Monday, July 30, 2012

Right Character

“W. Michael Blumenthal, chairman of Unisys, talks about the mistakes he made in hiring: In choosing people for top positions, you have to try to make sure they have a clear sense of what is right and wrong, a willingness to be truthful, the courage to say what they think and to do what they think is right, even if the politics militate against that. This is the quality that should really be at the top. I was too often impressed by the intelligence and substantive knowledge of an individual and did not always pay enough attention to the question of how honest, courageous and good a person the individual really was.”[1]

The above example illustrates how we are so fascinated by the outward characteristics of people and their eloquence. But although they matter, they don’t provide the whole picture. It is just but one of the many facets of one’s personality. And the Scriptures provides a classic example of how men always fail to see the character that matters the most especially to God when He chooses, “And he said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice." And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed is before him." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:5-7)

Clearly, even God recognizes the fact that we are indeed beholden on the outward qualities of a person. Why, this is exactly the reason for the target advertisements on print, television, the Internet and billboards that shows near perfect models to entice many to buy their products. Unfortunately, we all fall for it. It is just part of life that we go through daily. Yet we need to make the right call to show that our characters and judgment are not based on these things but what we have been taught and brought up to be: men and women of right character.

God sees the heart but how can we? Again, the Scripture points us to the way in knowing what is inside men’s heart, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  There’s nothing clearer than this! All of us have learned GMRC (Good Manners and Right Conduct) and were strictly taught to abide by it. However, the opposite becomes evident instead. What do we do? Actually no one can do anything about it because we were all born with WMBC (Wrong manners and Bad Conduct). This is exactly the reason why Jesus came to the world: to die for our sinful nature and habits. He has given us a fighting chance against it; we have no power against the sinful nature that causes bad character in us but with Jesus on our side, “We can do all things through Him that gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13). Only He can transform us if we let Him.

What does this world need? THE WORLD NEEDS MEN AND WOMEN...who cannot be bought; 
whose word is their bond; 
who put character above wealth; 
who possess opinions and a will; 
who are larger than their vocations; 
who do not hesitate to take chances; 
who will not lose their individuality in a crowd; 
who will be as honest in small things as in great things; 
who will make no compromise with wrong; 
whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires; 
who will not say they do it" because everybody else does it"; 
who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity; 
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success; 
who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular; 
who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says "yes."[2]  Can we be counted as part of these men and women for this generation and the next?

Lets talk again!

[1]  Jerry Flint, in Forbes
[2] Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.107-8.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Power of Motivation

How does one motivate itself towards any undertaking? What causes it and its opposite - de-motivation? Here’s something I came across to answer this question in one company, To get employees to work on time, a Michigan company provides 45 parking spaces for 50 cars.”[1] When there are triggers created, then the desired motivation is achieved. Another story to illustrate the power of motivation, "I'm so depressed and I can't get any dates," the 300-pound man told his minister. "I've tried everything to lose weight." "I think I can help," said the minister. "Be dressed and ready to go tomorrow at 8 a.m." Next morning, a beautiful woman in a skintight exercise suit knocked on the man's door. "If you can catch me, you can have me," she said, as she took off. He huffed and puffed after her. This routine went on every day for the next five months. The man lost 115 pounds and felt confident that he would catch the woman the next day. That morning he whipped open his front door and found a 300-pound woman in a jogging suit waiting for him. "The minister said to tell you," she began, "that if I can catch you, I can have you." [2]
This story seems funny to many of us yet it speaks volume of how one thing can trigger the power of motivation that can change any person’s life in achieving their target desires. It can be done but it must done right. Many have become great motivational speakers and became effective in transforming many lives in the process. Books have been printed in droves and became bestsellers. However, there are still many people that we know both public and private that are still defeated, discouraged, depressed and de-motivated. It seems that even with the abundance of many sources of motivation, the effect is only temporary.
In the Scriptures, the motivation of the apostle Paul in doing God’s will upon his life is simply stated: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It is by having the firm knowledge that God is ultimately in control of every aspect of his life that brought about in him to do what God called him to do. By having this motivation, Paul did not waver in his determination to go where God led him. It was his love for God that became his motivating factor to suffer many unimaginable things that no ordinary man would choose to go through if not for this strong bond of love towards God and His purpose. And this is the reason why Paul became one of the greatest apostles of Jesus. Here’s his complete speech of his life’s purpose summed up: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:35-39)

Although, we may never totally emulate Paul in his commitment to pay the ultimate price in serving God yet we can find the source of his motivation was his unyielding love for God. And with this knowledge, it will give us the strength and source of our greatest motivation in any battles we may face in life. Having a power source greater than anything that this world could offer is what we need to have the same motivation as the apostle Paul. Anything that this world offers pales in comparison for they are but temporary rush only that does not contain any lasting effect.
Therefore, never settle for anything less than the power of God’s love to become the source of your greatest motivation to live life to the fullest as God intended even in the midst of your trials and tribulations.
Let’s talk again!

[1] Bits and Pieces, April 1990, p. 24.
[2] Contributed by Allan C. Boyer in Reader's Digest.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Power To Dream

 “It started like so many evenings. Mom and Dad at home and Jimmy playing after dinner. Mom and Dad were absorbed with jobs and did not notice the time. It was a full moon and some of the light seeped through the windows. Then Mom glanced at the clock. "Jimmy, it's time to go to bed. Go up now and I'll come and settle you later." Unlike usual, Jimmy went straight upstairs to his room. An hour or so later his mother came up to check if all was well, and to her astonishment found that her son was staring quietly out of his window at the moonlit scenery. "What are you doing, Jimmy?" "I'm looking at the moon, Mommy." "Well, it's time to go to bed now." As one reluctant boy settled down, he said, "Mommy, you know one day I'm going to walk on the moon." Who could have known that the boy in whom the dream was planted that night would survive a near fatal motorbike crash which broke almost every bone in his body, and would bring to fruition this dream 32 years later when James Irwin stepped on the moon's surface, just one of the 12 representatives of the human race to have done so?”

Dreams are starting place of what makes us who we are now. Without dreamers, the world could have been a different place. All of the man-made wonders we have now would not have been in existence if not for the dreamers who dreamt about it. That’s why, somebody said, “You are one of a kind; therefore, no one can really predict to what heights you might soar. Even you will not know until you spread your wings!”
Dreams are God’s imprint on every human being born in this world and it was He who entrenched it deeply in our DNA. Thus, it can never be denied that one of the acts of early humanity united by one language after the flood was to build a tower that will reach heaven written in Genesis 11:1-4, Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."
But a dream filled with pride that desires to challenge God will experience opposition from God Himself. How? God confused their language and the edifice they wanted to build stopped and was later known as the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:5-8).  Since then, it has become a continuing dream in each country to build the highest tower whether it is a high-rise apartment or a tall structure. All told, men did not lose the dream to reach heaven by all means. And the closest we have attained so far was reaching the moon.
The most important about dreams are its power to provide greatness for an individual or dreams of grandeur that has caused countless despair to many. Most notably, there were dreamers that improved the lives of many people like Mother Teresa who spent most of her life in Calcutta serving and living with the most unfortunate. There is Bill Gates who dreamt of changing the world through the computer technology and succeeded. One way or another, each member of the human race can dream and become a catalyst for change towards great things. Why? It is because we were created to do so.
Yet we need to choose our dreams that will become a source of blessing not curse. How do we do this? It is when we begin to anchor our dreams with God’s dream in the first place. What is God’s dream then? The prophet Jeremiah summarized it this way, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (29:11). If you want this fulfilled in your life today, then a decision needs to be made.
Let’s talk again!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Be Angry But Don’t Sin

This is what the Scriptures speak about it in Ephesians 4:26: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (MSG)[1]

In order to understand how powerful anger is when uncontrolled, let me share you a story I come across: This is a true story which happened in the States. A man came out of his home to admire his new truck. To his puzzlement, his three-year-old son was happily hammering dents into the shiny paint of the truck. The man ran to his son, knocked him away, hammered the little boy's hands into pulp as punishment. When the father calmed down, he rushed his son to the hospital. Although the doctor tried desperately to save the crushed bones, he finally had to amputate the fingers from both the boy's hands. When the boy woke up from the surgery & saw his bandaged stubs, he innocently said, " Daddy, I'm sorry about your truck." Then he asked, "but when are my fingers going to grow back?" The father went home & committed suicide.

Think about this story the next time someone steps on your feet or you wish to take revenge. Think first before you lose your patience with someone you love. Trucks can be repaired. Broken bones & hurt feelings often can't. Too often we fail to recognize the difference between the person and the performance. We forget that forgiveness is greater than revenge. People make mistakes. We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever.

Let us keep in mind that we can never attain to have self-control at all times. The Scriptures does not even prohibit being angry. As a matter of fact, we are allowed except do not allow yourself to sin with it. We can never take back what was spoken out of anger. There is a prayer that we can apply found in Psalms 141:3 and it states, Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips.” (MSG)[2] Remember that when you pray this prayer, our teeth that stand as a guard will bite an angry tongue.

What will be the best antidote in order to restrain oneself towards anger and to avoid any damage as a result? Let ‘s heed what James 1: 19 states, Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (NLT)[3] It is very important to know what constitutes our communication system. Let me share what I have always discussed during pre-marital counseling in the area of communication. I’ve discovered that our communication system involves three major things and its percentages; 38 percent tone, 55 percent non-verbal and only 7 percent words. Therefore, when these things are considered carefully and fully remembered, I believe that there will be moments of peace in any conversation we will have with one another. The target plan is for an anger to be controlled accordingly within the right parameters, but cannot be removed altogether.

Therefore, communication is a process and needs to be learned as a skill in order to have the best relationship in all levels. Here’s another principle to remember to become a better communicator: “A person who is angry on the right grounds, against the right persons, in the right manner, at the right moment, and for the right length of time deserves great praise.”

Having the right mindset and to follow wholeheartedly what the Scriptures have declared to do will allow us to get a better grip of any words that comes out of our mouth whether in anger or not. In doing so, people around us will become comfortable whenever we are with them knowing that we will not become a volcano ready to erupt at any time. We are able to do it especially when we have God on our side. Keep praying that our mouth will always speak blessings and not curses. And in this kind of prayer, God always answer us.

Let’s talk again!

[1] The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
[2] The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
[3] New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Power of Forgiveness

A little boy, being asked what forgiveness is, gave the beautiful answer: "It is the odor that flowers breathe when they are trampled upon." And always remember that this is what best describes forgiveness. To many people, to forgive is the hardest thing to do especially those that have been injured by another person big time. However, it is also the best thing that anybody can do for another to personally obtain genuine peace and joy in one’s life. On the other hand, inability to forgive imprisons one soul in painful resentment and utter despair. It is a decision that no one can make for another. A deliberate choice must be made to do so. Most importantly, it is given not asked.
Recently, I came across a BBC news article that discusses forgiveness: “So what does true forgiveness really mean? And how can it be achieved? Throughout history, forgiveness has often been seen through the prism of religion, rather than of science or psychology. On Good Friday, the Bible says Jesus Christ said "forgive them Father for they know not what they do" as he was on the cross.” Jesus walked what He taught even at the cross. It wasn’t easy but He did it to the amazement of His enemies and to be imitated by His disciples.
Jesus taught it plainly to His disciples when Peter asked Him about it: Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Forgiveness is a Christian principle that MUST be applied by those that adhere to Jesus as their Master and Lord. If Jesus exemplified it, then His disciples should be capable of doing it as well.
The art of forgiving is a spiritual grace every Christian should develop. Because this is so difficult to put into practice, Roy Smith, an author of bible study materials offers the following suggestions: 1) Begin by assuring yourself that compared to Christ's suffering you haven't been seriously wronged at all. 
2) Recall the many kind deeds that have been shown to you, perhaps even by the person who has harmed you. 
3) List the benefits you have received from the Lord. 
4) Thank Him for blessing you with His love and forgiveness each day. 5) Make an honest effort to pray for the one who has injured you. 
6) Go even further by looking for an opportunity to help him. 7) If the offense is especially hard to forget, try to erase the memory by thinking gracious and generous thoughts. 
8) Finally, before you fall asleep at night, repeat slowly and thoughtfully that phrase from the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Here is a prayer that we can apply daily to apply forgiveness as often as possible as Jesus’ disciple:
If I have wounded any soul today,

If I have caused one foot to go astray, 

If I have walked in my own willful way— 
Good Lord, forgive!
If I have uttered idle words or vain,

If I have turned aside from want or pain, 

Lest I myself should suffer through the strain— 
Good Lord, forgive!
If I have been perverse, or hard, or cold,

If I have longed for shelter in thy fold, 

When Thou hast given me some fort to hold—
Good Lord, forgive!
Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee, 

Forgive the secret sins I do not see, 

That which I know not, Father, teach Thou me— 
Help me to live.

Learning to appreciate the power of forgiveness provides a secure life of peace and joy. Having no heavy baggage to carry around, an individual will be free as a bird to face anything it may encounter. It is a great advantage to ensure that forgiveness is an attitude to adopt at all times however small the issue maybe. As the popular saying goes, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” And it simply means this: Forgiveness of those who have wronged us is very difficult but very Christ-like. When those that professes to be Christians applies the power of forgiveness at all times in any situation, many will see Jesus and become attracted to Him.

Lets’ talk again!