Archive | August, 2015

Gentle Persuasion

30 Aug

We now live in a very violent country. America has turned into a country run on divide, hate and violence. It is now when we turn to our churches for guidance and comfort. But our churches are consumed with “bigger” problems like Bill Cosby, LGBT issues and the Supreme Court, planned parenthood and some website designated for adultery. While I agree some of these issues are hard-core for the Church, none of them affect the Church itself.
What does affect the Church is the divide in our country over LGBT, gun violence and for that fact violence overall. While it is good for the Church to stick together for it’s beliefs, it is wrong for them to push people away they could be leading to Jesus. His commandment to love others as He has loved us doesn’t say only if they believe as you do. I believe we are missing the boat when we judge people for their actions and put ourselves above them. We are all on the same step when it comes to salvation.
The biggest issue we have in this country is hate for our fellow man. We have trust issues with people who don’t think the same way we do. Is that right? We have allowed the media to pull on our shirt strings and tell us how we should feel. We listen to the Politicians tells us how good they are, yet we see they aren’t doing the jobs we hired them to do. Where do we draw the line and start including all in our lives?
Jesus showed us how gentle persuasion and soft spoken words can turn the hardest heart to the right direction. He was patient with us and we need to be patient with others for His sake. I believe if we reach out in kindness to others, they will return the same kindness to us.

 I believe we, as Christians, should embrace the entire community with the love Jesus has given us and show them how we have been blessed so that they can be blessed also. We are the only bible some of them will ever see, so we best set the best example and let our light shine. Proverbs 15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.… Speak your truth softly and gently.
I think we, as Christians, need to start a dialog with our communities and bring them all together. We need to be the example for all to follow and the shining light in the darkness of our Country. This will mean prejudices will have to be put aside and Love of God takes it’s rightful place in our life – front and center. We must remember that as God is our father, brothers all are we. Let us walk with our brothers in perfect harmony. This is the first step for the rest of your life, are you ready to step forward?
Walk daily with God at your side!
Love,
Ed

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Let There Be Peace…

26 Aug

The past few weeks have shown us a volubility in sanctity of our world. Between the conflicts overseas, to the outright murder of police officers and news reporters, to the senseless killing of our youth across the nation and the growing divide in our churches over what the Constitution really says. This is heartbreaking!

Growing up I learned peace is not the absence of conflict in our lives, but rather the ability to cope with it. Over my lifetime I found it took another definition: Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; there will always be differences. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.

The source of peace is our Creator, Jehovah God. Why? He is the “God who gives peace.” (Romans 15:33) Under the rule of his Kingdom that is soon to come, there will be an “abundance of peace.” (Psalm 72:7; Matthew 6:9, 10) This is far more than just a feeble peace settlement. Such accords often herald little more than a brief interruption in hostilities. But God’s peace will eliminate all causes of war and strife. In fact, no one will learn war anymore. (Psalm 46:8, 9) Real peace for all at last!

As beautiful as this hope is, you might nevertheless yearn for a measure of peace right now. Is there a way to find inner peace that can carry you through our troubled times? Happily, the Bible shows us the way. Consider some guidelines in the 4th chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

To me the song – “Let There Be Peace On Earth” says it all:

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me let this be the moment now.
With every breath I take, let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment, and live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will ever see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Walk daily with God at your side!

 

Love,

 

Ed

 

Rights and Priorities

22 Aug

We, as God’s children, are born with certain inalienable rights. Freedom of speech, religion and the right to choose our own direction. These rights are given to everyone by God and along with them come certain responsibilities and priorities.

Let’s not confuse these God given rights to those guaranteed by our Constitution, they are similar but different. Something our church leaders have yet to learn, but that is a different post.

As Christians, we use the Bible to guide us through life and believe it is God’s word. We are instructed to live our life to serve God by serving others. How soon we forget that serving others sometimes means putting others first and us last. God commanded us to love our neighbors as ourself and as He has loved us. He told us to care for the widows, the poor and the children. He told us how to care for the land so we would have bountiful crops over the years.

Somewhere along the line this message was lost. We as a society have turned our backs on the poor, the sick and the elderly. We have failed our neighbors, ourselves and God. We are openly hostile towards those who need help and have placed ourselves ahead of all others. We have closed ourselves off from those who don’t believe as we do, rather than opening our doors to them to lead them to God. Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus turn his back on anyone, in fact He was the first to include everyone.

Our priorities are messed up on so many fronts. When it is easier to snap at someone rather than smile, offer a hand and a kind word, our priorities are messed up. When it is easier to turn your back on a neighbor over a disagreement, our priorities are messed up. When we put our beliefs and thoughts above those of others, our priorities are messed up. When we fail to serve God by serving others, our priorities are really messed up.

So what can we do to straighten our priorities up? The first thing we can do is pray for forgiveness and guidance to help put our priorities in order. Then we can remember why we are here in the first place, to serve God by serving others.

Speaking for myself, I am here to serve, this is my station in life. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to my neighbors. I am here to lift people up when they fall and to offer them a kind word and a warm smile. I am not here to judge others on what they believe or how they live, rather I am here to share my love of God with them and offer them a path to God.

What about you, what are your priorities? Who comes first in your life?

Comments are always welcome.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

Overwhelmed?

21 Aug

overwhelmed : The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board to remind you of your tasks, priorities, goals and objectives Stock Photo

“Overwhelm” is increasingly common as demands on human attention increase exponentially. The human brain just wasn’t designed to handle the environment we inhabit. For the vast majority of world history, human life—both culture and biology—was shaped by scarcity. Food, clothing, shelter, tools and pretty much everything else had to be farmed or fabricated, at a very high cost in time and energy. Knowledge was power, and it was hard to come by; for centuries, books had to be copied by hand and were rare and precious. Even people were scarce: Friends and relatives died young. This kind of scarcity still rules the world’s poorest regions. But in the developed world we face the bizarre problem of excess. Yet our brains, instincts and socialized behavior are still geared to an environment of lack. The result? Overwhelm—on an unprecedented scale. Being overwhelmed is like a 20-foot wave crashing into you, repeatedly. Whatever the reason behind your overwhelming feelings, here are a few strategies to help.

Accept your anxiety.

Has fighting your feelings of overwhelm ever helped you erase them? Probably not. More likely, battling your emotions only boosted them. It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, or imminent. Think of acceptance as riding out a wave.

Change overwhelm-inducing thoughts.

Thoughts of not being under control or unpredictability are the backbone of overwhelm. It’s the unrealistic or unreasonable thoughts that spark our stressed-out reaction. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what we tell ourselves and learn to create helpful thoughts.

Let’s say you have a mile-long to-do list, and all you keep thinking is – I’ll never get this done. That’s a damaging thought that can lead to distress and anxiety. It paralyzes you from problem-solving and taking action. But remember that you’re not a slave to your ruminations.

Ask yourself -In what ways might this thought be inaccurate, unreasonable or unhelpful? Next, consider how you can think more realistically. Here, your goal is to generate alternative thoughts that will lead to positive emotions and behavior.

For instance, to revise the above overwhelming thought, I suggest these alternatives: I may not get it all finished today, but if I work on it or if I seek assistance, I will likely get it done; I know I’m feeling overwhelmed right now, but if I take a break, I may feel differently about this when I return; It seems overwhelming to me right now, but if I break it down into smaller parts, it may be more doable.

Change your multitasking mindset.

’Multitasking’ by definition implies that we are doing too many things at once. We have to change our expectation that everything has to be completed right now ‘or else.’

Focus on right now.

When you’re consumed with what may or may not happen in several minutes or months, you can’t appreciate the here and now. Instead, schedule time to plan for the future, so you can breathe in the present moment.

Take a deep breath.

Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Other calming and stress-reducing activities include progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery.

Take action.

To quell overwhelm, engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music, reading a book or taking a walk, and consider how you can solve the source of the stress that triggered your overwhelm in the first place.

I know that each of us has much to do. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the tasks we face. But if we keep our priorities in order, we can accomplish all that we should. We can endure to the end regardless of temptations, problems, and challenges. I believe faith is incredibly important because you will become overwhelmed with what’s happening and you will have waves of grief, but when you turn to your faith, I believe God will give you waves of grace to get through it.

peace : Peace concept - water drop Stock Photo

Walk daily with God at  your side!

Love,

Ed

Overcoming Adversity

20 Aug

Whether we like it or not, adversity is part of life. Overcoming adversity is one of the biggest hurdles we face. Pain and death are part of life. To reject them is to reject life itself. Problems, large and small, present themselves to us throughout our whole existence. Regardless of how sharp, clever, or happy-go-lucky we are, we will encounter struggle, challenges, difficulties and at times, heart wrenching moments. Is this meant to be a negative, cynical assessment of what we have to look forward to?

Not at all!

In fact, thank goodness for adversity! Learning to deal with and overcoming adversity is what builds character and resilience. Every challenge and every difficulty we successfully confront in life serves to strengthen our will, confidence and ability to conquer future obstacles. Herodotus, the Greek philosopher, said, “Adversity has the effect of drawing out strength and qualities of a man who would have lain dormant in its absence.”

When you respond positively and constructively to your biggest challenges the qualities of strength, courage,character and perseverance emerge from deep inside of you.

Of course, since we are human, it is very easy to get caught up in the self-pity, unfairness of life, or ‘why me?’ traps. When we do, we fail to recognize the opportunities for wisdom and growth that accompany adversity. However, as soon we allow ourselves to think more clearly, we are able to let go of self-defeating and unproductive thoughts and get down to the business of dealing with what’s before us.

When I fell back in March and fractured my Femur I had no idea the amount of pain I would be facing after it healed. My left leg is now 3/4″ shorter than my right leg putting pressure on my spine and twisting my rectum. I have to order special boots that adjust for the difference. But that is just one part of the problems. I also have limited movement of my leg, as expected, and the rods they placed in my  bones are sticking out on the side by about 3/16″ of an inch making most movements extremely painful. But, I am not one who can sit around and do nothing so my philosophy is to continue down my path, knowing God has a plan for me to show His glory as a result of this injury.

The following are some tips I have found to be helpful to overcome adversity:

Be aware of, and accept that adversity is inevitable in life. As has already been pointed out, adversity is part of life. To avoid or resist it will only make it persist. Everywhere you look in the world there is unmistakable struggle.

Build your internal resources. Before adversity hits, work on cultivating emotional strength, courage and discipline. When you make yourself aware that certain difficulties are inevitable, you can prepare yourself mentally for confronting adversity head-on. Faith that everything will work out; faith that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and faith that “this too shall pass.” Everything in life has its place and purpose.

Build your external resources. Build a support system of family and friends. When the going gets tough, we all need encouragement and support. We need someone to talk to; someone to help ease the burden and sometimes someone who can help you adapt. You would be surprised to discover how often a friend has had a similar experience and can help guide you through the difficult time. Even just knowing a friend is there when you need them can be most comforting.

That which does not kill you doesn’t always make you stronger. While I agree that what does not kill you will make you stronger, I do not necessarily agree in practice. For instance, if you do not have enough built-up resilience or experience in dealing with difficulty, adversity can crush you. On the other hand, if do you have sufficient resilience, then indeed it will make you stronger. How so, you ask? Resilience like any muscle is built up gradually and exponentially with repeated exposure to obstacles. If you lack practice in confronting obstacles, one traumatic event can take you down.

Remember these points:

  • The difficult times in life help us appreciate when things are going smoothly.
  • Look for the learning opportunities in every adverse situation.
  • Decide whether you will allow your experience to make, or break you. Depending upon how you choose to perceive it, it could go either way.
  •  Be prepared to accept the worst, should it occur. When you have prepared yourself mentally for the worst, it rarely ever happens, and if it does, it seems less so because you are better equipped to handle it.
  • Cultivate faith, courage and resilience. The more of these qualities with which you are armed, the lesser the impact of the adversity.
  • Remind yourself that adversity is part of life. Accepting adversity, helps you overcome it.

Overcoming adversity is one of our main challenges in life. When we resolve to confront and overcome it, we become expert at dealing with it and consequently triumph over our day-to-day struggles. A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.

What do you think? Comments are always welcome.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

Walk In The Spirit!

16 Aug

Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

LOVE

Does human love fulfill and mend our hearts? Or is there a love beyond human love that is more fulfilling, a spiritual and unconditional love that underlies our lives? If so, how do we access it?

Love is the motivation behind many of our dreams, actions and thoughts. Yet we often have a lot of rules and ideas about love that stop us from feeling love for ourselves and others. One way to expand your capacity for real love in your life is to look at your inner rules honestly. See which ones work and see which ones place limits on your capacity to give or receive love.

Consider this: See the rules for what they really are: attempts to make human love conform to the parameters of divine love. Our rules around love are well-intentioned, but they are usually stifling. Divine love has no bounds and conditions; human love is filled with bounds and conditions. We want others to love us as we are, but we usually put so many conditions on what love is in the first place. We have to step out from the rules and move into Spiritual love. Love, without any rules, conditions, limitations or neediness is spiritual love. Spiritual Love is pure and unveiled. It is always present, regardless of whether or not we are in a relationship. It is in your own heart.

JOY

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. When you are sad and feeling blue and really don’t know what to do, open God’s Word, and you can read Scriptures to give you the strength you need. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
God’s joy can end depression’s length, so don’t mope around with a long, sad face if you have accepted God’s merciful grace.

There’s not a problem that God cannot solve. We should resolve, in our hearts, to take our problems to Him in prayer, give Him the burden, and leave it there. I know it’s easier said than done, but was it easy when God gave His own Son to die for our sins on a cruel tree to give eternal life to you and me? If we can trust Him to save our souls, we can trust Him with problems that take their tolls and steal our joy that we need to display to others that we meet along life’s way. Joy is the serious business of heaven.

PEACE

Peace is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.

Perhaps the key to feeling real peace is being able to accept what is. Acceptance simply means recognizing your ego’s voice and rejecting it. Knowing that the only person we can change is ourselves enables us to do this.

As soon as we start to think there is something not right, not the way it should be, or we become judgmental about a situation or a person—their words or behavior—we know we have moved away from accepting what is, by wanting to control what is outside of us.

There is a lot of negative energy and craziness in this world, but we can all learn to live with inner peace.

If your intention is strong and comes from the deepest part of you, it will happen. Outwardly, nothing changes; peace comes from making changes inside you.

It begins and continues through becoming more aware of who you really are, knowing you are loved, making changes in the way you think, practicing loving-kindness, and accepting what is.

As serenity and unconditional love fill your heart, you will accept that you cannot go back, and will not relinquish what you have now found, that peace that you seem to have been searching for your whole life.

Finally, you will come to this—deep inner peace inside you that endures, regardless of what challenges life brings.

FORBEARANCE

The Spirit’s fruit of forbearance is much more than patience. It is choosing not to retaliate when wronged. It’s extending terms to benefit another, instead of demanding a justifiable immediate payment. Forbearance is the long suffering the Lord has towards sinners who need Him. He knows that time away from Him eventually loses its luster and appeal.

By faith we are able to model God’s great patience towards those who anger us, who deeply disappoint us. The Holy Spirit fills us with the fruit of forbearance so He can lengthen the fuse of our temper. The longer it takes for our temper to smolder under self-control, the more time we have to cool down. The Spirit’s forbearance releases our vengeance to the Lord. 

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

Do you thank the Lord for His kindness, forbearance and patience toward your ignorant indiscretions and your intentionally unwise acts? Are you taking for granted God’s great grace? Eventually His patience does run out on those who run away from Him. There comes a time when secret sins come to roost on God’s righteous roof. So, come clean and learn how to walk wisely in this season of forbearance from your heavenly Father.

Lastly, do not buckle in unbelief under the pressures that threaten to crush your spirit. Christ has given you a deep reservoir of forbearance to bear these burdens. There is not a drought of God’s grace during hot summers of suffering. Critics will come and go. And hard circumstances are meant to soften your heart to grow a harvest for Christ. The fruit of forbearance in your life waters seeds in other searching souls. Thus, be a faithful forbearer of faith!

KINDNESS – GOODNESS – FAiTHFULNESS

Kindness, Goodness and Faithfulness pretty much speak for themselves. Yet, it does seem we have a weakness for forgetting kindness and goodness come with love for your fellow man. If we faithfully follow His command to put no other before Him and to love your neighbor as yourself and as He has loved you, we would have no problem walking daily in the Spirit.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

The Bottom Line

15 Aug

The Bottom Line – the most important part of something : the most important thing to consider, the final result or outcome.

Businesses use the bottom line to measure their financial success. It is this that tells them how well they are doing and how people see them. It is the final result or statement The main or essential point
The final outcome of a process, discussion, etc The most important or fundamental aspect of a situation.

We also use the ‘Bottom Line’ to measure ourselves. We measure how well we’ve done in school, with friends, completing our chores and for that matter life itself – how we measure up.

Face it, nobody owes you a living. What you achieve, or fail to achieve in your lifetime Is directly related to what you do or fail to do. No one chooses his parent or childhood. But you can choose your own direction. Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome, but that too is relative to each individual. Nothing is carved in stone!

You can change anything in your life if you want to badly enough. Excuses are for losers! Those who take responsibility for their actions are the real winners in life. Winners meet life challenges head on Knowing there are no guarantees, and give it all they’ve got and never think it’s too late or too early to begin.

Time plays no favorites and will pass whether you act or not take control of your Life – Dare to Dream and take risks….. Compete! If you aren’t willing to work for your goals don’t expect others to. Believe in yourself – you are your bottom line!

Did you know God gave us a bottom line also? He really did! He told us to love our neighbors as ourself and as He has loved us. He said we should put nothing ahead of Him. He instructed us to care for the poor and down trodden, the widows and children and He told us not to place judgment on others.

How well are we doing with His ‘Bottom Line’? I would speculate that if we measured ourself along the guidelines of His ‘Bottom Line’, we would find we are totally failing. Isn’t it interesting that we look so hard at ourselves and our bottom line, yet we so easily push His aside – that is until we find ourself in a bind? Yet, the first one we turn to when things start going wrong is to Him!

No matter what we choose to call it, sin is sin, and God is not confused about it. He will forgive us, if we ask for it, but wouldn’t it be so much easier just to follow His will? Think about it, then honestly ask yourself how well you are following His guidelines.

A while back I posted – In His Image. The post asked you to look in a mirror and tell me what you saw. When you looked at the clerk at the store, or your neighbor, or even the pan handler on the street – what do you see? The whole point of the post was to remind you that God is everywhere and to tell you that you just might be looking into the face of God.

Now, what are you doing to shine your light for Him? Believe it or not, this is the true measure for your’s and His ‘Bottom Line’ and we all should be striving to make the best of it.

What do you think? What is your ‘Bottom Line’? Who do you put first? I would love to see your opinion and your suggestions.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed