June 29, 2016

I was reading Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich” as part of a course assignment and came across this statement, “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” Dictionary.com defines “desire” as, “verb (used with object), desired, desiring. 1. to wish or long for; crave; want. 2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request.”

When I look at the word, “desire” I see that which has and represents a great deal of power. For some people that immediately and automatically generates fear and avoidance. For me, I perceive the word, “desire” as being amoral. It is neither good or bad in itself. It is what you do with it that makes it so. This word has the potential for much evil and harm, or much good. It is a stewardship issue related to what we do with that which God has given us. John Eldredge in his book, “Dare To Desire” begins his book with these words, “Desire is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Gerald May has written, “There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. . . . Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.

Yes you can find numerous examples in the Bible warning against evil desire. Also you can find wonderful examples of its commendation when used correctly. I want to reference one of these for you. It speaks of God’s desire. You can find in Isaiah 55:8-11, “‘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. {10} As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, {11} so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’” (1984 edition NIV).

I have asked this question before in the Thought For The Day, and this will not likely be the last time I ask it. What do you want? What do you really want? It is a question which deserves a thoughtful answer, because it will point you in the direction of your desires, your passion. Do not settle for anything less than the best. True success must include the ingredient of joy for it to be fulfilling. Follow your dreams, look to your desired outcomes. On the back cover of my copy of the book, “Dare To Desire” are John Eldredge’s parting words of challenge which declares, “The question is not, dare we desire, but dare we not desire?”

June 19, 2016

In our culture in general there is nowhere near the commercial hype placed on Father’s Day as that compared to Mother’s Day. When our children were younger there was a series of books being released titled, “The Bernstein Bears.” This series of books showed the father as being inept and someone who didn’t really matter. It really fits in with a significant element of common thinking even today, doesn’t it?.

I came across a list of typical Dad quotes. I do not know their origin but here they are:

-“Ask your mother.”

-“Don’t worry; it’s only blood.”

-“Do I look like I’m made of money?”

-“I’m not sleeping; I was watching that show.”

-“I’m not just talking to hear my voice.”

-“A little dirt never hurt anyone; just wipe it off.”

-“No we’re not lost again!”

-“No, we’re not there yet.”

-“Don’t make me stop this car!”

Not the most impressive list reflecting the picture of fatherhood, is it?

If you look in your Bible for a quote from a prominent father, Joseph the step father of Jesus, you will not find one. I never thought about this before, but Joseph does not say a single word in the Gospels. He listens and he obeys. We might assume he must have spoken and his words were recorded, because we can imagine the conversations he had with Mary and the Angel Gabriel. We can “hear” him talking to the innkeeper and can visualize him teaching Jesus about carpentry, but then he fades from the scene. It is widely thought Joseph was much older than Mary because when Jesus began His ministry, Mary appears alone. Although the Bible does not say she is a widow, we can figure Joseph had likely died.

Joseph probably thought his life was pretty well planned. His marriage and his vocation were all arranged neatly for him, but then his world came crashing down. He discovered his bride-to-be was pregnant. We know Joseph was a man of integrity and he wanted to do the right thing, in the right way. He considered divorcing Mary when he learned of her pregnancy, but wanted to do so without calling attention to the reason. He could have had her publicly disgraced or even stoned to death for adultery. Instead, he risked being questioned about Mary’s pregnancy and married her. In those days, a marriage contract was worked out between families, and the engaged couple continued to live with their parents until their wedding.

The townspeople could well have thought Mary and Joseph did not wait until their wedding, but Joseph protected their reputation by moving up the wedding date. Then the Roman census took them far away from the town people’s questioning eyes. Although Joseph came from the royal lineage of King David (we know this thanks to the Gospel genealogy), we can easily picture him as a humble man doing what he needed to do in love to protect his family.

This is the kind of image I personally would like to see portrayed about fathers. How about you?

June 18, 2016

What do you want? What do you really want? What is your dream? Do you have a burning desire for its achievement? Are you willing to put forth, focus and energy and effort for it to become a reality in your life? Be honest! Is it really your dream or is it merely a mild preference if it will show up in your life without much effort?

Gillian Zoe Segal, in her book, “Getting There: A Book of Mentors” wrote, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do all the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” Why would someone my age choose to become an Intention Leader for the Energetic Intention Program, look to become a Certified Facilitator for Asara Lovejoy’s, “One Command Seminar” and begin a Coaching and Mentoring Certification Course all at the same time, rather than curl up, shrivel up and retire? Because for me, it is about being the best I can be for the benefit of others. It is seeking to live up to my full God-given potential. This is not just a preference.

What caught my thinking today was this concept of seeking, going after something with a passion.

What surprised me was what I discovered when I went seeking about the word, “seek” in the Scriptures. When you look at a passage like Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (NIV) you find the original Hebrew word used means by implication “to seek or ask,” but “specifically to worship” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

When you go to Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV), the original word used for “seek” here means exactly the same thing. The idea of seeking has inherently built into it not only passion, but in the seeking there is a higher goal and reference to One who is worthy of our acknowledgement in the process.

Whatever we might be seeking in our life, it would be good to consider our stewardship in reference to what we are seeking. We are 100% responsible and accountable for the outcomes in our life. We do reap what we sow. This is true whether we choose to take initiative for who we are and what we do, or whether we do nothing with our lives.

For me, to try and fail and try again is better than doing nothing and simply remain a failure by default. God’s Word has much to say about our persistence in getting up if we find ourselves knocked down.

What do you want? Are you willing to step out in faith and trust, even when you reach the place where you say, “I don’t know how . . . .” It is at that point you can move forward declaring, “But I know that it is a reality, and I am thankful, grateful and fulfilled.”

Step up, take action and bring your dreams, goals and desired outcomes to reality. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

June 17, 2016

It was June 23, 1974. The last Sunday before my Sundays would dramatically change. I had graduated with my THB degree, U-haul truck had been loaded and driven over 1300 miles and I was about to become the pastor of a church in a week. My wife and I decided to drive to a church that Sunday to visit a pastor who had been my pastor for most of my college years, but had moved to Ontario. Rev. Alden Akins took me aside at the end of the service to share some wise counsel with a young man just starting out. One of the things he suggested was, “Don’t be too quick to jump ship. There will be days when you will want to give up and look for a better church, greener grass somewhere else. Don’t give up, don’t quit.” Then he said, “what you need to know is this. If you do, you will find the same problems in your new location, only the faces will be different. Figure it out, work it through where you are because you already have a head start over the new location.”

This advice helped me through some days when all I really wanted to do was run away. Anywhere else seemed like a good idea. On June 30 it will be 42 years since I walked into my first pastorate. That time span has seen our family in just 3 churches.

It seems God was already providing and planting important principles in our lives long before I had the opportunity to receive training with the Global Information Network. What I have come to recognize is, the foundation which was already in my life provided the resonance that attracted me when the time was right. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of a club, really more than a club, a movement, where I have developed an incredible number of friends who are supportive and caring.

This past week, our family had a challenge. My wife received phone calls from two new to us, GIN members who encouraged and inspired her to not give up, to not quit. They demonstrated the spirit and love we have come to appreciate so much. Thank you Joann Lysiak and Melissa Tietz for your caring, serving and love.

Where are you right now in your journey? I encourage you to keep your eyes on your goals and dreams. Do not let anyone dump their negativity and discouragement on you. Kick the rats out of your head. Know that God loves you. As Les Brown is always saying, “You have greatness within you.” Believe it, and live it. The alternative is not something that excites me! How about you?

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; {6} in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV). In so doing we have the promise found in Hebrews 13:5, God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (NIV).

Be more than a conqueror today, because you are a winner! As you go through your day, May “the LORD bless you and keep you; {25} the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; {26} the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” ( Numbers 6:24-26 NIV).

June 16, 2016

Today is the sixth anniversary of my Dad’s death. I would really like to talk about how the Medical Establishment shortened his life. But I won’t! He was a person who grew up in an era where he believed doctor’s sought to do no harm, like many people still do today.

What I would like you to consider today as you think about someone who was older when they died is this, they were not always that way. There was a time when they too were young, full of dreams and aspirations. They experienced and lived life in a young body. Many of them looked forward to the day when they would get married, have a family, own a house, travel and so much more. What followed was a journey expressing itself in highs and lows, fulfilment and challenges and a whole lot in between. This is the meaning of the “-” between two dates on a tombstone.

I would encourage you to reflect on the lives of loved ones and friends who have died, but not as they were at the end of their life, but as they were through the many years, including their younger years of their life journey.

Then take some time and do the same with those who are still living. Relive those years with them. Focus on the good times and help then recall the blessings they experienced in their journey. Help them look for the influence and things they can still do in being a blessing to others. Encourage them in their belief they still matter, just like they felt when they were younger. This is a great gift you can share and it is something they can do also.

I have a significant collection of pictures on my computer hard drive which randomly cycle through when my screen saver kicks in. Many of these pictures go back in the time to my younger days, which means they reflect the younger days of many others as well. This provides not just an opportunity to look back and reflect, it also provides an opportunity in this moment to feel good now as those memories are recalled with the various people. It gives me the chance to celebrate anew. You might want to attempt something similar that will work for you and see how it makes a difference to your day.

As for me, this will be a busy day, as usual. Time for reflection is limited, but still worthwhile. Have a terrific day and may it be filled with fond memories and many blessings. Make this a day to be remembered on your journey to living your life to its full potential.