The Reality of the Drifter

The Drifter’s Reality

We all know who the drifters are. People who do not seem to have a clue of what they should be doing. Early in my life, I was one with them. Like sheep who wander away, munching the grass and after a while they look around and see they are far from the flock. The drifters say; “How did I get here?” Each doesn’t really know because their not paying attention.

There will always be those who drift through life. Just don’t be one of them.

Jesus tells the story of the ‘lost sheep’  in Luke 15. The shepherd notices a wandering sheep, goes after and carries him back to the flock. Great story pointing out the everlasting love of God Himself.

However, my thought is, the sheep did not have to get lost in the first place. He simply wasn’t paying attention! We do not have to get lost. I’m not just talking about being lost without salvation, it’s also about the life we live now.

Drifting through reality

Some people are not paying attention to where they are at this juncture of their life. They are not in touch with their own reality. So, they continue to drift.

Are you where you want to be;

in your relationships?

with your job?

with your spouse and family?

Think about it, you primarily, are in charge of making changes. But only if you are paying attention.

Wonderful London

Wonderful London

Years ago, my wife and I spent some time in London, England. In our travels around the city,  we often took the Underground, That’s what they call their subway system. Every time we entered the train we heard a voice repeat this line; “Mind the gap, Mind the gap”. Which meant to pay attention to the space between the car and the train platform. I thought of the gap between my present reality and where I would like it to become in the future.

I would have to stop the drift and become intentional in my pursuit of a new reality.

Changing Reality

Actually, you cannot change reality, it is what it is.

The reality of the drifter is, you guessed it, drifting, not paying attention. But we can move into a new reality by the wilful use of intentionality in our choices. I have a template which can make a radical difference in your life.
Take one whole day, get away in a quiet place and give a thought to the three questions in this template.
Before beginning it is important for you to consider two steps.

1. You must sincerely want to stop the ‘drift’.

2. Pray, asking God to open your thoughts for real, life-changing results. 

The Template

First; my disclaimer: I did not develop this template.
This template is first mentioned in the Bible’s book of Genesis chapter 3 in verses 9 to 13. Within these verses is the record of God asking  three main and important questions to Adam and Eve.

These questions are as relevant today as they were when first asked by God Himself.

These 3 questions if answered honestly, by you, can change your life.

1.    Where are you?

Are you satisfied with your place in life, your marriage, your job, your health?

2.    Who are you listening to?

Are you listening to positive, interesting people, reading meaningful writings, thoughtfully responding to insightful questions?

3.    What are you prepared to do with what you now know?

Will you take action immediately or will you once again hesitate?

When we desire change for the better in our lives it demands intentionality. If we do not act, change will happen none-the-less, which means the ‘drift’ will continue.
Think about it: No one drifts towards improvement!

Moving towards; The Richer Side of Life.

The Retirement Decision

Easing Into Retirement
“God rested and He wasn’t tired” Anonymous

Decision-making time

Sometimes change doesn’t come easy for us. Why

I had the decision to make about when to retire from a position I had enjoyed. Big Decision. I had set a date to retire but was forced to retire earlier due to a health condition. Why did it take a health condition to do what I should have done sooner? 

I did not retire because I was tired!

By the way, my health has been good since I retired. Now, I’m enjoying a more relaxed time with my wife, my family and my friends.

What stands in the way of making the decision?

How I see our “life cycle”

Our life can be seen as a book with many chapters. Some chapters, good, some, not so good. When one chapter is completed we do not throw away the book, we simply turn the page to find the next chapter. That is exactly what we should do in living each day. Each chapter chronicles the seasons of life and makes our book complete. Each of us has a history, a present and hopefully a future. If you are a Bible reader you know in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter three, we are warned that everything has its time.

Some of my thoughts on retirement.

It’s not about the money!

“There are two ways you can be rich. One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.” – Unknown

Retirement is more about contentment than the money in the bank.This is having a sense of well-being. Being at peace with oneself.

First, we will be faced with change.

  • The day you walk out of the factory, office or other workplace everything changes.
  • People you rub shoulders with, you will ‘rub’ no more.
  • The daily drive to the workplace is over.
  • A whole segment of time, 8 -10 hours daily, now become yours personally to fill.

My position as a pastor on staff overseeing other ministers was rewarding. Though I left my position, my wife and I did not leave the church. We see the same people, but the relationship to them has changed. That is a good change, but it is a change none the less.

How do we bring this sense of contentment, (satisfaction), into our retirement?

  • Build your life around your spouse, well-adjusted children leave in adulthood, that’s normal.
  • Find ways to enjoy your spouses’ company.
  • Keep active in children and grandchildren’s activities.
  • Stay involved in church and social activities.
  • Continue to develop relationships with friends and neighbors
  • Take walks, slow down and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Initiate new pursuits, such as reading books, doing puzzles, sports activities.
  • Stay active, don’t succumb to extended sofa time.
  • Last, keep a schedule, get up in the morning, afternoon nap time and evening events will keep you more positive focused.

I’m just a ‘newbie’ to this retirement time. Just 2 years deep into the pages of this chapter in my life. I’m loving it! The old saying that; “I’m so busy in retirement, I don’t know how I had the time to go to work” is true for me.

One Thing More

You don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy and contented. So get busy giving stuff away. A reality is that in the future, someone you do not know will drive up your driveway and say; “We’re home”. Another person will turn the lock on your apartment door and claim it as home to them. It is going to happen, we’re only here for a season, someday our book will be finished, last chapter written and the back cover closed. Therefore, enjoy the present, it’s a gift.

Contentment; Life’s gift to the retiree!

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have” Philippians 4:11

Welcome to, The Richer Side of Life
Photo credit: Unsplash.com  Stefan Kunze

Why Friends Matter

How Many Friends Do Most People Have?
But having the right ones, that is the question.

Building genuine  friendships

Building genuine friendships

I’ve often wondered, am I normal?

Normal, as in the number of close friends I have.

Maybe you have the same thoughts.

I did a short study on this. 

Quite interesting what I came up with. See what you think.

What is the optimal number of friends for good mental health? Dr. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford says, it is to have 3 to 5 close friends. Dr. Mark Vernon, a philosopher, psychotherapist and author of The Meaning of Friendship relates that for good health you need friends that you see face to face on a regular basis.

“Yea, I’m normal!”

We get to choose the 3 – 5 friends that make up our inner circle.

Choosing the friends that matter
Good advice is found in the book of Proverbs.

Why do we ignore instructions on this subject of choosing our inner circle of friendships? Most people believe that close friendship just evolve over time. Not so. Deep relationship require intentionality. We can draw in the ones that will have the most meaning for us while having the most benefit to our friends. It is a two way street.

Solomon writes:
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26 NKJV)

Five questions to know who your best friends really are.

1. Is this a person who can tell me the truth about me with the intent to make me a better person?
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27: 6 (NLT)

2. Does this person give good counsel to me without sharing my inner most thoughts with others?
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27: 9 (NLT)

3. Over the years have we been there for each other when adversity struck?
Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away. Proverbs 27: 10 (NLT)

4. When I am with this person is there a sense of optimism in our discussion?
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27: 17 (NLT)

5. Is this person relating positive words about me to others?
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him. Proverbs 27: 21 (NKJ)

W. Clement Stone says:
“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

The All Important Flip Side of Friendship
Why our friendliness matters to others

Great friends, the ones you see often in person, are vital to our good mental health. These are the ones that bring the most happiness to us.

Dreaming of blessing my friends

Dreaming of blessing my friends

The five questions listed above should be words that determine the way we relate to our friends. The old adage, “To have friends, one must be friendly”, rings true.

To make these questions applicable to us lets turn each into a statement.

1.  I am interested in encouraging my friend
2.  I am a confidential person
3.  I will be there for my friend when adversity strikes
4.  I bring a sense of optimism to my friend even in negative situations
5.  I will always speak well of my friend to others.

In 1855 Joseph M. Scriven wrote the old hymn: What a Friend We Have In Jesus.

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

The first verse of this hymn captures what a true friend is and what makes friends so vital to our health. When Jesus is our closest friend, being friends with others comes more naturally to us. He is a true friend.

We can deepen our friendships this week!
Read through the questions and statements again.
This is the day to be a better friend.

Always on The Richer Side of Life.

Photo credits: Unsplash-Charlie Foster (couple on bench)
Unsplash – Shlomit Wolf (Young Person on train)

I always appreciate your comments.

 

Living High On Issues

Living High On Issues

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

I can’t say I have always lived high on issues, I’ve stumbled and have tripped up on some issues as well.

By issues, I mean what really matters to me.

For years I have worked on my issues;

What will I hold close to me?

What will I let go of?

What has been worn into the grooves of my soul?

Building Tools

Building Tools

Interesting; what we consistently think on we slowly, surely become. King Solomon gives us wisdom on this issue in Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

This is an action statement, keeping something with all diligence strongly implies, work must be done. We must grab some tools to do this work in our souls. Tools are used to build a structure, whether a house, a home or a lifestyle to be lived. I have found some tools that have served me well in building a better, stronger character in me.

3 “tools” for living high on issues

  1. Practice Dependability Always doing what we say we will do. This means taking the time to think before committing to doing something is the very first act of being a dependable person.

    “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to preform what we cannot.” Abraham Lincoln

  2. Keeping A Positive Attitude
    Even in a negative situation I strive to find something positive that can be trumpeted above the noise of defeat. Problems call for solutions, search for them.

    “The person is not the problem. The problem is the problem Michael White

  3. Be a Hope Builder
    I dig deep within myself until I know where my hope is lodged. Lasting hope is not in the material things I acquire. I secure a hope in something or someone outside of myself.

    “I will not put my hope in riches but in Him who richly provides.” Andy Stanley

Are We There Yet?

I know  it is a work in progress. Never quite there yet. But, at least we’re on the open road to a better future when we know our issues have value. It is true when we know what we value, decisions are easy for us.

My suggestion; take time to write three issues that you will give diligence to in securing a better lifestyle for you personally. To live better we have to BE better, this takes work, but the rewards are lasting.

Valuing our issues on The Richer Side of Life.

Picture credit: Unsplash – Todd Quackenbush

I appreciate you comments, let me know what you think.

Proverbs: Wisdom, Always Be A Learner

Wisdom, Always Be A Learner

All of us have a longing for more wisdom, more knowledge and the “how-to-do” life stuff but where should we search? Proverbs! Wisdom Lives Here.

•  Have you ever wondered why some people “make it” and others continue to stumble  through life?

•  Why do some struggle with making decisions while others hit “home runs”?

•  Are you amazed that the person who has nothing has all the answers and those who     “have it” continue to ask questions?

•  Have you met a “know it all” living in constant chaos?

King Solomon aptly addresses the one clue that unlocks our doorway to success.

A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (Proverbs 1:5 NKJV)

Here’s another way to look at it:
“The future belongs to the learners—not the knowers.” – Eric Hoffer

Solomon unlocks the door for us to succeed in life.

Open Closed Doors!

Open Closed Doors!

Always be a learner.

I’m looking through the book of Proverbs. It is not a book of promises, as some would suggest, rather it is what it says it is, Proverbs: wise sayings. This book summons us to make decisions for achieving a more productive life. Over and over again the book strongly advocates initiatives needed to succeed.

What is your reality today, yes, right now? Remember, reality is not what we want it to be, it is what it is, now! Are you stuck? Don’t know which way to turn?

Now is time to set a new direction in life and become a learner. Read, ask questions, seek wisdom from others who have obtained some success in life. Even better than that, I have a solution that will have you striking out less, to hitting more home runs!
You want to know what it is? Glad you asked. It is an assignment that has the possibility of changing your life forever!

Beginning May 1st read a chapter a day in the book of Proverbs.
Thirty-one chapters in 31 days!
Each day write a statement describing one bit of wisdom you picked up from your reading.
Remember your future will be determined by what you have read, what you learned, wisdom you gained and questions that were answered.

Opening the door of wisdom; joining others on the richer side of life.
Write a comment.
Let me know what you are thinking after reading this post.
Add your questions or insights.
Thank You

Photo Credit: Unsplash; Buzac Marius

 

Proverbs: Wisdom Lives Here!

Proverbs: Wisdom Lives Here!

Proverbs, wisdom given to us helping each person to live life skillfully. It is the Old Testaments’ book on wisdom and how to use it in everyday life. Wonderful wisdom lives here!

Wisdom road

Wisdom for the road to a better tomorrow

Proverbs; It may be an old book but it has the “stuff” to take us on a new and fulfilling road in life. King Solomon was the principle writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His pithy questions and statements gives us memorable wisdom to live an abundant life. A life, not without struggles, but meaningful wisdom to overcome whatever life throws at us. This book gives its’ reader wisdom and instruction. Wisdom is the “skill” and instruction is the “discipline” to carry out what we have learned from day to day.

“A wise man will hear and increase knowledge, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Proverbs 1: 5.

It appears to me that here are writings I should read if I want to increase my knowledge. Why would I not want to read this book when it is so available to me? If someone would suggest he knew a place where I could get more understanding about how to live successfully, why would I not jump at the opportunity? This book lays dormant in many homes across America and yet it contains a storehouse of wisdom. Laid out in 31 chapters, with each chapter an easy 10 minute read.

“The person who does not read has little advantage over the person who cannot read.” anonymous

I’m currently writing notes to shed light on some of the succinct instruction given in this wonderful book. Please leave a comment, suggestion or a question for me. I’m projecting to begin my series on; “Proverbs: Wisdom Lives Here!” in May.

Living with wisdom and great instruction on The Richer Side of Life.

Photo credit: Joshua Sortino

Jesus Sings

Jesus Sings

Have you ever thought about our Savior, Jesus, singing? Probably not. Is it recorded in scripture that Jesus sang?

Photo by: Jeff Sheldon

Photo by: Jeff Sheldon

A scripture that most all Christians are very familiar with is found in Matthew  26 and in Mark 14. In these scriptures Jesus tells His disciples to go into the city, look for and follow a man carrying a pitcher of water, his house is where we will meet for the Passover meal in his upper room. He selected the house to meet in and what meal they were going to celebrate together. He is leading this time together with His disciples. This is the Last Supper. He would be betrayed by Judas that very night and His crucifixion was imminent. Jesus is in the upper room with His 12 disciples eating before going to the Garden of Gethsemane.

I like to think of this time as the transition between the Old Testament keeping of the Passover and moving into the Christian observance of the Lord’s Supper. This we do in remembrance of His sacrificial death, burial and resurrection, until He comes again.

Soon Christians around the world will celebrate Easter on the first Sunday of April this year, His crucifixion, death and resurrection. If Jesus did sing, this timeframe would seem to be the most unlikely time for Him to sing a hymn.

But, He does. At the close of their meal He and His disciples sing a hymn.

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
Matthew 26:30

What hymn did He sing? At this time a Methodist hymnal had not been printed, nor was a Brethren hymnal, and certainly a Pentecostal song book was not in the works. What “Hymnal” did they have? Well, they sang the songs of King David, the Psalms. We are not told of the specific hymn they sang. However theologians and Bible scholars seem to think that part of the hymn sung included verse 24 of Psalms 118.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

We sing the chorus; This is the Day the Lord has Made, rejoicing that it is Monday or Wednesday and we are going to be glad. This is all well and good. However for Jesus, who knew what was before Him, this was “THE DAY” for which He had come into our world. Ready to pay the ultimate price for the salvation of mankind. So this chorus we sing has a much deeper spiritual significance than we might give it. The reason Jesus could sing is found in the book of Hebrews.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
Hebrews 12:2 (my emphasis)

“The devil does not stay where music is.” Martin Luther

Now we sing of His amazing grace!

Because He lives we now walk on The Richer Side of Life

“What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.”

Is Anyone Listening?

Is Anyone Listening?

Have you ever felt that people are not interested in what you are saying? Oh, my, that has happened to me more than a time or two. “Is anyone listening to me?” 

Dogancan Ozturan

Picture by Dogancan Ozturan

Talking is more then just mouthing words. For others to listen to us requires  more of us than that. For our talk to have an impact on those who listen, we must be aware that other forces place weight on what we say.

What are these other forces?

So glad you asked. The forces that increase listening appeal in others are values we shape in private. What we do in private has public consequences! I have 3 examples, though they are not the only ones, but are important ones. These values add an invisible weight to our words. These are not mysterious, nor are they hard to obtain. We can do this! That is, if we want our conversation to be meaningful to the listeners. Let’s take a look at what I’m thinking.


My Example.
We cannot, not be an example.

I had teaching tapes, (remember tapes?) which are in the trash now, not because the teaching was wrong, but because of the example set by the teacher.
Apostle Paul told Timothy to  “…be an example to the believers…” I Timothy 4:12

Lets be the  first to admit our mistake and apologize, asking for forgiveness. We should be specific about what forgiveness we are seeking. When we have done wrong, why not be the man or woman to admit our wrong doing. Don’t hide or run. Stand up, go to the person if needed and ask forgiveness. Most times it will be accepted. Choose to love at all times. We know that love covers a multitude of sins. Wow, that alone is a good reason to walk in love.

My Attitude

This may take some practice, but an attitude of gratitude toward everyone, reaps multiplied benefits. Think of others more than we think of ourself. Make a personal discovery of true compassion. This is the awareness of other’s distress with a desire to help. Let us be the positive ones in a negative world.

My Words

Finally we can choose the correct words to lift and encourage people. Turning a negative conversation around to a positive conversation. Do this by looking for the good, alway picking out the jewels in what others are saying. Our words are so important.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who live it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

What we are communicates far more eloquently and persuasively than what we say or even do.Stephen Covey in Principle-centered Leadership.

Keeping these values in mind just might increase the number of those who are listening.

“What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.”

Join me on The Richer Side of Life.

Dead-Ends Lead to New Beginnings

            Dead-Ends To New Beginnings!

Photo: Faye Good

Photo: Faye Good

I am fascinated with the rational we use in making our choices. In my research on the motivation needed to make change happen in a our life, I’ve discovered Dead-Ends provide good pivots for New Beginnings.

Saul walking to Damascus continuing his campaign to persecute the early church saw a bright light, fell to the ground and was stopped.
“…Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Then the Lord said,” I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads”. So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:4-6)
Saul, the persecutor transformed into Paul the apostle of Christ, is the classic example of the “stop that changed” his life’s direction. The Damascus Road had a dead-end that gave Saul a new beginning. It was a name changer! Paul’s response in this pivotal moment is captured in his two questions:

“Who are You?”
“What do You want me to do?”

The place where Saul halted in his march towards Damascus became his starting point. It is always good to take note of who is talking and what is being requested. In Paul’s defense to King Agrippa recorded in Acts 26:19-20 he said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus…”. He started where he was stopped and his exploits and words still inspire us in Christianly today.

My phraseology of Paul’s questions:
Who is talking to me and what should I do about it?

Dead-Ends to New beginnings!

When we come to a “dead end” whether it be a job termination, business failure, ministry disaster or in some other life changing event, what do we do? Possibly it is the best place to “start” a new journey toward greater reward!

  •             The significance we place on what stops us, can move us.

As long as we are on the open road we just keep moving along. It is when we come to a dead end that we are forced to make a choice. Why wait till we are in a dead end situation to make the change needed?

“He slept beneath the moon; He basked beneath the sun, He lived a life of going-to-do; And died with nothing done.”
English playwright, James Albery.

Let’s make: Dead-Ends Lead to New Beginnings!
How about you?
What dead end prompted you to start anew?
I’d be glad to hear your comment. Please scroll down and write about it.
While you are at it, sign up to continue to receive rich sense.  Thank you.

When Stopped, let us Start moving to the Richer Side of Life

    

Rejection may not signal a loss at all!

Rejection!

They shouted; “Get out!, Leave! Your presence in this building is defiling us! Out, with you. We’re done with you and don’t come back!” What on earth had he done to deserve this kind of rejection? Who were these people demanding him to leave?

All his life he had been ignored as a blind beggar, just throw a coin in his cup. Not even taking the time to really look at him. Just one of the many low life’s on the street. Read his amazing story in the Bible’s book of John, chapter 9.

Now old enough to speak for himself, yet blind, tremendous change was coming! Jesus saw him, gave him his sight, now; he could see! The young man remains nameless but his miracle is forever etched in the pages of time for us to read.

“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see!”

His 12 words reverberated through the halls of the temple.
Questions tumbled from the religious leaders lips; who do you say the man was? What did he do? Are you sure you are you? What kind of question is that!

But you see, they never paid attention to the blind beggar sitting on the side of the road. Mom and Dad assured the leaders that this indeed was their son born blind. The parents feared the leaders but the son, he could SEE! Not silent now, no, he had spent his whole life sitting, jingling a cup, hoping for coins. What were mere coins, when now I see!

photo-1415226181422-279a51ca056e

Photo by; Jeff Sheldon

Then it happened…

He turned the tables on them, he questioned them:
“What; do you also want to become His disciples?”
That did it! Get out of here, who do you think you are telling us. Leave, don’t come back, you are excommunicated! Rejection! The blind man left seeing, the ‘seeing’ men remained blind.

You want to know my high point in this story?
I’m glad you asked.
It happens after he is rejected.
Wow! What could it be?
It might have been the same day or maybe days later, but it happened and it blows my mind.
Here it is, are you ready for it?

Jesus heard that the man had been rejected, no, not just rejected but told he was forever not allowed in the temple, excommunicated. But it gets better! Jesus looks for the man. Could have taken days but Jesus was determined to find him. He found him. Rejected by the leaders but found by Jesus, how sweet is that.

Have you suffered rejection? He knows, he looks and wants you found.
He hears, He looks, He finds! That’s my Jesus!

This is; the Richer Side of Life!