Choose Joy

Today’s a new day! I have learned through the storms of life that joy and happiness are things we have to become intentional about. It’s about the decisions we make moment by moment.

So many people allow everyday joy to escape them because they are focused on what they don’t like, what their lacking, and what is broken. Easy to do. We can allow our circumstances and comparing ourselves to others to rob of us of happiness and joy. What I have learned through my own life storms is when I want to have a pity party, is that the best use of my time. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I have chosen to find the things that I am grateful for as I navigate through the crashing waves.

One of the most positive things I have ever done in my life is to journal and share my story. What has been so interesting and encouraging is hearing the feedback back from those walking through their own battles. As I have heard the inspiring stories of others, I have been filled with gratitude. My circumstances may have not changed, but I did. I chose a new way of looking at life.

I have had the privilege of praying with people during the worst moments of their lives. But instead of being caught up in the negativity of the moment, they were filled with joy. How can that be? I honestly believe that joy is less circumstantial and more an inward reality that is fueled from a heart of faith and gratitude. People that choose to live with more hope and joy view life differently. Peace, Hope and Joy become a lifestyle. They embrace and savor every moment of life.

In these challenging times when there is so much negative news swirling around us, it’s so important for us to take care of ourselves and those around us. We need to laugh, have fun, take a trip and embrace some joy breaks along this journey called life. I encourage everyone to find joy by making time for it and becoming intentional about it. Choose joy and choose it every day. ~OC

Remnant

Today’s a new day! With people a remnant is like a leftover, waste material, material for which there is no plan, purpose, or intended use. With God it is exactly opposite. God’s remnant is a beautiful scrap. The remnant of God is that for which all things were planned and purposed. Without that piece of remnant, everything else would be useless. ~OC

I Didn’t Lose My Miracle

Today’s a new day! Words have power. We can choose to speak words of encouragement or words of judgment. As Christians, our heart’s desire should be to build people up and speak words of hope and love into their lives. But it seems challenging for some Christians to share those encouraging words of hope when someone is suffering from a chronic illness and they don’t seem to be getting any better. Or maybe a person experienced a healing miracle only to have another health battle hit them.

That has been my experience, as I walk through my crazy beautiful health journey. As I shared above, our words are powerful. The tongue is a mighty weapon. It can be used to share love and hope or it can be used to hurt and destroy. I have experienced both over the years. Especially in the last few years.

In November of 2019, I experienced a beautiful healing in the name of Jesus. Not to toot my own horn, but I became the toast in many Christian circles. Everyone wanted to hear my story and have me pray for them. I was blessed with many speaking engagements. Heck, a documentary was even made about my story. Everyone wanted to hang out and spend time with me. Then came February 2021. I was diagnosed with Covid and my health took a turn for the worse. Today, my health is still a major issue. Things are also different in my social life.

Some who celebrated my healing back in 2019, are now the ones who send me messages questioning my faith because I am sick again. What sin caused me to lose my healing? You must have doubt about your healing. That is why God took it away. Todd, you are not praying correctly. Sadly, I am not making this up. Let me assure you, I do not fall for any of these false teachings.

I am not invited or included in many social or ministry gatherings these days. That’s okay. I am a big boy. I am thankful for the few who look past my health issues and just see me. Those that actually live out their faith.

Here are some things God has shared with me as I continue to walk in this crazy beautiful health journey. I will continue to walk in victory.

*Keep sharing the story He has given me.

*The miracle He performed in my life on November 3, 2019 was real.

*I did not lose my miracle.

*Be bold in sharing the true Gospel.

*God will continue to use me at the hospitals, doctors offices and infusion centers to bring hope and encouragement.

*God does not owe us anything. Everything we receive from him is a gift.

*Listen for the lessons God has for us during the trials of life.

*Suffering is part of our journey, but do not let it become our identity.

*Jesus suffered most of his life. Why do some Christians believe they should be exempt from suffering?

*I am not dealing with new health issues because of sin in my life.

*Some people will not receive their healing on this side of Heaven. That doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong. That doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t hear your prayers. That doesn’t mean you don’t have enough faith. That doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t love you. Stop listening to people who would tell you those lies.

*I will not experience another miracle on this side of heaven.

*Who suffered more than Jesus ?

As Christians we need to be speaking words of hope and love over everyone and truly stand with them regardless of what our eyes see or how long they need us. As God brings someone to mind who is dealing with long-term health issues, take a moment and pray not just for them but about your responses to this person. Is it loving, caring and nonjudgmental? Are you speaking life and hope over them? ~OC

Men and Friendships

Today’s a new day! Hello men. This post is for us. I want to get real about friendships. Based on my own experience and talking with other men, we are mostly failing in the area of friendship. Most men I have talked to share they have many surface friendships, but lack deep meaningful friendships. Can any other men relate?

I personally want to have intentional friendships that have meaning and depth. It appears so many men are happy with surface friendships. They fear deep intimate friendships. The casual version of friendship is sadly repeated over and over again and not just with guys outside the church. Men in the church are not doing much better. From my own observation, most men lack true friendships and happily settle for less. We use phrases like he’s my buddy or bro. These are not bad relationships, but just other men who do not understand the importance of having intentional friendships.

I could go into deep reasons why so many men lack deep friendships with other men, but so many of them are just excuses. Most of the time it comes down to laziness. Men like to use the excuse of being too busy. But that doesn’t fly. Go check with your wife or girlfriend. Their schedules are just as busy if not busier than yours, but they still find time for deep and meaningful friendships. As men we settle for less because we do not want to put in the time and effort.

Where are your friends that you can lean on and that can lean on you? Can you pray with them? Can you talk about real life with them? Your failures and successes. Over the years, I have observed too many men are scared to share their wounds, emotions, or real life issues with other men. The best example of a man we have is Jesus. He cried, he got angry, he had a tender heart. He chose to invest in real relationships with 12 other men. He dared to hold those men accountable. To walk through life together. The good and bad. To serve together. Do you have those type of men in your life? We all need men we can challenge and men who will challenge us to be better men. We need to be intentional in our friendships with other men.

So I want to encourage you and myself to do the following:

*Chose to take a risk and open up to some of the men in your life. See what happens. Jesus was not afraid to be vulnerable.

*Chose to be a better friend. Start to be intentional and sacrificial for other men. Asked the tough questions. Listen without interrupting or trying to fix the problem. Share your hopes, failures and dreams. Pray together.

*Chose to pray that God places Godly men into your life, then be on the lookout for them.

Notice how Jesus chose to be open and honest with the disciples. He chose to serve them and together serve others. Jesus chose to be intentional with these 12 men. Are we willing to do that with the men in our lives? It might not be easy, but I promise it will be life changing if we choose to put in the time and effort. No more excuses men. ~OC

Living In Hope

Today’s a new day! I throw off the covers and give praise for another day. Avoid the tv because the news will try and steal my hope. Same bad news they been pushing for a week or two. Listen too long and you might buy that fear and doubt. They might just steal your hope along the way.

No, I will start my day soaking in the Good News. Allow those words to flow through me and give me strength for another day. If you don’t watch out this world will try and steal your hope. Better stay in the Word and strengthen your heart and mind. It’s a cruel world out there looking to kill and destroy.

It’s hard to hear that still small voice, when the world is feeding your head with all that noise. Climb the corporate latter and you’ll finally be satisfied. Break the glass ceiling and you’ll finally be satisfied. Get that house in the gated community and you’ll finally be satisfied. Keep living for the world and pretty soon you’ll be looking for your hope. Never allow the world to steal your hope.

Living in hope means the storm will get better.
Living in hope means I still have purpose.
Living in hope means God’s still writing my story.
Living in hope means I can still be His hands and feet.

Dear God, help me to stand strong and never lose hope. Help me to keep leaning into your promises. Keep my eyes on the prize. I believe your not finished with me yet. Let me keep soaking in your hope. ~OC

Lessons In The Storm

Today’s a new day! We all deal with struggles in life. Whether your dealing with a serious health issue or just having a tough week, leaning into our faith can help us overcome any challenge that the world throws at us.

As I reflect on my own journey, I wanted to share a few ways I have dealt with the challenges of life.

1). Hold onto your Faith. As you are walking through the challenges of life, do not separate the challenge from your faith. Our faith is what will help guide us as we face the trials of life. Our faith is at the heart of who we are. Embrace the gift of faith as you walk through the storms of life.

I have chosen to incorporate prayer and worship music into my day. This gives me peace and comfort. I pray that God helps me overcome the storm I am facing. My hope is to better understand the love of God and what he desires for me. Do not allow your current circumstances to keep you from praising God.

2). Hold onto the peace of God. Never allow a person or situation steal your joy. That joy is a beautiful gift from God. What if you do not have that peace in your life? I encourage you to pray and ask God to fill your heart with his incredible peace. The peace of God is life changing.

3). Lay your burdens down before God. This is easier said than done. Most people tend to hold onto their burdens. We think we can deal with the problem ourselves. Let me assure you that is not true. During my own journey, I have learned to lay my struggles and burdens at the feet of God. I rely on his wisdom, strength and love that gives me the hope to overcome every obstacle that comes my way.

4). Find your circle. What do I mean by find your circle? I am talking about finding the people who will walk with you through those storms in your life. I encourage you to be careful who you allow in your circle. Not all of your loved ones or friends are designed to be in your circle. And that’s okay. I encourage you to pray and ask God who he wants in your circle. Finding your circle is one of the biggest decisions you will make, as you deal with the challenges of life. Do not rush the process.

5). Find your purpose. As you walk through the storms of life, I encourage you to find your purpose. When you find your purpose, you will find your peace. That does not mean your current circumstances will automatically change, but finding your purpose will change your attitude. Finding your purpose during the storm will allow you to be a blessing to someone else.

Remember that God is bigger than any storm we will face in life. I encourage everyone to lean into that beautiful truth. ~OC

Your Choice

Today’s a new day! Like it or not, the storms of life are a part of our journey. The great news is we choose how we deal with those storms.

I realize walking through a life storm is not easy. At the time it feels you are the only one who has ever experienced anything this hard and intense. But let me reassure you that you are not alone. You do not need to walk through this storm by yourself. I argue you to reach out to someone to come along aside you and walk with you during the storm. You will be amazed by how many people are just waiting for you to reach out. Some have walked through the same trials you are facing. Never forget the lessons we can learn from those who have walked through the storms of life and have persevered through their trials. With God, our trials can turn into triumphs.

So we have some choices to make as we walk through the storms of life. Will we learn and grow from these storms and allow God to turn them into life changing victories? Or will we choose to walk through these storms alone and miss the beautiful lessons that could help us grow and experience greater purpose in life?

Let me be real here. Walking through a storm or trial is not easy. I do not want you to put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine. Please be honest when you are hurting. It’s not about pretending you don’t suffer, struggle with doubts or fail to see how God could produce anything good out of this storm. It’s a matter of choosing to find that beautiful joy and peace in the midst of the storm. It’s a time to lean into the promises of God. To find comfort in his loving embrace. Remember, God promises to never leave or forsake us. Even during the biggest storms. ~OC

Keep Moving Forward

Today’s a new day! God has wonderful plan for each of our lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow fear to hold us back from our God given purpose in life. God wants us to confidently walk forward and trust him.

As we walk out God’s purpose for our lives, we have an enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy that plan. As we are walking out God’s plan, the enemy will try to creep inside and put doubt and fear in our hearts. The enemy wants to stop us in our tracks. To stop our momentum.

The enemy loves to use doubt and fear, to prevent us from pursuing our dreams and purpose in live. He wants us to be paralyzed by our current situation. All it takes is us focusing on the negatives instead of keeping our focus on God’s plan.

It’s too hard. What if I fail? Could this possibly be God’s plan for my life? I can’t do this. Sound familiar?

During our journey, we will all face these moments. Times we have to push through all the questions, doubts and challenges. To move forward in spite of our fears. If we wait for that gnawing fear to disappear, we will allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the moment. We will stop moving forward. During those fear induced moments, we must keep moving forward. Do not let the enemy get the victory.

During the uncertain seasons of life, we need to trust God. Sometimes that happens one step at a time. God can use the trials of life to help us overcome our fears and experience victory and freedom through him. No backing down. No retreat. Keep moving forward. ~OC

Adversity

Today’s a new day! We will all face adversity in our lives. I pray as we face the challenges of life, we take the opportunity to set an example of the love, peace and grace of God. When those around us see us facing the storms of life with unwavering love and patience, they see a true example of a Christian walking out their faith. ~OC

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