January 31, 2017

We are very much creatures of habit. As I initially wrote this article there were only two days left on our cruise. It was my standard procedure for decades to begin winding up the last couple of days of any time off, so I was in full readiness for going back “to work.” This morning I found myself focussing on what I needed to do once this cruise was over. Reality check! There were still two days left on this cruise! My training over the last number of years has taught me to be aware of what is going on, stay in the now and enjoy the present moment. Why worry about what is yet to be, such that the benefits and blessings in the now are missed?

Matthew records the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25 where He says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Jesus would later add, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Why allow the concern of tomorrow to rob you of the joy of today? As I wrote this blog the sun came up over the horizon of the Caribbean Sea and shone brightly through the window where I was sitting. Just a little reminder to be in the present moment and enjoy the blessings and the beauty of right now.

What about you? What are you focussing on in your life? Are you allowing stress and worry to pull you down, or are you looking for the blessings of God in the present moment to bring joy and encouragement for what is yet to be?

The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. {2} Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

If the habits you have created in your past are not serving you and empowering you to be, do and have what you really desire, then make a decision to act, to create new habits, to replace the old ones, so you can achieve what it is you really want.

Henry Ford said it well, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you are right. It is the thinking which makes it so.”

January 30, 2017

I was not sure whether I wanted to write about the subject I will address today, but as a person whose spiritual gift is prophet and as someone who desires others to live their lives mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy, I am going to proceed.

As I sat people watching on the recent cruise our family enjoyed, I came to an interesting conclusion. There were an significant number of men on the ship who were married to, or in the company of much younger looking women. Knowing that our eyes will often deceive us I looked for why this would be so. It really did not take me very long to realize there was a significant amount of chemicals being applied to the hair and bodies of women to create this perception. When I discovered the cost of two small bottles of body lotion our family won while on the cruise, I realized there is likely a fortune being made by the cosmetic industry. Women poison their bodies in an attempt to appear more beautiful. Why I use the word poison is, we read the caustic ingredient list on the high end bottles we received. The ingredients in that product were nothing anyone should abuse their body, the temple of God, with.

Once in the airport for our flight home I noticed it seemed to be about the same percentage of older men connected to younger looking women. So I decided to do a sample poll to determine what percentage of women appeared to be actually engaged in the process of poisoning themselves in an attempt to look younger. This was not a standardized, double blind test, it was simply an unofficial head count (literally). My findings determined that 9 out of every 10 women engage in at least the process of placing colouring on their hair. This took into account only those women who coloured to eliminate grey, and did not include those who were younger, who simply chose to change the colour.

I wonder how many of these individuals ever consider the cost, beyond the financial loss, to their health. Are they reading the labels? Are they asking questions about the products being offered to them? What are the long term side effects that are accumulating in their bodies? Do they care, or is the momentary appearance value all they consider?

I do not want to let the men completely off the hook here, because the cosmetic industry has not abandoned its attempts to influence them as well. Men, have you considered the effects of what is in the products you buy for that special lady in your life? I am not opposing the value and importance of looking your best, but suggesting you might look for better options and in fact demand better and healthier options in the process.

What is important to understand is physical beauty is always fleeting. It is a part of life. There is more value in the building of inner beauty and personal character that has far greater staying power. The Apostle Peter’s recommendation found in1 Peter 3:3-4 is, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. {4} Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Remember this article is about finding the balance between the value and benefit of beauty as opposed the cost to your health. Do not sacrifice your health on the altar of physical beauty.

January 29, 2017

Are there things in your life that keep coming up on a regular basis causing you to say to yourself, “I can’t do that, ” or “I will never be able to do that”? When you are constantly replaying these negative, limiting thoughts you are attacking your self confidence and eroding your faith. In fact you are contributing to the process of diminishing your God-given potential and stealing the abundant life you were created to live. Remember one of the Ten Commandments says, “Don’t steal.” This is how important this issue really is.

When you are constantly putting yourself down, through what you think, believe, say and intend, you are creating your reality. When in negative mode I am not sure this is what you really want to create. Certainly, God wants to empower you to be your best, not your worst. He gifts, graces and enables you to say YES to the relationship with Him and YES to a life lived to the full (John 10:10) if you are willing to make the right choices.

You do not have to live life on your own strength and resources. Jesus promises in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

I believe it is time we listened to what God says about us and what He says we can do, rather than listen to the voices within and without which dump the water of negativity putting out the flame of our passion and dreams. In fact the Apostle Paul wrote to his mentee in 2 Timothy 1:6-7, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. {7} For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Shut down those “can’t do” influences and replace them with declarations which empower you to say, “YES I CAN.” Les Brown, motivational speaker and trainer, is constantly declaring, “You have greatness within you.” I would remind you that greatness is God’s greatness. So change your view, change your actions and change your life because YOU CAN DO IT!

January 28, 2017

I had the opportunity to attend a seminar in which the speaker shared insights into the life of the American artist, Thomas Kinkade. We were told his influence has been so great that one in twenty American homes have at least one replica of his paintings. Almost all of his original paintings are still in the possession of his family and were never sold.

You will find hidden in his art, the letter, “N” as a symbol of love and respect for his childhood sweetheart and wife, Nanette. If you have the time and patience you can look for the “N” in the same way as finding “Waldo.” Each painting tells you the number of times the letter “N” appears in that work of art.

What I found interesting was the power of Kinkade’s dream and passion to be an artist from a very young age and his persistence to follow through in achieving it.

Kinkade made a decision early in his life to say YES to a relationship with Jesus and that choice had a major influence upon the themes he painted and the prints which were produced. John 3:16, his favourite Scripture verse, can be found in the bottom right of all his works. This was a driving force in what he sought to portray in what He did. The theme of light winning the battle over darkness is revealed in most of his paintings.

What is the driving force and passion in your life? Do you know? Are you following through on it? To what extent are you committed to a relationship with Jesus? Are you seeking to incorporate that relationship into your passion and life? The answer to these questions matter, because your response will determine the quality of your life now and for eternity. The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 55:6-9, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. {7} Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. {8} ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. {9} ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Learning to live with passion and wisdom means being willing to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Such is the path to living a life with purpose and design.

January 27, 2017

My wife is a details type of person. Details people can be frustrating to non details people, but they are very important if you want to see a task completed and done well.

Last week an opportunity, while we were on the cruise ship, came our way to make an investment. It did not involve a large sum of money, but with the cost of the cruise, a trip to Aruba next week and then a business trip to Los Angeles all within a month, our cash flow in the moment was stressed a little. We needed to make our decision within a few hours, so as we sat in on of the dining rooms out comes the white sheet of paper and blue ink pen as my wife walks my daughter and I through the details. All this, so we will know what we are dealing with when we arrive at our meeting in the early evening. It is always good to be prepared, right?

In the late evening, we had the opportunity to attend an event with an organization we are connected to. The person in change explained the process of our time together and my wife turned to me and said, “They cannot do what they say they will do in the time they have to do it. It is physically impossible.” She was right! Less than half the agenda was completed when the time was up and we needed to vacate the room.

There have been times when people have criticized my wife for being so detailed. There have been times when I have been frustrated with all the details, but at the same time these details have been very beneficial in the long term.

Those who recognize, acknowledge and encourage others for their gifts and talents are the ones who demonstrate wisdom. God has gifted everyone differently for the benefit of others. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. {15} If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. {16} And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. {17} If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? {18} But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. {19} If they were all one part, where would the body be? {20} As it is, there are many parts, but one body. {21} The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ {22} On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, {23} and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, {24} while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, {25} so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. {26} If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” Celebrate and support others in their uniqueness.

Remember we reap what we sow. Luke reminds us of the words of Jesus in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It is also how others will respond in kind to what we do to them. Only God in His grace and mercy is patient, holding back on giving us what we deserve for a time, but there will still come a day of accountability. Be prepared for that day.