A Formula for Fulfilling Your Dreams (Diet for Dreamers)

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What did the successful Chick-fil-A entrepreneur S. Truett Cathy have in common with David, the Biblical King of Israel?

I give up. Did they both eat chicken?

King David was a warrior, a diplomat, a musician and a poet. He was a model of brilliant leadership, both on and off the battlefield. He led the Israelites to numerous victories, and strengthened the kingdom of God’s people. Today, he is considered the greatest King Israel ever had.

S. Cathy Truett (March 14, 1921-September 8, 2014) founded the phenomenally successful fast food company Chick-fil-A in 1948. Today, the company is the leading fast food chicken chain in  America, with more than 1800 restaurants operating throughout the southeastern United States, and over 5 billion in annual revenues. Cathy accomplished this feat using an unusual business model grounded by his deep Southern Baptist beliefs: he promoted people over product, and he put God first in everything. Cathy’s decision to close his restaurants on Sundays drew criticism from some diners, and even pressure from other businesses, but the entrepreneur frequently stated he wanted his employees to be able to enjoy their Sundays, spending time with their families and attending church if they chose to do so. The entrepreneur’s beliefs often came under attack as well, because he was outspoken and refused to compromise the basic principles taught in the Bible.

Although he missed sales opportunities by being closed on Sundays, and lost a few customers by standing up for God’s Word, Cathy nevertheless prospered … tremendously. When he passed away, the entrepreneur had an estimated net worth of roughly $1.2 billion. But again, he never put money before God and people: he funded countless charities, and he took good care of his employees, who benefitted from a college scholarship program and several other perks.

Cathy had his priorities straight: God came first in his life — in every area; he stayed tuned in to God’s truths; and he never strayed from doing what’s right according to God’s Word. These are qualities he shared with King David, “a man after God’s own heart,” and they provide us with the perfect formula for success:

1. Stay plugged in to God and His truths; and refuse to compromise His principles or take an easy out by siding with those who choose to disagree with God’s Word. The Bible teaches, “Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree … that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.” (Psalm 1:1-3 GOD’S WORD) Part of staying plugged in is:

2. Renew your mind. We need to flush out the negative, selfish, fearful, faithless thoughts we collect each day by “washing” our overtaxed brains with the Word of God. This means reading the Bible and meditating on (thinking about) what it teaches. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT) After all, we ARE what we think we are. Are we down-and-out losers or I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ winners? “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

3. Talk to God. Thank Him for what He’s done for you; praise Him for who He is; then share your hopes and dreams, your problems and fears. “Commit your way to the LORD; Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5 NASB) King David met with God the first thing every morning, demonstrating that although he had a busy schedule, he was putting God first. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee….” {A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness…} (Psalm 63:1 King James Bible)

Reaching new heights with God.

4. Keep God as your first love — not your success, money or fame; not your goals or unfulfilled dreams. These things will fall into place, once your priorities are straight. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 ESV)

Want to achieve your goals and realize your dreams? Then put God first in all things. Seek to be pleasing in His sight and to do His will. That’s God’s formula for success! “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

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Scrambling Forward to 2018 (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Here’s a great lesson for the New Year:

We once hosted some guests who quite inadvertently reminded us of an important lesson. Which we’ll now pass on to you, dear reader. Because it’s, ahem, eggs-actly what we need.

One of our guests, when asked how she wanted her breakfast eggs, quickly responded scrambled. When she came downstairs to join her husband at the kitchen table, she found him about to enjoy two of the loveliest fried eggs you’ve ever seen. They were nestled between a couple slices of ham and a pile of hash browns. Contentedly occupying his plate like twin smiley faces. (Hey, we aim to please at Woodhaven.) His wife stared, as he eagerly cut through an egg and the warm yolk mingled with the ham and hash browns. Then she announced she wanted to cancel the scrambled eggs and have them fried instead.

One very big problem: her eggs had been cracked open, whisked together, and were in the process of being scrambled in a skillet with several pats of butter! Too late, we said, a little bewildered. These were the last two eggs in the house, they were now being scrambled, and you can’t unscramble eggs. Period. You got scrambled eggs, lady. Bon appetit. As with anything in life, next time, you need to know what you want, understand what’s involved, make better plans, and be careful not to break any yolks. Meanwhile, all is not lost. Scrambled eggs are great, especially with crispy bacon and toast!

It’s going to be all right! Just add buttered toast and some nice crispy bacon!

Same goes for life. We make mistakes. We make the wrong decisions. We break our promises and get our priorities scrambled. We make a jumble of our relationships. But we cannot unscramble the messes we make. Certain situations in our lives may no longer be appealing, but we can’t rewrite history. We can’t reclaim the rich, golden yolks of opportunities missed, or repair a fragile relationship once it’s cracked apart. What we can do is to live and learn: Live to our utmost potential, with God’s infinite love and strong support: and when we do fail (and we will, repeatedly), Learn from our failings.

We all have regrets. If we had time machines, many of us would spend so much time in our pasts, trying to fix things, that we’d miss out on what the future holds. The Apostle Paul once wrote: “I don’t mean to say that … I have already reached perfection. …No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on….” (Philippians 3:12-13 NLT)

We can’t unscramble our past mistakes. So learn the lessons they teach, but put the mistakes behind you. And then move forward. Everyday provides new opportunities. 2018 is nearly upon us. Let’s embrace it with genuine optimism and gladness in our hearts!

Listen to this great song by Ricardo Sanchez and Free Chapel.

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