Choices – How to make Better Ones

CHOICE : care in selecting, power in choosing, the best part or preferred option, one’s judgment in positive direction, an appealing decision.

Sounds like a positive thing – doesn’t it.

We as humans are the only creatures on the planet that have free will. God thought it so important that we make our own decisions and choices that he instilled it in us at creation.

From the moment we wake up in the morning until it’s time to retire and go to sleep, we’ll make hundreds of “choices” during the day. In the morning alone, we’ll make choices if we’ll spring out of bed when the alarm goes off or if we’ll just hit the snooze button for a few more minutes of rest. Then we’ll choose on what we will wear, what we will eat for breakfast, if we’ll make our lunch or dine out, and which route we’ll take to work according to the traffic report.

As in life, we all make personal “choices” on who we want to be, what friends we will have, who will be our mate and what field of work we want to take part in. If you agree with me, and I think you do, it’s our prerogative to make these choices according to what will make us happy. We just don’t let life hit us in the face without giving our life some thought in making some of these decisions. We may not always be able to choose our circumstances but we always have the ability to choose how we will respond to those circumstances. It’s not what happens to you that builds character, how you respond will build character or not. I am only responsible for my choices and not for the actions and choices of others.

Each and every day we make a conscious choice on how to live our lives. However, it amazes me how we’ll let life slip on by and let the daily grind, as well as time, take away our focus on what we really want and what makes us happy. Before you know it, years will have passed without taking the vacation we’ve always wanted, gotten the job we’ve always dreamed of, loved those to our heart’s content and spent time with our parents, and loved ones who mean the most to us.

I can honestly say that the source of my problems today and yesterday is and has been me. My expectations, my goals, my agenda, my desires and my choices, or by others not responding to these things as I thought they should. Even when apologizing, I expected to be forgiven, but it is and never was my choice to forgive, that belongs to the person I wronged. The ability to forgive was something I had no control over and therefore was not my responsibility, but when i didn’t get the response I was expecting, I grew angry. I could not make them forgive me, after all their hurt was legitimate, but I expected it to be forgiven. It all boiled down to pride and the need to control.

Life is simply a string of choices and learning to live with the consequences of our choices – good or bad.

Your life is made up of choices. You choose what you want to do, where you will do it, and what type of education will get you there. Some of your choices empower you and others hold you back. Either way, you have power over what you choose in your life. The choices we make says alot about who we are, and all we do is a part of all we are.

The challenges in your life, in most cases, arise not by accident, but from the choices that hold you back.

So why we are so surprised when things go off course, or when we are faced with a major problem in our life?

We do not intentionally make bad choices. We make choices based on the information we have at the time. We weigh our options and believe that our choices will turn out for the best. But what about the choices you are making today that you know are not good for you? Or, when you know in your gut that it’s time to make new choices and you are not? You can change your choices if you want to.

First we have to make Peace With our Past Choices
We’ve all made dreadful choices. It’s part of life. Sometimes, in order to make a good choice, you have to know what it feels like to make a bad one. The consequences of a bad choice can be a good motivator reminding you to not make that choice again. It’s important to make peace with the past choices so you can move forward. By closing the door to your past, a new door can open to a brighter future. This is not always and easy task, due to the guilt and shame associated with our past, but if we can accept responsibility for our choices then we are ready to quit blaming others, accept the consequences and move forward. Don’t let the guilt or shame of your past choices hold you captive, no matter how many wrong choices you have made, believe me I know about bad choices in multiples; it only takes one right choice to change your life.

Secondly look For A Pattern
If your life is not all you think it can be, ask yourself what choices brought to where you are today. Subtract from your thinking everything that other people “did” to you. Subtract your “bad luck.” Focus simply on the choices that you’ve made. Then, look for a pattern in your choices. Identify the recurring theme that holds you back; that propels you into making the choices that do not add to your life

Thirdly you have to decide To Make Better Choices
Until you decide to make better choices, your choices will continue to work against you. Resolving to make better choices is crucial. It is the first step towards having focus and determination. Can you make better choices simply by saying you will make them? Why not? Your thoughts and words are powerful and life changing. The bible clearly states that there is death and life in the power of the tongue. You have to decide to make the right choices for your life, this is simply one thing others cannot do for you.

Most people, in general are good people, who have made some really bad choices in their life that has led them to the place they find themselves. I believe I am basically a good person, a person with flaws, a person who has made bad some horrific choices in my life, but basically a good person. One right choice can undo a lifetime of bad choices; I realize today all I need to do is the next right thing, one decision at a time.

Then start Making Better Choices
Start today with a single act. Stop yourself when you are about to slip into your familiar pattern of bad choices. Recognize the warning signs. If you’re like me, you’ve been through this process several times and now when you are at risk for failure based on prior experiences. Replace that choice with a more positive action. One action leads to another, which leads to another. Before you know it, you are making better choices. The one small choice you make right now, that you have no proof will make a difference, and are afraid to take, is the action that done over time will lead to better choices and a more fulfilling life.

Don’t be afraid to ask For Help
You are not meant to work on your life challenges by yourself. When you find that days, weeks, months, and years are going by and you still have the same problem, make a promise to yourself that you will reach out to someone who can help you. I would not be where I am today, believe me I still have a lot of growing to do, without the help of others. Their time, advice and faith in God to change a person’s heart and in doing so change their desires, is what has encouraged and enable me to make different choices in my life, and how i want it remembered.

You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

 

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Why do we Suffer Alone? Open your Hearts to Those who Need Help

Something Good can Come out of all the Suffering that People Face

 

It seems hard to accept that suffering can sometimes be a blessing. Why would we think that suffering would be able to help us find something positive?

What follows is some of the toughest times in this world’s history, and yet something positive came out of it: 

World War II brought unparalleled suffering and death to humankind. Experts estimate some fifty-five million people died, among them roughly six million Jew in concentration camps. Families and nations were shattered. Clearly this was a time of great, great evil.

 But not all was evil. During the war, medical researchers intensified their efforts to fight disease and infection and as a result made great breakthroughs. Up until 1941, for example, doctors could not reverse the course of infection. “They could do little more than offer a consoling bedside manner as patients sank into oblivion,” writes Stevenson Swanson.

But the war caused England and America to search for a way to mass-produce penicillin, the original wonder drug. Although penicillin had been discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, for nearly a decade the medical community had done little with it. “It was dismissed as little more than an interesting microbiological phenomenon.”

But as the probability of war increased in the late 1930’s, all that changed. Research began in earnest in England for a way to mass-produce penicillin, which at that time could only be made in extremely small quantities. 

In 1941, English researchers brought samples of penicillin to America, and a team of scientists began research into mass production in an agricultural lab in Peoria, Illinois. Within four months they found ways to increase the production of penicillin tenfold. The process was licensed to pharmaceutical companies, and production began in earnest.

“For all of 1943, only 28 pounds of penicillin was made. Two years later 14,000 pounds was made.”

The discovery of making penicillin in mass led to a rush to make other antibiotics. The next antibiotic helped cure tuberculosis. One antibiotic led to another until in the mid-1990s, well over one hundred antibiotics were available.

“Probably more than any other discovery in the history of medicine, the discovery of antibiotics has done the most to improve the lives of humans,” said Dr. Gary Noskin, an infectious-disease specialist and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.

It is sad that millions of people had to suffer and die, but out of that horrible war, came the drugs that have saved even more millions of people since then. It will also go on saving lives. Dr. Russell Maulitz, a medical historian and professor at the Medical College of Philadelphia and Hahnemann University Says, “War is the perverse handmaiden of medical progress.”

We should never forget!!! I am talking about the atrocities of the Holocaust and the death of many millions of people during World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, 9-11, and Iraq,  but we also should never forget the good that happened, which in turn saved millions of lives for the rest of history.

Suffering is not just for those in wars, or prison camps. You and I face suffering everyday. It might be from losing your job. It could be that you don’t have health insurance anymore. It even could be that you lost your home to a foreclosure.

We live in a world that often turns its back on the hurting and suffering. What are we to do? Who can we turn to? Why is it happening?

I have found that turning all my worries, fears, anxieties, self doubt, and the feelings of hopelessness over to God I find a special sense of relief flowing through me. As long as I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who will protect me and provide for me, I can look the suffering in the face and say, “Get behind me Satan!” With God on my side, who can be against me!

I know you have been deep in the muck and mire, but stand up straight, and walk out of that mess. Walk back to reality with God helping you. Be strong. If you need pray please feel free to comment on this post at the bottom. Michael and I will put you first on our list to hold you up to God. “We,” can fight this together and help each of us be stronger. Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered together, I will be with you also.” Let’s all pray as one team. This team will be the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, with you Michael and I being strong together.

God bless you and keep you safe in his arms!

Doug Bolton

 OUT!

 

 

 

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

The Lies we tell ourselves – I’m not hurting anyone but myself.

Substance abuse destroys – not just the substance abuser, but everyone surrounding the substance abuser.

Substance abuse washes over everything it touches, impacting not only the substance abuser but also his family members, and friends. For every addict there are, statistically,  seven (7) people directly impacted by their choice to use and countless others indirectly.While substance abuse often leads to chaos and unpredictable behavior, it does offer one promise: things will go from bad to worse. A true substance abuser is completely powerless over the drug of choice, and suffers tremendous physical, spiritual and emotional consequences as a result.

A substance abuser has crossed a line, and can no longer be considered normal in many capacities of his life. We are hyper sensitive in almost all area of our lives. We are generally over responsive to everything. Unlike a casual user, a  substance abuser cannot just take a reasonable amount of a substance. Nor can impending doom, such as the loss of a job or spouse, lead a substance abuser to give up the drug. In fact, a substance abuser will go to all means, even illegal ones, to get what he wants?

It is difficult for a non-substance abuser to understand, but those who are substance abusers have one thing in common. They have lost the ability to control themselves when using. To further complicate matters, they cannot stop using for any length of time regardless of how much they want to quit.

No matter how much willpower or self-knowledge a substance abuser has, the substance has taken over his ability to fight off the obsession around it or get enough of it into his system.

A hardcore  substance abuser is on the path to insanity.jail or death. Substance abuse is that debilitating. Regardless of the failed relationships or lost jobs that fall by the wayside along the way, the definitive end will be terrible indeed unless the substance abuser gets clean.

Those who know addicts cannot help but be impacted by this affliction. Family members will learn that they can no longer trust the substance abuser because addicts lie all of the time.

Friends and all who care about the substance abuser will no doubt be saddened and frustrated. They will feel helpless and angry as they see the person they once knew and loved slip away.

Children are not left out either. They will come to view chaotic life as a normal one.

Sadly, all who know addicts will live in disappointment. No matter how much they hope that things will change, an substance abuser still on drugs will constantly disappoint himself and others.

They will lose their friends, family and most likely their job. The people that care about them and love them will hang on as long as they can, but a person with a substance abuse doesn’t just hurt themself, they hurt everyone around them. It is at this point that most people find themselves finally in rehab either by their own choice or by physical force. If they do not have friends and family that are still around that care enough to force help on a person, it is usually at this point that an substance abuser will either die of a drug overdose, at the hands of another or be spending a term in prison.

Lives out of control, lost, decimated, some are bludgeoned beyond recognition. Loved ones are left to grieve and wonder what went so wrong in the life of loved ones. These are a few of the destructive and overwhelming effects of substance abuse. Each day, substance abuse stories are being played out in homes, in churches, and in individual lives, it is very real and can become very personal.

I know all of the above from personal experience; see I was the source of all my problems. I damaged everyone that came into contact with me. I not only lost love ones, family members, and friends, somewhere along the way I lost me. I no longer knew who I was, I lost all drive, all caring, and all will. Then one day a friend of mine stopped enabling and started confronting me with the truth. It was hard to hear, and I had heard it before, but this time it was different. It wasn’t done out of anger or disappointment, it was done out of love and general concern for me. It was a very humbling experience to realize, he had no hidden agenda, it wasn’t done to benefit him, but to benefit me. He didn’t try to force me to the truth; he gently guided me towards it. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a Train headed straight for me, waiting for another wreck to happen. I am not a quitter by nature, but I had enough senses left to know it was time to step of the tracks. For the first time, in a long time, I realized how far down the path I had traveled, and the truth broke through barriers that the enabling, done in the name of love, ever could.

I had family members who were literally loving me to death by enabling me, if your an enabler, please stop, let your loved one hit bottom, there they have a chance for survival, they have a chance to regain a sense of reality. There they may finally seek the help from the only one they have left to turn to- God.

God is faithful; He is there to be found by those who seek Him. But they will have to seek Him with their heart, and then He will appear in their life. They will finally know the way out, but they must choose for themselves, you cannot make the choice for them, as much as you would like to.

Be Blessed

Michael Clark

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”How to prepare for Battle: Having a game plan”

”How to prepare for Battle: Having a game plan”

  What would be the difference between an eternity with Satan vs. an eternity with God?                                           

   When I covered Satan’s” tactics’ in the first book it was so simple. I said that there was faith, there was hope and that there was love. From that point on, it was a pleasure to take the ride and enjoy the scenery because all I discussed was how easily He could be beaten with God at our side. So much for enjoyment,

     Welcome to Satan’s standards and tactics 102. Let me tell you a little bit about Satan that is not covered in 101.  This guy has “advanced” skills. He puts together plans with long-term themes, so it’s not very easy to see them coming. Have you ever plopped yourself down and said…Gee, how did I get from over there to over here? How did it happen? I never saw it coming.

    With Satan there is No faith, there is No Hope and there is definitely No love”. Additionally there is no future to speak of. At least not one that any of us would want to be a part of.

     Think about living a life with no faith in anything. Now think about living an eternity under the same guise. Only misery, hopelessness and hatred. Is that really the eternity you want to inherit for yourself?  No…of course not.

      No two people are alike so no two game plans are alike for the Devil to commit to us. He designs a custom plan for every one of us so it’s important that we are always on the lookout for anything from very simple tactics to very sophisticated plots.

   Whatever your major weakness is, he designs a whole game plan around that weakness and attacks you with a steady barrage of whatever weakens you to the point of failure.

     For instance, let us say your primary weakness is “Fear”. Fear of what you might say? Fear of losing your job or fear of losing your money. Fear that you will be audited. Fear that your wife or husband will leave you. Just fear of losing anything and everything in general.

    What would be your defense for that kind of debilitating fear? How would you cope with that fear and what would you do to combat it so that it can’t take over your life?

    The answer is to count on Gods promises. We must live fearlessly and this applies to every other issue that has a stranglehold on us.

   That’s kind of like saying…just have faith, but I wanted to give it to you from a different perspective.  God promises to take care of us as long as we are being obedient to him and his word.

  It can be hard I know, especially in this place in time when so many of us are losing so much. I promise things will be much harder if you don’t learn to count on God’s promises.

    I have had in my own life many weaknesses but a major weakness that literally cost me 16 years of my life is alcoholism. I say “is” because it never goes away and you always have to be aware that it is progressive. I haven’t had a drink in 11 years now but it could still attack me again if I were to let my guard down.

    As I said, alcoholism is a progressive disease.  If I drank 12 beers in a day all those years ago then it means that if I started back drinking again tomorrow( Zero chance) then in a weeks time I would be drinking more than 12 at a time because of the continued progressiveness of the disease.

     I spent years wanting to quit and trying to be strong enough to control the urge to stop but I couldn’t. The key was to let go and let God. It sounds cliché but it was the answer. As soon as I trusted God to take on this ‘thing” that was bigger than I was, He took charge and the problem began to work itself out. God one, Satan nothing.

   It worked for me and it works for everyone. If anyone out there reading this has a drug or alcohol problem please do what I did and let God take controil of your life. It saved mine.

     My Battle plan became “let go and let God”. If I had no battle plan then Satan, would’ve finished me off without altering a thing. Satan’s strategy had worked for 16 years and it was not until I asked God to do something about me that He began to work in my life, and as long as I did the work, the plan came together to save my life. Lets look at another one.

     Temptation of the_____ (you fill in the blank). I say that because Satan tempts us all and everyone has their own one specific weakness that outweighs all of the rest.

    There is temptation of everything from “lust of the flesh” to your favorite ice cream or dessert. I just heard a gasp from everyone who looks at dirty pictures on the internet to the big ladies in the back eyeballing the strawberry Cheesecake sitting on the window seal. Bottom line is that there is not a single person alive that doesn’t understand temptation.

    The solution is to know your vulnerable areas and be prepared to put on the full armor of God…particularly in those areas you are weakest in.

    To know your Bible through and through (taking extra time to learn the parts that pinpoint your weakest areas) is your best line of defense when it comes to warding off Satan’s specific attack point.

     Just so that you know, there are a slew of weapons that Satan uses to fight us and to beat us down with everyday. Intimidation, deception, lies, stealing, temptation, and many many more. Just be aware that he is a formidable foe who uses every weapon within his reach to battle us and to demoralize us.

   He want’s to make us believe that God is either not there or does’nt care, which is the furtherest thing in the world from the truth.

 

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