Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Price of Freedom

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The price of freedom is not cheap! Oklahoma lost more than a dozen soldiers in less than a year to the war in Afghanistan alone.

Part of freedom’s payment came from my town, Chelsea, Oklahoma. To all of you who committed to military service over the decades, I say ‘thank you’ for risking your life for the sake of freedom.

Freedom loses its value when we quit exercising our right to the freedoms we’re guaranteed. Freedom has been fought abroad that we could live with liberty here.  Are there freedoms that you have but aren’t using? 

You don’t have to travel far to find ministers being killed for the cause of Christianity and the church meeting underground.  Do you have the passion to be at church each Sunday morning and sit on a soft pew in an air-conditioned room where you have the freedom to do so? Do you vote?  Maybe you could run for office or support the local school and advertise in the paper. 

Our nation is filled with countless other freedoms such as free speech, the ability to write books, and the opportunity to further our education. These are all included in this liberty we enjoy.

Even with its faults, America is still an incredible country filled with great good. And America is counting on each of us. 

America—under God—is maintained through each person totally committing themselves to the leadership of Christ.  It’s doing what Jesus would do, in every area of our lives, every day. Although others are giving the ultimate sacrifice, we are all accountable for the future of our country.  I hope you feel a responsibility this year to stand up, pray for our leaders, and do your part to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 My prayer today is that God would comfort the families who have lost loved ones on the battlefield. I pray strength and blessings, and offer gratitude for all of you who have served our country.

May each of us invest our energy into strengthening America’s freedom.

 “First of all, then, I urge, that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 2:1,2 NASB) (From Sidewalk Chalk by Reba)

Power in the Embrace

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

 I am a hugger. I not only hug my honey, but also pretty shoes, and good books. Yet, when I saw strangers coming toward me with arms extended, my muscles tensed in anticipation. I could tell that the fibers were deciding should they become as hard as steel and prepare me for the emotional impact? Or should they become soft and welcoming? My heart beat faster sending adrenaline to my brain and warmth to my face.

My body language portrays if this is friend or foe. I either stick both hands deep into my pockets, extend my hand, or something in between. If I know you and you are trustworthy friend or family—I embrace.

People, advice, and things to do are swiftly coming toward us daily and begging for our embrace. However, embrace is more than a simple, cultural gesture. To truly embrace is to hold, accept, or support.

There is power in the embrace. What I embrace will either keep me stable, successful and strong, or confused and weak.

I sometimes tend to embrace the familiar, even when it’s killing me, or reject the uncomfortable, and you may as well. It’s time to evaluate what we hold to us and what we affirm—and why. And then decide if we want to continue the hug! Hugs turn into relationships that help create a path on which we live and write our story.

Jim Stowall, in speaking to an author’s group, said that if someone doesn’t have what you would like to own or have achieved, then don’t ask for their advice.

Now that is wisdom. And wisdom is worthy of embrace, whether it is easy or not.

This year I am praying for discernment and wisdom and the strength to embrace that path. Care to join me? Open your arms, it’s going to be one heaven of a ride!

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:5-8 NLT)

Give Thanks

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Thanksgiving is the season to focus on the provision and goodness of God

Much of life is consumed with long days and short nights in hopes that our hard work will lead to enough provision to get us where we want to be in life.

The first Thanksgiving living in a foreign land may seem vaguely similar to the past year. It has been a year of hardships, surprises, struggles, and a lot of hard work. However, it has also been a year of new beginnings and God’s blessings. 

New beginnings are wonderful! I love the vision part the very most because the passion is fresh, the picture is clear, and obstacles have yet to be imagined. As with all beginnings, there is an uncomfortable stage that involves the unknown questions and answers that can create doubt regarding where the conquest will truly end. Will we really succeed? Will life ever feel normal again?

And, then, we make it! Through it all we stop and count our blessings. We often find ourselves weary, but blessed indeed. 

When I focus on what I don’t have, I overlook obvious blessings that I do have. But when I focus on my blessings I am able to live in the moment with a greater inner peace and positive energy.

Focus on how far you’ve come by counting each blessing that you truly treasure in your heart. Take time to be thankful that God is God! He promised to go with you and complete the good things He began in your life.

Take time to celebrate your gain and always give thanks.

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NASB)

Mind+Set=Me

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

 Why do I do what I do? Why is it so hard to make lasting change?

These are questions that surface at times of frustration when we once again fail to carry out our good intention

Sometimes, even my own actions have shocked me and left me asking, “Where did this come from?” I know that when I’m confronted with certain situations, my true beliefs show through my actions.

My mindset is much like a thermostat. It predetermines what my responses will be relative to what I believe. When I set my mind on a task, I also shut down and push away anything that doesn’t fit within my mindset. 

The first step to change is acknowledging the need to change.  To question how we think often stops us long enough to evaluate.

Lasting change depends upon how important the desired results are to us. If we can live with how things are, then we probably won’t change.

Change takes effort on our part, and we must be willing to continually get back up when we fail. The good news is that we don’t have to do it alone. God calls us to reason together with Him, and in that place, all things become possible.

“For as he (a person) thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Prov 23:7 (NKJV)

I’ll Never Wash My Hand Again!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

An usher had just shown me to my seat in the Starlight Theater in Branson, Missouri. It was the opening night of Toy Shoppe. The producer of the musical was country music legend Kenny Rogers. As I waited for the show to begin, I made small talk with two ladies on my row.

One lady seated beside me was overly ecstatic because she had talked her 84 year-old friend Emma into coming with her. Emma looked quite healthy. She was dressed neatly, and had a gorgeous smile. Emma shared with us that after she and her husband celebrated 65 years together, he had passed away. Afterwards, she decided her fun times were over and she would never go out again.

However, tonight, Emma’s friend persuaded her to get out of the house, and here they were! Our conversation was cut short when we were asked, “Excuse me ladies, would you like to move up closer?” Leaning over the seat in front of us, the theater manager offered us seats that were located on one of the first several rows. The seats had been blocked off for Kenny Rogers and the cast members’ families.

We were elated, but as we celebrated our good fortune, another­­­­ usher leaned over our row and said, “Excuse me ladies, but we will need to move you. The family needs these seats.” The theater manager on the opposite side urged us to move out more quickly—offering apologies and free popcorn. We crowded into the aisle and stopped…unsure of what to do next.

Kenny Rogers BransonWhile we fought to maintain our dignity after being asked to get up and move, the unexpected happened. We all looked up to discover we were blocking the aisle for Kenny Rogers himself! Out of our group, I was the first to maneuver out of the aisle. I smiled and slid past Kenny on my way back to our lovely, (now second-rate) row.

I stood and waited for Emma and her friend to take their seats beside me. Emma’s friend consoled us with a reminder of free popcorn. All Emma could say was, “I’ll never wash my hand again!” Kenny Rogers had taken the time to greet Emma, and patted her gently on the arm before going on stage.

As Emma returned with her popcorn during intermission, I couldn’t help but ask “Did you wash your hands before eating your popcorn?” She simply smiled and shook her head “no.” There was a new sparkle in her eye that looked like a fresh hope for living.

I respect Kenny Rogers for his kindness, and I honor the friend who encouraged Emma to take that first step out of the house and attend the event with her.

We can’t all be celebrities, but we can all be encouragers and befriend someone else. Be assured that your acts of kindness will bring new life and fresh hope to someone.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

Stop the Thunk!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

 I wish I could tell an armadillo about the value of change.  I’m saddened each time I see a ten pound, brownish-gray, nocturnal animal lying dead along the highway. I don’t even really like armadillos.  They dig holes in the yard and then I have to deal with a bumpy ride each time I mow the lawn. But I do hate to see failure just because of refusal to change. I am told that armadillos have a sure-fire way to ward off intruders. An armadillo will stand its ground until the opponent gets close.  Then it flexes and jumps straight into the air.  This scare tactic worked for centuries. But then along came the invention of the automobile. And when a big, big animal, with headlights for eyes, topped the hill the armadillo did what had always worked. The armadillo stood its ground, waited for the car to get really close, then flexed and jumped straight into the air.  Thunk was the outcome!  Thunk is the only sound and word to describe a once sure-fire method that had suddenly ceased to work.

Do you ever feel like you’re beating your head against a wall?  Does the same old method, that used to bring good results, now bring you failures? If so, it might be time for a change of tactics.

I have no idea how to save an armadillo from jumping into cars.  I can’t tell you how to easily cross the roads of life. But I do know that God promised that He would give us wisdom if we just ask. Being willing to honestly assess situations and seek wisdom, on the right method of response, is vital to stay cutting edge—and alive.  I can change even though it goes against my genetic predisposition.    

Renew your mind daily through prayer and ask God for wisdom in every situation.  Don’t second guess yourself or God’s ability to know the road ahead.  Trust in Him. Stop the thunk.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5 (NLT)

Let It Go

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Let it Go

The difference between great success and failure may be as simple as knowing what – and when – to let go.

I heard a story about how hunters in Africa catch monkeys. Monkeys are very smart and difficult to trap. So the hunters build a container with an opening large enough for the monkey to put its hand into, yet it’s too small for a clenched fist to be removed. Hunters then place tempting trinkets or food into the container. The monkey reaches in, grips the treasures, and is trapped by its own fist. It’s hard to believe that a monkey will stay trapped until the hunter returns and captures it – when all that was needed to be free was for it to let go.

We’re more intelligent than a monkey. Yet no matter how much we know, there are times when we struggle to just let go.

Do you want to know three words to make your life more successful?  “Let it go.”  Three simple words will make your life more successful. We must evaluate often those things that we are holding onto and understand why we might want to cling to them. Things that have fulfilled their job or no longer pulling us forward have to be released to make room for the new and relevant. It is a waste of precious time and energy to keep hammering away at issues that we are powerless to change. We can gain tremendous peace just by letting go of past hurts, bitterness, or things we just never could quite figure out. Relationships also have to be evaluated. People that I pull into my inner circle will either lift me up or pull me back. I must evaluate my circle of friends and choose to stay in close contact with those who value what I have to say, encourage new ideas, and share some goals in common. You, too, should let go of friends who merely tolerate you. This will make each day an uplifting celebration.

It may not be easy to let some things go. That time, relationship, or plan in your life became part of you.  It is normal to feel some temporary sadness when you let it go. That’s OK.

Push past the disappointments. Open your hand and release. There are new people, places, and experiences ahead for you. Move forward into the great plans God has for you.  Just let it go.

“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil 3:13,14 NLT

No More Detours

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The count is definitely in, and everyone I know is glad for the past year to go. I too welcomed a new year because I wanted a fresh start.  But this New Year is now into its second week and life is throwing me some pretty fierce distractions to deal with. I wonder if what I did last week was done any differently than this time last year.

Distractions don’t go away. They must be dealt with. I can’t drive down the main street of our small town or log onto my computer without the possibility of getting sidetracked. But I can become stronger and make wiser choices.

Our paths are strewn not only with distractions but also opportunities. So the question to ask ourselves when things pop into our world is, “Is this a distraction or an opportunity?” When distraction comes and opportunity knocks, we have the power to choose which one to answer and entertain and when to just stay focused on our present path.

If you plan ahead what you would like to accomplish in your day and upcoming year, it will make right choices clearer.

Decide where each new “unexpected” will lead your day. Distracted days add up to months, and soon another year has come and gone. We do have the core strength to do things differently. Be courageous and push pass that first uncomfortable moment of taking charge of your life – choose opportunity over distraction.

Give yourself an internal boost of energy by taking some time upfront to define your goals clearly, rid your path of proven distractions, and quiet your mind each morning.

Know that if you follow distractions, you will take a detour yet again this year.  But if you face the ongoing distractions, choose to stay the course, and keep going forward, you will enjoy great success in the coming year.

“For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.” James 4:18 NLT

A Fresh Start

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

on the WINGS

uplift for your world

Yesterday, at a get together in our home, after most of the guests had said their goodbyes, we three girls gathered around the bar to chat.  We three girls were those closest to me, one ahead and one following on the road of life – Mom, me, and my daughter.  After sipping yet another flavor of coffee, and tasting just one more bite of cherry pie, we talked about life.  Mom wished she knew what she knew now when she was my daughter’s age.  My daughter thought this wonderful concept could be achieved if mom’s wealth of wisdom was just downloaded to her immediately. It was a great idea of how becoming wise as an elder while still being young, could indeed be accomplished.  We laughed knowing that wisdom principals can be taught, but each person must then know when and how to apply those principals in his/her daily life.  Each path has different twists and turns that have to be personally walked out.

I have sometimes thought that if I could start over I would do things differently.  But after starting over, after many bummer days, I’ve found that it wasn’t just a second chance that was needed, but wisdom. Sometimes the wisdom ingredient to success was additional planning. After not being on time or prepared yet again, it became evident that I must avoid the trap of procrastination on a daily basis, to be wise.

I also had to let go of the myth that today’s fresh-start-path would somehow be easier than yesterday. Sometimes life is hard whatever the path. But hard is not always bad. Sometimes our greatest victories and highest joys are only realized by pushing past our comfort zones.

To totally embrace a fresh start, make peace with things in your past that cannot be relived or redone. Forgive, let go, and untie negative people and circumstances of yesterday.

Write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions and keep them before you. Surround yourself with people you would be happy to become more like.

Today is the day for a fresh start, whether it is your second or hundredth chance to live how you would — if you could — do it over.  Be diligent to live by wisdom principals that will bring the results you want in your life.  Learn something new each day, love well, and enjoy those before, beside, and behind you on the path of life.

Would you like a fresh start in any area of your life?  If so, then I pray today that you will commit to searching for wisdom, going past your comfort zones, and planning ahead.  May the God of all wisdom be your guide as you spend time in reflective silence before Him today.

By Reba Wilson (c)2012

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Pro 4:7 NKJV

“Whiskers in August”

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Our friend, Kenyon, is growing a beard! His lip and chin are now covered with short, neat stubble. When asked about the new look, Kenyon said that he was ‘getting ready’ for hunting season.

Getting ready?  Preparing?  Really?  I mean really?  The temperatures have been in the triple digits here for days now. It’s really, really hot- even for Oklahoma summers.  Most of us have been talking, feeling, and focusing on the present as if today was the way it’s always going to be- hot and dry- and always August!

Kenyon knows November is coming. With cool breezes ahead there will be a hunting season. He is preparing- right in the midst of the heat- for days he believes will come!

Tough, uncomfortable seasons plague all of us from time to time. The heat of trial, unfairness of life, and record breaking, heart failing tragedy and questions come our way.  We could be tempted to believe that we will be overwhelmed for the rest of our lives, or that things will always be the way they are today.

But, faith beckons us to us to look forward.

Hope says that change is possible- even sure- in all areas of my life.  Wisdom would tell me to live today with understanding and with an uplifting attitude.  The Love of God builds up my inner core with assurance that I will be ok- no matter what.

Faith sees ahead and prepares. The tell-tale evidence of our faith is in our actions today!

Thank you Kenyon, for whiskers in August!  That you God, for faith to prepare in the heat of today… so I will be ready for the cool promises of tomorrow!