Monday, March 02, 2015

Today is a Brand New Day -- Don't Waste It

Today is a brand new day – a delightful opportunity to begin again.
I will not be held hostage by yesterday’s pain. If my heart remains open, and my spirit is right, yesterday’s pain becomes today’s gain. I will grow into a better person through the sufferings.

Today is a brand new day – and it needs to stand on it’s own.

I will not allow myself to be seduced by yesterday’s success, nor frustrated by yesterday’s failures. I shall fulfill my duty this day, and never look backwards for an excuse.

Today is a brand new day – and it’s the only one I have.

I refuse to let tomorrow’s concerns steal today’s joy. If tomorrow is going to be bad – why should it destroy the day I have? That would mean two bad days instead of just one. I want to make the best of what has been given to me.

Today is a brand new day – God’s gift for life investment. It is not to be squandered by worry or regret.

Consider the moments. Moments are the stuff life is made of. They march by us briskly in an unceasing parade. We can join in the march – or slump sullenly on the sidewalk, wondering why nobody throws candy anymore.

Today is a brand new day. Sunrise reminds us to practice resurrection.

No problem is greater than the God who holds this day in his hands. Each day breathes new life to broken dreams, shattered hopes, and rending disappointments. Somehow, situations always look better in the morning.

Today is a brand new day – so I’m going to go out and live it.

“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Thursday, February 26, 2015

25 Self Reflection Questions

1. What is the "hub" of your life? (The central theme)
2. If someone were to look at your calendar and checkbook, what would they discover about your priorities? 
3. What is your single greatest strength?
4. What is your earliest memory from childhood? Is there any connection between this memory and your life today? 
5. Where do you invest your most significant emotional energy?
6. What role does God, prayer, the Bible, and church play in your life? 
7. What "turns your crank"? What do you love to do? 
8. Regarding the above question -- Are you carving out time to do it? If not -- Why not? 
9. What holds you back from being your best? 
10. Who has had the most significant influence upon your life?
11. Are you happy with the condition of your inner life?
12. When do you "recharge" your emotional and spiritual batteries?
13. Are there any unresolved issues poisoning your mind and heart?
14. Have you forgiven everybody as far as you know?
15. Is there any restitution you should make?
16. Is your love for your family members reflected in the time you spend with them?
17. How do you communicate your affection and appreciation?
18. What is your plan for personal growth?
19. What helpful books have you read recently? What are you reading right now? What are you going to read next?
20. Who needs your help? What can you do to make a difference?
21. What are your unique gifts and abilities? How can you maximize them?
22. Does your attitude need an adjustment? Are you a hopeful optimist or a frustrated pessimist?
23. What problems are weighing you down? How can you get on the "solution side"?
24. What vision do you have for the future? What do you hope to accomplish?
25. What three changes could you make that would bring about a significant improvement?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Greatest Spiritual Task

“The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world–free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless…. I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.” -- Henri Nouwen

"Don't wrestle -- just nestle." -- Corrie Ten Boom

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cowbells for Hermann

In honor of the 42nd Birkie today, I am re-posting this delightful story from my first book, Filled Up, Poured Out:

Hayward is home of the American Birkebeiner, North America’s largest cross country ski race. 10,500 skiers come from almost every state and many nations to compete in this world-class event. Spectators line snow-covered Main Street, ringing cowbells and cheering weary skiers across the finish line.

For two decades, I've been a Birkie cowbell ringer.

A day or two before the Birkebeiner, I always pine a little, wishing I had pulled the skis from the rafters and joined the throng of brave souls testing the limits of their endurance. But, as Birkie day arrives, I find myself content to ring cowbells. After all, if everybody skied the Birkie, there wouldn't be anybody left to cheer.

Normally, we ring in the elite skiers who finish first. Usually the winner is some Olympic European who hardly broke a sweat. I’m always impressed.

The best part of the race, though, is the middle of the afternoon, when all of the ordinary folks—lawyers, cooks, plumbers, and preachers come in. For them, it’s a painful struggle for survival. I wipe sentimental tears and ring my bell with vigor.

It was shortly after dusk several years ago, when my daughter, Hannah, asked if we could go back down to the finish line.

“The race is over now, honey,” I tried to explain.

“Please?” she pleaded, “It might not be over yet.”

So, against all odds, we packed up our cowbells and headed to Main Street. We arrived to see a busy crew removing snow and shutting down everything.

“See, we’re too late,” I began, when a worker with a walkie-talkie suddenly waved frantically and shouted, “Wait! Wait! There is one more skier coming in!”

Sure enough, long after the all other racers had hung their skis, ninety-one-year-old Hermann Nunnemacher crossed the finish line. Midway, Hermann fell and fractured four ribs, but he got back up and kept plodding forward!

With the crowds of spectators long gone, Hannah and I were the only cowbell ringers left—so we rang them for Hermann. We rang them with all our might!

For a few minutes, the workers stopped to shout and cheer. Some passersby also joined in the magical moment. Hermann crossed the finish line, and we all cried.

Terrell, the omnipresent reporter from the Sawyer County Record happened upon the scene and said, “You finished the race! How do you feel about that, Mr. Nunnemacher?”

Through cracked lips, the poor old guy croaked, “I hurt.”

The next Wednesday, Hermann’s picture graced the front page of The Sawyer County Record, the only time in history when the guy who finished last made the headline.

Friday, February 20, 2015

God Gets Better as He Goes

A little girl, sitting on Grandpa's lap as he read her a bedtime story, asked  "Grandpa, did God make you?"

"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."

"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"

"Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."

"God's getting better at it, isn't he ?"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

God Misrepresented

"Revival is when God gets so tired of being misrepresented, he shows himself." -- Leonard Ravenhill