Growth, Engagement and a lesson from Twitter

Today there is a need to share reflection. A milestone of sorts was passed today by crossing the 1000 followers on Twitter and reaching perhaps 2000 within 24 hours. As the 1000 follower milestone appeared in reach, yesterday began following many to get that number up, and then made a post with someone who encouraged supporting one another. The reaching out resulted in support from a couple people that resulted in exponential growth. This significance of this does not escape this writer. The past year God has been working growth within this writer. It was God’s theme for me and my wife for the past year. This twitter growth is certainly an evidence of what God can do. A certain principle is at work. Reach out, ask, and share. This is what one individual is responsible to do: engage and take steps. Others around you can respond or ignore, but there needs to be engagement. Growth occurs with response from others based on some level of trust. Sure there are marketing schemes and ways to engage in promotion and generation of numbers. And for this writer, there will come a time that is important. Yet, I know, at this time, there is a need to engage. My engagement currently has 3 elements which will touch on briefly.

The past: I reviewed my opening blog post: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/the-beginning-finally/. There were many thoughts and elements going on 11 years ago with active writing stopping 6 years ago. God had used this voice to work through varied thoughts and ideas with the apex being this article: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/seven-spiritual-principles-for-transcending-suffering/. The most views came around an actual back and forth around an author of another blog and stepping into thoughts on the whole ordeal. Many lessons were learned from 2008 to 2013. Then the blog went silent, due in part to feeling there was repetition. Also during that time I had started a website and forum that since closed down as the time and purpose closed. The truth is, the engagement stopped, and the world changed with my voice offering little in the midst.

The present: I feel led to really engage in writing again, but have not followed through. The growth on Twitter promoted this article. This year that focused on growth actually brought much death. My mother died, a precious canine servant of God died, and many others as well. There is a current and active writing challenge of working on a dissertation to complete a Doctor of Counseling degree. Globally, in the culture, there is much going on, yet much is not clear and in a fog as things anticipated do not occur and no sense of when breaks will occur. In all this, God is in control and does have evil on a leash. As such, growth occurs with endings and beginnings while completing a major task that takes much and goes slow. However, to move and grow, there needs to be engagement and action.

The future: I know will involve writing, and writing at a point with product to sell. So I need engage. I know God’s next theme for my life is clarity, and clarity that is connected in some way to deep hunger. Right now, I have ideas and a direction, but ultimately looking to God to lead, guide, and sustain. Ultimately, God will have his way, and many things are ahead. But the key is to engage.

Another re-emergence and update

Hello again.
While anticipating growth in the year, it has been hard. Growth does involved challenges. The biggest challenges were the death of my mother and the death of a dear dog, Bella, shortly thereafter. Other deaths of family friends and family have occurred. There has been much loos. It is all unpleasant. Death by nature is an end, it hurts, it is hard, and leaves and enduring hole. When there is end, there is and beginning which by nature brings uncertainty. Moving forward occurs one step at time, preparing and taking steps as they play out. The key is to keep finding a way to move forward and progress each day, including periods of rest.

Tune in for discussion on Friendship

I have an opportunity to join Parker J. Cole’s internet radio broadcast tomorrow.  We will be having a range of discussion on non-familial relationships. We will examine various aspects of friendship and healthy relationship. If you wonder what I sound like or care to tune in for a discussion on the topic please join us at: Parker J. Cole: Friends and Others at 1:00 PM central time.

 

On Pressing Forward in 2016

 

We have moved into a New Year. It is a time when many evaluate their goals and make plans for change and moving forward for the year ahead. Time also is spent examining the impact and results of the past year.  Personally, 2015 was a year of many trials and difficulties. None of the trials have been devastating or severe but they have been persistent and draining. Some of them have been sudden and came with unexpected costs. My wife and I do have goals and desires for what is ahead but at times it gets overwhelming.  Since we have directions we are moving toward, my mind has been reflecting on moving forward and forging ahead.

As we moved on into the New Year, the Bible passage of Philippians 3: 13-14 has been on my mind. The passage reads: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV) There are three elements that are central to this passage that are worth reflecting on: the past, pressing forward, and the goal.  It is worth noting that the attitude described in this passage is referred to as the way mature people should think (Philippians 3:15.)

The first thought is about the past. The passage directs to forget about the past, to let it have no power or sway. In the verses preceding the passage, Paul, referenced all the thing in his past that were considered of value. He essentially says, what he did in the past is irrelevant to moving forward in his life as He follows God. The passage really does not mean we are not to address issues in our past and learn from the past. It is really about not holding on to that which is past, that in present moment, we are to be about what God has us doing.  We are not to keep mind focused on what has already occurred, but to engage in that which brings forward movement.  It is worth noting, that within scripture God often has called people to remember what he has done and set up places of remembrance. Even names of Cities and people are markers of things to recall. So, Paul is not suggesting a total avoidance of things in the past; good or bad. Rather, a focus off of the elements of self, as the good and bad of the past can easily become a center of focus and interfere with moving ahead.  We are to be about what God has called us to doing and to press forward.

The other element worth reflecting is to be pressing forward. It is moving ahead. It is imagery used in connection to running a race or engaging in a contest. Pressing forward is about persevering to completion with what you were called to do.  Pressing forward means facing difficulties as the come and dealing with them. It is about focus on the goal. As long as we are in this body and living this life, we are moving forward.  In my mind, whatever point we are in life, we are growing in some manner. Each day is the next day for the next step for moving ahead and facing obstacles.

The ultimate point though is the element of the goal. We are pressing forward, not related to our own self-directed goals or felt desire. No, we are pressing forward in what God has called us to, that which He has set forward. And what God has called us to, is found in Philippians 3: 8-10. It is what Paul referred to as gaining Christ. Our pressing forward depends on faith which allows for knowing God in all His persons and experience what God is able to bring alive even in the midst of great difficulties.  It is looking beyond any circumstances and pressing on in such away as we demonstrate that what happens as we press on is but temporary. We are citizens of heaven as seen in Philippians 3:20.  The call is doing what God has before us. It is making disciples. It is loving others. It is persisting through obstacles. It is focusing on God.  This is why it is a mark of maturity, for it is getting beyond self and living and serving as you are going in the course of your life.

So, take time to think about where God has you and what pressing forward in 2016 means? Is there things that are holding back? Are there good and bad things that deter from moving forward? Are your desires on things of self, or on God’s higher call?   Where is God moving in your life and what are the current areas where you are growing?  Ultimately, reflect on where God has you going and what steps you take to move forward while remembering that God is God and He is there with you as you press forward and forge ahead in 2016.

A word out of silence

Two years ago this author proclaimed that this blog was being revived. A couple articles were written and Tim noticed that he had repeated what he had shared in previous article and once again the blog went silent. The other factor that was discouraging was the realization that any images used related to articles need to be original or public domain.  Today, as thoughts and prayers occur for friends and loved ones, the need to start writing here again became overwhelming.  Yet, also an odd time for the potential revitalization of this blog.  The New Year is bringing an unanticipated new directions as a Doctoral in Counseling program came into awareness and will be embarked on. So why the prompting to restart writing. Earlier this year, my wife even asked me why I don’t write for the blog anymore. I really didn’t have an answer. More then likely, it was letting elements of self get in the way, so while there was a part of me that sought to re-engage, the part of self that disengages became stronger. So why now?  Well, there is so much going on in this world that impacts believers. There are struggles real to many. There are thoughts that God has brought to my find that others may benefit from reading as I continue to grow.  Please pray that I stick with the plan for renewed writing. So, for now, this blog is no longer silent and may words flow here that build you up in God’s peace.

Mother’s Day: Honoring Mother- Rising Up and Calling Her Blessed

Today is Mother’s Day. It is the day in this culture that is set aside to Honor Mothers.  It is a day where we are encouraged to express value to mothers. In general the concept is to honor those who you are a child of and those who you have children with.  The day is one in which Proverbs 31:28 (ESV) “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” is practiced. The verse covers both those who you are a child of and those who you have children with.  In context that verse is referring to what occurs in the life of a virtuous woman as described in Proverbs 31.  Honestly, most mothers fall short of the standard described in Proverbs 31.  There are things done that hurt and cause pain and miss the standard of virtue. Yet, even so, there is the need to honor. There is the need to attend to that which is of virtue.  The actions described in Proverbs 31 are really about proclaiming the virtue and giving witness to the good things, the virtuous actions.  It is really giving acknowledgement to the good that has been done.  

Personally, this writer does not yet have children. There are hopes, plans, and dreams of the same.  Yet, on this day, with no children yet, there are words to say to life up the woman who will one day share the joy of bringing children into the world. There is honor in the steps she takes while awaiting the time of bringing children into this world. Admittedly each day the time gets shorter, but the time taken is of worth and value so that we both may be of virtue in raising children.  So, this writer is proclaiming that his wife is a woman to be praised and valued.  I honor her.

Now, as to this writer’s mother; there has been no one who has more impact on the man I’ve become then her. She engaged in much care and nurture. There were many actions taken that shaped my life course and development.  She is even the one who identified and encouraged my life call and profession. She sacrificed on many levels to ensure that me and my brother had what we needed.  It is certain, that my awareness of what she poured into my life is only partial for many things actions taken that were well beyond the awareness of a child (and yes, even beyond awareness of an adult child.)  My mother did so much to love and build me up that it is need of honor and this writer greatly appreciates what she is done.  My mother is one to be honored and blessed for the value of what she put into my life is beyond measure.

Now, for the readers of this post, please take time to consider the mother’s in your life.  Praise them and rise up and call them blessed. Do so today, and do so beyond such days of cultural expectation. Find the things of virtue and honor that shaped you, and make it know, for as you bless, you in turn are blessed. 

Reflections on Brennan Manning: A Teacher of God’s Love and Grace

Today 4/13/2013 news that Brennan Manning left this life on 4/12/2013. He was a man of God, a disciple who now has moved on. Yet, he was a teacher of much controversy. The top of the controversy was that he taught “contemplative prayer” with use of things like emptying thoughts and repeating words. This controversy exists and is out there, yet, I have no question that in He was a true follower of Jesus the Messiah. His teaching and from what I understand even his life was fractured and flawed. He knew fully what it was to experience God’s grace. Yet, he is really know different than any other disciple of Jesus. He tought things wrong, he did things wrong, he was flawed. Yet, he knew what it was to be loved by God. He was a teacher and preacher of God’s love. His messages focused on deepening the understanding of God and His love. This is true for me.
I heard Brennan Manning speak at Church of the Open Door in Minnesota two or maybe three times. When he spoke his words and presence displayed and shown the love of God. His words touched to the very core. I do not remember his words or his teaching at that time. I do know what he taught and spoke of on those days changed me. He gave words that brought closer awareness to the love of God. He taught in such a way that got beyond the fractured images I had of God the Father and God used to touch hurt and pain and let God’s love in. God used this man. And for that I am grateful. He served and was used by God and he touch my life and many others. There are a great many quotes out there that demonstrate the truth he taught. It is important to note in God’s economy the words of Love and truth have far greater impact than the things we speak that are flawed, dangerous, or destructive. Truth and love always have greater effect. In closing this article I am posting some Brennan Manning quotes that demonstrate the Truth and Love that he taught that impacted so many.

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”

“God is love. In human beings, love is a quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity.“

“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ, & I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

“Christianity was not some moral code; it was a love affair, & I experienced it first hand.”

“If we conceal our wounds out of fear & shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”