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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We Are Spiritual Beings Full of Promise!

The mind in its natural state can be compared to the sky, covered by layers of cloud which hide its true nature Kalu Rinpoche

Finding Your Purpose

Most people struggle with three basic issues in life. The first is identity: “Who am I?” The second is importance: “Do I matter?” And the third is impact: “What is my purpose in life?” Over the years, I’ve noticed that even many couples serving together in ministry often struggle with clarifying these issues. But the answers are found in understanding God’s five reasons for creating you and putting you on earth.

God’s purpose for your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It will last longer than your family, your ministry, or even your dreams and ambitions. To know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point – ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like: “What do I want to do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for my future?” Focusing on yourself will never reveal your life’s purpose because the Bible says in Job 12:10, “It is God who directs the lives of His creatures; everyone’s life is in His power.”

How then do you discover the purposes that you were created for? You only have two options. Your first option is speculation. This is what most people do. They conjecture, they guess, they theorize.

Dr. Hugh Moorhead, a professor of philosophy at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 of the best known writers, philosophers, scientists, and intellectuals in the world, asking them, “What is the meaning of life?” He then published their responses in a book. Some offered their best guesses, some admitted that they just made up a purpose for life, and others were honest enough to say they were clueless. In fact, a number of famous intellectuals asked Professor Moorhead to write back and tell them if he discovered the purpose of life!

Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life. It’s revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in His Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: ask God.

God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. He has clearly revealed His five purposes for our lives through the Bible. It’s our owner’s manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. The Bible says in 1 Cor. 2:7, “God’s wisdom… goes deep into the interior of His purposes… It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest – what God determined as the way to bring out His best in us….”

God is not just the starting point of your life; He is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths. Ephesians 1:11 says, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.”

This verse gives three insights into your purpose:

  • You discover your identity and purpose through your relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about Him. He planned your life before you existed, without your input! You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don’t get to choose your purpose.
  • The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity.

Because of the brevity of this article, let me suggest five questions that will help you get started in thinking about God’s purposes for your life. I urge you to set aside some time to seriously think about the answers to these questions. They will affect not only the rest of your life, but your eternity.

Life’s Five Greatest Questions

1.  What will be the center of my life?

This is the question of worship. Whom are you going to live for? What are you going to build your life around? You can center your life on your career, your family, a sport or hobby, money, or many other activities. These can all be good things, but they don’t belong at the center of your life. None is strong enough to hold you together when life starts breaking apart. You need an unshakable center.

In 2 Chron. 14:4, King Asa told the people of Judah to “center their lives in God.” Actually, whatever is at the center of your life is your god! If you have committed your life to Christ, He moved into the center, but you must keep Him there on a daily basis. How do you know when God is at the center of your life? When He’s at the center, you worship. When He’s not, you worry. Worry is the warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline of your life. The moment you put Him back at the center, you’ll have peace again. Philippians 4:7 says, “A sense of God’s wholeness… will come and settle you down”. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

2.  What will be the character of my life?

This is the question of discipleship. What kind of person will you be? God is far more interested in what you are than what you do because you are going to take your character into eternity, not your career. Make a list of the character qualities you want to work on and develop in your life. You might begin with the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23 or the Beatitudes of Jesus in Matt. 5:3-12.

3.  What will be the contribution of my life? 

This is the question of service. Knowing your combination of spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences (your S.H.A.P.E.), what would be your best role and how can you make a difference? To be balanced, you need both a “ministry” to believers and a “mission” to unbelievers. You serve in both the church and the world. What will be your ministry in the Body of Christ?

While you’re shaped to serve others, even Jesus didn’t meet the needs of everyone while on earth. You must choose whom you can best help, based on your shape. You need to ask “Whom do I have a desire to help most?” Jesus said in John 15:16a, “I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last.” Each of us bears different fruit.

4.  What will be the communication of my life?

This is the question of your mission in the world. God not only has a mission for your life, He has a unique life message that He wants to speak to the world through you. Who needs to hear your unique story of faith? If you’re a parent, part of your mission is to raise your children to know Christ, to help them understand His purposes for their lives, and to send them out on their mission in the world.

Of course, our lives must support the message we communicate. Before most unbelievers accept the Bible as credible, they want to know that we are credible. That’s why the Bible says in Phil. 1:27 “Be sure that you live in a way that brings honor to the Good News of Christ.”

5.  What will be the community of my life?

This is the question of fellowship. How will you demonstrate your commitment to other believers and connection to the family of God? To which church family will you be joined as a functioning member? The more you mature, the more you’ll love Christ’s body and want to sacrifice for it. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave His life for it.”

 What Will God Say?

I once heard the suggestion that you develop your life purpose statement based on what you’d like other people to say about you at your funeral. Frankly, that’s a bad plan. At the end of your life, it isn’t going to matter what other people say about you. The only thing that will matter is what God says about you. 1 Thessalonians 2:4b says, “Our purpose is to please God, not people.”

One day, God will review your answers to these life questions: Did you really put Jesus Christ (not your ministry) at the center of your life? Did you develop His character? Did you devote your life to serving others? Did you communicate His message and fulfill His mission? Did you really learn to love His family, the Church? These are the only issues that will count. As Paul said in 2 Cor. 10:13, “Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us.” This is what purpose-driven living is all about.

Today’s article was written by Rick Warren and is shared from the following website: http://justbetweenus.org/faith/spiritual-growth/finding-your-purpose/

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Your Thoughts Become Your Reality

Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality Robin S. Sharma

Your mind is very powerful. Yet, if you’re like most people, you probably spend very little time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about thinking?

But, the way you think about yourself turns into your reality. If you draw inaccurate conclusions about who you are and what you’re capable of doing, you’ll limit your potential.

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings And Behavior

Your thoughts are a catalyst for self-perpetuating cycles. What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave. So if you think you’re a failure, you’ll feel like a failure. Then, you’ll act like a failure, which reinforces your belief that you must be a failure.

I see this happen all the time in my therapy office. Someone will come in saying, “I’m just not good enough to advance in my career.” That assumption leads her to feel discouraged and causes her to put in less effort. That lack of effort prevents her from getting a promotion.

Or, someone will say, “I’m really socially awkward.” So when that individual goes to a social gathering, he stays to in the corner by himself. When no one speaks to him, it reinforces his belief that he must be socially awkward.

Your Beliefs Get Reinforced

Once you draw a conclusion about yourself, you’re likely to do two things; look for evidence that reinforces your belief and discount anything that runs contrary to your belief.

Someone who develops the belief that he’s a failure, for example, will view each mistake as proof that he’s not good enough. When he does succeed at something, he’ll chalk it up to luck.

Consider for a minute that it might not be your lack of talent or lack of skills that are holding you back. Instead, it might be your beliefs that keep you from performing at your peak.

Creating a more positive outlook can lead to better outcomes. That’s not to say positive thoughts have magical powers. But optimistic thoughts  lead to productive behavior, which increases your chances of a successful outcome.

Challenge Your Conclusions

Take a look at the labels you’ve placed on yourself. Maybe you’ve declared yourself incompetent. Or perhaps you’ve decided you’re a bad leader.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to allow those beliefs to restrict your potential. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.

The good news is, you can change how you think. You can alter your perception and change your life. Here are two ways to challenge your beliefs:

• Look for evidence to the contrary. Take note of any times when your beliefs weren’t reinforced. Acknowledging exceptions to the rule will remind you that your belief isn’t always true.

• Challenge your beliefs. Perform behavioral experiments that test how true your beliefs really are. If you think you’re not good enough, do something that helps you to feel worthy. If you’ve labeled yourself too wimpy to step outside of your comfort zone, force yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.

With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. When you give up those self-limiting beliefs, you’ll be better equipped to reach your greatest potential.

This article was written by Amy Morin who is a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. This article was shared from the following website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/06/15/this-is-how-your-thoughts-become-your-reality/#32aac67a528a

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Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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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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