Tag Archives: christianity

Simple Optimism: Encouragement for the Day

True optimism is not found in a random positive quote from the internet (though some of them are quite good), but by taking a personal inventory of your God-given greatness.

What do you possess that others admire or that God Himself adores about you?

We all have something.

How can I be so sure?

Because His word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that we are created in His image. If He says it, then it must be true.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Try this: list at least five things that you love about yourself.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

How did it go? Was this an easy activity for you? Or did you find it a bit challenging?

In all honesty, this took me some time. Not because I don’t love myself, but rather because I don’t think of these specific characteristics often. Yet, this practice of positive thinking is not only biblical but extremely healthy for us. Positive thoughts truly do produce a positive outlook. And the manner in which we carry out our day is ALWAYS driven by an outlook (whether negative or positive).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Focusing on the good within ourselves cultivates a deep desire to practice “self care”. This is both loving and wise.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

So, here goes…..

1. I love my ability to communicate, whether it’s through public speaking or writing a piece of material. And I really enjoy reading my own work.

2. I love my passion towards making a positive difference in other people’s lives.

3. I love my entrepreneurial spirit and my ability to cast vision to others.

4. I love my laugh.

5. I love my deep-embedded interest for foreign travel and cultural experiences.

Now, here’s for another exercise. How about listing 5 things that you would describe as positive in the world that surrounds you. What do you enjoy? What do you appreciate in all of God’s creation? 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Was that exercise a bit easier? For me it was. Now can you see the importance of setting your mind on the things that produce joy, laughter, motivation, and determination in order to retain an optimistic mindset?

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Here’s my list from this morning: 

1. I’m thrilled that I get to wake up and enjoy a mug of my hot green/jasmine tea.

2. I really enjoy my garden. I get so tickled every time a new beautiful bud begins to bloom. And the fact that I can cook with my fresh herbs.

3. I really like the idea of having a blank canvas each day, and the fact that it’s completely up to me in how I choose to live my day.

4. To add to point #3, I love that God gives me a dose of totally fresh and new mercies to tap into for whatever I need for the day. It’s just so cool.

5. I love that I can listen to Argentinean tango, cook a good meal, and stare into my husband’s face while catching up on each others lives. It’s just good stuff.

May these two simple exercises spark an appreciation both for the person that God designed you to be and for the world that surrounds you. There is so much treasure that can be found in every single day; we just have to look for it. This search always starts with an optimistic outlook, beloved. 

Feel free to post your comments below, because I’d love to hear from you!

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Victim or Victor: How Perspective Dictates Our Reality

Have you ever felt like a victim? Or, on the other hand, when have you felt like a victor? Interestingly, our tendency to feel one way or another is heavily dependent on how we choose to perceive our circumstances. In His incredible gentleness, the Lord has been reminding me of this truth once again. Allow me to share what the Lord whispered to my heart as we strolled among the morning dew.

“Christy, you are not a victim to the schemes of the enemy. Is the devil bad (and evil)? Yes. We know know that. Is he against you? Does he oppose you? Yes, we both know this as well. But, what about Me? Am I not the Victor? I have conquered the grave.  I am the Victor. I hold the Victor’s prize (crown). I am victorious. I am the Victor, Christy.”

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 

“For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 

Earlier this morning, I had woken up groggy and apathetic about the day because of eery dreams that plagued my sleep. As soon as I arrived at my destination (to meet the Lord and spend time together), my car died again (briefly). I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel discouraged and distracted. Then, as I walked to a quiet spot surrounded by the sounds of flowing water and birds chirping, my hot coffee spilled on me. My focus had shifted from Jesus (who I desperately needed) to my circumstances. I felt frustrated. Or, more accurately, I felt victimized by the whims of the enemy.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

As I plopped onto a bench and opened the Word, I cried out to the Lord and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me through His truth. And guess what passage screamed from the page?

“Shout for joy to the Lord; all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ” Psalm 100:1-5

Talk about serving me  a piece of humble pie. I had forgotten that the best way to combat feelings of defeat was to praise God. Instead of concentrating on my challenges and the fact that the enemy was out to destroy me, I needed to be thankful. There was so much to be grateful for in that moment, and I just needed to shift my focus back onto the positive…back onto God.

This is what the Lord continued to speak to my heart:

“Do you want to focus on the person who has lost the game or the One who has won it? Satan is already overcome, Christy. His power is limited. But, I am not. I am the Great I AM. I have all power. I have all abilities, all knowledge, all wisdom, all the resources and encouragement that you could ever need. I am that One – Jesus Christ. And I am the winner. I have won this match over life and death. Don’t believe for one minute that you are overcome by his tactics, because you are not. Why? Because I live in you. The people that focus on the loser, Satan himself, hang their heads down low in defeat. Too many of my children do this. They’re always focused on being attacked and place entirely too much emphasis on the devil’s schemes to get them.

What about Me? I am the Victor and I live within you. Because I live within you, you must focus on Me. Remember, I take what the enemy intends for harm and I use it for your good. I alone have the ability to do this because I am the Righteous One. I am God. Stop fretting over what the enemy has done, and focus on what I have done. Meditate on My ways; spend time with Me. The devil is a con artist, a phony, and a liar. He tries to present himself as though he has already won, as though he has all the power, BUT he doesn’t. I do. And I live in you. This is incredibly powerful, beloved.”

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 

We all have a choice in how we perceive our reality. May you be encouraged with the knowledge that Jesus is the only One worthy of our undivided attention and the meditations of our hearts. When we focus on Jesus – who He is, why He died, why He (as part of the Trinity) created us, how He (as the only Truth) sees us, and how He has designed us to live on this planet – everything else falls into perspective.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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The Power in Developing Boundaries with Family and Friends

Taken from the  book titled Boundaries, the authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, state the following:

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives.”

The process for setting boundaries is a piece of cake,  but it’s the implementation of these same boundaries that can become quite difficult. I’ve been down this road before, and just as anything in life – it becomes easier to do the more it’s practiced.

For several months, I inherently wished that boundaries weren’t even necessary in my relationships. “Couldn’t we all just get along without them?”, I thought to myself.

In my mind, boundaries appeared as a reactive response to a sinful world. For this reason, it was never a positive experience for me. However, over the years the Lord has shown me that in His goodness He wisely implemented boundaries as part of His creation, before sin ever entered the world (refer to yesterday’s post HERE).

Therefore, boundaries must be essential to life. So, it’s wise for us to evaluate the state of our relationships and those we allow to influence our lives.

Let’s take a glance at the following scriptures the Lord directed me to this morning concerning relational boundaries:

1. We have specific roles within relationships, we cannot be all things to all people. Depending on the context of the relationship, we adopt certain roles. For example: ‘You are a child of God, but you are not someone’s Holy Spirit.’ ‘You are a daughter of your mother, but you’re not your mother’s parent, you’re her daughter.’ These are distinct roles that can easily become distorted if appropriate boundaries are not put in place. And protected.

We are to be in relationship with other people, this is very healthy. However, we are only expected to love them through the heart of Christ within specified boundaries. We need God’s wisdom to show us how to implement either a healthy detachment (separation) from an individual, or to instruct our hearts on specific issues that need to be addressed in the relationship. If something about the person’s actions causes you to feel anxious, guilty, shameful, or depressed, then these are pretty strong indicators on where you can start in your conversation with the Lord. The Holy Spirit doesn’t adopt the role as the Savior of the world. That belongs to Jesus. We also need to evaluate our proper roles in the relationships we have while operating in His love.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

2. Developing intimate relationships with non-believers. This is a sticky topic. I have unbelievers in my life that I absolutely adore. I’m sure we all do. You know Jesus is in the same situation? Not everyone believes in Him nor do they accept Him as their Savior, but He still loves them. And we should do the same. He died for us all. I personally hold a conviction to intentionally seek out relationships with unbelievers and lavish them with Christ’s love. But, I also have limits. The Word does provide caution for developing intimate relationships with non-believers in order to keep a clear conscious by avoiding worldly influence. To be yoked with another individual means to clamp to another, to be enslaved by them, or to tie and link together. And it is incredibly wise for us to evaluate how closely linked we are to those who do not live by the Word. Once again, we are to love, but to love wisely.

“Do not be deceived:’Bad company ruins good morals’.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

3.  We cannot fix the problems of others. We must have the ability to say “no” to harmful things in our lives. This is a strong boundary that needs to be in place across the board. It is Jesus who carries the burdens of others, not us. That is why He is the Savior of the world. We also cannot rescue people from experiencing the consequences of their bad decisions. They are robbed from the opportunity to learn and grow, meanwhile our hearts grow hard and resentful. God never intended for us to play the role of a Savior in anyone’s life.

“For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:5

“A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:7-8

4. We cannot allow others to manipulate us. What is manipulation? It is defined as the devious influence for one’s own advantage. I don’t like manipulation. It’s when people place a guilt trip on you for not doing what they want you to do. It’s that feeling of resentment and regret for spending hours of your day on something you never wanted to do in the first place. This isn’t the cheerful giving that Jesus was referring to, it’s far from it, beloved. It’s an unhealthy tactic coming from a boundaryless person looking to serve their own agenda. And the Lord is telling us to say ‘no’ in love.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

May the Lord guide us in the boundaries we need to set with our family members, friends, and those we interact with day to day, in order that we might experience the greatest joys found in a healthy relationship. He is beyond able to instruct us on where these protective borders need to be. Trust in Him, beloved. He will equip you for the task. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on setting boundaries for the mind.

And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!

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