Category Archives: Self-Improvement

God Glimpses #55 ~ Tangled Motivation

tangled-motivationGod Glimpses #55 ~ Tangled Motivation

I was talking to a writer the other day who said this, “I’ll have to see if I can find some motivation.”

I wanted to scream. I have news for those who are still in the dream world of “finding motivation.”

Motivation can’t be found. Unlike lost keys, or even the coin of great worth, motivation can’t be found. It’s not lost. Motivation is made.

It’s not made from feelings, or emotions, or delivered by a muse, or even from on high. Motivation can only be formed by rational, deliberate, intentional decisions.

God Himself can’t and won’t motivate you. Not that He’s not all-powerful, but because His first priority is to give us the complete freedom of CHOICE. He made a plan before time began. Every nuance of history and the future was woven before the first man was formed. There are no tangled threads in God’s tapestry.

We, however, are overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. Therein lies the problem. We let the overwhelmingness of our days keep us from being intentional. We take the easy and lazy way out. We deceive ourselves into believing that it’s all too much. But it’s not too much. God doesn’t leave us hopeless and helpless. He put within every believer His Spirit to guide us into all wisdom.

We make thousands of decisions every single day. What percentage of them do we make after asking for His help? “Pray without ceasing” takes on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

Do you want to get things accomplished? Reach your goals? Work on the real priorities, instead of being sabotaged by the subterfuge of instant gratification?

Make some real decisions! Motivation will follow.


God Glimpses #53 ~ You WILL

 

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God Glimpses #53 ~ You WILL

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

I was looking out my back window at my pathetic espallied fruit trees today and once again contemplating whether I should give up and cut them down and use the upright poles between them to support a grape vine. (I should have looked up apple tree diseases before purchasing apple trees prone to Apple Cedar Rust Disease for a house on Cedar Road.)

The thought of grape vines always brings this verse to mind. Then my devotion today had the same verse. For some reason the word “WILL” jumped out for the first time in a long time. Almost every passage in the Bible is conditional in one way or another and this verse is blatant. IF you do this, this will happen. “If you remain in me, and I in you . . .”

I’m in a season of feeling pretty useless, what with my body being in rebellion mode. The more my body rebels, the less I accomplish, the more I’m forced to analyse the importance of my activities, physical, mental and spiritual.

I’m not happy about my rebellious body, but I’m grateful. I want to be fruitful. I don’t have what it takes physically, but guess what? That isn’t a condition! All I have to do is stick even closer to my maker, and draw the strength to produce fruit from him.

Not a bad trade off for a younger body and distracted lifestyle.


God Glimpses # 52 ~ Grow where you’re Planted

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God Glimpses # 52 ~ Grow where you’re Planted

Seeing this Wild Ginger coming up in the broken pathway reminded me of this phrase.

There are times in life when we wonder how we got where we are. Most times it’s the end result of our own actions. Occasionally, we are clueless.

Either way, the only way to improve our situation is to make the best of where we are until we earn our way out, or until God allows us out.

The way out is always the result of praise and gratitude. With gratitude comes a positive attitude. But praise comes first, not as a result. When we praise in faith, then our circumstances can improve, or our hearts will learn to accept that they won’t.

The result will be praise that is felt from the heart.

We may or may not leave the pavement crack for the company of a flower bed, but either way, with gratitude we will flourish.


God Glimpses # 51 ~ What are your Chances?

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God Glimpses # 51 ~ What are your Chances?

You’ve all tried these machines ~ or worse yet, had the lovely experience of watching your child come to grips with the odds of winning a prize out of these rigged monsters of greed.

Relying on God’s promises isn’t a crap-shoot ~ it’s faith.

There is no risk involved in faith. It feels that way ~ it’s a scary thing letting go of our own self-reliance and trusting God. “Stepping out in faith” feels like it carries the same odds as playing one of these games (invented by the devil himself, I’m quite sure.)

Here’s what’s at the heart of faith ~ faith is the opposite of trusting in ourselves. The reason the world at large has such a huge problem with faith is that faith is the crucial issue of our existence. Are we going to trust in a being we can’t see to have all the answers to the problems that are bigger than we? There is too much we can’t solve, too many unanswered questions, too much everything.

And yet, we all, believers and unbelievers, innately turn first to self-reliance. While all along there are answers and promises and instructions for all aspects of life the second we let go of self-reliance and simply refuse to play the losing game.


God Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood

hydrangea 1st leavesGod Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood
It’s easy to look at the mess we’ve made as dead wood. Every year I have to cut the dead wood out of my Hydrangea. Every year there’s more. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of many woody shrubs and all trees. A certain percentage of the limbs and branches die off, and more grow in their place. Think of them as the equivalent of human hair. It doesn’t mean there is rot or disease, it’s just part of the process.
Now take that thought and apply it to the mess you’ve made of your attempts. Is your life (and possibly your home and office) filled with the clutter and refuse of attempts that went awry or projects that didn’t make it past the planning stage? Don’t beat yourself up! This is a normal part of the process of growth.
Rather than agonize over the failures, look at your mess as proof that you’re alive, trying new things, attempting to be and do more. Then get out the pruning shears and get rid of those things holding you back, reminding you of failure, and taking up valuable space in your life. Learn from God’s natural process. If you don’t cut out the dead wood, then the new can’t grow. There is no space, or light or air.
Breathe in those wonderful life-affirming verses that you love, and then tackle just one pruning job today. Nothing brings hope for the future like new spring green growth. Make room for it in your life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB
“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.
I’ve come that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ISV

God Glimpses #40 ~ Self-Help is Rot

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This picture and the title may be all you need for this God-Glimpse.

Our very best efforts to repair ourselves turn out like this–a bad idea made worse by lack of experience, resources and patience.

Rot started the problem. A section of the rafter had to go before the fungus spread to the rest of the roof. But it wasn’t enough to remove just a section of the board, the entire rafter should have been replaced with new.

It’s not enough to get rid of sin, bad habits or even weaknesses; they must be replaced, or the roof of our good intentions will soon leak and eventually cave in.

Only The Master Carpenter has the experience, resources and patience to repair the rot of our lives. Only His Word is strong enough to shore up the roof over our heads.

Replace the old rafters of your life with new Living Words from the Father of Life.


God Glimpses # 39 ~ Inside the Box

2015-09-02 15.26.13 Last week I asked what you might have in a box of joy, and told you I’d show you the inside of the little box of joy that I made for myself

This box just happens to be my travel watercolor kit. I searched and researched and am thrilled with my choices of supplies. In fact, this works so well that I seldom use my large watercolor palette or even my expensive Kolinsky brushes. Simply squeezing more water into the tip of a Sakura brush is faster and wastes less paint.

The purchased watercolor kit within my kit isn’t the most expensive, in fact it’s one of the least expensive on the market. The great thing is that the watercolors are standard half-pan size, so when I want to replace a color, I can buy just one of any number of brands. The whole kit is a tiny bit of perfection.

No matter what you do for work or for fun, you understand the joy of having the right tools for the job. No struggling to make do, no wishing you could have the top of the line because what you have is already the best for you, even if it’s not the most expensive or the most popular.

Every single time my eyes land on my little box of joy, I smile. For me, it’s perfect.

What things in your life are you perfectly happy with? This little box of joy reminds me that God perfectly and precisely fits me with the things I need to do his work, even if they don’t always seem like it to someone else (or me, when I’m in ungrateful mode.)

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6