Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Destiny Stompers

First off I thank my girls for your conversations and insight…they’ve helped me piece together my thoughts on this….


Destiny Stompers (DSers)

We all know them….the people who come talking out against what your destiny is…

1) They don’t want to kill your destiny, just hinder and damage it severely.

2) They cheapen your destiny by claiming that it is just a fantasy that you’re holding onto

3) Their objective is to shoot down the motivation and drive you have for completing or arriving at your goal.

Instead of being able to enjoy the full extent of your destiny, you’re plagued by the damage that has been done to your destiny by those who have opposed it from the beginning. Sometimes you have to pick and choose who you share your vision of what you know God has for you because not everyone will be supportive. Others may mean well and may have your best interest at heart, but they don’t have your best interest at heart if you examine it closely. If I have someone’s best interest at heart, I’m going to make sure to support them in what they do….my thing is “present all the facts, good and bad, and make a decision based on them” (I think I got this from my dad)…even if what you want to do it a daunting task, those who are supportive of you will help you find a way to help you achieve your goals. Those who support you will show you the facts but not them to override your destiny, remember with God all things are possible no matter what our friends think or say…

When the DSers come along and start with their dislike, ridicule, opinions, they can weaken the confidence you have in yourself and instead of stepping up to the plate with a full load of confidence to act, you step up half full and your outcome is only half of what it could be. If you let what others say or do feed on your confidence, then you’re only hurting yourself. We have to remember that haters come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of approaches.

BUT

The sad part is that there is probably only a small percentage of people who really do have the goal of being a DSer (which is a totally different topic on people who are bent on being pessimistic), but many of us are a DS to someone without knowing it…and it’s all done in the name of “keeping it real”. We all love the fact that we have people in our life that we can be honest with and share openly with them, but sometimes we can overstep the line of care and concern while explaining how we feel about it and in the process kill their vision, their God given vision…Many of us are guilty of this, I know I am probably in violation somewhere with someone if not multiple people. We mean well but we can do harm by what we do or don’t say, react, encourage or discourage.

If someone approaches us with something they feel that God has in store for them, we need to be their fan!! It’s wonderful and fulfilling to know what you are supposed to be doing in life rather than wondering WHAT you’re supposed to be doing with your life. No disrespect to those who don’t know what their calling is, you’ll get it…

You have your vision and it’s seen, don’t let others stomp your destiny!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Death...a dedication poem to a great man, Mr. Haywood Earls

Death…
it is not the end,
it is merely the beginning.
We leave this
place we call home
to be joined with
Christ
for forever and a
day.
Our families may
grieve,
our friends may
weep.
Maybe even our enemies
will sense some sorrow.
But through all that
has come and
all that is coming,
may the people
that we come
into contact
with,
Whether it be
past or present,
look over our
life
and know
that we lived,
not for ourselves,
but
to point that
friend,
acquaintance,
family member,
coworker,
neighbor,
or whoever it might
be,
to the
one who holds
our life
in a delicate
balance.


Dedicated to
Mr. Haywood Earls
1948-1998

Written 11/1998

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Human touch can have a high price, but the cheapest touch has a higher payoff.....(orig. posted 9/25/09)

I'm thinking...


For example, there are hundreds of massage therapy clinics and numerous schools that teach people the art of massage. The students go to schools to learn how to take the holistic approach to relieve us of our tight, sore mucles...They are specialists who take their time to concentrate on our well-being. They understand the connection between body, (soul) and mind. Have you ever been so tired, sore, or exhausted physically that all you could do was just lay spread eagle on your bed or floor....and just let the soreness gradually melt away? Or when a water beads in a hot shower seemed to be the perfect mini-massage??? Or even when stressed (which is usually the cause of my soreness) you feel like a hot, steamed towel on the back of the neck could alleviate the tension....all these instances are cases where having a personal massuese would be WONDERFUL.....and yet again these are all PAID touches.....

At the same time, we tend to overlook the FREE hugs and kisses from loved ones, the reassuring hand on the shoulder to those who need encouragement, the firm handshake that can emulate respect, love, honest friendship, etc. from friends and even the quick smile when you can't say hello (I know smiles aren't a form of physical touch, but in my book they still count). There are times where a brief moment of physical touch can have a bigger payoff than that of a massage. Many say that after a massage, while they feel better, there still may be a little soreness from having their muscles worked. In a brief moment of physical touch in the sense of hugs, kisses, handshakes, there is that thing called endorphins that are released by the brain...you know the "feel good" hormones? That's because human touch generally invokes a favorable bond (great or small) between those who touched...and sometimes that produces enough of an endorphin release to counteract that soreness, sluggishness, or exhaustion we feel.

I think about all those back at home who I didn't always have the time to talk to, but made sure that I gave a hug to....and all those that I see now.....I can think of how sometimes, there is nothing that can be said to correct an issue but a hug or kiss on the cheek means more. It means that you have friends that care about you and your well being and that out of sight doesn't mean out of mind. There's no way to impulsively give someone a handshake or hug, those don't happen on accident, those are deliberate moves. Human touch is one of the ways to IMPACT someone's life that is FREE and BRIEF....I just don't understand how some place such a low importance on it.....

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE HAND......

Forgiveness (orig. posted 11/29/09)

Forgiveness according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “the act of forgiving” and forgiving is “willing or able to forgive” or “allowing room for error or weakness”. Forgive means to give up resentment of or claim to requital for, to grant relief from, to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).

So many times we go through things where we have to make the decision whether to forgive or not. We usually want to hold grudges and dwell on our hurt feelings rather than pay attention to the future and what can be accomplished. We have to reach the point where we forgive others because it’s not for them, it’s for ourselves. Those who offend us aren’t losing sleep or appetites over whether or not we forgive them or not because usually they feel justified in what they did that offended us. We become slaves to our memories and feelings by not granting forgiveness. When we don’t want to forgive, we should think…”God forgives us so many times, so there isn’t anything someone can do that condones us not forgiving them.”

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we forget…remember “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” We’ve got to remember to learn a lesson from what we go through as to not put ourselves in that position again but we have to learn to approach those situations more carefully. It doesn't even mean that we sit and go through the rolodex of our mind to see if that person DESERVES our forgiveness, we just need to grant it and keep rolling. The person (people) may have done so much to us that we feel that we don't want anything to do with them, but we don't deserve anything from God...how can we withhold forgiveness from someone else?

When we forgive, it allows us to move on with our lives and function as we need to. We can block getting our blessings from God if we’re fixated on bringing up an issue that “we can’t forgive”…. When we continue to find little ways to bring up the past to put it in someone’s face, we haven’t truly experienced forgiveness. When God forgives us: “As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12) and we should strive to do the same. By bringing up issues in someone’s face we are holding ourselves to the idea that we believe that there can be no forward movement. We need to let it go and move on…..A key thought that I remember that helps me to face things or to keep up what I’m doing is this: “God’s Sovereignty-Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my Heavenly Father”. So when I go through something and forgiveness needs to be granted, I need to grant it and move on with what I need to be doing, because God’s Sovereignty is ALWAYS in play and God only works out things to the best of our interest….

Amen and signing out….

**Unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping others will die**

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

F.E.A.R. – Forever Empty And Raw

F.E.A.R. – Forever Empty And Raw


So many times we give it more power ad credit than it is worth. Whether it is a mental, physical or emotional fear, we let it dictate too much in our lives. There are times where we don’t want to disappoint people and because of fear of their reaction/rejection, we do or don’t act because we fear being reprimanded or of being singled out.

Sometimes we set goals for ourselves and instead of pushing hard to complete them; we get so bogged down in our responsibilities or routines. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, we are scared that we can’t be successful since we have less time and resources since the idea was fresh and we daydreamed of greatness. We replace our feelings of accomplishment with fear, anxiety and insecurity full of “I don’t knows” and “what ifs”. We let fear steal our joy and our reward.

When it comes to relationships, fear can be a killer. We either fear our significant other will leave, cheat or do us wrong to some extent. If we have been through a rough relationship before we may fear the new level of intimacy with someone, allowing ourselves to be open with them; or we may not believe we have what it takes to have a healthy viable relationship. If we haven’t found “the one” we may fear that they may never show up. If we are married, fear can be the tip of the iceberg to push you towards thinking of and wanting a divorce. Many times when we fear, it may be in one area but will spread like wildfire to other areas we were once confident in.

F.E.A.R.

I created this acronym to sum up fear in one word….When you fear something you’re void of whatever it is that you need to fill the emptiness and you are raw in the sense that your emotions aren’t fake. Look at someone in a life threatening situation (fire, drowning, etc.) they are filled with raw emotion. The “Forever Empty” part applies too especially if there’s no indication of what the outcome will be. The situation will feel hopeless. Even in less or non-threatening situations, F.E.A.R. still rings true, just at a different level.

We need to remind ourselves that fear is in our control…..we have to remember who we are and what we are capable of with God’s help. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. When we fear, our thinking spirals out of control, and the Devil loves that because we tend to quit giving God praise to exercise fear. We stop praising God for what He’s done and anything the Devil can do to keep us from praising is what he will most certainly do.

Go back to your goals, dreams and desires….they’re attainable. Shut the Devil up and slide all haters and non-supporters to the left. Tell them to kick rocks and you keep moving ahead!! There are so many fulfillments when you get past your fear to enjoy what you once thought was out of your reach…

Only when we put out fears aside and progress will we truly see how much fear can be a joy stealer that controlled all aspects of our lives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love is a choice

Love is a choice. Too many times we say we fall in love but that’s not true….we may fall into “like” but not love….when we like something we don’t have to have a relationship with it or really define why we like it, we just do. We can choose not to like something at the drop of a hat and it’s not a major choice that affects many things. When we choose to love something or someone, we choose to accept it whether we like it/them or not. Take example, in marriage, you choose to love someone given the fact you know you won’t like the disappointments that they will cause you. Look at the meaning of both words:

Like:

• to be suitable or agreeable to
• to feel attraction toward or take pleasure in : enjoy ; to feel toward : regard
• to wish to have : want
• to do well in

Love:

• strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests b : an assurance of love
• warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
• a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration b (1) : a beloved person : DARLING —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address
• a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person's adoration of God

*Definitions from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (http://www.m-w.com)

You can see that like is a shallow emotion that just skims the surface and is based on just desire, nothing else….love is based on affection or concern and can affect us at the deepest level of our emotions. As said before, when we love someone/something, we will be disappointed by them/it at some time. Why? Cause that’s how life is….there is no earthly love that is perfect and how we handle difficult situations can put our character on blast…

When it comes to difficulties of having the loving attitude, all it takes is that one thing to tick us off and turn us into the emotional version of the Incredible Hulk. We have to remember that when we make ourselves available to love we make ourselves susceptible to disappointing those that love us also….we cannot be too harsh on people because that would be like imposing a double standard. Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference in being firm and being harsh. Many times we have to be firm with people so they know our limits, but we don’t have to be a tyrant when it comes to dealing with sensitive issues.

If we have been wronged, the level of our love may or may not drop although our level of respect or trust may have been lost partially or completely. When we have the underlying commitment to love, it helps those other qualities build up quicker than if we didn’t love to begin with.


Love like there's no tomorrow, cause tomorrow's not promised......

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Self-Evaluations (I think I'm talking to myself) --Originally posted Dec.8, 2009

So many times we take evaluations of our lives to gauge whether we’ve had any improvements in our health, social life, emotional stability and spirituality. More times than not, we notice growth in one place and none in others. This may be due to the fact that our achievement goals are not what they should be. If we’re focused on becoming a widely known business person, our social life may blast off as we find ourselves networking to get our name recognition where all can see and know who we are. If we are focused on being someone who lives a completely holistic lifestyle, we may pay attention to just our health and spend our time and money researching family genealogy to find what diseases we may carry and how to overcome them with natural remedies, so we can live to be ripe aged people. If we like the feeling of control, stability and “having a cool head” about our endeavors, we may go down the path looking to always retain the feeling of that “high” that everything is life is good and our emotions are always in check…we don’t get anxious, angry, sad, indifferent. If we only look at the spiritual side as the only side that matters, then we’re missing out on a lot. If we are pushing our bible studies and church involvement the max then we will be missing out on many things that are going to be passing us up.


Don’t get me wrong…our spiritual status (saved vs. lost) is the most important thing, but God put us on Earth in a physical body that has emotions, health issues, and a social life that comes from interacting with others. If we pay more attention to one area and ignore the rest, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. If we are always running around like a chicken with our heads cut off we are forgetting what 2 Timothy 1:7 says about God not giving us the spirit of fear. If we pay more attention to our health issues then we’re forgetting what Psalms 103:1-4 says about how He is the one to heal all our diseases. When it comes to our social lives, we’re not supposed to be of the world anyways so if we are trying to make our mark in the world, we need to make sure that it is to glory of God’s name, not our own. We have to also make sure that when we consider our spirituality that we don’t make it such a force that we drive others away from it…we want to draw them in. We don’t want to be such a distraction that we turn them off to the true and living God. We want to get the point across that God is a loving God, but that He also doesn’t tolerate sin.

When we take the evaluations of ourselves and look at the checkpoints in our lives we have to look at how much we’ve changed, and how much we have not. If we are still any of the following then we need a re-evaluation:

-an emotional basket case all the time

-trying to one-up everyone and get on the list of the rich and famous or Who’s Who in the business world

-a health nut on the verge of destroying our health in our efforts to make it better

-trying to become a religious fanatic so that we can show everyone (and claim) that we are the “model” Christian

We need to remember that we are human and when we have faults in the mental, physical or spiritual realm, we need to repent of them and seek God's guidance. If we need to seek counsel, that is what we should do to help us re-evaluate ourselves. Just because we have the Holy Spirit in us doesn’t mean that our physical or mental ability won’t stray from our calling. We can still say “no” the Holy Spirit and disobey, that’s what happens every time we disobey…we know what we should not be doing but we choose to do wrong anyways. We choose to have the wrong attitude towards someone, to keep drama going when it’s died down, to not believe God’s word of healing and instead give all credit to doctors and natural herbs. This doesn’t mean that we ignore or wipe over the fact that we do wrong and just sweep it under the “blood of Jesus Christ” rug. God forgives us for our misconceptions and wrongs if we are truly repentant. That does not mean that we have an excuse to run around and repeatedly keep the bad habits, treatment of others, mindsets and beliefs using the excuse that we’re still working on it as our attempt to keep it close for quick retrieval. If we’ve been saved for (pretty much) any length of time, we should be able to re-evaluate ourselves at any time and see that we’ve moved a centimeter, an inch, a foot, a mile or more in the right direction in any area of our lives. We can’t say that we trust God totally with our success then go back and have a midnight game-plan session on how to get ahead at other’s expense on the job, or say we trust him with our health, then run to the doctor the second we get sick and not turn to prayer with God.

If we trust (as we should) that God is in complete control and ALWAYS has our best in mind then we need to trust Him to help us with every struggle we have and not go back to get our dirt from under the rug….leave behind worry of your social life, many hated Christ….leave behind worries of your success, your riches are laid up in Heaven….leave behind worry about health issues, you’ll get a new body. But always, keep your spirituality real…don’t blow yourself up to have the “look” of the successful Christian who is on top of their game because you’ll be living a lie. Others may not know, but GOD always does…

So….take a self-evaluation and see where you line up with how you should be living…we all can stand to do much better, myself included.

A New Year's Resolution to us all....including me (originally posted January 2nd)

There are so many things out there that we can make resolutions about this year. I would like to propose a simple one for myself and to everyone else: Be honest and keep your word.


So many times we:

• lie to ourselves about what our progress is with dealing with problems

• lie to ourselves about the reality and urgencies of our situations

• lie to ourselves about what we believe God has for us in order to get what we want

• say to people what we think they want to hear

• say to people what we need to in order to avoid a “situation”

We try to better ourselves in so many ways that sometimes we get caught up in the little progress we may see and start our celebration too early…we have to continue to press toward the finish line and not slack off in our efforts, they will surely pay off.

Sometimes we get to work in the church and while we believe that the area we work in presently is where we will stay, it may not be. We try to convince ourselves that God will put us in one ministry and that’s where we’ll stay while we’re members at our churches. God may put us in one spot then later when we mature, move us to another ministry. We have to be flexible to God’s plans, not override his plans with ours.

Next time someone asks you what your opinion is on something, give them an honest answer but remember delivery is key so don’t go blastin’ off at the mouth with no thought of proper sensitivity. This also goes for if you ask someone their opinion, you can’t get mad at their response, you asked for an answer, not an answer you agreed with. Next time you make plans with someone, stick to them. So many times we are quick to give an answer based on “right now” and we have no intentions of following through with whatever plans were made.

We always want people to trust us, whether or not we have a relationship with them or not and the only way we can make sure that happens is to be honest and keep our word. If others are depending on us to be trustworthy and reliable, we damage our own reputation by not holding our end of the bargain. I know if I call my best friend Jessica, and she asks me something, she knows that I am going to tell her the truth....she (and I) know that if I tell her something dishonest, I’m not a reliable friend of hers and that I obviously don’t care about her feelings at all. Does this mean I’m the perfect friend? Absolutely…..not. I forget birthdays, anniversaries (those of you who know me know that if it’s not written down, I’ll forget it) and other little things. But the one thing that is for certain is when I promise to do something, I do it. If it’s late, I apologize and explain if needed. But this all goes into being honest and keeping my word.

It sounds simple but let’s see how many of us can keep our word……

Addictions

Addiction: Something that a person devotes or surrenders themselves to, either habitually or obsessively.
Is it our addiction to live a holy, separated life or is it our addiction to do otherwise? Most times when you think of addictions, you think of drugs or food. But that’s not where it stops. You can have an addiction to anything. What most people don’t realize is that addictions take over our character, if not just our lives, and impact every thing we do.

The reason I say that it takes over our character is that the influence our addiction has is not always shown to everyone, usually it is personal and only we see how it affects our lives.

For example, if we are addicted to shopping, we will find reasons to condone why we shop when we don’t need to or why we always have to go shopping when anybody is having a sale. We start to show signs of bad money management, always spending a few bucks for the thrill of buying something new. Doesn’t matter if we wear it once or don’t wear it at all, we just want to shop. Nobody sees the bad money management or the thrill we get, they just see the ripples of our actions in the water (aka our lives). Only when we realize that we are dirt broke and can barely put gas in our car or food on our tables do we even think about “maybe that $20 sweater wasn’t a NEED”

If our addiction is food, we will find any reason to eat…we won’t be hungry but we’ll say we find comfort in food….why don’t we try to find comfort in GOD??? We will think nothing of downing a whole family size meal from Popeye’s, a gallon of ice cream, a box of cereal and a gallon of milk…then later, our clothes don’t fit or we’ve gone to the doctor and they’ve told us that our cholesterol and blood pressure are through the roof and we’re looking at a massive heart attack soon if we don’t change…

If our addiction is always being busy, we miss the things that make human interaction worthwhile…instead of enjoying hanging out, we’re consumed with the “I have to be busy doing (something)” bug. Nothing good comes out of running around on fumes. We lose the joy in everyday living. Seeing old friends, catching up with new friends, laying back and watching one of those 80’s movies reruns on a Saturday…those who are close to us start to see and feel like they are not important to us because we no longer have time for them…it’s been said….WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR TIME IS WHERE YOU PLACE IMPORTANCE, time is something you only get once, and once you spend it, it’s gone forever.

ADDICTIONS DON’T HURT JUST YOU, THEY HURT YOUR FAMILY AND THOSE YOU INTERACT WITH…do you want a homeless and broke household….do you want to leave your family behind to deal with your death…do you want to lose your friends because you’ve pushed them all away with your actions or inactions?

Addictions are like tapeworms, they feed off of us and drain us of what we need and what we’re supposed to be. We can have spiritual tapeworms and those are the worst….yes we need our human bodies to be in great shape, but the difference with the spiritual tapeworm is that nobody sees it (it’s on the inside) and it affects our influence for God’s Kingdom.

Addictions are a DAILY STRUGGLE. Whether physical, mental, or emotional, we HAVE to go to GOD for help and not assume that we can do it “on our own”. We never do anything on our own, God’s ALWAYS the source of our strength. Seriously, since when has every person using drugs just quit cold turkey? Most go through a detox program or some kind of program where the amount of drugs they used are continuously reduced until they are no longer dependent on them. When we have addictions and we don’t deal with them, those who know and are close to us see firsthand just how strong our “weakest link” is.

We have to admit:

1) We’re human…We’re NOT superhuman

2) We all have flaws

3) We need SUPPORT when dealing with addictions (people go to Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers and other support groups). Key note: we don’t always need a support GROUP, but we need one or two people to be on that prayer hotline for us. Even if we don’t tell them what our addiction is, they need to know that it is of the utmost importance...anything wrong affects our walk with GOD.

4) Don’t think that after a dry spell that one slip up WON’T put us back at square one….many people have gone back for just one more (fill in the blank) and find themselves in just as bad shape as when they first started trying to drop their addiction.

5) Lying to OURSELVES about our addiction does not make it any less real, any less of an issue, or less wrong. If God said “I’ll let man lie to himself about his sinful addictions so they won’t be sin anymore and he can continue to do them” then that would change the whole definition of sin in the Bible.

While dealing with whatever our addictions may be, we have to realize that the day we STOP trying to do our best in what GOD wants for us is the day we may as well tell God “kill me now”. We stop being a pure, usable vessel for him, and now taint everything pouring out of us with a tinge of attitude, a tinge of wrongful treatment, a tinge of personal feelings or just a tinge of that good ‘ol selfish human nature.

**Let me state this: This isn’t just for everyone else, this is also to myself….I used to be VERY OCD…my closest friends can tell you, the closet, the kitchen, the bathrooms, EVERYTHING…. If things weren’t a certain way, I could flip out easily. NOW….while I think I still have some issues with it but not as much as before, I’ve seen how my flipping out about things not being in order or not being a specific way can affect my character, my witness and my family. It may seem funny to you (go ahead and laugh) but it's not so funny when people leave you to do something alone because they're tired of being picked at for not doing something the way you like it...so people PLEASE….take the time to face your addictions, man up, pray up, strap yourself in and dig in your heels…..it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but with the right support and (mainly just) GOD ….nothing is impossible.

How many gods are there?

Recently I've come across many who have embraced the "we are all one" mentality when it comes to religion and it is uncomfortable for me....they have looped all religions (including Wiccan) into the same bucket that tells us that God/Allah/whatever the higher power is named is Love.....and leave out the part about God chastening and correcting His children for our improvement.  They claim that Jesus was/may have been a man AND a god AND a spirit....because those were all separate entities.  They say that God was not male or female, so that basically makes Him an "it".  The argument is that we all find our own paths to God.....

Sorry, I don't agree.....

I believe the Holy Bible, where God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity, three in one....I believe that realizing, believing and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal saviour is the only way to salvation.  He paid the ultimate price for our sins with his life.  He shed his blood as the perfect lamb to cover the sins of EVERYONE past and present... The Bible says in John 3:16 "For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

This is just a sound bite from my mind.....