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1. You will receive a body

Make peace with your body
 ~ Accept its imperfections and respect what your body needs to runs its optimum performance

2. You will be presented with lessons

As you travel through life, you will encounter lessons unique to you. Be open to those lessons and chose actions that align with your true path

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons


View mistakes as opportunities to learn. Be compassionate, learn to forgive, live your life ethically and keep a sense of humor

4. A lesson is repeated until learned


Do you find yourself repeating the same patterns in your life? Learn to recognise the patterns and the lessons that they offer

5. Learning does not end

If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned. Embrace your role as a perpetual student of life

6. “There” is no better than “Here”


Live in the present. Dance the fine line between living in the here and now while holding in your heart the fondest dreams and aspirations for the future

7. Others are only mirrors of you


You cannot Love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you Love or hate about yourself

8. What you make of your life is up to you


Every person creates his or her own reality. Imagine yourself at 90 years of age, looking back at your life. What do you want to see?

9. Your answers lie inside of you


All you need to do is look inside, listen and trust yourself

10. You will forget all of this at birth


Somewhere along your journey from the spiritual world to the physical one, you simply forgot these ten rules!

 

 

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Since childhood I have always sensed energizing, protective, and unseen guiding presences in my life.  For several years a lovely lady visited me regularly during my sleep – or at least, what I thought was my sleep.  Today, at age forty-seven, I can still vividly recall this kindly woman’s moments shared with me from the age of four years until I was nearing junior high.  Often, these meetings included singing without any concern for waking my parents.  Other times, stories were told, Bible stories about the heroes were read, poems recited, or general small talk shared.  It was a year or so into junior high school that I realized the sweet lady had not paid a visit.  It seemed, however, she had been replaced by other motivators in my life, mainly music.

One day, perhaps around my sophomore or junior year of high school, my grandmother pulled out old family photos.  Many, many Sundays were spent going through the treasure trove of our family’s history told through photographs, but this particular Sunday, there was a different box, one I didn’t recognize.  Grandma Donna handed me some photos and after thumbing through several I recognized the sweet lady who visited me as a child.  It was my great-grandmother, Thelma Daugherty Barmes.

Sadly, seven years before my birth, Grandma Thelma was involved in a fatal automobile-train accident, expiring the following evening, January 16th, 1957, at 5:05pm.

Grandma Thelma was a wonderful musician; a pianist and vocalist.  One of my first vocal lessons came from my Grandpa Leroy as he relayed watching his mother teach a voice lesson when he was a small boy – Grandma Thelma instructed the student to keep the tongue down, and to sing towards the teeth.

In college, I became fascinated with the possibility of angels.  Several professor friends recounted personal anecdotes related to angelic activities in their own lives, prompting me to wonder if the visits from great-grandmother were – well, angelic visitations.

There are so many arenas dedicated to the study of angels.  I’ve scoured the topics, the varying beliefs, and the Biblical history of angelic beings, and I finally decided that since there will never be one consistent consensus on the topic, it would be my choice to accept the fact angels exist, knowing they had personally appeared throughout my life.  Today, I still believe I have an angel team that assists me in a variety of activities throughout my life-journey.  I have no idea who they are, or whether or not the same ones continually accompany me. Quite simply, I do not doubt their presence, and I trust them.

Over the past twenty years, or so, I have also come to recognize that fellow humans also serve a similar purpose just as the unseen-beings on my “angel team.”  I have countless experiences of brief encounters where someone, or some unexplained incident, has briefly, even momentarily, appeared alongside me on my life-journey to offer guidance, encouragement, or specific information I needed at that moment.

Coincidence?  Perhaps.

God acting anonymously?  Perhaps.

I do believe these positive beings are off-shoots, working on behalf of The Great Spirit.

Regardless who they are, what they are, from where they came, whether they are winged or wear halos, they simply exist in my life.  And how damned lucky I am for these special moments!

Last summer I was terribly ill, and it took me through mid-Autumn to fully recover my strength, and stamina.  My spirits sagged because I just did not have the mind-effort to write on the Wright Brothers musical.  I would open the file.  I would look at the words that suddenly appeared foreign and click shut the file.  It seemed as though my great-passion for this particular craft had died a sudden, unexplainable death.  I began searching for answers to the questions I proposed:

Does this musical suck? (Considering the combined talents of my wonderful, patient co-writers, Gail & Leslie, I knew the lyrics and music elevated my work)

Am I suppose to even be doing this?

Is something trying to tell me I should do something else?

It was a frustrating Autumn, and early Winter.  The most infuriating thing is that I have the ideal life as a writer, something not often afforded my friends and acquaintances who have been published, or produced.  I have my mornings and early afternoons free, and teach private lessons from approximately 3:00pm until 8:00pm.  One day a week I am at a middle school.  Since my sons have always been involved in extra-curricular music activities that often keeps them busy on Saturdays – another full, free day of writing.

My life is ideally set to fully, and passionately embrace this craft.  However, from the end of July, before I discovered my illness, to early winter, I felt absolutely dead inside.  I coasted through the holidays, and my post-Christmas vacation still found me emotionally uninvested, and dealing with the same illness, again.

This past Saturday morning I was reminded by my calendar text that there was a Writing Workshop set for Sunday at 2:30pm.  The workshop was geared for middle grade/young adult audiences, nothing actually to do with playwrighting.  I dismissed it.

Sunday morning something caught my eye while scrolling down Facebook. A terrific author, and inspiring personality, Katrina Kittle posted:

“Dayton Area Writers – TODAY (Sunday) at Books & Co from 2-3:30pm, hosting a free mini-writers’ workshop, taught by myself and the lovely Kristina McBride. The topic: Writing for Middle Grade and Young Adult Audiences.”

Meh.

I sort of dismissed it.

The sun, despite doing its thing on the opposite side of my house, was filling my bed/sitting room with a glowing radiance.  It seemed to beckon me for a hike with my teenage son and the three dogs. For several days I’d been dealing with a nasty situation involving an individual who felt compelled to self-appoint a mythical reign over a project for which I was serving as coordinator. That morning, after two nights of minimal sleep, pulsating pressure in the head, and the inability to fix the situation, I stepped back and handed over the reins.

Freedom.

A renewed energy quickly flooded my brain, my entire being.

Katrina Kittle’s reminder of the writer’s workshop reappeared on a later Facebook scroll.  For the first time in over six months I actually felt life creeping back into my soul.  I remember how invigorated I was when I heard Katrina speak about her novel, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, during one of our ACTION Adoption Service training sessions.  I had also attended several theatrical performances where Katrina played a psychologist assisting a patient through the horrors experienced both during the London Blitz of WWII, and years later on 9/11.  Katrina’s voice is captivating, and her spirit is invigorating, and infectious.

At this point I knew that my angel team was kicking in a God-wink.  Quintin and I discovered a movie he wanted to see (I did not) was at the same time, so we killed two birds with one stone. He hit the cinema, and I hit Books & Company.

As I grabbed my keys, preparing to leave the house, a song – one of my favorite songs – on Spotify began playing.  I sat down, and absorbed the message.

When a thing is wick, it has a life about it.
Now, maybe not a life like you and me.
But somewhere there’s a single streak of green inside it.
Come, and let me show you what I mean.

When a think is wick, it has a light around it.
Maybe not a light that you can see.
But hiding down below a spark’s asleep inside it,
Waiting for the right time to be seen.

You clear away the dead parts,
So the tender buds can form,
Loosen up the earth and
Let the roots get warm,
Let the roots get warm.

~ ~ ~

And all through the darkest nighttime,
It’s waiting for the right time.
When a thing is wick, it will grow!

The words to “Wick,” from THE SECRET GARDEN, was another God-wink for the day.

The workshop, led by Katrina Kittle and Kristina McBride, was my final remedy.  Within minutes of the workshop beginning, I realized the dead parts encasing my spirit were breaking through the earth.  That spark, as lyricist Marsha Norman explained in THE SECRET GARDEN, had been hiding down below, sleeping within… It was the right time.

After a meeting with a good friend I respect and admire, and another fun dinner with Quintin, I quickly returned home with the joy of the workshop’s reassurance beating within.  I opened my laptop, clicked on the file titled THE BIRD LET LOOSE, and opened the script.  Everything was familiar once again. There seemed to be a chorus of voices calling out from the pages, thrilled that I had returned. A reunion began.

It seems my angel team had led me, at the right time, to Sunday, January 8th, 2012.  Were Katrina and Kristina serving as angels?

Who can say.

For whatever reason, these two lovely ladies, as countless others throughout my life, were a piece of the puzzle that has continually courted me on this wonderful journey.  Perhaps some people, much like my family and teachers have always been, are the golden bricks that pave my own personal yellow bricked-road.

The passion is restored.  I am acknowledging, appreciating, and adoring my apprenticeship once again.

Can I say life is wonderful, and that I am so blessed?

You betcha!

Since my days at Ball State University, I have always marveled at the many individual journeys that meet at particular crossroads throughout our lives.

Crossroads are exciting!

We never know when certain fellow travelers will cross our own path, joining us on our own journey. Sometimes we travel together for the remainder of our earthly journey, while understanding that some paths are joined for a certain length of time.

Over the past few months I have neglected to recognize my own fantastic journey, and just how blessed I am with so many I know from this journey. The world of Facebook certainly allows me to connect, reconnect, and meet many wonderful fellow travelers. As the world becomes smaller through technology, our personal lives are enriched beyond measure.

As Jose and I entered the lobby of Red Mountain Family Services, where we were to meet Quintin for the first time, Cindy, the director of the agency, stepped forward with a warm, generous smile to say, “We know who you are.”

Immediately, there was a new person joining my own journey. And within minutes of walking through the door, the world of the Haasienda grew extensively as we met Valerie, Dr. Davison, and several other staff members of Red Mountain. This is just not an ordinary staff of people who come to work in a building. It is very clear that Red Mountain is an ensemble of heaven’s earthly angels sharing their affection with all who cross the threshold, and giving their heartfelt devotion to countless children who struggle not only with life, but in finding hope to continue their own journey.

I don’t know how anyone could read the great teachings of Christ, and countless other teachers, or prophets, and not recognize that Red Mountain, like ACTION Adoption Services (from Dayton), is living proof that The Great Spirit, God, Allah, Jehovah, Creator of the Universe, the Supreme Composer is not only very real, but very much a part of each of us.

I wish I could bring Red Mountain and ACTION Adoption Services (from Dayton) together. I see the magic, the beauty of families formed all the time at ACTION; however, Thursday afternoon, I walked into an incredible world that offered me a glimpse of those who believe in others, and in this case, those who prepared a 15 year old boy to become part of my own family.

To me – this is magic! This is the stuff from which dreams are made!

When we believe our journey is one of solitude we have failed to recognize that The Great Spirit – or whatever title – is not only next to us – but inside us. So often we fail to recognize we are not simply followers, or students/disciples on our journey when we have actually been trained to be leaders. I cannot see how the ancient teachings could be interpreted differently.

Right now, I am at, yet, another wonderful crossroad on this fantastic journey. Several folks from New Mexico – the staff of Red Mountain, and Quintin’s beautiful foster family, Jun & Nina – have met Jose and I at this beautiful moment of our intertwined paths. I know we shall maintain contact once our individual journeys move in various directions to continue our missions, but oh, what a moment.

And of course, my new son, Quintin, is the reason for all these paths to merge. At 15, he probably doesn’t recognize how his own life has impacted so many others at this particular crossroad.

Peace to all….

 

I found a site with some great quotes, or thoughts on community service, and making a difference. It is up to each of us to get involved, and not wait for the next guy to do it.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  ~Anne Frank

Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.  ~William James

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.  ~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.  ~Leo Rosten

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.  ~Dr. Seuss

It seems to me that any full grown, mature adult would have a desire to be responsible, to help where he can in a world that needs so very much, that threatens us so very much.  ~Norman Lear

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.  ~Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu)

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  ~Edward Everett Hale

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.  ~Sydney Smith

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.  ~Edmund Burke

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.  ~Mother Teresa

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.  ~Albert Schweitzer

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.  ~Sunshine Magazine

This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  ~George Bernard Shaw

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.  ~Nelson Henderson

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  ~William Penn

Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.  ~Mohammed Ali

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:  “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”  But… the good Samaritan reversed the question:  “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives.  Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself.  For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.  ~Daniel Berrigan

God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.  ~Author Unknown

He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.  ~Abraham Lincoln

If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.  ~Author Unknown

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.  ~Buddha

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.  ~Maya Angelou

A good example has twice the value of good advice.  ~Author Unknown

Improvement begins with I.  ~Arnold Glasow

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.  ~Mother Teresa

This is incredible… take a few minutes to refresh your spirit, and your life.

A NEW PLEDGE by David Ault

Over the past year or so, I have become a fan of Joel Osteen. For me, he is very similar to Dr. Robert Schuller and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale – full of positive thinking!

Here are some of my favorite messages…

Joel Osteen – Get Out Of The Boat

If You Believe, All Things Are Possible

Become A Better You – Interview

Hmmm… interesting.

I just finished watching the movie, THE FIVE PEOPLE WE MEET IN HEAVEN. I have always believed we each have a place in one another’s lives – affecting one another in ways beyond our awareness, even beyond our grasp.

“The world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”

Incredible.

I thought I would be more moved as the credits rolled up, but I just feel satisfied. There are days when I feel as Eddie did in the movie – “a non-contributor to life, and those around me.” Some days, I feel as though the purpose to my existence has somehow been a joke. However, I know, deep down, that I have contributed much to life, and those who have been in my life, or crossed paths, even for a moment.

The concept seems to mirror, in some ways, the movie IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. I always hope that I have touched lives, just as lives have touched mine.

I agree with the author of the book, I just don’t believe life is without a purpose, and that we merely become “worm food.” I like the concept that death is not the end of all things, but the beginning of all things. There must be so much more to what we endure in this life, and I don’t technically buy into the “mansion on the hilltop with streets paved in gold.”

The main germ of this movie is that we are all somebody… no one is a nobody. The main character, Eddie, feels insignificant, but he learns he has touched many lives throughout his earthly journey.

“No man is a failure who has friends.” IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

I BELIEVE from ALTAR BOYZ

One beam of light, is enough to see where you’re going
One wrong turn, is enough to loose your way
One choice, is all you have to make
One ounce of faith could save the day
I believe, that I came to know you for a reason
I believe, that the things that you say will come true
I believe that with you in my life I’ll make it
I believe in you .stlyrics

One Mistake, doesn’t have to mean that it’s over
One bad day, only means there’s work to do
One night, is sometimes all it takes

To realize one thing is true
I believe, that I came to know you for a reason
I believe, that the things that you say will come true
I believe that with you in my life I’ll make it
I believe in you

Take a picture of me now, take a look at who I am
Yesterday I wasn’t half as strong
Take a picture of us all, what we’ve been and what we are
Look at that, and tell me I’m wrong

I BELIEVE!

That I came to know you for a reason
I believe, that the things that you say will come true
I believe that with you in my life I’ll make it
I believe in you
I believe in You

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

  

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”

 

“Yes sir,” the student says.

  

“So you believe in God?”

 

“Absolutely.”

  

“Is God good?”

 

“Sure! God’s good.”

  

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

 

“Yes.”

  

“Are you good or evil?”

 

“The Bible says I’m evil.”

   

The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”

  

“Yes sir, I would.”

  

“So you’re good…!”

 

“I wouldn’t say that.”  

  

“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if  we could. But God doesn’t.”

  

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”

  

The student remains silent.

 

“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to

 give the student time to relax.

  

“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”

 “Er…yes,” the student says.

  

“Is Satan good?”

 

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”

  

“Then where does Satan come from?”

 

The student falters. “From God”

  

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

 

“Yes, sir.”

  

“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

  

“Yes.”

  

“So who created evil?”

  

The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”

  

Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”

  

The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”

 

 “So who created them?”

  

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

  

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”

The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”

  

“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”

  

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”

 

“No, sir, I have not.”

  

“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”

  

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

 

“Yet you still believe in him?”

 

“Yes.”

  

“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”

  

“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”

 

“Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”

  

At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”

  

“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

 

“And is there such a thing as cold?”

 

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

 

“No sir, there isn’t.”

 

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that.  There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

  

 Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

  

“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

  

“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

  

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.”

   

“In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

  

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?”

 

“Yes, Professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

  

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

  

“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”

  

“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”

  

“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”

  

“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”

  

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

  

“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”

  

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

  

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”

  

The student looks around the  room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.

  

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.”

  

“So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

  

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

  

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

  

“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues.

 

“Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

  

Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

  

To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

  

The professor sat down.

 

 

I have always been a fan of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and of course, Dr. Robert Schuller. As a boy my grandfather introduced me to these two incredible individuals, and I have since read, and studied their work from about the age of twelve. What is amazing to me is how similar their teachings are to the concepts we read in THE SECRET. The major difference is packaging. In THE SECRET, I feel as though I am watching an info-mercial. THE SECRET’s book is more exciting to read, for me, than watching the movie.

This morning I opened my on-line Guidepost, and discovered an article by Norman Vincent Peale. When I was in high school my grandmother always brought me her Guideposts once she was finished reading. When I went to college, I began receiving a subscription each month, a gift from my grandmother. I still love reading Guidepost.

 

Define Your Goals

Two principles that can ensure success

By Norman Vincent Peale

What’s your goal in life?

It’s important to constantly ask, “Why was I born? For what purpose did I come into this world? What am I supposed to do here?” Answers to these questions will shape your life goal, which will bring meaning to your life.

But, you may ask, how do you reach your goal? By the application of twin principles: to will and to believe. Will power is the process by which you tap the enormous force that’s in you. Believing is the process by which you surrender yourself to the power of God. So “to will” means to bring out your personal power; “to believe” means to bring out God’s power. If you really begin to practice these principles, you’ll find that your achievements can be astonishing.

A friend of mine told me a story about a young California couple. Things were difficult, but they had a goal: They wanted to have a home that would be filled with love and beauty. They talked about the house they wanted. It was the big goal in their early life.

One night the wife sat down and drew a picture of the house—a complete floor plan, upstairs and down—and mapped out a garden. She showed it to her husband and said, “This is my dream house.”

Though the couple had little money, he said, “Let’s hold to our dream and to the belief that one day we’ll have that house.” They looked everywhere trying to find such a home. Real estate agents showed them one house after another, but they did not find it. So they sat down and prayed about it and visualized themselves being led to it.

One night they were talking with friends about their dream house. One of the friends said, “Why, the house you are describing is well known to me; it belongs to a Mr. Davies. His wife died, but he continues to live there. He has turned down offers for three times its price. He won’t sell it until he finds a couple who will love the house as he and his wife did.”

“Please take us there,” the couple said. When they saw the house, the man and his wife were overwhelmed. It was exactly as it had been pictured in their diagram. Mr. Davies, a kind man, saw the love for this house in the eyes of this young couple. “I’ve turned down everyone else, waiting for the couple to come along for whom this house was intended,” he said.

They were thrilled. But they had to face reality; it was beyond their means.

“Some things are more important than money,” said Mr. Davies. “This is your dream house, isn’t it? All right, you write your own terms, and I will help you to have this house.” The contract was drawn. This couple had practiced the great law: Belief is visualization, dreaming, conviction and will. As a result, they reached their cherished goal.

Believe, dream, will—and put it all in the hands of God. Work, struggle, visualize! These are the great principles bound up in the text, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Get it into your mind and get going, and you will reach your greatest goals.

If these techniques fail, as they sometimes will, ask yourself: “Have I failed because I have some ‘dirt’ in the mind?” By “dirt” I mean wrongdoing. Something that clogs, accumulates, creates “carbon” in the mental processes and corrodes the soul.

A young salesman once came up to me and said, “I’m worried that I don’t succeed because something is wrong with me personally. I wish you’d talk with me and see if you can get at it.” Well, the fellow’s conversation was filled with profanity. It was clear that his drinking was out of control. And he told me he was “mixed up with a couple of women.”

It so happened I had a quotation in my pocket that I had copied from an advertisement for motor oil. It may have just been a coincidence that I had it with me, but God works in coincidences, so I handed the young man the slip of paper. On it was written: “A clean engine delivers power.” I could tell from the look on his face that he got the message.

Whatever your goal, if it is a good and honorable one, you have it in you to attain it. If you’re specific about your goal, if you clarify it and blueprint it, and if it is within God’s righteousness, you can attain it. This I sincerely believe.

One of my favorite hours each week is listening to Dr. Robert Schuller on THE HOUR OF POWER. In the 1970’s, while in elementary school, my grandfather introduced me to Dr. Schuller – one of my grandfather’s favorite writers. I figured Grandpa liked Dr. Schuller because he was a minister. However, one day, when I was in junior high, I was questioning whether I would have a chance to succeed to the high school’s drum-major position because of various concerns. My grandfather pointed out that “faith” and “positive thinking” were the best tools I could ever possess. He walked over to an entertainment unit and pulled out one of his books written by Dr. Robert Schuller. I was introduced to “positive thinking.” My grandfather bought me two books by Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller when I was in the 8th grade. A few months later I became drum-major.

Those two books?

They traveled with me through college moves, the move to Dayton, and the five moves since moving to Dayton in 1990. Today they are in my living room on bookshelves I made my self because I had confidence I could build them! My first bookshelves at age 40! On each of those book shelves are letters that spell out “BELIEVE” and “ACHIEVE”. Not only do they remind myself, and my son, but they remind anyone who enters our home.

Today, Dr. Robert Schuller gave one of the most fantastic messages, and I am including it in this post. Though I do not buy into some of the doctrinal rhetoric, his message is brilliant and inspiring.

                                                                                                                 

I have four faith points that hopefully you will not forget.
(1) Faith is a fact, not a fantasy.
(2) Faith is a force, not a value.
(3) Faith is a decision, not a debate.
(4) Faith is a commitment, not an argument.

If you have read some of my 36 books, you know that I keep coming back to the subject of leadership again, and again, and again. I am a strong believer that we each need to use leadership to meet the challenges that life throws at us. But most of us are not educated, trained, or motivated to be leaders. That’s because the people who influenced us want us to be their followers. So our peers are tempted more often than not to see us as their followers more than as their leader.

Leaders are not what most of us are called to be; yet in the final analysis nobody else will set your dreams for you. Nobody else can kill your dream. One of my books is entitled, “If It’s Going To Be, It’s Up To Me.” That’s being a leader and we desperately need that in our private, personal lives and in all of the institutions in our countries. The quality of leadership … but what is leadership?

Leadership is the force that sets the goals and addresses the problems. Leadership is a force, and that force is the force of faith.

St. Paul, the author of the Hebrews, introduces the subject of faith in Chapter 11 this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for … the evidence of things not seen …”

Then in verse 6 he writes: “For without faith it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

That text was assigned to me by my professor when I was a student in theological school. Each of us had to prepare a sermon, which had to be delivered to the entire student body and faculty for their review and critique. Those words from St. Paul still impact me today with faith power, along with the mountain moving words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 17:20, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to your mountain ‘move,’ and nothing will be impossible to you.”

Just a little bit of faith, but where does it lead? An idea goes through your head and you grab hold of it carefully, prayerfully, and you listen to that idea. When you do that, you become not just a follower, but a leader. I hear again and again in life that leaders are those who have the right degrees, the right credentials, the right resume, the right experience, but often they become trapped in professionalism. Then they are not leaders. Leaders haven’t been brainwashed – “this will work” … “that won’t work.” In that kind of thinking, they become followers because they are basically impossibility thinkers.

Leaders are possibility thinkers. They say, “What’s the problem? How can it be solved?” They don’t say it can’t be solved. No, their attitude is … Anything is possible. They may not have the answers, but they find answers. They go for the answers and make it happen, because they’ve got drive, passion, practicality and positive thinking! That’s leadership!

You can be a leader and that’s what our world needs. Think … think … think. But start with faith. Faith makes leaders.

(1) Faith is a fact, not a fantasy.

Now early in my life in ministry when I met with important people who didn’t believe in God or religion, they would always put me down very swiftly. Now I was not an honor student, but I was a national debate student, an elected member of the Phi Kappa Delta, the National Honoree Forensic Society. I thought I was good at debate, but when unbelievers would debate me with an argument on faith, I backed away. I thought I’d lose the debate so I wouldn’t go there.

I’d hear their argument against faith, “Schuller, you say you believe in God and all that stuff. It’s all based on assumptions.” And I remained quiet because I didn’t want to say ‘yes’ and I was thinking, “Maybe my faith is based on assumptions.”

Finally, I agree with them. My faith is all based on assumptions … but I say to the unbeliever, “Your unbelief is all based on assumptions also!”

Atheism is a negative assumption in an impossibility thinker’s brain. Theism is a positive assumption in a believer’s mind. I don’t think any of us ever make a single decision without basing it on assumptions that we don’t even understand are a part of the process. You assume the chair will hold you. If you are a scientist, and many of my friends are, you assume that the research is accurate. Maybe it is, but you assume that the sources were reliable. And you’re assuming that the newest discoveries haven’t invalidated what was published to be fact. The truth is the human being is an assumption-managed person, positive or negative! That’s reality.

That means assumption is nothing more than faith. Faith is accepting as truth something that you cannot prove and you’ve got to make a decision one way or another. And that means all human beings are assumption managed so we are really living in the realm of faith all the time, believers and unbelievers alike. So faith becomes a scientific reality in the mental processing.
(1) Faith is not fantasy … it’s a fact of managing human living.

(2) Faith is a force, not a value.

Faith in itself has no value. It’s neither good nor evil, but it is powerful for good or evil! The terrorists who flew those planes into the twin towers had faith. They believed in terror. They were driven by assumptions of the power of evil to serve their cause. Faith in itself has no value. The value comes in what you choose to place your faith in.

If you place your faith in goodness, God, Jesus Christ, you have the power to change the world and become a saint. Then since we’re all naturally faith creatures (and God planned it that way) we are to relate to God and the only way you could possibility relate to God if God remains invisible.

My friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is worshiping with us again. He is a celebrity. He can’t go anywhere without everybody around him grabbing at him, surrounding him and he is only Arnold Schwarzenegger. But can you imagine what would happen if God Almighty or Jesus Christ, were here in flesh and bones? The ultimate reality is that God in Jesus Christ has to remain invisible so we can each relate to Him in our own way.

(3) Faith is a decision, not a debate.

Don’t debate me about what I believe about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, holiness, courage and leadership principles. I won’t debate my belief because I can’t prove to you that I’m absolutely right. I simply made a decision.

I have studied the Bible. I have studied the Ten Commandments and I believe they are given to us to keep us from getting into trouble so they’re a blessing. I’ve studied Jesus Christ. I’ve studied what I believe about the Christian church. There is no other institution on planet earth that specializes in encouraging people to be emotionally healthy, hopeful, optimistic, courageous, brave, cheerful, generous and kind! So Christianity will never go out of style!

I’ve chosen to believe in God and I’ve often said, “If moments before I pass away, someone would say to me, ‘there’s strong new evidence that there is no God. What do you say to that, Schuller?'” I would reply, “I’d believe in Him even if you could almost prove to me that He didn’t exist. I want God. I need God. I look at the good life God has given me. I wouldn’t never not believe. It’s a decision! I’ll live and die on that.”

(4) Faith is a commitment … not an argument.

So finally, faith is a commitment … not an argument. I made my commitment to Jesus Christ.

Leadership:
(1) Faith is a fact, not a fantasy! Faith is driving you, for good or ill.
(2) Faith is a force … not a value … not a debate.
(3) Faith is a decision, you need to make.
(4) Faith is a commitment … not an argument.

You need to make a decision. Make a commitment. Forget the argument. Focus on your natural instincts to live on assumptions and focus your assumptions on Jesus Christ. Where are you at? God has a plan for your life, absolutely. Have faith … for without faith, life is impossible.

 

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