The word surrender has some shadowy connotations. We think it's weak to surrender, but sometimes it's the bravest thing we can possibly do. It means to give our will over to another... and when that other is Christ, we are surrendering our pride, our self-reliance, our will to do things our way. We trust Him more than we trust ourselves. The origin of the word surrender did not mean to give up, but to give over. We give our will over to God, let Him do what He will with it, and in the process we lose nothing, but gain much.
Let's not beat around the bush. Life is one great big wonderful but terrifying adventure. It can be as brutal as it is beautiful. There are no do-overs. We get a single shot to make it home. And guess what? We all wander and find ourselves lost from time to time. Enter our Savior. The One whose love and power to heal and example to guide is so magnificent that our frail human minds can't begin to comprehend.
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Want to create the best Christmas ever? Forgive someone who doesn't deserve your forgiveness. Hug a stranger. Pass on something that you want to keep for yourself. Spend time with the ones you love. Spend time on your knees. Decorate your life with light and laughter. Love yourself while you're loving others. Christmas is about Christ and Christ is all about your joy and happiness.
People think the only time the earth is renewed is in spring. I find it's renewed around Christmastime when hard, old hearts are softened. When children's laughter drowns out anguish. When magic transforms the dull into something beautiful and sparkly. I find that Christmas time changes me ... from the inside out, and even for a moment fills me with youth and hope again.
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God is not someone you meet when you die. His smiling face will be the first and the most familiar to greet you on the other side of mortality. You'll recognize Him and know in your heart of hearts that you're not entering a new sphere, but returning home to the place you've always belonged.
Figure out your passion. What floats your boat, rings your bell, lights your tree? A life without passion is possible, but not desirable. Have you really lived at all if you have not lived with passion? Without it would a masterpiece be possible? I don't think so. With purpose, cause and passion, there is no way the end you envision will not become the reality you live.
Every morning we wake up with the same choice: What will my attitude be today? Ask yourself that without fail. Decide that no matter what the day brings, your attitude will include three elements: an awareness of how far you've come, gratitude for where you are, and determination to keep moving in the right direction.
You are a creature meant to be free. Almost always, the person hardest to tell the truth to... is you. Once you can be honest with yourself, you'll find the strength and desire to be honest with others. It's the most freeing feeling imaginable. Go find a mirror and face yourself and your darkest truths. You have the light within you to chase away the dark demons that hold you down and push you back into the black corners of your past. You deserve better. You are a child of light and light hidden behind dark clouds, does nothing to brighten the world.
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Be honest with the Lord. If you're afraid, say so. If you're feeling abandoned, tell Him. He already knows every sin you've committed and He loves you anyway. Confess honestly. Beg for help. Converse with the Lord in reverence and respect, but not as if you were approaching a distant, uncaring being. Nothing could be further from the truth. All you have to do is reach out to feel the grasp of Christ's hand.
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Certain people will be upset when you speak the truth. They might get mad. They might get really mad. That's because they are still living the lie you've exposed. Stay strong. Speak truth. Do not allow yourself to get pulled back into their lie just to make others happy and yourself miserable. You are free. Stay free.
Picture for a moment the scene of a son carrying wood up a hill. He is about to make the greatest sacrifice he can make. Is it Abraham's Isaac? Or Heavenly Father's Jehovah? It is both. It is you. YOU are also God's child. If He required so much from them, why should He require less from us? He doesn't. He doesn't want a portion. He requires our all.
If you have a painting in you, paint. If you have a song to sing, sing. Don't judge your creation. Just create it. Banish doubt and fear and step out of your own way if you have to. Write if you're a writer and invent if you're an inventor. Do what you were born to do. Only then will you know a remarkable life.
When we are needy Christ does His best work, but be warned. Someone, maybe even some well-meaning soul, is going to tell you, 'Don't worry. God will never give you more than you can handle.' I double-dog-dare you to find that in the scriptures. The closest you can come is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13: 'There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.' This talks about an escape from temptation; it does not say that you will not be faced with more than you can handle. The mother whose baby is born and dies, the father who loses his eyesight in a construction accident and can no longer provide for his family, the child who hurries home from school every day hoping that his mother hasn't yet succumbed to the cancer that he sees ravish her body day by day... all of these souls have more than they can handle-on their own. But with Christ as their companion on the journey through life-and only with Christ-all things are possible. Without Him, we fail no matter how far we manage on our own. We can never cross over without Christ and His all-access Atonement.
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To understand God we must understand ourselves. If I give you an apple and ask you, 'What is that?' you reply, 'An apple.' 'How do you know it's an apple?' 'Because it just is.' 'How did it get to be an apple?' 'It came from an apple.' 'Exactly. So when I ask you, 'What are you?' you can honestly say, 'I am a child of God because I came from God.
Are you aware of who you really are in relationship to the very God who created the Universe, who scattered the stars and aligned the planets? Only to those who remember and realize that they are literally spirit children of a God who knows and loves them, can the fire of refinement be welcome. Otherwise, pain and adversity are just that, pain and adversity. Fire doesn't purify; it only burns.
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We are spiritual children of God the Father. We preach it. We sing it. But do we really understand it? Sometimes it's easy to tell others they are loved, but not so easy to believe it of ourselves - not because we don't think God loves His children, but because we may feel undeserving of His love. The adversary loves to remind us who we are not. Not pretty. Not smart. Not strong. But God would not have sacrificed His Son to save us if we aren't worth saving.
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