Archives for January 2017

Drops of Encouragement

Hall's cough drop

Recently I bought an economy-sized bag of Hall’s cough drops and found a pleasant surprise. As I was about to throw away my Hall’s wrapper, I noticed the words “A Pep Talk in Every Drop” and the following:

  • “Don’t waste a precious minute.”
  • “You’ve survived tougher.”
  • “Don’t give up on yourself.”
  • “The show must go on.”

I smiled. What brilliant marketing! What wonderful encouragement! I’m so proud of Hall’s.  I will buy Hall’s cough drops just for this reason.

It made me reflect on two questions:  Who have I encouraged? Who was the last person who encouraged me? 

If a simple cough drop wrapper can make me smile and encourage me, imagine what encouragement precious we can offer someone, even to a stranger.

Encouragement is such a gift. It is even considered to be a “spiritual gift.”

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others; let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him to it cheerfully. “ –Romans 12: 6-8 NIV

A man in the Bible named Barnabas had a knack for encouraging people. In fact, his name means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36).

Have you considered  smiling at the Target cashier and asking how she is?

Have you thanked your mom and dad for raising you and sacrificing so much for you?

How about complimenting the lady in the  Chick-Fil-A with the well-behaved children?

Or what about telling the adorable, little, senior citizen lady in the grocery store how beautiful her scarf is?

It might be the only positive reinforcement or encouragement he/she may get today.

Today is our day to encourage, to be a Barnabas. Be encouraged, friend.

Reflect:

–What is a recent example of someone who encouraged you or who you encouraged? Please comment below.

–How did that encouragement make you feel? Please comment below.

Renew:

–“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” –Romans 15:5 NIV.

–“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11NIV

PS. Today is also a great day to print out my “Creating Your Personal Mission Statement Template,” which is free by simply adding your email address and subscribing to my bi-weekly blog.  My personal mission statement is “Shine,” based on Matthew 5:16.

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The New Year’s Revelation Revolution

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I love the start of a new year. A blank slate. A blank calendar. A year of hope ahead. Redemption.

Then there is the pressure of forming New Year’s Resolutions. As January 2017 approached, I desired for this year to be different. Why are resolutions so hard to keep?

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 36 percent of resolution-makers give up by the end of January. Ouch.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “resolution” as the act or process of resolving: a :  the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b :  the act of answering :  solving c :  the act of determining.

I propose a bolder approach.

Instead of forming resolutions, let’s consider life revelations. What’s the difference?

Webster’s defines revelation as “a :  an act of revealing or communicating divine truth b :  something that is revealed by God to humans.”

A revelation comes from God. A resolution comes straight from us. No wonder my resolutions often fail because they come from my flesh, not necessarily from listening to God.

Let’s start a revolution for the new year.

The minor prophet Habakkuk was in tuned to listening to God. Let’s look at how we can relate Habakkuk with our New Year’s revelations today.   We can change our resolutions to revelations.

In Habakkuk 1 he cried out to God. I love his authenticity, his raw emotion with the Lord.

“’How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?…Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?’”

The Lord listens and answers Habakkuk with a wonderful response.

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

Habakkuk continues to complain and ends it with a declaration:

“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. “ Habakkuk 2:1

‘Then the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2

 That’s one of my favorite leadership verses in the Bible.

The main revelation revolution lessons we can learn from Habakkuk are to:

1)Humble ourselves, pray and cry out to God. Even it seemed like complaining, Habakkuk was totally real when he told God exactly how he felt and asked God questions. God has big shoulders and can handle our big problems, our dreams, our desires. God listens and answers in His way, in His timing.

2) Strategize and write your revelation and plans on paper. Make them succinct enough that you (or anyone else) can understand them. I would encourage you to post them in your home so that you can refer to them often.

3) Be patient, work, and wait as God continues to work in your life on you and making your revelations come to fruition. God’s timing is perfect. He is never too early and never too late.

May Habakkuk’s story inspire us to start a revolution of New Year’s Revelations.

Happy New Year, friend. The best is yet to come.

Reflect:

What revelation is God revealing to you?

Reprinted from the Charleston Mercury  “Carolina Compass” Paperzine, January 2017 edition.

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