4 Benefits of an Upgraded Life

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Jesus is in the upgrade business. He upgrades despair to hope, bondage to freedom, perplexity to peace, and illness to health (to mention but a few). His most significant upgrade for us has to do with our existence. His main motive in coming to this earth is to move us from a position of death to life, from a destination of hell to heaven.

Jesus spoke of the upgrade when he stated, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 KJV). The phrase “have it more abundantly” means to have a superabundance of a thing. It carries with it the idea of overflowing the container, more than one can handle, that which goes beyond necessity, life beyond our wildest dreams.

Here are four aspects of the upgraded life.

It’s a Heaven-Bound Life

This spiritual phenomenon provides a new dimension of life: abundant on this planet and eternal in heaven. Believers are heaven-bound. This reality separates Christians from non-believers. Unbelievers may make more money, live longer, and seem happier than believers. But believers are heaven bound; it makes us unique from them.

The movie Dead Man Walking received its title from the prison guards calling out to the others when a death-row inmate was leaving his cell: “Dead man walking.” In reality, all humanity is like a dead man walking. Our sentence has been set because the consequence of sin is death. But the believer of Jesus Christ has a new classification—Heaven-bound living. Does he still sin? Yes. Does he deserve death? Yes. But because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ he has been given a new birth for today and a new hope for tomorrow.

It’s a Spirit-Controlled Life

God’s Spirit takes up residence in our lives to become the president of our lives. This dynamic transforms our internal world and bleeds into our external world evidenced by a change of behavior and conduct. The key turning the infilling life juices is a daily surrender of control of our lives to the Holy Spirit. This exciting fulfilling life is not something we possess but rather the eternal Spirit possessing us. God takes control of our lives and lives through us.

It’s a Grace-Filled Life

Scripture is clear that life lived in the presence of God is rich both with longing and fulfillment, times of darkness and times of light, times of sweet days and times of dark nights. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Jesus experienced darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. Lament, in the Psalms, is as familiar as an old pair of slippers. Even Paul, the model of Christian optimism, said he was “perplexed” and felt weak at times. Yet, in spite of the unpredictable days, the one constant is grace. God’s being infused in our being to make our days and nights bearable.

A grace-filled life understands the remarkable gift of today. Today is a gift, you know, that’s why it’s called the present. In our unpredictable todays, we must find all the life we can and live it to the fullest. The upgraded life comes with an owner’s manual. The Bible instructs every Christ-follower to carve out a satisfying life that is full and complete under the loving rule of God. Abundant life is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live.

It’s a God-Intoxicated Life

The abundant life knows its share of heartache, tragedy, and disappointment. Here’s the point: One can be upgraded to first class on a flight and the plane still crash. Abundant life does not exempt one from adversity. But it knows that the unpleasantness of life can be endured with the presence of God. The intoxicating presence of God provides the rich hues and luster to our otherwise drab and lifeless picture. It’s the richness of God’s presence that provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Would you like an upgrade?

My book, Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis, takes a fresh look at the hard times that God uses to shape our character. This book offers hope that God can be found in crisis and shows how He turns our struggles into defining moments—opportunities to dramatically transform His people. Click here to claim your copy.

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Relationships

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Have you ever heard someone say, “I love my work, but I can’t stand the people I work with”? Without a doubt people are difficult to deal with. Some people complain, other criticize. Trusted friends can betray you. Family members can leave you out of the loop. Authority figures can snub you. What’s your response? Here are five ways to get along with the people in our lives.

Be thankful.

Be grateful for the people in your life. They are placed there to make you a better person. Two of the most important words you can say to another person are: Thank you. Thankfulness is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good close friends are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. When we begin to thank the people in our lives for their contributions, assistance, and presence it does a profound work in them and in us. Take a moment to express heartfelt gratitude for (and to) the people in your life now.

Be a team player.

Your family, work, or church is comprised of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. They are a team. The motivational poster defines team with an acrostic: Together everyone accomplishes more. Three of the most uplifting words you can say to another person is: I’m with you. If you want to enjoy the people in your life, get along side of them in an important venture, whether it’s raising a family, achieving a goal, supporting a cause, or growing a business.

Be patient.

People are in process. They have not arrived, but they were becoming. Be patient with people. They are at various stages along the developmental highway. Popular several years ago were buttons that had the letters “PBPGINFWMY.” The letters stood for “Please Be Patient God Is Not Finished With Me Yet.” We would be wise to follow that directive with the people in our lives. Four of the most meaningful words you can to another is: I believe in you. The people in our lives are not perfect. They are not all they want to be. We can do much to encourage and affirm them. It helps to remember not just how far they have to go, but how far in which they have come. They are not where they want to be, but neither are they where they used to be. God isn’t finished with you, nor the people in your life. As he is patient with you, you be patient with them.

Be affectionate.

If people aren’t on our hearts, they’re on our nerves. Meaning, if we don’t have our children, our spouse, our teammates, or our coworkers on our hearts, they get on our nerves. Three of the most cherished words you can say to another human being are: I love you. When we love from the heart it changes the people in our lives and it changes us. Love is not a syrupy emotionalism, but a strong desire that hopes and works for the best for the other person. When you truly love someone, you will seek their best interest.

Be prayerful.

Pray for the people in your life. This will accomplish two objectives: change your attitude toward them and change you. We pray not just for what it does for others, but for what it does to us. Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking. People may resist our advice, spurn our appeals, reject our suggestions, not listen to our help; but they are powerless against our prayers. Four of the most meaningful words you can say to another person is: I’m praying for you. One of the most expressive ways we can communicate how much we cherish another person is to pray for them.

Put these five suggestions into practice and see what difference it will make in you as you relate to the people in your life.

One of my most popular books, The 7 Sins of Highly Defective People, takes a twenty-first century look at the seven deadly sins and offers advice on how, through Christ, we can overcome them. The book is a repair guide that will take you from highly defective to highly effective in your Christian walk. Click here to claim your copy.

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3 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose

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The Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries restaurant is a simple, retro-style burger joint. The Five Guys goal is simple: To sell burgers of the best possible quality at all times. All they sell are burgers and fries. They are focused on one thing. That’s their purpose.

What’s yours?

Here are three steps to discovering your life’s purpose.

Serve a higher good.

No greater purpose in life exists than to serve God. In fact, your life’s purpose to be truly meaningful must always have a God-component. We were created not to eat, breathe, then die. Or, to go to school, go to work, then go to a retirement home. We were created to serve God.

Discover your talents, gifts, passion, and personality to excel in what you were created to do.

Success often follows when a person gives themselves to the purpose for which they were created. Have you ever seen an Olympic gold medal winning gymnast also take the gold medal in the shot put; or the mechanic at the auto shop who also moonlights as an oral surgeon? It doesn’t happen. Everyone has a race he is created to run. Some run the 220; others excel in the marathon, while others do better in the sprints.

Get going.

Consider this simple formula: Dream Big, Start Small, Get Going. At some point, we have to take action. One day a man hit a golf ball in the rough and several ants went scrambling. When the hacker attempted to hit the ball, he swung several times missing the ball. One of the ants, said to the other: “If we don’t get on the ball, we’re going to die.” If you and I don’t get on the ball we, too, will not find our life’s purpose

When we discover our life’s purpose, we will experience intense satisfaction and pleasure—the best of all feelings.

“Before I need you, I need to know you.” Pain and problems come into every person’s life. Employee Care of America partners with businesses to provide help and hope for its employees. We build a relationship before the need arises. If you would like to find out more about this beneficial service click here for our website.

 

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What’s Your One Thing?

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Focusing on one thing gives clarity, drive, and success.

Jack Palance, the weather-beaten, wizened old philosopher with a Stetson pulled low on his forehead and a cigarette dangling from his lips, speaks the spare and sage words to Billy Crystal in the movie, City Slickers. His words are true for you and me: “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that everything else don’t mean s—.” They are not especially elegant words, but they are powerful in communicating clarity, drive, and success.

The wisdom of his words are remarkably similar to the one’s voiced by Eric Hoffer, the American longshoreman philosopher, who shrewdly observed that “the feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else—we are the busiest people in the world.”

What is the one thing? It goes by many names. You can call it your purpose, your goal, your controlling center, your passion, your vision, your mission. It is the reason for your being, your answer to the question, “Why do I get up in the morning?” It is the divine core, the eternal dimension that helps us find the aliveness in all our days. The key to happiness is finding your one thing. The key to inner peace is focusing on your one thing. The key to success is fulfilling your one thing.

What makes the one thing important is not what it is called but what it does.

Your one thing gives direction. Like west. No matter how far west you go, there’s still more west to travel. Your one thing is your lodestar, your personal compass. It tells you, in any given moment, whether you’re living your life “on purpose” or not. As you follow your direction, it helps you choose the path to go along your trail of life.

Your one thing is decisive. Stephen Covey wrote: “It’s easy to say no when there is a deeper yes burning within.” Knowing your one thing enables you to say to those activities and pursuits that matter most.

Your one thing provides drive. To drive means to guide, to control, and to direct. When you drive a car you guide, control, and direct the car. When you drive a nail you guide, control, and direct the nail. When you drive a golf ball, hopefully, you guide, control, and direct the golf ball. Everyone is driven by something. Some are driven by their past, others their parents, still others by their peers, and others by their partner. Knowing your one thing provides the drive for your life.

Do you know your one thing?

“Before I need you, I need to know you.” Pain and problems come into every person’s life. Employee Care of America partners with businesses to provide help and hope for its employees. We build a relationship before the need arises. If you would like to find out more about this beneficial service click here for our website.

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Live Courageously

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“Successful living requires courage,” wrote Norman Vincent Peale.

It takes courage for a government leader to stand for what is right and not just for what is politically expedient. It takes courage for a salesperson to be true to her word even though it will cost a sale. It takes courage for a manager to confront a subordinate about improper behavior, knowing that it will strain a friendship. It takes courage for the man or woman to be committed to their convictions even though times are hard when it would be easier to cheat and to cut corners. It takes courage to start over when life has blindsided you—through a lost job, a failed marriage, or bankrupt business.

Courage is the inner resolution to go forward in spite of obstacles and frightening situations. Courage is hanging on for five minutes longer. Someone once said that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to walk on in spite of it. The courageous take a stand. They act bravely. They do what is right.

Perhaps you have stood in the ruins of the famed Coliseum in Rome. Until the fifth century the great Coliseum of Rome was filled to capacity with spectators, coming for the state games, watching human beings battle against wild beasts or against one another until one or both were dead. The crowd found its greatest delight in the death of a human being. When Honorius was emperor of Rome, in A.D. 404, when the vast crowd was watching the contest, a Syrian monk by the name of Telemachus leaped onto the floor of the Coliseum. Telemachus was torn by the utter disregard for the value of human life that he cried out, “This thing is not right! This thing must stop.”

The spectators became enraged at this courageous man. They mocked him and threw objects at him. Caught up in the excitement, the gladiators attacked him; and a sword pierced him. The gentle monk fell to the ground dead.

Suddenly, the entire Coliseum fell silent. For the first time the people whose blood thirst had been insatiable recognized the horror of what they had once called entertainment. Telemachus kindled a flame in the hearts and consciences of thinking persons. History records that because of his courageous act within a few months the gladiatorial combats began to decline and very shortly passed from the scene. Why? Because one man dared to speak out for what he felt was right.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, the Catholic priest, stood at the door of the Castle Chapel in Wittenberg, Germany, nailing his ninety-five theses, exposing the heresy and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was selling indulgences to fund their effort. Luther pointed to the Bible that stated that salvation was by faith in Jesus Christ alone. As Luther nailed his document to the church door, standing alone against the mighty and powerful church, he made the bold statement: “Here I stand. I can do no other.”

Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “Grace under pressure.” Those three words were never more appropriate to describe the heroics of Abraham Lincoln during his presidency. Lincoln survived numerous setbacks and defeats (such as the Illinois senate election of 1858 and early Civil War battles). He took enormous risks. He made bold stands. He did not waver in his belief regarding the freedom of all people and the preservation of the union. Lincoln was slandered, criticized, attacked, and hated perhaps more intensely than any man to hold the office of president. Lincoln said, “Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Here was a man of great courage.

A seamstress and member of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, on a morning in December of 1955, was told by a bus driver that she must vacate her seat and move to the back of the bus because she was an African American and a white person needed the seat. It was the law. In one of the most courageous choices of the twentieth century, Rosa Parks did not move. And she started a revolution. Her action and the corresponding boycott changed the conscience of a nation. All because a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, Christ-following seamstress dared to act.

At a national sales convention, a heralded entertainer delivered his comedy routine. His presentation was punctuated with many swear words, taking God’s name in vain, and lewd comments. Finally, a Christian businessman in the audience could not remain silent any longer. He rose from his seat and stood on his chair and shouted to the performer, “Please leave God out of it.” The performance was cleaned up. Following its conclusion more people lined up to shake the Christian’s hand than the lewd performer’s hand.

Is it easy to do right? No. Is it easy to take a stand? No. Is it easy to move forward in faith? No.

The movie Braveheart recounts the story of the Scottish leader William Wallace. After routing the opposing force of 50,000 in the first battle of Sterling, the newly-knighted Wallace appeared before the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce. The King desired to move the country to a new prosperity. Wallace boldly proclaimed to the King: “What does it mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country. But men don’t follow titles. They follow courage! Just lead them to freedom, and they will follow you.”

Living courageously is to face our fears, take our stands, and act bravely. Let’s be men and women who live courageously this day and every day.

“Before I need you, I need to know you.” Pain and problems come into every person’s life. Employee Care of America partners with businesses to provide help and hope for its employees. We build a relationship before the need arises. If you would like to find out more about this beneficial service click here for our website.

 

 

 

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Why You Should Be Different

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The dictionary defines different as “distinct, separate, not the same, out of the ordinary, unusual.” Ought not Christians, then, to be different? Ought not we be distinct, separate, not the same, out of the ordinary, unusual? Christ was distinct, separate, out of the ordinary, and he called his followers to be like him.

Here are four ways to be different.

Think differently. To be different begins with the proper preparation of our minds. Behavioral scientists have discovered that human behavior is determined to a great extent by the subconscious mind. To be different begins with our minds. The Proverbs states: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Live differently.  A natural outgrowth of our right thinking is right living.  When we begin to think differently, we begin to live differently.  Any man or woman who accomplishes anything worthwhile must have the courage to live differently because they are marching to the drumbeat of a Different Drummer and they are not afraid to be out of step.

Love differently.  Once we begin to think like Christ, we lie like Christ, and then we love like Christ. Love sets us apart. Love is the display of differentness. Love is the litmus test for Christians. It is not just any kind of love.  It’s genuine, authentic.  Like God’s love for us. It’s intense, fervent. Christian love is not a feeling; it’s a matter of the will. It’s spotless, clean.  Men speak romantically about loving from the heart, but God speaks realistically about loving from a pure heart. Love one another—sincerely, deeply, and purely—and people will know that you are different.  They will know that you are followers of Christ.

Talk differently. When we start thinking differently, which leads to living differently, which leads to loving differently, this leads to talking differently. The words we use reveal most obviously if we are different or not. We live in a world that uses words to put people down and tear people up. Those people who are different use their words to build people up.

Today the world has a desperate need for people who are different.

In Bernard Shaw’s play St. Joan, some soldiers are talking about the “Maid of Orleans.” One of them says, “There is something about—the girl . . . .   Her words and her ardent faith in God have put fire into me.”  His captain replies, “Why, you are almost as mad as she is.”  And the soldier stubbornly goes on, “Maybe that’s what we need nowadays—mad people.  See where the sane ones have landed us.”

We need people who will be different even if it will cost them their social popularity, their economic fortunes, or their very lives.

Recently I wrote a book on Psalm 23, Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23, that speaks to the heart, quiets your spirit, and eases loneliness. This psalm is a picture of contentment; it represents that mental state and physical place for which everyone longs. I share how Psalm 23 can comfort and empower your life. Click here to claim your copy.

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5 Actions for Living Powerfully

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For many of us our power has gone out. We don’t seem to have the energy to face the demands of life. We don’t seem to have the wisdom to handle the course of life. We don’t seem to have the will power to avoid the temptations of life. We don’t seem to have the hope to face the tragedies of life. We don’t seem to have the resolve to do the right things in life.

The following steps will assist you in turning on the power in your life.

  1. Admit that you need God’s power.

A myth has circulated for years stating: God helps those who help themselves. And in our macho age we are prone to believe that statement. But, for taping into God’s power, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here’s the truth: God helps those who realize they need help. We are filled with God’s power by first emptying ourselves of the pretense that we can get by on our own. Until we admit the obvious—that we are ultimately powerless by ourselves—we will be like a car stuck in the mud—the wheels are spinning, a lot of noise can be heard, even the splattering of mud can be felt, but no progress is being made.

2. Affirm God’s presence.

Once we come face-to-face with the reality of our own weakness, then we need to remind ourselves that we follow an all-powerful God who has an uncanny track record of infusing his followers with strength. If you want to share in God’s power, spend time dwelling on how God empowered his people. God empowered Moses in leading the stubborn Jews out of Egypt; strengthened David in his battle with Goliath; undergirded Daniel as he stood for his convictions in the midst of hungry lions; emboldened Peter as he forged the early church; and supported Paul throughout his trials through fire. Recall time after time how God has proven himself to be trustworthy.

3. Align with God’s will.

Sometimes we look for God’s strength for all the wrong reasons. We want God’s power so we can accomplish our agenda. But, God gives his strength so we can accomplish his plan and purposes through our lives. When we’re independently pursing our own agenda, we shouldn’t have the expectation that God will necessarily contribute to it. But when we are in line with his plans and purposes for our lives, God can’t help but to infuse us with his power.

4. Ask for God’s power.

Too often we want God’s intervention in our lives, but we beat around the bush and never ask God for it. The Bible says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2 NIV). We need to come right out and ask God for his power. God lovingly and willfully wants to give us his strength, if we will but ask.

5. Act out of obedience to God.

Sometimes we do not feel empowered after we have admitted our need, affirmed God’s presence, aligned with God’s will, and asked for God’s power. Then, we take action by obediently proceeding down the road that God wants us to walk, knowing that he will give the power as power is needed. When we walk down the road of obedience toward God even when we are not feeling empowered we are demonstrating faith. Faith is not just believing something. It is belief and behavior. It is believing something and taking action in accordance with what we believe. Faith has been defined as “belief gone courageous.”

There you have it. The way to turn on the power in your life.

Did you know that if we practiced love our relationships would be stronger, our jobs would be more meaningful, and our ailments would be fewer? Earlier this year I wrote an encouraging book on love called Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love. The book gets its title from perhaps the greatest statement ever made on love in 1 Corinthians 13. This book provides a guide to love, and, if practiced, it will make us well and whole. Click here to claim your copy.

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Who You Gonna Call?

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Who do you call when the copier breaks down?

. . . when the computer is on the fritz?

. . . when the air conditioner goes out?

. . . when legal action is required?

. . . when employees have a breakdown or an emotional issue?

Most companies have the copier and IT guys on speed dial, but are helpless when an employee is broken. Most employees have no support for personal and family problems. And, most employers don’t have someone to call.

Until now.

Employee Care of America will improve productivity and profitability by caring for your most important asset, your employees. The result will foster more productive employees, happier workplace, and healthier communities.

Call (864-770-3560) or email (rick@employeecareofamerica.com) today to schedule a free assessment.

Rick Ezell

EMPLOYEE CARE OF AMERICA

www.employeecareofamerica.com

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The Top Ten Reasons for . . .

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Here are the top ten reasons for using Employee Care of America:

1. Demonstrates appropriate and tangible employee care.

2. Completes your company’s wellness initiatives.

3. Speaks hope into people’s lives, in addition to, providing help with daily    struggles.

4. Establishes a resource before a crisis occurs. We are proactive rather than reactive.

5. Reduces “presenteeism,” where employees are physically at work but their hearts and minds are somewhere else.

6. Reduces employee turnover.

7. Reduces health and disability claims.

8. Prevents violence on the job.

9. Improves workplace morale and the corporate culture.

10. Improves your bottom line.

EMPLOYEE CARE OF AMERICA partners with businesses to improve productivity and profitability by providing care, coaching, and crisis management. The care occurs through onsite trained and compassionate Care Professionals. The result is more productive employees, happier workplace, and healthier communities. Think of it as an Employee Assistance Program on steroids.

In the right environment, Employee Care of America will make a difference for you and your company. Give me a call or send me an email to schedule your free assessment today.

Rick Ezell

Employee Care of America

www.employeecareofamerica.com

864-770-3560

rick@employeecareofamerica.com

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Did You Know?

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90% of absenteeism is due to personal and family problems.

60% of employees have difficulty focusing on their jobs.

65% of employees say workplace stress negatively impacts them.

70% of employees have no one to talk with about personal issues.

40% of top professionals say their #1 marketplace issue is work-life balance.

87% of employees would work harder for a company that is willing to help them with personal problems.

6-8% of employees use a traditional Employee Assistant Program.

60-90% of employees use the services of an onsite Corporate Care Professional.

EMPLOYEE CARE OF AMERICA partners with businesses to improve productivity and profitability by providing care, coaching, and crisis management. The care occurs through onsite trained and compassionate Care Professionals. The result is more productive employees, happier workplace, and healthier communities. Think of it as an Employee Assistance Program on steroids.

Give me a call or drop me an email to schedule your free assessment today.

Rick Ezell

Employee Care of America

www.employeecareofamerica.com

864-770-3560

rick@employeecareofamerica.com

 

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