My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Overcoming for a Resilient Life





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With this week close to Easter I was contemplating what to focus my blog on as I was sitting at my computer. I had been looking over some other books on the importance of reading when a song by Mandisa came to my mind as I was listening to her music. The song speaks to the importance of resilience. Having the inner fortitude to bounce back from the difficulties of life is the overcoming for a resilient person. We each have different difficulties and problems that try to keep us on the ground while resilience is telling us inside to not quit so we stand up and press on. Listen to the video of her song by clicking on the song title and think over the lyrics that point to the importance of the personal affirmation of “I am an Overcomer!”.

"Overcomer" performed by Mandisa (Click on title to view video of the song)

Staring at a stop sign Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio Got so much on your mind
Nothing's really going right Looking for a ray of hope
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He's not gonna let it get the best of you
You're an overcomer Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under ‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You That you're an overcomer You're an overcomer
Everybody's been down Hit the bottom, hit the ground Ooh, you're not alone
Just take a breath, don't forget Hang on to His promises He wants You to know
The same Man, the Great I am The one who overcame death
He's living inside of You So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life There's nothing He can't do He's telling you
(Take a breath, don't forget Hang on to His promises)
You're an overcomer You're an overcomer You're an overcomer
So don't quit, don't give in, you're an overcomer
Don't quit, don't give in, you're an overcomer
Don't quit, don't give in, you're an overcomer You're an overcomer






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When the rays of hope are slim in our life we blankly stare out at those passing us by thinking how do they have it so together when we feel beaten into the ground. If we only knew what they were going through we would not think like that. At those times the urge is to quit and give up, especially if we feel we are at rock bottom. It is at these times that we need to know that we don’t have to quit or give in. Understand that you can overcome the difficulties. How can we overcome?

Mandisa looks at life from the same worldview as I do, that of a Christian, so I know that is one reason she chose to sing this song. So the foundation of my overcoming is based on the focal point of who she is singing about -- the risen Savior Jesus. She alludes to His resurrection in the line, “The same Man, the Great I am The one who overcame death.” With this week being Easter that line may be one key reason I decided to use this song this week. I believe God’s purpose for my life is greater than the problems I face so that is important in my concept of having an overcoming mindset. I have had my share of times of being knocked down in life and wanting to stay down or even going lower. With the overcoming mindset I can keep my eyes fixed of Jesus Christ’s power that overcame death and knowing in serving Him he will lead and tell me what he wants for my life. That purpose God has for me is not giving into problems and quitting. Instead it points to overcoming and holding on to His greater purpose for my life.

The affirmation in this song to be an overcomer of course bridges beyond Christians. I remember when the song first came out there was a video that Mandisa did showing several well-known people who were battling cancer and other health problems and they were overcomers over their problems. So the general principle of the song relates to all people of all beliefs reminding us of the importance of not quitting but to overcome the problems that face us.

Another point I learned from the song came from the line “Staring at a stop sign Watching people drive by T Mac on the radio.” She is alluding to Tobey Mac with the term T Mac. His music is very upbeat and positive with a strong spiritual message. The phrase stood out to me reminding me of the power of positive music when difficult days are facing us. When you are going through difficult times it may be of help to listen to some uplifting music to remind you to get up and not quit.

Reflection: What personal affirmations do you remind yourself of when you are facing low “ray of hope” days? Do you have a favorite Overcoming Bible verse or motivational quote that helps you when you hit the ground? Do you have a favorite song that helps perk you up on down days?




Friday, April 11, 2014

Are Books Good Medicine?





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This past week I noticed a Facebook post by author James Patterson mentioning myths about books. One myth stated was that books are not important. I have heard that myth mentioned by college students as we discuss reading methods in the College Success courses I teach. Now as a Bookhead, books are very important to me. That myth made me think of how books are important? Reading books is a relaxing flow activity. Books help build the creative side of our mind as well as strengthening our critical thinking abilities. Beyond that I thought is there a health benefit to reading books? Can books be good medicine for the mind and soul?

This brings me to mention a book, Read Two Books and Let’s Talk Next Week by Janice Maidman Joshua and Donna Dimenna. This is a resource book for counselors and therapists in the use of bibliotherapy. Part of me wishes they would have written more in the text on their thoughts about the therapeutic value of reading. It is clear though, that that was not their purpose. What they do in the book is to list relevant books that relate to emotional and mental problems from A-Z. They simply list the books that speak to issues such as abuse, addiction, grief, mental illness, relationships, and many other topics. Almost any problem a therapist may be facing with a client there are books to help the client. Their book is an excellent resource for any counselor or therapist who are interested in incorporating bibliotherapy in their practice.

They point out that they are not trying to replace counselors with books. Instead they point out rightly that inner healing does not magically occur in the one hour office sessions. With bibliotherapy the books act as a between session homework for the person seeking help to gain insight from between the counseling sessions. The counselor can add to the effectiveness by using some session time for the client to open-up and share what they learned from the readings.

What is Bibliotherapy?




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Bibliotherapy points back to the Greek words “biblio” for book and “therapeia” for therapy. History shows that above the door of the library at Thebes read “The Healing Place of the Soul” (Campbell & Smith). It might help if those words where in modern libraries as well. From that we can gather that books can be good medicine for the soul. Campbell and Smith note studies that show the reading of self-help books improves the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
Adams & Pitre did a survey study of Canadian therapists who used bibliotherapy. They were wanting to discover why therapists used books in their counseling practice. The primary reasons the therapists mentioned for using books be it fiction or non-fiction with clients were to: encourage self-help, enhance therapy, clients request, speed the progression of therapy, books can help explain complex ideas, and to assess client motivation. The first reason of encouraging the client to move from dependency on the counselor to pro-actively helping themselves reminds me of a Professor I had in Counseling at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He stated that a counselor’s job is to continually be working themselves out of a job with a client. He meant by this to not make a client dependent on needing a therapist but to give them the life skills to overcome the present problem and to then hopefully be able to solve future problems.

I know over the years I have read books for a variety of reasons. Many favorite Biblical passages have helped me as I sorted out various personal problems. There have also been many self-help books that have aided my growth through difficult times and personal growth. Some that come to mind are just to mention a few:

The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter

The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer;


Counselors Are Important




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If you are going through life difficulties and they are life debilitating do find a Counselor in your area to help you. Often a local pastor or priest may be able to recommend a professional Counselor in your area. Here is a link to the American Counseling Association’s help for finding Counselors across the country –

http://www.counseling.org/learn-about-counseling/what-is-counseling/find-a-counselor

I present this information as a licensed counselor myself, so I do encourage people to seek help with a professional for help with life’s difficulties. On the other hand if you are just trying to improve your life and the difficulties you face are not that large you may instead want to visit your local library, “The Healing Place of the Soul” according to the ancient Greeks. There at the library do a search for a book that relates to the self-growth area you are exploring.

Reflection: What is a self-help book that helped you in your inner growth or through a difficult time in your life?


Bibliotherapy references
Adams, S.J. & Pitre, N.L. ( 2000). Who Uses Bibliotherapy and Why? A Survey From an Underserviced Area. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 48. 645-649.

Campbell, L.F. & Smith T. P. (2003). Integrating Self-Help Books in Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy in Practice. 59. 177-186


Friday, April 4, 2014

Learning Lessons From The Rich



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Just a few years ago the news was filled with the protests against the rich with Occupy Wall Street. The topic of income inequality is still strongly debated in some news circles and with certain politicians catering to the Occupy Wall Street types. Are all our problems caused by the rich? Do the rich pay their fair share? A study in 2008 showed that the top 1% paid 38% of all the federal income tax. The top 50 % of wage earners paid 97% of the federal income tax while the bottom 50 % paid only 3% (http://blog.heritage.org/2011/10/04/in-pictures-how-much-the-top-earners-already-pay-in-taxes/ ). So is the answer just keep squeezing the top earners for more money or can we learn from them to better our own economic lives?

Learning from the rich is the basis for a book by Thomas Corley who is a CPA. His book is Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. His book is not a dry fact filled non-fiction work. He shares in the introduction that he had spent years studying the lives of successful wealthy individuals. His books shares common principles he found that helped these individuals take advantage of what he calls “opportunity luck”. That luck is described as the results that comes from keeping good habits that improves life rather than tears down life. I will go through the principles here. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the book as it is an engaging read as he shares fictional stories of characters who you can see are down on their luck and are open to change personal habits to improve their lives.

The first principle Thomas presents is that the Rich follow good daily habits every day. I had a Sociology Professor in Chicago who always started each lecture reminding us that man was a creature of habits. The issue is what kind of habits – good or bad? So the first point is to be aware and take some time to look at your habits and see if they are helping or hurting you?

The second principle is to be a goal setter. The author states that the rich commonly have a habit of following daily, monthly, yearly and long-range goals. I have mentioned this point many times in past blogs as to the importance of being goal oriented. Having long range plans for a big picture mind helps with your future. I of course temper this with the thoughts of Dr. Jim Bright with his thoughts on chaos theory. With our goal mindsets be flexible is the chaos of life as chaos can make changes in our long range goals.






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Moving on to principle three which is to be intentionally engaged in self-improvement. Thomas states, “Successful people read for self-improvement. They are perpetual students.” (page 45). Being a Bookhead this principle is my favorite. I was listening to Ravi Zacharias in a presentation he was doing in Sweden the other day. In the Q & A time he told one attendee to “read well”. “Read for the heart and for the mind.” Also in reading well Ravi said to read a breadth of information to develop the mind. Mr. Corey on reading emphasizes rightly the importance of reading up on journals and books that relate to your career of choice. Many say there is no time to read? He suggests just read 30 minutes a day -- journals and books that will help with your success. That short time does not seem like a lot. But if you read just 30 minutes a day that would be over 182 hours a year. Imagine the knowledge increase that would add to your career life.

His principle number four is that the successful rich devote their habits to caring for their health. Exercise and healthy eating is important in their daily regimens. This gives them more energy to be at their best every day.

The fifth principle of successful people is making it a habit to build strong relationships. An important issue in career building today is networking. The successful know the importance of networking. They are not about using people instead of how can they help others. An important question is how can they keep improving relationships?

The sixth principle is that the successful live in a balanced state of moderation. They do not live in excess. This may be a surprise as many think of the rich living lives of wild excess. Of course some do but that is why the author keeps the focus on the truly successful.

The seventh principle is a mindset habit of doing things now instead of putting things off to later. This goes back to the goal orientation they carry with them.





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His eighth principle is that the successful engage in what he calls rich thinking. By that he means positive thinking and making use of positive visualization. They carry with their thinking a thankful attitude about their lives.

The ninth rich principle is the habit of being a saver. He mentions that the successful pay themselves first. I would differ in this from a Christian viewpoint, I believe the concept of the tithe in giving back to my church and charities that help the poor. That always comes first to my mind. Yet at the same time I agree with him that to be successful there needs to be a saving and investment mindset.

His final tenth principle is the habit of controlling thoughts and emotions. Thomas states, “They use the following technique when faced with a difficult situation that presents itself: ‘Think , Evaluate, and React’”.(65). Too many run into trouble by having that backwards – react, evaluate and by then it is too late to think as the damage is already done.

Will Thomas Corley’s book make you rich? Maybe yes maybe no. I do believe by following the guiding principles he has researched, you will be definitely moving more towards a Living More Than OK life. In the book he adds tips and ideas that go along with each of the principles. The book shows that it is more helpful to learn from the rich their habits instead of hating them out of jealousy.

Reflection: Which of the 10 habit principles are you strongest in? Which of the habit principles do you need to work on to improve?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Shaping The World With Our Choices and Lives






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Whether our life is going great, or just OK or maybe in a spiraling downward slump our choices and consequent actions shape the immediate world around us. You may respond with, “You don’t know what life just threw at me!”. I agree I don’t, but even with the dark discouragements of life we have the ability to choose how to respond. I believe it helps to know that how we respond can create positive change for the better in our lives and the world around us.

I have been listening for the past few months to the latest CD from Switchfoot, Fading West. As usual with all their projects it is full of fantastic music and thought provoking and challenging lyrics to think through. One song that speaks to the topic I am looking at this week is The World You Want. When the pieces of life are falling apart for us the song poses a question of “Is this the world you want”? Listen to the song by clicking on the song title and think through what the song is saying.

The World You Want (Click on the title to view video)

I'm pickin' up the pieces, I'm trying out adhesives
I'm trying to fix a place that feels broken, All my words have failed me
My voices don't avail me, I'm trying to say the hope that's unspoken
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?
You're making it, Every day you're alive
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?
You're making it

The world feels so malicious, With all our hits and misses
Feels like we're in the business of rust
It's when I stop to listen, All the moments I've been missin'
I finally hear a voice I can trust
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?

You're making it, Every day you're alive
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?
You're making it, Every day you're alive
You change the world, You change the world
You change the world, Every day you're alive
You change the world, Honey, you change the world
You change my world
You start to look like what you believe, You float through time like a stream
If the waters of time are made up by you and I
I could change the world for you, you change it for me

What you say is your religion, How you say it's your religion
Who you love is your religion, How you love is your religion
All your science, your religion, All your hatred, your religion
All your wars are your religion, Every breath is your religion yea
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?
You're making it, Every day you're alive
Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want?
You're making it, Every day you're alive

You change the world You change the world
You change my world Every day you're alive
You change my world Honey, you change my world
You change my world


Agents of Positive Change





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I would like to first list a few thoughts from Jon Foreman from an article he did concerning his thoughts on the song he wrote:

“It's a dark, self-indicting song to sing, because I'm guilty as well. I'm culpable in the state of the world. … Religion is an odd word to our ears. Words like religion, faith, and spirituality are often relegated to the irrelevant, obscurity of our childhood fantasies… And agnostic naturalism becomes the cold, sterile replacement. How could religion have anything to do with our post-modern, post-Christian world?

When Greg Graffin, Bad Religion's frontman, calls naturalism his religion, I think he's right. Your religion might not include transcendent elements, it might not include a long history of tradition. Show me your pocketbook and I will show you your religion. …You can talk all you want about your beliefs, but without action your fancy words about faith mean very little. Religion is best shown in the way we spend our time here on the planet. What you say you believe is not your religion, your religion is the way you treat the orphans and the widows here on the planet.”
- See more at:

http://www.ccmmagazine.com/article/song-by-song-jon-foreman-walks-us-through-switchfoot-s-latest/#sthash.RmWvAwID.dpuf

Jon rightly points out that our choices and thoughts must connect with behavior to make changes in our lives. As we make changes in our lives the song reminds us that we can have an impact in the lives of others in relating to them as they are going through times of difficulties. We need to be alive to be agents of positive living more than OK changes in our own lives and in the lives around us.

Especially in times where life feels like it is falling apart we need to quiet ourselves and take time to listen. Listen to what God is revealing. Listen to the question “Is this the world you want”. The thoughts in the song fit well with cognitive behavioral concepts in psychology. Think through the world you want beyond the present difficulties. The question also speaks in my mind to Dr. William Glasser’s concept of our Quality World which is the pictures we create in our mind of the perfect world we desire based on our values. Considering in the stillness new choices for positive changes and then decide to act on those choices in new behaviors is what the song is speaking of in my mind.

Religion Is Part of Who We Are




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One part of the song that captured my attention was the near the ending vamp with the repetition of phrases about “religion”. Coming at my worldview as a Christian I understand that the word religion has a negative connotation. We Christians like to state that Christianity is about relationship with God not religion. But in this song we are reminded that religion is one of the unique aspects of our humanity. The repeated phrases remind us that what we hold onto firmly in our beliefs as the most important is our religion.

In Jon’s comments that I quote about the song he alludes to the verse in James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (NASB). Jesus spoke in the synagogues so He was not against religion instead he was against hypocrisy in the religionists of his day. Religion is based on our beliefs but should also be seen in our actions in how we live our lives in an upright ethical manner and caring for those around us.

Reflection: What do you want your world to look like? What choices are you making to help make that happen? What is the basis for your “Religion”?



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Considering Forgiveness In The Workplace





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When I think of the word forgive or the idea of forgiveness I think of the hurts and wrongs within personal relationships, family and friends. Forgiveness helps to release the tensions and rebuild the relationships when we have been wronged or have wronged another. The holding on of hurts only increases anger and internal pain. We can be enslaved to past events holding grudges while the other party may move on without a care in the world while the unforgiving person is chained up with internal strife reliving the events. The spirit of forgiveness frees us from the stresses and anger to move to an upward spiral of openness in relationships and clarity of pressing forward into new growth areas.

Forgiveness helps overall health by releasing the pent up anger or stress that negatively affects the body. A body full of tension from lack of forgiveness will yield physical problems. Forgiveness builds up resilience in that we learn the freeing power of forgiveness so are better able to deal with future hurts in a better manner. Also by forgiving we strengthen our relationships.

Forgiveness and Work






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Is there a need to think of forgiveness in the workplace? That question came to my mind as I heard of a book by Dr. Deborah Welch, Forgiveness at Work. She brings out how in our workplaces we are often faced with hurts and offenses. These hurts can come at us from co-workers, our managers above us or customers. Sometimes the difficulties we face at work come from the system or style of management of the company of where we work. I remember one place I worked at in Chicago that was taken over by another company. The difficulties and hardships were not purposely caused by any one person in immediate management. Instead the hurts and stress were caused by the nature of the takeover.

Dr. Welch in her book shows how understanding forgiveness in the workplace helps to build trust, resilience, increase productivity. Just think of how many problems in our home relationships stem from unresolved hurts and stressors from our work settings. I have mentioned before that we spend a large amount of time at our jobs. So the irritations and resentments that build up from work affect our overall work effectiveness and carries over into our out of work relationships. She quotes Michael Stone a consultant concerning forgiveness, “ Forgiveness provides opportunities to use mistakes, failures, flaws and breakdowns of life as opportunities to awaken greater wisdom, compassion, and capability in our coworkers and ourselves.”

From the preceding quote can you see how forgiveness in the workplace can re-energize your efforts in your job? Can you see the possibilities on how to improve service to your customer base? I believe it makes a lot of sense to break away from the blame game or the pointing of fingers and be open to the power of forgiveness at work.

Forgiving Yourself





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How do we become better at forgiving those at work who wrong us? Much of Dr. Welch’s book is teaching us by looking at various stories from real life in various companies and her personal stories from therapy clinics she has worked at over the years. One point on forgiveness she sheds light on is the importance of forgiving yourself. She states, “ It is essential to forgive myself because I will never be perfect in my efforts. It is only by forgiving myself with all my imperfections that I can get better at forgiving others.” (p134) Often in our work due to perfectionism or not wanting to admit our imperfections we can be our own worst enemy. As Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar often states in his writings we need to give ourselves the right to be human. This accompanies forgiving ourselves.

I like how she admonishes that by first forgiving ourselves we can then be open to accept the humanness of our co-workers. We need to realize they are human as well. Some problems that occur at work where we do not see eye to eye is often not because one person is right and the other person is wrong. Instead one person is looking at the trunk of the elephant and the other the tail. It boils down to differing perspectives and personality differences. But inside, the desire is to quickly point fingers with pent up feelings that my way is the right way. When the true solution may be a synchronizing of both sets of ideas there just needs to be openness from both parties within the team.

There is so much more on forgiveness from Dr. Welch and the stories she brings to light in her book. Do look for her book online or ask for it at your local library. Remember that forgiveness can be a positive factor in your workplace setting not just in your home life or with personal friends.

Reflection: Do you find irritations and hurts in your workplace negatively affecting your home life relationships or personal friendships? Think over ways you can free yourself up forgiving the hurts from your work setting. Do you need to forgive yourself from beating yourself up over your feelings of inadequacy at work or other aspects of yourself?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Appreciating a Worldwide Best Seller

Recently my wife and I attended a “Read The Bible For Life” conference our church sponsored. The speaker was Dr. George Guthrie of Union University in Tennessee. The presentation is an outgrowth of his book, Reading The Bible For Life: Your Guide to Understanding & Living God’s Word. The book is conversational in tone as he presents information on the foundations of interpreting the Bible, the Old and New Testaments , and understanding the Bible in modern contexts. The book I say is conversational as it is based on his interviewing of other top Biblical scholars on the various topics.

The Best Seller The Bible





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In the beginning of the conference Dr. Guthrie reminded us that the Bible is a perennial best seller. Every year over 25 million copies of the Bible are sold in the US and about 100 million are sold around the world. Those numbers surpass the best sellers on the New York Times best seller list. I just happened to look at the New York Times list as I was writing this to see what book was number one today. This week the fiction number 1 is CONCEALED IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb and the number 1 non-fiction is THE MONUMENTS MEN, by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. These change from week to week but the Bible keeps selling regularly.
It is amazing to consider the uniqueness of the Bible. It is a compilation of 66 books of which 39 are from the Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament. The authors came from various geographical areas and the writing occurred over a time span of about 1,500 years. Yet from the Christian perspective there is a unity that connects the books together. That unity is the message that there is a personal God who is seeking a loving relationship with humankind that has turned their backs in rejection to God.

Literary Styles in the Bible



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Dr. Guthrie empathized that the Bible has a variety of literary styles within it. That needs to be considered as we are reading it. The Old Testament has the richness of the historical stories of the development of the nation of Israel. There are sections of Laws that relate to helping the nation as a people form and laws that relate to all mankind. The differences need to be considered in understanding the context of the scripture passage being read. There is also the Wisdom literature of the Psalms and Proverbs that need to be read differently from the historical passages.

In the New Testament there are the first four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke , and John that tell of the life of Jesus. Each gospel author is looking at Jesus from a different perspective. Many times people will point out the differences in the gospel stories and suppose those as errors in the Bible. But if you consider it reasonably, you would expect there to be some variation with four writers taking a different perspective on a subject such as the person of Jesus. Then there are other writings in the New Testament. These books are mostly letters to Christians in the early years of the development of Christianity discussing how they should live as followers of Christ.

In the conference presentation we were reminded as we read the Bible take note of the various styles. Understand the literary style as that has an effect on interpretation. We understand that poetry of the Psalms are filled with metaphors and illustrations. Reading that is different from reading the facts of a historical narrative say in the book of Joshua or I Samuel.

Living the Bible for Life




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Going back to the overarching theme of the Bible as God seeking a personal living relationship with us, we were exhorted in the conference that reading the Bible should make a difference in our lives. Consider these words from Psalms 119: 25 – 29 “ I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” I chose this set of verses for those who say the Bible is an old irrelevant book. Who has not been in a situation where they felt like they were knocked down in a dusty desert? Who has never been worn out by the burden of life’s sorrows? The Psalmist is telling us to meditate and listen for God in these low-down times. Listen for God to help strengthen your life. To learn how to preserve our life for the better we need to be living according to His Word. I like the phrase meditate on God’s wonders. Think over the amazing things about creation and your life that you know are Godwinks from Him trying to get your attention. As you ponder these in awestruck wonder you can understand the graciousness of God and then choose to follow His way of Truth.

These thoughts are just a few of many that came from attending the “Read The Bible For Life” conference. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Dr. Guthrie speak, do so as he is very passionate about Bible reading. In the meantime pick up a copy of his book, Read The Bible For Life.

Reflection:
What is your favorite Bible story or Bible character? Get out your Bible and read the story or read the passages about your favorite Bible character. What principles can you apply to your life from what you read?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pitfalls To Happiness

This is the fifth week of responding to some questions I have been given about my book, “Living More Than OK”. The final question is very good, in that it looks at the hindrances people have to positive change. With a new year here, this is important to think about! In the first blog post of this year I mentioned a study where only 8 percent of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. The question posed to me is: what pitfalls do readers have to overcome to maintain a happy life? This causes me to think back to a couple of weeks ago when I spoke about choices.

The Dangers of Passivity

One major pitfall is the passivity of choosing not to choose. Going back to the thoughts of Dr. Shad Helmstetter here is one of the quotes I mentioned from him, “Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all.” The successful and the happy make wise choices to move in that direction. The phrase, “those who never choose at all,” is a little misleading to me, as I believe not making an active choice to spiral up to abundant living is still a choice. It is a choice for the negative boring status quo that so many complain about, but never take action to do anything about. This pitfall is easy to get out of by simply taking time to put on your critical thinking and creative thinking hat on, and brainstorm new active choices to improve your life.



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There Is No Such Thing As a Happy Pill

Another example of a pitfall is all the excited talk about legalizing marijuana. Those wanting marijuana legalized act like that is the solution for instant happiness and enjoyment. To me, that is a pitfall that people want some easy way to happiness. “Just give me a drug to make me happy.” I never used alcohol or drugs, as I saw the negative fallout in people’s lives and thought: “Why would I want to do that to myself?” I read how Joe Scarborough of MSNBC came out recently, saying how he never tried marijuana because he thought those using the drug looked so dumb. I bring that same thought out in my book. I have seen a group high on marijuana before and they simply looked and sounded stupid. So my rationale was always why do I want to look stupid?

My essay chapter in “Living More Than OK” about Natural Highs clearly shows that there are so many ways to enjoy life to the full without smoking or snorting drugs. Again on the marijuana front, it is amazing how society has discouraged cigarette smoking as dangerous when it used to be considered cool years ago. Now the same people are exalting marijuana use even though it has more chemicals than cigarettes, is held more intensely in the lungs when they inhale it and some of the chemicals stay long term in the fatty tissue of the brain. Tell me where the critical thinking is on that issue?

What I am trying to get at is the easy way of hoping for a happiness drug is not the best way to “Live More Than OK”. There are so many more healthy and positive ways to have a more flourishing life.


Photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Foter / CC BY-ND


Open Up To Risks

The final chapter in the book relates to another important pitfall that stops people from growing in happiness. That is not being open to take risks. The openness to try something new. Many freeze up with fear in trying something new. I do honestly admit in my book that I am a low risk-taker. My natural highs are reading, music, travelling, enjoying time with family and friends. You notice I do not mention scuba diving or parachute jumping. That is just me. If you enjoy those activities go for it. Go for sports, art, dancing, photography…..the positive options are endless. I give ideas and resources in my book in relation to new natural high ideas. Take the risk to try something new this year.


Photo credit: o0bsessed / Foter.com / CC BY

I have enjoyed answering these few questions about my book, “Living More Than OK” at the start of this year. Next week I will move into more topics. But if you have a question you would like me to speak to please send me a comment about it and I can address your question in a future week!

Reflection: What personal pitfalls hinder you from moving towards Living More Than OK in your life? What new activities would you like to do in the coming year?