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Motivational Minute: Never Too Late

George Eliot said, It’s never too late to be what you might have been. Life seems to come with arbitrary timeframes for what we are or are not allowed to do at certain points in time. For example, we have to start a family at a certain time, we can only go to school up to a certain age, our career has to follow a particular path at specific times in life, we must retire when we reach a specific age, etc. And, because we carry these pre-established scripts around in our heads, we sometimes miss out on some great, potentially life-altering experiences. To fully enjoy all that life has to offer, we must be willing to break from tradition and imagine possibilities for ourselves that others might view as “not normal.”

For example, a read an inspiring story a while back about a woman who, in her twenties, wanted to be a flight attendant. She had just gotten married and, unexpectedly, found herself pregnant with her first child. Soon after came two more children, causing her to put her dreams on hold. She made the decision to forego her aspirations and, instead, stayed home and raised her children. When the last one left home, she took a risk and applied to flight attendant school. She was accepted and, finally, at age 50, she flew for the first time as a flight attendant, not on a traditional time schedule and not as she originally planned. But because she was willing to step out of her comfort zone, this woman’s dreams came to fruition. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. Take the plunge!

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Noah: Blasphemy or Brilliance?

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Warning: This review contains spoilers

I have read a number of critical reviews of the Hollywood produced film, Noah; some from people who have never seen the film and some from folks who saw saw the film and found it wanting. After reading some of those critiques, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find when I actually saw it for myself – a blasphemous account of a sacred Bible story or an honest attempt to create a storyline from a Bible account that is, in itself, somewhat sparse in detail.

I found the film to be quite interesting, with its fantastical creation of a world wracked with sin, overtaken by the depravity of humankind. Noah is an eclectic mix of drama, science fiction, action, mystery, magic realism, and apocalyptic fiction.

Continue reading

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Motivational Minute: It Only Takes a Minute

I was at a restaurant with a friend and, when the server came to the table to get our drink order, I quite innocently asked her how she was doing. Although she said she was fine, her manner said otherwise, so I pressed a littler further: “Are you sure you’re doing okay?” That’s all it took to open the floodgates. Over the next few minutes, the server opened up to me about some very difficult things she was going through; she even sat down at the table at one point. The conversation was so extensive that my friend asked me how long I had known the server. Of course, I told her I didn’t know the server; I had just met her for the first time.

This encounter, and many others like it, has made me think about just how desperate people are for someone to listen to them, someone to care, someone with whom they can share their heart. It only takes a minute to show kindness to another person. We can never know the difference that kindness may make; for someone, it may be exactly what was needed to make it through the next struggle, the next leg of their journey. Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:1-2). A gesture of kindness only takes a minute, but it can impact a lifetime.

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Motivational Minute: Freedom of Forgiveness

Several years ago, I accomplished a significant task in the workplace, a task for which I never received credit. In fact, the credit was overtly given to someone else who contributed absolutely nothing to the endeavor. I remember, at the time, feeling betrayed, belittled, and even somewhat bewildered that anyone would have the audacity to blatantly lie, through silence, and openly accept credit for something they never did. My initial reaction, of course, was to seek justice for the wrong committed. I talked to the powers that be and expressed my disappointment and disillusionment with a system that could allow something like that to happen. In response, there were superfluous efforts made in the pretense of correcting the error, but never a genuine heartfelt regret over the misinformation and blatant misstep. I carried around feelings of resentment for a while until it became obvious that such a response could harden the heart, create bitterness, and render me ineffective in other areas of my life.

There was only one resolution for this wrongdoing and that resolution had to come from me. Matthew 18:21-22 reads, “…Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” God places no limit on our forgiveness of others and even requires us to do it time and time again until we get it right. He sees the human heart and recognizes just how difficult it is to forgive, especially when the offending party refuses to see and speak the truth. A funny thing happens, though, when we adhere to God’s commands, which tell us to Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians4:32) and further challenges us to …Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Once we understand the power our unforgiving spirit gives over to the offender, we realize the necessity of genuine forgiveness, of a clean conscience. If we wish to reclaim power over our own lives, then we are compelled to do what we know is right – F.O.R.G.I.V.E… It helps to remember that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven. A clean heart is a happy heart.

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Motivational Minute: God’s Got Your Back

Imagine your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere, you have no phone service, and your only option is to knock on whatever doors you can find in hopes that someone will help you. You make your way from door to door, growing weary and frustrated as you’re either turned away or completely ignored. You’re just about ready to give up when, finally, a person not only responds to the knock but also agrees to take you wherever you need to go.

It seems that life sometimes yields similar results. We find ourselves repeatedly knocking on doors only to be disappointed by the outcome. As we move toward a goal, we can only see and respond to the door that’s right in front of us. And when that door remains closed, is only opened for a brief time, or leads to somewhere we hadn’t envisioned, it’s easy to get discouraged and disheartened. Fortunately, though we can’t see the big picture or understand the reasons why things aren’t working out as planned, we have a God who can and who offers us this promise: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13). In other words, God’s got your back, so keep knocking!

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Motivational Minute: Who Am I?

One of my Facebook friends posed the question, How much does your job play into your identity? This is something I’ve thought about many times, as who I am seems to be very connected with what I do. The problem with that is, if what you do changes, so too does your sense of self. When self-image and self-worth are intimately connected to job performance, it’s easy to feel as if you’re not all you should be unless everything in your work life meets the standards you and others have set. For this reason, it’s important to go on a quest to discover who we are as individuals, at our core – apart from work, apart from accomplishments, apart from what we do, and apart from others ‘ evaluation of our performance. Lying beneath the surface, hiding away somewhere, is an individual with inherent worth and value that is not dependent upon output but upon character. Psalms 139:13-15 reads, For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Upon discovery of that ever-illusive self, perhaps we can then answer the question, How much of your identity plays into your job?

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Motivational Minute: God’s in Control

We’ve all experienced times when someone makes a comment to us that is, at the very least, insensitive and, in some instances, downright evil. It’s easy to get caught up in these moments and get hurt feelings, say things that are better left unsaid, or gossip to someone else about that person’s behavior. As prince and power of the air, Satan knows exactly how to push our buttons, how to discourage us, and how to deter us from the things of Christ. All he has to do is turn our attention elsewhere. Ephesians 6:12 says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. When we recognize that the battle we’re fighting is with a being whose very purpose is …to prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), we finally understand exactly how, as believers, we are to respond to these hurtful situations. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:11-17). When the one who rules over this earth seeks to devour us, we can turn to the One who has the power to defeat him. We don’t have to go it alone!

God’s Not Dead: He Stands at the Door and Knocks…

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According to our current administration, America is “no longer a Christian nation,” at least not exclusively. Instead, we have morphed into all things to all people – a mix of Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, and non-religious, with a hint of Christianity tossed in for good measure. This revelation comes as a surprise to many who still believe that America’s foundation is and has always been rooted in Judeo Christian values. And, from the number of faith-based films making their way to the big screen, it appears Hollywood missed the memo as well. Continue reading

Listening to the “Littles:” Lessons of a Lifetime

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life is a balance

I think there are times in life when things just don’t seem to go quite as you had planned or envisioned. I’m at one of those places in my own life as I watch my children one by one disappear from my household. So many people have said things to me over the years like, “Don’t worry, there’s life after children;” “You’ll really enjoy it once you’re kids are grown and you have time to yourself;” “The best is yet to come;” yada, yada, yada. While it’s obviously true that there is life after children, I find myself wondering if it’s a life I would enjoy. Continue reading