Life Lesson Learned from the Super Bowl

 

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If it weren’t for the commercials, I would have turned the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. Honestly, I enjoy watching the commercials more than the game, so I kept the TV on even though it seemed the Falcons were destined to win. Who would have thought that the Patriots could make such a powerful comeback from a 19-point deficit?

 

This year’s Super Bowl provides an important life lesson for all of us – don’t lose hope even when it seems as though the game is over. Hope is a powerful word. It drives us forward and turns us away from despair and defeat. It reminds us that no matter how bleak a situation, there are always possibilities.

 

What is it in your life that seems like a defeat? Maybe you are discouraged, tired or feel afraid that the game is over. Press forward, my friend. Look for the possibilities and do what you can do with the time and gifts God has given you. Your victory may not look like a Super Bowl win, but your perseverance can push you in a new and positive direction.

 

One of my favorite NFL coaches, Tom Landry, put it this way, “A champion is simply someone who did not give up when he wanted to.”  You never know what is around the corner. Ask for God’s wisdom to navigate the challenges. More important, ask for His strength to persevere with hope when the game seems over.

 

The apostle Paul could have called it quits many times, as he was jailed, beaten and persecuted for preaching the gospel. Yet, he continued to discover hope as He turned His focus toward God’s purpose for His life. He wrote, “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.”

 

When our goal is centered on God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we can always press forward despite the challenges. Let us continue to look at what is ahead and not behind us. Let us look up and not down, and remember we are never alone. He will guide us and give us He strength.

Look for the Possibilities

Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is simple fidelity to watch what each day brings.  Albert E. Dunning

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It seems a bit ironic that a visually impaired woman would encourage others to have focus and vision. Helen Keller didn’t let her challenges keep her from looking at the possibilities in her own life. Born in 1880, Helen became both blind and deaf at nineteen months of age due to a childhood illness, yet she was the first blind and deaf woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and authored a dozen books and numerous other writings. In her book We Bereaved she wrote, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Where are you looking? Have you allowed your eyes to zoom in on the frustrations that are right in front of you, making them seem larger than life? Or are you looking at the bigger broader picture – the picture that includes possibilities and hope? There are always possibilities around the corner, but we need to be looking for them instead of dwelling on what we don’t have. I like to say that the “B” in Plan B stands for beautiful. Often we think our Plan A was the perfect plan and that Plan B is second rate. Have you ever considered that Plan B is God’s Plan A and He can do a great work despite our disappointments and even our mistakes?

It may be difficult to conceive in your mind that anything good could come from hurt, pain and loss whether it is a physical, financial or a family tragedy in your life. We must be honest and grieve through the sadness that life brings. We don’t want to ignore our disappointment and hurt in our heart, but we also don’t want to close our mind’s eye to the redemption God can bring in the toughest of situations.  It may take time and perseverance. Plan B may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. Perhaps the “B” in Plan B means “Be patient.” Allow God to do His work in His way, and do not despair for there is always hope.

Read more in Positive Life Principles for Women

Does Worry Cloud your Thinking?

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“Worry is like a fog,” says A. Purnell Bailey. He goes on the write:

“The Bureau of Standards in Washington tells us that a dense fog covering 7 city blocks, 100 feet deep, is comprised of something less than one glass of water. That amount of water is divided into some 60,000,000 tiny drops. Not much there! Yet when these minute particles settle down over the city or countryside, they can blot out practically all vision. A cup full of worry does just about the same thing. The tiny drops of fretfulness close around our thoughts, and we are submerged without vision.”*

Worry is an anxious and fretful state of mind built on assumptions about what could happen in a given situation. On the other hand, responsibility is a healthy concern about circumstances or situations that leads to positive steps of action. Responsibility and careful planning grow into anxiety when fear dominates our thoughts. As we face fresh challenges in our life, we have the opportunity to decide whether we will walk in wisdom or drown in a sea of anxiety.

Consider Jesus’ words about worry in his famous Sermon on the Mount: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (Matthew 6:31-34).”

Notice Jesus described worry as “dominating the thoughts of unbelievers.” As followers of Christ, we have a different option than to allow worry to take over our hearts and minds. We can seek God and look to Him for our provision. We can also recognize that although we may make our plans, the final result is up to our loving God. When we face difficult times, the difference between those who follow Christ and those who don’t know Him is the opportunity to experience a peace and comfort in trusting a loving God. Hmm . . . do you think the world sees an evidence of our trust in God? Or does the world see us dominated by our fears, just like everyone else?

Prayer: May my love for Jesus and a realization of His unfailing love for me, dominate my thoughts today and push away fear and worry.

A portion of this blog is an excerpt from Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive. Click the picture below to order your copy.

 

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*Believe you Can, by John Mason, p 148.

Life Lessons Learned through Baylor’s Controversy

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Driving through Waco this past weekend, my heart was saddened to look at the beauty of Baylor’s campus, realizing the turmoil within its walls. We have come a long way from 1978, when I first stepped foot on the soil of the BU campus as a freshman. And without a doubt, we still have a good bit of growing and learning ahead of us. Whenever we face challenges, whether as individuals or institutions, there are always questions to ask ourselves. One question is, “What do I learn from this?” Here are three lessons that I want to bring down to a personal level.

No one is above reproach. We must each examine our own lives and hearts – and re-examine them on a continual basis. How easy it is, not only to sin, but to turn a blind eye toward it in our own lives. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, sinned greatly and tried to sweep it under the carpet.  Baylor’s controversy is a reminder to us all to recognize and turn from the sin that we may be allowing to infiltrate our own lives.

Focus on the Bigger Picture. Yes, this is not Baylor’s most glowing moment, but what company, church or institution is without challenges or controversy somewhere in its history? Let’s step back and look at the bigger picture, Baylor is an outstanding university striving for academic excellence from a Christian perspective. It is, and will continue to be, a place where students are inspired and equipped to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in this world. I can look back with gratitude for my years as a student there and the life-long friendships that were built as a result. Let’s keep our eyes on the bigger picture of what God is doing in this place.

Life is Messy, but God brings Redemption. Many lives have been deeply hurt and affected by this tragedy at our university. We grieve with them and recognize that it will take time to heal and feel whole again. The reality for each one of us is that life is messy, sad and painful at times. I’m reminded of what David wrote in Psalm 34, “A righteous man may have many troubles…” Yet, David didn’t stop there. He went on to write, “but the Lord delivers him from them all.” We may not understand why we go through certain troubles, but we can know that God is able to bring redemption and even good through bad things.

As followers of Christ, we have a hope that God can take even the worst of circumstances and use them for a greater good. Look at the cross. Talk about a reason to despair! The disciples thought their whole life had crashed right before their eyes, and yet the greatest trial became the greatest triumph. As we ask the question, “What do I learn from this?” Let us also ask the bigger question, “What will God do through this?”

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
    He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8

Overcoming Evil with Good

Positive Woman Connection this week was powerful!! We had two amazing ladies share their stories of overcoming evil with good. In essence, overcoming evil with good, means we are overcoming evil with God!  Praise, prayer and positive action are ways that we can combat evil, rather than being fretful or complaining about what’s wrong in this world. I know you will want to read both of our guests amazing stories.

Click Here to order Bonnie’s Book

 

Click Here to Order Virginia’s Book