Set Yourself Up for Success

Are you the type of person who cringes at the thought of making resolutions at the beginning of the year? Some people love them, while others steer clear. But I think it’s safe to say that we all would like to see changes in our lives. We all have areas in which we want to grow or learn or improve. One key that will help you in this area is to make small changes in your life which will set yourself up for success. Here are some examples.

I have a problem with books. I love books and I love to read. But I don’t always have the time to read all the books that I want to read. At times I will try listening to the audio version of a book, in order to help shrink my TBR (to be read) pile. This especially works well with fiction books. Unfortunately, though, if it is a non-fiction book, I feel as though I don’t always get everything out of the book that I could if I read it for myself. So I am trying not to make a habit of that.

But I did make a change recently that helped increase my reading time. I wanted to start reading a little each evening before going to sleep. The light switch is across the room. I didn’t want to have to get up to turn off the light after I was done reading. As you would expect to see in many homes, my husband and I have nightstands on each side of the bed. Well, I didn’t want to put a lamp on my nightstand because it would leave little room for other things, like my alarm clock. So I put another table, which I was not using otherwise, beside the nightstand and put the lamp on it. However, I still had a problem of reaching the lamp without risking falling on the floor! Haha! So on Amazon I purchased something that I could plug into the outlet, plug my lamp into the new gadget, and then I could turn the new gadget (and the lamp) on and off with a remote control. This might sound trivial, but it helped increase my reading time each evening. (I am also trying to not read quite as many different books at once, but that’s another story.)

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

Around this time of year, you hear a lot of people saying they want to lose weight. I am in that boat as well. I have not been exercising much lately because I feel it takes time away from my husband. It seems like I only get to see him for a short window each evening between work and bedtime. If you are having trouble squeezing in exercising as well, some suggestions could be to take a walk during your lunch break at work. Or if you sit at a desk all day, you could buy inexpensive bicycle pedals to put under your desk. As for me, I began exercising when I got home from work, but only for twenty minutes. I feel as though a little time is better than no time. The point here is that sometimes when we want to lose weight, we take on too big of a task, like running for an hour a day. If this is something that we are not used to or something that we hate, we will easily get burnt out and quit before long.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

I will share one more example. In the mornings before I head to work, I wanted to spend more time reading my Bible and praying. But I wasn’t keen on the idea of getting up earlier (I already get up around 4:20). So I made changes to my morning routine so that I would not have to spend as much time getting ready in the morning. The ladies can probably relate to this one better than the men, since ladies tend to take longer getting ready. By tweaking my routine a little, I was able to increase my time with the Lord by 200%.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

What changes do you want to make in your life? Take some time to think it over and write down your goals. Next consider what small changes you can make in your life or your routine to set yourself up for success. It doesn’t have to be something monumental. Often times when we make too many changes or too big of changes, we will not last. Small changes can pave the path to seeing your goals and dreams come to fruition.

Time to Throw Away

Papers drive me crazy. Things like junk mail, bills, scrap paper that I jot notes on, receipts, papers that my husband leaves lying around which I don’t know what to do with, and so on. I don’t know if I always had this problem, but I can tell you it definitely escalated eight years ago.

At my place of employment we were switching which software we used. This meant everything had to be moved over from the old system to the new system. I was working long hours and weekends to get caught up. So during that time, any mail that we received at home went into a bin. I would glance at it first to make sure it didn’t look like a bill. Everything else went in the bin to be looked at later. Before long I had a bin overflowing with junk mail and other miscellaneous papers. I even remember telling a coworker that I never received my new medical insurance cards in the mail for the new year. Well, the truth was that I had, but I had tossed them in the bin and didn’t realize it.

Sadly, even after the hectic time at work ended, the papers continued. I always had a pile of papers from then on. At times, I would try to go through them, file important things, and shred or trash unneeded items. But I would get overwhelmed before going through all the papers, so I would get fed up and set it aside.

Over the holidays I dove into the pile of papers once again. I ended up with a pile of papers that I pretty much didn’t know how to handle. In most cases I considered them to be my husband’s papers. Some were receipts from the auto parts store. Or maybe paperwork on a new weed eater. Things that I cared nothing about. LOL. So I asked my husband to help me go through them and before long we had an EMPTY box!

I cannot tell you how happy that made me. I was grinning and my husband asked me what I was smiling about. I told him he didn’t have to buy me any Valentine’s, Anniversary, Birthday, or Christmas presents in 2020. Haha!

Since then I have been trying to stay on top of the papers. Any new mail or receipts that we acquire I go through right away and either trash it or handle it as needed. So far, so good.

But it wasn’t only papers that we have been cleaning up at my house. My husband and I have also tried to go through different things in our home and get rid of excess clutter.

I think this time of year is the perfect time to go through each room and purge. Here are three reasons why:

1 – In the northern hemisphere in particular, with the weather not always agreeable for outside activities, staying indoors and cleaning up is a good way to pass the time and make you feel productive.

2 – Also, no matter what hemisphere you live in, we all recently celebrated Christmas. For most of us, this means we acquired new things, whether they were gifts from others or things we bought ourselves as we were out shopping. When new things come in the home, we should be mindful of purging old items to make room.

3 – And it’s a New Year. As we cross over from one year to the next, we want to be mindful of starting fresh. Removing old items that we no longer need will help us to step into the new year with a clearer view. My friend Lorraine has been “weeding” as well and she put it this way, “It’s a great way to see the old year out and an even better way to see the new one in!” So very true!

So my whole point in this post is to encourage you to do the same. Take a weekend and go through one room at a time. Don’t overthink it. If you’re not using it and don’t love it, you don’t need it. If you are tempted to keep it because you “might need it one day” – remember that there are people less fortunate who would love to have that item. Knowing you are blessing someone else will make all the difference. And even the Bible says there is “a time to keep and a time to throw away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6).

So let’s get started! You can do this! I believe in you! Let me know how it goes! You won’t regret it! In fact, once you clean up some of the clutter, you will feel refreshed!

(Photo by Angel Norris.)

Happy New Year!

Just a short note today to wish you a Happy New Year! I pray that 2020 brings you many blessings including good health, happiness, and ultimately a closer walk with the Lord. God bless!

Advent 2019 Recap

Advent is the anticipation of the coming of Christ. Many people intentionally observe Advent during December as we anticipate Christmas. In a way, whether we realize it or not, we all observe Advent. We all know Christmas is on the way, we prepare for the big day, and we do a number of things in the month of December that we don’t normally do in other months. But we are not necessarily intentional about observing Advent. The month of December can feel like a whirlwind. Before we know it, Christmas has come and gone. The key to savoring this season is to be intentional about observing Advent by focusing on the gift of Jesus. That is what I try to do each year. And that is also what I had tried to do with my posts this month. So in case you want to savor Christmas a little longer, I have compiled my posts here. (Note that some of the links are my posts from this website, and some are my posts from the Christians Read website.) Enjoy!

From this website:

Hope

Peace

Joy

Love

From the Christians Read website:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Peace on Earth

Joy to the World

Keeping the Christmas Spirit All Year Long

Gratitude 2019 Recap

If you know me, then you know I believe we all should practice gratitude. In my own life I have seen how gratitude has helped transform my thoughts. And as a result, it also has made a positive impact on my life.

Each evening I try to write down at least five things that I am thankful for. Usually I focus on good things that happened during that particular day. It can be easy to get caught up in all the negative things that occur in our lives. But when we intentionally look for the good, we will see that even though our lives might contain obstacles, they also contain a myriad of blessings.

Practicing gratitude is a habit we should all strive to achieve in our lives. So if you need a gratitude boost, I have compiled my gratitude posts from this past November. Enjoy!

(Note that some of the links are my posts from this website, and some are my posts from the Christians Read website.)

Grateful for My Journal

Grateful for Music

Grateful for Rest

Grateful for the Lord

Grateful for a Guarded Heart

Grateful for Today

Grateful for Our People

Grateful for Thanksgiving

The Redeemed Challenge 2019 Recap

As you might know, in September I held The Redeemed Challenge. In the Redeemed Challenge we walked through my second book, You Are Redeemed. Each of us read a chapter a day within the book, then we met up here for further discussion. I know a number of you have told me that you hoped to go through the Redeemed Challenge again on your own. So I decided to compile all the posts here in one place, for those of you who might like to revisit the Redeemed Challenge.

As a matter of fact, I have been thinking of going through the book and the challenge again myself. The book contains biblical truths on who we are in Jesus. Unfortunately, many days we forget. We forget we have been redeemed. We forget we are new creatures. We forget our true identity. Walking through the Redeemed Challenge last September with all of you really helped me to once again grab hold of that identity.

Every day we will face obstacles. The enemy will try to bring us down. He is very good at getting in our heads and making us think the worst of ourselves. That is why it is so important to remember who you really are. When you walk through my book, You Are Redeemed, it will help prepare you for the battles that the enemy brings your way. But more than that, it will help you to live fully embraced in the love of God.

Here are the links to each of the thirty posts from the Redeemed Challenge. If you decide to walk through this again (or maybe this will be a first for some of you), I hope and pray that you enjoy it and get something out of it. God bless!

 

The Redeemed Challenge Day 1

The Redeemed Challenge Day 2

The Redeemed Challenge Day 3

The Redeemed Challenge Day 4

The Redeemed Challenge Day 5

The Redeemed Challenge Day 6

The Redeemed Challenge Day 7

The Redeemed Challenge Day 8

The Redeemed Challenge Day 9

The Redeemed Challenge Day 10

The Redeemed Challenge Day 11

The Redeemed Challenge Day 12

The Redeemed Challenge Day 13

The Redeemed Challenge Day 14

The Redeemed Challenge Day 15

The Redeemed Challenge Day 16

The Redeemed Challenge Day 17

The Redeemed Challenge Day 18

The Redeemed Challenge Day 19

The Redeemed Challenge Day 20

The Redeemed Challenge Day 21

The Redeemed Challenge Day 22

The Redeemed Challenge Day 23

The Redeemed Challenge Day 24

The Redeemed Challenge Day 25

The Redeemed Challenge Day 26

The Redeemed Challenge Day 27

The Redeemed Challenge Day 28

The Redeemed Challenge Day 29

The Redeemed Challenge Day 30

 

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What I Want for Christmas

Yes, I know Christmas is over. But it is not too late to give someone a gift. Especially if it is the perfect gift. As for me, I do not want a material item for Christmas. What I want most is to know that all of my family and friends have given their hearts to the Lord. I want to rest assured knowing that when my loved ones leave this earth, they will go to Heaven. And that includes you. I hope and pray that you have given your heart to the Lord.

Do you have a personal relationship with God? If not, then I invite you to begin one today. I promise you that you will not regret it. Having a relationship with God will bring comfort and peace into your life.

But having a relationship with God, starts with accepting Jesus. The Bible says that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all deserve to perish (Romans 6:23). And there is nothing we can do on our own to achieve salvation (Ephesians 2:9).

But the good news is that “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This is because Jesus paid the price that we could never pay. He died for all of our sins. He took them on Himself so that we might have eternal life. Then three days after Jesus’s death, He rose from the dead. This ultimately defeated death and gave us the hope of salvation.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This means if you want to spend eternity in Heaven, you must accept Jesus first. But it is much more than a ticket to Heaven. I can tell you that having Jesus in your life will be the best relationship you will ever have. He will be the friend that is always there. He will love you unconditionally and extend a kind of love that you have never known before. You will find true peace and joy in your life when you have Jesus.

A life with Jesus by your side can be so freeing. Every day we struggle with the weight of the world on our shoulders. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can accept Jesus into our hearts, and let God handle our troubles. God is a loving God and He longs to extend His love to you. But you have to accept the invitation. I invite you to pray this prayer now:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to please forgive me of my sins. I believe that You died on the cross for me and rose from the grave three days later. I can never thank You enough for paying my sin debt. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Thank You for Your unconditional love. I am ready to hand my life over to You. I am ready to walk in Your strength and power. I am ready for You to be the center, purpose, and meaning in my life. I am ready for You to be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations on your new life! I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or contact me at https://bridgetathomas.com/contact/. You have just made the most important decision of your life.

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Merry Christmas!

Just a short note today to wish you a very Merry Christmas! No matter how you plan to spend the day, I hope you enjoy every moment! And remember the reason for the season – Jesus!

Love

Let’s celebrate Advent! Advent is the anticipation of the coming of Christ. Some churches observe Advent by lighting a candle on the four Sundays before Christmas. The four candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

Since today is the fourth Sunday, we will talk about love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Love – What speaks love greater than God wrapping himself in skin as a tiny, vulnerable baby in order to save His children? How amazing and awesome that He did this for us. The meaning of Emmanuel is “God with us.” I am in awe when I think about that. God with us. This love that He has displayed for us bubbles in my heart whenever I ponder the fact that God loves us THAT much.

Take a moment to reflect today: What does love mean to you? Have you fully excepted God’s love in your heart?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, when I think about how much You love me, I am speechless. I have no words to express how amazing Your love is. Emmanuel. God with us. When I reflect on those words, I feel Your love overflowing in my life. Knowing that You loved me so much that You chased after me and paved away to save me from death. I can never repay that debt. But I am so very thankful for You and for Your unfailing Love. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Here is the fourth video by Ann Voskamp in which she talks about love.

Joy

Let’s celebrate Advent! Advent is the anticipation of the coming of Christ. Some churches observe Advent by lighting a candle on the four Sundays before Christmas. The four candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

Since today is the third of the four Sundays, it is dedicated toward Joy.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. – John 15:11

Joy – God wants us to have joy. But the enemy is eager to steal this away from us. He will do whatever it takes to make sure we do not have joy. We have to make an effort to hold onto our joy each day. Don’t allow small things to bring you down. Don’t let tiny annoyances come between you and your loved ones. Many of these battles are spiritual. So we have to hold onto the joy of the Lord and defeat the enemy.

Take a moment to reflect today: What does joy mean to you? What situations in your life can be conquered with the joy of the Lord?

Prayer: Dear God, I want to have more joy in my life. But I confess that I let circumstances steal my joy. Deep down I know these circumstances come from the enemy. So today I am taking a stand. I will not let the enemy steal my joy any longer. Having Your joy gives me strength. And I will hold onto it tightly. Thank You for giving me true joy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

On each of the four Sundays I will also share a video by Ann Voskamp. In this video she talks about joy.