Jesus Alone (9/25/13)

He alone is worthy
To worship and adore
The Lamb of God victorious
Our risen Lord.

THE RIVER WALK

Read: Isaiah 45:11-48:11, Ephesians 4:1-16, Psalm 68:19-35, Proverbs 24:3-4

Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me. (Isaiah 45:22-23)

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. (Ephesians 4:4-5)

God alone

Relate: I have a book on my shelf called Living Buddha Living Christ by a guy named Thich Nhat Hanh. Now don’t get me wrong, I have huge respect for the author. He has been an active and engaged pacifist who has lived in exile from…

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Is God Good All the Time? (Confessions of a former widow)

At times, it is difficult to acknowledge this timeless truth – GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME – but thank God that He never gives up on us and His faithfulness, indeed, endures to a thousand generations.

Dancing On My Ashes

by Heather Spring {Gilion}
(Blog post originally appeared on JCaro.com.)

I cried through most of my twenties.

Who am I kidding? I’m still crying in my thirties, but for very different reasons.
Thirteen years ago, dreams were coming true. I had my college diploma in hand, the handsomest fellow by my side, and a wedding ring on my finger!
“God is good!” said the preacher. “All the time!” said the congregation.

I grew up in a church that said it a lot. We were taught when anyone from the pulpit said, “God is good…” in response, the congregation should echo back with exuberance “All the time!” 

As my life of ease and dreams was on its way to “happily ever after”, I easily joined the echo: Yep, God is good… all the time! (Even if I didn’t chant it out loud, I gave the pastor a good head nod.)

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20 Rules To Live By!

life symphony

Everyone wants to be happy but few of us ever get to that state.  I can think of a few people in my life who seem to be truly happy.  Top on that list would be my immediate younger sister.  She doesn’t have much; no car(s), no house and no stable income.  She has three sons and is a single mother and yet she is happier than most people who actually have much more ‘stuff’ than she does.

Truth be told, I envy her and have told her as much countless times.  She is the type that we love to label ‘carefree’ but in a cool sort of way.  I think in a way, she has it right on so many levels and maybe it wouldn’t hurt if I emulated her some.

To start with I will, as much as possible, try to live a simpler, less worrisome life by abiding by these rules taken from what others have learned by experience.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Everybody starts out in a different place and is headed on their own journey. You have NO idea where someone else’s journey might lead them, so drawing comparisons is a complete waste of time.

2. Never obsess over things you cannot control.

While it’s often important to know about other things–like the economy, the markets that you sell to, the actions that others might take, your focus should remain on what you actually control, which is 1) your own thoughts and 2) your own actions.

3. Know and keep your personal limits and boundaries.

While your job might sometimes seem like the most important thing in your world, you’re killing a part of yourself if you let work situations push you into places that violate your privacy and your integrity.

4. Don’t over commit yourself.

It’s great to be enthusiastic and willing to go the ‘extra mile’ but making promises that you can’t reasonably keep is simply a way to create failure and disappointment.  When you say ‘yes’ to everything, you only succeed in spreading yourself too thin and end not giving your best.

5. Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone else.

You may feel you’re short on time and that you need more of it, but the simple truth is that when the day started, you got your fair share: 24 hours. Nobody got any more than you did, so stop complaining. 

6. Don’t take yourself so seriously; nobody else does.

The ability to laugh at your yourself not only makes you happier as a person, it makes you more powerful, more influential and more attractive to others. If you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will be laughing behind your back.

7. Daydream more rather than less.

The idea that daydreaming and working are mutually exclusive belongs back in the 20th century. It’s when you let your thoughts wander that you’re more likely to have the insights that will make you both unique and more competitive.

8. Don’t bother with hate; it’s not worth the effort.

Hate is an emotional parasite that eats away at your energy and health. If something is wrong with the world and you can change it, take action. If you can’t take action, you’re better off forgiving and forgetting.

9. Make peace with your past lest it create your future.

Focusing on past mistakes or wrongs inflicted on you is exactly like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. You’ll keep heading in the same direction until you collide with something solid.

10. Don’t try to “win” every argument.

Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they’ve won the argument. What’s important isn’t ‘winning’ but what you, and the other people involved, plan to do next.

11. Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you.

While some work environments are inherently difficult, if you’re consistently miserable it’s your fault. You owe it to yourself and your coworkers to either find a job that makes you happy or make the best of the job you’ve got.

12. Smile and laugh more frequently.

Did you know that when you laugh the body releases ‘endorphins’ (health-enhancing’ hormones) and suppresses the ‘bad kind’?  The best thing about all this is that the body can never tell when you are laughing for real or when you are faking.  So go ahead and find reasons to smile. Never, ever suppress a laugh.

13. Don’t waste precious energy on malice and gossip.

Before you tell a story about anybody else, or listen to such a story, ask yourself four questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? and 4) Would I want somebody telling a similar story about me?

14. Don’t worry what others think about you; it’s none of your business.

You can’t mind read and you don’t have everyone else wired into a lie detector. Truly, you really have NO IDEA what anyone is REALLY thinking about you. It’s a total waste of time and energy to try.

15. Remember that however bad (or good) a situation is, it will inevitably change.

The nature of the physical universe is change. Nothing remains the same; everything is, as the gurus say, transitory. Whether you’re celebrating or mourning or something in between, this, too, will pass.

16. Trash everything in your work area that isn’t useful or beautiful.

Think about it: you’re going to spend about a third of your waking adult life at work. Why would you want to fill your work environment–and that part of your life–with objects that are useless and ugly?

17. Believe that the best is yet to come, no matter what.

The best inspirational stories are about normal people who just wouldn’t give up on their dreams.  No matter the odds, these people held on and today we celebrate their courage and call them heroes.  Allow the ‘hero’ inside of you to take over for a while and live your best life now.

18. The only person you can change is yourself.

Believe me, as much as we’d like to, we have no power over another human being, unless of course they allow us.  So, instead of grumbling and losing sleep over what is ‘wrong’ with your spouse or your child, how about trying to change your own attitude and you will find that life does indeed become easier and more beautiful.

19.  Be Kind.

treat others well

We live in a world where kindness is treated as a weakness and where we are taught to fight for our ‘rights’ while we are still in diapers.  But to be truly happy, you have to give up your own ‘rights’ and fight for someone else’s ‘rights’.  We are happiest when we make others happy.

20.  Take care of your body.  It is your first asset and the only one that serves you for life.

body

A farmer who expects to get the best out of his piece of land will go to great lengths to ensure that the land is in its best state at all times.  It amazes me how we always take our bodies for granted and expect them to perform properly at all times.  Make the small adjustments: exercise, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, learn how to manage stress and try to live in a balanced way.  Be a kind master and your body will be a loyal servant.

Do you have any rules that you live by?  You are welcome to share them in the comments box below.

 

 

The Many Faces of Fear

Fear has many faces.  It can be rational or totally irrational.  It can be fear of the known like cats, bees, people, etc or it can be fear of the unknown like death.  Sometimes fear is just a temporary feeling and at other times, it can be debilitating and can stop you from truly living your life as you ought to.

For more on the science behind the reaction of fear, please visit: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/fear.htm

I have long been a silent sufferer of fear (of failure) and it’s only of late that I am learning to let go and taking ‘baby steps’ into freedom.  The problem is, sometimes fear comes in such subtle ways that we fail to recognize it as such.  For example, I have always attributed my reluctance to try out new things to my character, that of being a thoughtful and thorough person. In fact, my sister likes to call me ‘Ms. Perfect’ though of course she says it when she is annoyed with me and not in the best of tones.

The following sites make a good read on how to start handling your fear(s):

A bad experience (the subject of another day) recently served as a wake up call and helped me realize that I had a problem which I needed to deal with.  Whereas I am still in the early days, just realizing that I have a problem seems to me like a step in the right direction and I am going at it with everything I’ve got.

Have you ever suffered from any form of fear?  If so, I would really like to hear about it and how you managed to overcome.  Please feel free to leave your comment below.