Not Later, Now!

More Isn't the Answer

We were pond side.  A volunteer at the nature center showed us a tiny turtle.  She claimed to have found the SAME one twenty times that month.  I had never found one.  I asked her if maybe she’d found twenty different ones.  Silence.

We all have a tendency to think nothing ever changes.

Maybe we’re wrong.

Jeremiah wrote, “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:23).

We are greeted with new burdens each day, fresh ones, but there is also abundant grace to meet them.

God put that in there to remind us that no two days are ever alike, but one thing is sure, he is faithful and there is abundant grace available.

He wants us to know that everyday offers a fresh chance.  Opportunities to make new, better choices abound.

We keep thinking we’ve found the same turtle.  We keep thinking we’ve awakened to the same relationships.  Possess the same health.  Work the same job.  We’re wrong.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  God is faithful and merciful.

Like most, you probably want something new.  Something fresh.  You want your partner to change.  You want to change, to grow.  You can.  God is merciful and he can give you the strength you need.

Jeremiah wrote his words in tears in the pouring rain.  He was experiencing the night of the soul.  It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong.  He wrote before and while his people were taken into Babylonian captivity.  He urged the people do deal peacefully with those God had used to chastise them.  He encouraged them to trust God despite their circumstances.

Don’t wait to start feeling better.  Get better right now.  You don’t need another degree to feel better, or a million dollars.  Everything doesn’t have to get fixed before you can feel better.  His mercies are available right now!  Today.  At this moment.  God has all the mercy you’ll ever need, all the time.  Yes, not even though you’ve fallen on your face, but because you have.

The only thing possibly keeping you from newness is that you lack a game plan and a plan to take massive action.  You also need a change of mindset.

Pray, “Lord, help me to see this situation with fresh eyes.”

“Give me the courage to trust you and the desire to take action on the things you show me.”

Imagine if we let our loved ones off the hook the way God let us off the hook and offered them mercy the way God offers us mercy?

Imagine if we offered a co-worker another chance and another?

Imagine if we focused on what we have and not on what we don’t have?

Imagine if we accepted the common place as a fresh, new gift each day?

Everything is new everyday.  You’ve never been this old, and you’ll never be this young again.

I guess it had never occurred to the girl at the nature center that more than one tiny turtle lived in the same pond.

But there are lots of miracles and often they congregate in the same place.  

Life truly is amazing if you think about it.  What do you think?


Good In, Garbage Out

The Power of New

8:59 a.m. The Corvette in front of me stopped at the gate and I got out to see what time the Dump opened. The guy in the Vette turned out to be the manager who was opening the gate for the day. Perfect timing. It reminded me of the following principle.

Good in, garbage out.

I see this principle everywhere.

In the picture above.  Clean, fresh, running water displaces stagnant water.

Take the body for example. It takes in clean, fresh, oxygen and breathes out waste- carbon dioxide.

Digestion. The body takes in fresh, healthy food and gets rid of the waste.

Relationships. We associate with healthy people and disassociate with toxic people.

Again, this is a principle easily seen throughout the world.

The rub is when we keep gathering good things and never get rid of them.

As simple as the principle of good in, garbage out is, we all have a tendency to hold onto unhealthy habits, relationships, attitudes, etc.

Tomorrow we think to ourselves. Next week. Next year. The next time my co-worker is offensive, I’m going to speak up. The next time I feel like binging, I won’t. I’ll throw out that thing that’s damaging my soul, tomorrow. I’ll end that relationship next week.

Paul wrote: “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Sometimes health means getting rid of the old and focusing on the new.

Things like self-limiting beliefs.





Eating habits.

Social habits.

You can probably think of a few of your own.
I’m reminded of my grandmother who never got her license because her father criticized one move when she was learning to drive.

Remember, good in, garbage out.

Sometimes you may even find your self in a situation where you are just taking garbage in.

If that’s the case, there’s still time to change.

Maybe it’s things that are keeping you back. Always remember that people are more important than things. Yet it’s so easy to forget that and focus on what you have, need or want.

Eventually you get all you can, can all you get and sit on the can.

Then there’s the maintenance of all that you have. Jesus talked about this. He commanded us to store up treasures in heaven where there are no thieves to break in to destroy, moths to devour and rust to corrupt and tarnish.

If you’re not careful, you can get so caught up in materialism that it will suffocate you.

Mind you, I realize it’s a common disease in the West. I’m fully aware how crippling it can be and all-consuming.

Perhaps it’s time to whittle down some of your personal possessions. If you have two coats, give one away. Twenty pairs of shoes, donate ten.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting rid of some things that are no longer useful and are just taking up space.

Keep a piece of paper and a pen handy for a couple of days and every time you find yourself thinking about and worrying about physical things, write it down.

People. Is there someone in your life who is nothing more than a vampire? Why are you allowing them to suck the life out of you and your family or organization. Maybe it’s time to end the relationship. Some people, no matter how hard you try, are ever going to change.

Don’t go and unfriend someone just because they disagree with you. But if they are a troll, who is constantly cutting you down, do something about it. Have the uncomfortable conversation. Detach. Whatever you have to do to get rid of the garbage that’s filling up your life because of their unhealthiness.

Reading. One of the best ways to fill your mind with fresh thoughts are books. If you can’t afford them, there is always the local library. With a library card, you’ll have FREE access to unlimited supplies of magazines, books and DVDS.

Any book that gives you just one single revelation is easily worth it’s price. The person you’ll be five years from now will be the direct result of the the books you read and the people you spend the most time with.

Look for a book that addresses your major pressure points at this moment.

Remember, good in, garbage out.

Are you broke? Get a book on finances. Depressed? Get a book that will give you some strategies to feel good again. Overweight? Get a book on diet and exercise.
The first book you’ll want to read is the bible. There are tons of free versions online. You’ll find that there’s just something about it. It has a natural tendency to fill you with good and while displacing the garbage.

The trip to the dump was a success. I got rid of a bit of junk and now I’ll be able to create some safer, tidier areas in my personal living spaces, especially the garage. It only took a small amount of time and I’ll be enjoying the results for quite some time…months and maybe years.

So. If we’ll take a few minutes here and there, we can begin to take in some good and get rid of some garbage. We don’t have to go to extremes or buy the farm. Small, sound decisions over time have a snowball effect. Sometimes it means simply washing a dish or two or sweeping the floor.

One small, simple action, is sometimes all it takes to get the ball rolling and move in a healthier direction and go the distance.

When Something’s In The Way

Change Doesn't Have To Be Crazy

Life can be really messy. Especially when it comes to making a change. Some people don’t mind change as long as they know how every thing is going to work out. Unfortunately, you don’t always know.

I’m talking about a change I’ve made in the recent past. There were many uncertainties. However, it seemed like the best thing to do.

In my own experience, the right choices don’t always look good on paper. You know what I mean if the change you are considering means a cut in pay or some setbacks for a while.

The good news is that sometimes things work out better than you could have ever imagined. So here’s a principle.

There’s always an obstacle between where you are and where you want to go.

Most people are not willing to take the chance. The ones who do prosper.

If you’re not taking any risks whatsoever, chances are you are at risk.

There’s the risk of dying inside. The risk of never knowing what could have been. The risk of missing out. The risk of being devoured because….well, you’re not taking any risks.

I’m not saying you should play Russian Roulette with your finances, relationships, spiritual life or anything else for that matter.

But you might want to reconsider if there’s a change you feel God wants you to make. If there’s a change that will benefit you and your family. A change that will advance your spiritual life.

The reason I say this is because if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to get the same results.

As I said earlier, I took a chance that seemed right and it is paying off in Spades. It multiplied my circle of friends tenfold. Increased my income. And allowed me to have the kind of life I only dreamed about for twenty years.

That’s not saying any of those things are going to happen if you make the change you’ve been considering.

However, there is a good chance that the change you’re considering will make a difference. In your life and the lives of others.

Remember, there’s always an obstacle between where you’re at and where you’re trying to go.

Be it a Giant. A river without a bridge. A dream without a template. Heaven without a stairway.

You have to kill the Giant. You have to figure out how to get your troops across the raging waters. You have to devise the plan to make the dream come true and initiate it. You have to build the escalator to the heavens.

That’s actually the fun part. Life without a challenge would be a bore. You can stay at your current level with the rest of the crowd or break out and climb higher. It’s your choice.

But I promise you that the best way to get the results you’re getting is to stay exactly where you are. And eventually things are going to change anyway. That’s the natural cycle. So you can work to move beyond your current status or be swept downstream eventually by change.

Here are some questions.

If you just keep making enough to pay your bills do you think you will ever have enough to do the things you really want to do?

If you don’t put your self in situations where you are around more people, do you think your circle of friends will ever increase?

If you remain in your comfort zone, do you believe you’ll ever be challenged to grow?

Good questions, right?

If you’re satisfied with the results you’re getting, so be it. However if the reverse is true, you’re going to need to make a change.

The reason we don’t like change is because we have to walk from this room to the room down the hall and we’re afraid it’s going to be dark in the hall and big scary, furry monsters are going to jump out and get us.

Jesus didn’t refer to humans as sheep by accident. Sheep are fearful animals. So are we, sometimes.

As you navigate your current dark hall, here’s a verse for you.

God’s your Guardian,
    right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
    sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil,
    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
    he guards you now, he guards you always.
-Psalm 121: 5-8 (The Message)

Maybe, just maybe the change you are contemplating is of God. Perhaps it’s something he’s been preparing you for and orchestrating for a while now. You’ll never know unless you strike out into new territory.

However, don’t feel like you have to bet the farm. Rather, take a flyer. By that, I mean, take a small step in the direction you are considering and see what happens. Think of it as temporary, not permanent. Don’t quit your day job.

Everyone seems to think you have to do something radical to make a change. That’s not true. Take a baby step. Rather than upping your 401k deduction to 10%, try 2% for a while.

Keep your full-time job and try working the job you’re interested in part-time.

Volunteer 1 hour a week before you agree to 5.

Instead of trying to save $100.00 a week, start with ten.

You don’t have to slay the Giant on the first day. You can practice sharpening your sword.

You don’t have to cross the river the first day. Start by finding some logs to tie together.

You don’t have to have a successful non-profit the first day. Begin by narrowing your target and getting something down on paper.

You don’t have to take everyone to the next level tomorrow. For today, simply write down 5 things you can do to change your culture.

But whatever you do, do something. Take some kind of action. Otherwise you’ll never make any progress. That’s fine if you want to be in the same boat five, ten or twenty years from now. However, if you don’t, start today. Again, don’t worry about going all in. You can always do that later.