Author Archives: nusoulmedia
The time is here again, the end of another year. For many reading this, 2011 has been a year of processing, shaping, formatting and fitting. Yes, the trials and hard times came, and are still here, but we have to really know and believe that they came, and are still here, only to make us strong.
God can write a story like no other can. His sovereign ability to reach into a person’s future and erect a monument of victory is incomparable. He literally delights in crowning the lowly as prince, and in using the stumbling blocks that have been placed in our paths by others as stepping stones to a throne of His making.
By Jon Gordon
I’ve been speaking to a lot of organizations around the country and one thing I keep hearing from leaders and employees is that complaining is at an all time high. I’m not surprised. There are usually two main reasons why we complain. 1. We complain because we feel powerless. 2. We complain because it’s a habit. The economy has shaken a lot of people’s foundations and we feel powerless which leads to a rise in habitual complaining.
But complaining isn’t something new. Think about the Israelites who had spent years as captive slaves and within a short time of being freed they start complaining. They complained about being hungry. They complained about not having enough water. They complained about living in the wilderness. They even said it would be better to be back in Egypt as slaves rather than be free in the desert. Four hundred years of slavery, and they didn’t appreciate the freedom and blessing they have been given.
Here’s the thing, God doesn’t want us to be complainers, He wants us to live with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord…” – Numbers 11:1 (NKJV
“Do all things without complaining and disputing…” -Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)
So today I want to encourage you to adopt a No Complaining Rule and go on a complaining fast. Not because it will make everyone around you happier, although it will, but because it will help you experience more of the peace and joy that God wants for you, and it will help you build strong, positive relationships with others.
Believe me; I know a lot about complaining. I use to be a professional complainer and found that it not only sabotages your happiness but the morale of your team and family.
To help you break out of a “complaining” rut here are five things you can do instead of complain. These tips will help you realize you are not powerless. You have the power to choose your beliefs and actions. And in your focus on the positive instead of the negative you’ll find the faith, strength and confidence to take on life’s challenges and identify the solutions to your complaints.
1. Practice Gratitude. Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It’s also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can’t be negative. (Psalm 118:24)
2. Praise Others. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Of course, point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism. You can energize and engage your coworkers by encouraging them and their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
3. Focus on Success. Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success, and you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. (Philippians 4:8)
4. Let Go. Focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control. Give it up to God and trust Him with the outcome. You’ll be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out. Surrender is the answer. (Proverbs 3:5)
5. Pray. God wants to hear from you. He wants to have a personal relationship with you on a daily basis. Take your worries to Him and He will help you. If you’re a skeptic, also know that scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug-in to the ultimate power of God and recharge. (Philippians 4:6)
Scripture of the Day: “Do all things without complaining and disputing…” -Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)
A Life-Application Devotional By Jon Gordon | http://www.JonGordon.com
A few years ago, Dad’s sister Louise fell ill with what would be her final battle with cancer. Living several hours away from her, I had never gotten to see her more than once or twice a year my whole life, but my childhood is dotted with many fond memories of trips to Tennessee to stay with her and Uncle Edsel.
This particular day, since they lived near a favorite vacation spot of ours, my husband and I traveled a little farther and went to visit her. It was hard to see such a vibrant woman quickly fading to a different hue from what I was used to.
As my time to leave drew near, there was so much I wanted to say, and I knew this was probably our last time together on this earth. A lump stuck in my throat and tears began to pour out as I recalled what an incredible role model she’d been to me all through life. She was an off-the-charts good cook. She could sing and play nearly any instrument she got her hands on. She was the consummate pastor’s wife and a loving mother, and everyone loved her quick humor and contagious laugh. I stammered as I spoke the words to her, “All my life I wanted to be just like you.”
She smiled weakly, squeezed my hand, and said, “Be like Jesus, honey. Just be like Jesus.”
I’ve thought of that conversation many times since her passing, and thought of how she so easily she transferred any praise for herself on to Jesus. What a mantle of wisdom to lay across my shoulders in some of the last words she ever spoke to me. It summed up pretty much everything I would ever need to know about life.
We hold so tightly to our little plastic trophies. We keep refreshing our browsers to see if anyone “liked” our status on Facebook. We’re not too far removed from the insecure teenagers we once were, who long to be remembered as the best-looking, the most valuable player, the most likely to succeed, as chronicled on the pages of the yearbook of our lives. How ironic that what will define our eulogy isn’t what we amassed, but rather, what we gave away—in particular, those things we committed into the hands of the Father. It will be our legacy on earth and it will be the yardstick of our eternal reward when at last we stand at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ.
Jesus, in His final fleeting breaths on the cross, committed His Spirit into the hands of the Father and then declared, “It is finished.” The Bible tells us of yet another event to come, when He will place something else into God’s hands. 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 tells us that Jesus will subdue all the kingdoms, rulers, authorities of this world system, and even the last great enemy, Death. Our Jesus, the Role Model of all role models–the One under Whose feet lies everything that is or ever was—will come under the authority of God the Father in the greatest act of submission of all eternity. And of His kingdom there will be no end!
Aunt Louise knew Whose lead to follow. I’m with her…I want to be like Jesus, too.
Scripture Of The Day: “Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” – 1 Corinthians 15:28 (NLT)
For centuries, society has been slowly drifting down a broad river of change, but speed is picking up, and we have now entered the rapids. Even Christmas is not immune to these changes. It has become just a “holiday” to the world—and, sadly, even to some Christians.
“Merry Christmas” has been replaced by “Happy Holidays,” and carols about Jesus have been traded for songs celebrating Santa Claus, winter, family, and friends. Finding Christ-centered Christmas cards has become a challenge. Snowmen and sleighs have taken the place of manger scenes, which were once common in both private and public settings.
This slide away from Christ is the natural progression of the world, but it is not the direction that believers should go. Drifting is easy: you just relax and follow the path of least resistance. But going against the stream requires constant awareness and diligent effort. We must actively guard against letting the world steal Christ from our celebrations.
Christmas is not just a holiday; it is a holy day—the day God came to earth in the flesh of a tiny baby for the purpose of reconciling sinful mankind to Himself. Holidays are numerous, but there is only one Christmas.
The world tries hard to find pleasure in Christ-less holiday observances, but happiness is often elusive when experiences don’t match expectations. If you feel a sense of letdown, you may have drifted away from an authentic celebration of Christmas. Allow Jesus back in, and joy will return.
Scripture Of The Day: “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 (NLT)
By Skip Heitzig
In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright sent a telegram to their family from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It said, “We actually flew 120 feet. We’ll be home for Christmas.” Their sister Katharine took it to the editor of the local newspaper. His response was interesting. “Oh, how nice,” he said. “The boys will be home for Christmas.” He missed the main event: Mankind had flown!
There’s one song that never gets old to me. I’ve listened to Mary, Did You Know? every Christmas season for well over two decades and each time I hear the powerful phrases, I’m moved. Phrases like Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand and This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you. See what I mean? Goose bumps, friend. Goose bumps.
We don’t know much about Mary except that she was a virgin and probably in her early teens. According to Luke 1:28, we know that she was “highly favored” and that “the Lord was with her”. Even without a stunning resume, God used her. Sweet, little Mary who kept to herself and wasn’t a big “play maker” was invited by the Creator of the universe to change the world.
I think the reason He chose her is because of her willingness. Upon hearing how this would play out in her life, Mary’s response was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) Read the rest of this entry
In many places around the world, there are people who have been in the Christmas mood for a number of days and in some cases, weeks. Gifts, dinners, shopping, sports and a number of other things seem to signal this annual holiday season. But have you ever really stopped to think about what Christmas is really all about? Beyond just saying, “Oh, it’s about Jesus’ birth.” What is that really about?
I believe the real meaning of Christmas is about hope. Hope is the expectation of a promise being fulfilled. It is the anticipation that a specific circumstance will be met with a different outcome than what currently exists. Bad relationships without hope lead to divorce, separation, and irreconcilable differences. Unemployment without hope leads to stress attacks and headaches. An unfavorable medical diagnosis without hope could lead to suicide or depression. And as we inspect our own lives, we can see the truth of Proverbs 13:12, “hope deferred makes the heart sick…” Moments and seasons where our hope was weaning, we all can confirm that we were headed for a destination that we really did not desire. We had to find a way to fight to restore the hope that lay deep within us.
The birth of Christ, his reason for coming and the lasting legacy that Jesus has established, is all about us living lives of hope. Without Christ being born or willingly leaving a legacy, which includes His Word and the Holy Spirit, we would not be able to have any sense of hope about our faith, finances, families, friends or future.
But with His birth, everything stands the chance to be defeated as it attempts to stand between us and the realization of God’s promises. With Jesus leaving His legacy, we have the opportunity to keep a lifted head in any circumstance.
1 Peter 1: 3-4 (NIV) tell us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” The Message Translation of this same verse helps us understand clearly why we have hope through Jesus Christ. It says, “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!”
The truth of your future starts right now. In most Christmas traditions, you have to wait until Christmas day to open your gifts and presents. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for hope, you have it right now. The gift has been presented to you and ready for you to receive it. Your future, faith, family and finances all have just been injected with hope. Today, hope is alive!
Scripture Of The Day: “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!” – 1 Peter 1:3-4 (MSG)
By Lisa Crum
It’s a hard time to feel Christmas cheer if you’re still reeling over sickness or the recent loss of a loved one. Sometimes, until we heal, the full holiday effect is just too much for our wounded spirits. If the whole “Christmas experience” is overwhelming to you, try narrowing your celebration down to simple worship of God for the gift of His Son.
True Christmas is all about Him instead of us. It need be nothing more. We make it far too complicated because we center its significance on people, not God. I hear people say all the time, “Christmas is all about the kids.” Well, it isn’t. It’s about Jesus. If it’s not, we’re setting ourselves up for cruel disappointment. Kids will grow up and leave home. Sometimes loved ones die. Divorce happens. A lost job will leave your pockets empty with nothing under the tree—if you can even afford the tree! When the people and things we love leave us or let us down, it crushes our love for the season; but when we focus on Him, however, as rightly we should, other things are small and less significant in comparison. Please don’t despair, for paring down your expectations and shifting your priorities can make this season a time of joy again. Your return to sincere worship will not only shut out the noise of the things that cause you pain, but your Heavenly Father actually hovers close to those who praise Him.
We had a significant loss in our family several years ago; a close loved one taken unexpectedly, whose funeral was on Christmas Day. After some painful Christmases to follow, we eventually learned that healing came when we narrowed our focus back to Jesus. In His rightful place, He set all things right again.
In most cases, we can’t avoid the other stuff entirely. There will be little kids to buy for, that kind of thing…but if you’re going through a time when the season is just too painful, don’t immerse yourself in the part that drags you down. Don’t sit and listen to sad old songs–and if memories cause you to be depressed, stay away from them until feelings aren’t so raw. There will come a day again when these things won’t weigh 500 pounds on your shoulders. It’s not sacrilegious if you choose this year not to observe the Christmas built on traditions of men! You don’t have to hang lights or put up a tree, or watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV in order to observe Christmas! Don’t take yourself into the places where you haven’t healed. Take a break from that part of this season and just go back to Jesus. There’s no sadness associated with His birth, and that’s where our true celebration begins. Peace will permeate the hurt places in your life.
Make your Christmas all about Him this year (and every year), and other things will take their rightful place in the mix. With Him as the centerpiece of this holy day, you need never hate or dread Christmas again. All the other things which make it a dreadful time for some–shopping nightmares, stress, shortage of money, painful memories–these have nothing to do with Jesus. Stay focused on Him. The pure simplicity of His birth doesn’t require anything more than a grateful heart; so whatever else tries to crowd out your Christmas spirit, push it away from the center of your life and just rest, like the baby in the manger, in the infinite goodness of a God Who was willing to give His very best–for YOU.
Scripture Of The Day: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)