Do You See Bars, or Stars?

Two inmates looked out of the window of their prison cell.

One saw bars and the other saw stars!

My dear friend, blog follower or visitor,

As you negotiate your life’s journey, what do you see ahead – prison bars, or celestial stars?

Do you feel imprisoned by your past history or current circumstances? Do you wonder whether you will ever be free of that emotional cycle of depression, or rejection, or low self-esteem? Or do you feel you will never be one of those fortunate people who makes that quantum leap out of life’s debilitating set-backs?

May I tell you something?

And when I do, will you believe me… will you accept the life-saving branch of hope that I’m holding out to you?

There is Hope for Tomorrow

My dear friend, this is my heart-felt message of encouragement and hope. You can break free of your past and experience joyous freedom and liberty.

Yes. You. Can!

You can see the beauty of life, rather than the devouring beast of wretchedness.

You can see beyond the bars of perplexity and reach for the stars of possibility.

You can put victimhood behind you and walk on in life, as a victorious overcomer.

Yes. You. Can!

Why am I so sure?

Because it has happened for me. It has happened for others.

Grab Hold of God’s Goodness

God is no respecter of persons. That means, the same opportunities for breakthrough, deliverance and freedom promised in his Word, are available to you, as well as to me. Isn’t that good great news?

Dear reader, I have even more great news for you. Jesus has already done the ground work for you. And God is committed to helping you. You are not doing life on your own.

Listen to what your Heavenly Father has done for you, as relayed to us in The Passion Translation:

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. […] You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past.

(Psalm 139:3-5)

Learn from inspirational stories

A few years ago, I watched a YouTube video that deeply affected me… in fact, it totally inspired me.

It was about a man who’d been imprisoned for 30 years (28 of which were spent on death row), for a crime he did not commit!

When I looked into the face of this man and heard him speak (he was being interviewed by Oprah), there was not a trace of anger, bitterness, hatred, resentment, or self-pity. Not a single trace!

If there was, then he hid it well. I’m not saying there never has been, at least in the beginning. In fact, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t. However, by the time he walked free from prison, this man had not only made lemonade from the sour lemons life had served him, but he also sought to serve others around him with the sweet beverage of encouragement.

What this man had endured at the hands of America’s justice system, put all that I have “suffered” into perspective. I may not have been unduly incarcerated in a literal prison, but I had certainly allowed myself to become imprisoned within the confines of victimhood.

Now, when I think of how I allowed a few people to make me deeply unhappy for years… how I allowed them to make me a victim… make me feel like I was a nobody, and when I consider how I allowed that cycle of negativity to affect me for years and years, I feel ashamed.

The truth of the matter is, people may have provided the materials, but I was the one who took those materials (the malice, rejection, scorn and ridicule), and shaped myself into that victim.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
http://www.womenofwarfare.wordpress.com

Christ’s Cross or Satan’s Constraints – which will you choose?

In comparison to this man, what I’ve been through is nothing. And I’m so grateful to God that I did not have to carry that particular cross.

Every follower of Christ has to carry their own cross of suffering, pain and shame, and God knows exactly what type of cross we can carry, and how much we can bear. He knows just what it is we need to hone our character, strengthen us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

I do not believe I could carry the cross of a Joseph, who was also unjustly accused and imprisoned (see Genesis 39:1-20). And I hope I am never put to the test of those individuals who find themselves incarcerated, or placed on Death Row, for a crime they did not commit.

I salute this man – Anthony Ray Hinton.  I salute his mother, who single-handedly looked after him and 9 other kids, after his father developed mental health problems when Anthony was only 4 years old. I salute Anthony’s friend, who went to visit him every single week over those 30 years! What an amazing friendship! What an incredible show of loyalty and commitment!  And, I also salute the lawyer, who battled for 16 years to set Anthony free.

I am challenged in terms of my Christian conduct when I consider this man’s story. I am challenged in terms of my thought life and self-mastery. I am challenged that this man endured what he did for 30 years, yet managed to walk out of prison resentment-free, write about his experience and have his story published. In my book, this man is an exemplary Christian, an amazing and most wonderful figure of inspiration.

If Anthony Hinton can walk free from captivity without the stench of bitterness hanging around him, if he can walk out of prison after 30 years, without the stamp of anger and hatred imprinted upon his face, or the seal of victimhood branded upon his soul, then regardless of what we face, or have suffered, you and I can also walk forward into our future as victorious overcomers. If Hinton can take his terrible ordeal and use it to encourage, motivate or fight for others, then so can you and I.

Aim for the Stars!

So my challenge to you this week dear reader is this – when you consider the difficulties of your past or present circumstances, when you view them through the murky windows of remembrance, do you see bars, or do you see stars?

Wishing you a stress-free and victorious week.

With love,

Carol E. Hind – Author, Blogger & Prayer Advocate

The effectual, fervent prayer avails much!

Related Reading/Resources:

Listen to this moving video (11mins) about Anthony Hinton’s experience.

Blog post: Underdog or Overcomer

May I also recommend a book by a dear blogger friend of mine (Shell Vera) who travelled the paths of victimhood and emerged a victor? I have also written a review on this book, which you might like to read. If so, please click here.

 You may pick up a copy from Amazon.

—–oooooo000oooooo—–

Dear reader, your visit is appreciated. Would you be so kind as to share your response to this post in a comment box below? And if you know anyone who could benefit from its message, please don’t hesitate to share it. Thank you.

Encouragement for your journey (4)

Success is a journey – not a destination!

 

It’s been said that these modern times have produced a generation of people who’ve grown up in a negative culture – the blame culture!

With this kind of mind-set, this kind of perspective, those so afflicted can point the finger at someone else for their failures or misfortune.

 

My parents didn’t love me!

No one gave me a helping hand!

I came from a broken home!

I didn’t attend the right school… college… university!

I didn’t grow up in the right neighbourhood!

I don’t have the right skin colour!

I wasn’t given the same opportunities!

I…    I…    I…

 

Godly warriors and victorious over-comers, if we want this year to be a year of supernatural success and consistent achievement, we need to take responsibility for our thoughts, attitudes and actions.

Let’s cast an eye on a few biblical examples where people, who could have felt justified for going down the road of anger, bitterness, self-pity, or revenge, chose instead to trust God, to be patient in tribulation and to forgive those who’d wronged them.

  • Joseph did not blame his brothers for putting him in a pit, for selling him as a slave
  • David did not blame his family for dismissing him as someone with the potential to be king, with the potential to succeed
  • Ruth did not blame her mother-in-law, or life in general, for ending up a young widow
  • Daniel did not blame God when his faithfulness in prayer, caused him to be thrown into the lion’s den

 

 

Dear WoW! follower and visitor,

May I encourage you to adopt the same attitudes as those individuals in my examples above?

May I invite you to watch the following motivational video and to pay heed to its message?

I hope it will inspire you to change (if applicable). And I hope it will inspire you to pray for yourself, and/or to pray for anyone you know, who’ve become entrapped within the gall of bitterness.

 

 

With heartfelt good wishes for you, that this will be a year of tremendous blessings and significant breakthroughs.

Love,

Carol

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

The Power of Perspective

squirrel-498139_640

I used to see squirrels as cute creatures. Like other people, I enjoyed watching these tame animals scamper around park grounds, leap from bough to branch of a tree, or enjoy the adoration and hospitality of children. On occasion, I’d even feed them nuts or scraps from my picnic fare.

As far as I was concerned, squirrels were fully paid up members of an acceptable community of creatures (unlike flying ants, snakes or spiders). That was until I read that they came from the rodent family. All of a sudden, my perspective changed. I now saw these creatures as giant rats with bushy tails. In my heart and mind they were re-classified as vermin. And, when I became a gardening enthusiast, well that was it! I disliked them even more and promptly added them to my personal category of “mega-annoying animals”.

Just like that, my positive perspective of squirrels changed to a negative one. Knowledge contributed to that change.

Did you know that knowledge of God can alter your perception of any adverse situation you may be facing? Not head knowledge (mere mental assent) but heart knowledge, revelation knowledge.

God desires that we “know” Him (i.e. become intimately acquainted with him). John 17:3 reveals that eternal life is knowing the only true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, whilst Daniel 11:32b declares that those who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits for Him. I like to think of some of those exploits as something prayer warriors accomplish – either conducting bold combative resistance against the Enemy of our souls, or presenting passionate petitions to our Father in the court room of Heaven.

Whatever difficulty we may be facing in our lives, or whatever circumstance we may be enduring, we need the strength of God to be able to overcome and emerge a victor.

If you are in a good place right now (experiencing no distressing worries), then wonderful! Great! Why not use your spiritual strength to encourage, pray for and support others? Is there a colleague, a neighbour, a friend or family member who is ill? In debt? Experiencing an insurmountable problem? Can you come alongside them and help? Will you show them the compassion and love of Jesus by supporting them with your prayers and intercession?

If you are already doing this – excellent! Continue the great work.

I faced a situation a little while back, where someone sought to unjustly penalise and discredit me. It undermined my peace. I called upon my best friend and her husband to stand with me in prayer. They also enlisted the help of their prayer group.

Fear and negativity had skewed my perspective regarding my circumstances. However, these godly friends were able to share scriptures with me, which changed that perspective. They could not have done this without their own knowledge of God, gained through their personal relationship with him. They could not have done this without a knowledge of his Word. And I could not have accepted the rhema* word God gave to me through them, I could not have been comforted and strengthened, if I had not previously acquired personal knowledge of his attributes, loving nature and character.

“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” Chris Pine

Just suppose you were drowning and someone dived in to help you, someone whom you knew could not swim and had a fear of water, would you be confident that person could save you? Now substitute that individual with someone whom you know to be a champion swimmer and your perspective of the predicament you are in changes. Your confidence in his/her ability to help you, perhaps even save your life, increases.

Similarly, in times of trouble, your experiential knowledge of God, gained through intimate acquaintance with him will make all the difference as to whether you sink below your problems, wade/swim fearlessly through them, or should the occasion demand, allow Father God to rescue you. Furthermore, what you triumphantly overcome today, equips and enables you to help others tomorrow.

swim-188917_640

God promises: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you… (Isaiah 43:2a)

Dear reader, let me ask you something: how well do you know God? What steps are you taking to increase your knowledge of him?

 

* Rhema = a specific promise from the Word of God, brought to mind by the Holy Spirit