Hey! Really Good Job Walking!

I’ve been on this motivating Encouragement Train lately. Last week I wrote about how we tend to view our lives pessimistically or can often portray them that way. This week I’m encouraged. I’m happy. There are so many good things in this world people!!! Last week I hope I challenged you to change your outlook on your world – Or at least open your eyes to see the silver lining. I know it was a bit of a wake up call for myself 🙂 I’m continuing that thought and continuing that vibe and I hope you catch it!

A while ago, a friend of mine posted a photo of her son Moses on Instagram – I screen shot it because first of all he’s absolutely adorable and second because the story behind the photo filled my heart: Read the caption.
Seriously. He is the cutest, most thoughtful little kid. His compliment made me sit back – I’m sure he said it because he hasn’t been walking all that long and realizes that it takes some time to learn, but when I thought of it (granted I don’t know exactly how old this older woman was) there are a lot of elderly people that have lost their ability to walk! We take so many things for granted. It filled my heart to see that Moses took note of and appreciated functional legs. I’ve often gotten the simple compliment at work about how my printing is flawless. Until now, I’ve always laughed it off blaming it on my crazy drafting teacher for being so strict and redirecting the compliment. What if tomorrow I couldn’t write? Guys we are so blessed – Even if you are having a hard time finding the silver lining right now.

I think of Job from the Bible. Job was a man that you could say had everything in his life taken away by the Devil and then had it all given back to him from God; his home, his health, wealth, family, etc. I’m sure a lot of people use Job out of context, but when Job was sitting and mourning with the few friends that hadn’t died I’m struck with a two thoughts. 1. He still had those few friends to keep him company and 2. He was not sitting in Antarctica. Those may be two very thin silver linings in the midst of an unbearable situation, nonetheless those two things remain true. Job himself says in Job 27: 1-6, “Job continued speaking: “I vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights, by the Almighty who as embittered my soul. As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies. I will never concede that you [one of his friends] are right; I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live.””

Obviously Job is the extreme case – But I want to encourage you guys to continue seeking for the positive thing in a day and sharing that positive thing with others. Ask the Lord to help you shift your view to the way He sees your life. I want to also challenge you to speak up and share encouragement with others just like Moses did! Who knows how far those kind words will go in another person’s life 🙂

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

We Can’t Look at the Glass Half Empty Anymore.

I feel like we are too hard on ourselves. The past couple weeks, I’ve noticed how people tend to share about negative experiences before their positive ones – I’ve caught myself doing this. But it got me thinking – Why do we do that? Why do people have to almost have a competition about who’s day was worse? It seems odd because we’re trying to do exactly the opposite on our Instagram feeds… I think we do this because we’ve been trained to share about our lives this way. When we’re with people, we have this awkward balance of wanting to share about our lives without coming across self-absorbed or narcissistic. So we over-correct by sharing what’s “awful” about our lives before telling about what’s awesome. (Sometimes we don’t even get to the part of telling about what’s awesome!) This way, we think we’re safe from people accusing us of trying to be perfect or having it all together and being a snob about it. (Why do we even care what they think?) It’s sad. True friends will be happy for you! People can and should be happy for good things in someone’s life without being jealous. We also shouldn’t have to live with this fear of our “success” being judged by others.

“In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid What can mere man do to me?” – Psalm 56:4

One of my favourite mugs that I use at home has a quote on the front that says, “The cup is always half full”. I personally think it’s an ironic quote to put on a mug because there will be more times when it’s empty instead of half full… but whatever, it’s optimistic. There are many things in our day that might happen and we could view them optimistically or pessimistically. Maybe it’s work, our family, or our body, our friends, our hobbies, or possibly our pets. The same goes for how we share about our life to others whether it’s on social media or in person: We could tell a story with an optimistic point of view or we can chose to hone in on the pessimistic view point.

I want to encourage you to see everything that happens in your day optimistically! I want to encourage you to share about your life from a happy point of view! I want to help you see the silver lining that happens in each and every situation. It could be a soft, subtle silver lining that you really have to search for, or it could be screaming obvious! Maybe it’s work, our family, or our body, our friends, our hobbies, or possibly our pets but but however you see the silver lining in these things – Hone in on it. I saw a video clip on Facebook the other day of a bird singing – It was so cute. This bird was beautiful and sang beautifully. I confess I watched it a couple times. Admittedly, as I listened to this bird singing for the third time, I realized that this could be annoying to other people. It made me sad to think that some people could hate birds singing in the house altogether. This thought started to snowball. I thought about everything I’m thankful for and thought about what it was that made me love those things. Then I flipped my mentality: What if I had the exact opposite of everything I love? What if all that bird did was screech instead of sing? It hit me how much I take for granted; all the little silver linings. Guys, don’t focus on how ugly, inconvenient, boring, or irritating something is. The cup is always half full. If all that bird did was screech, it was still a beautiful bird to look at. I found a quote the other day about seeing our bodies in a new light:

Have this mentality in everything ❤

– Stay Satisfied

Cataclysmic Changes

Change can mean a lot of things. It could mean starting something new, letting go of something familiar, going somewhere you’ve never been. I was reading my devotional book the other day, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young which read, “This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go; of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My [God’s] Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.
You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes. I am the same yesterday, today and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.”

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.” -Psalm 89:15

Sometimes change is welcomed and looked forward to – I think those people are crazy: I’m a person that hates change… but maybe that’s why God has me go through big changes regularly. It’s a way to remind me of my reliance on Christ. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” -Hebrews 13:8. As the big changes continue to come, I can trust and remember that God never lets go of my hand. That doesn’t mean the adjusting and uncomfortable feeling of change won’t go away, but I can trust that going through them with Jesus it will get easier.

“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear – I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

I want to encourage you guys (and I’m saying this more to myself) that as we experience change big + small, we can go through each event as fast or slow as we need to, but no matter the speed we push through life altering situations – God is here for us and He cares. God wants us to pursue Him and talk to Him with each step. So do that. Talk to God, share your thoughts, explain your feelings and know that He cares for you. This ugly feeling of growth could be us pushing out of our cocoons and transforming into something stronger, smarter and more capable of taking us to something/ someone/ somewhere greater.

– Stay Satisfied

We are all Josephs

We all know the story of Joseph and his famous coat of many colours. It’s a classic in any Children’s Story Bible. If you don’t know the story of Joseph, it’s found in the first Old Testament book of Bible: Genesis, chapter 35 (birth) to chapter 50 (death). To give you a Spark Notes version: (spoiler alert) At a young age, Joseph is treated unfairly by his brothers and wrongly sold into slavery. As Joseph works as a slave in Egypt, he excels due to his trust in God. We are told in Genesis 39: 2, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.” As Joseph moves up the status ladder, once again he is wrongly accused (verses 19-21), “Now when his [Joseph’s] master heard the words of his wife… ‘This is what your slave did to me,’ his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him in jail…” Joseph stayed in prison for 2 years for something he didn’t do.

Genesis 39: 2, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.

I want to hone in on how Joseph seemed to get the butt end over and over when he didn’t deserve it. Joseph’s brothers hated him so much they planned a way to get rid of him. PLANNED A WAY TO GET RID OF HIM. After being a slave, he is wrongly accused by his master’s wife and he is thrown into prison for years. IN PRISON FOR YEARS. Now, I know that not all of us have it has bad as Joseph had it. In fact most of us probably don’t have it anywhere close to as bad as he did, but we all have our own challenges. “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him…” Genesis 39:21. As we read the story of Joseph, we see that he acted with integrity no matter what situation he was in: as a young boy tending his father’s flock, as a young man a slave in a foreign country and even as an innocent prisoner. That is what God has been laying on my heart. Am I acting with integrity no matter what situation I am in? Joseph knew that the Lord was with always him, and he clung to that. Even when his situation improved later in chapter 41, “Joseph then answered Pharaoh, “It is not me; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer…

Genesis 39:21, “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him…

As Joseph’s life went on, the Lord continued to bless him. In the end Joseph became the second most important person in Egypt just under Pharaoh himself! God wants us to live with integrity, every situation in our life – Not just when things are good. How do I live my life when I’m content with where I am? How do I live my life when I want what I do not have? Being satisfied with where God has you at every stage of your life should be the goal for all of us. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our Saviour, God is with us just like he was with Joseph. At the very end of the book of Genesis, before Joseph died he said to the same brothers who sold him into slavery, “God will surely take care of you.” After all that is said and done I want to live my life the way Joseph lived his – Trusting in God at every point in his life knowing that his story was not yet finished. Knowing, “What was meant for evil, God used for good.” Genesis 50:20. My story is not yet done and neither is yours! We are all “Joseph’s” in the sense that we are treated unfairly at times. However, we need to strive to have the same attitude and focus on God like Joseph did despite everything that happened.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

What if “Feeding the 5,000” Didn’t Happen that Way?

I’ve recently been reading in the New Testament book of Mark in my Bible. The other day I read the classic story of when Jesus feeds the 5,000 men + women and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish.

MARK 6: 30-44,

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
“How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.”

I have heard and read this passage at least 100+ times in my life. But this time I had a new thought: What if the person that brought the five loaves and two fish didn’t share? What if they kept their food to themselves? I’m not saying that had the person not brought or shared their food, Jesus wouldn’t have been able to perform the miracle. However, Jesus was able to perform this miracle of feeding 5,000 men + women and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish because others were willing. A) The disciples were willing to search the crowd to see if there was food – I can only imagine how long that would’ve taken! B) Someone was willing to share the food they brought for themselves. C) Jesus was willing to trust that His Father in heaven would provide.

Imagine how this moment in history would have gone had the disciples not been willing to search the crowd for food. If someone had not been willing to share the food they brought for themselves. Imagine what isn’t happening in your life because you are not willing to trust your Father in heaven…? It made me think. Obviously we can’t look back at our lives and see what would’ve happened had we done this or that and we can’t see the future. But I think God opened my eyes to see His miracle differently this time around. I want to be willing. I want to be willing to search for opportunities and I want to be willing to let go in order for opportunities to arise. I’m changing my thought pattern to “I want to” to “I AM“.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Actions beat Words.

I have always been a person that pays more attention to someone’s actions more than their words. A couple weeks ago, I got to attend the Christian Youth Workers Conference (CYWC) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a couple other youth volunteer workers along with our church Youth Pastor. It was an eye opening weekend to say the least.

This year I made several New Years Resolutions as I’m sure you’ve heard me tell you over and over. One of the many was that I would be more intentional with my time with Jesus and cultivate growth in my Faith. I want to be used by God. I want to trust God in every aspect of my life. One of the speakers at CYWC said, “You have to take steps of faith in the real world to allow your faith to grow! You have to trust that He has a plan for you, your future, and His mission for you in His Kingdom!” It is SO flipping easy to stay where we are comfortable. But we were challenged by this speaker to ask ourselves often:

AM I BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS?

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:15-23 (NASB)

Focus on that last part: “… He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation…” I know this can be such a “feel good passage” but I truly believe this is God showing us with both His actions and His words how seriously He wants us to take our faith. Yes, we can TALK the “good Christian” talk, but it means nothing if you aren’t representing Jesus with your ACTIONS. If you can’t prove what you profess, your words are empty.

“A disciple validates commitment to Jesus by persevering, continuing and nurturing a growing and sustainable faith.”

I want to encourage you to step up in your faith. Do not allow sin to fester in your life. Lay it at the feet of Jesus and establish yourself in Him. TALK to the Lord about it, and then ASK for His help to ACT on it. We need to focus on becoming more like Jesus everyday and that will not happen if we hold onto sin in our life or chose to not deal with sin. If we are entertaining wrong and thinking that Christ will take you deeper in your relationship with Him – You are tricking yourself. God WANTS to help us ACT. We just read in Colossians that God has already done the work and reconciled us to Him. Jesus has given us the power to overcome any sin in our lives and be free from it. Take hold of that promise from Christ that He is with you and wants to help you. Those thoughts have given me so much peace and hope right now, and I’m clinging to it.

 

 

– Stay Satidfied

 

 

Be Teachable.

I’ve always found the month of January to be the month of evaluation. That might be considered “late” to some people, because I think most people make December their month of evaluation considering that it’s right before the new year actually begins… but I like Christmas too much to do that 🙂 One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to be consistent and read my Bible and devotional book everyday. It’s always been my goal to do so, but this year I’m wanting to read them intentionally; praying before hand that the Lord would open my heart and eyes to help me dive deeper into my faith during my time with Him. Not just read my Bible and devotionals for the sake of saying “yup I got em done…” and not just being able to put my hand up at church when the pastor asks who was able to read their bible every day that week. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I am so encouraged how quickly God asks when we commit ourselves to Him!

Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye, because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting love. I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My presence.” – Jesus Calling.  by Sarah Young

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Friends, 2018 is an untraveled adventure that God has already mapped out! He already knows of your success, your failures, your ideas and achievements, challenges and heartaches. God knows it all. This is a fresh start for Him to work in us and develop us into the people He intended us to be. I am so thankful for that. Society teaches us that we are the ones who chose our own path – I don’t believe that to be truth. “Think positive and positive things will happen” the world tells us. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for thinking positive, but I don’t believe that Christ is confined to our “good vibes”… The Bible tells us in the book of Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” As we go through life and both positive and negative events happen, I believe we need to remain soft heart-ed towards the Lord when things come to pass. We need to be open to the fact that God’s plan is far greater and more complex than we’ll ever know!

I think God watches to see how we react when events unfold. Success happens? Who do you give credit to? Do you become an air head? Or how about when failure happens? Do you get angry and throw a fit? Do you blame others? No matter what happens, there is always an area we can improve in our lives. And understanding this is the first step to allowing yourself to be teachable and moldable by Christ. Allow yourself to be open to Him changing you. No one is perfect, that’s why we need Jesus. All things that have happened in the past and will happen in the future is for a purpose chosen by God. God watches to see how we will handle everything that happens in our day and I believe He will either reward us or teach us based on our reactions.

I want to be teachable. I want to live my life with an open hand knowing that God can give and take as He pleases. I do not want to cling to old ways of life. Old habits. Old routines. I want to have a soft heart towards the Holy Spirit so that I can learn from Christ and over time, become more like my Saviour. New habits and new way of life! I want to be grounded in Christ so that when life happens, My foundation is always strong on Jesus. We cannot change ourselves – True changes happens through Jesus Christ and that is what I want for my life.

– Stay Satisfied