Thursday, December 20, 2012

He was more than a dreamer with a colorful coat

For years, those of us who have attended church or have some inclination of the book of Genesis have been familiar with the story of Joseph.  The young boy who was called 'a dreamer' by his siblings and was loved dearly by his father, Jacob, who gave him a coat of many colors and in a fit of jealousy was then sold to traders by his brothers and thus continues an emotional story.  Few people have seen another aspect of the story.  One of not of faith and courage but spiritual and personal development.  Join me in March 2013 as I share the other side of the life of one of my favorite biblical mentors.  Many things will surprise you as much as I was. 

Indeed I am honored to have been given the opportunity to go behind the scenes and to share with you his life in the upcoming book:

JOSEPH'S MEMOIRS - Life Lesson's For A Successful You

    Coming to a Bookstore near you in 2013

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Win - Know The Rules Of The Game

   image photo : Milan stadium - crowd of fans 

    I am not a football fanatic, however I do enjoy watching a good game at home with my wife.  I am often amazed by the large number of die hard fans who fill the stadiums to watch and cheer for their favorite team.  The players, pumped by the excitement generated by these cheering fans, run on to the field ready to play.  As the game begins, the athletes are relentless to score as many touchdowns as possible to ensure a win when the final whistle blows.  During the game a few players try to break the rules and if they are caught the team of the guilty player is penalized.  Some fouls are so blatant I have to ask my wife, "How long have these guys been playing, not to know they would be caught and penalized?  Now it might cost them the game."

    Life is often compared as a game.  The winners study the rules of the game and enter the arena prepared.  As in football they prepare hard in the off-season to ensure they are mentally and physically prepared for each game that lasts only sixty minutes.  After each game, win or lose, they return to the training field to observe the previous game and prepare for the next.  There is no success without failure.  Winners learn from their wins and failures by reviewing what they did to get the result they got.
    We all wish to win but few wish to learn the rules. There are some who take the time to learn the rules, in order to cheat.  Life has a way of rewarding those who play by the rules and penalizing those who cheat.  "The world is a stage," Shakespeare wrote, however, we write our own playbook for our game-day.  Our games are played daily.  Each day we wake up, we are on life's stage.
   We keep looking for the rules and the purpose for winning not realizing God has already made everything available to us.  We have open access to His playbook everyday.  However to win, like everything else, we need to know the rules and play by them.  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding," King Solomon wrote, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths." (Prov. 3:5-6 KJV)
    God creates winners.  He does it for a living.  You do not need special skills.  The only thing you need is 'a willingness' to love and serve Him and he will make a winner out of you.
    Make a conscious decision today to play to win.  Victory will be yours.  God has never lost a game and He plays to win.  The angels in heaven are your fans and they are waiting to cheer you on.  "To victory!" cries Jesus, Captain of the team.  "Come on! We can do it.  Let's win that prize!"


Monday, November 26, 2012

Acres of Diamond

There was a farmer in Africa who was happy and content. 
He was happy because he was content. He was content because he was happy.
One day a wise man came to him and told him about the glory of diamonds 
and the power that goes along with them. The wise man said, 

"If you had a diamond the size of your thumb, you could have your own city. 
If you had a diamond the size of your fist, you could probably own your own country." 
And then he went away. That night the farmer couldn't sleep. He was unhappy 
and he was discontent. He was unhappy because he was discontent and 
discontent because he was unhappy.

                            The next morning he made arrangements to sell off his farm, 
took care of his family and went in search of diamonds. 
He looked all over Africa and couldn't find any. He looked all through Europe 
and couldn't find any.  When he got to Spain, he was emotionally, 
physically and financially broke. He got so disheartened that 
he threw himself into the Barcelona River and committed suicide.

                            Back home, the person who had bought his farm was watering 
the camels at a stream that ran through the farm. Across the stream, 
the rays of the morning sun hit a stone and made it sparkle like a rainbow. 
He thought it would look good on the mantle piece. He picked up 
the stone and put it in the living room.

That afternoon the wise man came and saw the stone sparkling. 
He asked, "Is Hafiz back?" The new owner said, "No, why do you ask?" 
The wise man said, "Because that is a diamond. I recognize one when I see one." 
The man said, no, that's just a stone I picked up from the stream. Come, I'll show you.

There are many more." They went and picked some samples and sent them 
for analysis. Sure enough, the stones were diamonds. They found that 
the farm was indeed covered with acres and acres of diamonds.*

What is the moral of this story? There are five morals:

1. When our attitude is right, we realize that we are all walking on acres 
and acres of diamonds. Opportunity is always under our feet. 
We don't have to go anywhere. All we need to do is recognize it.

2. The grass on the other side always looks greener.

3. While we are dyeing the grass on the other side, there are others 
who are dyeing the grass on our side. They would be happy to trade places with us.

4. When people don't know how to recognize opportunity, 
they complain of noise when it knocks.

5. The same opportunity never knocks twice. The next one may be 
better or worse, but it is never the same one.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Life Full of Meaning and Joy Can Be Yours

The following story was written by Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For the Soul.  I was inspired by it and thought I would share it with you.  Feel free to share with others.

The fastest way to happiness and joy is simple:  Find a way to serve.

Serving OthersBack in 2004 I was honored by the Academy of Achievement for having made a significant contribution to the world. One of the previous recipients who spoke at that event was Ken Behring, the author of Road to Purpose: One Man’s Journey Bringing Hope to Millions and Finding Purpose Along the Way. He was worth about $500 million dollars. During his speech, he told us that his life had gone through four stages. The first stage was about “Stuff.” He though that if he had the right stuff he’d be happy. So he bought the houses, the cars, the boat, the airplane-all of the usual toys-and yet he was not happy.
He described the second stage of his life as the acquisition of “Better Stuff.” He though he’d be happier if he had a better house, a better car, a bigger airplane, and so on. So he bought them. But he still wasn’t happy. Then he figured that maybe he had focused on the wrong stuff, so he embarked on the third stage of his life, which he called “Different Stuff.” This is when he joined with a partner and bought the Seattle Seahawks. He though for sure that if he was the co-owner of a professional football team, he would be happy. But he wasn’t. What to do?
It was at this time that a friend invited ken to join him on his private jet to fly to Europe and hand out wheelchairs to kids who had been born without limbs or who had lost their legs as a result of having stepped on a landmine. Ken accepted the invitation. He said that bringing hope and freedom to these children made him truly happy for the first time in his life. When he returned home, he started the Wheelchair Foundation, which has now given away more than 750,000 wheelchairs to children and adults all over the world.
Ken told us about one of his early trips to give away wheelchairs, when he picked up an eleven-year-old boy in Mexico and gently set him down in a wheelchair. When he went to leave and get another wheelchair for one of the other children, the boy wouldn’t let go of his leg. When Ken turned back around to face him, the boy said through his tears, “Please don’t leave yet. I want to memorize our face, so when we meet again in heaven, I can thank you one more time.” Ken said at that moment he experience pure joy. He later told us, “When I see the happiness in the eyes of the people who get a wheelchair, I feel that this is the greatest thing I have ever achieved in my life.” Contributing to others is the fastest way I know to infuse your life with authentic love and joy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Tale of Two Brothers Part 4 - the Final Installent

     No sooner had Jacob left his father's tent than Esau entered.  "Let my father arise and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me," he said.  Trembling with astonishment and distress, the blind old father realized that he had been deceived.  "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me earlier to eat?" Isaac asked terrified.  Hearing his father's words, Esau cried aloud and pleaded with his father to bless him also, but alas it was too late.  What was done could not be undone.
     Esau was upset and rightly so.  He had lightly valued the blessing while it seemed within his reach, but now, desired to possess it, now that it was gone from him forever.  Esau was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God's favor by repentance, but he could find no means of recovering the birthright.  His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not desire to be reconciled to God.  He sorrowed because of the results of his sin, but not for the sin itself.
     Because of his indifference to the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture a profane person.  He represents those who lightly value the redemption purchased for them by Christ and are ready to sacrifice their heir-ship to heaven for the perishable things of earth.  Multitudes live for the present, with no thought or care for the future.  They are selling their birthright for sensual indulgence.  Health is sacrificed, the mental faculties are enfeebled, and heaven is forfeited; and all for a mere temporary pleasure - an indulgence at once both weakening and debasing in its character.  As Esau awoke to see the folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to recover his loss, so will it be in the day of God with those who have bartered their heir-ship to heaven for selfish gratifications. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Tale of Two Brothers Part 3

     Esau, to the grief of his parents, married two women who were the daughters of Heth.  They worshiped idols and did not believe in the God of Heaven.  This was a violation of one of the conditions of the covenant; yet Isaac was still determined to bestow the birthright upon Esau.  Rebekah tried reasoning with him but to no avail.  Nothing could change his mind. 
     Years passed on.  Now stricken with age and the lose of his sight, Isaac was determined that death was near.  Determined to bestow the birthright upon his favorite son without delay he called Esau to his side.  "Go out to the field and take me some venison; make me savory meat, ..... that my soul may bless thee before I die."  So off Esau went with excitement to grant his father's wishes and thoughts of finally obtaining the birthright.  No sooner had he left, Rebekah, overhearing the conversation, purposed in her heart that her husband was going against the Lord's instructions.  She informed Jacob of his father's plans and told him of her own to ensure he would be the beneficiary of his father's blessings and not his brother. 
     At first Jacob was afraid, however his mother assured him if he followed her instructions everything would be okay.  The thought of deceiving his father was very distressing for him and he thought it would bring a curse on him rather than a blessing.  Once more his mother was successful in convincing him circumstances dictated this drastic measure and so he went along. 
     Mother and son had succeeded in their purpose, however, trouble was not far behind.  Though God had declared that 'the elder would serve the younger' His word would have been fulfilled in his own time and had they been patient and waited in faith, God would have worked it out for them. 
     Like many who profess to be God's children, they were unwilling to leave the matter in His hands.  Rebekah bitterly repented the wrong counsel she gave her son; it was the means of separating him from her and she would never see his face again.  From the hour he received the birthright, Jacob was weighed down with self-condemnation.  He had sinned against his father, his brother, his own soul, and against God.  In one short hour he had made work for a lifelong repentance.  This scene was vivid before him in after years, when the wicked course of his own sons oppressed his soul.