Monthly Archives: March 2012

CREATED STRONG AND RESILIENT

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By:  A Coach

 

I am always fascinated by the way bamboo trees bend under pressure from the wind and watch them return gracefully to their upright or original position after the wind had died down.. When I think of its ability to bounce back or return to its original position, the word RESILIENCE comes to mind.

 

When used in reference to a person, this word means the ability to readily recover from shock, depression, or any other situation that stretches the limits of a person’s emotions … Have you ever felt like you are about to snap? Have you ever felt like you are at your breaking point? Thankfully, you have survived the experience.

 

Life is a mixture of good times and bad times, happy moments and unhappy moments … The next time you are experiencing one of those bad times or unhappy moments that take you close to your breaking point, bend but don’t break. Try your best not to let the situation get the best of you. If the going gets tough and you are at your breaking point, show resilience. Like the bamboo tree, BEND BUT DON’T BREAK!!

 

I’ve experienced a lot of storms in my own life, too. The only thing that keeps me going is that I serve and worship a God who promised never to abandon me. My being a Bamboo man is the result of Somebody who gave His life for me on the cross. By God’s grace, I can say that I may be knocked down but I am not knocked out. – eoh via mentor & me

 

 

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. – 2 Cor. 4: 8-9

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BALANCING ONE’S LIFE

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Author Unknown                                                                                     

 

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is unique and special.

 

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

 

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

 

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.

 

Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

 

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.

 

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

 

The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

 

Don’t dismiss your dreams. To be without dreams is to be without hope; to be without hope is to be without purpose.

 

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

 

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

 

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

 

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.

 

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

 

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift: that’s why we call it The Present.

OBEDIENCE OR PERFORMANCE

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By:  F. Kong

 

This couple has always been known as “The Christian Couple”

 

I could count at least some five or six magazines that published their testimonies.

 

They’re active and they’re all over the place. In fact they not only get invited to speak in gatherings, but they offer themselves to be invited to give their heart stirring testimonies to whoever would care to listen.

 

I had a business appointment with them one day. The moment I saw them something stirred within me. I wasn’t quite comfortable because the conversation was expectedly laced with a lot of predictable “Christian jargons.”

 

Now here comes the shocker. This couple is known not only for the testimonies they give, but also for the bad reputation they have in business. I would meet one business man telling bad stories of how he’s been ripped off in a sour business deal. Others also shared the same low opinion of the couple. Strange isn’t it? To stand public talking about the goodness of God and how He was able to restore their broken lives and marriage and then do business with pre-meditated malice and deception. Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

 

When a person stands in front of a crowd and talks about godly stuff without the lives to show it, he is merely performing. I don’t know if they’re aware of this but they’re actually creating more harm than good.

 

I don’t know if people understand the difference between obedience and performance. Here’s what Max Lucado has to say about.

 

Obedience is seeking God with all your heart. Performance is having quiet time because you feel guilty if you don’t.

 

  • Obedience is finding ways to let the word of God dwell in you richly. Performance is quickly scanning a passage so you can check it off your Bible reading plan.

 

  • Obedience is inviting guests to your home for dinner. Performance is feeling anxious about whether every detail of the meal will be perfect.

 

  • Obedience is following God’s prompting to start a small group, Bible study or relationship. Performance is reluctance to let anyone else lead the group because they might not do it as well as you would.

 

  • Obedience is doing your best. Performance is wanting to be the best.

 

  • Obedience is saying yes to whatever God asks you. Performance is saying yes to whatever people ask you.

 

  • Obedience is following the prompting of God’s spirit. Performance is following a list of man-made requirements.

 

  • Obedience springs from fear of God. Performance springs from a fear of failure.

 

  • Obedience is letting the life speak out loud without the lips moving. Performance is all lips but the life clearly doesn’t show it.

 

When the lips and the life match, when the talk and the walk are compatible, -integrity is achieved. Nothing destroys the work of God’s Kingdom than finding people performing God’s work but failing to live out God’s word.

 

May I offer an advice for people who perform and long to be in the limelight and then do unethical business practices in the dark? Stop what you’re doing and get your act together. The name of Christ suffers. And don’t you dare forget that every secret deed you do in the dark, God sees and will reveal in the open. You can do all the performance you want to do but without a life of obedience, your actions are not acceptable to God.

 

By the way, performance is essentially “play acting” which in Greek is the etymology of “Hypocrisy.” Oswald Chambers was right all along. He said: “The world is glad of an excuse not to listen to the gospel message, and the inconsistencies of Christians is the excuse.”

 

Don’t forget, the most wearisome thing to do in our lifetime is to be insincere. So don’t.

STARS AND SAND

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By:  D. McCasland

 

A team led by an Australian Astronomer calculated the number of stars in the known universe to be 70 sextillion – 7 followed by 22 zeros. That unfathomable number is said to be more than the grains of sand in every beach and every desert on earth. The calculation was the by-product of research on the development of galaxies. One team member said, “Finding the number of stars is not really the research we were doing, but it was a nice result to play around with.”

 

Having an estimate of the number of stars can help us praise God with greater awe and wonder. Psalm 147 says: “It is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful … He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite (vv. 1, 4-5).

 

This Psalm not only presents God’s majesty, but it also affirms His personal concern for each of us. He “heals the brokenhearted” (v.3), “lifts up the humble” (v.6), and “takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (v.11).

 

Let’s us praise the great God of stars and sand who knows and cares for each one of us.

 

The God who made the firmament,

Who made the deepest sea,

The God who put the stars in place

Is the God who cares for me. – Berg

 

 

“All creation points to the almighty Creator.”

SMOOTH PREACHERS

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By:  M. DeHaan

 

“… speak unto us smooth things.” – Isa. 30:10

 

Isaiah was a preacher of judgment. He declared without compromise the holiness of God, the filthiness of Israel’s sin, and as a result he was hated, persecuted and, according to tradition, martyred by being sawn asunder between two boards (Heb. 11:37). The people resented hearing about the judgments of God but wanted the preacher to talk about “love” instead, and so they said to Isaiah, “Speak unto us smooth things.” The word for “smooth” means “flattering.” They wanted to be flattered and pleased, and when Isaiah refused, he was put to death.

 

In the last days in which we live, this scene is being repeated according to the words of Paul. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)… A faithful ministry is not likely to be a popular one.

 

A certain man who had listened to a sermon, described it as very “moving, soothing and satisfying.” It was moving inasmuch as half the congregation left during the service. It was soothing because the rest fell fast asleep. And it was satisfying for they cared for no more of that sort… We have not preached the Word unless it has disturbed the sinner and awakened the saint.

 

May God deliver me from yielding to the temptation of pleasing the crowd who say, “Speak unto us smooth things.” I would rather heed Paul’s admonition to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2)!

 

 

“The best way to eradicate evil is to publish and practice the Truth!”

PREPARATION FOR CHANGE

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“WARNING! Please fasten your seatbelts. You may not be ready to read or hear this message!” – E. Heramia

 

By:  M. Munroe

 

GOD brings in seasons, and He takes seasons out. A wise ruler in ancient Babylon, skilled in interpreting seasons, wrote, “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever, wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons…” (Daniel 2: 20-21a). According to Scripture, the responsibility of changing seasons is placed on God. Unfortunately, looking at events from a human perspective, we love to blame people for our problems, even in economic crisis. However, in reality, we cannot just simply blame Wall Street for the economic problems. Many things may have happened that were beyond anyone’s control. Financial and political leaders are not entirely sure what happened. Everything just went out of order.

 

History shows that every institution that we depend on can be shaken. The only thing that is not shaken is the Kingdom of God. Perhaps, this might be the purpose for the “shaking.” We depend on the government and economic systems for everything. God may have allowed all this economic turmoil so that we can stop looking to each other and start looking up.

 

Regardless of why change happens, the greatest protection against change is to … (prepare for it). For instance, it may seem weird, but in my mind, I have already buried some of my family members. I went through their funerals in my mind. I have thought about how I would feel. I have already thought of the arrangements that I would have to make. Is that Scriptural? Yes, it is. Jesus told His disciples that He would be killed and buried (Matt 16:21). He told them these things so that when it happened, they would not be offended. He was preparing them for change.

 

In this season of economic downturn, we are depressed because we never expected economic changes.

 

The lack of preparation is why so many people are depressed. Think about what you would do if God does not deliver you from the fire of difficulty.

 

Some of the faith messages that have been preached to us have been the source of some of our depression.

 

However, the type of faith that we should have is the faith of the three Hebrew boys in Scripture, when they addressed King Nebuchadnezzar. When the King threatened to throw them in the fiery furnace, they stated, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if He does not…” (Dan. 3: 17-18). That is the kind of faith that we need. Most preachers have not taught us this principle. What if you do not keep your house? Will you still trust God?

 

There are two things that never change – God and His promises. Everything else changes. Therefore, nothing is permanent except God and His promises. The key to note is that God also promises that nothing is permanent, and that there will be seasons (Gen. 8: 22).

 

We have to plan and order our lives according to God’s Word. We must prepare with God for whatever seasons may bring.

 

“GOD did not promise to give us an explanation for every great trials and difficulties that befall us, but He did promise that He will always be with us in the midst of them.” – Courageous (the movie)

SAY NO TO MANY GOOD IDEAS

By: John L . M.

One of the devil’s tricks is getting us to say yes to too many good things. Then we end up being spread so thin that we are mediocre in everything and excellent in nothing … There is one guaranteed formula for failure, and that is to try to please everyone.

Something that is good and something that is right are not always the same thing. A good idea is not necessarily a “God idea.” Our responsibility as Christians is always to do the right things.

There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she must learn to say no to many good ideas. In fact, the more an individual grows, the more opportunities he or she will have to say no. One key to getting results is being focused. Perhaps no other key to growth and success is as overlooked as this is. The temptation is always to do a little bit of everything.

Remember, saying no to a good idea does not always mean saying never. No may mean not right now.

There is power in the word no. No is an anointed word. It can break the yoke of over-commitment and weakness. No can be used to turn a situation from bad to good, from wrong to right. Saying no can free you from burdens that you don’t need to carry right now. It can also free you to devote the correct amount of attention and effort to God’s priorities in your life.

As you read the title of this nugget, past experiences and present situations probably came to mind. You probably recall many situations in which no or not right now would have been the right answer. Learn from them, and keep yourself from a multitude of mistakes and distractions.

Yes and no are the two most important words that you will ever say. These are the two words that determine your destiny in life. How and when you say them affects your entire future.

Saying no to lesser things can mean saying yes to priorities in your life.

THE LITTLE BENT SPOON

By: J. E. Tada

“Once upon a time there was a kitchen drawer full of knives, forks and spoons.”

The group of disabled boys and girls, sitting in wheelchairs and leaning on crutches, was fascinated. They could tell this would be no ordinary story.

“Amongst the flatware, there was one spoon all twisted and bent. He didn’t look like the others. That’s why the spoons in the drawer made fun of him, taunting, ‘You’re no good … Who’s going to use you?!’ The little bent spoon couldn’t help but feel sad.”

As I told the story and looked deep into the eyes of the children with cerebral palsy, sitting bent and twisted in their wheelchairs, I thought I saw a glimmer of empathy. Could they know how the spoon felt?

“The little spoon looked a lot like this one,” I said as my friend held up my “spork,” a utensil with serrated prongs that someone inserts into my hand splint so I can feed myself. (It’s deformed, but the angle is perfect for lifting food from my plate to my mouth).

“But one day the drawer opened and a big hand reached inside. Instead of choosing a shiny, straight spoon, the master of the household picked … the ugly bent spoon! The rest of the flatware were amazed. And as the bent spoon was lifted out of the drawer, he beamed with pleasure. He was about to be used by the master.”

The boys and girls giggled. They watched my friend place the spork in my hand splint and smiled to see me lift my arm to feed myself.

“And children, I wouldn’t be able to eat were it not for this special spoon. True, it doesn’t look ‘normal,’ and it doesn’t fit in the utensil tray with all the other knives and forks. But there’s no way I’ll ever want to ‘straighten it out.’”

The kids were fascinated. “The important thing to remember is this: The Master loves choosing people who are different to do His good work. Jesus knows He can use us when He bends us to suit His will … He can best use us when we’re shaped for His special design.”

My friend placed my spork back in my handbag. But the lesson remained of God’s love (as well as His purpose!) for boys and girls who look different. A twisted spoon … and the bent body of a child … all have a unique and special purpose when placed in the Master’s hand.

STEP BY STEP, LITTLE BY LITTLE

By:  J. Yoder

When I was a little girl, my mother gave me her prized “reader” to help me learn, just as it had helped her years earlier. I loved one particular story, never dreaming how much it would affect me years later.

It was about a little boy with a small shovel. He was trying to clear a pathway through deep, new-fallen snow in front of his house. A man paused to observe the child’s enormous task.

“Little boy,” he inquired, “how can someone as small as you expect to finish a task as big as this?”

The boy looked up and replied confidently, “Little by little, that’s how!”

And he continued shoveling.

God awakened in me the seed of that story at a time when I was recovering from a breakdown. I remember how my “adult” self taunted the weak “child” within me: “How can someone as inadequate as you expect to surmount so great a mountain as this?” That little boy’s reply became my reply: “Little by little, that’s how!” And I did overcome – by depending on God. But it was one small victory after another.

The obstacles facing Israel as they considered claiming the land God had promised them must have seemed insurmountable (see succeeding verse). But He didn’t ask them to do it at once.

“Little by little” is the strategy for victory.

Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. – Exodus 23: 30

He does not lead me year by year,

Nor even day by day;

But step by step my path unfolds –

My Lord directs my way. – Ryberg

“Trust God to move your mountain,

But keep on climbing.”

PERCEPTIVE?

FM:  Leaving the Light On

Sixth grade hadn’t been a banner year for Eric. Never very confident in school, he had a particular dread of mathematics. “A mental block,” one of the school’s counselors had told him. Then, as if a mental math block wasn’t enough for an eleven-year-old kid to deal with, he came down with measles in the fall and had to stay out of school for two weeks. By the time he got back, his classmates were multiplying fractions. Eric was still trying to figure out what you got when you put a half pie with three-quarters of pie … besides a lot of pie.

Eric’s teacher, Mrs. Gunther – loud, overweight, terrifying, and a year away from retirement – was unsympathetic. For the rest of the year she called him “Measly” in honor of his untimely spots and hounded him with ceaseless makeup assignments. When his mental block prevented his progress in fractions, she would thunder at him in front of the class, “I don’t give a Continental for your excuses! You’d better straighten up, Measly, them ain’t wings I hear flappin’!”

The mental block, once the size of a backyard fence, now loomed like the Great Wall of China. Eric despaired of ever catching up, and even fell behind in subjects he’d been good at.

Then came a remarkable moment.

It happened in the middle of Mrs. Warwick’s ninth grade English class. To this day, some twenty-five years later, Eric still lights up as he recalls the Moment.

The fifth period class had been yawning through Mrs. Warwick’s attempts to spark discussion about a Mark Twain story. At some point in the lecture, something clicked in Eric’s mind. It was probably crazy, but it suddenly seemed like he understood something Twain had been driving at – something a little below the surface. Despite himself, Eric raised his hand and ventured an observation.

That led to the moment when Mrs. Warwick looked straight into Eric’s eyes, beamed with pleasure, and said, “Why, Eric … that was very perceptive of you!”

Perceptive. Perceptive? Perceptive!

The word echoed in Eric’s thoughts for the rest of the day – and then for the rest of his life. Perceptive? Me? Well, yeah. I guess that WAS perceptive. Maybe I AM perceptive.

One word, one little positive word dropped at the right moment somehow tipped the balance in a teenager’s view of himself – and possibly changed the course of his life. (Even though he still can’t multiply fractions).

Eric went on to pursue a career in journalism and eventually became a book editor, working successfully with some of the top authors in America.

Many teachers are well aware how praise motivates children. One teacher said she praised each student in her third grade class every day, without exception. Her students were the most motivated, encouraged, and enthusiastic in the school. I remember what happened when my high school geometry teacher began to affirm me regularly. Within six weeks my D average climbed to an A.

It’s wonderful when a teacher has the opportunity to inject a word of affirmation into a child’s life. But after years of counseling, we have concluded that the most powerful form of affirmation takes place close to home