Monday, December 14, 2015

In Tune With The Master

You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:7


Image result for old violin

Out West an old sheepherder had a violin, but it was out of tune.  He had no way of tuning it, so in desperation he wrote to one of the radio stations and asked them at a certain hour on a certain day to strike the tone "A."  The officials of the station decided they would accommodate the old fellow, and on that particular day the true tone of "A" was broadcast.  His fiddle was thus tuned, and once more his cabin echoed with joyful music.

When we live apart from God, our lives get out of tune - out of harmony with others and with God. But if we live in tune with the Master, we too, will find ourselves surrounded by His beautiful music.

As the New Year draws closer, ask God to help you tune your life every day to His Word, so you can bring harmony and joy to those around you.

Excerpts from 'Hope for Each Day - Words of Wisdom and Faith' by Billy Graham

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Step In The Process


A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good. Luke 6:45

     We develop our muscles through exercise.  When our muscles encounter resistance they become stronger.  To build our muscle we increase resistance with time.  To boost our moral we scream, yell and make all sort of noise to get over that hump during our workout sessions.  When we are done we leave the session proudly, looking back at it as an accomplishment.  Though we are unable to see the difference that moment in our bodies, we are able to feel it.
     The Bible tells us that we become stronger spiritually through constant exercise using the muscles of our minds.  Often our daily challenges come in the form of suffering and affliction.  It is often said it is not what happens to us in life that determines who were are but it is how we interpret and react to it that makes the difference.
     Our reactions to life's event can be tailored by how we have used our 'mental muscles' in the past.  If you are being chased by someone (friendly or otherwise) after a few minutes of running you will find yourself out of breath.  If you are a long distance runner, you can travel long distances before running out of breath.  In both instances, your mind pulls on the resources that it has stored based on past experiences to facilitate the current situation and sends these messages to the various muscles and organs of the body.
     We exercise our mental muscles by reading and learning from the experiences of others.  Those who study the bible and make it a habit to live a life that reflects Christ will intentional rely on those experiences to react in ways that reflect Him when trials and suffering come their way.  The disciples of Christ often rejoiced when they were beaten and ridiculed as they count it as joy to have this experience because of their faith in their Lord.  We often see young basketball players practice the moves of their favorite player when they practice.  They practice for extended periods until they get it right.  They can be trained, if they wanted to; to do likewise for the Lord.
     Daily, make it a habit to go into your mental gym for a work-out of the mind.  Put aside thirty minutes per day for this routine.  They say success is eighty (80) per cent mental and twenty (20) per cent physical.  To accomplish anything, you have to accomplish the task in your mind first before accomplishing it physically.
     Pay attention to what you feed your mind.  In the same way we should be mindful of what we put into bodies, we should also be mindful of what we feed our minds.  The word of God (The Bible) is highly recommended along with other books that are also high in mental protein for example Joseph's Memoirs: Life Lessons for a Successful you.
     Find a workout partner so you will be more motivated to accomplish the task.  People who work out with others tend to accomplish more than those who don't.  They hold themselves and each other accountable.
     Document and review your accomplishments.  Your mind tends to forget things at times so learn to document your journey.  So we can relate and reflect on the failures and successes of others, God ensured that the life struggles and victories of His most prolific children are documented for our benefit.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

Don't Wait Until December



The end of the year is only a few weeks away and many people are waiting until the final days, or hours of December to begin planning for the New Year.  Like all the others times this will lead to failure in the New Year.  Why is failure for most people a tradition?  You have heard the cliché many times, 'He who fails to plan, plans to fail'.  Though we know this statement is true we still procrastinate with planning and end up failing. 

The best way to succeed is to begin planning early.

Most people make weak plans to comfort themselves and will end up failing just as miserably as those who didn't bother to plan at all.  Sometimes we take it for granted that we know what to do where planning our lives are concerned.  If this was true, we would be doing better than we are currently doing.  To help you in the planning phases I have copied an article from Success Magazine which I think you may find helpful.  It's a summary of the steps needed to make a lasting change from Tory Johnson's new book, Shift for Good: Simple Changes for Lasting Joy Inside and Out

Step 1: How fed up are you, really?

In other words, are you finally sick of the way things are now? When you’re at the point where the pain of the present outweighs the pain and sacrifice that change demands, you’re ready to shift.

Step 2: What are you willing to give up?

Big change requires big sacrifice. There’s no way around it. If you want to shift for good, nothing can be more important than tackling your goal. You must be willing to give up things that are near and dear to you, including certain behaviors, to succeed. You must be ready to commit fully—be willing to accept the shift as an all-or-nothing deal, as hard as it sounds. The process is hard but becomes easier to live with over time.

Step 3: What’s your plan?

There’s no winging it if you’re serious about making a significant life change. You need to establish clear, concise rules in order to eliminate ambiguity. Make a simple plan for how you’re going to take on your issue.

Step 4: What’s your daily accountability?

It’s easy to slip up when nobody’s looking. It’s also possible to fool yourself into thinking that you’re on track when you’re not. Take a moment to review each day to see which emotions and attitudes reigned: calm or panic, happiness or anger, joy or joyless. If you consistently practice the action steps you outlined in your plan, you’ll see and feel results. Progress begets progress, which makes daily accountability important.

Step 5: How will you develop patience and celebrate your victories?

It’s hard to go from panic to perfect overnight, no matter how much we want it to work that way. A journey toward wholeness takes time. To stay motivated, celebrate teeny victories with rewards that won’t derail your success.



- See more at: http://www.success.com/article/need-a-fresh-start-try-these-5-steps-to-shift-for-good#sthash.oA1LuGIq.dpuf


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Root of All Evil

I came across the following article written by Darren Hardy, Publisher of one of my favorite magazines - SUCCESS magazine.  I found it to be a wonderful article and wanted to share it with you as well.  Though written a few years ago, it is still relevant today.  

I’m a little disturbed with much of the social commentary around money of late. EuropeJeb Bush and Michael Moore are all attacking capitalism, CNBC’s American Greed is in its fourth season and the infamous movie Wall Street has its sequel debut next month. The subtext in all this is money is bad… even evil.
Let’s remember the full text: For the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10)—not money itself.
People (certain few) are the evil ones. Remember, money is nothing but dirty pieces of paper with dead presidents (and Franklin) on them. People are the ones who attach emotions, feelings and perplexing behaviors to it.
I have found that money only makes us more of whom we already were, but couldn’t afford to exercise. If you are caring, generous and compassionate, with money now you can do great works. If you are jerk, more money will only make you a more obnoxious, loud and glitzy jerk. Yet, people will point to the money as his source of evil. Not so. Money only funded a spotlight and megaphone for his true nature to shine.
Let’s put accountability back where it belongs—not the system of capitalism, the pursuit of the “American Dream” or with money itself, but with the people who abuse the system and the illicit and criminal pursuit and use of money.
Instead, I’m more inclined to believe: the root of all evil is… the lack of money.
If you question that let me share the stats…
•    Money is the #1 cause of divorce.
•    89% of the population is less than four paychecks away from disaster.
•    1 out of 3 have bad credit.
•    According to Merrill Lynch, the average 50-year-old has an average net worth of only $23,000 and without an adequate source of income to live out their retirement.
•    1 out of 3 will retire on less than $900 per month.
•    Lack of money is causing more than 2 million foreclosures and 2 million bankruptcies a year.
Oh, and yet the average person spends 23 hours a WEEK watching TV…
Call me crazy, but I think the love of TV is the root of all evil!
One of the best explanations and philosophies on money I have ever read comes out of Ayn Rand’s towering novel (one of my all time favorite books) Atlas Shrugged. Here is a passage spoken by one of the leading characters of the book Francisco d’Anconia…
“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. … Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.
“But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires.
“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.
“To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money—and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.”
My articulation about money is this, “Money is an instrument for life, not the meaning of life.”
Don’t buy into the current fad against ambition, wealth and success. Abundance, prosperity, aspiration, financial freedom and… success are all (still) noble causes (maybe the most noble) as the world benefits when one creates, builds and contributes in order to reach their personal achievements.
It takes money to build schools, churches, feed and clothe people, fund science to prevent diseases, etc. We are meant to be creative beings. The more we create (contribute), the more money is exchanged for our creation. In actuality, I think money is the root of all good. It stimulates and measures our creativity and creative output.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Up-Coming Changes

     


     It has been a blessing sharing Joseph's Memoirs with readers and audiences around the world.  Many readers have shared with me the impact the book has had on their lives. I find these stories inspiring and with their permission will be sharing a number of these life changing stories monthly under the theme "Living The Principles".
     Finances have been an area of concern for many people.  As a matter of fact this problem is having a far reaching effect on the church.  Many churches have either closed their doors permanently or struggling to survive. Money is also the number one cause for divorce research shows.  The bible speaks more on the topic of finances than many other subjects.  For that reason, we will be dedicating a segment to the spiritual well-being of your financial matters as well.
     We are making changes to serve you better in the coming months.  Thank you for your support and continue to visit.  God bless and see you next week.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Buy The Milk

Author Unknown
A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had spoken about "listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice."
The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?" After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray,"God, if you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?" He didn't get a reply, so he started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him... buy a gallon of milk.
The young man thought about Samuel, and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. "Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk." It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. So, he stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started toward home.
As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down that street." This is crazy, he thought, and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, I will".
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark, like people were already in bed.
Again, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street." The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. "Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."
Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and said, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but, if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?" Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.
The man asked, "What is it?"
The young man thrust out the gallon of milk and said, "Here, I brought this to you," he said. The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, "We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk." His wife in the kitchen yelled out,"I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an Angel?"
The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man's hand. Then he turned and walked back toward his car and tears were streaming down his face. He knew then that God does still speak to people... and answer prayers.

Monday, January 5, 2015

And They Are Off ....

Hugh Rowe is a speaker and author of "Joseph's Memoirs: Life Lessons For a Successful You"  
     

     It's 2015 and the resolutions which were made are (or should be) in high gear.  By tomorrow, more than half of those resolutions will be forgotten.  Like the paper some of them were written on, they will end up in the trash and the dreamers will return to their normal routine.  A few will stick to their plans and will succeed.  Why will the few succeed and the majority fail?  Those who succeed planned to and those who fail planned for this as well.
     Success in any endeavor takes planning.  We all know this, however, only a few take this phase serious enough to do it.  Success also includes failure.  Planning to overcome failure is a key component to succeeding at any task and tends to be overlooked.  Those who overcame failure, held their feet to the fire and were determined to keep on keeping on.  We see their successes and most time say how lucky they are.
     Some time ago I was reading about ordinary people who became famous because they did not allow failures and what others think of them to prevent them from reaching their goal.  People such as Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school's varsity basketball team (hard to believe), Harland Sanders was turned down by more than 1000 restaurants when he pitched them his secret (KFC) recipe. One of my all time favorites is John D. Rockefeller, who was sidelined numerous times when he sought venturing in the business arena.  Constantly he had to keep borrowing money to stay afloat in his numerous ventures before making it in the oil business.
     Today we admire these individuals but continue to choose the path of least resistance.  Jesus encourages us in Matthew 7:13 to, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it."  Though Jesus was making reference to eternal damnation, one may equate this to abnormal levels of diseases that are rampant in today's society as a result of high levels of stress.  An increasing number of deaths attributed to heart attacks and high blood pressure are the results of stress and not micro-organisms.
     Recent studies have shown that we live in a era where most diseases are preventable.  With proper diet and exercise we could live longer, happier lives.  The problem is we lack discipline.  We wish to live as we want, eat as we like and and be rewarded the right way.  Life isn't like that.  Somewhere along the line we have to 'pay the consequences or reap the rewards for our actions'.
     As you embark on your journey through 2015, are you continuing to do what you have always done over the years and expecting a different result?  Einstein called this 'insanity'.  If you haven't yet done so; stop for a moment and grab a pen and a sheet of paper and begin your reflection.  Do this daily and make this your journal.  Ask yourself the important questions such as, "where am I heading in life? Why am I heading in that direction.  Is that the direction that is best for me?
      Take the time to answer these questions.  If you are at a crossroads and you are wondering which way to go, remember the words of Jesus.  I also added those of poet, Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both ....... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
    Have a great 2015!