Self Improvement

Rosy Prose

Sailing

 

I’m sailing away,

Into this painting,

Unfurling the canvas,

Rolled out in my mind.

The waves crash silently,

My ship rolls in a gentle sway,

Like two lovers on a dance floor,

Two moving as one—united in heart.

Pulsating rhythms of this dream,

Rapture me into the rays of the sun,

As it, sizzling, kisses the sea’s horizon.

I have company here,

Attending my mellow whims:

The clouds are all puffy,

Azure turns red, and then blue overhead,

Feathery wings tip in salute,

The waves are waving at me,

The dolphins smile at me,

I like it here,

Just me, my friends, and the sea.

 

 

While the real beauty of art lies in the viewer’s, or hearer’s personal perceptions, sometimes the artist is aiming at something specific. Whether it be a painting, a poem, prose, melody,  or another form, we hope to inspire, or to solicit deeper thought, and sometimes it is simply meant to encourage and appeal to pleasantry. Here, I am aiming for a certain pleasant sensation that one may experience when paying heed to the awesomeness of God’s glorious creations.

I felt the same way as I stood on a high precipice gazing down into the Grand Canyon at the Colorado River below. It’s as if God sets off a spark in the soul which seems to say, “Can you see me now?”

Perhaps, you too have felt it before. Maybe you weren’t sure what caused you to feel that warm embrace—it seemed so spiritual, as you beheld beautiful wonders on the earth, in the sea, or in the skies above?

 

 

And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

 

 

 

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Categories: Creation, Nature, Poem, Poetry, Romantic Love, Self Improvement, Uncategorized, Wisdom & Discernment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust & Obey

Image result for obedience

 

All people have short comings—we are fallible beings, and that’s why it’s sometimes difficult to trust those who may have rule over us. But with God it is much different. He never makes a mistake. The Lord is perfect, holy and filled with love. 

 

“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV) 

 

What have I gotten myself into?  That was the predominant thought in my mind at basic-training for the Army. A drill-instructor was demonstrating his control over the men under him. On the roof of a three-story barracks, the drill-sargent ordered a young private to dive head first onto the rocky ground below.  

 

Without hesitation, the trusting soldier took two steps towards the edge, bent his legs for the leap, and sprang up and out to his certain death. Swiftly the Sargent reached out and grabbed the back of the private’s breeches and belt, catching the soldier just in time. 

 

My second thought: There’s no way Id obey such a futile and dangerous order. Observing the imperfections and failings of superior officers stimulated the rebel in me. I didn’t follow every order I was given as a soldier.  

 

Yet, years later I grew very close to my first love. He’s now my Commander in-Chief: Jesus Christ. It wasn’t always easy to trust Him the way that Private trusted his drill-instructor. I have learned, however, of God’s perfect love for me, and of His all-knowing and all-powerful nature. I can trust my life to Him. He’s not a man, who might make a mistake, or tell me to do something futile or foolish.  

 

There are times I don’t understand the Why of a command from God. But I can obey with confidence, knowing He has my best interest at heart. His purposes are flawless.  

 

Thank you, Lord, for your wise leadership. In hindsight we’ll always see the wisdom of trusting and obeying you in all things. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

 

Categories: Christian Living, Devotional, Faith, Military, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Never Ending Journey

On this spiritual journey of faith in Christ Jesus, it is often difficult to locate mile markers to know how far we’ve come. But looking back over the past several years, it’s exciting to see the obstacles to our goals that have been overcome.

trail

For instance, on my journey of becoming more like Jesus, I can see myself forgiving others just a bit more easily than I did a couple years ago, and that’s very encouraging to me. This process of sanctification, or being made holy will not be complete for any of us until Jesus returns.

 

When others, who don’t want me to achieve anything at all, show their evil contempt by their actions and treatment of me, it doesn’t ruffle my feathers as easily it used to. Of course, I still have a very long way to go. But I cannot take any of the credit for my growth, not at all. Every good change that has taken place in my character has been done by God, simply because I asked Him to help me. He’s given us who are saved His Holy Spirit to help us along on this arduous trek —all the way home.

 

As I pondered the specific things that I’ve learned along the way, and things God has led me to do, so that I’d continue growing spiritually, several things became apparent. It became noteworthy that others just might be helped if I were to share some of what God has led me to do. That’s why I’ve put together some bullet points as an easy to use checklist each day—simple. though vital reminders that need to stay with us. It is my prayer that someone out there will be blessed by my sharing them.

 

 

Spiritual Health Tips

(A Bakers Dozen)

 

  1. Confront (face) the issues in your past that hurt you, with Christ as your Counselor—He is your healer, not time! If you don’t, your past can be very harmful to your future. 
  2. Ignore the naysayers and those who criticize you. Listen only to what God says about you. 
  3. Replace all negative thoughts that come into your mind with good, positive & constructive thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)
  4. Your happiness & satisfaction are found in Christ alone, so, don’t seek them anywhere else. Examples: finances, relationships, social status, etc. He will give you those too…when it’s time. (Luke 9:23)
  5. Don’t expect everyone to understand the mission God assigned to you, and, be on guard against those who don’t want you to succeed—avoid them when possible. Rarely, but sometimes, you must act in order to be vindicated. (John 21:22)
  6. It’s your journey, but not yours alone: Jesus walks it with you. (Hebrews 13:5) 
  7. Encourage others who are on their journey with Christ, help them, walk beside them for a while. Offering your hand will strengthen both their walk of faith and your journey—be kind. (1 Thes. 5:11)
  8. It’s okay to not know everything—wise people always seek counsel and they ask many questions. (proverbs 15:22)
  9. Acknowledge your flaws, while working to overcome them in the strength God provides. Everyone is flawed, everyone has weaknesses. Nobody’s perfect except God. (Proverbs 16:18)
  10. Live one day at a time. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) 
  11. Never compare yourself to anyone on earth. Compare and measure yourself only by Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:29) 
  12. Humility is difficult to maintain & requires supernatural assistance from the Holy Spirit, and yet it is a key to great spiritual power. Secretly performing kind acts of service is a good exercise for developing humility. (Matthew 6:1)
  13. Smile, and don’t be so critical of yourself, Jesus loved you long before you even knew His name. (Psalm 143:8)

 

You already know the Christian disciplines of daily prayer and bible study, fellowship often with other Christians, and all the rest of them. Say a prayer for me as I continue my journey, and I’d be pleased to pray for you as well. Blessings.

 

P.S. We love you too. crop graceme

 

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Growing in Faith, Sanctification, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hello 2018

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It’s another year, already? Just the other day I saw this really old looking fellow and wondered how fast time was going by for him, and then I realized, Hey, I went to high school with that guy! It made me feel older than the Dead Sea.

 

Gone are the times I’d wake up New Year’s Day and recall wearing some woman’s bra as a headband while showing off my lack of dance skills the night before. It was no fun worrying over what other ways I may have played the fool while too drunk to remember.

 

Just like lots of folks, I used to jump on the band wagon with all of the New Year resolution stuff, and more often than not I failed to keep my resolutions. Some of the most common determinations people make are things like; lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with family, or complete a long procrastinated project. I seemed to do okay for a month, maybe two, and then other things always usurped priority, leaving my resolutions to fizzle out like a dud firecracker. But since Jesus has become the focal point of my life, I have only one resolution which remains a constant every year: to be more like Him.

 

Experts say that making resolutions is a good thing. It causes us to take a good look at ourselves, and register an internal inventory. The worst jerk in town just may wake up to the fact he’s a numbskull and decide to do something about it. As evidenced by the huge self-help genre of books, I think all of us have things we’d like to change and that probably should be changed. The key is in staying motivated to make the improvements so that our commitments can maintain impetus. A good way to accomplish this is to mark one day every month on our calendars to revisit what it is we said we wanted to do. Perhaps a goal map would be in order to chart our progress, just as with any goal.

 

By definition a resolution is a determined course of action, or, the state of being resolute.

 

As followers of Jesus we must often renew our decision to die to the old sinful self; that we may live for God, following the leadership of His Holy Spirit. Even the Apostle Paul found it necessary to “die daily” (crucify his self will), so that Christ could be better formed in him. That fits nicely with another definition for the word: resolution; it’s the one used in photographyThe fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image.

 

The Bible tells us that as Christians we are predestined by God to be conformed to the “image” of Jesus Christ, His holy Son. (Romans 8:29)

The onset of a new year is a great time to take a good hard look at how well we’ve been representing Jesus as His ambassadors here on earth.

How fine tuned is the image of Christ in us? Do the people we come into contact with see Jesus in the details of our lives?

As we look to our hearts, do we see a high definition image with good resolution of the holy Son of God?

 

Hopefully we will reflect on how well the image of Jesus was portrayed in our lives over the past year. Though we should do so every day, this is a good time to renew our resolve.

 

I hope you’ll pray this short prayer along with me.

“Lord Jesus, help me to become more like you over this next year. Please set Your Holy Spirit to work on me. Your word promises that God will continue the work of sanctifying me and maturing me in holiness, until you come to take me home and fully complete that work. Forgive me for times when I saw something else as more important than spending time studying my bible and praying. Father, help me to yield myself moment by moment to You, so that Christ may be seen through me with fineness of detail throughout the coming year, amen.”

 

One day the image of Jesus will be perfected in us when we shall be “Raised incorruptible.” (1 Cor. 15:51-58)

 

But until Jesus returns, let’s joyfully continue renewing our resolve to walk in the Spirit in close communication with our Lord, so that His image may shine forth, reflecting His light of truth and His love to the world.

 

May your resolve be strong. Happy New Year!

 

Categories: Christian Living, Current Event, Growing in Faith, Sanctification, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reciprocal Healing

Image result for healing

 

Today I tackled my normal 

Intently viewing strangers 

Listening to sad and happy souls 

Sweet melodies of hearts 

Ever stretching impatient fingers  

Toward comfort, acceptance, gladness 

 

Probing a refracted image 

Peeling back layers of façade 

Unveiled tender, vulnerable, me 

In shades darkened by misery 

I studied who I am 

 

Strange, how poorly I can see 

When perusing the heart of me 

How clear an image is portrayed 

In stranger’s hearts displayed 

Until it comes to my own 

 

Again I flee the inner me 

Finding solace  

Blindness to the mirror 

Soothing  

Somebody else’s woes 

A balm 

Ignoring my own 

 

 

Strange, someway, I know not how 

Miracles of healing within  

The inner me, when only I see 

Others’ needs 

When warmly caring for thee 

Somehow, I too am made whole. 

 

 heal

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, People, Poem, Poetry, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foundation of Communication

comm

 

The Foundation of Communication

Is there someone you always seem to disagree with? You could be right. And we all love to believe we are right…right? But often we are wrong, and it takes a very mature, confident and wise person to admit when they are wrong. But usually it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about the truth coming into our lives to provide clarity, lead us toward success, bring happiness, and to benefit those we love.

 

If you are only concerned with being the one who is always correct in their understanding, you will never be considered a wise person. It is towards the goal of being and remaining wise people that I have included the following information that I gleaned from professionals in various fields: Psychologists, Sociologists, Ministers of Christ, best selling Authors, Scholars and Great orators. What I present here may sound too rudimentary and basic, because it is foundational to good communications skills. And yet, the majority of our populace appears to be ignorant of these simple facts.

 

Some of my most profitable friendships have been cultivated from what began as disagreements. Often, after truly listening to, and understanding a person I had formerly disagreed with, I had to say, “I was wrong and you were right.” Wow! The respect those simple words garner is amazing. People respect you and trust you a whole lot more if they have heard you say those words. When we can acknowledge the times we are wrong, people will realize we are genuine—the real deal. I have made lifelong friends who now serve as wise counselors for me, and me for them, simply by humbling ourselves enough to improve our communication skills and begin to really hear, listen and comprehend, and even experience the feelings of the other guy.

When being good listeners we employ everything at our disposal: Eyes, ears, minds, and also our hearts.

We must learn to respectfully ask questions. Ask for clarification! Don’t simply guess what they meant by what they said, ask them. We could simply ask, “What do you mean by that?” This leads both parties to clear communication. The very same people I formerly disagreed with have now come to me for advice and for counselling. Whereas before, we seemed to always be at loggerheads.

But first I had to learn how to keep my flapper shut long enough to allow the discernment that God’s Spirit offers, to lead me. You don’t have to answer right away! Sometimes you might want to wait until the next day to answer. Many things require no answer, no rebuttal, and no response at all.

 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” –Doug Larson

 

Whatever your occupation, you will become much more successful when you improve your communication skills. But we will never be good communicators until we learn how to listen and decipher what a person is really saying. All too often we only think we understand what is being spoken. One reason for this is that our minds tend to jump forward to what we believe they are saying, or are going to say, based on the first several words or the first few sentences. Multitudes of people either stop listening and/or interrupt the speaker before they’ve had a chance to lay a foundation for what they hope to relate. But the crux of what a person wants to communicate comes towards the END of their discourse—ALWAYS!

Usually people will automatically believe they disagree with what is said by certain people, because they have never really listened to them in the past. Instead of hearing the entire message and then mulling it over, they are forming a rebuttal while the speaker is still talking. They are convinced that the person is disagreeing with them. This reveals just how insecure they are with themselves. People fear being wrong, and they fear looking bad. Some folks are so insecure that they are shattered and feel devastated just because another person might know something they did not yet know, or the other guy had a better idea. Sadly, what people do in an attempt to avoid looking bad, actually has the opposite effect.

One of the ugliest blights upon the earth are people too arrogant to consider an idea that originated outside themselves. To the mature soul, memories of youthful arrogance are a source of stinging embarrassment.

 

I still love the following ancient little rhyme.

“A wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he saw the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Now wasn’t that a wise old bird?”

 

Listening well is the first step in becoming a great communicator. It will help us not only in conversation, but it is also the cornerstone of learning to become a great public speaker. Listen and ask for clarification, understand, craft your answer well and then speak. It’s a simple formula that’s been around since before Plato and Socrates, and both of them knew and used this formula as they spoke to huge crowds, as well as in their writings.

 

“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening.” –Jeanette Winterson

Listening is done with more than just the ears, also employed are the eyes and especially the mind. In fact, good listening is actually PERCEPTION.

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” –Robert Baden-Powell

 

Notice how the way we feel towards a particular person or how we feel about any particular subject always throws a rusty wrench into the cogs of communicating. Our feelings should never enter into the equation of practicing good communication skills. Our feelings, if allowed, will stymie our understanding every time. If you’ve done much study of human behavior, you know how strong emotion and reason do not play well together. When communicating we want to allow intellect to rule over emotion. Powerful feelings can block a person’s access to higher reasoning and intellect which takes place in the frontal cortex of human brains.

 

“Never allow emotion to hijack what could have been a highly profitable conversation.”–SB

 

Good communication skills are a monolithic topic and there is much we could discuss. But these basics are an essential beginning point. Without them we would be dumber than a bucket full of hollow rocks. We would miss out on many blessings, friendships, and lose access to wisdom we could have made our own. That’s why it is my prayer that this little post will inspire folks to do some research, study, and learn how to become better listeners than we already are.

By the way, Jesus never has to worry about misunderstanding what another person says. He sees directly into every heart and He knows our motives and our every thought.

 

“Even before I have formed a word with my tongue, you, LORD, know it completely!” Psalm 139:4 

 

Blessings

 

Categories: Christian Living, Leadership, People, Self Improvement, Success, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

No Toxins Please

At present I am dealing with unexpected difficulties which preclude my studies. My wife is currently in the hospital with a deadly infection and your prayers for her are appreciated. We will continue with the Origin of the Bible series, but for the moment that’s on hold. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Meanwhile, I am posting another piece from my old files, though I had hoped to include more information… Perhaps this will suffice for now.

Detoxification 

Do you ever have sluggish days when you’re tired and feel like you have no energy?  Perhaps you suffer from dry skin? Maybe you swell up and retain fluids? These can serve as warning signs that our blood is full of toxins and/or that we are lacking certain vitamins and other essential nutrients.

Living in the 21st century our bodies will naturally pick up quite a few unnatural substances called “toxins.” This is especially so for those who do not take care to know what is in the foods (or nonfoods) they eat. These toxins weaken our body’s defense system against; diseases, viruses and infections, etc, and they put undue strain on our internal organs. Many of these toxins are carcinogenic. In short, they can really wreak havoc with our health.

That’s why it’s a good idea to detoxify our bodies regularly, using the formula’s God has made available to us throughout the earth’s highly complex biosphere. Here’s some that are easy to obtain.

 

  • Dandelion
  • Red Clover
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Burdock Root
  • Cilantro
  • Ground Ivy
  • Milk Thistle
  • Neem

 

Utilizing natural cleansing agents to aid your liver and kidneys in doing their jobs is a great idea. We know that these two organs filter and clean our blood. When these organs fail, such as suffering impaired renal function for example, we could have helped lift the burden off of these vital organs. Here’s some things that can assist us in doing that very thing. First we’ll list some foods.

 

  • Helpful fruits: lemon, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, etc…
  • Vegetables that detoxify our blood: garlic, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, soy, etc…

 

Here’s a few plants which I highly recommend that can be made into detoxing teas.

Aloe—Burdock Root—Hyssop—Ginko Biloba—Elderflower

 

While the health of the physical body remains vital, it is the mind and the heart which requires detoxification most often. These are the parts God looks at. Jesus often pinpoints the heart as the area where sin takes up residence. And He indicates the heart is the most important aspect of our being. It determines who we are and what we are like and represents the core of our being.

God’s word reveals the sinfulness of every human heart. Through the irises of faith, the bible acts as a cleansing tonic, washing away our fallacious thinking while renewing our minds. It leads us to the cure for every spiritual ailment.

The best habit a soul can develop is to meet with the Lord every morning for prayer and bible reading. As we confess our sins of the previous days, our consciences are cleansed, and God forgives us through faith in Jesus—this cleanses our entire being.

Yes, life on planet earth really contaminates us with everything that is toxic to our bodies and spirits. All sorts of dirt crowds into the hothouses of our steamy little minds, and that’s unhealthy. Let’s get cleaned up for the day. God Bless You!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Steps For Successful New Year Resolutions

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It’s that time of year again when we think about the changes we’d like to make in the New Year to come. What does 2017 hold in store for you? For the most part, that’s up to you.

While setbacks, difficulties and life storms are inevitable, the one thing we can do in making better lives for ourselves is to improve who and what we are. After all that’s what most New Year resolutions focus upon. Traditionally, some of the most popular resolutions over the past two decades have included things such as: weight loss, getting in better physical condition, or improving our financial situation.

For 2017 I have 6 resolutions which all flow from the same word:

CULTIVATE

I hope to cultivate more knowledge within myself.

I hope to cultivate new lasting & mutually beneficial relationships.

I want to cultivate new muscle growth in my body.

I hope to cultivate the seeds of faith in others.

I hope to cultivate a love for healthy lifestyles in all my friends and in everyone I meet.

I want to cultivate a closer relationship with the Lord than ever before.

 

Here are Nielsen’s stats from 2015 in % of persons polled & their resolutions.

Stay fit and healthy 37%
Lose weight 32%
Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
Spend less, save more 25%
Spend more time with family and friends 19%
Get organized 18%
Will not make any resolutions 16%
Learn something new/new hobby 14%
Travel more 14%
Read more 12%
 

It appears that as a populous we’re already aware of several things that can improve our quality of life. And yet, every one of these resolutions needs a good plan on how to go about making it happen. Let’s dig into our brains for a bit and see if we can delineate the steps we will need to take in order to implement a positive change. So let’s just look at the first popular resolution listed, and then we can apply the same principles to any New Year Resolution.

There are many questions we can ask ourselves to give us the best chance of succeeding. The first is rather obvious: Why do I want this change? Deciding why will help us to envision the answer to our second question: If this improvement comes to pass, what is it going to look like? (Envision it) And a good question for number three is: How will it affect others? Or, can this benefit other people as well as myself?

Don’t forget, if we are going to be successful we need to set some goals, and in doing so we remember all the things that did not work in the past. Then we brainstorm to come up with new and innovative methods that will work for us as individuals, taking into account how well we know ourselves, our proclivities and our idiosyncrasies.

For instance, in 2017 as I do my best to get into better physical condition, past experience has taught me that I will be more successful if I have a partner to constantly challenge me and keep me doing more. That’s something I need, and so I’ve set to work searching for someone else with the same resolution to partner with. Finding the right person is a smaller goal to help me reach my bigger goal of becoming more fit than ever before. Another thing I’ve learned is to set a time each day when I will do my exercises and stick as closely as I can to that schedule. That’s another small step or goal towards the big one.

Using our example let’s look at some other questions to give us ideas on the types of questions you may want to ask yourself concerning whatever your resolution happens to be.

How will my diet change? Do I have a plan for that?

How can I educate myself with the nutritional knowledge I don’t yet have?

Have I been maintaining a good circadian rhythm in my wake/sleep cycles? Past experience has taught me the profound role that sleep patterns have upon overall health, appetite, energy levels and metabolism.

Yes, you already know what needs to be done in order to bring your resolution to successful perpetuation. Only now, you’ve begun to think about the things that are important if you are to actually make it happen.

TIP: Draw out a goal map.

All the Best to You & God Bless You in 2017!

 

Categories: Christian Living, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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