My Hope

It’s easy to talk about the problems in our society, but it’s not as easy to discover positive solutions. When I think about journeying down the road to recovery, here are a few things for which I pray:

  • Love, instead of hatred
  • Conversations, instead of angry discourse
  • Listening, instead of demanding
  • Prayer, instead of ignoring God
  • Humility, instead of pride
  • Hope, instead of fear
  • Nuclear families strengthened, instead of dismantled
  • Wisdom, instead of foolishness
  • Biblical values, instead of cultural ideologies
  • Loving God, instead loving the world
  • Compassion, instead of self-centeredness

What would you add to the list? It may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking, but I believe we can each take steps toward healing and hope. Will you join with me in praying for our nation? And as we pray, let’s seek God’s heart on what we can do to make a positive difference in our own communities.

If you are looking for a way to be proactive, I invite you to join the volunteer team with Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Our desire is to strengthen and restore families through parenting discussion groups. The Engage program not only encourages fruitful conversation and stimulating ideas, but it also builds relationships across the racial divide.

Currently we are holding classes online. Our next Volunteer Training will be Wednesday, August 12,  10:00 – 1:00 CT via zoom. You can find out more information about Engage and sign up for training at www.EngageParenting.com

You Can Do Something Positive

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Perhaps you are feeling a little antsy right now. Perhaps that’s an understatement. You’ve watched all your favorite movies, cleaned out every junk drawer and taken your dog on three walks a day. Maybe you are wishing that you could do something – anything – meaningful. The good news is, each of us can find one positive thing to do to help others.

Selfless acts lift our spirits and help us fell as sense of purposefulness. We may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but we can do small acts of kindness in our own sphere of influence. Here are some creative ideas gleaned from people around me that may spur you on to love and good deeds:

  • Several friends are using their sewing abilities to make face masks for health care workers and individuals.
  • Others are gathering groceries and leaving them on the doorstep of those who need help or have lost their jobs.
  • Some are making a deliberate effort to write at least one note a day to uplift the heart of another.
  • In my world, I help direct an organization calledEngage Positive Parenting Initiative. Since we serve parents in under-resourced areas, my team has joined together to assemble family fun packs filled with snacks and activities to encourage and help homebound parents.
  • One thing that all of us can and should do each day is fall to our knees and pray. There is a true sense of peace we experience when we sincerely go to the Lord on behalf of others. Ask God to comfort the hurting and bring hope to those in despair. Pray for our leaders and the healthcare workers and first responders. Pray for an effective vaccine to be developed quickly. Pray for those who are sick and dying here and around the world. Ask God to show you what you can do and who you should reach out to using the gifts He has given you.

Yes, everyone can do something positive! When we do these simple acts of love, we bring joy into our own environment as well as the world around us. Stay Calm. Stay Kind. Stay Strong.

3 Effective Ways to Encourage Others

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Everyone needs a good word now and then. Like sunshine breaking through the clouds on a dreary day, so a bright ray of encouragement can bring hope to someone’s darkness. Certainly we must be sensitive to those who are going through deep sadness. Sometimes the best way to be an encouragement is to “weep with those who weep.” But there are many opportunities in our daily routine to provide a glimpse of joy for the people around us.

Here are three effective ways to offer a healthy dose of encouragement to family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.

Be Sincere: No one likes insincere flattery. If you are going to offer a kind acknowledgement, be truthful. You may need to look a little deeper to find a way to sincerely speak an honest word of encouragement. For example, if your child’s piano recital was a bit rough around the edges, instead of insincerely telling them that they did a fantastic job, consider the factors you can compliment. “It takes a lot of courage to get up there and preform. You were able to hit some tough notes under pressure. I’m proud of you.”

Be Specific: When we offer specific accolades we are not only offering a gift to the other person, but we are tying it up with a bow and putting a note on it that says, “This gift is just for you.” For instance, simply saying “Great job!” is nice. But saying, “Great work on the Simons account today. I liked your creative presentation and the way you spoke directly to the client’s needs,” is better! Look for specific words and phrases you can offer others to help them know you paid attention and focused on what they did well.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Smile: A smile speaks a thousand words. It says, “I see you. I believe in you. I know you can do it. I care.” Just as words of encouragement are a precious gift we give to others, so a smile can lift up those around us and help them along their way. Think about when someone takes the opportunity to smile at you – it makes you feel a little stronger. A smile is that non-verbal expression that gives you the sense that you are noticed and appreciated. Offering an encouraging glance seems simple, but it may be a day-brightner to someone who desperately needs to know you care.

The word encourage actually means “to give strength.” The root word cour comes from the Latin word heart. Sincere, specific encouragement with the added blessing of a smile can literally strengthen another person’s heart and turn their mediocre day into a monumental one. May our words and actions be used to build up, rather than tear down. Let’s bring glimpses of sunshine to the people God puts in our path each day.

What is Your Mission in Life?

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Sometimes in the day to day minutia of life, we lose sight of the bigger picture of why we are here on this earth. Have you ever stopped to ponder the question, “How does God want me to use the unique gifts and talents He has given me?” I’m not talking about a job or career, or being a mom or a wife, but rather an overall mission in life that reflects who you are and why you were created.

Lately, I’ve been thinking and praying about my own personal mission statement. Here’s what I’ve put together so far:

My personal mission in life is to reflect the light of Biblical Truth as I encourage the hearts of others through writing, speaking and serving.

Now, I may adjust it or tweak it, but generally speaking, that’s what I’m all about. I encourage you to create your own personal mission statement. Think about the spiritual gifts you have, and prayerfully consider the passion God has placed in your heart to use those gifts to bless others.

As you create your mission statement, don’t be afraid to share it with others who can encourage you along your path. Your statement also helps you in making decisions, so that you are not saying “Yes” to every little activity that comes your way. Instead, your mission helps you stay focused and on track, keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Let me know your personal mission statement. I’d love to encourage you too!

 

Photo by Martin Sattler on Unsplash

Looking Up This Week

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Many Americans are turning their eyes toward the heavens this week as we experience one of the most unique solar eclipses since 1979. This is the perfect opportunity to stop and consider God’s creation and observe His amazing and ordered universe. I marvel at the work of His hands in creating the cosmos. Take some time this week to reflect on His handiwork and thank Him for all He has made. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 19. It’s a great passage to meditate on and memorize. Allow its truths to permeate your thinking this week.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

 Yet their voice  goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Here’s some websites to check out if you want to find out more about the eclipse:

https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive-info

http://time.com/4882923/total-solar-eclipse-map-places-view/

https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

Looking for fun space ideas to do with the kids? Check out www.positivemom.com

Photo by Michael on Unsplash