True Positive: Day Three – Hope

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Despair comes easily when we find ourselves in a difficult situation. Generally speaking, it is a basic human tendency to defer to the negative. It takes a deliberate effort to look for hope when circumstance seem bleak, but that’s what positive people do. We must be honest and realistic about our pain, but through our grief we can look for glimmers of hope.

There is always hope. It may seem like a small sliver, but God can bring good even through the darkest night. Hold onto hope as you cry out to God. Trust the God of all hope to bring you through and ask Him to infuse you with hope. When Jeremiah lamented his own troubles, he made an intentional turn toward hope. He wrote, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:21-22).”

As we focus on God’s unfailing love, let’s ask Him to give us a bigger picture of hope through the power of His Spirit at work within us. As Paul wrote, “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).”

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

Simply Radiant

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When I first met a precious woman named Ellen, I was struck by her radiant smile. At first I didn’t notice her cane, but as she gracefully made her way over to meet me I could see that she walked with a slight limp.  Ellen told me that she was diagnosed with Spinal Bifida at birth, yet she was able to walk, and she was still thriving at seventy years of age.  Ellen is literally a walking miracle, because most children with Spina Bifida were not expected to live into adulthood. Ellen was able to be the recipient of an experimental surgery at a young age which enabled her to walk. When I told Ellen that I wanted to write her story she said, “Well make it all about Jesus, not about me.”

Ellen’s focus is not on herself; it is on the God who loves and cares for her and continues to shine His light through her.  Ellen views her physical limitations from a positive perspective. She recognizes that her challenges offer her an opportunity to reach out and serve other women who have disabilities, and we all have disabilities of some sort. Ellen is a beauty consultant and uses the platform of make-up and outward beauty to talk about the importance of inner beauty which comes from knowing the Lord.  Here’s her mission statement:

Making a DIFFERENCE in women whose lives have been touched by disability, assisting with their choice for their eternal destiny, one lipstick at a time!

Ellen realizes that no one is perfect, and our imperfections lead us to a perfect God.  It is in Him that we experience strength and joy in life. Ellen’s understanding of who God is, makes a significant difference in her life. One more thing I must tell you about Ellen is that she loves to pray. She looks to the Lord as her strength day by day, moment by moment as she visits with Him through prayer. Several times as I was engaged in conversation with Ellen she stopped to say, “Let’s go to the Father in prayer about this.” Right then and there she prayed.  And what a beautiful prayer it was, filled with love and trust and joy in her Heavenly Father.  Ellen is an example of a woman who lives with a confident hope in the Lord.  She lives with a perspective of thankfulness for the opportunity to serve God with her disability.  She also lives with a Heavenly focus, knowing that this world is not her home and that one day her earthly body will be transformed into a glorious one.

Perspective is everything, and it is a choice.  We can view our frustrations and our disappointing circumstances with anger toward God, believing that this life is all we have.  Or we can view difficulties from the perspective of “Lord, my eyes are on you. Use me in these circumstances for your glory.  Help me and give me strength along the way.”  With an eternal perspective we can live with confidence knowing that this isn’t IT.  We can look forward with confident hope toward Heaven and place our confident hope in the God who will care for us here. Ellen is a radiant woman with an eternal perspective.  I want to view the world like Ellen!

This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living