Victory in Life’s Hardships

When, over a lifetime, we lose so many people, pets, homes, job and important items that we hold dear, we sometimes feel discouraged, overwhelmed, depressed and hopeless. We compare our life with Job and feel a kinship with this dear Saint of God.

People often come to us with remedies for our troubles, and they give us advice about what they perceive as possible short-comings in our life. They believe that if we just had enough faith, then our life would turn around in our favor.

This is just not true. However, if we realize that God is still at work for us, in us, and through us during the deep, dark valleys, just as He is on our mountain top experiences, then our attitude, thoughts, emotions, and behavior often change to more positive ones, in spite of our horrid circumstances remaining the same (Philippians 4:8).

Sometimes, we want specific results, and we get discouraged when they do not happen. However, God is still meeting our immediate needs, sharing little “hugs” with us throughout the day, and letting His face shine on us to bring us comfort, encouragement, peace and joy in the middle of our storms (Numbers 6:25-26).

At times, we do not hear God or see Him at work, because we take our focus off Him and put it on our troubles instead (Isaiah 26:3; Hebrews 12:2). Jesus promises us trials in this life, but He already overcame similar situations, and He abides within us (John 16:33).

In our greatest troubles and darkest hours, we are never truly alone. Our supposed friends may reject us, Satan may belittle us and attempt to discourage us, but we have a friend in Jesus (Matthew 26:36-46). We find comfort in God’s Word, help through His Spirit’s guidance, and strength from the presence of His Trinity within us.

Prayer:

Father God, through Your Word, we always find comfort, direction, support and challenges, which sustain us with victory through life’s hardships. You always lift us up in our times of need, ease our suffering in our afflictions, and bring us healing in our infirmities. During His time on this sin-filled globe, Your Son knew similar suffering as we do now.

He committed no sin, and often we do not sin either; but life has a way of weighing us down. Jesus had His union with You to comfort Him, except for His nine hours on Calvary’s cross where He died to pay our sin debt for each one of us. Help us to trust in You alone during both our trials and our temptations.

Thought for the Day:

Health, financial prosperity, believing that human values are God’s will for us, and expecting God’s intervention in our life are not signs of God’s favor any more than trials and tribulation are a sign of God’s disapproval of us; in this world tribulations is part of life, and we find our comfort in God alone.

Nothing Separates Us from God’s Love

Regardless of whether we live on this earth, or die and join God in heaven, or encounter demons or angels, or drown in our fear for today and our worries about tomorrow, or come up against all of the powers of hell, all authentic Believers are convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).

If we succumb to the scary events in this life, they will capture us in their negative force; however, if we trust only in the Lord, He shelters us in His loving arms (Proverbs 29:25). God fights for us, because the battle belongs to Him (Deuteronomy 3:22).

During His lifetime, Jesus continually proved His power over nature, as well as over the enemies of a Christian life. He will continue to prove this to us too, as we have faith in His faithfulness (Mark 4:39-40). He instructs us by His Word and Holy Spirit each moment of our day.

When we trust in Him, God always delivers us in His timing and way (Psalm 34:7). We simply pray to the Lord, and He answers us. He frees us from all of our fears and worries, as we trust in Him with our whole heart – that means … without reservation (Psalm 34:4).

Even in times of suffering and hardship, God rewards us for our faithfulness to Him, eradicating our worries if we relinquish them to Him in prayer, and giving us courage when we are threatened with insurmountable odds (1 Peter 3:14).

He places His right hand on us to keep us safe, admonishes us not to entertain fear, comforts us with the knowledge that He is our Alpha and Omega, and gives us guardian angels to camp out all around us (Revelation 1:17; Mark 5:36; Psalm 91).

Prayer:

Father God, through Christ, who is our whole reason for living, we present our self to You as one alive from the dead (Colossians 3:3-4). We are a living sacrifice, and we want to be acceptable to You (Romans 12:1). We cooperate with Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in our life, and we disengage from this world’s terrifying circumstances, and focus on Your Kingdom instead.

Help us also to take our eyes off our fear of our future on this earth, and off the results of our human efforts. Teach us to realize that obedience is what You are looking for from us. Remind us that as we fellowship with other Believers, give testimony to the lost world about Your saving grace, study the Bible, pray, and trust You with our whole life, we will flourish like a tree planted by the water.

Thought for the Day:

Our ultimate joy as a human being is that we benefit from a personal relationship with the Living God on a daily basis; although we started out in life as enemies of God, He reconciled us through the saving grace of salvation by the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross.

– Colossians 1:20

Fast Switch

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Train engineers have “switches” on the tracks, which they use to alter the direction of engines in order for them to pull their load in another direction. Without this life-saving device, many trains would collide head-on, derail, or have to wait a lengthy time for other trains to get out of their way.

Life uses “switches” to direct us too. Misfortune strikes like lightning, trials appear out of nowhere, and a door slams shut in front of us when we least expect it. We get “gun shy” after a while, fearing when the next adversity will overwhelm us. Some people call it, “waiting for the next shoe to drop.”

Our sleep is interrupted by worry, our digestive track suffers with ulcers, bleeding, etc., and we take shallow breaths because our chest muscles are continually clenched tight. We doubt that we actually heard from God, or that He loves and cares about us after all.

Our first line of defense against these constant trials is to take a searching inventory of our body, soul and spirit. Is God attempting to use these issues to communicate that we are somehow off track from His plan for us?

He may want us to change our habits in order to protect our health, or maybe we are walking in the flesh and ignoring the guidance of His Spirit, or possibly He wants us to walk to the edge of our human understanding and then take one more step by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, will give us a peaceful attitude during our trials. He will align our beliefs, values, affections and behavior with His Word. He will use His Truth to free us from some addiction or from dependence on the things of this world, and then give us the mind and divine character of Christ in us (2 Peter 1:4).

Many times, trials come in order to drive us deeper under the shadow of God’s wings (Psalm 17:8, 91:4). They increase our dependence on God, and decrease our reliance on our human resources. They may even put us in the right place, at the right time to fulfill God’s will for us.

Trials also remind us that we are not in control, and we cannot save our self. They give us the conviction and courage to recall that God is in control and will work out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), if we trust in Him with our whole heart and walk on the path that He chooses for us.

Prayer:

Father God, help us to walk in the faith that You have a purpose for us in every trial. We can breathe deeply and trust that You are using these events to allow patience to have her perfecting work in our life (James 1:4), so that we are complete in You (Colossians 2:10). By relinquishing our expectations for the outcome of these events, we give You the freedom to keep us in the very center of Your will for our individual life (Ephesians 2:10).

You help us to slay our doubts, and to abide in Your peace and joy. Your Light, Love and Living Water sustain us through every adversity. We trust in You alone, as we depend on Your nurture, compassion and grace. We listen for Your voice to direct our steps, and we refuse to rely on our human understanding. You are worthy of all of our praise, and we give You the glory for everything that we accomplish in Your name.

Thought for the Day:

As we spend time in God’s presence within us, our doubts fade, our faith grows, and our dependence on Him alone increases; no adversity, challenge, loss, or worry can defeat us, as long as we trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God.

The Lord is Our Helper

We need a helper from time to time along life’s highway. There is only one Being who is always faithful, always available, always nurturing and compassionate, and never ever fails us (Hebrew 13:5-6).

He is our awesome Daddy God, Creator, Sustainer, Author and Finisher of our faith, etc. His love is always patient, kind, unselfish and not self-seeking, not prideful, not easily offended or angered, keeps no record of wrong, and never delights in evil.

His love always protects us, is worthy of our trust, gives us eternal hope and is always faithful (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). His love forgives our multitude of sin, and keeps us on the straight and narrow road, in order to protect us from harm.

Our Father God bears with us, comforts us and embraces us in His everlasting arms. He rejoices when we walk in His truth, as well as when we speak His truth to others and to ourselves. He teaches us that we can do, through Christ, His Son, all things that He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus lives within us by His Spirit, providing all the power of the entire triune Godhead for us to utilize as we need His help with a task, guidance to walk in His will, and protection to keep us safe. These truths always inspire assurance in our heart.

Prayer:

Father God, Your love does not depend on our thoughts, choices or emotions. You freely shower Your affection and protection on all of Your Saints. You created us as human beings, and You have the patience to wait as our character grows through the encouragement of Your love. Therefore, I can do my best and leave the rest up to You.

You teach us that when we give in to Satan’s temptation to give up on our self, You are in our corner believing in our success. Help us to read Your Word, to delight in each thought it reveals, to allow it to divide between our flesh and our spirit in order to make us holy, and to help us to share Your Truth with everyone that we meet.

Thought for the Day:

God loves our humanity, because He made us as mere mortals; we may make mistakes, but God’s love is not contingent upon our works; although He calls us to reach for perfection, He knows that without His grace this goal is impossible for us to achieve on our own.

– Ephesians 2:8-10

Living the Transformed Life

As authentic Believers, we no longer conform to this world, but we are transformed by the renewing of our mind into the mind of Christ. We prove what the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God is for us (Romans 12:2). In Christ, we are a new creation.

We are no longer encumbered by a dead spirit or rotting flesh. They passed away with Christ on Calvary’s cross. Now everything is brand new, exciting, and hopeful (2 Corinthians 5:17). God gives us a new heart of flesh, and a spirit that is now Born Again within us (Ezekiel 36:26).

Therefore, because of the mercies of God, we present our body to Him as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to Him (Romans 12:1). God’s Spirit enlightens our understanding, and we realize the hope of His calling on our life, as well as the riches of our inheritance as co-heirs with Jesus (Ephesians 1:18).

There are times when we feel forsaken by Him, or that our circumstances are about to overwhelm us. However, if we change our focus to the confidence that we have in Him, we will have more peace and joy in our life as we trust in Him and His goodness.

God began His good work in us, and He will continue to perform this transformation until we see Jesus face-to-face (Philippians 1:6). He also gave us His Word, which is actually alive, and it is swift to perfect us, and powerful to instruct us.

God’s Word is sharper than a two-edged sword; and when we read and study it, it reveals to us the thoughts and intents of our heart (Hebrews 4:12). It divides our carnality from our spirituality, and helps us to bear fruit as branches connected to the Vine of Christ (John 15:5).

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to be sober and vigilant in order to avoid Satan’s attempts to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). By using discernment, rather than just believing whatever anyone tells us is true, we are able to recognize false prophets who have infiltrated this world (1 John 4:1). We rejoice that we are justified before You by faith, and that Your peace infiltrates every part of our life (Romans 5:1).

Thank You for changing us into the image of Jesus by Your Spirit, as He transforms us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). We love the fact that we are already crucified with Christ; and that, although we still have to live in this world, we are not part of it. Due to the faith of Christ in us, we realize that He loves us and gave Himself as a willing offering to pay the penalty of our sins for us (Galatians 2:20).

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is the Word, who dwelled with God from the very beginning, and He has always been and will always be part of the Trinity of God; everything was made by Him, and He holds it all together; He is the true Light of the world, and in Him there is no darkness; when we receive Him as our Savior and Lord, we receive His grace and His glory as our own.

– John 1:1-51

Spiritual Blindness

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This age in which we live is considered the “age of the Gentiles,” because God included non-Jews in the focus of His Saints’ outreach to the lost. Since Jesus’ ministry began, Gentiles are freely included in God’s adopted family – the Jews first, and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16).

Prior to this, His attention was on His chosen people, the Jews. Consequently, there were only a few non-Jews that He included in His family, such as the woman who safely harbored Joshua and the spies in Jericho, as well as Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth, etc.

The Messianic Jews embrace Jesus, but there are not many of them. Even within the Jewish population now living in the promised land of Israel, there are few who choose to believe in their Messiah, Jesus Christ. For centuries, the Jews have been “blinded” by Jesus’ first humble coming.

As a babe in the manger, Jesus did not resemble the coming King prophesied in the Old Testament writings. Those prophecies represent His second coming, however. Somehow Jewish scholars missed the 300 prophesies that Christ’s first coming fulfilled (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2, etc).

After Jesus’ resurrection, God led some of the apostles to go and preach to the Gentiles, giving generations since then the opportunity for non-Jewish people to enter His family (Ephesians 1:5). However, when the anti-Christ takes power, God will send a strong spirit of delusion over the whole earth.

This gives the anti-Christ the ability to continue Satan’s ministry of deception (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). Only a few Gentiles will believe during that time, because their worldview and belief system are based on their hardened hearts against the truth of the Gospel of Christ.

The wrath of God is revealed during the Great Tribulation period against all of those who suppressed the Truth of God. Sadly, those who know the Gospel truth, and who refuse to believe it, and who close their mind to its validity, will receive eternal condemnation by their own choices (John 3:18; Romans 1:18).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that the 144,000 evangelists – 1200 from each of the twelve Israeli tribes (Rev 14:1-20), will go out into the world and minister to the Jews who are alive during the time of the Great Tribulation, and many will accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. We are so thankful that You are faithful to Your promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, because that means that You are always faithful to Your promises to all of Your Saints.

We cling to the truth of Your Word, revel in the love that You shower us with every moment of our life, and rejoice in Your presence in our life both now and throughout eternity. Help us to rid our life of every “idol” that we embrace now, and prevent us from clinging to any others in the future. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4), and we will bow to and worship no other God.

Thought for the Day:
All of those who clearly heard a presentation of the Gospel of Christ during the age of the Gentiles and during the Great Tribulation, and rejected the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior, will continue to believe the anti-Christ’s rhetoric prevalent in the world even today; and they will die in their sins, and eternally reap the condemnation of their own choices – unless they turn their heart to Jesus.
– Titus 1:14; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; John 3:18

A Good Marriage – Healing Together

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Some people are self-centered and egotistical. They rarely consider the needs of their spouse or family. They demand time to pursue their own interests to the detriment of everyone else around them. Their marriage is doomed to fail, unless they start considering the needs of others in their life.

Conversely, if we are codependent, we will ignore our own needs, and put everyone else’s needs first. Then we expect our mate to care for all of our needs. We end up overly burden them with extra duties and expectations. In this case, self-care is an essential element for a good marriage.

Taking some time for our self every day is vitally important to the health of our soul. We end up having more physical and emotional energy to meet the needs in others. We also act more positively, patiently, kindly and lovingly, as well as less irritably and angrily.

There are often childhood or young adult wounds, that we buried in our subconscious mind, that fuel our most irritating habits. They often decide whether we end up as self-centered or codependent adults. These disturbing events imprinted patterns of thought and behavior on our soul, and influence our current habits, personality and idiosyncrasies.

Showing compassion for one another in these areas of brokenness, will help to sever the connection of our soul-ties to these destructive patterns. We can work together to discover the roots of these influences, and find healing from the Lord. This will improve our current relationship.
https://www.transformationprayer.org/preparing-journey-introduction/

In a secure connection with our spouse, we can identify our own failings and strengths, humbly admit when we are wrong, ask for forgiveness, and apologize when we hurt one another. This humility helps us to change the destructive behavior patterns we adopted to deal with and to protect our self against our inner pain.

Once the pain is replaced by the truth, which God speaks to us about our past, we no longer react negatively in these same issues. We are free from the soul-ties that held us in bondage to our brokenness in these areas, because they are no longer deeply rooted in our subconscious mind.

Prayer:
Father God, no matter what our experience has been with our earthly caregivers, the truth is that, as our heavenly Father, You are perfect in all of Your ways. You love us with an everlasting love, and You rejoice over us with singing. You are righteous in all that You allow to happen to us, You do no wrong, and Your justice comes to us morning by morning (Zephaniah 3:5, 17).

Thank You for loving us so much, and for making us part of Your family as Your adopted children. We savor Your blessings that You continually shower us with each day, and we feel secure in Your presence. You are our great God, Almighty in power, deep in wisdom, generous with Your peace and joy, and absolute in Your love. We love You with our whole heart, and rejoice in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father God is our perfect parent who loves us unconditionally, cares for our every need, wisely disciplines and perfects us, never abandons us, is interested in all that we think and feel and do, skillfully guides us through the twists and turns of life, generously supplies for all of our needs, is always available to us, and cherishes us as His unique and precious child.

Not of This World

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Cattle drives that we see in movies show the riders driving the cattle. However, sheep are not driven, but led. They know their shepherd and willingly follow Him. Jesus instructed us that His sheep hear and recognize His voice, and that He intimately knows each one of us as we follow Him (John 10:27).

Jesus’ makes us, His sheep, lie down in thick, green pastures; He leads us to clear, clean water to drink; if we go through the shadow of death, He is with us; goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life; and we will dwell in His house forever (Psalm 23).

However, if we continue to sin, we do not belong to Him (1 John 3:9). When He convicts us of our sin, and shows us that He knows the secrets of our heart, we will either walk away from Him or fall on our face in repentance and worship (1 Corinthians 14:25).

We cannot find eternal life on our own, even by reading God’s Word or by doing good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only as we trust in the Gospel of Christ, and He knows us in a personal union that we are saved and sealed by His Holy Spirit (Matthew 7:21-23; John 6:27).

Then we are able to trust in Him for our salvation and walk in His ways. We reap His blessings continually and enjoy His presence within us (Colossians 1:27). These spiritual truths allow us to see His divine Truth, such as the fact that we are not of this world, and that Christ in us is our only hope of glory.

When we belong to Jesus, His Spirit replaces in us our sinful attitudes and habits with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). God strengthens us in our inner being by His Spirit, and makes known to us the glorious riches of His mysteries (Ephesians 1:12-13, 3:17; John 5:39).

These spiritual truths allow us to see His divine Truth, such as the fact that Christ in us is our only hope of glory. Then we are able to trust in Him for our salvation and walk in His ways. We reap His blessings continually and enjoy His presence within us (Colossians 1:27).

As children of God, we address Him as our “Abba Father,” because He sent the Spirit of His Son into our heart. Even in times of persecution, God’s Spirit within us sustains us and also gives us the words to speak when our beliefs are challenged (Galatians 4:6; Matthew 10:19-20).

Prayer:
Father God, when we accept Your Son, Jesus, as our Savior, we have peace with You and pure fellowship with Christ through Your Spirit (1 John 1:3, 7). We rejoice in the fact that although it is always possible for us to get tangled up in sin again, You give us complete salvation – if we choose to walk in it. You also bless us with freedom from our flesh, the world, and the deception of the devil.

Thank You that if we love You, and obey Jesus’ teachings, then You will love us, and Your Trinity will come and make Your home in us (John 14:20-23). Just as You and Jesus are one, You are in us as well, which make us one with You too. Jesus will return for us, so that we can abide with Your Trinity for eternity (John 14:3, 17:15, 24). Thank You for protecting us from Satan’s lies while we remain on this sin-filled globe, and for giving us Your intimate presence in our heart (John 17:15).

Thought for the Day:
At the moment of our salvation, we are crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in and through us; then during the remainder of the life that we live on this earth, we live by His faith in us, because He loves us and gave Himself for us.
– Galatians 2:20

Saving Faith through Christ

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Even as Christians, we often get an idea in our mind and run with it. We go from one worldly pursuit to the next, collecting human accolades and storing up treasure on this earth. We eventually find our feet far from the path that God designed for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

We are walking in disobedience and completely out of His will. Every sin spawns from one major offense – the sin of unbelief. Unbelief keeps us out of the Kingdom of God on earth, and prevents us from enjoying eternity with God in Heaven (John 3:16-18).

God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us and to justify us by His blood (Romans 5:5-9). He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus, who gave us this same ministry of reconciliation for others (2 Corinthians 5:18).

We inherit an unbelieving heart from Adam and Eve, but we acquire saving faith from Jesus Christ. He presents us holy in His sight, without blemish and free from any accusation that would condemn us for eternity (Colossians 1:22).

Sin also separates us from God’s companionship, which we come to cherish; but restoration is only a humble prayer away. While we were still enemies with God, He saved us from His wrath through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus on earth, who now abides within us (Romans 5:9-10).

God also gave us His Spirit to comfort, guide and teach us all things (John 14:26; 1 John 2:20, 27). When life overwhelms us, and worry robs us of health and God’s peace, God gives us ways to return to the center of His love: praying to God who cares, sharing with a fellow Christian who understands, reading His Word for encouragement, and walking in the Spirit one moment at a time.

Prayer:
Father God, our assurance of our salvation though Jesus works in our hearts and transforms us from children of darkness into children of Light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Then You launch us into the ministry of reconciliation, to bring this same Good News to all of those, which You place in our life (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Help us to take a chance in all of our tomorrows, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with someone we know, or that we meet by Your divine providence. Help us to share our faith with them simply and distinctly, with conviction and joy. Give us Your courage, wisdom and words to reconcile souls to faith in You.

Thought for the Day:
When we were enemies of God, Christ reconciled us to the Father through His death; now He keeps us on a straight and narrow path, because of our enemies; He also surrounds us with His angels, so that we will not stumble or fall.
– Psalm 27:11, 91:11

Recovering from Grief

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We all experience times of grief in this sin-filled life. We reap the consequences of choices that we make, or a choice made by a person of influence over us, and we suffer a loss. We consider this as unfair; and at times, we even blame God for allowing these events to occur.

We grow angry, bitter, skeptical, pessimistic and wary. These attitudes hinder us from finding our way through our grief and healing our inner wounds, especially if we hibernate to our self and meditate on the negative experience that happened to us.

Changing our focus about the event(s), and finding alternative methods of behavior will facilitate a quicker resolution. We never forget the grief, but it no longer hobbles us to the past. Over time, the intensity of the pain can diminish, and we will recover a little more each day.

Fear and remorse from the past will cripple our future, but courageously facing our future will give us the strength to live each current moment with God’s Trinity within us. He has perfect plans for our life, and it makes sense for us to discover them (Ephesians 2:10).

We are a person too, and we can ask God to teach us ways to minister to our needs in the same way that we help others. Serving others brings us joy, as it blesses them, and it lightens the burdens that we all share.

We find JOY by serving:
J-esus
O-thers
Y-ourself.

Focusing on what we lost will only set up a negative spiral of emotions, behavior and events in our future. However, changing our focus to what we still have, as well as to what God provides for us each new day, will strengthen us and give us joy.

Entertaining positive attitudes give us more peace and energy to face the future, especially if we serve God with our whole mind, heart, choices and strength (Mark 12:30). Walking in the center of God’s will for us guarantees our success.

Prayer:
Father God, each day, and especially during times of loss and grief, You always send ministering “angels” into our life to comfort and fortify our soul. Remind us that we can find the fortitude we need to climb out of our pit of despair by reading and meditating on Your Word, fellowshipping with Your Body, and hearing Your Word preached in classes and sermons.

By this, we find answers to our questions, hope for our future, and healing from our past. We find comfort in Your loving presence within us. Our recovery increases our union and deepens our relationship with Your Spirit who abides within us. Weeping may plague us during our darkest hours, but Your joy is always waiting for us in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
Some of the alternative activities that we can participate in to relieve our grief are simply common sense. A few we will have no interest in trying, but some of them may peak our interest:
1. Biking, walking, jogging, strolling in nature
2. Adopting a pet, caring for an elderly relative or neighbor, joining a service organization in our area
3. Making a “bucket list” of activities that we always wanted to try and doing one thing at a time
4. Going back to school to finish our degree, pursuing a new career choice, volunteering at community or church outreaches
5. Searching our soul to discover what will help us to positively face each new day
6. Spending concentrated time maturing spiritually and walking in God’s Spirit’s direction for our life