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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Five Ways to Live a Blessed Life in a Cursed World

By Kathryn Lehan

Sometimes it feels like we live in a cursed world.

It's difficult to stay positive in a world where bad behavior rules, where the news constantly reminds us of the darker side of mankind, where the future looks bleak with talk of recession, global warming and terrorism. But the news is not all bad.

Two thousand years ago a savior came to give us the Good News. You are blessed and deeply loved by God, he said. Don't be afraid, he said. God turns into good what man has meant for evil.

This sounds great, but. . . How come we don't believe it?

It's easy to get distracted by the chaos around us. It's easy to start believing the bad news. And once we start believing it, it becomes a part of us and it defines how we move through our lives.

What if you could turn your curse into a blessing?

It's much easier than you think to live a blessed life. You only need to remember one very important promise God gave us thousands of years ago. God said that you are his beloved child. Not a stranger; not someone he kind of knows a little bit; his beloved child. God says his blessing is upon us and that he knew us before we were born.

With that family legacy, how can we be cursed?

Man has cursed you, not God. God wants you to stand up to the bullies around you and declare that you are his beloved child. God wants you to declare your legacy and to ignore man's curses.

In Save Yourself! The Plain Truth, I talk about how Satan works through human beings to discourage us and turns us away from God. Satan loves it when we allow other people to make us do bad things or to think negative thoughts or to become so discouraged that we trash our hopes and dreams.

This isn't what God wants for us. God says he will give you your heart's desire and God never lies!

When you boldly face adversity, it puts you in a position to triumph over evil, and it allows you to be a comfort and mentor to others facing the same problem. Evil is turned into good when you allow God into your life.

To shake off the world's negativity and let God's blessings prevail in your life, remember these five simple things:

1. You are unique from any other person who has ever lived. You can be a singer among thousands and thousands of other singers and still be unique. Don Henley and Madonna are both singers and yet no one sees them as the same. Whatever you do, you have to be bold enough to infuse your personality into your work. If you are a funny person, you can be a funny accountant or a funny comedian. If you are compassionate, you can be a compassionate police officer or a compassionate mother. Don't let anyone convince you that you have to be like everyone else to succeed. You were made unique for a reason. Use it!

2. You have everything you already need to succeed. God did not send you into the world to be a buffoon with no talent. We have all been given unique talents that we bring to the world. You may not know what your talent is, but you have everything you need to do what you are uniquely made for. Of course, you need to put some effort into what you want to do. You can't expect to be a good singer if you don't spend lots of time practicing and taking lessons, etc. God expects you to do the work. He also respects all work that we do, even work that man considers demeaning or insignificant. God particularly loves people who serve, teach, minister and sacrifice for others.

3. Only by being who you truly are can you succeed at doing what you were made to do. God made each of us for a unique job and we have the exact unique talents to pull it off. If we spend too much time worrying about what others think or what others tell us we should do, we won't be able to do the job God set us to do. You have a unique personality, talent and future that belongs only to you. Well-meaning friends and family will give you all kinds of advice. Listen to the advice but use the advice in your own way. If the advice doesn't fit with who you are, disregard the advice. Your well-meaning sister cannot possibly understand that you aren't wired to balance accounts if your heart is in talking to people. You can't allow money to determine your destiny either. You won't be able to live like your rich friends if you are wired to be a missionary. God will give you what you need to succeed when you quit trying to be someone else.

4. You were made to be happy. Children are not born worrying about anything. They are happy just to be, just to take in the world around them. As we get older we learn, that's right, learn, to be unhappy. It starts with small disappointments - not getting a cookie or toy we want, and then it escalates to feeling inadequate because of some arbitrary measure - like income or wardrobe or athletics. We are taught by the world that money and things make us happy. The truth is money only makes you happy if you don't have the basics - food, water, clothing and shelter. At some point money will start to make you unhappy because it never seems to be enough to make you happy inside. If you live a life that truly suits you, your joy will spring forth naturally. We are wired to help other people so use your money to help others. Start feeding the hungry and clothing the poor and your purpose here on Earth becomes very clear. Things don't make us happy - a sense of purpose in service to others does.

5. Energy follows passion. Wherever you put the most emphasis (energy) is what you create. If you worry about losing your job, you will have constant job and money problems. If you only put a minimal amount of time into your dream, it won't ever go anywhere or will meet lots of obstacles. It isn't because God doesn't want you to have your dream fulfilled, you have to put enough passion into your dream to draw energy to it. A dream requires not only your enthusiasm but other people's enthusiasm too. If you want to be a singer, you can't get a CD made and distributed unless other people believe in you enough to produce and distribute it for you. When people see the energy you put behind your dream, they will add their own energy to help make it happen.

Use these Bible verses as affirmations, numbered to correspond with the five points above, to stay in blessings in your daily life:

1. "People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions." - 1 Samuel 16:7

2. "The LORD has given them special skills. . . they excel in all the crafts [jobs] needed for the work." - Exodus 36:35

3. "Our only power and success come from God." - 2 Corinthians 3:5

4. "To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life - that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." - Ecclesiastes 5:19

5. "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God is with you." - 1 Chronicles 28:20

And, this Bible verse, the inspiration for the title of my book, Save Yourself! The Plain Truth, confirms God has given us blessings we cash in on simply by asking for them in the name of Jesus.

"The truth is, anyone who believes in me [Jesus] will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father [God]. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it!" - John 14:12-14

Discouragement can prevent you from living God's promises for your life. The power to live in blessings is already within your reach. God is always on your side but you have to join him there to do the work to see blessings flow in your life.

Kathryn Lehan is the author of "Save Yourself! The Plain Truth", a primer for anyone interested in learning more about God. Ms. Lehan answers difficult questions we all have in plain language with a minimum of Bible quotes so that you can "get" the truth about God. Please visit her website at: http://www.encouragingoutbursts.com/Save_Yourself_The_Plain_Truth.html to read an excerpt from her book.

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