Monday, December 31, 2012

Don't be a Zero


2 months ago, I listened to Bishop TD Jakes' message titled:
"Committment."

One of the things he said that resonated with me is that "zero is the only number that does not add to the total sum." If I may extend that (& I will), when you consider our 5-fold mission from God (see Gen 1:28*), zero does not just "not add" (forgive the double negative) to the sum total of a number, it actual diminishes any number to nothing when it gets into the "multiplier mode." God expects us to live in a multiplier mode as a way of life. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's all up to you

Life is full of choices - and not making a decision is a choice in itself. The choices we make or decisions we take (or don't make/take) in life are really all up to us. For instance, as morbid as it may sound, do you know that we all have a choice about how many times we want to die? The options are straightforward:

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gift of Goodbye

In this gift-giving season, I feel led to give you one...one that you can also give to yourself.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Think about it...

“I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
~ Maya Angelou

Before you say or do anything this Christmas and New Year period and always ask yourself:
"How will the people around me feel -
whether or not they are there when you say or do what you say or do?"

This is one of the times when families and friends gather to celebrate and there is a lot of talking. Please think before you talk - because what you think about, you'll likely talk about and when you talk, feelings are "transmitted":
So, "Brothers and sisters, think about [focus your thoughts on; fill your minds with] things that are true and honorable and right [just] and pure and beautiful [lovely] and respected [commendable]. If there is anything that is good [morally excellent] and worthy of praise, think about [focus your thoughts on; fill your minds with] these things"* and the people around you will be blessed and glad (not stressed and sad) that they know you...

Wishing you and yours a memorable Christmas and a favourable New Year. God bless,
Sapphire & Beryl
Source:
*Phil 4:8 - Expanded Bible

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Culture to cultivate...

Let me start this piece by asking you to kindly excuse the pun.

There are only so many words in English language I could have used as the topic for this. You'll see & hopefully understand why I chose these ones as you read on.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Live out of the box...

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.
~ Margaret Mead

The first time I saw this quote, I just had to agree with her. It is quite an unfortunate place (or shall I say "box") we have put/found ourselves in.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

B2B


Abraham's blessings are mine
Abraham's blessings are mine
I am blessed in the morning,
In the noon and the night time
Abraham's blessings are mine 

Another song which is more interactive is:

My hands are filled (Echo)
With the blessings of the Lord (Echo)
My hands are filled (Echo)
With the blessings of the Lord (Echo)
Everyone (or Anyone) I touch (Echo) 
Surely must be blessed (Echo)
My hands are filled (Echo)
With the blessings of the Lord (Echo)

Do you know either or both of those songs? They are rather old, popular, prophetic and well-loved songs. I just wonder how many people think about or even realize what the songs really mean. The reason why I wonder is because I know that a lot of people enjoy partaking in "rewards" without considering the requirements let alone the related responsibilities.

Let's take some time to look at the "genesis" of Abraham's blessings (excuse the pun).

Genesis 12: 1-3 The Lord said to Abram: Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you. (Contemporary English Version)

I can imagine Abraham saying "Amen" after each phrase - like we do these days. I just wonder whether he hesitated after the last statement. The bottom line of this promise is that God's purpose for blessing Abraham was for a purpose -so he'd be a blessing to others. Likewise, everytime we sing either of those songs or other similar themed songs or even pray for a blessing, we must realize that that reward comes with a responsibility. God does not expect us to live like the "Dead sea" that only receives and never gives.

The other way of looking at it is if you are not a blessing to others then you are not fulfilling your purpose on earth and that would sadden God that He has blessed you. God forbid! Some of us are quick to sing or even recite Bible verses but don't take the next step to be a blessing.You have to be true to your words...I mean say (or sing) what you mean and mean what you say/sing. Action is the only proof of belief in the words we speak (or sing).

I really like the way Acts 20:35 puts the related responsibility in context - read it with me:
"And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"
(NLT)

While it's great to receive, giving is even better (& greater). We are all B2B - blessed to bless. In fact, there is a "curse" upon those who don't do that - see what Proverbs 11: 24-25 says: "The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped." So I guess it's all up to you - not just to sing the songs but actually live by the lyrics.

As the Americans, celebrate their Thanksgiving today - hopefully giving God thanks for all His blessings and mercies...I can't help but wonder how many people around you will give God thanks for blessing them with and through you. It's worth thinking about...you're B2B!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What we must give (leave) to our children...

As we celebrate the Universal Children's Day*, ask yourself:
"What am I giving to (or even leaving to) my child(ren)?

I found 2 interesting quotes that may seem at odds with a particular Bible verse which follows (depending on the version/interpretation you have). As we dig into it, you'll see that they are aligned.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2 generations later...

You must have heard about Caleb, Hur and Bezalel - did you know that they were related?* Well, they were:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

You never know...

...when it will snow.

Anyone living (or who has ever lived) in Calgary would have come to the realization that:
"Indeed, you never know when it will snow!"

The temperature can move from +20 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius over a weekend or even in a day. The meterologists are also surprised despite their best predictions.

Just as unpredictable the weather can be, so it is with the length of our lives.  A popular saying goes: "The only certainity in life is the uncertainty of life." The good thing about this life of uncertainity, or uncertainity of life, is that we can make decisions that will limit the level of uncertainity we live in - both here and hereafter. As much as dying is a turning point in so many people's lives, more important than dying, is where the person will "live" forever.

Another popular saying about certainity which no one can debate is: "The only things that are certain are death and taxes."  Since this is true, we should take the time to "plan" our death (especially our destination after it) carefully as we plan our taxes. In "Death Planning," your main concern should be your destination and there are only 2 choices: Heaven or Hell.

Going to Heaven is as simple as ABC:
Accept Jesus as your Lord & Saviour
Believe and live by His Word everyday
Cultivate a personal relationship with Him
The best part about all this is, like Rev Victor Adeyemi said,
"If at the end of time, we find out that there's no Heaven to gain and no Hell to lose, it would still have been well worth it to live a righteous life."

Indeed, living a righteous life has both tangible and intangible earthly and eternal value. Adding these types of value to your life is something only you can do for yourself.
Accepting Jesus as your Lord & Saviour is the best thing you can ever do for yourself...
I know because it's the best thing I ever did for myself decades ago. Join the winning team!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Closed Door...

...is something to be thankful for as much as an Open door.

Listening to Joel Osteen talk about closed doors - he said:
"Don't fight your closed doors."

It is so true  - when you think about it, you're not really trusting God if you want things to only happen your way... When you trust God, you'll know that He alone knows the plans He has for you and that His plans for you are for your own good.* The other part to that is sometimes we miss God's best for us by staring/staying at or even struggling with the closed door(s) and ignore or totally miss the open door. "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."**

I believe that is why God put these 2 verses in the Bible:
Isaiah 22:22 - I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. (NLT)
Rev 3:7b - “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. (NLT)

God needs us to realize that open and closed doors are part of His plan for us...all we need is to be able to distinguish between the doors He has opened or closed for us. God closes some doors so we are not distracted from going through open doors that lead us to our God-ordained destination. Another (related) verse that appears at least twice in the Bible is in Proverbs and it warns: "What you think is the right road may lead to death."***

I remember staring and almost struggling with a closing/closed door a few years ago. I couldn't imagine what it would be like stepping through an open door into the unknown. God in His mercy kept my eyes on Him and following Him step by step He lead me to a wonderful "new"  - one I could never have orchestrated myself. Like I tweeted earlier today: "Lord, thank You for the beginning of a new season in my life. I will seize every opportunity and thank You without ceasing in all seasons."

Reference:
*Jer 29:11 - 12 - I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. (Common English Bible)
**Alexander Graham Bell
***Prov 14:12 and Prov 16:25

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stay "on"

I wonder if you're like me...sometimes, I wish I could "turn off" being a Christian and just respond to people/situations in the flesh. I remember one incident when someone said something about me that was untrue - you cannot how hard it was to sit down and say nothing even though it was obvious that everyone believed the person. At such times (which come and go) I need to remind myself that my life is now hid in Christ, in God* and it's only in Him that I (should) live, move and have my being.** Therefore, I believe it is not as easy as an on-off switch otherwise, I'm not really hidden in Christ.

God is a God of balance and expects us to not only to "stay on" as christians, He also requires that put on and put off some things permanently not on a part-time basis... including:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gratitude is a matter of perspective...

You know, there is a blessing in de-cluttering. Recently while decluttering, I found a slip of paper where I wrote:

"Is your cup half-full or half-empty? We need to be even grateful that we have a cup that can contain things."

I have no idea when or even why I wrote this - all I know is it was true at that time, still is & always will be.

If you take a moment to think about it, too many of us spend time grumbling about things we don't have (yet or ever) rather than expressing gratitude for ALL that we do have. Indeed it's all a matter of our perspective and I can't agree any more with Brian Tracy who said: "Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."

I know from experience, you may wake up one day and feel that you are moving backwards instead of forward. Remember, it's a matter of perspective. Be grateful that you even woke up because:
"Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way.
Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be."*

It is possible to always have a positive outlook & attitude to life. As you change your outlook, be on the look out for a better life ahead...
...it all starts with, & is sustained by, gratitude.


P.S.
We have exactly 70 days before this year ends - be grateful for the days past and the days to come...each one was, is and will be a gift. Accept them with open arms and grateful hearts.

Reference
*Marsha Petrie Sue

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Don't be wasteful

Some people like to talk about how other people wasted their lives especially when those people (being talked about) have passed on. If you ask me, that is a waste of words and even a waste of time. What value is that information to a dead person? Ok, maybe the intention is to warn others i.e. those of us still living, not to live like that person did (or didn't). I will not dispute that as a reason but I'll then ask, what did the speaker do to help the person make better use of their time/life?

Let me digress a bit and talk about those who go through life without really living fully or enjoying it...the unfortunate thing is some of them never realize that. Have you ever received anything that you want to "keep" and use on that right day/moment? Well I have. Now, I'm not saying that is bad however, the Bible tells us that no-one has been promised tomorrow.* I remember chatting with a group of ladies and we talked about how we keep some outfits for that special event that may never come or which comes after we've left that location. I shared how my mum kept the lovely dinner sets she got at their wedding and I found them when cleaning out the things in storage in our home decades later. As you'd expect, they crumbled as I picked them up - so no one was able to use let alone "enjoy" them. Of course that taught me a lesson - to enjoy the moments I have and that extends beyond the things I have to the people God places around me. Fact of life: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present."**

Indeed it is a present and I've said more than once that: Wasting time = wasting life.
Every moment you have is yours for that moment - once it's past it is the past forever.
George M. Adams put it differently:
"We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves." (God forbid!)
If we all live in that consciousness, I'm sure there would be fewer (unspoken) euologies of people who wasted their lives. Ephesians 5:15-16a tells us to:
"...Be careful how you live.
Live as men who are wise and not foolish.
Make the best use of your time."***
 
If you're not sure how best to live, you can pray like David did:
"Teach us to use wisely all the time we have."****
 
It is my prayer that we all all make the most of our time on earth...like Edward J. Stieglitz said:
"The important thing is not how many years in your life but how much life in your years."

Many people have said a lot about how we (should) live. So far, one of the best (pieces of advice) you can live by is:
"Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you're sure to be right."*****
 
 
References:
*Prov 27:1 - Never boast about tomorrow. You don't know what will happen between now and then. (Good News Translation)
**Bill Keane
***New Life Version
****Contemporary English Version
*****Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant


Friday, October 12, 2012

Right Companions


I got this and had to share it because I'm really passionate about the type (& number) of friends I have and actually need to achieve my destiny in life. As usual, pictures and green font are mine.

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24, NIV) I like the NLT renditon of this verse: "There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." It's on point...

Your destiny is too big to accomplish on your own. That’s why it’s so important to be connected to the right people. We have to understand that God has already arranged for certain people to speak faith into you. He has already placed people in your path that will inspire you, challenge you, and help you accomplish your dreams. The reason some people never reach their highest potential is because they never get away from the wrong people. A note of caution here: the fact that some of those around you tell you things just as they are does not make them the wrong people. In fact, the "wrong" people are those who sugar-coat things so you hear what you want to. The Bible even warns us against kisses vs. "kicks."*

Recognize today that not everyone can go where God is taking you. You’ve got to connect with people who understand your destiny and can call forth your seeds of greatness. You don’t have time to spend on people who are always pushing you down, telling you what you can’t do, or never giving you their approval no matter how hard you try. Friend, life is too short to drag people along. If you will get the wrong people out of your life, then God will bring in the right people so you can fulfill the destiny He has in store for you.

In fact, Beryl and I have written about Friendship previously - and I expect we will again:
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2010/06/secret-6-connection-friendship.html
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2010/06/secret-6-connection-friendship-addendum.html
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2011/07/everyone-needs-at-least-these-3-fs-in.html

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father in heaven, thank You for placing the right people in my life. Help me to discern the right connections You have for me. Give me strength to release the wrong relationships so I have room in my life for the people You have chosen to connect with me in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Source: TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Reference:
*Prov 27: 5-6 A truly good friend will openly correct you. You can trust a friend who corrects you, but kisses from an enemy are nothing but lies. (Contemporary English Version)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Beyond 1 day...

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It is always interesting to watch how people and places - stores and restaurants - all get geared up for this day. Meals and meetings are all planned just to celebrate "Thanksgiving." I only but wonder how much thanks is actually given in all the celebration.

Robert Caspar Linter rightly said: "Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day."

With that as our launching pad, I'll share some other Thanksgiving quotes that resonate with me:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fear or Faith

I got this piece from "allWorship.com" last week - actually, I got it on my birthday & it was one gift I was led to share...you'll understand why when you read it (pictures & green font, mine).

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Do you know what fear and faith have in common?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The "Son-ny" Side

I sit near a window at work and sometimes it can be rather sunny - bright and hot too.
One day I was almost complaining about it and felt the Lord caution me.

I felt Him say I should see and feel it as His presence around me. He reminded me about Malachi 4:2 - But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings... (NLT)

Psalms even has more to say about the benefits of staying "under God's wings"* -
One rather popular verse is Psalm 91:4 which says: He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (NLT)

When you think about it, plants cannot be grow or be fruitful without the sun...likewise, we cannot grow or be fruitful without the Son** - what a physical reminder of a spiritual reality.

Helen Keller put it differently: “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” Psalm 23: 4 - Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.*** Indeed with the Son, the shadows of life pale into insignificance.

So now whenever I see the sun - I enjoy all it means to me...one thing is sure, under His wings, my life is bright - without a shadow of doubt because "For however many promises God has made, they all find their “Yes” in connection with him; that is why it is through him that we say the “Amen” when we give glory to God."****

As we start the last quarter of this year, I encourage you to live on the Son-ny side of life...


References:
* Ps 36: 7-8 - How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of Your pleasures. (Amplified)
**John 15:4 - Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. (Amplified)
Phil 4:13 - I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Amplified)
***Amplified
****2 Corinthians 1:20 - Complete Jewish Bible

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old school

I was just thinking about how some of us are referred to as "old school" - and I don't mind. A smile spread in my mind & on my face when I thought about it - and even as I type this post.

As I thought about it I remembered a common children's anti-bully phrase: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words/names will never hurt me." Now I know that words & even names matter a lot but the point of the phrase as a confidence booster is taken... The whole essence was to help children remain calm and kind even if others weren't. Can you believe that this phrase dates back to 1872* - and it's still relevant 140 years later? Wow!

I'll rein myself in before I go off to talk about building a lasting legacy...which we all should.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Real Life...

I was amused when I stumbled on a TV show titled: "Real Life." It's funny and also encouraging to know that after all these years of "building castles in the air" people have realized that we need to be real and live on earth...

It has been said that if a person lies to themselves long enough, they'd believe it and accept the lie as a truth - what a waste of time and life...living a lie. Worse yet is when the person has "accomplices" whom they think has their best interest at heart - well, to that I'd say "please think again." Lying around (i.e. either being lazy and/or being untrue to & about yourself) will not take you anywhere...except further away from your dreams.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with having lofty dreams and aspirations but the only way to make your dreams come true is to "wake up and work in it." So take one more look at those castles you have built in the air and get up and get to work - that's the real life...

I like the way Joel Barker put it:
"Vision without action is merely a dream.
Action without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world." 

So real life is all about making a difference in others' lives...big or small, make it real.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Working it out...

It's always so insightful to have a conversation with other Christians. It very quickly becomes a spiritual sharpening session - where we jointly rightly divide the word of God and are always the better for it. It's also so refreshing to spend time sharpening each other.*

Monday, September 3, 2012

Play 'n' Learn...

God, our uncreated Creator is very creative and amazing with where He places Life lessons. If you take time to think deeply there is at least one lesson to be learned from every game.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Are you carefree or careless?

One day when I let my children play where I couldn't see them, I briefly questioned the soundness on that decision i.e. was I being careless  or "care-free" (i.e. free of care)?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Do you speed up or slow down...

...when approaching an amber (yellow) traffic light?

A few weeks ago I noticed that I reacted in 2 different ways as I approached an amber (yellow) traffic light.
At the first one, I noticed as I headed to the middle of the intersection that the light had started turning amber - so I had no choice but to go on. It was the right decision in that split second otherwise I could have caused an accident - the person behind me could have run into me. At the second one, I noticed about 100 metres before the intersection that the traffic light was about to turn amber and there was no wisdom in speeding up - that felt unsafe.

After that experience I just asked myself the very same question - which is our topic. Without a doubt, I agree that timing is everything - indeed the Bible says that:
"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong,  nor does food come to the wise  or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all." (NIV)

The Bible also says that:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives. (NLT)

Putting both verses together, I believe God is teaching us to be perceptive of His leading at all the "traffic lights"* of life. We need to know when God says we should speed up and when we need to slow down. You definitely do not want to speed up and find out that God is not there with you nor do you want to slow down under the excuse of waiting for God whereas God has gone ahead and is waiting for you.

 Whatever you do, always follow God's leading. Remember that, as Marsha Evans says: 
"God will order your footsteps….but that will require that your FOOT takes a STEP" ...which could require you to speed up or slow down as He deems best for you - at that traffic light.* 

Reference:
*http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2010/09/maintain-your-pace.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More lessons from Noah's Ark


I recently found more "Lessons from Noah's Ark*" that I couldn't resist sharing with you...and as usual my comments are in green font.
  1. Always live a righteous life-even if you're the only one; it will be noticed. We must shine as bright lights** because we are the only "Bible"*** some people will read.
  2. Listen to what God tells you - your life depends on it. Similar to Lesson #10.****
  3. Put action to your faith. Noah could have believed in God, yet still drowned if he hadn't built the ark. Faith without deeds (i.e. works) is dead***** and in some cases, faith without deeds could end up in death - physical, mental and unfortunately marital death among others. Faith is a noun that propels us to into action. 
  4. Finish what you start. God also promises to help us finish what we start.******
  5. Two (good) heads are better than one. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 (one of my favourite Bible passages) says: Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Amplified)
  6. Have patience! The ark wasn't built in a year, and the flood wasn't finished in 40 days and 40 nights. Once you're clear on God's vision for your life - work on and wait for it - it will come to pass.******* This brings us back to Lesson 2 above: our lives depend on obeying and depending on God which means waiting on and for Him too...

Sources:
*http://www.edevotions.org/docs/noahsark.html
**Philippians 2: 15b-16a - Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life. (NIV)
Daniel 12:3 - 'Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever. (The Message)
***2 Corinthians 3: 2-3 - Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. (The Message)
****http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2012/07/noahs-ark.html
*****James 2: 17-18 - In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (NIV)
******Phil 1:6 - And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Amplified)
*******Hab. 2: 3 - And then God answered: "Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn't lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time. (The Message)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Would you prefer a boon or a boom?

I’m also so delighted when I learn something new. Some time ago I was reading an article and saw the word “boon” – my first inclination was to correct it – in my copy. Then I felt the Holy Spirit say: “Don’t be so quick, look it up first.” So I did & decided to share what I learnt.

This experience taught me 2 things:
  1. Don’t be quick to “judge” – in fact do not judge at all. My first conclusion was that the writer of the article didn’t know how to spell (or didn’t even perform “spell-check”) whereas, putting it very nicely, it was my lack of “knowledge” that was showing.
  2. We don’t know as much as we think we do, so keep an open mind that is willing to learn. I have said it before that the only people who are incapable of learning are the dead.* Mortimer Adler aptly said: "The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live." At the risk of sounding morbid, if you "think" you are incapable if learning, check yourself… you may "learn" that you can learn. An undeniable fact of life is that: "You learn something every day if you pay attention."**
Ok let me go back to the point of this posting...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Die empty...

We we were all born full...but it doesn't end there. It is so & more important to live life so fully (and "fulfillingly") that you die empty. Our heart desire must be the same as Erma Bombeck's: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me.""

Today marks exactly 7 months since my father passed...he would have turned a year older this month. Well, that is all now history. When I read Erma's quote, the question I had for myself was: When I pass on (which is not soon), will all those I'll leave behind - including my children, grandchildren (since I'm not going to bury any of them), family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues & even you my readers, also say that I used everything the Lord gave me and left the world better than I met it? More importantly, what would I say to God?

What will the answer to those questions be in your case? What has God given  to you? What are you doing with it (all)? What (more) can you do with it? Please do it...

God is always willing to give more to those who have profitably used what He placed in their hands (& hearts). Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30 and Luke 19: 12-28? It does not matter whether or not you have the same/similar (amount/type) or different (amount/type) of talents from others - rather what matters is what have you done with what's in your hand (& heart).

Personally, I'm working on & with it each day...emptying myself, getting refilled by the Holy Spirit and emptying myself again...I'm going back for more so I  can give more.

Dying full = dying unfulfilled...and for that there is no reward.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A bit about love...

Looking through some of my old stuff, I found these 3 statements on love by Jesse Duplantis:

Love is far too amazing and too good to be kept as a private possession.

Learn to be generous with it to yourself and others.

What love is, hate can never be...


Love is a central part of our lives and we must get (& give) it right in order to have a good quality life.

I'll never forget this song by B.J. Thomas: "Using things and loving people."* One of the lines in the song says: "loving thing and using people always leads to misery."

God shed His love in our hearts so we share it with others - not with things...

A bit of love will make a big difference in many lives. Spread His love and spread the word!

References:
*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cEZjSp0ZSQ

P.S. Just researching some more  and found out that BJ Thomas turned 70 a few days ago...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do not take the name of the Lord in vain...

The 4th commandment is: You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Ex 20:7 - Amplified)

I know a lot of people believe that this only applies when we use the words "God" or "Jesus" or the more "modern" "OMG" (standing for "Oh my God") or "Jeez" (which refers to "Jesus") as exclamations. For me it is all those and much more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's good for the goose...

...is good for the gander. Really?

Yes - to an extent...as with almost everything in life (except obeying God) - it depends.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Have you ever heard of...

...Peer-parenting?

Wonders will never cease. I was just casuallly looking through a  newspaper and noticed the term "peer-parenting." It was defined as: "Talking like a peer but acting like a parent."

I can't imagine why any parent would want to talk to their child as if they are the child's peer. Is it to use adult "peer-pressure" on their child(ren) or to dilute the impact of actual peer-pressure on their children? I know God invites us to come & reason with Him (Isa 1:18a)
...but we know that does not make us God. He is not peer-parenting so where would anyone have come up with such an absurd idea from? I was really saddened when I saw this quote: "The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children."* While I agree with the fact of the quote, I  disagree that is is impressive - it is a rather depressing reality...possibly proliferated with the current "peer-parenting" concept.

The minute we make the mistake of mixing parenting with trying to be our child's friend, we're going down the wrong path. Now there is benefit in being friendly with your children - & that's not the same as being your child's friend. In 1994, President Bill Clinton declared the 4th Sunday of July (last Sunday) as "Parents' Day" as a way of "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children." It goes without saying that parents i.e. female mother and male father both play a fundamental role in raising balanced children - neither a child, his/her siblings nor their peers have the experience to raise them right.

Being a parent is a privilege and responsibility we must never take lightly...so, please don't.

Source:
*Edward, Duke of Windsor, Look, 5 March 1957


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

F.R.U.I.T.

We've talked about "Eating fruit" over the past couple of weeks & there's still a lot to be said. As we wrap it up for now, I'd like you to remember that the best kinds of fruit are FRUIT:

Fresh - fresh nutrients are better than stale ones...
Ripe - unripe fruit is hard to digest; some are curative*
Uncooked - the first thing you lose when you cook fruit is the best part of it - the nutrients. Why lose benefits?
Identifiable - looking or even smelling like fruit doesn't make it fruit...I know someone who said her child loves fruits and started giving her child fruit gummies/candy. I couldn't understand why anyone will substitute the real thing for a "dummy" - in this case it was a gummy.
Taint-free - avoid fruits that are rotting or rotten

I pray you have a Fruity, but more importantly, a Fruit-ful & Fruit-filled life...God bless

To read some more about fruits, check out:
*http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/unripened_fruit
http://www.fruitsinfo.com/uses_of_fruits.htm
http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/top_25_healthy_fruits_blueberries_apples_cherries_bananas_and_21_more_healthy_picks.php

Monday, July 23, 2012

Déjà vu with a difference

Something interesting happened to me today...

I made a reservation for a particular type of room only to be told that I needed to be "down-graded" due to the fact that my preferred type of room was no longer available when I went to check-in. My initial reaction was almost anger - then I caught myself...afterall, it was just for one night so what was the point of getting upset?

When walking to the office, it just hit me...this was déjà vu with a difference- I'll explain...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Noah's Ark

A few months ago, I was working on something when "Noah's ark" dropped in my heart.

There are so many lessons we can learn from that real-life story - what an experience it must have been for Noah & his family! Imagine it! Some of us may have seen the over 10-year old email titled: 
"Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark!" before. I'll use a some of the points there and share 2 of mine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eating fruit (3)

Time for the last set of "bites"...for now


ORANGE : Sweetest medicine. Taking 2-4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent & dissolve kidney stones as well as lessens the risk of colon cancer.

WATERMELON: Coolest thirst quencher.. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. They are also a key source of lycopene - the cancer fighting oxidant. Other nutrients found in watermelon are vitamin C & Potassium.

GUAVA & PAPAYA: Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content. (Now, this is news to me too). Guava is also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. I remember being advised against eating the guava seed- not sure why but I still enjoy guavas - red, white and all the seeds inside. Guava juice is yummy too.

Papaya is rich in carotene; this is good for your eyes. (Papaya, as you can see from the picture is the same thing as Pawpaw) I also found out that: Pawpaw/Papaya's "antioxidant content is higher when fully ripened and soft. It may be helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease due to the fact that they are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, through its concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients."*

There are so many other fruits...and I believe that God expects us to take Him literally too when He commanded us to "be fruitful"** (i.e. full of fruit). So I encourage you to try out different ones available where you live (or visit). You can also research and share the benefits of those fruits with the rest of us...and "multiply"** the knowledge.
God bless.


References
*http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/11/the-wonderful-health-benefits-of-paw-paw/
**Gen 1:28

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tick-tock

Tick Tock, Tick Tock,
Glancing up at the clock,
The sound it makes resounds within,
So many mixed messages lie therein.

Tock Tick, Tock Tick,
Does time move on slow or quick?
Looking back, time is passing all too fast,
And yet it crawls by when we’d like it to pass.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock
That sound gives quite a shock,
When there are so many things we need to do,
Yet the day's gone by, it's almost through.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Your mother doesn't work here...

Last week I saw an unusually direct notice in an office coffee/tea station/kitchenette.
It said:

Your mother doesn't work here

Clean up after yourself

Do your own dishes

My first reaction was amusement. I was amused that with how polite people try to be, this was one time when it was important to set clear rules. Within seconds, my amusement turned into annoyance. In fact, I felt personally insulted as a mother because it meant that the expectation (of whoever wrote/thought up that sign) was that mothers "naturally" clean up after their family and others...Let me tell you why the sign felt like a direct insult.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eating fruit (2)

Some more...
When you need to drink fruit juice - drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT from the cans. Don't even drink juice that has been heated up. Don't eat cooked fruits because you don't get the nutrients at all. You only get to taste. Cooking destroys all the vitamins.

But eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it. You can go on a 3-day fruit fast to cleanse your body.. Just eat fruits and drink fruit juice throughout the 3 days and you will be surprised when your friends tell you how radiant you look! (I recommend this)

KIWI: Tiny but mighty. This is a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E & fiber. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange.

APPLE: An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants & flavonoids which enhances the activity of vitamin C thereby helping to lower the risks of colon cancer, heart attack & stroke. (One thing I like about apples is that they come in 3 colours and also different shades- so you can choose the colour you prefer...)

STRAWBERRY: Protective Fruit.. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits & protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals. (That must explain why they are so expensive...though extremely yummy)

Ok, that's enough for now...

Let's all chew on this - and actually chew some of these...till the next set of "bites"...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eating fruit...

I got this email a while ago & I don't know who the author is but I checked on some of the information there and took out the parts that were not true/proven - in case this looks different from the "original" version if you ever received it. It's long and informative so I'll break it up into "chewable" sizes....(comments in green, italics & pictures, mine)

We all think eating fruits means just buying fruits, cutting it and just popping it into our mouths. It's not as easy as you think. It's important to know how and when to eat. What is the correct way of eating fruits?

It means not eating fruits after your meals! Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach. (I didn't know that - did you?) If you eat fruit like that, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities. (Now that was made me keep reading...hope you will too).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wonder of Water...

Happy New Month! As we get into the warmer months, besides drinking lots of water during the day, I recommend we take heed to this short & sharp email I received (comments in green and picture, mine):

Water before Bedtime (Author unknown)

About 90% of heart attacks occur early in the morning and it can be minimised if one takes a glass or two of water NOT grog or beer before retiring in the evening. (Note: Christians, should not even be talking about grog, beer, or any other alcoholic drink for that matter - that's how the email came)

I knew water is important but I never knew about the special times to drink it. Did you??

Drinking water at the correct time maximises its effectiveness on the human body:
-1 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs
-1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion.
-1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure
-1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack

In addition to drinking physical water, let's remember the spiritual water - that washes us through and through (Eph 5:26)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Forgiveness is...

...a gift you give to yourself - for your own good.

Recently, I read an article on a Vietnamese woman - Kim Phuc Phan Thi - who survived a fatal napalm fire during the Vietnam War in June 8, 1972. During an event, 50 years later, she talked about how she thought she'd never (be able to) forgive the attackers then she said:
"In order to be really free, I had to learn to forgive."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Imagine living for 969 years

Just to make the connection off the bat...today is the 1,000 day since we started this blog...the 969th day was a month ago on May 26, 2012.
While thanking God for how far He has brought (& taken) us, Methuselah came to mind.
Methuselah lived till he was 969 and all the Bible said about him was: "When Methuselah was one hundred eighty-seven, he had a son named Lamech. Methuselah had more children and died at the age of nine hundred sixty-nine. (Gen 5:25 - 27 - CEV) I know from looking at mine that each child is a unique gift from God...and I also know from looking at God that there (must be) & is more to life than having children.

It was a different story for his father - Enoch: "So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].(Gen 5: 23-24 - Amplified) Now that definitely one parent who knew that walking with God was more important that having children...and it paid off.

The question I always ask myself is: In receiving God's gift children, what gift can I give back to God? How can I ensure that as I oversee my children learning to "walk" - from when they are toddlers until they are adults - that they learn to walk with God?

Deut 6:6-7 says:  Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. (Contemporary English Version)
Barely 10 days ago we celebrated Fathers' Day...and like my husband said on that day (& I've said before), it takes a mother to "make" a father and vice versa and of course the blessing of the Lord. The point is: God expects us not to just walk with Him but to also walk with our children and talk about Him.
God bless.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The way I see it...


Forgiving ourselves and others brings..
 ...the Son and sun back into our world and makes it...
...a brighter and better place for us and others.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What not to do...

I heard part of a radio show. It was interesting that they were talking about Healthy Living and focusing on what not to do. I'm sure if I asked you to guess what was the 1st thing on the "No to do" list you would guess right just like the show host and I did.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First time...

You know there is always a first time of everything...pleasant and unpleasant.

Today is the first time, in our lives, that Beryl and I can't call our earthly fathers to say:

It is still quite a reality check for my whole family and hers too. In my case, even my children are still coming to terms with our loss...in the past couple of months, they have mentioned the need to call him when calling their other grandparents over the weekend and even mistakenly prayed for him then quickly corrected themselves.

As I write this, one thing I'm grateful about is that: we can confidently say that our Dads were "Happy Fathers." Yes - in God's mercy He helped us accomplish things that made our fathers happy and that is one of the best gifts any child can give to their parents.

The other thing, I'm grateful to God for is that in their own way, they deserved the title:


We were blessed with wonderful Dads and personally grateful that they gave their consent for us to get married to the great husbands God gave us. It takes a good father to do the best for his children. To our husbands, who are also fathers, and all the other fathers in the world, we thank God for another opportunity to celebrate you:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

For Fathers...

This evening, I was thinking about our Fathers' Day Service coming up tomorrow and wondered what I'd say to all fathers if I had the opportunity to say a thing or 2 to them... then it occurred to me that I do have the opportunity to - so here I go...

It's based on these two verses that reverberate for me from our Family month in church:

Prov 14: 26 - Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.* 
So if you want your children to be safe, don't rely on your wife's (or their mother's) relationship with God to "protect" them - though it helps. God expects men to be there as a cover for their family - not just the "head" of his wife which many men seem to dwell on. 

Prov 13:22 - A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up.** Now I particularly like the Amplified rendition of this verse because too many people associate the word "inheritance" with money and the truth is one can have money without virtue and that's not a good thing - see the 2nd half of that verse to understand what I mean. Dear Fathers, with how hard you work to cater for your family, please remember that only a virtuous man's "wealth" and legacy goes beyond one generation. Your relationship with God is your stepping stone and even a guarantee for that because God "has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."*** (Italics, mine)

I know I said I'll say a thing or two but as I typed I decided to add a third thing:


God bless you all fathers; thank you for all you do - we need and love you alot...
Enjoy your day.

Sources:
*New Living Translation
**Amplified Version
***Ps 35:27 - NKJV

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lessons from a dozen

We just celebrated our first "dozen" years in marriage. Looking back, I cannot but thank God for His bountiful mercies and goodness to my husband and I. If His mercies were not new every morning* or if He didn't load us with benefits daily**, who knows where we'd be now. Indeed, it was a time of thinking and thanking.

You know when I think of a dozen, the first thing that comes to my mind is eggs. The more I thought about it, some similarities or shall I say, "lessons from the dozen," come to mind when thinking about marriage.
  1. Marriage is fragile and must be handled with care.
  2. A good marriage leads to a healthy life - bad marriages, like bad eggs, repel.
  3. We must treat our words like eggs, knowing that once spoken can never be put pack in the "shell" - and this one applies to everyone - married or not.
The other thing that comes to mind when I think of the word "dozen" is a dozen roses. While I'm not into flowers - so buy me something else if you want to give me a gift - I took some time to look into the siginficance of a dozen roses. Apparently roses are used to express love and appreciation while the number 12 means a complete cycle - think of the 12 months of the year or 12 "hours" on an analog clock. So I guess a dozen roses show "complete love." 12 reminds Christians of the twelve tribes of Israel, the 12 disciples & apostles and even the 12 foundations & gates in heaven (Rev 21: 19-21).  
Without a doubt, 12 is an important number to God - it indicates completeness of a phase and the beginning of a new "move." My prayer is that as we have started a "new cycle" in our marriage that we will properly position ourselves for the "New Thing" God has promised.

I also pray that you will also partake of the "New Thing" God has promised us all in this year.  
 
 
References:
*It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23 - Amplified)
**Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! (Ps 68:19 -NKJV)

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Interview


One, young, academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview. The director who did the last interview, made the last decision. The director discovered from the CV that the youth's academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research. He never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" The youth answered "none". The director asked, “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?" The youth answered, "My father passed away when I was one year old. It was my mother who paid for my school fees.” The director asked, “Where did your mother work?" The youth answered, "My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?" The youth answered, "Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me. " The director said, "I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother's hands and then see me tomorrow morning."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Need something?


I found this quote interesting:

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes

You just might find

You can get what you need.

-Mick Jagger



Going a step further, I've heard several preachers say that:

If what you have is not enough to meet your need, it is most likely your seed.



The Bible tells us that:

"The rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without giving water to the earth. This makes plants grow on the earth, and gives seeds to the planter and bread to the eater.

So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well." (Isaiah 55: 10 - 11 - New Life Version)



God's Word is a seed that always produces a (bountiful) harvest - so if you need something, find what God has said concerning that thing and "sow" it with prayers. Your harvest is guaranteed.



Remember this song:

Read your Bible, pray every day

Pray every day (2ce)

Read your Bible, pray everyday

If you want to grow.



If you want to grow (2ce)

Read your Bible, pray every day

Pray every day (2ce)

Read your Bible, pray every day

If you want to grow.



Growth and prosperity is guaranteed in all areas of life...once it's by the Book of Life.