Enjoying a Snail’s Pace

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Doing Things Slowly

Life can often feel like it’s zipping by in fast forward. We feel obliged to accelerate our own speed along with it, until our productivity turns into frenzied accomplishment. We find ourselves cramming as much activity as possible into the shortest periods of time. We disregard our natural rhythms because it seems we have to just to keep up. In truth, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal.

Slowing down allows you to not only savor your experiences, but also it allows you to fully focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. Moving at a slower place lets you get things done more efficiently, while rushing diminishes the quality of your work and your relationships. Slowing down also lets you be more mindful, deliberate, and fully present. When we slow down, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves to our natural rhythms. We let go of the “fast forward” stress, and allow our bodies to remain centered and grounded. Slowing down is inherent to fully savoring anything in life. Rushing to take a bath can feel like an uncomfortable dunk in hot water, while taking a slow hot bath can be luxuriant and relaxing. A student cramming for a test will often feel tired and unsure, whereas someone who really absorbs the information will be more confident and relaxed. Cooking, eating, reading, and writing can become pleasurable when done slowly. ! Slowing down lets you become more absorbed in whatever it is you are doing. The food you eat tastes better, and the stories you read become more alive.

Slowing down allows you to disconnect from the frenzied pace buzzing around you so you can begin moving at your own pace. The moments we choose to live in fast forward motion then become a conscious choice rather than an involuntary action. Learning to slow down in our fast-moving world can take practice, but if you slow down long enough to try it, you may surprise yourself with how natural and organic living at this pace can be.

Completing the Work

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Today's Prayer

Dear God, Are there any areas in my life that have not come under the lordship of Christ? Is there any lack of obedience that will prevent me from being used fully by you? God, please search me, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me. Please lead me in the way everlasting (based on Psalm 139:23-34). I praise you and lift you up, for you are God Almighty. In Jesus' name I thank You. Amen.

"I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do" (John 17:4).

Have you ever had a big project to do and felt great when you'd finished the job and it was a big success? Angie worked on a big project in the 1996 Olympics which involved placing 2000 family members of foreign athletes into Christian homes. It was a massive project, but it was a rewarding experience to see the job completed.

The Lord has revealed to us that the number one thing we are to do is love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. His desire is for us to know Him and the power of His resurrection. These mandates deal with our relationship with Him. The fruit of this relationship must then result in our glorifying Him by completing the work He has given each of us to do. It will become a by-product of this relationship, not an end in itself.

What is the work God has called you to do? Jesus never did anything the Father had not instructed Him to do. He lived in such communion with the Father that He knew when to turn left and when to turn to the right. Is it possible to have such a relationship with our heavenly Father? I think that if it weren't, He would not have given us such an example.

"Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jer. 33:3). What has He called you to do? Perhaps you are called to be the best lawyer in your city or the best advertising executive or the best office worker or assembly line person in your company. Whatever work He has called you to, He will use you as His instrument to accomplish something that He has uniquely prepared you to do.

When our life is complete, what a glorious day it will be if we can each say, "I have completed the work You gave me to do." This will have brought great glory to Him.

By Os Hillman

Victoria's Friends

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Today's Prayer

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...let it shine, let it shine, let it shine..." God that sweet little tune is running through my mind this morning. I sang that as a child and later in children's ministry. And today, I really do want to let the light of Christ shine through me wherever I go--at home, work, and out and about. May I exude your love to the world around me. May I be a bright encouragement to all I meet and all who see me. May the words out of my mouth glorify you and say whatever it is YOU know the hearer needs to hear. Thank you, God, for giving me light and life through Jesus my Savior, in whose name I pray, amen.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9-10).

Victoria grew up like many middle income families. She loved school and was even the queen in her homecoming court all four years in high school. After some tragic family deaths during her teen years, she began to experiment with alcohol and drugs. She was raped, underwent multiple abortions, and began working as a dancer at local nude dancing club, which she continued for more than four years.

After suffering nosebleeds from her cocaine addition, Victoria became very involved with the new age movement, nearly had a nervous breakdown, and eventually became suicidal. By the age of 28 she was homeless, stranded and fired from her job as a strip-club dancer. Barely 100 pounds, she was no longer profitable to the industry. Then a Christian gave her a Bible. The first book she read was Job and something gripped her heart. A church family took her into their home. They surrounded her with love and pointed her to who she was in Christ. Victoria says, "Jesus is the only healer of deep, deep wounds."

Now, years later, Victoria's compassionate heart is focused on reaching other lives on the brink of life or death. She founded a ministry called Victoria's Friends, which goes into the heart of the darkest places of the city in the strip clubs. Trained women ministry volunteers bring baskets to the dancers in their dressing rooms with no motive other than to show they care. Men stay outside the clubs and pray for the women going inside. It is the ultimate rescue mission. It is the love of Christ expressed in a simple, but powerful way. This act translates into relationships that are formed between those who continue to show their love for them.

Hundreds of young women have come out of this lifestyle because one woman decided to do what others had done for her - rescue her from the pit of darkness.

What type of rescue mission might God call you to lead?

By Os Hillman

Hidden Treasures

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Finding Another Vantage Point

The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. How does the situation look now? Try burying your face in the grass and looking at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down or standing on a chair can help you find a lost object, so can seeing a broader or the more focused picture help you find wisdom or hidden treasures. In doing so, you’ll experience a very different world.

By Daily OM

Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

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An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

1. Pray.
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus.'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36 Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

Resisting the Urge to Control

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Imposing Your Will On Others

The right to make your own choices is a precious one. We grow when we have the freedom to decide our own paths and determine what makes us happy. Yet there are those who are inclined to try and control others. They may be driven by insecurity, envy, fear, or the need for power. These people are deeply critical of themselves in their own minds, and underlying that critical nature is unhappiness. Their need to feel sure-footed and secure is quenched by controlling those around them, whether they are friends, colleagues, or even pets. However, nearly everyone has found themselves imposing their will upon others at one time or another.

Trying to impose your will on others can be tempting for many reasons. You may feel that your way is the best way or that you have a keener insight into the direction their life should be taking. But, in imposing your will, you are indirectly saying, “I want to control you.” Even when you have the best of intentions, others may end up resenting you for your actions. It is always helpful to remember that it is possible to influence people and change their behavior through education or example without imposing your will on them.

If you’ve caught yourself being a bit bossy on a regular basis, make a note of it. Write down what the situation was and why you acted the way you did. You may have pushed a friend to try something new, because deep inside you wanted to try it yourself but were feeling hesitant. Or you may be unjustly interfering with work teammates, because you aren’t sure of their abilities. Next, make an effort to understand and accept their preferences and ways of doing things. It can feel natural to impose your will when you feel that you “know best.” But there is a freedom to trusting others to find their own methods and joys, even when they might differ from yours. Sometimes the best course of action is to step back and relinquish control. You may, in doing so, see everything from a different point of view.

By Daily OM

What does a fallen angel, a Jedi turned Sith and a King named Saul have in common?

Its the sin that cast Satan from heaven because he wanted to be God. Its the sin that made Saul turn against David, a man after Gods own heart for no just cause.

They all gave in to the most hideous and dangerous sins of all, pride. Its subtle, and it can manifests itself in many forms.

It is almost always an attitude of self sufficiency and independence (I can handle this without help or I understand my situation better than anyone else). Its often an attitude of self-righteousness ( I am at least as good as you are, probably better). it is sometimes an attitude of boastfulness (Look at what I did, and look what is proves I can do)

The paragraph above is taken from Pages 17-18 from the book - The prideful souls guide to humility by Michael Fontenot and Thomas Jones

There is no one on earth that is exempt from this sin one way or another. We all need help to grow in our humility. And no one ever arrives, at least no on earthly time, and says I am humble because that very statement will only prove that the individual has lots more to grow.

We must always fight to grow in our humility because our sinful nature will always contrary to what God desires. Pride is the exact opposite of humility. Jesus was humility incarnate and only by following in His steps one can learn to become more humble.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
~John 5:19

And in just after a few verses later Jesus says;

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
~John 5:30

SOURCE: YBIC - Oswald Chu - ICOC Facebook to face global e-vangelism

The Truth About Marriage

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10 Principles

1. Marriage is a personal union, intended for the whole of life, of husband and wife.

Marriage differs from other valued personal relationships in conveying a full union of husband and wife— including a sexual, emotional, financial, legal, spiritual, and parental union. Marriage is not the ratification of an existing relation; it is the beginning of a new relationship between a man and woman, who pledge their sexual fidelity to one another, promise loving mutual care and support, and form a family that welcomes and nurtures the children that may spring from their union. This understanding of marriage has predominated in Europe and America for most of the past two thousand years. It springs from the biological, psychological, and social complementarity of the male and female sexes: Women typically bring to marriage important gifts and perspectives that men typically do not bring, just as men bring their own special gifts and perspectives that women typically cannot provide in the same way. This covenant of mutual dependence and obligation, solemnized by a legal oath, is strengthened by the pledge of permanence that husband and wife offer to one another—always to remain, never to flee, even and especially in the most difficult times.

2. Marriage is a profound human good, elevating and perfecting our social and sexual nature.

Human beings are social animals, and the social institution of marriage is a profound human good. It is a matrix of human relationships rooted in the spouses’ sexual complementarity and procreative possibilities and in children’s need for sustained parental nurturance and support. It creates clear ties of begetting and belonging, ties of identity, kinship, and mutual interdependence and responsibility. These bonds of fidelity serve a crucial public purpose, and so it is necessary and proper for the state to recognize and encourage marriage in both law and public policy. Indeed, it is not surprising that marriage is publicly sanctioned and promoted in virtually every known society and often solemnized by religious and cultural rituals. Modern biological and social science only confirm the benefits of marriage as a human good consistent with our given nature as sexual and social beings.

3. Ordinarily, both men and women who marry are better off as a result.

Married men gain moral and personal discipline, a stable domestic life, and the opportunity to participate in the upbringing of their children. Married women gain stability and protection, acknowledgment of the paternity of their children, and shared responsibility and emotional support in the raising of their young. Together, both spouses gain from a normative commitment to the institution of marriage itself—including the benefits that come from faithfully fulfilling one’s chosen duties as mother or father, husband or wife. Couples who share a moral commitment to marital permanency and fidelity tend to have better marriages. The marital ethic enjoining permanence, mutual fidelity, and care, as well as forbidding violence or sexual abuse, arises out of the core imperative of our marriage tradition: that men and women who marry pledge to love one another, “in sickness and in health” and “for better or for worse,” ordinarily “until death do us part.”

4. Marriage protects and promotes the well-being of children.

The family environment provided by marriage allows children to grow, mature, and flourish. It is a seedbed of sociability and virtue for the young, who learn from both their parents and their siblings. Specifically, the married family satisfies children's need to know their biological origins, connects them to both a mother and father, establishes a framework of love for nurturing the young, oversees their education and personal development, and anchors their identity as they learn to move about the larger world. These are not merely desirable goods, but what we owe to children as vulnerable beings filled with potential. Whenever humanly possible, children have a natural human right to know their mother and father, and mothers and fathers have a solemn obligation to love their children unconditionally.

5. Marriage sustains civil society and promotes the common good.

Civil society also benefits from a stable marital order. Families are themselves small societies, and the web of trust they establish across generations and between the spouses' original families are a key constituent of society as a whole. The network of relatives and in-laws that marriage creates and sustains is a key ingredient of the "social capital" that facilitates many kinds of beneficial civic associations and private groups. The virtues acquired within the family—generosity, self-sacrifice, trust, self-discipline—are crucial in every domain of social life. Children who grow up in broken families often fail to acquire these elemental habits of character. When marital breakdown or the failure to form marriages becomes widespread, society is harmed by a host of social pathologies, including increased poverty, mental illness, crime, illegal drug use, clinical depression, and suicide.

6. Marriage is a wealth-creating institution, increasing human and social capital.

The modern economy and modern democratic state depend on families to produce the next generation of productive workers and taxpayers. This ongoing renewal of human capital is a crucial ingredient in the national economy, one that is now in grave peril in those societies with rapidly aging populations and below-replacement fertility rates. It is within families that young people develop stable patterns of work and self-reliance at the direction of their parents, and this training in turn provides the basis for developing useful skills and gaining a profession. More deeply, marriage realigns personal interests beyond the good of the present self, and thus reduces the tendency of individuals and groups to make rash or imprudent decisions that squander the inheritance of future generations. Families also provide networks of trust and capital that serve as the foundation for countless entrepreneurial small-business enterprises (as well as some large corporations), which are crucial to the vitality of the nation's economy. In addition, devoted spouses and grown children assist in caring for the sick and elderly, and maintain the solvency of pension and social-insurance programs by providing unremunerated care for their loved ones, paying taxes, and producing the children who will form future generations of tax-paying workers. Without flourishing families, in other words, the long-term health of the modern economy would be imperiled.

7. When marriage weakens, the equality gap widens, as children suffer from the disadvantages of growing up in homes without committed mothers and fathers.

Children whose parents fail to get and stay married are at increased risk of poverty, dependency, substance abuse, educational failure, juvenile delinquency, early unwed pregnancy, and a host of other destructive behaviors. When whole families and neighborhoods become dominated by fatherless homes, these risks increase even further. The breakdown of marriage has hit the African-American community especially hard, and thus threatens the cherished American ideal of equality of opportunity by depriving adults and especially children of the social capital they need to flourish. Precisely because we seek to eliminate social disadvantages based on race and class, we view the cultural, economic, and other barriers to strengthening marriage in poor neighborhoods – especially among those racial minorities with disproportionately high rates of family breakdown – as a serious problem to be solved with persistence, generosity, and ingenuity.

8. A functioning marriage culture serves to protect political liberty and foster limited government.

Strong, intact families stabilize the state and decrease the need for costly and intrusive bureaucratic social agencies. Families provide for their vulnerable members, produce new citizens with virtues such as loyalty and generosity, and engender concern for the common good. When families break down, crime and social disorder soar; the state must expand to reassert social control with intrusive policing, a sprawling prison system, coercive child-support enforcement, and court-directed family life.3 Without stable families, personal liberty is thus imperiled, as the state tries to fulfill through coercion those functions that families, at their best, fulfill through covenantal devotion.

9. The laws that govern marriage matter significantly.

Law and culture exhibit a dynamic relationship: changes in one ultimately yield changes in the other, and together law and culture structure the choices that individuals see as available, acceptable, and choiceworthy. Given the clear benefits of marriage, we believe that the state should not remain politically neutral, either in procedure or outcome, between marriage and various alternative family structures. Some have sought to redefine civil marriage as a private contract between two individuals regardless of sex, others as a binding union of any number of individuals, and still others as any kind of contractual arrangement for any length of time that is agreeable to any number of consenting adult parties. But in doing so a state would necessarily undermine the social norm which encourages marriage as historically understood – i.e., the sexually faithful union, intended for life, between one man and one woman, open to the begetting and rearing of children. The public goods uniquely provided by marriage are recognizable by reasonable persons, regardless of religious or secular worldview, and thus provide compelling reasons for reinforcing the existing marriage norm in law and public policy.

10. “Civil marriage” and “religious marriage” cannot be rigidly or completely divorced from one another.

Americans have always recognized the right of any person, religious or non-religious, to marry. While the ceremonial form of religious and secular marriages often differs, the meaning of such marriages within the social order has always been similar, which is why the state honors those marriages duly performed by religious authorities. Moreover, current social science evidence on religion and marital success affirms the wisdom of the American tradition, which has always recognized and acknowledged the positive role that religion plays in creating and sustaining marriage as a social institution.4 The majority of Americans marry in religious institutions, and for many of these people a religious dimension suffuses the whole of family life and solemnizes the marriage vow. It is thus important to recognize the crucial role played by religious institutions in lending critical support for a sustainable marriage culture, on which the whole society depends. And it is important to preserve some shared idea of what marriage is that transcends the differences between religious and secular marriages and between marriages within our nation’s many diverse religious traditions.

SOURCE: thetruthaboutmarriageDotOrg