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Monday, October 27 2014

“The difference between winners and losers isn’t that old patterns of failure stop coming up. It’s that we don’t buy into them.

Tamara Star

Good morning, friends!  Is your week off to a great start?  I sure hope so, and if not, you still have plenty of time to turn it around!

Habit.  No word may better describe our human condition.  We are creatures of habit.  But do we direct our habits, or are we dictated to by our habits?

“Winners” and “losers” are not labels I like.  Everybody wins sometimes and everybody loses sometimes.  Bobby Cox, a Hall of Fame manager for the Atlanta Braves, had a career record of 2,504 wins, 2001 losses, and that made him great!  He simply won a bit more than he lost.  He affected his ratio; he directed his habits.  People known as winners tend to constantly course correct, directing habits towards success.  Are you busier labeling yourself, or course correcting to direct your habits to success?

We all live in a pattern of comfortable habits, recycling patterns over and over.  When you look at your past success and failures they were not events; they were results of reinforced and recycled patterns.  If you desire success, and I’m sure you do, you cannot avoid failure.  What you can do is recognize your patterns and habits, course correct, and maximize successes while minimizing failures.  As the quote suggests, there is no doubt old patterns will resurface.  The choice of today is: will you buy into the old pattern, or will you recognize its outcome and use it to your advantage for success?  You truly have more power over your life than you think.  I challenge you to take charge of yourself.  Experience the successes you already are!  And have a great week!

Matthew 21:28-31

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 20 2014

The spider doesn’t quit. The spider doesn’t curl up in a ball, cry, take an office job in some cubicle, and refuse to build another web. He starts all over again, and he creates another glorious, intricate web. Each spider will do this repeatedly until he finds a spot where the web is welcome, and the spider can thrive.
— Katie Craig

Good morning, friends!  I hope life has surprised you with a special blessing this morning.  If not yet, keep your eyes open… one is right around the corner.

I love spiders.  Not up close, mind you, but observationally.  They are fascinating creatures.  I especially love to observe their opportunism.  They create webs in the most amazing places to catch prey unawares.  And I have yet to understand how a web can be created between two structures 10 or 15 feet apart, or more.

But for every spider web you see there are no doubt scores for that spider that have been destroyed.  That is life for the spider.  It’s also life for you and me.  I’ll bet right now you are either just over, in the middle of, or just beginning a plan or project that will fail.  It may not be the major project of your life, or it may be.  It can be anything.  The point is that we all are constantly in motion in life with various plans, projects and ideas, many of which will never come to fruition.  And the bigger the plan, the greater the disappointment.  I’ve had them; I’m sure you have, too.

Let’s take our cue from the spider.  That web you’ve been building for months or years, that special thing you’ve had in the works forever, that idea that’s been baking in you and is just about to be done, when it bombs pick yourself up again and start all over.  If you learned something, put it to use.  Just don’t be defeated by defeat.  The only thing that can stop you from reaching your thriving place is you, and that only if you quit looking, trying, and rebuilding.  Be strong today and everyday, and work to create new thriving places.  You’ll thank yourself tomorrow!  I believe in you today!  Have a great week.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 13 2014

Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.


Good morning, friends!  It’s great to connect with you again this week.  Let’s start the week with energy!

Recall the last genuinely difficult challenge you faced.  Was your mind a help or a hindrance?  Probably a bit of both.  While our minds can be blessings, when we face life obstacles we tend to create mental walls, moats, roadblocks, etc. to justify failure.  Failure is easier to accept if we see it coming a mile away.

Yet how many times (most if we are honest!) are those walls made of marshmallows, or those moats dry as bones, or those roadblocks molehills instead of mountains???  The justifications are merely manifestations of fear, and the obstacles are false distractions from the issue.  Once faced objectively, difficulties typically have reasonable paths to solution.  Those paths may require change, or great effort, or even loss, but solutions are typically less impossible than our minds make them out to be.

Let’s accept that our minds will play tricks on us in challenging, stressful times.  But let’s not surrender to the tricks; let’s see them for what they are and bust through the marshmallows, walk across the dry bones, and step over the molehills on our way to solutions.  The solution may not be easy, but it’s rarely as hard as we imagine it to be.  Are you stronger than a marshmallow???  I know you are, so tackle that big challenge today!  I have faith in you!  Have a great week.

John 16:31-33

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 07 2014


When you hold resentment toward another (person), you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
— Catherine Ponder

Greetings, friends!  I hope the new g-mail system worked for you last week.  Of course, if you didn't get it, how would you know???!  Here's hoping its working!

I’ll bet if you looked back at my history of Encouraging Words I’ve written a bunch about forgiveness, and for good reason.  Forgiveness is important stuff, and I want you to be free, truly free.  You’ll never get there until forgiveness rules your spirit.

I know.  I have forgiveness issues, too.  I would never suggest forgiveness is easy; it isn’t.  It’s a struggle, every day, but only if we struggle against the enslavement of resentment, anger, bitterness, and pain.  Don’t struggle and there is no (apparent) problem.  Apparent, I say, because even in the absence of struggle these poisons will eat us up from the inside out.

As a child I watched a show called “I Dream of Jeannie”.  She would twitch her nose and amazing things would happen.  I haven’t met Jeannie.  I’ve met life, and life tells me to create change one step at a time.  Forgiveness for me has been similar to my efforts to eat guacamole.  Really.  I hated the stuff at first; I had to force myself to eat it as the healthy Mexican choice.  But I ate it, time after time, until the distaste vanished and the love came.  It was a struggle, but that’s forgiveness for you. 

What is your distasteful situation?  Who is your distasteful person?  What was your distasteful event?  Are you harboring anger, bitterness, pain, unforgiveness?  Take it step by step.  Make yourself think about it, again and again.  Struggle with it again and again and again until you know forgiveness rules the spirit.  I want you to be free, and I’ll bet you do, too!  So be free, and let the journey begin today!  Have a great week!

Matthew 6:12

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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