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Using Your Dash

“Looking at old tombstones, I can’t help but recognize that entire lives are now reduced before me to two dates and one little dash…

When you think about it, we don’t have control over many things in life. We didn’t get to decide where we were born, who our parents are, or which time period and culture we face. We don’t get to decide the dates on our gravestone. We don’t know when our time on this earth will be up. It could be next week or next year or decades away. Only God knows. Our lives are in His hands. But there is one thing we have a vast amount of control over. We get to decide how we’re going to use our dash…

The psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; [ … ]

A Reward for Doing

“Jesus reveals why you and I can rejoice, even in the worst circumstances. Why? Because there is a direct connection between something you do for Him on earth and something “great” He will do for you in heaven.

Notice that Jesus describes it as a reward for doing, which would distinguish it, for example, from a gift you receive for believing. Also, the reward is specifically and personally yours if you behave in one way, but is not yours if you behave in another (for example, if you ran away under the pressure of persecution).

You see, Jesus isn’t asking you and me to enjoy misery on His behalf. Instead He’s saying that the consequences in heaven for certain actions on earth will be so wonderful that simply knowing they’re coming—and knowing that they will be great—can transform how [ … ]

The Creator’s Rhythm

“Nature gives us the unexpected, but it also gives us rhythm. When God created the world, He designed the sun to rise in the east and set in the west at basically the same times each day, allowing for the seasonal changes. We can depend on our Creator for this rhythm day after day, week after week, year after year, as it has been since the beginning of time.”

Excerpted from Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall

Daily Reflection: When was the last time you took a step back to appreciate the steadfastness of God through the beauty of His creation?

Modern Miracles

“People ask why so many miracles occurred in ancient days but not in our present time. I contend that there are just as many miracles occurring today, in the lives of ordinary people. But I also assert that most of us don’t look for miracles, don’t recognize them for what they really are, and don’t really believe them to be of divine origin even if their miraculous nature is noticed.”

Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

Daily Reflection: What miraculous things have you seen God do recently, even though they may have been small?

Living a Joyful Life

“Live a life that truly thrives, one that constantly capitalizes on God-given joy.

Let me urge you again to strive for this joy—not just for your own sake but also for others in your life, such as your spouse, friends, colleagues, and especially your children. It’s the only life you’ll ever have. And no one can live it for you. It matters not if you have a thousand excuses for why your life isn’t joyful. At the end of the day, it’s far better to have a good life than a good excuse!”

Excerpted from The Seasons of God by Richard Blackaby

Daily Reflection: How do you impact those around you with your joy?

Forgiving Yourself

“When you are unforgiving toward yourself, it often yields a sense of isolation. You tell yourself that if you can’t forgive yourself, neither can anyone else, including God. But you are not alone. Jesus is with you in the fiery furnace. You will need to go to God to deal with the messages you keep sending yourself—the ruminations. You need to recognize up front how you might be making the problems worse. Decide to deal with it. Today you will begin the path to forgiving yourself.”

Excerpted from Moving Forward by Everett L. Worthington, Jr.

Daily Reflection: What is one thing you have trouble forgiving yourself for, and how can you turn it over to the Lord?

Tend Your Soul

“Saphora put the Bible beside her pocketbook and turned out the light. She lay in the dark listening to nothing at all. Even Luke was not digging. The river creatures had fallen quiet as if the earth were taking a big pause. As if waiting for her to notice that all these years, in spite of her occasional prayers, she’d neglected a part of herself— a connection to God. Maybe the soul needed to be tended the same as the mind or the body. Or else what was real crowded out what could be.

Excerpted from The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

Daily Reflection: Are you tending your soul as well as you tend your mind and body?

The Time to Decide

“We came across a newspaper story about a World War II vet named B. J. “Bernie” Baker who was told he was dying of bone cancer. Given only two years to live, he told the doctors to fight the disease with everything possible. “Give me the treatments,” he said. “I’ll keep living my life.” Meanwhile he and his wife found time for a motor-home drive to Alaska, a fishing excursion to Costa Rica, and several trips to Florida.
Nine years after the diagnosis, he was struggling with shortage of breath and loss of strength but said, “I’m going to keep fighting. Might as well.”

Those words were not said in resignation. They were the words of a fighter, a real man, a man who had faced bombs and machine-gun fire in the South Pacific before returning to America [ … ]

Let go of performing

“Kingdom life thrives also in the beautiful ordinary, not just when we’re doing ministry or working at a church.

If you’re a writer, let God use your interests and abilities to grow His kingdom in you and through you. That doesn’t require that you write only about Jesus or put a fish symbol on your manuscript. It means that you write as one who lives for and in another dimension.

If you’re a businessperson, don’t bow your knee to fame, money, or making a name for yourself. Instead, excel in your area of expertise so that people can see what good, true, and beautiful business looks like.

If you’re a musician, architect, stay-at-home mother, or the guy with the burrito cart in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the kingdom of God is here and is inviting you to collaborate with what God [ … ]

Your Love Story

“How do you fill your life and your mind with God-talk? The Bible is full of life-affirming messages. It is, at its heart, a love story. It is a story of a loving God, who created you to love you and be loved by you. Like every great love story, there is a separation, which must be overcome by terrible sacrifice. Through God’s sacrifice of his Son, Jesus, you are able to confidently say, ‘I can live happily ever after.’

As good as these affirmations are, however, they must be supported by action. Positive self-talk and an acknowledgement of God-talk must be done even if you don’t feel like it. Affirmations are action based not emotion driven.”

Excerpted from Turning Your Down into Up by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD

Daily Reflection: When was the last time you thanked God [ … ]