The Power of Hope


The Power of Hope

This month we watched a historical event bring change to America. A man of mixed race, African and white, was elected President of the United States. The platform that he ran on was hope. It was powerful and effective!

His election success powerfully demonstrates what John Maxwell says "The hope of the future equals power in the present." People made decisions today with hope for the future.

Now, let's get back to reality. There is hope for the future, but how do you deal with today? The stock markets, financial markets and the economy as a whole are in a downward spiral. This is a fact, no matter who is to blame. The real question is "How do YOU respond in such times as these?" "What do you teach your children?"

I am going to cover things that deal with you because, it is not what happens around you that matters; it is what happens to you and what happens with YOU that matters. The times and the economy do not matter. History has shown that in good times, crisis happens. In bad times, crisis happens. In good times, wonderful things happen. In bad times, wonderful things happen. People go bankrupt, no matter what the economy is. People become wealthy no matter what the economy is.

Hope for the future begins with you. Here are a few steps to help you have power in the present.

1) You have a choice. No matter what the circumstances are, you have a choice. No matter how empty or full the glass is or how bad your upbringing is or how rotten your spouse, neighbor, boss, co-worker, etc., you have a choice. Your past is just that. What happened yesterday ended yesterday. What happened in a bad marriage, happened…. (that is "ed" in the past.) Tomorrow will never come. You have a choice today. Until you (we) realize that our future is not pre-determined; our relationships are not pre-determined; our success or failures are not predetermined; then, we will not focus on the right hope and the right choice.

2) It is not what happens outside you that matters. It is what happens inside you. The 6-9 inches of matter between your ears is the most important determinant of your future. Your attitude and how you respond to what happens will determine your future more than what happens!

3) It is not your environment that will determine who you are, what you do and how successful your relationships are. Do you have the PLOM disease (Zig Ziglar) "Poor Little Ole Me?" If so, you are making a choice.

4) Ignore the news. Last week I did not watch the news. I did not know the market dropped 200 points in one day. My life did not change because of that information. I see a very bright future ahead. I refuse to let the news determine how I look upon the future or relationships. I may make decisions based upon what happens, but I do not let the news determine how I live. I live with hope and therefore act upon that hope. I act in wisdom, faith, courage and in perseverance, but I do act. I don't let the news tell me how to respond. You do the same. Stop watching the news or listening to it on the radio. It is all bad news. Bad news comes in your ears then bad news comes out of your mouth. (Garbage in, garbage out.)

5) Determine to make your own success. Webster says that the word "determine" means "to settle or decide by choice of alternatives or possibilities." No matter what happens, you still have choices, inside you and your actions. Failure is an event, not a person.

6) It is not what happens to you but how you handle what happens to you that will determine your future. I have a friend who grew up dirt poor in the 1960s. His family had a wagon and mule for transportation. He says they were as poor or poorer than the black folks down the road but could not get welfare because they were white. He was abused as a child. His father was an alcoholic. His mother raised them on minimum wage. He has an 8th grade education. This man today owns two businesses! He is successful and has a good family. He is an upright man! He chose to use his past to motivate him to a better future. He chose not to quit. His past was not a crutch except to help him move forward.

7) Use your failures as a stepping stone to success. The Edsel automobile was the best thing that happened to the Ford Motor Company. With the failure of the Edsel, Ford made changes which led to the creation of the Mustang and then the Taurus which are Fords' two most profitable selling cars. Ford Motor Company learned and made the best of a bad situation. Are you? Or are you sitting in a PLOM state? No one else can lift you up until you decide to take their hand. The choice first begins with you!

8) Have good posture, dress up and smile. Good posture shows positive body language which determines your attitude. Standing tall helps create a positive attitude. Slumping creates or enforces a looser, negative attitude. Also, casual dress all the time says "I am casual about life." Dress up. People dressed up have a positive attitude, they exude a "success attitude." Women know this when they go shopping. Men, don't dress down, dress up. Tuck your shirt in. Wear a pressed shirt, look good! Don't just "throw" your outfit together. Have a purpose! Add a smile, it is contagious and creates a sense of well being.

9) Encourage others. When you speak with others, speak in positive words. Focus on what is good. Smile when you talk. (This may take you not saying anything for a while until you can say something positive. Bite your tongue before negative comes out of your mouth.) Speak on what is positive, not the negative situations. Don't talk about the economy, but talk about how you are changing, what you are learning and how good your spouse or children are.

Positive words have positive power

If someone has lost their job, encourage them. Say "I see or feel your pain" but then tell them that you are praying for them or that you want to help. Don't fall into the trap of just commiserating with them. That does nothing for them or you.

Build family

Side note.... To improve your marriage, start talking about your spouse in positive terms when you talk to others. Don't say a bad word about your spouse. Smile when you talk about or to your spouse. When you talk positively about your spouse, you will begin to see the positive things and the bad things will diminish. Also, it will take the pressure off your spouse freeing them to change.

Lastly, at the dinner table with your kids, talk about the positive things you are going to do or the blessings your currently have. Find the silver lining in the hard times. Don't just talk about what you have to do without; talk about how this builds character and drives creativity. Find ways to be creative. Hard times draw the best or worst out of people. Teach and show your kids how it draws the best out of you. Focus on helping others.

An "I love you" to your children can cover a lot of fears. Focus on how strong and encouraging your family is. Focus on family and use the opportunity to build family relationships in hard times. Take advantage of doing without to do within - within your mind, your family, your relationships!

Affirm how good your family is. Dads, this is particularly important for the father to talk about how good the family is. how you like your family. Wives and kids NEED to HEAR Dad say that he likes the family. Hearing those positive, affirming words from Dad does more to give security than any paycheck!!!!!!! (I can not emphasize that enough!!!!!)

Teach your children these principles. "You are responsible for you!"

To sum up the positive opportunities and how good things are really happening. I want to compare how the media reports things and how I see it.

Media - 6-8% unemployment Me - 92-94% employment -that's good!

Media - Home sales are down Me - people are still buying homes!

Media - Companies are failing Me - Now is the time for heroes and great leaders to arise

Media - the government has to bail us out Me - I am responsible for me


Remember you have to BE before you can Do and you must Do before you can Have!


Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Many people have faith in themselves that they will determine their future. There is truth in being personally responsible. But, what future? There is the near future and then the eternal future. My faith is based upon a person who guarantees my eternal future, Jesus Christ. I am sure of what I am hoping for and know what I believe. I can not guarantee my future but Jesus can. Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me." John 14:6. That is where my hope is and that is the choice I have made. I pray that you make the same choice this Christmas season.

Blessings and smiles to all!!!


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