Spiritual & Inspirational

Getting to the Root of the Matter

“…seeing the root of the matter is found in me?” Job 19:28

Bee the Tree -3

Over the last several weeks, Trees, Bees and Metaphors have been saturating my thoughts. It seems God has been helping me to understand His plan for my life through allegories, parables, music and images. I love it! After all; don’t we all enjoy a good story, good music, and good art?

Oft times I recall my favorite communicators of history; Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and of course Jesus. All taught through storytelling with a message. Oh, and the many lessons learned from the poignant lyrics of some of my favorite musicians. Albeit some rather obscure musicians. And from the creation of the world, the stories told through the beauty of art and imagery; are too vast to catalog, recalling the tattered cliché, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”.

Over the years in my walk with Christ. If I have learned anything, it is the importance of complete submission to God, in ALL things. For some, that might seem like a startling or obsessive idea: complete submission and obedience, to things unknown, and unseen. However, the word of God is not unseen, and for those in harmony with God’s Promise, God is not unknown.

Recently God has led me to write several stories that until today, I thought were mostly unconnected. Such are the ways of God. ALL things are connected, and ALL things work together for good.

“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

These unrelated titles; “What Forest?”, “There is Truth in all Things”, “Are You Just A Metaphor?”, and “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”. Each, with their own distinct and separate message. Or so I thought.

Thinking back to where this all started, I believe it was Mother’s Day this year. On this special Sunday, I was looking forward to hearing one of my favorite speakers at Church. In what is becoming a wonderful tradition, our Pastor’s wife, Pastor Ashli Van Horn, takes to the pulpit with powerful, God inspired messages, from a Mother’s perspective. This Mother’s Day was no exception.

As usual, Pastor Ashli was ignited with God’s spirit and delivered an inspirational message. Explaining how, as the Body of Christ, we need to stand together, strong, as a family rooted in Christ. For those that weren’t there, I highly recommend watching the video. Here’s the link to the video, Mothers Day Message, Pastor Ashli Van Horn.

Pastor Ashli used an analogy based on the powerful Sequoia trees of the Sequoia National forest in California. She detailed how these magnificent trees; some that grow as tall as 250 feet, with a circumference of 30 feet, are wholly dependent on each other for stability and support. Ashli went on to explain how these glorious trees, towering so high above the earth, it hurts your neck to see the tops; are connected by an inter-locking Root system so massive, that it is only rivaled by the trees themselves. One look at an imposing Sequoia will easily take your focus off the forest.

The Bee-Honey-Brick-WallLike the Bees that we talked about in “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”, the individual trees take care of one another. Through a complex, shared root system. The massive trees sustain each other by sharing water, nutrients and strength. Who would have thought that the tallest trees on the planet are wholly dependent on the Forest?

At no time, do the trees “fend” for themselves. Can you imagine what might happen if one of these brilliant creations would “take their roots and go home.”? It’s simply not an option. From their fragile beginnings, the sprout’s roots grow and intertwine with all the trees in the forest. The forest of shallow roots permeates the ground below. Forming a root system as massive as the trees themselves. The roots provide unconditional support and strength to every tree in the forest. With the sustenance of the forest, these wondrous, individual trees are completely free to grow and prosper; unhindered by the daily need to acquire the food, water and nourishment needed to survive.

Like the Bees in our earlier story, with each Bee concentrating on the wellbeing of all the bees, the Hive takes care of itself. Gone are all thought of self, and the perceived rewards of serving oneself. The Hive flourishes! So too the Forest prospers as well. The needs of every tree are met by their intertwined roots. As Humans, it is when we become the servant to all, we prosper. As Jesus taught,

“…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mark 10:43-44

Jesus-HumilitySo, as with the Body of Christ, the strength is in the body, or in this case the roots. The tallest trees on the planet find their strength in helping others. Free from the worries of the day and the fight to survive; each tree towers above all others, as does the entire forest. Isn’t this truly God’s design? This design saturates our world. We see it in Bee Hives, Ant Colonies and throughout the Animal world. Was this our sacrifice in Garden? All for the sake of knowledge?

“And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.” – Ezekiel 17:24

I’m reminded of a story from my childhood where a man visited both Heaven and Hell in a dream. He told his wife of his surprise to see the ground of Hell covered with beautiful, ripe fruit of all kinds. Seeing hordes of people walking around, the man noticed that no one had elbows; making it impossible to pick the fruit and eat it with arms that would not bend. Needless to say, there were a lot of hungry faces. As he left Hell and arrived in Heaven, the man was astonished to see almost the exact same scene. Hordes of people with no elbows. A ground covered in beautifully ripe fruit; but with one distinct difference. The people of heaven were picking up the fruit and feeding it to one another.

While reviewing my writing, I am thankful for God’s Divine guidance. It is apparent, not only in content, but also in continuity throughout all the recent stories. We talked about Bees with their “Servants Heart”, and how by serving the hive, all flourished with Gods reward of abundant Honey.  We referenced a Master brick layer’s direction that taught “Focusing on the Brick, the Wall would take care of itself.” Understanding with each individual Bee selflessly working for the benefit of others, the hive would take care of itself. In a story inspired by a song from Stevie Wonder, we established that being honest and truthful was in keeping with God’s word, and an act of Love. We also recognized how being too focused on a specific obstacle, could distract from God’s vision for our lives. As we dug into the World’s view of Christians, we observed how letting others define who we are as a Metaphor, could lead to an understanding based on the Worlds interpretation, not reality. All in all, we recognized the power of God through what Jesus defined as the most important commandments; to Love God with all our heart and to Love others as ourselves.

…“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

love-shoesSure, we all want to be strong individuals. Taking complete care of our loved ones. From birth, men and women alike, are encouraged to “Stand On Our Own”, or to be the “Best We Can Be”. So often, these teachings, like so many from the World, lead us to focus on ourselves. As we talked about “by taking care of the Brick, the Wall will take care of itself.” Doesn’t Christ teach us that the best way to take care of ourselves is by loving others? When we tear down the walls of self and ask Jesus into our hearts, self-dies. As a Christian, the way to be your best, is to take all focus off self and become a servant to all.

Love God, Love People

Bees, trees, bricks, walls, roots and forests. All different ways at looking at God’s divine design. Ultimately describing the same structure.

The body needs selfless individuals, focused on others; so that ALL individuals will prosper, flourish and grow strong. The individual, when stripped of the need to provide essentials for survival, blessed with the unconditional support from the body. Is free to flourish, becoming the best, strongest and tallest individual it can be. All in a body of the strongest and best.

A simple design. God’s simple design that yields God’s divine prosperity for all.

Bee the Tree and the Forest will take care of itself.

“…do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” Romans 11:18

To be a servant it just takes one step. One Drop of Love!

One Drop of Love, By Ray Charles

Please Click Below to Listen:


You’re Either With Us; Or, Your Agin’ Us!

We’ve all been there. On the playground full of rosy cheeked, snot nosed kids. Or, in the dark sports bar full of screaming fans. Inevitably, someone asks… “Whose side are You on?

What do you say? Do you answer honestly? Do you side with the majority? Oh, the alienation of being on the Other Side.

When you stand for your beliefs, as a child, a sports fan or in the board room. That’s when it starts!

Recruitment.

Typically; the leader, the alpha or simply the Bully starts the process. “What do you mean? Are you nuts?” “How can you think that way?” “Our way is the Best!!”

Deep inside, you begin to question your beliefs. You think; “If all these people agree, I must be wrong.” “I don’t want to be left out.”

Humans are the only species on the Planet that recruits others to their beliefs.

Sadly, when you take a stand, support your team, reject their actions; or worse, argue your point. There’s always the volley of facts. Usually perceived and assumed. The leader and their throng will work to beat you down with their numbers and volumes of stats and data. Then, once they determine that you cannot be “flipped”. They turn on you. “You’re just Stupid.” “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Everyone knows our way is best!” Been there, done that.

Last week, I was doing some research for an article, when I fell head long into a lively debate. Suddenly, those playground memories and questions resurfaced. “Whose side are You on?” “How can you think like that?” “Join Our side!” Knowing full well that one side, or the other, was about to turn on me as One of Them. I went to God in Prayer.

While working to understand what the Bible said of Christ Jesus as a Man. My research led me to the question, “Was Jesus a Man filled with God?” or, “Was Jesus, God as a Man?” The more I dug into it online, it was clear that I had stumbled on an extremely Passionate debate. The Factions were very well formed, and the debate on both sides was convincing to say the least.

Every paper I read took a side. Most started with a statement like, “I’m not trying to take sides, nor convince you, but…” The online discussion was heated and voluminous. So, I turned to some friends. People that I trust completely to show me the light. All responded with robust explanations and scripture of their take on my questions.

There I was, more confused and full of questions than when I started. What’s new?
That’s what led me to seek help in prayer. All the answers I was getting were so contradictory, I clearly needed help. Who better than the subject of my questions, to shed light on my conundrum? All day long I worked to balance the variety of input. Praying that God would give me wisdom to discern all the scripture references. Each scripture seemed so relevant to my questions and supported both sides of my inquiry.

Still, no resolution. Every time I would contemplate an answer, it seemed ten more questions would pop up. All leading to more opinions and Scripture. By the end of the day, I was frazzled.

My brain hurt!

As I got ready for bed, my prayers intensified. Finally, I’d had enough. Telling God that I was worn out and it seemed that I wasn’t going to find resolution for this one. As I laid my head on the pillow, I began praying that if it was God’s will for me to move forward with the article; that He would provide a clear answer. The next thing I remember was the birds waking me up at 5 the next morning. The sun creeping through the curtains while an army of birds chirped, cooed, tweeted and serenaded the birth of a new day.

I rolled over, plopped a pillow over my head and tried to go back to sleep. Lying there in that early morning brain fog, I re-evaluated the day before, and began to pray again for resolution to my queries. Then it came. Two simple words that defined my questions, and completely resolved the dilemma.

“Was Jesus a Man filled with God?” or, “Was Jesus, God as a Man?”

Answered in two simple words…

“I Am”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:58

 


People, Get Ready…

The Anticipation is Palpable.

Almost every day lately, someone says, “Something Big is about to Happen.”

The expectancy appears throughout communication, culture and spiritual beliefs.

Some construe the feelings negatively. While others rejoice.

All seem to recognize something; not by knowledge, more intuitively. Much like the feeling you get on a Roller Coaster right before you reach the top. You become full of anticipation, fear and joy. All at the same time.

Before getting on the Roller Coaster, what do you do? You get ready. Front seat, seat belt, etc. Some, get ready by not getting on at all.

Seems everyone knows what’s going to happen at the top, some embrace it, others don’t.

So many let the knowledge of what could happen, fuel their fear. While others take a leap of Faith.

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” -Luke 12:40

Do you feel the anticipation? Will you respond with Fear or Faith?


He Had a Dream

Always Love…

Hate will get you Every Time!

2017 was a year of hatred, divisiveness and Vitriol on all sides of our culture, and Political landscape.

On this day when we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. Let us All put aside the hate and loathing that Dr. King so detested; and commit 2018 as the year of Unconditional LOVE throughout the world.

Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness!

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.” -Isaiah 54:17

Much like free speech does NOT give us the freedom to falsely shout fire in a public theater, our Constitution does NOT allow us the freedom to incite violence through despicably hate filled speech.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King

There is a reason that the framers of the Constitution chose these words to start the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

Our God does not see a world of White, Black, Green or Purple People. He sees only his beloved, perfect creation.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. -John 13:34


Here I Am, Make Me

Does the idea of Time Travel make your head hurt? We’ve all seen the movies, or read the books about people that go back in time and meet themselves when they were kids. Or, when a couple falls in love and the man travels forward in time, not aging at all, and meets his girl when she’s in her 80’s.

The concept is literally mind boggling.

The linear path of time is infused in the human psyche. It seems we spend our lives working toward that next goal. Some are monumental like “I’ll start doing that once I turn Thirty.” Others are mundane like “I’ll get up off the couch when this show is over.”

We think of the past in linear concepts as well. “If I only would’a, then I could’a.”

For God, time is only a measuring stick without constrain. He was there at the beginning, and he is there at the end. He knew you before you were born, and he knows every step, thought and need of your life.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” -2 Peter 3:8

One day, decades ago, I was watching an Army of Ants as they traversed some sandy soil in the back yard at the house where I grew up. Someone had thrown a sandwich into the yard. The orderly battalions of Ants were steadily dissecting the sandwich and moving it to their Ant Hill about ten feet away. While watching, I remember thinking what a long journey for those Ants. What would have taken me a couple steps from one point to another; probably was a day’s work for the Ants.

That’s when it dawned on me. This must be like how God see’s our life. I could see the busy “dissectors” at the sandwich, I could see the caravan moving the sandwich pieces, and, I could see the sandwich disappearing into the inner sanctum of the Ant Colony. Imagine, what if I picked up a piece of the sandwich from the beginning of the caravan, and placed it at the mouth of the Ant Colony? What would the Ants think? Truly, a Miracle in their eyes?

In my early twenties, God touched my heart with the understanding that he could and would Make Me who I needed to be, in fulfilling HIS purpose for my life. All I needed to do, was to have Faith and Believe in Him.

A few years later, I was praying and begging God for his forgiveness with something that I had done in the past. I remember thinking how that stupid act would be with me always. It was then that God touched my heart; explaining that time was irrelevant to him, and reminding me, that he would “Make Me” who I needed to be, fulfilling HIS purpose for my life.

There I was, considering that new understanding of “Make Me”; when, that day in my back yard with the Ants popped into my thoughts. Wow, God could “Make Me” forgiven before I committed that Sin. Confirming that thought, I remembered reading about the difference between Forgetting and Forgiveness. Forgetting is simply, not remembering. However, the memory is still there and can be called up at will. On the other hand, Forgiveness is forgetting without any memory or recollection.

Think about that. When God says he will “Forgive” our sins. By definition… they never existed!

Every day my prayers start with “Thank You God for Making Me…” What a blessing to know that I have been re-born, before I was Born!

make me


ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

So many times, during situations good, and bad; often I’ve questioned my ability, and resolve, to push to the end. It was at those times, God reminded me that I would not be faced with challenges that I could not overcome, when I kept focused on him.

When ego takes control, and tries to push through; when it is not in line with God’s purpose for our lives, we can stumble. In a sense, like in a foot race, we are taking our eyes off the finish line and focusing on our feet. Inevitably, this will cause the greatest of track stars to trip and fall.

So instead of going through life wearing “Rose Colored” glasses. We do the ultimate “Selfie,” and put on our mirrored glasses. The ones with mirrors on the inside, so that we can stay completely absorbed in ourselves. Inevitably, this will cause us to stumble and fall as well.

Staying focused on God, and listening for direction. We are empowered with divine guidance, directing our path in all things.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26


GROW!

There Is No Growth Without Friction

Throughout my life, when I thought I was going through the most horrible times of my life, I survived. Hallelujah! In retrospect, my trials and hard times were always making me better and stronger. Most everything that I cherish in life came out of turmoil. So much so, that when things start getting tough, I know that God is showing me favor and I’m growing and gaining strength. And, I start looking forward to God’s blessings that are sure to come. Like all things, friction will make you Stronger. Much like Steel. The more times in the Fire, the Stronger the Steel.

In this week’s message, “Nothing Is Wasted”, our Pastor, Rowdy Van Horn, blessed all of us at One Church Scottsdale, teaching that God won’t allow anything to happen in your life if it won’t work for your good. All week long, I haven’t been able to get this great song, “It All Comes Together”, by Burton Cummings (lead singer for the Guess Who).

I know you’ve been downhearted,
you’ve been hurtin’ on the inside,
Lookin’ like,
That sun wasn’t shinin’ no more,
Pick yourself up, smile some, 
and try to see the bright side,
It All comes together as you grow!

“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,” Proverbs 1:5

It All Comes Together, by Burton Cummings     Enjoy!Audio Player

Grow


Always Love…

Hate will get you Every Time!

Yesterday’s events in Charlottesville, VA have left a dark shadow hovering over my heart, and the heart of our wonderful nation.

Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness!

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. -Isaiah 54:17

Much like free speech does NOT give us the freedom to falsely shout fire in a public theater, our Constitution does NOT allow the freedom to incite violence through despicably racist speech.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King

There is a reason that the framers of the Constitution chose these words to start the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

Our God does not see a world of White, Black, Green or Purple People. He sees only his beloved, perfect creation.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” -John 13:34

MLK-1

 __________

We Are All God’s Children

I’ve always believed that God Made Everything. So, I have always looked for God In Everything. In this case, I found him in a song written by Sir Raymond Douglas Davies. Along with his younger brother Dave Davies; Ray and Dave were co-founders of the 60’s British Invasion Band, The Kinks. Known for being the antithesis of the Beatles, due to their ruckus approach to life. Most would never look for God in music by artists like the Kinks. Yet, there he is!

Man made the buildings that reach for the sky,
And man made the motorcar and learned how to fly, 
But he didn’t make the flowers and he didn’t make the trees, 
And he didn’t make you and he didn’t make me.
And he got no right to turn us into machines,
He’s got no right at all,
Cause we are all God’s children

Oh, the rich man, the poor man, the saint and the sinner.
The wise man, the simpleton, the loser and the winner. 
We are all the same to Him. 
Stripped of our clothes and all the things we own. 
The day that we are born. 
We are all God’s children
                                     -Sir Raymond Douglas Davies

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” 1 John 3:1

God’s Children by the Kinks           -Enjoy!

god's children

__________

TRY NOT!

          The Yoda Principle…

Try NOT!
DO, or
DO NOT,
There is NO Try!

“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” -Matthew 5:37

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” -Revelation 3:15-16

__________

Give Thanks!

Thanks to you,
I’ve got a reason to get out’ta bed,
Make a move or two.
Thanks to you,
There’s a net below,
‘Cause otherwise well I don’t know,
Thanks to you!

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

Where moving over to make room once seemed impossible,
It’s not impossible,
That one handed applause,
That unspoken word,
That Tree-Fall in the forest someone finally heard,
Thanks to you!

Thanks To You by Boz Scaggs     -Enjoy!

thanks

__________

Be Obedient

So Help Me God

It’s the truth, I can’t tell You a lie
You’re the only one who’s been there for me each and every time
Now I guess it’s my turn to prove myself to You
Go ahead, ask me anything at all
And that’s what I am going to do
So help me God (help me God)
Help me God (please help me)

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” -John 1:18

___________

Life Is Just A Tire Swing

Always wanted to do something with this song. From Jimmy Buffet before “Margaritaville”. Simple song about a simple view of life.

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” -Matthew 18:2-3

Life was just a tire swing.
‘Jambalaya’ was the only song I could sing.
Blackberry pickin’, eatin’ fried chicken,
And I never knew a thing about pain.
Life was just a tire swing.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” -Philippians 4:6

Life Is Just A Tire Swing by Jimmy Buffet      -Enjoy!

tire swing

__________

Be Still

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do,
They’re really saying I love you

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow,
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know,
And I think to myself what a wonderful world,
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

___________

No Wise Man Has the Power

What A Fool Believes, He Sees,
No Wise Man Has the Power to Reason Away,
What Seems to Be

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours -Mark 11:24
“Can you prove, by any method of intellect, why a sunset is beautiful?” – Dr. Peter Marshall

__________

Persevere

In the confrontation between the Stream and the Rock, the Stream ALWAYS Wins…
Not through strength, but through Persistence.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
-James 1:4
Carry On by Badfinger       -Enjoy!
ocean

__________

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound!
That Saved a Wretch Like Me!
I Once was Lost,
But Now Am Found
Was Blind but Now I See

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  -Psalm 103:12

Amazing Grace, My Favorite Hymn of All Time. Always make me think of Scotland & Ireland. Even, long before I knew my Scottish roots.

So, with that in mind, start your day with some Bag Pipes, Angelic Singing and the Knowledge that it is Only by His Grace that we are Saved.

Amazing Grace by Celtic Woman           -Enjoy!

__________

The Kingdom

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  -Romans 14:17

is-the-kingdom-of-god-here-now-1__________

Plant Your Seeds

How Can I Keep from Singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that Rock I’m Clinging.
Since LOVE is LORD of Heaven and Earth
How Can I Keep from Singing?

“Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.” -Matthew 13:5-6

How Can I Keep from Singing? by Eva Cassidy    -Enjoy!

rocky seed__________

Who You Are…

Speaks So Loudly, I Can’t Hear a Word You Say

“What We Are Speaks Louder than What We Say.” -JFK via Emerson

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will recognize them by their fruits.” -Matthew 7:16-20

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

 

Seek Humility & Guidance

For us Humans, it seems that One of the hardest things to do, is to be Humble.

Understanding that Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but instead, thinking More about Others, will open doors only Dreamed of before. Not that I have figured it all out, but staying in a state of Humility is one of my Main Goals when I start each new day.

When I was starting out, one of my favorite (and First) Mentors taught me… “Get to Know the People in the Back Room, as well as, if not better, than the people in the Front Office. They’re what it’s all about.”

That lesson, along with one of my favorite lyrics from back in the day… “Be Good to the People on the Way Up, ‘Cause, You’re Gonna’ See Them on the Way Back Down!”, guided me everyday and helped me to understand that Life is not About Me.

Once you focus on helping others to succeed, Life is a BLAST!

Here’s a couple of more thoughts on Humility from some folks you might have heard of. Including, Our Lord and Savior the Christ Jesus. The Most Humble Man to Ever Walk the Face of the Planet.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. -C. S. Lewis

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. -Jack Welch

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.    -Theodore Roosevelt

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” -Philippians 2:3

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” -Mark 10:43-45

“So Help Me God” by Ray Charles      -Enjoy!

Jesus-Humility

__________

And So I Pray…

Thinking about friends and family going through some rough patches tonight and this wonderful song and scripture came to mind.

Sometimes all you can do is “Let Go and Let God!”

Storm is Brewing in the Air Tonight,
So Many Pressures on My Mind,
Want to Escape, Just Wanna Run Away,
But it’s Not an Option, I Have to Stay,

And So I Pray…

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:12

And So I Pray by JEM           -Enjoy!

child-praying__________

Foundation

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower,
We come on the ship that sailed the moon,
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour,
and sing an American tune.

“Storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” -1 Timothy 6:19

The Word is LOVE

“Say the word and you’ll be free,
Say the word and be like me,
Say the word I’m thinking of,
Have you heard the word is love?”

This one has been rattling around in my head ever since I did our anniversary video.

It has always amazed me how John. Paul, George and Ringo tapped into Love. The message of Love permeated their music from “She Loves You” to their last song from their last album Called “The End”. In that song, the Four Lads from Liverpool say goodbye with this lyric echoing the commandment to Love One Another; “And in the End, the Love You Take, is Equal to the Love You Make.”

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” 

-1 John 4:18-19

“The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

-John 1:14

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

-1 John 4:15-16

God is Love, the Word is Love and the Word became flesh in Jesus. Consider that as you listen to this composition written mostly by John.

__________

“Wind Up”

He’s Not the Kind That You “Wind Up” (Updated)

This Post has been updated. It includes new Text, Pictures, Music & Documents.

Here’s the thought that God touched me with early this Morning…

“I Will Find You No Matter Where You Are, and You Will Always Know It’s Me, Because I Will Speak to Your Heart, Not Your Head”.

When I was growing up I didn’t have a lot of supervision. Looking back, I could have chosen to go down some very wrong paths. When I was Eleven years old, I was going to Boy Scouts every week in the Church down the street. Like most things back then, it was hard for me to stay focused on the task at hand. In this case, Boy Scouts. So, as I sat there in Church, I couldn’t avoid reading all the stuff about Jesus and being a Christian scattered all around the building.

At that time, my Dad was traveling with work a lot, and he could be gone weeks at a time. My Mom was doing everything she could to raise me, my Brother and Sister. My Mom was raised in a very strict, mid-western Methodist Religious environment, so she was determined not to expose us kids to the same upbringing. We never went to Church, nor talked about anything to do with spirituality or religion. Instead, Mom taught us all to apply reason in understanding most situations. And, when my Dad was home, I remember mostly laughing and Great music as his approach to life.

Like most Eleven-year-old boys, I was struggling to understand school, baseball, Boy Scouts and yes; Girls. I had very little thought about what I was going to be or do, and there really weren’t any adults in my life at that time helping me to figure things out. When I was 9, my Mom’s Mom, Sadie, passed away on August 15, 1964. Then, exactly one year later, on August 15, 1965 my Mom’s Dad, Amos, passed away. While they told me, Amos died of Cancer, I always knew it was a broken heart. One of the few things I remember about Grandpa Amos was how much he loved Sadie. His face would always “light up” whenever she was around.

So, one winters day while I was walking to Boy Scouts, I was thinking about everything that I read in the Church about Jesus, along with the recent loss of my Grandparents. Wondering what happens when we die, and if there was anything to Heaven, and the afterlife? I remember it, like it was yesterday. I could still point out exactly where I was on that sidewalk yet today.

In fact, thanks to Google Satellite, I was able to find the exact spot, and it’s still there, and looks the same as I remember.

I remember thinking that from what I read at the Church, all I had to do is accept Jesus Christ into my heart as my one, and only Lord and Savior, acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, confess my mistakes (sins), and ask for forgiveness. Then he would take over my life and make sure that I found my way to Heaven, giving me eternal life. Seemed like a simple plan to me, so that day, on that sidewalk, I accepted Jesus the Christ as my Lord and Savior, asked him for forgiveness of my sins and dedicated everything I was, and would be to him.

That was pretty much it. I didn’t think about it a lot after that. After all we were in the midst of Beatlemania, the British Invasion and one of the most profound music and cultural revolutions in History. While I didn’t spend time reading scripture, or going to church, I always knew Jesus was with me, guiding my every step. He was truly my confidant and my best friend through some very tough and lonely times.

The next time that I remember thinking about Jesus a lot was in 1970 after my Dad passed away. In those days, I spent a lot of time alone, in my bedroom listening to music. I was so proud that owned my own record collection. Eleven albums that I bought myself and that were not borrowed from anyone.

Thinking about three of those albums is what prompted me to write this (rather long) diatribe.

The Power of Music:

At the time, I listened to these albums nonstop. Day or night, if I was in my room, I was listening to the Byrds “Greatest Hits”, Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” or Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Mostly with huge headphones on.

The lessons that I learned from those three albums impacted me greatly throughout my life, with some simple truths that touched my Heart:

“Turn, Turn, Turn”:

While most will tell you that the cover of this Bible verse from “Ecclesiastes 3:1” is about changing season’s and that all things change and that God has plans for all of us. At Fifteen years old, I heard a message about getting back up after you were knocked down. “To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn”.

Here are the song and lyrics for you you to review.

Lyrics: Turn

“Wind Up”:

While Tull’s Ian Anderson probably wasn’t writing accepted Christian teaching back then, and still not today, I learned one of my most profound lessons from this song. That the Christ Jesus is not the kind that you “Wind Up” on Sunday. And, that he is with you always and All Ways.

Here are the song and lyrics for you you to review. Please note that Ian Anderson can be a very angry poet and by default song writer. Please accept my apologies is this offends anyone. Open your heart and soul and I believe you will find a very spiritual person writing about a Church that cares more about “Pomp & Ceremony” than they do the Christ Jesus. I’ll always be very grateful for this song, as it started me down a path to really work to understand our Lord and Savior the Christ Jesus. While I’m not there yet, It’s been a wonderful journey and He’s been with me every step of the way; Monday through Saturday and on Sunday. No Wind-Up required.

Lyrics: Wind-UpGethsemane (Jesus Christ Superstar):

This “Pop” musical version of the life of Jesus taught me a lot as well. Mostly, that Jesus was a man, sent by his Father to do Miraculous things for Mankind. Including wiping us clean of our sins. As a man, he suffered physically and emotionally but his “Strength of Faith” in his Father carried him through the most horrific trials.

One of the most Powerful songs in the Opera is Gethsemane by “Deep Purples” Ian Gillan. What a Voice! In it we get a glimpse into what it “might” have been like for Jesus; alone at Gethsemane contemplating a fate that he fully understood.

Here are the song and lyrics for you to review. Please also note that this “Rock Opera” was controversial in its day. While it was never represented as the Word of God, and merely as an “Interpretation” of a well known story. It received a lot of negativity, calling it Blasphemy. I can only say that this album led a lot of people to our Lord and Savior, the Christ Jesus. I will also be forever thankful that it came into my life when it did, as it answered some questions. More importantly, it created a lot more questions that eventually led me to the True Word of God.

Lyrics: GethsemaneIn a Nutshell, that’s how Jesus found me, spoke to my heart and began to prepare me for a Wonderful life full of Love and Happiness. Even though there were some dark and scary times, he was always there with me. Not in my head, but in my heart! And, as cliché as it may sound, it was those dark and scary times that he hoisted me up on his shoulders and carried me.

As a Christian, I know I’m not perfect. Just forgiven.

Thank you, my friend and confidant Jesus!

__________

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Sometimes, Love can be a Seven Letter Word…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” -Philippians 2:3

Arguably the Best version of Respect ever!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. -Aretha Franklin & the Blues Brothers Featuring Booker T,. Steve Cropper and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn                         ENJOY!

respect-give-it-to-get-it-300x258__________

Let Me Live the Life

Take me as I am or let me down,
I am not alone,
With Broken Wings, I Learn to Fly,
And Now the Thought of Winning Makes Me Cry.

See Me As I Am, or Look Away,
I Am Not Afraid,
By Giving What I Have to Give,
The World Has Given Me a Place to Live.

Oh, Let Me Live the Life of the Man,
Oh, Let Me Feel the Life of the Man.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
– Matthew 11:29

“Let Me Live the Life.” -Batdorf & Rodney        Enjoy!

36525-Jesus-Jesussitting-painting-thinkstock.1200w.tn__________

The Door

So many times I have heard people approach Opportunity as if it was something in their control. During my career I can’t begin to tell you how many times that I saw a PowerPoint that started with the saying: “Opportunity is Where Luck and Preparedness Meet.” Or someone would quote some celebrity like this one from Milton Berle, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Hogwash!

Ever wonder where the saying “Opportunity Knocks” came from? I’m fairly certain in began with the Bible.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

-Mathew 7:7

Anyone that understands the teaching of Jesus knows that all you have to do is Knock on the door and it will ALWAYS be Opened for you.

Throughout my career I constantly Prayed for “Open Doors” and to my Joy they were opened, starting with my first prayer to Jesus when I was Eleven years old. Don’t Knock it if you haven’t tried Knocking. 🙂

A friend once told me about a Lonely Man sitting on a Beach looking at the ships go by. When this guy walked up to him and asked, “What Cha’ Doin’?” the man said, “Waiting for my Ship to Come In.” To that the guy replied, “Have You Sent Any Ships Out?”

Here’s one of my favorite songs about Opportunity…

The Door -Keb’ Mo’       Enjoy! 

jesus-knocks-at-the-door-of-your-heart__________

Pray

You know it’s okay,
Don’t worry like that,
We all have a day,
We worry like that,
You’ve just got to say,
I like it like that,
You just got to Pray

Can any one of you by worrying
add a single hour to your life?

-Matthew 6:27

Freedom

Always Remember!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

“…that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.”

-Romans 8:21

Always Love

To make a Mountain of your Life,
Is just a Choice,
But I never learned Enough,
To listen to the voice that told me…
Always love… Hate will get you every time
Always love… Don’t wait till the finish line

“I say to you, I love you. I would rather die than hate you.”           

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
-1 John 4:8

“Always Love”  -America       Enjoy!

love-shoes__________

Right & Wrong

When Kayleen and I were on the East Coast we met a lot of interesting characters. Two of our favorites were Bob and Tom, a couple of true New Yorkers from Queens. Both taught us to truly appreciate the New York City mentality. Showing both Kayleen and I, two kids from Iowa; that for the most part New Yorkers were some of the most honest and loyal people on the planet.

Bob was an Irishman, complete with bright red hair and all the vim and vigor of a smart and savvy St. Johns graduate. He’s a story for another day.

Then there was Tom. Fitting to his name, a true Tom Cat. He and I were complete opposites, which helped to make us a formidable team. Tom and I worked as a sales team for a few years, covering the East Coast, top to bottom. Tom represented the opening and closing aspects of the sale while I focused on the technical stuff. We were the best team in the country for all the years we were together. Tom was one of the few “Natural” salesmen that I’ve ever met. He taught me a lot in our journeys, including one of the best closes I ever watched. When a customer would have doubts, Tom would say:

Mwark, “Dar’ are two t’ings ya can do in life, Da Right T’ing and da Wrong T’ing. No one wants ta do da Wrong T’ing…     Right?”      (My Bad attempt at capturing Tom’s Thick New Yorker’ accent. Use your imagination.)

While not eloquent at all. Almost every time Tom would use the line, we’d close the sale. While the customer’s head was spinning trying to figure out what Tom just said, Tom would move forward with the close. To Tom’s credit, we always did the “Right T’ing” for the customer.

Here’s a verse from one of my favorite songs from Katie Melua’s “Spiders Web”. She presents an unique perspective of the consequences of choices. While Right & Wrong can be black & white decisions, the ramifications can be as vast as all of the colors in the world.

“Because the line between,
Wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread,
From a spider’s web.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colors in your mind.”

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

-James 4:17

“A Spiders Web” -Katie Melua         Enjoy!

Spider-Piano__________

Believe

In each beat of my heart I can hear your name,
I feel love with every breathe that I take,
With your love I’ve become awake,
In a wondrous and a beautiful place.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”

-Mark 11:24

Let it Grow

Standing at the crossroads, trying to read the signs,
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer,
And all the time I know,
Plant your love and let it grow

Now this I say, he who sow sparingly, will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully, will also reap bountifully

-2 Corinthians 9:6

Give

Everybody’s got to take a hand,
Everybody’s got t fall in love,
To make everybody understand,
Everybody’s got to give, take a hand

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

-Mark 10:45

“Give a Hand, Take a Hand” -The Bee Gees   Enjoy!

Ways-to-Give500__________

Forgive

Let your light shine.
Let your love show,
It’s a short ride,
Down the long road.
When the rains come,
And the winds blow,
Let your light shine,
Wherever you go.

“And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

-Ephesians 4:32

“Let your Light Shine” -Keb’ Mo’     Enjoy!

4321609_f520__________

Joy

As long as there is a Ray of Hope,
Lord, I don’t mind going out and doin’ my work,
Light up the way to brotherhood,
Help us to make His dream understood!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
-Romans 15:13
“A Ray of Hope” -The Rascals,     Enjoy!
__________

Peace

People get ready
There’s a train a-coming
You don’t need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith…

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

-James 3:18

“People Get Ready” -Eva Cassidy           Enjoy!

lionlamb__________

Righteousness

I’m gonna make my world a better place
I’m gonna keep that smile on my face
I’m gonna teach myself how to understand
I’m gonna make myself a better man

“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

-Isaiah 32:17

“I’m Gonna Make Myself A Better Man” – Keb’ Mo’       Enjoy!

The righteous will live by faith__________

Hope 

You’re gonna win the fight
It’s gonna turn out fine
You gotta hope it’ll be alright
Come on and hope it’ll turn out fine
Yeah, hope it’ll be alright, please
When the night turns to the deepest shade of black
At that point there is no reason to turn back
High above angels are falling from the sky
Lift your heart knowing
It’s gonna be alright

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

“Hope!” -America         Enjoy!

1495077727391.jpg__________

Carry On

In the confrontation between the Stream and the Rock, the Stream ALWAYS Wins…
Not through strength, but through Persistence.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
-James 1:4
“Carry On Till Tomorrow” -Badfinger           ENJOY!
 __________

We ALL Live In A Yellow Submarine!

Recently I shared these thoughts with a dear friend that I have a unique bond with. He had just texted me back a comment about some music that I sent him. When I read his simple “Fantastic” comment I was reminded of a thought that I had a while ago. So, I pulled into a parking lot and wrote this message to him…

“Two constants that I’ve noticed throughout the Bible are references to Water and God’s love for Music. All my life I’ve worked to pay attention to that. With water, it’s always about the flow. So many people see things that are not flowing and they start building dams to force the water to their path. Me, I work to step back and figure out how to get with the flow, understanding it’s one of the ways God guides us.Music has always had a special part of my life. In my career, so many of my peers would try to understand people through things like astrology, birth order and various “Physcho Babel”. For me, if I could find out what kind of Music someone liked, it always told me so much about them.”

“What Kind of Music Do You Like?”
Best answer…       “I Like Good Music.”

After reading my response, my friend texted me back…

“Oh.  My Word.  Water & Music.  You will laugh out loud at what I bought you just an hour ago.  I’m speechless.  No, seriously.  Wait till you see what I just got you. God blows me away. Absolutely. You really won’t believe it. Water & Music. Man, you are definitely on the right path.Just wait. I was standing at the store with my son, and I looked over, and I said, “I have to buy that for Mark!” So, when you sent me this, my mouth just fell open.”Yellow Submarine

It hangs in my office and reminds me every day to make sure that I’m in God’s flow and that I am not building any dams to try to change the flow. And, that music is a VERY special gift from God that empowers us to communicate with others in ways that no words can convey.

__________