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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Many Followers Do You Need?

One of the “things” that seem important to people, especially on social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, is how many people are following you.  On Google-plus, its how many people are in your "circles?" Amazingly there are ads that try to get people to buy followers; and I’d have to guess that there are indeed people who do this.
The implication seems clear. Just as when we all become rock-stars, super-docs, business-moguls, or wherever you are headed, the more followers, the more people we have following us around, we have, the more power we have, right?

What is their Value?
How many followers do you have? How many followers do you need? Where are you leading them? Do you add value to their lives while you are leading them?
What is their true value to you? There was a recent post about an employee being sued by his employer for talking his Twitter followers when he left the company. The employer valued the followers at about $20 each. Are you worth $20 to the people you follow, or lead? Do your followers add value to your life?

The 300
Sounds like the movie about the Spartans, but it's not. There is aBiblical story in Judges, chapters 6 and 7 about a man named Gideon.
You should read it for yourself, but the short version is this:
God chose Gideon for a task, but, he did not want to it. He tested God several times to be certain that God didn't have him confused with someone else, and that He'd (God) be there for back-up.
Eventually Gideon gets his act and his faith together, and sets about the task of collecting an army for the upcoming battle; an army of followers. He sends out a call, and everybody and his brother show up.
He ends up with an army of 100,000. But, it is too many people. And, too many of the wrong people!
God helps him whittle this huge mass of people down into a useable and functional army. He sends away the newly married, those with young children, those who are inattentive, and those who cannot follow orders.
We are left with 300 people to fight against a huge nation.

The best

The good news is that he now has people who are focused. He has people who actually listen to the leader. We have a slimmed down unit of people who will act on what they are told and most importantly, people who add value to the operation.

Who is in your posse?
These are the people we want following us, and what we want to be like when we are in our role as follower, and not leader.
We want people who are invested in what is to become of us.
We want people who are trying to move forward, with us, to see what’s over the next hill/ rise.
Not everyone can go to the big dance with us.
Not everyone we know will accompany us on the road to our destiny.

As you are preparing to step into your destiny, look around and see who you have with you.

Do you have the people you need?

How do we choose?
Don't get this twisted. I am not talking about that person who can get you your first book deal, or help you get in touch with a record mogul, or get you that next promotion. I am not advocating that we use people in that way.
But look carefully.
Do you have people who will stand with you through thick and thin times?
Are they people who know what the prize is that your heart seeks, and are willing to help you keep your eyes on it?
Do you have people who will love you when you are not so loveable, and cry with you when it seems that your whole world is collapsing around you?
Are there people with you who will make you stand up and get yourself together when the crying is done and push you to make that next step.
How about a few folks that will tell you when you are doing a good job, and when you are singing way off-key?

Keeping those we love
Recently we have been hearing a lot about the death of Whitney Houston, because it was a tragic end to a tragic story.

For the famous, and the not-so-famous alike, I think they/ we crash and burn because they end up removing the very people from their lives that they need to keep close.

Life is all about choices.
We all need people around us who will love us, protect us, guide us, and correct us.
Life is often hard and treacherous.
Take people with you that you can count on...always.

What do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2012

What to Do When Relationships Aren't Working

The making of second class citizens

 There is a term that most of us are familiar with. “Let no one steal your joy.” But the sad truth is that we often give it away, freely relinquishing it to other people.  

We feel compelled to put ourselves second, and we forget that we need to value ourselves first in order for us to be of value to others.

We cannot share what we ourselves cannot master. We cannot share love if we do not know or understand love. We cannot truly value another properly, if we fail to value ourselves. 

Unequal "yoke-age" 

We enter into unbalanced relationships. Or to use a term from my church parlance, we enter into relationships in which we are unequally “yoked”.  

This is not a term that anyone likes. No one wants to think of themselves as yoked to someone else. It sounds too much like being chained to someone, or in bondage to them.  

However, the problem is not in the “yoking.” The real meaning of yoking two things together is that each will carry or pull their fair share of the load, and together move heavier loads than they could separately.  

In human relationships, this means each person carries part of every load. What does that mean? 

It means that we share the money, plans for our collective future, as well as, the emotional highs and lows. It means that we carry all of that stuff, and we also carry each other. 

Most of us can feel when things start to get out of balance.

Sometimes the change is slow, insidious and sneaky; sometimes it’s obvious. But, no matter how it comes to us, if we don’t have the courage to face it at the beginning, the problems will usually continue to grow until we are forced to face them.

What's your plan?
Are you looking for a way through or a way out? 

If you have reached a point in your association that you are dreading walking into the space occupied by your “loved one,” stop and search your heart for the reason(s). 

Once we all get past the puppy-dog love and that period of not being able to be out of each other’s sight for more than a few minutes, relationships are heavy lifting. This requires some serious and heart-felt conversation to figure out if you are both up to the task. 

I am not talking about bailing out of your situation, just the opposite. 

You have already done one of the most important things by recognizing and admitting to yourself that there are issues and committing to doing something about them.  

Sit down in a quiet place without distractions, and have that uncomfortable conversation.

Explore the problems and the perceptions.

Investigate the changes in your situation and circumstances.

Look carefully at how things are getting done.

Express your heart and your desire as to how you would like to see things done, differently.

Now comes the hard part. 

Shut up and listen!!! 

Listen with all of your senses

Discern what is being said, and what is not being said.

Breathe in the tones and nuances.

Absorb the silences.

Look at the facial expressions that go with the words.

Think before you speak.

Do not leave this space until you have jointly decided on at least one concrete and do-able action step.

Plan to come back to this neutral space for further discussion.

Set aside a date and a time, and commit to it.

It’s that important!

Enter the space in love and leave it in the same way.

If you cannot find peace or common ground on one issue, then perhaps it is time for a different and harder conversation.

But not now.

This is not easy stuff.

Sharing the load.

That’s what we seek, and what we all need.


The shares may not be equal, but that’s not the point or the goal. 

Everyone doing their own part.

Celebrating the good times together.

Crying with each other through the bad times. 

Fix your yoke!

It’s important.

What else would you add to this list?

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12234782@N00/10865424/

Friday, February 24, 2012

Does Beating me = Loving me?

Choosing to be beaten

Last week while I was scanning my Google-plus timeline, and I came across a relatively small post by a friend, Sherree W. , about Chris Brown and some girls tweeting about him. The Grammy Awards had been held recently, and he made an appearance. I did not watch the show.

During or some time shortly after the show, there were a string of tweets, which were translated into piece on Storify entitled, "Women on Twitter Saying Chris Brown Can Beat Them". Sherree’s question was about whether the sentiments and desires of these girls could be real or not.  It was purely rhetorical, but I took up the challenge. We had a short discussion as to how this would happen. Part of my job is dealing with women, young and old, on a daily basis, so I am usually up-to-date with what's going on in the world. However, on the possibility that I was being generationally-challenged, I double checked with my youngest daughter.

A few of the girls were obviously interchanging the words and concept of being beaten with the act of sexual intercourse…with a stranger.

A few were clearly indicating that they would willingly accept a beating in exchange for love or sex or something…

Who teaches us about love and life?

So the questions we must ask ourselves, as parents are these:
  • How have we raise a generation of girls who feel free to declare publicly that this or any other man should feel free to beat them at will?
  • How can they believe that this behavior is okay or normal?
  • Why do they feel that beating, disrespect or degradation are  part of what they/ we must accept in order to be loved?
Parental Responsibility

I have read that it is at about the age of  13 when most girls get firmly planted on the path to their adult lives. It is around this age that we begin to see where we fit in, and start to make changes if we want to fit in somewhere else. This is the age when we begin to see ourselves as cool/ not-so-cool/  jocks/ cheerleaders/ fans/ band girls/ leaders/ followers/ geeks, etc. We begin to choose the kind of people we want to be like, and those we want to hang around with.

We, parents have abdicated and abandoned our primary parental responsibility of being the most important role models in our children’s lives. We have given it to “people” like Sponge Bob Square Pants, Jeremy Lin, Chris Brown, Adele, Michael Jordon, Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, etc, etc. And then we have the audacity to get upset when these people do something bad in their own “private” lives. We feel that they should do better because, after all, they are the role model, and publicity demands that they always be on their best behavior. Really? Is this how we think?

We leave our children to TV shows like, “The Real Housewives of ….wherever,” “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “16 and Pregnant” and expect them to act.... how?

If we don't leave them to television, we throw money at the problem. We drop them off at the mall to hang out with their friends. Again....to do what? What is it that a group of teenagers left on their own at the mall are supposed to do?

What can we do? I have a few thoughts about it....

When was the last time you invited a group of your teenager’s friends to your house?

Sure we let them go to someone else’s house, but when was the last time you made time to step up to the plate and do it yourself?

When was the last time you went to a game, performance, competition for the sport or activity that you have safely ensconced your child in to cover their “free time?”

When was the last time you met personally with a coach or choir leader, or even a teacher when your presence wasn’t demanded?

When was the last time you sat down with your child, of any age, in a quiet place and had a real conversation?

I know what you are going to say. “Well, I would, but they won’t talk to me!” No, they won’t talk to you. Just as with anyone else, it takes time, and energy, and love, and demonstrating that you care, and a little transparency to build trust in a relationship.

No, they don’t trust you…they don’t know you!

And more importantly, they don’t know that you value them. Or love them!

Don’t we owe our children a little of our precious time?

So, man-up or woman-up! You are the role model.

Just do it!!!

Our children's futures are at stake…

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bent, but not broken…

Do you own joy?

What do you do to bring light and joy into your own life? Yes, that’s a loaded question, but here’s what I am after…

What things do you do with other people, or alone (especially alone) for yourself, that make your days and weeks worthwhile? Not just the things you do for other people. What do you do for yourself?

Happiness and Joy

I think, or perhaps I have been taught that there is a difference between joy and happiness. This is only my opinion, in my tiny little world, and yours may be completely different. If you think something else, or even agree, please leave a comment. Anyway…

I think happiness depends on “happening.” It depends on people, places or things to give us that uplifting feeling.

Joy is something that is a part of us. It is something we own, down deep on the inside. It is given to us by God/ Creator, and is sustained by our own perspective on life.

I am teaching a unit of the Book of James right now [link to notes], and he says that we should “count it all joy!”


This joy that he speaks of is not walking around in a perpetual state of giddiness with some type of vacuous expression on your face. Nor is it walking around in a drug-induced, Thorazine, hashish, weed, or otherwise, drug-induced cloud, not recognizing when good and bad things are happening to
you and around you.

The joy that James speaks of is an inward confidence and assurance that things will ultimately improve, and be okay.

An online friend of mine led a chat Sunday talking about resilience.

This is where I think we get to the heart of the difference between the two, joy and happiness, comes into play.

It is normal and perfectly ok to feel bad when things aren’t going your way all the time. It is alright to be down when relationships crash. Its fine to feel disappointed when our children, friends and loved one don’t do what we think will be best for them. This is happiness and un-happiness. And we cannot stay there.

It is in these times, in these moments of chaos and crisis- perceived or real- that we must dig deeper into our well of resilience, find that unshakable joy beneath it all, pull those big girl/ boy panties up, and take the next step forward.

Nothing can truly defeat us, unless we allow it to.

We are each stronger than we realize and then we give ourselves credit for.

Sad and horribly wrong things come into all our lives. Sometimes the blow is dealt by nature, like a hurricane or tornado. Sometimes it is at the hands of other people. These things can bend and twist our lives all out of proportion. It can be hard to get hold of the proper perspective to find a way out or through. Eric Clapton once said in a song, “pain will make you bend your knees.” He wrote this after something went horribly wrong in his life.

Many things can and will bend us, but it is up to us to decide if we will let them break us.

I think not!!!

So I will ask you again, do you own joy?

What do you think?

photo credit #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccready/3116610173/sizes/l/in/photostream/

photo credit #2: http://www.pixelperfectdigital.com/free_stock_photos/data/524/010708_joy_stone.jpg

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who are Your Friends?

Online Friends
I was reading a post last week by a person I consider a friend, Becky Robinson, last week, and was struck by two questions: “What makes a friend?” and “What is friendship worth? The person she was referring to, Dan Rockwell, is also a friend of mine.
So, what makes a friend? I have not met either of these people in real life (IRL), nor face to face (F2F), but we are connected.
Social Media (SoMe) has made it possible to connect with people at great distances and at various stations in life, but who are similar minds and hearts.
Best Friends
One of my best and dearest friends is someone I met in Junior High School. We were nerd and geeks together long before it was fashionable. We traversed Jr. and Sr. High School together. When we left home for college, we went our separate ways.
And for almost 40 years, the smallest things would make me think of Olenka, and smile. A certain style of braid, a certain piece of Rachmaninoff, a certain Ukrainian or eastern European phrase, a news story about NASA, my occasional trips home, even though she was she was no longer there.
Through the wonders of technology, I tracked her down about 2 years ago, and visited her home and met her family.
We talked and laughed as if I had just seen her in class just that past afternoon. Our bond is set in the cement of love. Time and distance is no real match for friendship and love.
There are people online who I have never met and most of them, I will never meet IRL, but they are friends nonetheless. We are connected by invisible and almost unbreakable bonds.
What makes a friend, a friend?
"A friend is someone who takes up residence in our hearts and in our minds." ~ Martina McGowan 
What is friendship worth?
What do you think?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Giving and Getting

Alabaster Box

A woman comes to Jesus with the most expensive thing she owns. She has had to work very hard for years to save this up, and yet, she gives it away freely. Life has not been kind to her. She is not concerned about the people staring and mumbling at her or about her. She uses this expensive gift to wash the feet of Jesus. She wants to show Him her love, before He goes away. You know the story of the woman and the alabaster box, but if not, here is a link.


I was a late bloomer, if I ever really did “bloom.” My first serious boyfriend was when I was a freshman / sophomore in college. True love, for a bit, and then it all ended. It ended badly, and during this dramatic ending, I lost custody of a few hundred albums. But that’s another long story for another post.

Relationships cost us something. They cost us time, emotions, money, and sometimes, they even cost us “stuff.”

Being in a relationship, and being committed to maintaining it means that means that you put something of value, something of value to you, “on the line.” You give up something on a hope and a promise. And often, even after the promise is gone, or has been broken, we still hold on to that thin thread of lingering hope.

Relationships always cost us something. Sometimes the cost is high. Sometimes too high, and more than we are willing to pay to stay in them.

What's Left Behind

Despite all these short-comings, relationships are important for us. They help us grow and mature and learn. And, a lot of this learning is about ourselves.

Like the woman with the alabaster box, when we enter into a relationship, we put something “out there” that we cannot easily take back. And, if the relationship ends, we will invariably leave something behind. We leave a piece of our hearts and souls behind. But that’s okay.

The end of a relationship does not really leave a hole or a vacuum, even though it may feel like falling into a dark and bottomless pit. The end leaves a capacity behind, and there is a huge difference.

Once we get through the pain, the tears, sometimes the embarrassment, what we are left with is a greater understanding of ourselves, and a greater capacity to give and receive love, grace, and mercy.

So, cry a bit. Then lick your wounds, stop pining, pick yourself up, and regain your composure because the universe has so much more ahead to fill you to overflowing.

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gi/275112462/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dead Men (and Women) Talking


I cannot clearly remember my first funeral. It was probably well before the age of individual consciousness, I do, however, clearly remember my first, and second, most “important funerals. These two funerals from my early life were for my best friends, my Dad and my Grandmother, and I refer to them often in my blogs. 
As I write this, I am waiting for such an event to begin.
Culturally, funerals carry a lot of weight; it seems almost as much as weddings.

At many recent funerals, I have noticed that people have been calling them by their new alternative name, “Home-going celebrations.” And, yes this is a much more uplifting phrase and encouraging concept.
I have long thought that, in a sense, funerals are much like weddings and are not really intended for the name of the individual(s) listed on the programs or invitations. I think funerals are for us- the living.
At each celebration of a life snuffed out, we hear the clarion call of the universe to our hearts that our lives should be different somehow; they should be "more" or 'better' or just "something"…
We feel all the things that we should during the processing of the grief and mourning, and perhaps mourn a tiny bit for what we "could have been."
And, every time we go through this process, we promise ourselves that we are going to “get it together” and live differently. But, in time, actually a relatively short time, we go back to “life as usual” and we forget…
We forget again, and again, and again…
What if we celebrated and honored our lives, while we were still living them?!
What if we cared more about what we think of about our own lives while we are still living them, than we do about what people will say about us after we are gone?
What if we cared about how we live and who we are each and every day?
What would life look like if we lived each day to its fullest and to our fullest potential?
What do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Torn Underwear

New Year's Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and I haven’t for a very, very long time. But this year, I thought I’d try “3 words.”
The 3 words are designed to frame the year and help me remember a few of the things I’d like to work on changing over the course of the next 12 months. And, at some future post, I will share the others.

It is funny how things that people say to you years before return to your mind unbidden and take up residence until you can find a new “home”for them. My mother was “old” when I came along, so many of the phrases and colloquialisms that I take for granted probably date back to slavery. My mother's grandfather was a freed slave, and my grandmother lived with us until her death. But I digress…

Underwear and Friendship

One of her phrases was that, “You done tore your drawers now.” And the best that my young mind could sort out, it meant that “you have totally screwed up now…and you probably can’t recover.” I was never certain how misaligned, neglected or disabused undergarments were involved, but…

One of my three words for this year is “boundaries.”This involves my learning what my true boundaries are, and learning to respect them myself, while expecting others to offer the same respect. Decide which things are negotiable and which are not. All of this searching is an attempt to understand myself more fully and continue to become better person.

We all have friends of different “levels” or “caliber”.They can be divided into their groups by their integrity, closeness, value, common interests, new hobbies, etc. All of our friends do not function in the same ways in all aspects of our lives.

Earlier this year I was in a situation that, as it unfolded, it became increasingly clear that my life, time, priorities, duties, responsibilities, etc. had very little value in this particular relationship. The other person perceived that their needs and wants evidently superseded mine. We got through it all, but barely.

And it feels like we won’t be able to go back. “The drawers have been torn!”

Forgiveness and Moving Forward

We must forgive or we build our own prison of bitterness and freeze our own hearts.

The forgiveness for this issue has been set and is in place.

But, the boundary has been shattered.

The trust has been trampled underfoot.

The love has been lost.

Yes, it does hurt when we have to push our friends back beyond that imaginary fence-line that protects our hearts, minds and spirits.

We practice daily to reach that state that we can forgive all, as Christ has tried to teach us- but I don’t think He ever meant for us to be doormats.

We forgive so that we can move forward with the capacity to love and be open again.

Look at stuff going on in your own life, and with your friends.

Talk to me…

What do you think?

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Who Deserves our Best Gifts?

This week we have talked about the prophet Micah and how the “children of Israel” were trying to short-change God.

As I have been writing, I have been struck by our general lack of giving our best everywhere and every time and to everyone.

Why don't we give our best?
We feel pangs of guilt when we don’t pay our fair share in public arenas like church or fundraisers. Nobody wants to be the odd man out or appear a cheapskate. But that’s not what giving of ourselves is all about. 

How we give and how much we give should not be based on how we think we will feel when others find out that we took a shortcut or only made it look like we were pulling our oar. I don’t even believe it is about a sense of pride or accomplishment. It is just doing the right thing at the right time.
Instead, we run ourselves to ground "getting" and "doing" for the people we say we love, but we don’t do much "being." We have convinced ourselves that they will be satisfied with what’s left as we teeter just above exhaustion.
Here’s the news flash. No one really wants your leftovers.
They want you!

Change the Yourself, then the World
We are all so talented and gifted in so many areas, yet we try to be all things to all people. Why do we cheat ourselves and those around us?

What would our world look like if people just did the right thing? And did what they do best? No one to chase you around, no one to hunt you down and write you up, just do the right thing.

And a Child Shall Lead them...
I am reminded of this past Christmas vacation. I have a fairly “new” granddaughter who is just over a year. Actually, I have several granddaughters, but the others live further away.

My first holiday bonus is that she now knows who I am when I visit them. My daughter stepped out to get us something to eat, and my granddaughter approached me with the universal “patty-cake” sign. 
Type A, masquerading as a type B, grandmother than I am I charged into the game. Half-way through the first line, I realized that I couldn’t remember the end. At least not as I had learned it myself, or taught it to my girls. I could have stopped, and tried to convince this 1 year old to wait, but we pressed on.

Leading with your Heart
On the fly, I put a dance move in the middle, and then we finished with a big flurry which involved high-pitched voices and arms way up in the air. She loved it! She laughed and grinned and made the “let’s do it again” sign. We had to do it about 30 more times before her Mom got back.
Later on that evening when she wanted her Mom to play with her. But, brilliant 1-year old that she is, she knew that was the “wrong” version.
So we played it many, many more times and of course it melted my heart. 
What’s my point? 
It simple really…

Give your Creator, the universe, and every person you meet today and tomorrow and the day after that the best that you have to offer them. Even if it seems small to you, it could change someone else’s life. And that’s an important thing to us all; even if it’s only for a few moments.
And who knows?
You might get a smile that melts your heart…

Like I did.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgraths/3277839203/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Now that You've Got Goals, What happened to Your Priorities?

The people of God in Malachi's time (Malachi 1:6-14) were putting a very low priority on what they gave to God by way of sacrifice. They were trying to take the easy way out, the low road. This will sound almost too ridiculous, but one ways they did this was by offering animals for sacrifice that were second-rate. Here is what the prophet Malachi wrote:
"When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty. (Mal. 1:8 NIV)
We must keep in mind that they had received very specific instructions from God, through Moses that the animals were to be whole and unblemished. In other words, God is demanding of them the best that they can bring.
And yet the people of Israel were offering God the animals they didn't even want for themselves! Malachi challenged them, saying, "You wouldn't present such a poor animal to your governor. How can you give it to the Almighty God?" 

In our everyday current lives, if we were to go to a Presidential fund-raising event, or even the local Red Cross, we wouldn’t want anyone to see that we brought in the smallest amount possible. That would be embarrassing. It would not give appropriate honor to those in attendance. Or if you were honored by a visitor in your home, you would be ashamed to give them moldy bread or rotten fruit. No, you would put out the very best food you could afford. This is basic respect.

And it is still true that when we come before the presence of the Lord we often give Him that which is second-best, or worse? We have a “closet” in our church which takes donations from the members to pass on to others in their time of need. I am not certain if the correct word is appalled or amazed at what people will bring. Many tend to bring the oldest or most worn pieces of clothing they can find in their house. We bring gifts before the Lord and in the name of the Lord that would be better served by placing them in the trash.
We are to bring our best to God, and give our best to each other.
The everyday, life application here is that we should be bringing our best to each other. Our families, our children, our jobs, our churches. Not just what is left over after we have had all our fun. No one wants your leftovers!

Part of the issue is that we are distracted by so many opportunities and toys. We have forgotten how to prioritize. We have forgotten what is really, really important to us.
You think not? There is an old exercise that I think you should try. Pull up your checkbook register, or look at your credit card statements and look at what you spend your money on. 
What is important to you?
Can anyone tell from your actions?

Do you remember?
Who is important to you?

Do they know?

Then, do something about it…


Monday, February 6, 2012

Hookers for Jesus : Giving God our Best!

Hookers for Jesus
Many years ago when I was a freshman in college, there was a group of young ladies canvassing downtown, called "Hookers for Jesus." They had little pamphlets that they passed out during their recruitment. The founder of the group was a former call girl, Annie Lobert, who was working to help save the women in and from the "sex trade" business. You can read about it here.

Well, I am not not suggesting that any of us “hook for Jesus” (or for anything else for that matter), but I do want to talk about giving God our best.

Our text: Malachi 3:6-12

Who is Malachi?
Malachi ministered in the fifth century B.C.. In response to the prophetic messages of several other prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, the Jews who had returned rebuilt the temple. Houses had been rebuilt. And, the wall of Jerusalem was being rebuilt or had been completed (by Nehemiah's crew; another prophet). As you can see, many of these prophets were working at the same time. They weren't all in one location, but they were delivering basically the same messages.

Life was by no stretch of the imagination, easy. The Jews were under the political dominion of Persia. Harvests were poor and subject to locust damage (Malachi 3:11). Most of the people's hearts were indifferent or resentful toward God. The people had started ignoring the Laws of God given to Moses. 

The people were losing hope in God's covenant and His promises. 

What is the problem?

This passage in Micah demonstrates that we sometimes forget how much respect God deserves. And one of the ways we show disrespect is by withholding our tithes, offerings, gifts and ourselves. This point is made very strongly by the prophet Malachi.

Life Application

For our work situations, many of us take for granted that our services will be needed. We begin to take longer lunches, surf the net in between writing reports, hang out on Twitter whenever we can put 3 seconds together, stand at the coffee pot/ water cooler while we are getting paid.

Many of us have forgotten what it means to be loyal to our companies.

Many of us have forgotten how to be loyal to each other.

Are you giving your best in every facet of your life?

Or, are you blowing some areas off, hoping to catch up later?

Or, worse, have you stopped caring about being the "best of the best of the best?"

Friday, February 3, 2012

What to do about Depression

This list is not exhaustive, but meant to be a starting point.

First, Ask for Help.
-         If you are thinking you cannot handle this all by yourself, you are probably correct. Stop trying to, and reach out!
-         Pray and ask God for help and wisdom
-         Seek help from reliable friends and acquaintances who aren’t drowning in their own problems
-         People are moved when we let our guards down and let them in. This may be all you need, to know that there is someone you can reach out for in your darkest hours.

Get professional help if you need it.
-         It is not a sign of weakness, sin or immaturity
-         It is in fact a sign of maturity to know when you are not able to do something, and do something about it
-         Counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists
If you find that your depression has resulted in or is being made worse by legal issues, get some legal assistance!
-         Ask friends for recommendations
-         Look in the phone book
-         Google
-         Check with Legal aid
-         If finances are an issue, search out “pro bono” lawyers (that means free)

-         go to your bank where you have a checking or savings account and ask for help
-         If you don’t have an account, see if someone at a smaller bank will take time to talk to you.
-         Explain your situation and if they cannot help, ask them to point you in the right direction to get help

- Go to your minister, pastor, priest, rabbi, guru, psychic or channeler…whoever you use, and ask for help
- There are denominational counselors
- Don’t have one of those? Look for a non-denominational spiritual counselor?

- Go get a checkup. Your regular physician or free clinics
- They may find a physical illness associated with what’s going on with you
- be honest. Share what you are going through. They may able to help, or refer to someone they know or trust.

Do something for someone else
-         There is often no better cure for not getting swallowed up by our own issues than to help someone else
-         You don’t have to choose someone with the same stuff
-         Help some kids get on a better road to adulthood
-         Help at the SPCA for animals that need love

It is very easy for some people to say, “Let go and let God,” and away. I know that this doesn’t sound particularly helpful, especially when there is no follow-up or follow-through or help to figure out how to do this. But, this is what we must learn to do, sooner or later.

Nothing can be gained by stewing over problems, and turning them over and over in your mind. This is especially true of problems that you either cannot change or fix, or have no real desire to change.
As we mature physically, emotionally and spiritually we learn that we cannot control much in this world.

The one thing that I can control is how I react to things.

Shall I repeat that?

The one thing that I can control is how I react to things!

The rest, only God can fix it.