Extraordinary or well?


We often puzzle ourselves with questions that we cannot answer; at least at the moment we make them. The more I make myself such questions, the more I realize that they all come down to one simple issue, purpose. So I pursue, I ask and I delve into the deepest inner makings of my being. I look around, as you might have done also, to see what others have done. My problem, and possibly yours too, is that I look to those that have excelled and have rises to the top of their fields. What I seek is that ingredient, one unspoken ingredient that it seems everyone seem to have and it eludes the rest of us.

What is it and where is it? Is it acquired or is it a gift from God? I think it is a little of both. Depending on how or where you were raised, and how that environment was rooted in you, your answer to these questions will definitely answer those questions. Got that? I know it sounds a little confusing, but bear with me for a moment. In many ways our environment somehow challenges how we perform and how we think, if we permit it. Please see that I said, “challenges”, not trump or defeat. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that you have to be born in a certain place or come from a certain family to have the ingredient that exceptional individuals have. What I am saying is that what these individuals, men and women like you and me, have achieved greatness in spite of their environment.

To acknowledge our own shortcomings, is the first step to greatness. So even when our placing is a challenge and impacts us directly in many ways, it doesn’t have to. In an overwhelming majority of the times, we have a choice, we decide how it affects us. I’m not implying that it is or will be easy, in fact I would side with you and say that it will be even more hard for you, than the average Joe. But because of that toil, that struggle and the hustle you have to go through, that ingredient will surface all that greater. Sometimes it is precisely that struggle what brings forth the best of you. It might be, that how you handle the present situation in your life, will determine how you live the rest of your life.

What is it then? Simple, you do extraordinarily, what others seem to do well. It is the intentionality of what you do that makes the difference. It is the area of your life in which you put your entire heart at work and you take off all of the stops. We cannot have the gifts of someone else, at best we do marginally ok in someone else’s field or craft. But there is one thing you do exceptionally well and when given the opportunity you perform as if you are being recharged, because you love it. Be it writing, inspiring, preaching, teaching, sports, business, leadership, fatherhood, counseling, or whatever your gift might be, get better at it every day and do it extraordinarily.

A bad environment doesn’t mean impossible. We see it all the time. The underdogs, the outliers, those that at some point and in contrast of where they lived, or what life had handed them, decided they would do extraordinarily what others seemed to do ok. It is a choice, it is not necessarily a supernatural gift nor a one of a kind talent, it is a choice you make. And when you make it, everything changes. You can live the rest of your life living with wandering eyes, or you can become the story everyone will be inspired by. So what is it going to be? Dive in and move forward.

Do extraordinarily, what others do well.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Make the dream come true


What does it take to make a dream come true? I actually googled it and got 152 million results back. By sheer numbers it appears there are a lot of dreamers out there, or at least some that are toying with an idea. You get a lot of different perspectives. Many in my opinion good, others I would say a little creative. But regardless of what point of view resonates with you, one thing is actually pretty much consistent among them: action.

Many of us are paralyzed in life because we are afraid of taking action. We are afraid of something that might not even be true. It could be fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of ridicule or even fear of fear. I know from personal experience how this feels. When the fear of the unknown outcome crawls inside of you, it takes complete control. And the dream agonizingly screams in us, desperately longing for a sliver of hope that could maintain it alive somehow. But fear has made residence in our hearts, and evicting it, is a hard task.

So how do we defeat fear? It is very interesting that when we read about three crucial moments in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the same word is used to describe the magnitude of the event preceding that victory. And each victory over the event required an important ingredient: action. The greek word is σεισμος or “seismos” which means earthquake. The impression was so big, that it could only be described with this word. This word is used when Jesus defeated sin, death and fear. It is through the strength we find in him that we are able to overcome fear, because he defeated it. The enemy of fear is action and action creates purpose and purpose creates passion, and passion knows no limits.

Many practical ideas can help you refine your dream or accelerate it. Writing it down, researching, asking a lot of questions, meditating on it or planning just to mention a few. All of them are good and you should do some or all of them. But it will be pointless without action. Action defeats fear.

You don’t need to have it all figured out, you don’t need to have all the answers to the questions. You just have do one simple thing: Take that first step. Will you fail? It is possible. Will you come out a victor? It could be. But you will never know if you don’t try. Why would you sit in the sidelines petrified when you can be in the middle having the time of your life? You don’t want to live a should’a, could’a, would’a life and die. It is better to try and fail, than not to try at all.

There are some times in life where each step you take is planned and calculated, and that is good and necessary. But there are other times in life where faith and courage are the lights that guide your way through the dark path before you. And that is all you need.

So, what does it take to make a dream come true? Which of the 152,000,000 answers is the correct one? I don’t know, but for me it’s one simple thing: That very first step. Take courage and brace yourself, the man that told the wind “cut the attitude,” is by your side. It will be the ride of your life.

Make the dream come true.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

To plan or not to plan?


While running some errands, I was listening to a radio station of a religious nature. It wasn’t very appealing or interesting, but just out of curiosity I continued to listen to get a grasp of what the point would be in the message, maybe something good could come out of it. I also listened from the perspective of someone that had no knowledge of the Scriptures. After ten minutes I stopped listening, because all of his message was just filled with, and it is not intended to cause any disrespect, but it was “christian language”, and had no point at all. I mean, I know he meant well but there was no message. Someone listening for the first time and was trying to get any knowledge of who Jesus is, would have finished even more confused. But the point that struck me more than anything else was the lack of structure and therefore the lack of planning from the presenter. It was that obvious.

While I was still driving I questioned myself: Should we as disciples and followers of Jesus, make any plans or just rely on our spiritual instincts? I was thinking of the example that I had just experienced. The presenter was definitely trying to use his head knowledge but had not defined pattern of what he was presenting. Examples in the Bible started to come to me. Each and every one expresses a God that is a master planner. Planning is his specialty, to plan is not only needed but it is required. I would go further and state that it is demanded. Albert Einstein said it well, “I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.” in other words, He does not leave anything to chance or to randomness. He’s a master planner. And you can see it in everything created.

Some think that to plan is to show lack of faith. I would say that planning is showing your faith in action. Relying on your plans alone is another issue altogether. The first one is a complete act of trust in God and the latter is a complete trust in yourself. Not planning says to the world, “everything is random there is no logic nor purpose in what I do” and I would dare to say that it is a praise to mediocrity. To plan is to walk in the nature that God himself created us to be, because we were created in his image.

The creativity and the gifts you and I have been given, are not to be taken lightly. It would be easy to just let things happen, but that would be a waste of time, and talent. But if we acknowledge that God created us for excellence, we should be the example for the world to see. In our finances, our studies, our work and our home. We should be recognized as those that plan ahead and trust in a Master Planner that shows his love and mercy. From the moment his precious creation fell, he started planing his redemption through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. What a great plan!

To plan or not to plan? That is not the question. Why would you not plan?, would be a better one.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What’s the intention?


“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven” – Matthew 6:1

Have you seen public figures do charity work and deeds just to be seen? This is a broad generalization and I know that it is does not describe everyone, but we see politicians, celebrities, executives and yes even clergy, appear in front of cameras of photo shoots supporting a cause, just to be seen. We are moved to admire them, not because of the good they are doing, but because sometimes we cannot reconcile seeing someone of their position, doing something “so honorable”. It just doesn’t click somehow and yet it attracts us.

Truth is that there is something more profound happening in us. We often want to be admired as those we are watching, are. We like the attention, the adulation and the admiration. We want to become a role model, but for what? When I read what Jesus said in Matthew 6:1, it made me examine myself. I am guilty of doing many times exactly what Jesus is saying not to do. What were my intentions? Do I really want to do good because I want to worship the Lord with my life or because I silently want the worship of people? Have you been there? Have you tried to use your platform, position or influence to further your cause and not that of the ONE that gave you the position you have?

It takes a lot of profound thinking and introspection to realize that our well meant deeds, sometimes were not birthed from the most pure intentions. And it is obvious that many of us don’t have the public platform that others have and we might dismiss this by saying, “Well, I’m just a simple individual, that does not describe me”. But in reality it does, and you know it. We can do things nobody knows about, all good deeds, but secretly we expect the admiration of those that benefit from our action or our words. Things like, Why did you forgive? To be politically correct, or to genuinely mend a relationship? Check your social media posts. What are they saying? Why are you saying them? Are they truly an expression of a grateful heart or an attempt to further your own agenda, business or status? Are they a false pose of your true intentions? I know these are strong words, but they are necessary.

The reason Jesus brought it up was because he saw it. He knew all to well that we are so impatient and we want immediate gratification so we hide behind actions that we believe will accelerate it. When we open the door for adulation or self serving, we open the door to an empty room. A room that will fill our ego but empty our hearts. The writer of Proverbs said it well; “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”, and guarding our hearts from self serving intentions, will definitely be rewarded in due time. It is a matter of trust.

I want God’s blessings in the life of those I love and in mine also. Rewards of men can and will dissipate easily. So I pray that my intentions are pure and that I can be found worthy of his goodness and mercy in my lifetime. I pray that I can guard my heart and I pray, that your prayer will be the same. Because life is a flicker and it is too precious to be spent in the empty room of false intentions. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the next time, What’s the intention? Guard your heart, make your life count. It will not always be easy, but you will see how the door of an immeasurable life will open before you.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

To finish well


What will you story say at the end? Is your story worth saying? I make myself these questions everyday. Is it because of how I see myself in the story? Do I have an “ordinary” life and reading about all of the other extraordinary ones, creates an angst in my chest of, not being “there” or having “it” (whatever any of those mean). I think about the end, a lot. I think of how my actions today will impact the lasting memory of my likeness in the minds and hearts of those I love. Will my life reflect greatness? Will my actions exude my highest and most noble thinking? I hope so. In fact, I pray so. What will my story say to those that will remain? What is my story saying now? This really gets to me.

Recently I attended a mens group called Seven, that met for seven weeks at seven in the morning on Fridays. We explored the seven questions that rattle the minds of most men. Great conversations and even better community. The theme that really got to me was that of leaving a legacy; finishing well. How will I be remembered? How will my wife, my son and my daughter be impacted in the days, the months and the years to come? What will my grandchildren say about me? More importantly, what will God say about me?

I am a big fan of movies that depict true stories. I feel attracted to them when I can relate to many of those to whom it happened to. But if you are like me, what really stirs my heart are the endings. The underdog finishing on top, or the dejected changing his or her ways, or the stories of how the human resilience conquers the most difficult situations; epic endings. Maybe I feel attracted to them because I wonder if my story will be memorialized as those that have made it to film, not because of fame or fortune, but because of the inspiration it can bring to generations to come. Will my story inspire someone else to achieve the impossible? Will my life change the course of someone else’s story? Can I make a difference for the world to see? Will my story be epic? Have you made yourself these questions, or is it only me?For some of us, when we look at our present life we recognize that by our standards, we are not living an epic tale. And we question our existence, over and over again. I don’t know the answers to any of the questions I have made and are still making to myself. But I know they will be answered in due time.

So I have resolved that until those answers come, when I’m faced with impossibilities, I will continue to believe that all things are possible. When i feel discouraged, I will continue to inspire and be inspired. When I’m talked down and demeaned by others, I will continue to think like an eagle when everyone else around me is not. When handed the worst, I will continue to expect the best. When all seems at a lost and at a dead end, I will continue to trust that God has a plan for my life and for those I have been entrusted with. A bigger, greater, brighter, stronger and more wonderful plan than what I can possibly imagine. When faced with small minded people that want to water down my existence, I will continue to dream BIG because I serve an unmeasurable God. When wronged by someone I consider a friend, I will continue to believe in friendship, because it is the face of kindness in the world. When there is no clear path, I will continue to live my life based on the possibilities, because living by fact alone ignores any faith and greatness. If times are scarce, I will continue to give even when all is taken from me. If shunned by the world, I will continue to love. If I fall, I will brush off the dirt, clean my wounds and get up every time. When faced with injustice, I will continue to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. If I’m left as forgotten, I will continue to remember those in need even when nobody else acknowledges me. And by doing all of this, I trust, I hope and I pray that I will be able to answer many of my questions and dilemmas. Maybe you should do the same.

I long for the day when I bow before the Almighty and lay my crown at his feet and say, “Lord, I made it. There were times when I thought I’d fail, but I made it”. That day, that glorious day, I will know that I finished well.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012

Immensely, beautifully and purposefully


“This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods” – 2 Chronicles 2:5

It was King David who decided to build the temple of God. History reveals that God would not allow it because he was man of war and had shed blood. It was his son Solomon to whom it was given the task of constructing the sanctuary. The plans for all construction, including materials, had been provided by David his father under the explicit direction of God. Solomon would build a temple to remember.

The temple would be immense, beautiful and with purpose. These three characteristics that made this temple be unforgettable, its immensity, its beauty and its purpose, were characteristics that stood out in plain sight. The immensity of the temple meant that the man who contemplated it, remembered his smallness and inspired reverence. Seeing the beauty of the temple, created admiration and was conducive to worship and the temple’s purpose was clearly defined: God would forever dwell in it and his eyes and his heart would always be there. This structure would represent much more for generations to come. Solomon would build more than a temple more, it was a witness that would transcend time.

We all build something, wether we recognize it or not. But very often we settle to build what represents to us the less resistance, regardless of the consequences. We do not measure the implications of what we do. We think that the resources entrusted to us are unimportant. We fail to understand that everything we do is connected and that there are many who depend on the decisions we make today.

How do you handle your finances? What are the goals that you have for your life? What you build with your life, is it immense? Do it declare the greatness of the God whom you serve and proclaim that is Lord of your life? When people look at how you behave and relate, Does your behavior exude greatness and the loftiness of God? When the product of your hand is revealed to the world, does it demonstrates the beauty of God who created all things? What you build in your family, your job, Does it reveal the purpose of God in your life? What do people associate your name with? With the immense, with the beautiful and the purpose of a full life?

I know first hand that these are not easy questions to answer. But I firmly believe that it is time for these questions to be a catalyst to thrust you into a new direction. To give you a new sense of inspiration and help you understand that you were created for much more in life than just to exist. David states that were crowned with glory and honor. Let us live at the level for which we were created.

Build immensely, beautifully and purposefully.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

Want this inspiration of coffee by email every morning? Enter your e-mail to subscribe at the top right of this page under the box for “Subscribe”. Like this writing and want share it? Just add your comment below on “Leave a Reply” or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or by email using any of the buttons next to “Share this:”

© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

There is no plan B


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Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach – Mark 3:14

On any endeavor or task we set ourselves to do, we usually consider more than one option. We always see what the possible outcomes could be and we try to minimize the risk by having a “backup” plan so to say, just in case our first plan does not work as we thought. This is very practical advice and I usually follow this practice of having many options. But there are times I have been in that there is only one way and no other. My focus is razor sharp and usually stress levels are high, because in the end there is only one plan and it has to work. I know that when I am in a crossroad, the way I see things is completely different because there is much at stake. You might have felt the same way. It gets even riskier and more stressful when we have to rely on other people to execute part of the plan, and we feel that they are not as clear in the importance of the task as we are. Sometimes it creates an atmosphere of tension because in our minds, failure is not an option.

When I looked for inspiration or guidance of the how to plan, I looked at the facts of the ministry of Jesus. Have you ever noticed that the ministry of Jesus with his 12 disciples spanned for 18 months? We all know that he was widely visible for three years, but his actual ministry was for this short period of a year and a half. Did you also knew that Jesus never traveled more that 25 miles away from his home? And another fact was that the only recorded ways of transportation he ever employed was the usual boat ride, or the donkey used to enter Jerusalem before he was crucified. No chariots or fancy horses, that was it. Have you ever considered that he did not have any technology as we have today to spread his message? He had no loudspeakers to be heard, yet he was able to speak to thousands of followers at a time. In my mind it is very difficult to grasp, yet it happened. And let us consider the most unusual of the facts about his ministry, his disciples. Many had followed him everywhere, as much as 70 were recorded in the scriptures, but he chose only 12. Twelve ordinary men, with openly known flaws were recruited to carry on his message. Among them we find a tax collector, a doctor and a fisherman. These were his choices? This was his brilliant idea to bring a message of change? Yes, this was Jesus plan, and there was no plan B.

There is much to learned about this, but one refreshing thought comes alive when we consider these facts; we are his plan A and there is no Plan B. When we read the story of who he chosed, we know that they represent who we are. We understand that the story is not about plans or strategies, although they were many, but about his love for us. He purposefully chose those that had all the shortcomings that you and I have to make us understand that with Him all things are possible. When we consider plans, we look at what resources we have so our plan can succeed and we rely on the strength that we have to make things happen. But when God looks at us he sees the possibilities of what we can achieve, not by ourselves but through and with him.

Don’t look at what you have or who you think you are, we are his one and only plan. You and I will succeed, because Jesus has chosen you and me as his plan A. Be encouraged that with him all things are possible, there is no plan B.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

Want this inspiration of coffee by email every morning? Enter your e-mail to subscribe at the top right of this page under the box for “Subscribe”. Like this writing and want share it? Just add your comment below on “Leave a Reply” or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or by email using any of the buttons next to “Share this:”

© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

In your generation


This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. – Acts 13:36

The writer of the book of Acts, makes the distinction so it is evidently clear to whom the psalm is referencing to. He is not talking about David, but about Jesus. And by differentiating them, it made it clear that each had a specific purpose in life.

David did the will of God in his own generation. In other words he succeeded in doing that for which he was created. I could say, and this is my personal perspective, that David fulfilled the dream of God for his life. This would suggest that like a puzzle, we all have a unique part in the world. Why am I here? Will I succeed in fulfilling my purpose?, Will I be happy? Is it too late for me? These are all questions we have made to ourselves from time to time. And the reality is that God gives us this short period on earth to affect our generation. Moreover, to affect our eternity and make a dent in the universe.

What are you doing with what you’ve been given? Where have you directed your eyes? Where have you turned your steps? These should be questions you should ask yourself if you want to make a change in your life and in your generation. It is possible, you can understand the purpose for which you have been given the gifts and abilities that you have and use them extraordinarily.

So what’s holding you? Performing God’s will in your life doesn’t always mean having a public performance or a visible platform. Performing His will, is understanding who we are and who we are not. Being content with who we are but not where we are. This is were we get lost sometimes, thinking that having more “things” is what defines us. We forget that what defines us, is who is HE in us. That is a powerful thought in itself. When we lean on God’s counsel, everything changes and we change as well.

You might be the one your lineage has been waiting for, that decides to be the tipping point for generations to come. You have not settled for normal, you decided to excel in your part of the story, because the future depends on it. Whether it’s raising your family, caring for the needy, fighting for those without a voice, being a mentor, or building a company and many more, the titles are all different, but God sees it all the same; fulfilling His dream for your life.

Don’t hesitate, it can be done and you can do it, all in your generation.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

A great resource to help you find your purpose in life can be found in the following: www.chazown.com

Want this inspiration of coffee by email every morning? Enter your e-mail to subscribe at the top right of this page under the box for “Subscribe”. Like this writing and want share it? Just add your comment below on “Leave a Reply” or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or by email using any of the buttons next to “Share this:”

© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.