Morning Cup of Joe – This Side Of The Dirt

As I was leaving the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, I walked out to a long stretch of taxi cabs waiting to pick up their next passenger. The taxi cab I entered was driven by an older gentlemen and as I entered I began the trip cordially as I typically would any other trip. I asked the gentlemen how he was doing. His reply was, “I’ve seen better days and I’ve seen worse days.” I was a bit taken aback by his response as it appeared to me that something was bothering him. He asked me how I was doing and my reply is always “I am doing absolutely amazing. Any day on this side of the dirt is a glorious day to me.” He burst out in laughter.

“You know, I was having a bad day until you entered my cab.” he said. “Your perspective on life is pretty amazing.” he continued. I explained to him that no matter how difficult times may seem or how rough the waters may become, things will always get better if we don’t give up hope that they will. He went on to explain why he was having a rough day. He mentioned that a longtime friend who he had hired to do some work in his home had stolen money from him. He had a collection of silver dollars and Susan B. Anthony coins that were of incredible monetary and sentimental value to him and his now former friend had stolen them. I replied to him, “Maybe he needed it more than you did. Besides, money is replaceable, life isn’t. You may not have the money but you still have life. You can always earn more money but you can’t necessarily earn more life.” He slowed the cab down as he made eye contact through the rear-view mirror and said, “You’re right, you are absolutely right. I don’t feel bad anymore.”

The taxi cab ride continued for about ten minutes before I reached my final destination. I gave the driver a generous tip and said “Don’t worry about yesterday, you have no control over that. You do have control over how you react to your situation though. Choose to be happy because happiness truly is a choice.” He smiled and said, “You have truly made my day. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.” As I exited the cab, I thought about all of the people in the world who allow the small things to seem bigger than they really are. In your lifetime, you will lose friends, family, money and things you hold near and dear to your heart; that’s a natural fact. The key is to not get so attached to the material things that you forget to place value in the people who really matter including yourself.

Maintain the understanding that if you are on this side of the dirt, there is still a chance that you can do something about your circumstances. Furthermore, being on this side of the dirt is reason enough to celebrate and be thankful.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Through The Storm

Is anybody out there? I remember growing up in Miami and witnessing the wrath and devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. That was my first experience with a serious storm so I did not really understand the severity or potential damage it could cause. I have always been very curious, and although curiosity kills cats I figured I was safe because I’m human. My entire family and I hunkered down in my parents’ bedroom when suddenly my curiosity led me to the window. I pulled back the curtain and watched as the Category 5 hurricane uprooted an oak tree that was in front of my neighbor’s yard with the ease of a gardener pulling weeds and slammed it on their car nearly splitting in half.

The next morning, after the storm had passed, we all ventured out to see the damage and devastation left behind by Andrew. Some places were hit harder than others but everyone experienced some sort of damage. Almost everyone was without power, trees and debris riddled the streets and most roads were impassable. After that experience I simply thanked God for seeing us through the storm.

Storms by acts of nature are similar to the personal storms we experience in our own lives. Sometimes you have to simply wait until it passes. Just like you prepare for an ensuing storm by stocking up on nonperishable items from your local grocery store, boarding up your home and having a healthy supply of drinking water you must prepare for the storms that may occur in your life by stocking up on faith. You must have faith that you can make it through any storm before your faith is met with reality. What you do not allow to kill you will always make you stronger. Keep the faith.

Sometimes you have to simply wait until your storm passes before you can see the sun shine again. No matter what storm you are going through, have faith and hold on to the fact that change is coming.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Why Me?

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Sometimes I ask God why me. I ask why do I face the challenges I face. I ask why does it seem as if bad things always happen to good people. I ask why must I continue to experience constant trials and tribulations. And I ask why have I yet to experience my inevitable breakthrough.

The response I always get in my spirit is simply, if God didn’t think you could handle it, He would’ve chosen someone else to be a testimony of His greatness. I also understand that no matter the adversity, turmoil or trouble you are facing, understand that can and you will make it through. Failure is not an option. Quitting is not an option. Losing hope is not an option. Your only option is to continue to push forward.

The main engine operating your life’s vehicle is hope. Once you lose hope in a better tomorrow, the sun will not seem to shine as bright, a flower loses its natural beauty and the incredible music that birds make fall on deaf ears. You must focus on a better tomorrow no matter how difficult your today is.

You have a choice to make among several different options. You can either choose to cry or run. You can choose to let your problems continue to overcome you. You can choose to continue to let tribulations outweigh the obvious blessings in your life. Or you can choose today to adopt a mindset of nothing is going to stop you from accomplishing your goals and making your dreams come true. The choice is clear.

Thank God right now for choosing you to go through this test. How else can you be a testimony? What you don’t allow to kill you will only make you stronger. You are still alive for a reason. This too shall pass and once it does, you will be stronger as a result of it. Forward progress only.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Dear God

Dear God,
I know you can hear me. I know you’re listening because you’ve answered my prayers before. I come to you with a humble heart asking you to place a hedge of protection around your children. There are some who are really hurting right now. There are others who are starting to doubt your existence and your power. There are even more who are simply ready to give up. God, I know that you are omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient because you have shown me time and time again. The same favor you have shown and continue to show me, I am asking that you show that favor to the person reading these words.

I know you are able because at the tender age of thirteen I was ready to take my own life but you had other plans for me. When I was homeless and had no place to go, you introduced me to a program called Bridge Tomorrow with a house mom who cared enough about me to expect great things. When I did not know which direction my life was going, you became my compass. When I needed you the most, you were there. Even when I don’t deserve it, you continue to bless me abundantly. I am thankful for your favor, your guidance, your blessings and your everlasting love.

God, some of your children need a miracle today. While I fully understand the magnitude of such a request, I believe that you are able. A miracle to us is a simple act by you. You have performed countless miracles in my life and I am praying that you do the same in the lives of those who are expecting it. I unequivocally believe in your power to make a way out of seemingly no way. I thank you in advance for answering this prayer and the prayers of your children. You said that you would never leave nor forsake us and I believe that. I remain humble and patient as you work to rearrange things so that ultimately your will is done.

This is my prayer and I humbly await your response.

Amen

**

Friend,
Whatever it is you are going through trust God through it all. Your pain is temporary and your trouble won’t last long, He is able. Hold on to that thought and expect your miracle.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Timing Is Everything

I have never felt personal pressure to do something simply because others were doing it. I have never been the type of individual to base my actions on the timing of the actions of others. I have always marched to a different beat. While this particular type of mind-set offers clear benefits, it certainly comes with a few drawbacks. Although the drawbacks are temporary, they are still drawbacks. Drawbacks are simply disadvantages. Disadvantages are dependent on how you view your circumstances. What may be viewed as a failure to one may be embraced as an opportunity to others.

It is imperative that you not make major life decisions simply based on the feeling that you are running out of time. Time is a man-made concept. We are often pressured to make decisions, some hastily, because it is a “normal” thing to do or it seems like everyone around that age is doing it. I have humbly served as the best man to three incredible gentlemen in three outstanding weddings yet I haven’t once bought into the adage “always the groomsman, never the groom” or “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”. When it is my time, it will happen.

Some people rush into marriage and having children because their peers are entering that stage and they don’t want to be left out. Then seven years later, sometimes less and sometimes more, they realize that they want to join the staggering statistic of 50% of marriages that end in divorce simply because they rushed into that decision. Don’t base your decisions on what others are doing. Do it because it feels right and because the timing is close to perfect.

Understand that everything happens as it is designed to happen. You cannot rush love and you certainly cannot rush success. Some people get frustrated because they believe that they should have been at a particular place in life by this present moment. I am here to tell you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this very moment. The universe makes no mistakes; embrace your current state. If your blessing hasn’t yet arrived, don’t worry. It simply means that you are being prepared for it. Just be ready when it finally happens because it absolutely will, especially if you believe it.

Don’t lose hope as your time will come.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Praise Is What I Do

If you want to receive blessings from God you must learn to give Him praise no matter what you are going through. You must learn to give God the glory He deserves through the good times and equally through the bad. Some people make the error of reaching out to God only when they need Him to perform a miracle. While God is in the business of performing miracles, you should make it your business to praise Him on a daily basis. Imagine if someone called you only when they needed something. Sadly, some of us don’t have to imagine. Now imagine how God feels when you only call on Him when you need something.

Do not wait until your trial to call on the only judge whose verdict matters. Do not wait until your tribulation to call on the only one who has come to your rescue every time you needed Him. Do not wait until you are sick before reaching out to the only doctor who can heal all sickness. Do not wait until you need God before you reach out to Him. Do not wait until something good happens before you give Him praise. Do it now, right where you sit and thank Him for His never ending grace and mercy.

All of the wonderful blessings that have occurred and will continue to occur in your life are directly correlated to the praise you give Him. God deserves all of the praise. I do not want to imagine what my life would have been like if it was not for God’s mercy and I am glad I never have to wonder. If you want to be closer to God, you must praise Him. If you want God to give you favor in your life and in your dealings, you must praise Him. If you want God to answer your prayers, you must praise Him. If you are expecting God to provide a breakthrough in your circumstances, you must praise Him.

Remember to praise Him through the good and the bad, whether you are happy or sad and whether the miracle has happened or not. He deserves it.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – You Can’t Have It All

During a recent conversation an acquaintance exclaimed “but Joe Paul, you can’t have it all”. That particular sentence continued to hover around my thoughts through the duration of the conversation as I attempted to understand exactly what “all” meant specifically to me. I started wondering if my expectations in life were too high, so high that perhaps they were unreachable. I started wondering if this person was right about the comment they had made. I kept asking myself, can you have it all?

I quickly snapped out of it and reminded myself that of course you can have it all and then some. I think where some people go wrong is having lowered expectations of themselves and their surroundings. Too many people are satisfied with shooting the lay-up rather than taking a chance at the half-court shot. Clearly, one has a higher propensity to go in while the other may never go in at all. However, you will never know if you will make the half-court shot if you never shoot the ball. I choose to shoot from half-court because even if I miss, at least I gave it a shot. Furthermore, I will continue to shoot it until I eventually make it. Maintain the understanding that if you keep shooting, eventually one of those shots will go in.

It is perfectly fine to reach for the stars. It is perfectly fine to want the very best that life has to offer. It is perfectly fine to have great expectations. There will be people who will tell you that it is impossible. Commit to memory that what is considered impossible to some, may not be impossible to all. Just because they believe that you can’t have it all doesn’t mean that you have to adopt that debilitating mind-set. I can’t imagine living a life where I was simply ok with whatever life hands me. I want it all and that is what I am going to continue to strive for. I will not stop until I have it and neither should you.

Do not allow those without vision to distract you from yours. Define the “all” and pursue it with vigorous passion. I believe that you can have it all if that is what your heart desires. Some people don’t want to see you fly because they lack the wings to soar themselves.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Be Encouraged

I woke up this morning with a particular song on my heart. I first heard this beautiful song during my sophomore year in high school. After the first time I heard it I figured out that God was talking directly to me through the song’s message. It always made me feel good and helped me strengthen my belief that hope and faith is necessary if you are going to make it through any setback, trial or tribulation. The song that was on my heart is “Be Encouraged” by William Becton.

While the entire song has a poignant message, the chorus of the song is what truly stands out the most to me; “Be encouraged, no matter what’s going on. He’ll make it alright but you’ve got to stay strong.” Being forced into independence at an early age and growing up in a group home made it nearly impossible to be encouraged especially since I missed my parents and siblings so much. I would lie up at night thinking of ending my life because I felt like no one loved me and no one cared about me. At the time, I didn’t know why I had to experience these trials but now I understand that God’s plan was in full effect.

“Trials are just a test of your faith”; this is a powerful lyric to the song. Sometimes we experience turmoil to test the strength of our faith. You have to believe that God can and he will not disappoint you. At my lowest points in life, I would simply look up and call out to God and tell Him I trust Him. I survived homelessness, physical and emotional abuse, financial issues, loss of every kind; from possessions to people. I survived hunger, depression, poverty, abandonment and feeling unwanted. What I am most grateful for is the fact that just one of the serious issues I survived claimed the lives of so many.

My friend, today I want you to be encouraged no matter what’s going on. Your problems, no matter how big they may seem to you, will never be bigger than God’s ability to fix them. You are destined for greatness. Keep your head up, stay strong and remember forward progress only.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – God’s Plan

When we experience a trial or tribulation in our lives, sometimes the last thing we want to hear is that it’ll get better or that everything is going to be all right. We don’t want to hear that tomorrow will be a better day but you have to believe that it will be. Although we know that it will, for most of us it’s hard to accept this truth at the time.

When you hear the idiom “the light at the end of the tunnel” understand that although your problems force you to have tunnel vision, you shouldn’t be so focused on your problem that you completely miss the light. In order to see where the light will lead you, you must first make it through the tunnel. The light is supposed to help you understand that hope, although it may not seem to be close or present at the time, is certainly there if you can make it through the tunnel. Don’t give up and don’t lose hope.

Maintain the understanding that whatever is going on today may not be there tomorrow. Pain, trials and tribulations are as temporary as a passing storm. It may rain today but the sun may come out tomorrow. Don’t allow the rain of your troubles to create floods that wash away your optimism.

There is no plan like God’s plan; trust it. His plan may not be clear at the time you are going through your trial but it will be soon enough. He is not only strengthening you for the next struggle that may come but He’s preparing you for the many blessings to come.

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Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Back On Track

Ok, so your goal of being a millionaire by this time ten years ago didn’t happen. You don’t live in that huge mansion near the Pacific Ocean you’ve always dreamed of. You have yet to travel the world. You haven’t started that business you thought of starting countless times before. Your health isn’t the best and most of your relationships, personal and business, could improve.

Now think back ten years ago and compare how you were and who you were then to who you are today. There really isn’t a comparison. You may not have crossed out everything on your goals list but you are better off now than you were back then. Some people misdiagnose their circumstances. They think that their current state of affairs needs a heart transplant when it really only needs a Band-Aid. It is imperative that you understand that today has brought you to where you are because the plan is still in effect.

The interesting thing about goals, setting them and achieving them, is a fraction of a percentage between the two. However, most people lack the patience necessary to achieve their goals. For example, most people are perfect at planting the seed of their dreams yet they don’t water the soil. Even with plants there are several factors that make it grow which are out of your control; the sun, the health of the soil, the health of the seed and water. Do not be misled; your involvement in that process is critical.

Every tree you see today started out as a seed. Your seed has the potential to grow into a tree if you are patient enough to wait while all of the necessary factors, including your own efforts, come together to support the growth process. So what if you aren’t where you thought you would be in life. Simply thank God that you are a lot further than you were.

Finally, put this next sentence in the mental file cabinet of your mind under permanent files; God has a plan for your life. As long as you don’t give up, maintain a positive mindset as often as you can, believe unequivocally then you shall receive. It’s truly never too late to achieve a goal that you have set. Some goals take minutes, others take decades. I know this much, the goal that is never achieved is the one created by a quitter.

You are so close to reaching the mountain top, so close. If you quit now, you’ll never know the joy of achievement. Choose today to refocus and reset. You may have gotten a little off track but that ends today. No more wasting time, you deserve all the blessings life has to offer. Go and claim what is already yours.

To The Top!
Joe Paul