Choose Your Fate!

 People are not Prisoners of Fate, but only Prisoners of their own mind Franklin D. Roosevelt

Our lives are created by our own choices…if you feel like a prisoner of your life, what self-limiting belief(s) do you have? Do you believe in your potential? Do you believe in your gifts?

The wonderful truth about life is that we do not have to be held hostage by our past. We can begin each day with a fresh start and each day we can improve!

Creating a new life takes work and it does not come without change, but it is wonderful what we can do with our choices!

As you read today’s story, think about your life. What successes could you experience with an exercise of faith in yourself? I hope you will enjoy!

Fate Is In Your Own Hands

Once upon a time, there was a general who was leading his army into battle against an enemy ten times the size of his own.

Along the way to the battlefield, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory.

The general held up a coin and told his troops, “I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy. If this coin lands with the heads on top, we’ll win. If it’s tails, we’ll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let’s pray wholeheartedly.”

After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin. It landed with the heads on top. The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle with high spirit.

Just as predicted, the smaller army won the battle.

The soldiers were exalted; “It’s good to have the gods on our side! No one can change what they have determined.”

“Really?” The general shows them the coin–both sides of it were heads.

Today’s story shared from the following website: https://withanopenheart.org/2013/07/08/your-fate-is-in-your-own-hands

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Imagination…The Wings Beneath Our Feet

He who has learning without imagination has feet but no Wings Stanley Goldstein

The Hospital Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

-Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.greatest-inspirational-quotes.com/hospital-window.html

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Increase the Positive Energy in the World with Some Praise!

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul   George Henry Adams

It can be difficult to measure the positive benefits of praise. However, I know of one immediate benefit: a smile!

We only have to look as far as our own lives to understand how important praise and gratitude is.

How well do you feel and how happy are you when you are grumpy and angry?

How well do you feel and how happy are you when you feel grateful and blessed?

Now, here’s a recommendation for you that maybe you have never heard before – You need to give yourself encouragement! You are the most important person to give yourself encouragement and praise. When you do, you will be much better at giving others praise and encouragement!

Look for your blessings! Even in the most difficult of circumstances, they are there! Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you have done a good job when you know you have! If you need to make changes, exercise mercy. Tell yourself that you didn’t do the job that you wanted to do but you are determined to do better and better!

We are beings full of energy. We have the choice of being beings filled with love and positive energy or being beings that are resentful, angry and full of negative energy. What do you choose?

I hope you will think about it as you read today’s inspiring article! I hope you enjoy!

5 Benefits of Thanksgiving & Praise

Do you want to strengthen your spiritual life? Do you want to get God’s perspective on the issues you face? If so, then you want to understand thanksgiving and praise in a much deeper way.

Thanksgiving and praise involves more than just speaking lovely words to God.

Thanksgiving and praise means honoring God with your words and allowing those words to agree with what His Word says about Him. It’s means promoting the Lord’s mercy and compassion to those around you by telling them about the great things He has done in your life. And when you do that, it builds you and others up as it blesses the Lord.

Psalm 8:1-2 says, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.”

Then in Matthew 21:16 Jesus quoted that psalm when He said, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (KJV). Notice, He equated praise with strength.

From these scriptures, you can learn how thanksgiving and praise can affect your life.

1.Thanksgiving and Praise Brings God on the Scene

Psalm 22:3 says God inhabits the praises of His people. When you enter into thanksgiving and praise, you invite God’s glory, His presence, to fill your life and your situation. At times of high praise, the Shekinah glory of God will fill the whole place with His sweet presence.

2.Thanksgiving and Praise Puts Challenges in Perspective

As Psalm 8:1 reminds you: “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.” Thanksgiving and praise reminds you just how powerful your God is. He is the creator of all the world and the universe. Nothing is beneath His notice. If He is in your corner, how can you lose?!

3.Thanksgiving and Praise Focuses Your Mind on the Right Subject

When challenges arise, it’s easy to allow them to play on a loop inside your head. But thanksgiving and praise breaks that loop. It helps you to refocus your attention on the One who is greater than every challenge. Just read through King David’s psalms. Time and again he wrote of his troubles and of God’s glorious power. He was refocusing his attention on the One who had all the answers to his troubles.

4.Thanksgiving and Praise Strengthens Your Faith

Romans 4:20 says, Abraham “grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God” (AMPC). As you praise God and speak of His marvelous works, you are reminded of all that God has done, and your faith in God and His plan for you increases.

5.Thanksgiving and Praise Is a Weapon Against the Enemy’s Maneuvers

Psalm 9 says: “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right” (verses 1-4, KJV). When you praise God, your enemies have to turn back. (Read 2 Chronicles 20 for an example of this.)

Look at these elements again. Consider how they can empower and affect your spiritual and physical life if you act on them. Thanksgiving and praise brings God on the scene, puts challenges in perspective, focuses your mind on God, strengthens your faith in Him and allows you to combat negative spiritual forces that come against you. It prepares you to handle the situations in your life with His perspective—remembering that He is in control and that you are prepared to handle whatever comes your way!

Today’s Inspirational article shared from the following website: http://www.kcm.org/real-help/spiritual-growth/learn/5-benefits-thanksgiving-praise

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Looking on the Bright Side of Life…Having a Positive Attitude

If you don’t look for the Bright Side You will probably never find it

If you don’t look for the bright side you will probably never find it – Sheila M. Burke

I often work with people who are trying to improve their lives. Some of them are trying to improve their health and some of them are trying to overcome the pain and fear of previous life experiences. The interesting thing, for me, is that no matter what the life issue they are dealing with – I virtually always see a need for a more positive attitude. When we look on the brighter side of life and have a more positive attitude, we immediately open the door to healing and to solutions.

Think about your own life. Do you have a tendency to think or expect the worst?  Have you bought into the lies that the world tries to convince us of or have you made it a habit to buy into real truth? There is a quote by Thomas S. Monson that says, “Your future is as bright as your faith”. I believe that Thomas S. Monson is right on target.

Having said that, I do not believe that a positive attitude makes life easy breezy and that all problems flee at the thought of encountering a positive attitude. I do believe and have witnessed that a positive attitude makes every problem more bearable and more easily solved.

Think of Thomas Edison and all of his failed attempts at inventing a light bulb.  Thomas Edison never put a number on how many times he was willing to try. With his positive attitude in hand, he simply learned from each failure and kept trying.

If life has been unfair, dwelling on all the ways that you have been wronged will not change the outcome. In contrast. dwelling on all of the things that you can do to live a more positive life, in spite of the unfairness, will yield blessings and a greater amount of God’s light in your life. Who doesn’t want more light and happiness in their life?!!

Today, I share a wonderful story by an anonymous author. I love the lessons contained in it! I hope you enjoy!:

Regret City

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “WISH-I-HAD” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my “baggage,” which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was loaded down with a thousand memories of “what might have been.” No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event — the annual “Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the “Done” family; you know, “Should Have,” “Would Have” and “Could Have.” Then came the “I Had” family. You probably know old “Wish” and his clan. Of course, the “Opportunities” family; “Missed and Lost,” would be present. The biggest family there would be the “Yesterday’s.”

There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Of course, “Shattered Dreams” would surely make and appearance. “It’s Their Fault” family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life. Each story would be loudly applauded by the “Don’t Blame Me” and “I Couldn’t Help It” committee.

To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent “pity parties” COULD be cancelled by ME!

I started to realize that I did not have to be there. And I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: “Starting Again.” I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence. My neighbors, the “Been Forgiven” and the “We’re Saved” are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either. That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

– Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-6.html

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A Believing Heart…Believing in God

In matters of religion, a skeptical mind is not a higher manifestation of virtue than is a believing heart

I’m not going to lie. Somehow, I have always known that there is a God and believed in Him and in His ability to help me. I have sensed Him in my heart and I have seen Him all around me: in nature, in loving relationships, in the solutions to life’s problems that seemed to be handed to me. I know that not everyone has that experience.

Though I know that not everyone believes in God or has a believing heart, I also know that virtually everyone born to this world questions at one time or another if there is a God.

I believe that my life is a testimony of his existence. Even if you exclude my near-death experience, there are just too many “directed” events for me to brush a belief in God under the carpet. If I had never had a near-death experience, I have found the “needle in the haystack” far too many times to ever question God’s existence!

In that light, I share today’s story. I love Marilyn’s story. I also love that she trusted her heart and recognized the tangibly intangible moments that she shared with God. I hope you enjoy!:

How an Atheist Found God

A personal account from an atheist who was convinced no god exists, and what facts led to God.

By Marilyn Adamson

Religious people seemed annoyed by my question, “How do you know that God exists?”

Perhaps they wondered about my motives. Or maybe they had no idea how to answer. Most of their responses were, “Well, you just know.”

I wasn’t trying to be difficult. But I certainly did not “just know.” And I was hoping someone did!

After many months of this, I thought, “Here are the people who say they believe in God, but no one knows why!” It was like learning the truth about Santa Claus. It seemed obvious that God was completely fabricated. Maybe some people needed to believe in God but clearly there was no proof. No objective evidence. I came to the most stark conclusion…God did not actually exist.

I held this belief for years, not expecting it to ever change. But then I met someone who caused me to become interested in the possibility of God. She was caring, kind, and very intelligent. It bothered me that someone that intelligent could believe in God.

She talked about God like he was her closest friend. She was convinced he deeply loved her. I knew her life well. Any concern she would take to God, trusting him to work it out or care for her in some way. She would tell me, quite candidly, that she was merely praying that God would act upon her concerns. For over a year, I regularly saw what seemed to be answers to her prayers. I watched her life through a myriad of circumstances, and her faith in God was unwavering.

So, I wanted to believe in God on one hand, because I admired her life and her love for others. But I couldn’t believe in something against my intellect, against my better judgment. God did not exist. A nice idea, but that was all. Wanting something to be true, doesn’t make it true.

During this time I was developing a personally built philosophy.

I tried something that I’m not sure many people do. Every few weeks, I would study a particular philosopher’s take on life …Nietzsche, Hume, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Plato, etc. and then try to apply it to my own life. I was looking for the perfect, workable philosophy for life. I found over and over, that either their philosophies seemed lacking, or were too impractical to implement. But I kept searching.

I was challenging my friend with every question that came to mind about God. I would find myself writing out questions late in the evening. This went on for well over a year. One day she handed me a book1 that briefly answered questions like, is there a God; is Jesus God; what about the Bible. It presented facts. No comments like, “you have to believe.”

I saw some evidence for God that was solidly logical. The parts particularly convincing to me were the chemical properties of water and the earth’s position to the sun. It was all too perfectly designed, too perfectly put together. My faith in “nothing behind it all” seemed weaker than the possibility of God. I had fewer reasons to be certain of nothing, and more reasons to conclude that God might be there.

I then encountered a situation that fully challenged my current philosophy on life. What I had been putting my faith in proved to be completely insufficient. It shocked me to see that I was at a loss for an approach to life that was fully reliable. However, the situation resolved itself and I moved ahead. I have a pretty steady personality. Throughout my life, I never really felt “needy.” No on-going crisis. No big gaps or struggles. And certainly nothing I felt guilty about.

But the concept of God was something I couldn’t get off my mind….was he there? does he exist? maybe there’s a God…..

One night I was talking to my friend again, and she knew I had all the information I needed. She knew that I had run out of questions to ask. Yet I was still trying to debate. In one clear, abrupt moment, my friend turned to me and said, “You know, I can’t make this decision for you, and God’s not going to wait forever.”

And I immediately knew she was right. I was playing around with a very important decision. So I went home and decided that I was going to decide. I was going to either ask God to come into my life, or I was going to end the subject forever and never allow myself to consider the possibility of God again. I was tired of dealing with this decision. I was tired of thinking about it.

So, for the next three or four hours, I reviewed everything I had read and observed. I evaluated it all.

I concluded that the evidence for God was so strong that it made more sense to believe in God than to believe he wasn’t there. Then I had to act on that conclusion.

I knew that just intellectually concluding God existed, was way too light. It would be like deciding…airplanes exist. Faith in an airplane means nothing. However, if you need to get somewhere and an airplane is the way, you have to decide to act and actually get on the plane.

I needed to make the decision to actually talk to God. I needed to ask him to come into my life.

After a few hours of thought I addressed God, “Ok you win. I ask you to come into my life, and you may do with it whatever you’d like.” (It seemed reasonable to me, that since God exists, God had every right to influence and direct my life, if he wanted to.)

I went to bed and the next morning wondered if God was still there. And honestly, I kind of “sensed” that he was. One thing I knew for sure. I immediately had a huge desire to get to know this God whom I now believed in.

I wanted to read the Bible. When I did, it seemed that God was spelling out who he is and how he viewed this relationship with him. It was amazing. What really surprised me is how often he talked about his love. I hadn’t expected that. In my mind, I was simply acknowledging God’s existence. I had no expectations of him, but as I read the Bible, he chose to communicate his love to me. That was a surprise.

Now, my basic, skeptical nature was still there. The first few months or year, I would ask myself, “Am I really believing in God? And, why am I?” And I would methodically review five objective reasons why I believed God existed. So my “faith” in God did not rest on feelings, but on facts, on reasons.

To me, it’s like the foundation of a building. The facts/reasons support my faith. It’s like someone driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. They can feel whatever they’d like about the bridge. But it’s the construction/design/materials of the bridge itself that allows them to safely get from one end to the other. In the same way, the objective reality of God–the logical, historical, scientific reasons to believe in his existence, are important to me. There are people who don’t seem to need that. But I hate being fooled, and I have little regard for wishful thinking. The substantiating reasons for God’s existence mattered to me.

My Experience, Part 2 – Further Evidence of God

Since that time, now that I’ve been a Christian for a number of years—-why do I now believe in God? What reasons do I have for continuing to believe in God?

I’m not sure any of these are going to be believable to you. But I’ll try to put that concern aside and be candid with you. Previously my questions were about God’s existence. After beginning a relationship with God, I saw additional evidence that God is real. Such as…

1. When I have questions, concerns, or would like insight on a matter, God speaks to me through the Bible. What he shows me is always perfectly suited to my question, and a better, more satisfying answer than I expected. Here’s an example.

One day, my schedule, deadlines, and obligations were crawling up my neck and tightening their hold. You know that feeling when you’re so overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do first?

So I got out a piece of paper and pen, and asked God: “Just tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.” I was fully prepared for shouldering 100% responsibility, and was basically asking God to just set the priorities, tell me how to approach it all, and I would.

I then opened my Bible and immediately read where Jesus was talking with a man who was blind. Jesus was asking him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I read it again. Jesus asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” Rather amazed, I picked up my pen and began writing an entirely different list…to God. This, I have found, is characteristic of God. Reminding us that he is there. That he cares, and he’s capable.

I choose that example because it’s brief. But I could cite hundreds of examples where I was asking God a question and he perfectly, thoroughly answered me. It probably is the characteristic of God that I most appreciate and value–that he is willing to answer my questions.

This isn’t something I learned from other Christians. It’s just how my relationship with God operates. I ask a question, with an attitude that I really want to give him freedom to tell me whatever he wants to….to correct my thinking, to point out an area in my life that isn’t right, to show me where I’m not trusting him, whatever. And he always graciously speaks to me.

2. Similarly, when I need direction for a decision, he gives it. I believe that God cares about our decisions. I believe he has a plan for our lives, that he cares about who I marry, what kind of job I have, and some decisions smaller than that. I don’t believe he cares what toothpaste I buy, or lots of mundane decisions. But decisions that will affect my life or what he wants to accomplish through my life…I think he cares.

When has God given me clear direction?

One time I needed to decide about a trip to the Middle East. There was risk involved, and I was willing to go only if God wanted me to go. It was important to me that I knew what he wanted.

Two different times I asked God about a job. Both times his leading on it was so clear, that anyone watching would have concluded the same. Let me try one thin slice of an example.

During my senior year of college, I had decided to take a job with a Christian organization after graduation, that would require a move to California.

It was Christmas break, and I was now visiting my parents. One evening, I was alone and thinking through a long list of friends. I was wondering who I could talk into moving to California with me to be roommates. One person named Christy, came to mind, who had already graduated and settled in a job in Iowa. I thought she’d be the perfect roommate, but I hadn’t talked to her in several months. Just 30 minutes later, at my parents home, Christy calls me on the phone.

Her first sentence was, “I heard you are taking a job with this Christian organization.” I was floored because I had only told one friend, in Ohio.

Her next statement was, “Ok, I’ve got the pots and pans and dishes.” I said, “WHAT?!” She was moving to the same town in California and was calling to see if I would room with her.

Ok, so you see my point.

You might ask, why such a big deal, to even need God’s help in this decision? I knew that my parents would be completely opposed to this job. I thought it might cost me my relationship with my parents forever. So it was not a light decision. I asked God to guide me toward what he wanted. And he did. There were about ten other events related to this job, just as clear.

Other reasons I still believe in God…

3. In terms of explanations about life–why we’re here, what the purpose is, what is important in life, what to value or strive for–God has better answers than anything I’ve ever read anywhere. I have studied multiple philosophies and religions and other life approaches. What I read in the Bible, what I see from God’s perspective, all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

There is still a lot I’ll read in the Bible and close the Bible saying, “I don’t get it.” So I don’t mean to suggest I fully understand everything in the Bible. Instead, I’m saying that life only makes sense from the perspective of what God has revealed. It’s like reading the operating manual to life on earth, only we are not left to merely follow the manual. The inventor is explaining to us how it all works, and then offers to personally guide us through it, on a daily basis.

4. The intimacy with God is deeper than intimacy with any human being. I say that married, with two children, and tons of very close friends. His love is perfect. He’s incredibly gracious. He takes me right where I’m at, and as I said, speaks to me. He intervenes with actions that leave me amazed as the observer. He is not a belief or doctrine. I see him act in my life.

5. He has done more with my life than I would have done on my own. This is not a statement of inferiority or lack of self confidence. I’m speaking in terms of accomplishments that far exceeded what I ever had in mind. He provides ideas, direction, solutions, wisdom, and better motives than I could aspire to on my own.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.everystudent.com/wires/atheist.html

 

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