May 26, 2014

May 25, 2014

Trust Your Values

Knowing God

At 115 years old, the oldest living American
--Jeralean Talley--
has a secret to living such a long life:

Jeralean Talley

"It's all in the good Lord's hands."

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. 

Only through experience of trial and suffering 
can the soul be strengthened, 
ambition inspired, 
and success achieved."

Helen Keller

"To those who believe but wish their belief to be strengthened, 
I urge you to walk in faith and trust in God. 
Spiritual knowledge always requires an exercise of faith."
James E. Faust

“Do you often feel like parched ground, 
unable to produce anything worthwhile? 

I do. 

When I am in need of refreshment, 
it isn't easy to think of the needs of others. 
But I have found that if, 
instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction,
I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, 
an amazing thing often happens
- I find my own needs wonderfully met. 
Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, 
both for others, and then, incidentally, for myself.” 

Elisabeth Elliot

“I see Jesus in every human being.
I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him.
This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene;
 I must wash him and tend to him. 
I serve because I love Jesus.” 

Mother Teresa

“If you can't get a miracle, become one.” 

Nick Vujicic

Being reminded about the incredible power of God's love,

 and living as He intended, 

is the most powerful motivation to change.

Rick Warren

“Serving and attempting to inspire others
is a responsibility, 
not a choice.” 

Bill Courtney

Happy Sunday!

May 22, 2014

Happiness is a Choice

Thursday illustration inspiration: 

We often fall prey to thinking we'll be happy . . .

. . . one day. 

One day when we have more time, 
or praise from those 
who we want to love 
and value us. 

But, truly, happiness is in the heart of the beholder--
in how one chooses 
to perceive their circumstances.

It is a choice we can make for ourselves every day, every hour, every minute.

May 9, 2014

The Miracle of the Hail

The Miracle of the Hail: 

Nourished and Strengthened by Hardship

Yesterday it hailed. 

Pellets of ice pummeled the ground. 

Shoots of verdant, newborn grass bent under the burden 
of what looked like heaven’s frozen tears. 

My split-second first impression was of the unfairness of it all. 

To understand the lesson the hail stones had to teach, however,
I needed to consider more than just the passing hardship endured by my lawn.

After a long winter, spring was doing its best to breathe life into my barren backyard.

The little blades of grass sprouted upward with faith and zeal. 

Under the darkening skies, they stood, at first, steadfast;
little green soldiers resolute in maintaining their station, despite the storm. 

But as the frozen water droplets persisted, 
the weight of the hail became too much. 

Through the glass doors of our dining room, 
I watched the sprouts cower in apprehension, 
then bend and flatten. 

The entire lawn appeared defeated, 
as if surrendering to fate. 

Hardened capsules of ice glistened triumphant.

But then the storm, as all storms do, moved on.

The sun broke through the clouds, 

meager rays at best, 

yet sufficient warmth to caress the day with hope and change. 

The hailstones melted.

Right before my eyes, each shoot of grass—relieved of its burden—began to straighten itself and reach once more toward the sky. 

The hail, minutes before a perilous trial, 

lent life-giving water that would nourish and strengthen the grass, 
allowing it to continue to grow. 

Challenging life-storms that bring the weight 
of icy doubt and fear crashing down upon us 
only have the power to smother our convictions and determination . . .

. . . if we allow them to. 

When, like the blades of grass, we are driven to our knees in despair, 
we need but to endure in faith, trusting God and believing in our own 
strengths and capabilities. 

When the storm has passed, 
and once more we are clearly able see 

the light of hope and truth—finding that it was always there—

we will find ourselves growing once again, 

nourished and strengthened by hardship.