I have always struggled with feeling guilty for my mistakes. And as a Christian, it is easy to think that guilt is a good thing. After all, doesn’t Christ want us all to realize that we are lost sinners without Him? Doesn’t He want us to feel guilty for our wrongdoings so that we will […]
We often complaign that people don’t take us seriously. We say that people don’t understand us or what we are going through. But do we take others seriously? Do we understand what other people might be going through. This post hits the nail right on the head, pointing to one of the biggest problems in modern society.
Photo Credit: Egrodziak via CC Flickr
We all know that life in today’s world is getting faster and faster. Lifestyles are getting busier, more complicated, and less enjoyable. One of the skills that a good number of individuals have lost along the way, has been the skill or ability to actually be quiet, listen and hear to what people (or things) are saying.
How many times have you found yourself “going through the motions” responding to people in robotic, mechanical ways, and never really hearing to what is being said?
Let’s really take the time each day to stop and authentically listen and hear to what our friends, loved ones, or other things” are being said…the results may surprise you!
Today, I have included four very short stories that will illustrate the importance of listening to different things. I hope that these stories will help you in some small way…
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These quotes from the late Nancy Reagan has depth and we need to take time to reflect on them and the deeper meaning.
Today March 8th is being observed as International Women’s Day. However, instead of focusing directly on the specifics of the day which is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we have chosen instead to honor the life and legacy of the late Nancy Reagan with some of her quotations.
The Former First Lady who was known for her often vocal and loyal support of her husband Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President and her anti-drug campaign, “Just Say No” is reported by the ‘Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’ to have died on Sunday March 6th 2016 at her Bel Air, California home of congestive heart failure.
Her husband died in 2004 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her two children Patti Davis and Ronald Reagan Jr.
Nancy Reagan will go down in history as iconic, and one of the most influential…
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“Stop every day and look at the size of God”, is nugget #38 as it appear in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. With that in mind I’ve decided to have a look at the character of God.
While still here on earth, we will not be able to comprehend everything about God in full. What we do know is that there is no one like God. As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).
So it is best to see what the Spirit of God will reveal about God, which is why we go to the Word of God. Let us have a look at the names of God as they are known to us and see what the Bible says about them, and what it means to us.
The Redemptive Names of God
- Jehovah Shammah
- Jehovah Shalom
- Jehovah Jireh
- Jehovah Nissi
- Jehovah Tsidkenu
- Jehovah Rapha
- Jehovah Raah
Let’s have a look at these names one by one to see what they teach us about God’s character.
Jehovah Shammah means – The Lord is there.
God is always with us. In Matthew 28:20 (NIV) Jesus said “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) God says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[a]
God never leaves us or forsake us. We are the ones who leave and forsake God.
Jehovah Shalom means – The Lord of our peace.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) says; “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”.
That means that not only did Jesus go to the cross for our salvation, but also that we could have peace. That is why in John 14:27 (NIV), Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.
Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”.
The problem is that so many people put their trust in riches, in circumstances, or in lust of other things, but not in God’s Word. When we completely trust in Jesus – the Word – our minds become totally focused on God. When our minds are totally focused on God and His Word, He will keep us in perfect peace.
In the New Testament the words ‘peace’ and ‘rest’ are interchangeable.
In Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. But how many times do we cast our cares on the Lord and immediately take them back again. You might be facing a problem at work. You come before the Lord in prayer and you cast the problem on him, standing on 1 Peter 5:7. Yet, as soon as you say amen, you start thinking about what you are going to do about the problem and your stress levels are going through the roof again.
To experience the peace of God; do what Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV) says:” 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
Jehovah Jireh means – The Lord will provide.
God is our provider. Whenever the Israelites said “Jehovah Jireh”, they were saying, “The Lord will provide”.
As already mention in point 2, many people put their trust in riches, in circumstances, or in lust of other things.
Your job is not your source; God is your source. There is nothing secure about your job or your business. Trusting in the economy of the world, the company you work for might decide to make your position redundant tomorrow. Or your business might not be able to withstand the bad economy.
But God’s economy cannot go bankrupt. Trust in God, because the Lord will provide. God will provide in every need, whether it is for your business, for finances, healing, food…..no matter what the need, God will provide.
Philippians 4:19 (NIV) says: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”.
Jehovah Nissi means – The Lord our Victor.
Jesus Christ is no longer on the cross. Neither is He in the grave. He is alive and he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Mark 16:19).
Colossians 2:15 (NIV) says “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”.[e]
Jesus made a public spectacle of the devil and his demons. If you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved (Romans 10:4-13) and that same victory belongs to you (Romans 8:17).
Through the Holy Spirit He is also living in and through us. 1 John 4:4 (NIV) says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”.
Jesus is making intercession for us. In Christ we have His authority and His name – he is our Victor.
Jehovah Tsidkenu means – The Lord our Righteousness.
When we are born again, we are made in right standing with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. We can say “I am a son/daughter of the living God, I am a joint heir with Jesus Christ according to Romans 8:17”.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) says “God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.
Jehova Rapha means – The Lord that healeth thee.
Healing is just as much part of our salvation as eternal life with God the Father in heaven. Many people think that sickness is just something we have to accept. It even goes as far as people saying “maybe God is trying to teach me something through this sickness”. No, no, no. God is not trying to teach you anything through sickness.
Adam was given dominion over this earth, but he gave that authority to the devil with the fall of man. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan is the god of this world. In John 10:10 (KJV) Jesus says “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.
Matthew 8:17 (NIV) says “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”[b]
1 Peter 2:24 says “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
This is why it so important to feed our spirit with the Word of God, so that we can know how to respond in an emergency. That is why Proverbs 4:20-23 (NIV) says “20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.
Jehovah Raah means – The Lord is our Shepherd.
Psalm 23:1 (KJV) says “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”.
The original text as it appears in Hebrew reads “The Lord my Shepherd”. It doesn’t show the word ‘is’. So we cannot separate the shepherd from the Lord or the Lord from the shepherd. The Lord is my Shepherd and my Shepherd is the Lord. We also need to realize in what context this scripture is referring to the Shepard. It is not just a silent, passive, man standing around watching over his herd of sheep (as often portrayed in nativity scenes).
The Shepherd is actively looking after us. He is the One that defeated the devil 2000 years ago.
I think a more realistic image comes to mind when we think of David. When he was looking after his father’s sheep as a young boy, he fought lions and bears and killed them to ensure the safety of his father’s sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36).
Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters”.
This does not mean we will never have to face persecution or affliction, but the Shepherd will uphold us and lead us out of it. Jesus defeated Satan and we share in that victory (Romans 8:17)
Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”.
When we come to Jesus Christ, God will restore our minds and emotions. Jesus became sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”.
Whatever situation you might find yourself in, you are not stuck in there to stay there. You are moving through it. And when faced with physical death, we die physically but we step into eternity. Death has been defeated by Jesus Christ and has no more power over us.
We don’t have to fear evil. The Holy Spirit is with us and enables us to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).
Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over”.
You are protected and you can live in peace. When facing problems, you can cast your care on Him (1 Peter 5:7). God says He prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemy. There are no enemies in heaven. God is talking about here and now.
Anointing with oil is symbolizing the filling with the Holy Spirit. The Shepherd is the One that fills you with the Holy Spirit.
When you cup runs over, it means that your needs would be met at any given time. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be a millionaire. But ‘running over’ means your needs (whatever they are) will be met in abundance, so that you can also be a blessing to those around you.
Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.
If we made Jesus the Lord of our life, we are made new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means that we have received eternal life and will spend eternity with Jesus.
So How Does All This Help Me In Everyday Life?
‘Stop every day and look at the size of God’. When we put our trust in God, there is nothing in this life that we cannot overcome.
“Love your enemy”…..”turn the other cheek”…is what many Christians get bombarded with. Does that mean that we as Christians are not supposed to defend ourselves?
I have done a guest post over at Empowerment Moments Blog about the choices we have to make; to resist or not to resist.
Recent news events highlighted this question; should we as Christians turn the other cheek or should we defend ourselves? One of the deadliest weapons (or strategies) in warfare is confusion, and our biggest enemy – Satan – is an expert in using this strategy.
Confusion will render us helpless and vulnerable, but you can read the full post here, and then decide for yourself.
It’s sad, but these days we often hear the statement “every man for himself”. The other one is….”I’ve got enough problems of my own, I don’t have time to help someone else”. It’s almost as if it’s becoming a burden to reach out and help someone else.
The Spirit of Competition
Many hide behind the idea of being competitive, but is it really being competitive? When you start stepping on toes, when you start getting rude, when you become so ruthless that it becomes less important to you if other people get hurt in the process, as long as you can be victorious…..to me, that is not competition.
I do agree; healthy competition is a good thing. But how many people have a true concept of what real healthy competition is all about. When someone says that he or she doesn’t like competition, it is often taken as a sign of bad sportsmanship. People think you just can’t handle it to be a loser. That is by far not always the case.
Hear me out. I’ve been involved in coaching sports on a professional level for many years, and today I don’t even hesitate to say that I don’t like competition (at least not in the way many people interpret the word “competition”). Not because I don’t like people competing with me, but because I’ve seen the hurt and the damage it can cause. Everybody is zooming in on the first prize. The winner is the hero. Winning becomes everything and we end up with sayings such as “second place is just the first loser”.
This sounds very macho and exciting. Hey, it’s all about a competitive no-nonsense attitude, isn’t it? Yes, while we stay focused on the hype and excitement at the top. But starting at the very bottom, we miss the trail of destruction that it leaves behind when our children don’t get taught the true value and principles of healthy competion. Have you ever stopped to think about that ten year old boy, who gave it everything he had, but he just couldn’t take that first place, and his dad – his hero – turns around and says to him “second place is just the first loser”.
I’ve personally witnessed how parent’s (and I’m sorry to say – this was more often the father figures), would encourage their kids to do their best at competition time. When the little winner walked away with gold, he or she would be carried away on daddy’s shoulders. Mission accomplished. Getting to the next competition, that same child could maybe end up with a second or third place. As soon as it becomes evident that the kid is facing serious competition, the aggression starts coming from the side line.
I’ve seen this at more than one occasion where the father gets so frustrated and angry that he openly turns his back on that child and just walks away. The effect on that child, the disappointment, the humiliation and the hurt is heart breaking.
I have even seen senior competitors responding in similar fashion. While on a winning streak, it’s all excitement and joy. But settling for a second place? No way, not to even mention third or worse. They would lose their temper, start throwing things around and make rude remarks toward the competitors. Now you might say this is just bad sportsmanship, but I can’t help to wonder if maybe there was an aggressive, win or nothing parent involved somewhere in this person’s childhood.
And then in both cases, there are always the referees. Oh my, whenever your child can’t win, or you couldn’t make it to the top, it is always the bad refereeing.
What I saw happening was the development of jealousy, frustration, hatred and dishonesty. Yes, dishonesty. Winning becomes such an obsession, that people would revert to anything, just for the sake of winning. It’s all in the name of competition. “It’s strategy” they say.
Some of the main motivating reasons people encourage their children to participate in sport, is to develop character, perseverance and discipline. I fail to see that in the scenarios mentioned above.
I don’t care how good the intentions were in the beginning, if you can’t stick to it in practice, it means nothing.
I always tried to encourage my students to work hard and do their best. When you take first place, encourage the competition, don’t run them down. Yet, you now have to work hard to stay on top.
If you couldn’t win, it is not the end of the world. Congratulate the winner on his achievement. You have done your best for today, but let’s study the competition and see where you can improve. Then we just work harder until we can beat the competition. Get motivated, not ugly and depressed. I recently heard such a good expression. We normally hear it as “win or lose”, but this time I heard this man say it is either “win or learn”.
We also hear people saying “there can be only one winner”. Well, exactly. So why be so harsh on all the others who couldn’t stand on the top spot of the podium, or not even make to the podium for today? Without their effort, there wouldn’t have been a winner anyhow. Losing is part of the journey, then third place….then second….until you make it to first. But what do you make of that journey? What do you teach your child to make of that journey?
Often people just have to compete against themselves. Sometimes they have to overcome some personal challenges, such as working on concentration, developing better co-ordination or recovering from some injury. In these cases, a first place on a podium is of minor value; it is a bonus. They first have to triumph over some personal battle. The satisfaction that comes from assisting such a person to be successful is beyond words. Those victories are often better than ten first places in a competition. And those results also last longer.
Another form of healthy competition in my opinion is competition in business. It is healthy competition when it leads to the development of quality and good service (once again not the humiliation of the other party).
The Danger of Becoming “The Lone Ranger”
When you have fallen into the trap of “winning is everything” or “the winner takes it all”, and you have left a trail of disaster behind you, you are on dangerous territory.
When things start going wrong and you desperately need the support from other people, you might be in for a nasty surprise.
You might have to deal with two scenarios:
- All those “friends” and supporters that always just wanted to be associated with you and be seen with you, have the bad habit of just disappearing when things aren’t going that well anymore.
- People who would have been true and loyal friends, might not be around anymore, as they are part of the statistics; being some of the victims left alongside the road to “victory”.
Making Others Better is a Boomerang
Yes and this eventually brings us to this week’s nugget from John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. His nugget #35 as it appears in his book says “making others better is a boomerang”.
Getting back to the example of competition, when competing in a healthy way everybody walks away as a winner. Everybody benefits from healthy competition. But it need not only be in competition. In any area of life, whenever you make someone else better or make them feel better, it has a boomerang effect. Somewhere, someday it comes back to you.
I couldn’t help to take note of what happened after the end of the match in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday between Australia and New Zealand.
After a young boy ran on to the field to get close to his All Black hero, Sonny Bill Williams, he got tackled by a security officer. After Williams gently helped the boy up, he not only escorted the boy back to safety in the pavilion, he also gave him his world cup medal. Click the link below to watch the video and see what happened.
Sonny Bill Williams was awarded with another medal. But can you imagine the effect of this gesture in the youngster’s life? What a great example was set here? Sonny Bill Williams is obviously a role model to this youngster, and I am convinced that the example that was set to him in this instance, will have far reaching effects in this boy’s future.
Have you ever experienced the boomerang effect? Or have you seen it in someone else’s life. Share your experiences – good or bad – in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you.