Psalm 20:4—May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.
Whenever a new year approaches there is for many people a sense of optimism. Yes, now I can start afresh. Yes, perhaps this next year will be a better year. Yes, finally the hardships or struggles of this past season may come to an end. But beginning afresh requires finishing the old year well. Very rarely, if ever, can you have one without the other.
Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, characterizes people with the growth mindset as those who are willing to: embrace challenges; persist in the face of setbacks; see efforts as the path to mastery; learn from criticism; and, find lessons and inspiration from the success of others. Consequently, they reach “ever-higher levels of achievement.”
Carol Dweck, Ph.D, wrote a best-selling book that is insightful in evaluating the two different types of thinking that dramatically effect how people live their lives. The book is called Mindset. The first type of thinking that Carol examines is the fixed mindset. It stands in stark contrast to a growth mindset.
“Charles Clark cleans toilets at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. But he also helps kids turn their lives around — not because it was his job, but because it needed to be done . . .” You can watch him in action at http://omeleto.com/215307/. Charles is committed to excellence. This janitor takes pride in sweeping away dirt, mopping floors and sanitizing rooms because he takes his job seriously. When he is not cleaning or repairing, he pours his life into mentoring teenagers who need guidance and the reassurance that someone loves and cares about them. Mr. Clark understands that the students who populate Trinity High School are the greater investment. So in the natural flow of work, he makes time to listen, to encourage and to touch the hearts of students.
Neuroscientists discovered that when people listened to music it was like watching fireworks go off with multiple parts of the brain involved. But when these researchers studied musicians engaged in writing or performing music those fireworks turned into a jubilee—with every part of the brain engaged. What amazed these neuroscientists is that no other activity (sports, art, etc.) came close to matching what happens when we write or perform music. To see and listen to this fascinating study go to: http://omeleto.com/201067/.
Romans 11:33-36—Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
This evening, I’m sitting at a desk at a Residence Inn in northern Virginia. At some hour today I reached a new milestone—I turned fifty. This is a splacious moment (my word for great!) With each passing year, I get to learn new things in older ways and I’m grateful to God for the privilege.
Generally speaking I love the color green, but in this case I’ll make an exception. I put a Koi pond in my backyard looking forward to spending time each day sitting by the pool to pray and enjoy watching beautiful fish grow. But I can no longer see the fish! Algae proliferates despite the fast current the pump creates. If I don’t do something drastic soon, the green goop will kill the fish, the mosquitoes will breed and I will coin a new word, pond·tif·i·cate, which mean “to hold opinions or judgments clouded by stale thinking.
Have you ever walked up to someone, introduced yourself, listened to the other person’s name and then promptly forgotten it? I hate it when that happens! Kevin Trudeau has a course called Mega Memory. I listened to his tapes during my thirteen-hour drive to Fort Hunter Liggett, California. My intent was to improve my memory (especially for names), so I listened to the tapes I’d heard before but forgotten.
I love to spend time with people who are searching for meaning in life. I find that often many of them grapple with tough questions. They sincerely yearn to know God. Repeatedly I find that most of these folks will not go to church. They’ve tried. They have attended different fellowships but left in frustration. Three themes regarding their disappointment emerge.
The bride stood beside the groom radiant. Sitting next to me, Dan wondered what chemical process takes place that allows a woman to practically glow! There was a spiritual vibrancy as well. It was obvious that Jason and Shelby were committed as much to glorifying God as they were to consummating their marriage. But I found it difficult to concentrate as the two lovers recited their vows.
Quarantine is a condition of forced isolation often imposed upon those with a contagious disease, or to determine if someone is in fact infected. My computer has the capability to quarantine off sectors in which a virus has been discovered. This built-in protective measure is intended to keep my hard drive from crashing!
Junior High School was the worst period of my life. My family moved from Tokyo, Japan, to Seoul, Korea in the middle of my 7thgrade. I didn’t find a niche in the new school, so I compensated by handling adversity and uncomfortable situations by being funny. Mr. Eng, the principal of the Crusaders, abetted my cause. Once I pulled a rubber band back as if to shoot him and his immediate response was, “That’s stretching things too far!” My life was being stretched, and my ideas for coping weren’t working.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an agnostic is “One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists.” There are two kinds of agnostics—those who have no interest in God and see no compelling evidence to change their minds, and those who have not found Him and consequently have no reason to suggest He exists.
“Maximize the god within you!” Welcome to the arena of self-help teaching spun from the mouths of success gurus. The gist of their message runs something like:
Ø Do your best; overcome your fears for the key to success lies within you!
Ø Go after your dreams. Listen to your inner voice it will never fail you.
Ø Be sincere. Persevere and believe in yourself. You can be whatever you want to be!
When I am tempted it is never along the line of “Oh here is something wrong I can get away with doing.” The danger of temptation is when I rationalize the behavior or action I am drawn to commit over the objections of the Holy Spirit or God’s word. Temptation is a shortcut to pleasing my wants or concerns. Its chorus is never grating. It is extremely appealing:
Drafting is such an amazing art. I find it fascinating how engineers depict buildings and objects through the skillful drawing of lines and shading areas. Did you know that perspective is defined in The American Heritage Dictionary as: “The technique of representing three-dimensional objects and depth relationships on a two-dimensional surface."
Proverbs 16:2--All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.
There are those who walk by faith and there are those who walk by reason. There are those who think they trust in God and those who trust they think.
If the New Testament teaches that we are to walk by faith than our challenge is to trust God in the pursuit of living according to His Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit. The lifestyle of holiness that Jesus modeled and called us to emulate usually places us directly in conflict with the world—the same world that crucified Him. The logical conclusion is the more godly we become the more we can expect to suffer. Our challenge is to agree with the Apostle Paul—“For me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21).