Trusting in the Lord

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God Corrie Ten BoomPeople going through tough times often wonder, Why is God letting me go through this? Is there a point?That was me in seventh grade. At the time, I thought it was the worst year of my life. Anybody who knows me has heard me say that. But now I know better.

Without that year, I would not be who I am today.

I am a missionary kid (or MK). I have lived in the Czech Republic, the second most atheistic nation in the world, since I was 4-years-old. I’m naturally shy so it’s tough for me to make friends. But to make matters worse, I was growing up in a foreign country, where I didn’t fully know the language and where every kid I met thought Christianity was the dumbest thing on the planet. Let’s just say I felt like there was no hope for a close friend.

And then it all got worse. We moved to California for a year before returning to the Czech Republic. I had no idea what living in America was like, and now I had to attend seventh grade there. Sure, I’d been to America once during our missionary service. But it was for four months. Now, I was going to go to school there. I had no idea what Abercrombie was, who Rihanna was, or even how to relate to American kids.

I knew from the very first day at school that things were very different from the Czech schools. People talked differently, dressed differently, acted differently, and even thought differently. I did not fit in, and I didn’t know how to fix that. I was doomed to be the class outcast, the weirdo of seventh grade. And I was. The many insults that I received hurt deeply.

I had been taught all my life about God and Christianity. But before my seventh grade year, God was kinda just there—not really doing anything. He was like wallpaper. But now, I was broken. I was spiritually hungry and thirsty. I thought that if God couldn’t help me, no one could. One day, I opened my Bible and Psalm 31 stared back at me: “For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord. … In the shelter of your presence you hide [those who fear you]; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. … You heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help” (NIV).

I knew it was no coincidence my Bible fell open to this psalm. I devoured the passage and literally felt a hunger for more. Through his Word, God showed me that I was not alone, and that I just had to trust in him to make the best of it. When I gave him my whole heart, my life opened up. He gave me joy for each new day. He helped me find a few friends around the school and taught me how to let him be my Best Friend. He gave me many opportunities to live out the instruction to turn the other cheek. Life was still very hard. I still cried myself to sleep a lot. Some of what the kids at school said still wounded me badly. But, still, things were different.

I knew that God had a plan, that he had a reason for all the pain and strife I was going through. I didn’t know what he was planning, but who am I to argue with the God of the Universe? I couldn’t see it then, but as I look back now, God has revealed how he used me that year. For instance, there were several students in my class who came from a different country or whom nobody liked. I realize that, with my experience with living in a different culture and being the social outcast, I was the ideal person to reach out and relate to them.

I noticed lessons of that year when we moved back to Czech. I began eighth grade in yet another new school and I had to make new friends all over again. In America, I’d learned how to stand up for myself, how to make a good yet truthful impression, how to laugh at my mistakes, and how to overcome most of my shyness.

Needless to say, I had a very enjoyable eighth grade year. Since then, too, my life has been much more rewarding. With less shyness, I have been able to act in my school’s plays and participate in more group activities. God has blessed me with close friends who encourage and strengthen me. He has shown me how to be a better friend.

Most importantly, he used that year to draw me closer to him. I could have never imagined this relationship with him two years ago. God surely used the bad for good. James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).

Today’s post was written by Jessica Dagen. Jessica is currently attending high school in the Czech Republic. Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/truelifestories/ithappenedtome/bestandworstyear.html?start=2

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Finding Refuge in the Lord…His Wings of Protection

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint Isaiah 40:30

Just as Isaiah taught, those that wait upon the Lord shall find incredible assistance and protection. What does it mean to wait upon the Lord? Everyone can determine their own meaning but I believe that it is making the Lord a daily part of your life – through prayer, through meditation, through service to others…  I have found that there is a faith that comes and refuge – an inner peace that is abundantly given as I wait upon the Lord. It is a prize that comes with a price but it is a small price which is rewarded with great abundance!

God’s Wings
An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God’s wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.

Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast.

Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” – Psalm 91:4

Story shared from the following website: http://varietyreading.carlsguides.com/christian-stories/wings.php

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Personal Power…Your Potential is Limitless!

When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you Lao Tzu

Living Limitless – An Inspiring Story of Ultimate Human Potential

I was ushered into the auditorium in a wheelchair. Being a tetraplegic (which means paralyzed neck downwards) I cannot move an inch on my own, nor can I do any work without the help of a caretaker. As my caretaker smoothly guided my wheelchair onto the stage, an estimated 500-strong audience broke into applause. I was conducting an inspirational seminar in Mumbai, India for an international IT company. They had certainly been briefed about me, ‘The Positive Man’ – the title given to me by The Times of India. They were curious to know how a 90 percent-paralyzed man completely confined to a wheelchair can inspire or help them in any way. In a split-second, my mind traveled back 16 years, to the accident.

In December 1999, I was in Goa, India with my wife Eesha to welcome the new millennium. That was when I was completely able and traveled internationally for my interior design projects. Deep-sea diving was one of my favorite adventure sports. The spirit of festivity was in the air. We reached my favorite point – a perfect spot for deep-sea diving and soon I was on top of the cliff ready for my dive.

Months passed. I did not die. Something kept me alive, giving me courage even when I had none, soothing my forehead and asking me to relax.

I sprang with a certain experienced acrobatic maneuver towards the sea. 
A couple of seconds later, there was total darkness, only regaining consciousness on a hospital bed, with no track of time. I could only move my head. It was later in the day that the doctor explained the diagnosis – my cervical spinal cord nerves had been entirely pulverized and I was now neck-downwards paralyzed for life.

There was absolutely no cure for my condition and chances of survival were minimal. Even so, I would be living the rest of my life as a vegetable. I was devastated. Totally in denial, I refused to believe that this could happen to me. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was being sucked into an abyss.

Months passed. I did not die. Something kept me alive, giving me courage even when I had none, soothing my forehead and asking me to relax. One thing was for sure. This something was growing bigger and bigger within me, almost becoming a rebel, a stronger voice with each passing day.

“Girish. Wake up. Get out of the abyss. You have come into this world for a purpose. Your accident was not meant to defeat you. Wake up and march ahead. Fulfill your mission. Go inspire a billion hearts. Hope and positivity will spring from your heart and inspire all. You are the Hope Factory. Go, Fulfill -Mission Positive Earth. Touch and light up seven billion lives globally. Remember – the greatest success stories come from people who turn biggest adversities into greatest opportunities.”

Nothing made sense to me. I met the doctor who had given me the defeatist prognosis in my wheelchair. And yes. I did approach him in my wheelchair and told him with a determined and passionate voice. “Doctor. I appreciate your diagnosis. But I refuse to accept your verdict. I will not live like a vegetable for the rest of my life. Rather, I will spread hope, inspiration and positivity in the hearts of millions.”

He stared at me with definite awe. Looking at him, I knew that I had motivated him. A certain sense of confidence started building up inside me – if I can motivate a world-class doctor, I can motivate the whole world. Turning my biggest loss into my greatest strength, I can conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I can accomplish –Mission Positive Earth.

One day, our driver drove my father, my caretaker, and me to Mumbai Central Railway Station, the largest landmark in Mumbai. The newly refurbished interiors unraveled before my eyes. The revamping was planned by me, and executed to perfection by the architects, engineers, and workers. This was one of the 15 international interior designing projects, which I did after my life-changing incident.

My father had wondrously exclaimed, “Hats off to you my son. Handling such a daunting task. In spite of being 90 percent paralyzed. Possible only with willpower, enduring passion, perseverance, and sheer determination, simply because you refused to quit and give up in life.” My heart swelled with pride and gratitude. I felt happy to note that several of my projects had featured in many international architectural magazines.

I must mention here that had it not been for the tremendous moral support of my parents, my sisters and my wife, it would not have been possible for me to keep up the fight. 

However, something was still bothering me. I confided in Eesha – “I am still feeling an emptiness within.” Eesha helped me to see that I wanted to reach out to others. Inspire them to fight against their adversities. Share my own example of resilience, grit and death-defying survival into victory.” Eesha’s words got etched deep in my mind. “Yes,” I acknowledged, “Now it’s time to share my life.
We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living.

However, tragedy was to strike again. Eesha was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a deadly degenerative disease which also has no cure.

 Over the months and years, her condition deteriorated, and she gradually lost 70 percent of her vision and 90 percent of her speech. She too became completely paralyzed neck downward, unable to move even an inch or do anything on her own.

Despite her being completely bedridden for the last nine years of her debilitating condition, we stood stoically beside each other like pillars of support. Rock bottom became the foundation on which we rebuilt our lives.

We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living. I shut down my thriving interior designing business to answer my divine calling – which was to reinvent myself as an inspirational and motivational speaker.

Considering the world as one global family, duly loving and respecting each individual unconditionally, sharing our example of resilience in the face of grueling adversities with everybody and inspiring them to transform from victim into victory and trial into triumph – like a diehard optimist. And though my wife cannot accompany me physically for my seminars, in spirit she is always a part of Mission Positive Earth.

Obstacles actually strengthen our resolve even more. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory.

Looking back at all these incidents today, I feel that every adversity I went through and am still going through is actually a divine plan to prepare me for the bigger challenges lying ahead in the global pursuit of Mission Positive Earth. I also feel that each of us has that powerful voice deep within and that the deepest core of every human being is a field of infinite possibilities.

I was finally beginning to understand what that voice was trying to tell me – “If we human beings realize that all the power we need to succeed is already within us, and if we can channelize this untapped potential, nothing is impossible. In every human being’s heart lies a spark of fire, which lights up in the darkest hour of adversity. All that lies behind us and all that lies in front of us is too little in comparison to what lies within us, and when we realize this, we find that limitations are but imaginary. And if we simply accept this miracle and march ahead with a positive belief in ourselves, we can overcome all our hardships and turn all our dreams into reality.

Obstacles actually strengthen our resolve even more. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory. 
The small seminars at orphanages, old age homes, leprosy homes, home for the blind, non-profit organizations, etc., soon turned into much bigger corporate seminars for multi-national companies and educational institutions (my first corporate seminar being at Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai.) A pulsating burning desire within me broke the shackles of my disabled condition. I – “The Positive Man” – became regular news in the media. I received the Karmaveer Chakra, The Positive Real Life Hero Award, and the MTC Global Top Ten Thinkers Award. But I do not work for awards or honors.

Someone once asked me how much I earn. I replied that my current turnover is a staggering seven billion good wishes and blessings from people all around the world. My real award is when someone tells me – “IF YOU CAN DO IT, SO CAN I”. Yes, I do receive generous donations from big corporations for every motivational seminar that I conduct, most of which I channel towards similar programs for the underprivileged sections of society.

A living is made by what we get, but honestly, life is made by what we give. I sincerely believe in receiving graciously and giving unconditionally. For it is said that our potential is God’s gift to us. And what we do with it is our gift to him. I believe that ultimately the collective energy of billions of humans can achieve anything, including fighting climate change and attaining World Peace. And I am determined to achieve these through my global pursuit called Mission Positive Earth. Sharing these thoughts with people through social media platforms is the main activity of my global mission. Every fiber of my being stands for this noble cause as I believe that total commitment is paramount to reach the pinnacle of success.

Today once again, I set out to touch hearts, inspiring all to live out their highest vision. Because each man is capable of doing more than he thinks he can do. Does it matter that I have lost sensation in 90 percent of my body and my respiratory function is only about 50 percent, that I cannot drink a drop of water on my own or eat a morsel of food on my own, that my four limbs don’t function leaving me completely dependent on my caretaker round the clock, that I have zero control of my bladder and bowels or that if I am neck downwards completely paralyzed ?

What really matters in life is that I am neck upwards wise and positively analyzed. I still have a heart that beats, a soul that feels and a mind that thinks optimistically.

Dear readers – never give up in life or lose hope, as we humans are born to win. And only those who have the strength to overcome are faced with hardships. So don’t run away; don’t escape. Let those hard times ignite the strength within your heart and blow away your adversities. Let us each be grateful and thankful for this wonderful, amazing and priceless opportunity called life. Indeed our I cans, I ams, and I wills are far more important than our IQs.

With this, I take your leave, dear readers, as I commence my seminar: 

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen! What a miraculous journey life is …”

Today’s inspirational story was written by Girish Goggia and is shared from the following website: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/living-limitless-an-inspiring-true-story-of-ultimate-human-potential-bbab/

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We All Need Help…

Never assume that you can make it alone You need the help of the Lord Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with him Gordon B. HinckleyA Pastor’s Act of Kindness Saves Three

The following story is told in more detail by Ilene Wright. Here is my abbreviated version:

Years ago, Ilene’s preacher noticed the family standing in front of him at a New Orleans convenience store did not have enough money to pay for their few items. He tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “You don’t need to turn around, but please accept this money.” The man took the money without ever seeing the preacher.

Nine years later, the pastor was invited to speak at a church in New Orleans. After the service, a man walked up to the preacher and shared this story about how he had come to faith in Christ: “Several years ago, my wife and our child were destitute. We had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in our car. We also lost all hope, and agreed to a suicide pact, including our child. However, we decided to first give our son some food, so we drove to a convenience store to buy him some food and milk.”

“While we were standing in line at the store, we realized that we did not have enough money to pay for these items, but a man behind us asked us to please take the money from his hand and not look at him. This man told us that ‘Jesus loves you.’”

“We left the store, drove to our designated suicide site, and wept for hours. We couldn’t go through with it, so we drove away. As we drove, we noticed a church with a sign out front which said, ‘Jesus love you.’ We went to that church the very next Sunday, and both my wife and I were saved that day.”

He then told the pastor, “When you began speaking this morning, I knew immediately that you were the man who gave us that money.” How did he know? The pastor was from South Africa and had a very distinct accent. He continued, “Your act of kindness was much more than a simple good deed. Three people are alive today because of it.”

A gentle challenge: Maintain your spiritual antennae, remembering that God can multiply the smallest gift many times over.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website:https://christianpf.com/extraordinary-stories-about-giving/

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Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year 2018 Every moment is a fresh beginning T.S. Eliot

Happy New Year Everyone! May this new year be filled with the changes you want and the blessings the Lord desires for you!

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