Facing our own mortality.

When did you first begin to deal with your own mortality. We all know we will die one day. It is just something most of us don’t want to think or talk about. Getting older didn’t really impact me until I hit 60. Folks talk about 60 being the new 40 but let’s be honest, I was still 60 meaning I had lived more years than I had left to live. How do you figure that out. Take your current age and double it. If the result is over 100, well …………….😀 Death has been on my mind more often recently. One, because I have had several folks pass away recently. If this is your first time reading my blog, I wrote about my Season of Sadness a few weeks ago. http://thankfulinallthings.com/traveling-through-a-season-of-sadness/ The second reason is I lead a discussion group of men who asked me to lead them through a time where we openly talked about this topic. We are reading Henri Nouwen’s book, “Our Greatest Gift, A Meditation of Dying and Caring” In it he shares, “Dying and death can often bring fear. But the experience of dying and caring for the dying can become the deepest experience of love. Nouwen encourages us to ask: ‘How can my death become fruitful in the lives of others?’ Ultimately, it is the greatest gift we have to offer.”

How can both of these men see death as the greatest gift we have to offer? My experience while suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie pails in comparison to Tim Keller, my friends who have passed away from cancer, or in John Allen’s case, Parkinson’s. I can say however, that laying in a hospital bed unable to move reveals the depth of your faith. I was totally dependent on others and felt my need for God and the Hope He promises in ways I never had to before. I understood what He meant when He said, like a branch cling to the vine https://biblehub.com/john/15-5.htm or have your house built on a firm foundation rather than sand so that you can weather the storm. http://Build your house on the rock niv As awful as it was, I never want to forget that experience because it brought me closer to God. I felt His peace and presence in inexplicable ways. Henri Nouwen explains it as being brought into the core of your very existence. It happens when you allow yourself or have something happen that moves you from an outer silence or solitude into the inner silence where one’s reason for being is found. Many of us never take the time or are uncomfortable with just being with ourselves with no distractions. It takes some sort of health crisis or losing someone we love to take us into the place of understanding our own mortality. I write to encourage you to take time to come to grips with the fact that you will die one day. By doing so, you can live in a way like the Kellers who do not take one single day for granted.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5089FnvgZwo It will lead you from “the already” to the promise of the “not yet”. In that place, we can be assured death doesn’t have to be terrible as it is not an ending but just as with birth, a new beginning. That place where Jesus went to prepare a place for you and me. https://biblehub.com/john/14-3.htm That way, as Father Nouwen exhorts us, “when it is our time, our death will give new life, new hope, and a new hope to our friends and family. Instead of it producing sadness, it will allow others to find our greatest gift.” The joy of celebrating a life well lived. May your Joy be made full and may you experience abundant life God promises for those who find their way to Him.

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Why are we never satisfied.

A friend sent me this Instagram post the other day. I found it quite helpful as I was trying to put my finger on what was creating a restless spirit within me. Christine goes on to say she “doesn’t want to grieve over things properly because she doesn’t want to feel sad.” She holds back from boldly stepping forward in her faith because of the question, “what if tomorrow isn’t doable?” I find it disturbing that I can be rock solid in my faith one day. Trusting and being perfectly content as I abide in Christ. While the next, finding myself asking the questions “Why me?” “Why not me?” because of the circumstances occurring in my life. It leaves me frustrated that I can’t live each day in the abundance that Jesus promises in John 10:10. Needless to say it can lead me out of the attitude of being thankful in all things. 😀🤦🏻 I find solace in the fact that the Apostle Paul experienced the same frustrations. He writes in Romans 7:15 “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Even he obviously, as we all do, had “those days.”

So what do we do to combat the darkness of a defeatist attitude that comes our way? God says we are to look for the light that pierces the darkness so that we can find our way out. He says His Word is to be “a lamp upon our feet and a light unto our path. Psalm 119:105 and of course Amy Grant made it a hit song. https://youtu.be/a6LC8cu03Ig. Believe it or not, Buffalos set an example for us as they run toward storms versus away so that they only are impacted by the storm for a shorter period of time. https://www.roryvaden.com/blog-posts/buffalo-story-overcoming-adversity-building-resilience. As Rory Vaden says in this blog, it takes everything out of us when we try to out run the storm. We ultimately tire and give up. No instead, we need to run to God asking him as the disciples did in Mark 4:35-41 https://www.bible.com/bible/111/MRK.4.35-41.NIV After Jesus calmed the storm, He chastised them for having such little faith which leads me back to Christine’s IG post. For us to live a life of Joy, we have to be confident that God is indeed with us and wants what is best for us.
She writes, “This idea reminds me of my morning star.
He waits for me. He’s gentle with me. He speaks tenderly to me in the dark, calling me ( like the buffalos 😀) forward to more of him and more of whom I meant to be.”

Lord, let us run toward versus away from the storm knowing You are with us.

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Traveling through a Season of Sadness

The picture above captures how many of us live our lives. Like the clouds, our day to day existence, doing the most mundane of things, keeps us from seeing the splendor of the hills and all life has to offer. The word keep means “to guard, to watch over, or to attend to carefully.” The clouds cause us to miss the beauty that is beyond and above them. The psalmist reminds us that we are to “lift up our eyes to the mountains— where does our help come from? Our help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2. This passage reminds us that life is a journey of faith that requires reliance on God. the chapter ends (v 7 & 8) with the promise that will God will “Keep us from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

I don’t know about you but I am doing everything I can these days to claim the before mentioned promise. These past several weeks God has moved me into a Season of Sadness. It started late in July when my dear friend Laura Huyett died. Some takeaways that come from funerals – Thankful in all Things Then I found out my very special caretaker, Teresa Jordan passed away with me, because of Covid restrictions, not even knowing she had been sick. 🙁 You, yes You, can make a difference in the world. – Thankful in all Things. Now in the last two weeks, two high school friends, a fraternity brother, and now a dear business partner have died. I am just at the beginning of grappling with it all but it certainly has taken a toll and has clouded my perspective like the clouds do in the valleys. Losing loved ones makes you examine your own mortality and whether one is living life in a way that matters most and in some way makes a positive difference.

Philippians 4 says we are not to be anxious about these things because when we bring our concerns and worries to the Lord, He will provide us peace which surpasses all human understanding. The misnomer here is that having a faith in God means we are never to feel discouraged or depressed. Scripture shows us nothing is father from the truth. Why does Jesus say, “I am the light of the world“? John 8:12 Because the world can be a very dark place and we need God to be “a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” ( Psalm 119:105) It is not hard to stumble or lose our way in the midst of the darkness that comes our way. A light as small as the pin light on your key chain will cut through the most pitch black of surroundings. God promises to do the same with whatever circumstances come your way. As Ellen Foster shared in the most recent Center for Christian Study newsletter, “I don’t think anxiety or depression have to be things we’re trying from which we are to rid ourselves. Like a check engine light, those feelings may be an invitation for us to pay more attention.” That way, we can endeavor to focus intently on what clouds our vision knowing that through them there are hills from whence our help will come. As for me, I am claiming that promise and trying to walk toward the light that will lead me through this Season of Sadness.

Please subscribe to the blog if you would like email notifications when new material is posted.  You can reach me via email at michael@mrg7175.com  For an amazing sermon on what it is like to face death with hope and who died three weeks later. Feel free to FF through the start of the service and the music. https://www.harvestfresno.org/sermons/to-die-is-gain/?fbclid=IwAR3mD8zBN2JM9x82xKQV8OqWt-ikp03I2CoHQYPmp2Og7oJ80h2NvW14_tA

“I am just a nobody trying to help others be somebody”

Someone asked me a couple weeks ago, how I view myself and where my life fits into the world. For some reason, with very little thought the title of this post came out of my mouth. I can’t remember making this statement before so I have been wrestling with why I said it. This is not an attempt to be self-deprecating. It is my way via my own self perspective to write something g that will hopefully lift up and encourage you. Another line I have used often is “ God must not want me to be a wealthy person” I feel as though I have a generous heart and I know God loves a cheerful giver, https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/2%20Corinthians%209%3A7 so why every time, when we have have some extra money, does a large expense like a car repair or dental implants occur?
My point in poking fun at myself with these two statements is not where we get in life but how we lived our lives. Abraham Lincoln said it this way..” …in the end, it is not the years in a life it’s the life in the years“. Think about it. How many times have you thought something was going to happen which would take you to a new place and the door closed before you could walk through it? What about being sure you knew what God had planned and something occurred different than that plan? These thoughts increase in these days of following folks on social media. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking your life does not measure up. Proverbs 19:21 explains it by saying, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
We are to be who God created us to be not try to be like someone else. My friend Bud Harper taught me this years ago after a lunch where a man shared how God changed His life. George Kettle https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/washingtonpost/name/george-kettle-obituary?id=5636625 had inexplicably become a man of great wealth and started a program that George H Bush recognized as one of his 1,000 points of life speech. https://youtu.be/SQhbEh8AeSA After the talk, I told Bud that I wished I could be like the man who spoke that day. Bud, normally mild mannered, grabbed me by the tie and said something I have never forgotten. “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again. God made you to be exactly who you are and does not want you to be anyone else.”
Haven’t we all wanted to be somebody else? Haven’t we all wondered, if only this or that had happened? Maybe not you but I at times, get tangled up http://thankfulinallthings.com/to-what-are-you-being-held-hostage/ thinking about why have things not gone the way I wanted or wishing my life looked more like others. If we allow it, we can be swallowed up by the lie that we are a nobody and that our lives don’t matter.

In God’s eyes, nothing is farther from the truth. Psalm 139:14 in The New Living Translation says we are to acknowledge His ways by saying “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Only then, can He have His way with you so you can go from being a nobody to someone who Isaiah exclaims is “overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels now robed in righteousness and heir to His throne.” Isaiah 61:10 Once we find our confidence and value in Him, He asks us to follow three simple steps. Love Him with all your heart. Love others as He loves you. Let go of what you think you want and trust Him with the outcome. God will then use us to help others realize that like us, they too, are indeed somebody.

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How do you deal with being tired?

Are you tired? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?

I posted this the other day when I realized I was flat out tired in every aspect of my life.  It came about because of a 6 week issue w my back, 2 weeks of travel while dealing with work, and relationships that were out of sorts. Needless to say, this fatigue was not making it easy to remain thankful in all things. This got me thinking about the title of this blog post. “How do you deal with tired?” There really are different types of tiredness and fatigue but they all come from not getting enough rest. There are ways we can resolve being tired on our own. Making sure you get enough sleep, maintaining a balance in your life, and limiting stress are a few that come to mind. These are certainly a good place to start but what I am learning is we can’t always resolve what causes fatigue on our own. Trying to handle the emotional and spiritual fatigue by ourselves often times can exacerbate it making us even more tired. It isn’t always about getting away either. As Dottie’s mom used to say, “Wherever I go, there I am.” We can’t get away from ourselves but we can ask others for help.

Max Lucado writes in his book Traveling Light,https://maxlucado.com/products/traveling-light-releasing-the-burdens-you-were-never-meant-to-carry/ “ Weary travelers. You’ve seen them — everything they own crammed into their luggage. Staggering through terminals and hotel lobbies with overstuffed suitcases, trunks, duffels, and backpacks. We’ve all seen people like that. At times, we are people like that — if not with our physical luggage, then at least with our spiritual or emotional load. We all lug loads we were never intended to carry. Fear. Worry. Discontent. No wonder we get so weary. We’re worn out from carrying that excess baggage. Wouldn’t it be nice to lose some of those bags?” Yes, there are burdens we carry that weigh us down. We often times need others to help us carry them or help us realize that we can just leave them behind. I wrote about how we need others in my most recent post. http://thankfulinallthings.com/to-what-are-you-being-held-hostage/ God, sent Jesus to help us ease our burdens as well. Matthew 11:28 gives us the advice, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Think of yourself as the above mentioned weary traveler. How good does it feel when someone says,”Can I help you with those bags” or opens a door for you when your hands and arms are full? My reminder to you is life is not to do life alone. We need each other. Even Jesus sent the disciples not alone, but in pairs. “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” Mark 6:7 Like Max Lucado wrote, we need others to help us when we don’t have the strength to carry on on our own.
Reverend Paul Walker summed it up this way in his “almost daily devotional”. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92: 1-2) Morning and night. In the morning you might be raring to go, optimistic about the day ahead. You also might be tired fatigued, sluggish, or anxious about what the day holds. Either way, declaring God’s steadfast love is the way to begin and end each day.

“O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of live is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.” (In the Evening – BCP p. 833)

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To what are you being held hostage?

My pastor shared a story about saving a goose who had gotten entangled with some fishing line. He knew the goose was in trouble but couldn’t see why until he dove into the water. I learned two lessons as he shared.
It may not be fishing lines but, like the goose, there are things that restrict us from living our lives to the fullest. Look at your life. Is it all you want it to be? If not, what holds you back? Is it lack of confidence, fear, mistrust or like Romans 12:2 says, are you conforming to the world versus experiencing what God wants for your life. We may not even see what holds us back. Like my pastor did I helping the goose, we need others to help identify what is holding us back and then aid us with removing it. The scripture that comes to mind is when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2011%3A1-45&version=NIV If you read the story, Lazarus comes out of the tomb bound in dead clothes meaning his arms and legs were wrapped in material. Jesus speaks to his family/friends next saying “now take his dead clothes off so that he can go home.” The same thing happens when four friends bring a paralyzed man to Christ for healing. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%202%3A1-12&version=NIV I love that Jesus heals the man because of the faith of the four friends. This passage brought new meaning to me during my fight with Guillain Barre Syndrome. There were so many people who faithfully prayed for my recovery. I am certain my extraordinary recovery was enhanced because of the faithfulness of others.
Whether on your own or with the help in others, ask God to help you shed all that keeps you from the abundant life promised in John 10:10. Think about it. Lazurus came out of the grave bound in grave clothes. He had been raised from the dead. Like the four guys with their now walking friend, Jesus says to the families and friends, now take his grave clothes off so he can go home! Be encouraged. Today is the day you let go of what is holding you back. You are a new creation! Go out out and live that way 😀😀

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Prepare your heart for God’s leadings

Every week I focus on what it is God wants me to write. Usually, something I read or listen to directs me in a certain direction. This week several things moved me toward this post. I realized my heart was being prepared to receive a progression of lessons that led to the point I felt led to share. It reminded me of the parable in Matthew 13. It is an ‘allegory’ about the Kingdom of God. Just as a planted seed starts to grow, if hearts are properly prepared, the word of God starts to deepen and grow within a person. What follows are some simple steps to properly align yourself so that you can move toward your true purpose.
It starts with a willingness to pray. Scripture says we are to pray without ceasing. https://biblehub.com/1_thessalonians/5-17.htm It is like breathing. If we stop we no longer live. If we stop praying we can not experience the life giving force it gives. As we pray we become mindful that the One who created wants to know and be in relationship with us. It untangles us from the things we think brings life and reminds us of the One who gives us life.
PRAYER leads us to an understanding there is something bigger us. A God who loves us all just the same making us no better than anyone else. It gives us the desire to honor and serve Him in all we do which leads us to HUMILITY. Like David in Psalm 51 we ask, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore in me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Again, a prayer asking to be sustained and it also moves us humbly into a right and willing attitude. It is in that place that we can begin to truly live the life that was intended for us.

Last night we got some much-needed rain. It reminded me that God wants to rain blessings down on all of us. The question is, “are we prepared to receive it.” Praying so that we become humble and poor in spirit https://biblehub.com/matthew/5-3.htmcan soften our hearts and be properly prepared for what God wants to give us. However, if we continue to be people thinking there is no God and everything depends on me, we are like hard pavement. Like the rain, God sends his blessings only for them to wash away wasted as their was nowhere for them to be received. God loves each and everyone of us and wants to bless you with His presence in your life. May you find the way to ask God to show you the way to aligning yourself to Matthew 5:8, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” When you do, He promises an abundant life https://biblia.com/bible/esv/john/10/10 and a chance to realize your true purpose in this crazy, uncertain, world.

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Do you find it hard to wait?

Isaiah 40:31 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young people stumble and fall. But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not faint.

When was the last time you really had to wait for something? Last night my grandchildren were “starving” and said they would die if they didn’t get their chicken tenders in 5 minutes. I didn’t think it was the right time to share that there are children all over the world who really are starving. If everyone reading this post commented, the list would be long and include things more important than when will your food arrive. The list would include reconciliation with a family member, the tests were negative, you got the job, you found a partner, you finally get to see a loved one, etc. Like me, I sure it becomes harder to believe in God’s promises when they take a long time to come.

I have thought a lot about what does it mean to wait? It started two years ago with having and then recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie. We all then waited through Covid and the life challenges it created and in many ways is still creating. Recently I have I had to wait on life returning to normal due to Covid19. Over the last 4 weeks, it has been waiting on L4 disc and impinged nerve to recover so I can once again be pain free. Thankfully, that seems to be on the mend as well 🙂

I know waiting is just a part of life but I believe God uses waiting to make us more cognizant of Him. He wants us to, not go from what we are waiting for to what where you are to go or what we will receive, without Him with us. He wants us to acknowledge Him in the now so we can be grateful for what comes next. Think about it. So many people God had big plans for had a time of waiting. Abraham https://karenyango.com/waiting-god-abraham-sarah/ Moses https://bible.org/seriespage/1-hurry-and-wait-exodus-11-210. Esther Esther 5 (God had been working quietly behind the scenes, moving Esther into place as queen, to bring rescue His children from Haman’s plans of genocide.) Noah (Genesis 8:10) and the Apostle Paul had times (one found in Acts 9:30) where they had to wait on what God had planned for them. Even His Son ,Jesus, spent 40 days fasting in the desert before starting His ultimate ministry.

God says “Be Still and know that He is God.” Could it be that, whatever period of waiting you find yourself, it is God giving you a chance to slow down so you can experience His presence in your life?

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You, yes You, can make a difference in the world.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about what I learned from my friend Laura Huyett’s memorial service. In it, I shared how she would always ask those who came to care for her, “How is your day going?” One person responded, “my days would be much better if I had more people like you in it“. I was sadly reminded of this very thing last week. I met a woman while recovering at Albemarle Rehab Center from Guillain Barre syndrome. Her name was Teresa Jordan and she absolutely made my very challenging days and nights much better. Unfortunately, she died this past week after a battle with cancer.

https://www.thackerbrothers.com/obituary/Teresa-Jordan Her job obviously was to care for her patients but God created a special bond between her, Dottie, and me. When I was well enough to go home, she and I hugged and cried together. She was always so happy when I would stop by to check on her. The restrictions placed because of Covid robbed me of more time with her. In fact, I didn’t even know she was sick. I am saddened that I did not get a chance to go visit, cheer her up like she did me, and pray. Thankfully, a mutual friend texted this after she died. “She would have loved seeing you. You were her number one patient “of all time.” She cried every time you walked into AHR.” I am glad I made her life better by being in it as she did mine.

Teresa, along with many others like Sheri, Susan, Tony, Rob, Jarrett, and Hilary, exemplified the mantra, my life was better because she was in it. I had no idea I would be writing about her when I posted about Laura’s death. I will now do my best moving forward to carry out both of their legacies in wanting to make other peoples lives better. My hope is that you will be encouraged to do what Matthew 5:16 instructs, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” Get out of your own mindset and look around you. There are people crossing your path every day that are really hurting and discouraged. Galatians 6:2 says we are to “Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” … You may be just the person God has chosen to lift them up. Will you respond like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8, saying “Here I am Lord, send me”

Teresa, thank you for your life and for what it meant to me. I will never forget you and will always try to find ways to make others feel as special as you did me. Please subscribe to this blog to get email notifications when new content is added. You can reach me by email at michael@mrg7175.com

Keeping your “WIT’S” about you.

I started this blog a couple of weeks ago. I postponed it so that I could write the lessons I learned from a friend’s funeral. http://thankfulinallthings.com/some-takeaways-that-come-from-funerals/. Little did I know that by postponing this post, I would be given a very different perspective on what I originally set out to share with you.
Keeping your wits about you is a common expression. It means, “to be ready to think quickly in a situation and react to things that you are not expecting”. Recently though I have been thinking about having a “Whatever it takes” attitude. This thought means “More than the efforts, it is the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude, which enables that small, yet critical push to achieve success” Another way of saying this is having the desire to get a little bit better each day takes us to a place we never thought possible. In a blog post, Jodie Berndt described it this way. “To experiencing a life marked by purpose. To living freely and lightly—not straining or striving, but moving to the “unforced rhythms of grace”.
These definitions show that “whatever it takes or “being all in no matter what” do not have to conjure up a negative “win at all costs” mentality. We saw this time and time again during the recent Olympic Games. Watching them taught me something about keeping my WIT’S about me. My hope is you too can learn from my lessons learned from adversity thoughts so you can remain thankful in all things. 😀

Japan hosted the Olympics with Covid cases rising at record rates in Tokyo. Their whatever it takes focus resulted in out of 600,000 Covid test on athletes, coaches, staff, and volunteers they only had 440 positive cases. This allowed the athletes to realize their dreams in what turned out to be a very safe environment. The olympians also taught us that having their WIT’S about them resulted in them being thankful even if it didn’t result in getting the gold. Case in point was Simone Biles who said the bronze on the balance beam means more than the golds she has won because she did what she needed to do to face her fears so that she could compete. Rai Benjamin broke the world record time only to get beat in the 400 meter hurdles? https://www.wsj.com/articles/tokyo-olympics-benjamin-hurdles-world-record-warholm-11627971489 He certainly gave it his all in his preparation and execution to win. There is no doubt that he wanted the gold but walked away with a precious silver knowing he gave it his best. Allyson Felix is another great example of someone who didn’t win but left the track satisfied because she proved to those who said she would not be able to come back after having her baby. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/07/sports/olympics/allyson-felix-olympic-medals.html

God wants us to live a life filled with joy and gratitude. He promises us an abundant life without regret when we submit to Him with a WIT’S trusting in Him mentality. Hebrews 12 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” So how do we begin the have a positive whatever it takes mindset?

1) Pay attention, stay focused on wanting to serve others 

2) Listen to those who have been on the journey longer than you.

3) Ask God for strength and wisdom

4) Be determined to do good but have patience

5) Trust God for the outcome.

In the world’s eyes, Sometimes our ‘best’ is not good enough. Like the Olympics, it communicates if you didn’t win a medal you are a loser. Watching the closing ceremonies this morning, I believe nothing can be further from the truth. Athletes marched in to the arena smiling because they knew they had done everything they could which resulted in them being in that moment. Each one of them was applauded as they entered whether they had a medal around their neck or not. That is all God wants from us as well. He applauds and finds great pleasure in us when we love Him with all out hearts, love others as He loves us, and then no matter what the outcome, be grateful for His love and thankful for all things.

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