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What the world needs…now!

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Are you really enjoying life?  …or are you lost in a virtual world?

I spoke with a newcomer to Canada recently, a well-educated young man from Africa, who we can refer to as Zee in this article. Zee told me how much he enjoys his new country, but he also quickly added how he sometimes feels isolated, and has experienced a few difficulties meeting new people and socializing. Growing up, he explained how he used to connect with people at church. Nowadays, few people he knows seem to have time for God or church, and Zee admitted finding this situation discouraging, alongside a growing sense of social indifference he feels has become epidemic in society today. Even in coffee shops it seems, many people appear content to sit alone on laptops or texting.

Driving taxi for a living, Zee commented how passengers will rarely speak with him, even about mundane topics like the weather, and he suggested that in Europe and a few countries he has visited, people appeared to be more open and friendly. Rethinking this, he admitted that maybe things were the same everywhere.  “What’s going on? It’s so sad, ” he said as we sped past a young woman standing and texting at a bus stop.  Zee asked, “Do you think she’d respond if someone actually stopped and said ‘hi!’? Would she remember how to talk instead of text? Would she be interested in going out and having fun?”  Good questions, I thought as we got to the crux of Zee’s concerns, and he shared with me how tough he found it most days to connect with people in a world which seems increasingly detached and reclusive on many levels.

“Everyone’s so silent today,” Zee added with more than a hint of despair.  Reluctantly, I had to agree. Examining today’s sophisticated global environment where every possible tool and means of communications is at our disposal, how can it be that instead of bringing people together,  our communications ‘know how’ seems to have led us further apart? People seem more suspicious and isolated than at any time in human history.

Zee spoke too about his having friends who would rather sit home ‘gaming’ with the latest multi-million$ release, than going out and sharing a few laughs. This led us to a discussion on a whole new level…what would happen if all that money was redirected to help the poor nations of the world or to bring people together?

OMG. Is this where the virtual world has led us!? Unable to communicate. Trapped in a virtual existence.  As Zee said, “It’s so sad.” The virtual world is and always will be…virtual…and unreal.  Psychologists today suggest that our virtual and techno-surrealisim has not only made many of us less physically active, it’s led to us becoming more out of touch with life in general.

So, when’s the last time you enjoyed a great laugh or carried on intelligent, meaningful verbal communications with someone…whether a friend, or someone new? The good news out of all this? I got to meet Zee, we had a great discussion, and even a good laugh.

Friends, we can’t text or Facebook or even blog our way out of this virtual mess. What the world needs now…is to get out and enjoy life again…for real.


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Fear of being ordinary…?

hdwpapers.comBy Holley Gerth 

An observation on our culture: “I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”– Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

We live in a world that glorifies celebrity. And that spills over into our daily lives. That mentality tries to define us…By how many Likes we get on Facebook. How many people notice what we do. How many successes we can count in our day. When that happens, what Brene Brown said so eloquently above becomes true: we fear being ordinary. What if our life doesn’t matter? What if what we do doesn’t really count? What if no one recognizes our efforts? We panic and strive and end up exhausted. Human souls are not made to prove themselves. And yet in the middle of it all, there’s One who calls us to a different standard.

 Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.” Philippians 2:5-8 Instead of fearing ordinary, Jesus embraced it. The one human being who could have walked into our world and instantly had fame, recognition and celebrity ran from it instead. He chose a manger not a throne. He spent 90% of his lifespan as a private carpenter and only 10% in public ministry.  He hung on a cross in a way that was even beyond ordinary, it was humiliating. And because of that… “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”  Philippians 2:9

Don’t fear ordinary because in the Kingdom, it’s the only path to greatness. Yes, God may call you to have a platform. Yes, you may find yourself in the spotlight sometimes. Yes, sometimes people may even say “extraordinary” to describe what you do. And you will have God-sized dreams. But here’s the freedom: you don’t have to strive . You can embrace where you are right here, right now and know that it is enough. You are enough. Because the One who lives in you turns every bit of ordinary into holy, glorious ground.


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Deal with Bad News – God’s Way

crossmap.comSeems there’s way more bad news going around than good news. Bad news can scare us and it’s just plain bad for us. It’s like overloading on mega-bad carbs and trans fats and then some. Heart attack city. So how can we deal with all the deadly news out there? Here are 3 suggestions…

1. Don’t worry. (worry is a trap that opens doors to doubt and fear, and can get your focus off of God.  2. Don’t worry. (God’s people who trust in Him are promised they will have no fear of bad news.  3. (can I say it again?) Don’t worry .(God promises His people the help they need to overcome. And God promises to work all things together for good in our lives no matter what bad news is going on). True, we need to be in tune to what’s going on, because God wants us aware, not to scare us but to prepare us, and so we can pray His heaven-sent power into situations. Remember to guard your heart from allowing bad news to trouble you. Don’t be afraid. Hear God’s voice in the storms. Count on his 100% care. For more, catch Ravi Zacharias’s movie-video…How Do You Frighten Someone Who’s Met the One Who Knows the Way Out? (4 min 30 sec)


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Faith is…


The Bible says faith is real. It’s tangible. You can take hold of faith. It is substance. The substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith wasn’t born yesterday. Faith is eternal. It covers a lot of ground. As I got thinking about faith, I decided to start a faith list. Please feel free to add to it or to start your own list!  🙂

Faith is…

Following God
Awesome
Strength renewed
A priceless heirloom
Joy and peace
Answered prayers
A mountain mover
Walking in the light
Giving thanks
Green pastures
Living your dreams
Trustful
Ready to serve
Abundant life
Supernatural guidance
Grace
Restoration
Letting go
A fresh start
Beyond all you can imagine
Awakening
Enduring
God’s promises received
Always forgiving
Burdens made light
Full of hope
Green pastures
No more losses
Abiding
Breathtaking
All in the details
Fearless
New Creation
Communion
Wilderness blooms
Discovery
A road less travelled
Well-grounded
Childlike
Giving
Free of doom and gloom
Energizing
Spirit-empowered
Worry free
Victory-focused
Living Water
Persevering
Miracles
Sanctuary
God’s power at work
Life-changing
Sunshine after rain
Liberty
Following God

© 2012 S. Michaels
From Notebook: Following God


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Bless All The Dear Children

When did we stop blessing children? This is a serious question. I’m not asking it.

God is.

God asked this question when He heard on this week’s news reports that children younger than age 12 are being ‘educated’ with explicit sex education classes in my country, and are being told lies that they’re ‘two-spirited’ and that anything goes…toddlers being taught ‘sex stuff’ that would make most adults blush…

God asked this question when He heard how yet another violent child abuser and vile sex offender, a predatory pedophile got handed a next to nothing ‘sentence’ after destroying the life of yet another innocent child, and who knows how many others…?

God asked this question when He heard on this week’s news that no one was batting an eye about a NY Times best-seller book series for kids (the movie’s being released this week) that advocates kids murdering other kids…after all, it’s rated ‘PG-13’…so that oughta make it okay, right?

God asked this question when He heard about more children dying daily to violent crimes around the world, and more children starving and being neglected not only in distant nations, but right in our own neighbourhoods…

Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of my little children harm…it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the deepest sea…” Mark 9:42

There may appear to be little hope, little justice, little blessing in the world today for the children…but at the end of the road and just the other side of this life…God’s waiting, and He’s expecting some answers…

In the meantime, thank God for those who dare to speak out and who are taking a bold and courageous stand in the defense of our little ones everywhere, and God bless and bring His help and justice for all the dear children…

© 2012 S. Michaels


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From Christian Blessings…another excellent article on faith…this one all about a road less travelled… full article here…CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS…

ChristianBlessings

The wide road is easy to find.  The wide road is open to any and all fleshly desires.

The world is paved with a wide road, but God has paved a narrow road for us to walk.  But the decision of which road to take, wide or narrow, is up to us.  We must choose the narrow road, God will not choose it for us.  The wide road  appears to be easier, more comfy, more pleasurable, more popular, and is loaded with people.  The narrow road appears to be tougher, less comfy, less pleasurable and fun, and unpopular and less populated.  Things are not always what they seem though, and the wide road ends in destruction and mayhem and extreme sorrow.  The narrow road leads to a life of love, joy, strength, hope, truth, fun, and life becomes full and good.  This road is not perfect or without it’s trials…

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The Horrible “I’m Baaaack!” of Self Defeat

I want to talk about self defeat.

Self defeat is a lot like those roaming backyard city-invading critters we all love to hate….raccoons. We tell ourselves ‘Aw, they’re cute …” Yeah, right…cute until they take over and ravage your house, lawn, garage, bird feeder…In Japan, someone got the idea raccoons were cute and began importing them as pets. Before long, it was discovered that it was impossible to tame them and raccoons could become combatant in the home. The raccoons were released into the wild. Today Japan has an epidemic problem with raccoons in the wild. The raccoons in Japan have no natural predators and are apparently destroying ancient and historic buildings and sites.

Self-defeating behaviour is identified in some instances as having a psychological history with roots and patterns of behaviour traceable to childhood, even genetics. I’m not a pyschologist so I won’t go there. But I DO know self defeat. I can see it and hear it.

A friend began beating herself up a few days ago about what I sensed she knew was an old recurring negative and unbelieving thought pattern of self defeat. She wanted not to think this way, but she was so good at sideswiping self defeat (or so she thought…) she had a solution: rather than diving into the old ‘setting oneself up to fail’ pattern, she would just skip that part, tell herself this kind of work wasn’t for her anyway,  and not even try! I heard her going through this saving herself from the possible pain of failure or the fear of failure. Over the years I knew she had probably chalked up countless episodes of similar self-sabotage. Everyday common happiness had been robbed. She might have failed to admit it, but upon closer inspection she knew she had a whole set of rather harsh rules for herself about life and living. Which was why she tried so hard and often went overboard giving others far too much leeway when it wasn’t necessary or even deserved. She had become the “I’ll take the rap…” person too many times. Life had unwound itself into an untidy ball of self blame, low self worth and consistent patterns of failure…There seemed no way out.

Like all of us out there…I too am a student of life. I have lived with a self-defeating mind set. I know the damage it can bring. For me, it may have started with a grouchy grade school teacher I had who put a dunce cap on my head one day and said I was stupid because I kept asking questions. I had only wanted to get a better grip on mathematics which wasn’t my thing. But after the duncecap day, I became terrified of math. I was forever scared to ask questions. That tiny moment in my life launched a history of learning to ‘shut up’ and to do things on my own without daring to ask for or expect assistance or direction from others — especially authority figures. Whew! What a tough haul. It was many long years before I realized the school teacher had been oppressed by alcoholism. I was finally able to forgive.

Perhaps self-defeating behaviour has more roots in wrong teaching and wrong ideas than anything else, but it can get complex. Psychologists attest that self-defeating behavior is common in society today and involves different levels of ‘diagnosis’. I’m not surprised. Perhaps society is one of the culprits that stirs and feeds self defeating behavior in the first place. Self defeating behaviour sneaks through the fence and enters into systems and patterns of behavior or belief which reinforce negative patterns in social contexts and leads to self-defeat…But let’s get past all of that.  I figure, self defeat has had its day…and then some. It’s time to tell the horrible “I’m Baaaack!” of self defeat to take a hike!

The most positive action and solution I know for dealing self-defeating behaviour a death blow  is God’s Word. Healing from self defeat can be found continually by spending time with and getting to know God. Being with others who care and take time to listen and pray through life issues with us is also valuable. But #1 — is talking with God. Get connected to Him. Get to know and understand His perspective. It’s all there in His Word, which is His amazing ‘letter’ on life. Once you know and have studied God’s thoughts, start agreeing with Him. Begin to take hold of His thoughts and promises…which are your inheritance. God’s thoughts and promises are an invaluable resource.

Before long, instead of listening to the horrible “I’m Baaaack” of self defeat, you will find yourself living the ‘alleluias’ of life.  It’s time.