.
Teacher caring for the needs of students.
The list could go on and on, because whenever and wherever we show care to others, we are “caregivers.” Aren’t you thankful that the Lord Himself is the ultimate “Caregiver,” caring for our daily needs as a shepherd cares for his sheep.
My friend Nancy Brown writes a blog specifically for caregivers. Her thoughts and concepts are born from her own challenges, frustrations and joys as she cared for her elderly parents. I’ve invited her to share her unique perspective in light of this Thanksgiving month.
Practicing Gratitude While Caregiving
It’s not easy to practice gratitude, especially when you’re in the trenches with caregiving or grieving the loss of a loved one. It’s so difficult when there is always one more thing to take care of or one more problem to solve. It can feel overwhelming, endless, and thankless at times. Sometimes it feels like we’re doing it alone, but we need to remember that Jesus is with us each step of the way.
I have a little sign on my desk that was given to me by my son when he was five-years old. It simply says, “Keep on praying with a thankful heart.” I look at that sign each day and think about how much wisdom is contained in that simple sentence. Often, simple reminders can get us back on track when we struggle with gratitude. Try keeping a gratitude journal, and write down five things each day for which you are grateful. When we are grateful, it must please Our Lord so very much. So, it should always be our goal.
Scripture Verses About Gratitude
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
Dear Father, sometimes it feels like You have given us more than we can carry. Help us to remember that You are carrying us during those times. Help us to be grateful for the difficult times as they are often periods of growth. We know it pleases You when we come to You with grateful hearts, and we pray that we can cultivate thankfulness each day.
If you would like to follow Nancy’s blog, please go to: www.faithfilledcaregivers.com
Henrietta Mears saw the best in the people God placed in her life. Although at an early age her physical eyesight began to deteriorate leading to eventual blindness, her insight into God’s word and talent of seeing the potential in others grew in strength throughout her life. Born in 1890, Henrietta loved God’s word from an early age. She constantly begged her parents to let her go to the adult Sunday School classes at her church, so she could learn deeper truths about the Bible. She taught her first Sunday school class at eleven years old. When Henrietta graduated from high school her eye doctor warned her that she should not seek further education as it would strain what little eyesight she had left.
Henrietta didn’t let the doctor’s orders stop her as she was determined to use her eyesight until it went out. She did her best to listen in class in order to reduce her need for reading. When she graduated from college she went on to teach high school chemistry, but her first love was teaching the Bible at her church. Her classes grew and grew in size as she taught God’s word with creativity and accuracy. Eventually she was invited to be the Christian Education Director at a Presbyterian church in Hollywood, California. She accepted the position and immediately began to write new curriculum to replace the old dull lesson she was provided. She wrote Sunday School lessons for first through twelfth grades which led her to eventually start a publishing company called Gospel Light Publishers.
College students were her first love and she faithfully taught their class every year. The students loved her because she taught such fun, quirky and creative lessons. Henrietta sincerely loved her students and helped them dream big dreams and catch the vision of what God could do in their lives. Hundreds of her students went on to full time Christian ministry including Bill Bright who founded Campus Crusade ministries. Henrietta planted many seeds which God watered and grew into great and fruitful trees. She started a youth camp in California which is now known as Forest Home Conference Center.
One year Henrietta invited a young evangelist to preach to the kids at Forest Home camp. This young preacher was struggling with what he believed about the inerrancy of the Bible. Henrietta talked with him and prayed with him. Most importantly she didn’t give up on him, recognizing that God was doing a great work in this young man’s life, knowing God would carry it out to completion. The preacher took a long walk in the forest and then got down on his knees declaring to God that he would stand on the Bible as God’s truth even if it didn’t all make sense to him. Young Billy came back that evening to preach one of the most powerful sermons Henrietta had ever heard. Many kids came to trust Christ that very night. Billy Graham went on to preach his first crusade soon after his experience at Forest Home.
Billy Graham said that Henrietta Mears was one of the most influential women in his life besides his own mother and his wife. Aren’t you glad that Henrietta saw her students as works in progress? She didn’t give up on them. She didn’t focus on their faults, rather she poured into them and nurtured them in the Lord. She reminds me of Paul. Henrietta wasn’t imprisoned by being chained to a guard, but she was imprisoned by her physical blindness. Yet just like Paul, she didn’t let her challenges keep her from building up others and encouraging them to be all that God wanted them to be. She looked for the potential and not the problems.
This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. Click Here for More Info.
In these last few weeks, the terrible tragedies in our nation have surfaced heart-felt questions from many people:
Why would God allow this?
Where is God when these things happen?
There are no easy ways to answer these questions. Even Job in the Old Testament came to the conclusion that there are certain aspects about our circumstances we simply can’t comprehend. But there is one question we can answer:
What does the Bible tell us about God’s heart?
In the midst of our sadness and grief, there are many truths about God which we can hold onto in our lives. I want to mention two:
God brings comfort in our pain. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) His presence is with His people even in the midst of tragedy. His Spirit is our comforter and healer and is a very present help in time of need. God doesn’t promise us a life without tragedy, but He does promise to be with us through the hard places. David wrote,
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
God gives us hope in our despair. The Bible refers to God as the God of Hope. If He can bring hope from the tragedy of the cross and the brutal death of His Son Jesus, He can bring hope and redemption to our lives as well. We may not be able to see it now. It may take time to work through our grief, but He always brings hope. The ultimate hope He has given us is to be in heaven with Him one day.
Paul prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13) As you walk through grief or questions, my prayer is that His Spirit will bolster you with a hope and a peace that the world cannot comprehend.
I encourage you to search the scriptures yourself and find comfort, wisdom and strength in getting to know the God of the Bible.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Many of us remember when we were teenagers, sitting around the campfire singing, “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going. And soon all those around, can warm up to it’s glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love…”
Just the thought of that song revives fond memories with my church friends at Mt. Lebanon and with my campers when I was a counselor at Pine Cove.
Recently, I read an article on the topic of leadership that made that old familiar camp song pop back into my mind. The author, Sean Lynch, used the word “Sparks” to describe people who exhibit behaviors consistent with a leader. He wrote, “A Spark is a doer, thinker and innovator whose unique approach to creative problem-solving betters the lives of others.”
I believe that each of us, whether we think of ourselves as leaders or not, have the opportunity to influence others. We can be Sparks by using the gifts and talents God has given us to share the hope and love of Christ. We “better the lives of others” by shining His light into their lives.
The question is, do we let His love shine through us through our words and actions, or do we hide it, afraid of what people may think? Or worse yet, do we spend most of our time putting down others? Let’s be bright sparks. Let’s love boldly. Let’s stop criticizing, and let’s start letting His love shine through our words and actions to help build up others and point them to Christ.
May God use each one of us this week to bring His light to dark places.
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