Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sister Doris Menzies (1932-2011)

Change of Heart

By Keith Call | May 17, 2010

Doris MenziesAlthough I am an older person,” begins Doris Dresselhaus Menzies in her memoir, Young At Heart (2007), “I have a much younger heart.” She explains her cryptic remark as the story unfolds.
Born in Decorah, Iowa, in 1932, Doris lived peacefully with her family and worked hard on the farm. At age nine she fully committed to Christ at the local Assemblies of God church. She was baptized in a lake, and shortly thereafter during an evening service received her baptism in the Holy Spirit. In 1951 she enrolled at Wheaton College where she studied elementary education. Because there were no Pentecostal churches in Wheaton at that time, an Assemblies of God campus fellowship provided a venue where Doris could meet students of similar conviction, including her future husband, William Menzies. 

“Neither of us could imagine the adventures in faith that would be ours when we met at Wheaton College,” he reflects. Later Bill would pen Anointed to Serve (1984), the definitive history of the Assemblies of God.

After their marriage in 1955, Bill and Doris served in various mid-western churches until he was called to teach at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. From there he moved to other teaching positions at home and abroad, until he and Doris were called to be regular missionaries for the Assemblies of God. 

In 1989 they relocated to the Philippines, where Bill served as president of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary. As he taught and lectured at the school, Doris quietly mingled with the people of Baguio City, personally leading many hungry hearts to Christ. Their lives proceeded busily until one day Doris suffered sharp chest pains, indicating severe cardiac arrest. 

Transferred to Salt Lake City for specialized care, it was concluded that she required a heart transplant. With that stunning report came the additional bad news that she would need to await a donor. And so for fourteen months she and Bill patiently waited in Salt Lake, until at last it was announced that a heart had been located, belonging to a young man from Oregon who requested that his organs be donated should anything happen to him. Doris MenziesTo the delight of all, the operation was a smashing success. As she writes, “There was thanksgiving and joy in my new heart.”

But Doris was not entirely free of physical affliction. In 2003 she was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. After an onerous series of chemo and radiation treatments, she lost her strength, appetite and all her hair, but the disease was finally controlled. Her hair has since regrown, and she has regained the weight.

Summing up her eventful life, Doris Menzies expresses her joy: “I have appointments to see my oncology doctor, and also blood tests to send to my heart transplant doctor…I also see my internist, my neurologist, and my foot doctor on a regular basis. But my Great Physician continues to be God Almighty, my Creator and Redeemer. To Him I give all glory for each day!”
Retired Asia Pacific missionary, Sister Doris Menzies, (Bill) went to be with the Lord on May 28, 2011 after a lengthy illness in Springfield, MO. She was 78 years old.

While Sister Doris’ husband, Dr. William Menzies, served as president of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS) in Baguio City, Philippines, Sister Doris was active in multiple ministries. She took teams of faculty wives and students to nearby schools as well as the city jail. She conducted Bible studies in homes and on campus and travel throughout East Asia and the Pacific with her husband. The Menzies retired from their missionary assignment in July 1999.

Sister Doris is survived by her husband, Dr. William (Bill) Menzies; two sons, Dr. Glen Menzies of MN and Dr. Robert Menzies of China; and four grandchildren.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Leaving a Legacy: Principles to Live By

by Jim Rohn

You know me, I am a philosopher. I love principles. Yes, actions are great and I talk about them regularly, but the important stuff is what lies underneath—the principles.
Here are what I consider to be the principles that we must commit to if we are to leave the legacy we desire:

Life is best lived in service to others. This doesn't mean that we do not strive for the best for ourselves. It does mean that in all things we serve other people, including our family, co-workers and friends.

Consider others' interests as important as your own. Much of the world suffers simply because people consider only their own interests. People are looking out for No. 1, but the way to leave a legacy is to also look out for others.

Love your neighbor even if you don't like him. It is interesting that Jesus told us to love others. But he never tells us to like them. Liking people has to do with emotions. Loving people has to do with actions. And what you will find is that when you love them and do good by them, you will more often than not begin to like them.

Maintain integrity at all costs. There are very few things you take to the grave with you. The No. 1 thing is your reputation and good name. When people remember you, you want them to think, "She was the most honest person I knew. What integrity." There are always going to be temptations to cut corners and break your integrity. Do not do it. Do what is right all of the time, no matter what the cost.

You must risk in order to gain. In just about every area of life you must risk in order to gain the reward. In love, you must risk rejection in order to ask that person out for the first time. In investing, you must place your capital at risk in the market in order to receive the prize of a growing bank account. When we risk, we gain. And when we gain, we have more to leave for others.

You reap what you sow. In fact, you always reap more than you sow—you plant a seed and reap a bushel. What you give you get. What you put into the ground then grows out of the ground. If you give love, you will receive love. If you give time, you will gain time. It is one of the truest laws of the universe. Decide what you want out of life and then begin to sow it.

Hard work is never a waste. No one will say, "It is too bad he was such a good, hard worker." But if you aren't they will surely say, "It's too bad he was so lazy—he could have been so much more!" Hard work will leave a grand legacy. Give it your all on your trip around the earth. You will do a lot of good and leave a terrific legacy.

Don't give up when you fail. Imagine what legacies would have never existed if someone had given up. How many thriving businesses would have been shut down if they quit at their first failure? Everyone fails. It is a fact of life. But those who succeed are those who do not give up when they fail. They keep going and build a successful life—and a legacy.

Don't ever stop in your pursuit of a legacy. Many people have accomplished tremendous things later on in life. There is never a time to stop in your pursuit of a legacy. Sometimes older people will say, "I am 65. I'll never change." That won't build a great life! No, there is always time to do more and achieve more, to help more and serve more, to teach more and to learn more. Keep going and growing that legacy!

These are core principles to live by if you want to become the kind of person who leaves a lasting legacy. 

This article is excerpted from Jim Rohn's Twelfth Pillar of Success: Legacy, part two of The Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gradual Adaptation

The older I get the more I notice that my metabolism seems to be moving slower than most glaciers. I was watching a turtle the other day make its way across the grass and I could have sworn that I heard my metabolism say, “Hey, turtle, slow down. What’s your hurry?”
It has become a monumental struggle to maintain the weight I prefer. Other than eating the right foods, I have become a runner. That’s right—a runner. It is the last thing I thought you would ever hear me say. A few years ago, it would have been more likely that I join a Polish circus as a fire juggler. Yet, here I am, a runner.
A concept that running has taught me is the one of “gradual adaptation.” When I started running, one and a half miles seemed unfathomable. As I lumbered around the track that first jog, it felt as if my eyes were rolling back in my head. I could feel my lunch making its way to resurface and my lungs gasped to grab all the oxygen in my time zone.
Now, today, as I glide past the 1.5-mile mark, I haven’t even gotten warmed up. What made the change? Gradual adaptation.
A fellow runner suggested that I run for twenty minutes at a slow pace. He convinced me that it was the duration and not the intensity that was important. I soon reported back to him that I was able to run twenty minutes with great ease at 6.3 mph. “Super!” he replied. “Next time you run, run for 25 minutes.”
In my mind, he might as well have told me to sprout wings and fly. Yet, I nodded my head and told him I would give it a try. To my amazement, the extra five minutes came easy. Within a few weeks, I was running 30 minutes, then 35, then 40, then 45 and then 60 consecutive minutes!
If I had started at 60 minutes, I would have most likely been wheeled to the hospital afterward and never run again. Instead, I chose the option of gradual adaptation.
Whether your goal is running, building a business or learning a new skill, the concept of gradual adaptation is one that you must implement to be successful.
Don’t attempt to change the world in a day. Brian Buffini says that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year (this is because they don’t practice gradual adaptation) and underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade.
How to implement gradual adaptation:
- Decide what your ultimate goal is.
- Understand this will also be a lesson in patience, and do not rush the end result.  
- Establish stages or levels of the larger goal.
- Focus on the next stage, not the end result.
- Remind yourself of the end result to maintain excitement and passion while still focusing on the next stage. 
- Measure your progress with a chart.
Realize that your results in any endeavor will be slow at first, but as you gain momentum the results expand geometrically. This is why most overestimate their accomplishments for a year and underestimate the possible accomplishments of a decade.
This six-step process will work if you are building a business, a workout routine or learning a new skill. Remember that no one ever ran a marathon the first time out of the blocks, and neither will you.
Practice gradual adaptation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why Did God Choose Israel To Be His Chosen People?

Speaking of the nation of Israel, Deuteronomy 7:7-9 tells us, “The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.”

God chose the nation of Israel to be the people through whom Jesus Christ would be born—the Savior from sin and death (John 3:16). God first promised the Messiah after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin (Genesis chapter 3). God later confirmed that the Messiah would come from the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3). Jesus Christ is the ultimate reason why God chose Israel to be His special people. God did not need to have a chosen people, but He decided to do it that way. Jesus had to come from some nation of people, and God chose Israel.

However, God’s reason for choosing the nation of Israel was not solely for the purpose of producing the Messiah. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel—that of bringing the Messiah into the world—was fulfilled perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Recommended Resource: Faith of Israel, 2d ed.: A Theological Survey of the Old Testament by William Dumbrell.

Source: Got Questions? The Bible has Answers! www.GotQuestions.org

100 Ways To Live A Better Life

You don’t like your life? Change it! Change your life for the better! Don’t have any clue on how to do it? Here’s a list of 100 ways in which you can improve your life. Feel free to add yours in the comments. Without further ado, let’s go.

1. Accept Your Mistakes

You’re human. We, humans, are making mistakes. Accept what you did wrong and try to do better next time. No need to punish yourself forever. In fact, accepting your mistakes is the only way to make them disappear.

2. Accept Your Friends Mistakes

Maybe you got hurt by somebody. Happens. Just accept it and deal with it. People are making mistakes and if you can accept that for yourself, accept it for your friends too. In the end, all you need from them is their love.

3. Create A New Habit

We’re doing a lot of stuff on autopilot. Try to integrate in this category new things you want to attract into your life. Habits are powerful. Harness their energy for your own good. Start by creating a habit in 15 days.

4. Build Self Discipline

Don’t wait for other people to impose discipline on you. Start early. Create your own discipline. Although it sounds a little bit harsh, self discipline is a facilitator for many things in your life. It’s hard to get but great to have.

5. Make New Friends

Reach out. Don’t be afraid. Establish new contacts. The worst thing that may happen to you is to be rejected. Well, if that’s the case, move on. The reward of having true, long-lasting friendship is worth all the potential rejection.

6. Get A New Job

Shaking your comfort zone will often create a lot of value in your life. If you’re not satisfied with your job, just get a new one. The pitfall of not having money for a limited period of time is temporary, get over it.

7. Start A New Diet

You are, in a vast proportion, what you eat. Trying a new diet would often be the only needed change for a dramatic boost of your health and energy. Don’t necessarily have to be raw food, or even vegetarian, whatever works for you.

8. Keep A Journal

Write down you feelings, your ideas, your goals, your activity. Journaling is by far one of the most useful things I’ve done to change my life for the best. It works in such a silent, yet effective way. All you need is pen and paper.

9. Create And Keep A Morning Phrase

Whatever you say to yourself in the morning, it will most likely come true during the day. Why not taking advantage of it? Create a simple morning phrase and say it to yourself first thing in the morning. Is that simple.

10. Travel Far Away From Your Home

Traveling long distance is incredibly rewarding. It’s so exciting and full with unknown events. I only recently started to travel really far away from my home, but I do wonder how could I ever made it until now without this.

11. Learn To Take Risks

Your life may be so boring and fade because… err, you made it like this? When was the last time your tried something really difficult? When was the last time you challenged the odds doing something risky? Do it now.

12. Start Your Own Business

Be your own boss. Work your own hours. I know, it sounds so shallow, for you, who hate your job but still have to stay there because of that mortgage. Well, unless you make the first step, nothing is going to change. That’s for sure.

13. Change Your Work Space

Clean up your desk. Re-arrange furniture. Add some color to that space. Make the place where you work really enjoyable. So enjoyable that work there won’t be perceived as work anymore. It will be something you love to do.

14. Learn A New Language

Challenge your mind. Constantly. If you’re going to do number 10, you’re going to learn some new languages too. From my experience, learning a new language is a fantastic mind opener. Sometimes you don’t even have to travel there.

15. Find Reasons To Agree

Rather than disagree. We have this mindset of competition which makes constantly arguing over things. Well, stop that. You don’t have to force yourself into agreement, if it’s not the case, just trying to find some reasons will be enough.

16. Pay Yourself First

You can’t give something if you don’t have it. You can’t spread light onto others if you don’t have light from within. You can’t give wealth to others if you don’t have it for yourself first. Make yourself a service and pay yourself first.

17. Wake Up Early

This is not a habit, this is a lifestyle. Don’t just wake up early without a purpose. Be early. Be there before others. Look for opportunities and embrace them. Waking up early means keeping your eye open to every available opportunity.

18. Train Your Focus

Your focus is in fact your reality. Use it wisely. Train it constantly for it will enhance your reality in ways you never imagined. Keep your focus sharp as a razor blade and be prepared to experience life in fantastic shapes and colors.

19. Start A Blog

On whatever topic you want. Not only it will give you the opportunity to create something new and valuable but it will also bring new people into your life. Blogging is far more than a hype, is a personal development tool. A very good one.

20. Write An Ebook

You may think you don’t have a talent, but that’s completely wrong. And the easiest way to prove it wrong is to start writing an ebook. Any ebook. You pick the topic. It might be something you know or want to learn about. Write it. It’s fun.

21. Be Better, Not Perfect

Striving too much for perfection will ruin your life. It will wipe out all those little imperfections which are making you… human. Being better, on the other side, is rewarding. Look back at the yesterday you and just say: I’m better!

22. Stop Self Sabotage

You’ll be surprised by how much of a burden you can be to yourself. You are literally self sabotaging. Most of the time, unconsciously. If you have a long history of failure behind, that could mean you’ve become your worst enemy. Stop it.

23. Find Reasons To Love Your Life

Maybe life wasn’t fair with you. Yes, I know, I’ve been there: life is never fair. But it’s fantastic. It’s unique, unrepeatable, one of a kind, beautiful, simple, challenging, sweet, hard… Just take a step back and find reasons to love your life.

24. Try Something New

Maybe you’re sad because you’re bored. Have you ever thought about that? Just reach out and try something completely new. Go for a challenge, learn a new sport, pick a different restaurant or go for a comedy movie (if you’re the drama type). Just try it.

25. Avoid Fighting

Fighting is the biggest energy leak of your being. Trying to prove another guy wrong is so against your true nature. You’re here to acknowledge life’s wonders, not to prove anybody’s wrong. They’re not wrong, just have different opinions. And that’s part of life.

26. Stop Wasting Your Power

Are you doing something that you think you shouldn’t be doing right now? Well, that’s wasted power. That’s meaningless stuff promoted to the honor of being a part of your life. How long are you going to approve this? Why wasting power?

27. Learn To Ignore

I think they should be teaching this one in schools. We’re so focused on so many topics and think we have to do so many stuff, that our life is literally clogged with stuff. It’s good to do stuff, but learning to ignore stuff is much better.

28. Experiment Gratitude

When was the last time you said “thank you”? With all your heart? Everybody knows that an attitude of gratitude is the key to success, but almost nobody practices it. Well, start by experience gratitude first, and take it from there.

29. Recycle Your Aggression

Don’t throw it away, recycle it! Use it for something you really want! Call out those wild forces inside of you and put them to work. Aggression is part of your being, so don’t try to reject it, because it will only grow stronger. Recycle your aggression.

30. Release Your Guardians

Don’t touch that! Don’t eat that! Don’t go for that opportunity! Those are the sentences you hear when going for something you really want. Those are your guardians, your mental constructs made to protect you. Release them, you’ll be much better off.

31. Clean Up Your House

It’s fun. And it’s good for you. Make a habit out of cleaning up your house with joy and happiness. What’s outside is a mirror of what’s inside. If your house is a mess, probably your internal life is a disaster. Neat that stuff, it’s easy.

32. Write A Personal Mission Statement

You’re here with a reason. No matter how small you feel now, how insignificant others may made you feel, you have a purpose. Take the time to write your personal mission statement. It will bring light and direction into your life.

33. Dissolve Negative Opinions About Yourself

Whatever you think you may do, it’s half of what you can really do. And that’s because you have so many negative opinions about yourself. You can solve them. Just accept the fact that you have them and then start working on them.

34. Build Different Skills

Don’t stop learning. Don’t remain stuck in a single career, it’s boring and limiting. Learn different skills, possibly from completely unrelated fields. You never know when life will ask you to use them. Besides, it’s a lot of fun.

35. Manage Your Time As You Manage Your Money

Have you ever thought what would be if you would manage your time the same way you manage your money? Just give it a try. See where you spend most of your time, what the return of investment is and how rich are you in time.

36. Exercise

You don’t have to break the world record, or something. Just make sure you exercise constantly. It will make your body healthier and your mind clearer. It’s also one of the simplest and most affordable ways to improve your life.

37. Be A Parent

Having kids doesn’t necessarily means you’re a parent, and I know that very well. Being a parent will surely change your life forever: filling it with unconditional, life lasting love, care and warm feelings. You’ll live in love. And learn.

38. Throw Away One Object A Day From Your House

Maybe your life is breathing so hard just because it’s suffocated by objects. Learn to let them go. You may donate them, give to charity or simply throw them away, but don’t let the clutter stay in your way. You’re not the objects you have.

39. Read A Book Per Week

Or, alternatively, a fine selection of blogs. That will keep your mind alert and your focus steady. Reading is like good food for your brain, without it, it will go lazy, obese and unresponsive. But with the proper food it can become your best friend.

40. Start A Monthly Challenge

Being it physical, mental or social. Intend to acquire something new in your life in 30 days. Improve your health using new methods, or your relationships by starting new things together. Make it count. And count on it.

41. Call An Old Friend

It’s enlightening to meet somebody you haven’t talk to in the last years. Go right now and call an old friend, or a relative. It will bring up memories and it will create new opportunities. Don’t let the dust settle on your relationships.

42. Follow A Coincidence

Well, there aren’t any coincidences, I lied. Everything has a purpose. If you witness something which may seem like a coincidence, then you’re very lucky, you just got a sign. Follow it with trust, it will lead you well.

43. Play A Game

Any game. Just play. Like a child. Allow yourself to do something just for fun, without any goals, pressures or deadlines. Will make you understand that everything is a game. Sometimes a little bit harder, but still a game..

44. Forgive Somebody Out Of The Blue

Don’t hold that grudge for that past insult. Grudges are heavy and tend to make the take off for a new life a little bit difficult. The longer you hold that grudge, the more difficult the take off will be. Forgiveness will lift you off.

45. Stop Solving The Wrong Problems

You are not here to witness the bad things in your life. Nor the performance in itself. You are here to enjoy a journey. To become aware, To grow. So, stop solving the wrong problem and focus on what really matters.

46. Make Peace With An Old Enemy

That’s more than forgiveness, that’s the actual process of reversing a situation. Make peace with somebody. Turn it into your friend. I’m not saying this is easy, I know it first hand. But I also know it works. Enemies count down, friends count up.

47. Make A Promise To A Close Person And Keep It

It doesn’t have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be for someone special. It doesn’t have to be difficult also. But it has to be a commitment to somebody. Just reach out, make a promise, keep it and then enjoy the feeling after.

48. Break Up With A Person You Don’t Really Like

Maybe you’re friend with somebody just by habit, chemistry being dead for a long time now. Just break it up. Tell him. Ok, let’s unfriend us, this will not work. It will bring up something you thought you lost it long ago: courage.

49. Get A Thing You Wanted For A Long Time

But you didn’t had time or money to get it. Just go out and get it. Not only it will boost your self-respect, but it will also free your desire channel, which may be a little bit clogged by having one and only one desire for such a long time.

50. Stop Being Judgmental

With others AND with you. Excessive criticism will kill your enthusiasm. And if you think this post is something you shouldn’t read in the first place, then, my friend, you really are judgmental. Lighten up. Accept life as it is.

51. Change Your Wardrobe

You don’t know how much are you tied to what you wear. If you’re on the gray loving side, put some color in your clothes. If you’re on the black and white, try some gradients. Of course, your clothes are not you. Hence, they’re so easy to change, right?

52. Smile At Least 10 Times A Day

And I mean it, start to count that. Smiling is a sign of honesty and power. Everybody can cry over a disaster but only the most powerful can take bitterness with a smile. Exercise that power. And then try to go for 20 times a day.

53. Burn Some Old Memories

Maybe the notebook from your 7th grade? Maybe the teenage dumb poetry you wrote? Whatever it might be, break up. It might be difficult, but it might also be a sign that you’re so attached to the past that you can’t advance in your life anymore.

54. Plant A Tree

Or take care of a flower. Do it for at least several months. It will give you a sense of potential. Seeing that tree or that flower growing will make your self-confidence go up. If a flower can make it, why can’t I? Of course you can, now do it!

55. Move To Another Town Or Country

Maybe it’s time to change the environment? Take the plunge, move over. Pick another town or even another country. Like all the good stuff, it might be pretty difficult in the beginning, but you can bet it would shake everything really good!

56. Join A New Group

Go to a bikers meeting. Or, if you’re not a biker, to a toastmaster meeting. Join a group and see how you fit in. It will help if the group will be focused on some of your passions, of course. It will reveal a lot about your social skills.

57. Stop Watching TV

Television evolved a lot from the balanced news provider it was in the beginning up to the current manipulating tool. Just stop watching it for a week. And then for a month. Meanwhile, assess your psychological progress. You may be amazed.

58. Start A Totally Unexpected Hobby

Start making trains out of matches. Raise cobras. Put tiny vessels into tiny bottles. Do whatever it takes to move your mind from your problems for a while. And if you can create something nice in the process, why not doing it?

59. Randomly Hug A Stranger On The Street

Ok, this might be a little bit dangerous, but only if you think at it. If you’re doing it, chances are that you’re going to get your hug back. It will also help raising your adrenaline up to levels you never had for a very long time.

60. Set Up A Surprise Party

For your or for a friend. It’s always good for your mood, even if – or especially if – you’re down. Do a thematic one, invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. And then expect to meet new, wonderful persons. And of course, have fun.

61. Go Hiking

Do it for at least one week-end. Nature is more powerful than our human created environment. We don’t know how to channel the energy into our artificial habitats. If you want to recharge, go outside and stay in connection with the wilderness.

62. Get A Pet

Whatever works for you, a bird, a guinea pig, a dog or a cat. It will keep you alert and it will cheer you up when you’re down. Taking care of a pet is also easier if you’re overwhelmed with human interaction. Even from a pet, love is still love.

63. Write A Thank You Letter

You can send it or not, the real catch is to write it. Pick someone who helped you in the past. Start writing the letter and say everything you want to say to that person. It will make you understand what are you really grateful for in your life.

64. Meditate Daily

It’s the easiest thing you can do. True mediation acts like a mind emptier, leaving you open to the whole flow of the sensations and experiences you would otherwise ignore. You don’t even need a complicated technique, meditate as you see fit.

65. Say Something Nice To Somebody

Just like that. Out of the blue. Pick an unknown person and say something nice. After the initial surprise you’ll be amazed by the unmasked joy and gratitude they’re expressing. Admit it: you would like that too, isn’t it?

66. Say Something Nice To You

Ok, but if nobody is telling you nice things, why not start this yourself? Do it in whatever form you think it’s appropriate: send yourself emails, write in your calendar or leave yourself nice postits on the desk. With something nice just for you.

67. When I Doubt, Improvise

Being so scared for not knowing the answer, so nervous that you may screw thigns up… I know the feeling, I’ve been there too. Just go with the flow. Improvise. It will be so good for your unconscious mind. The real answer will be surprising.

68. Don’t Argue, Win Or Lose

This goes hand in hand with avoiding the fight, but it’s a little bit different. If you get caught in an argument, just accept that you can have only two outcomes from it: win or lose. Settle with one and just move on.

69. Stop Faking Your Life

It’s so easy to get caught in a flow of fakes. Society wants us to politely lie and you need to lie sometimes. Just stop it. Being authentic is the best thing you can do. No need to hide your sorrow, nor your joy. They’re both part of life.

70. Define Goals

Again, that goes hand in hand with writing a personal mission but it’s more than that. It’s the habit of clearly deciding – and, subsequently, describing – where you want to go. Do you have a goal? A passion, maybe? Go for it! And be verbose.

71. Help Others

Reach out and try to see if you can help others. You don’t have to be a Samaritan, just go out there and support somebody. The biggest trick of helping is really surprising: although it seems you’re giving, you’re in fact receiving a lot more.

72. Go Social

Mingle, interact, go out. Get used to meet new people. Make this a habit and you’ll soon get used to do new things too. The goal is not to be the best networker in the world, but to be connected to as many energy sources as you can get.

73. Spend Some Time Alone

Subsequently, make sure you set aside enough time for your own. You don’t necessarily need to recharge, but you need this time in order to get a new perspective. Stop for a while and look around. Where are you? Where do you want to be?

74. Fix Something By Yourself

Go fix a broken window, or a scratch on your car. Don’t call for a specialist, get involved, see how you can have an impact on things around you. Work with your hands, prepare to sweat. It will instantly make you feel better.

75. Create Value

Make things that others need too. Make something useful. Don’t follow blind or outdated commitments, go for what really makes a change around you. Creating value is the core of your activity here and the only thing you really have to strive for.

76. Do A Random Act Of Kindness

Doesn’t have to be in the form of a nice compliment this time. You don’t even need to communicate it to the target person. Just do an incognito service to someone. See how this makes you feel. Think how many times you received that.

77. One More Second

Create the habit of looking at things for one more second. Spend one more second before taking an important decision. Delay something. Time will follow your intention and open some unexpected window for you. Slow it down a little.

78. Understand What People Want From You

What you can do is not always what people want from you. Clearing that confusion alone could bring an immense relief to your life. You don’t have to immediately provide what they’re wanting, but if you do, you may have some big surprises.

79. Break An Old Bad Habit

Breaking a bad habit is difficult. But breaking an old bad habit will free an incredible amount of time into your life. Quit smoking or stop talking on the phone for hours. Whatever you break, it will change your life for the best.

80. Stop Complaining

Complaining is like an open invitation for troubles. The more you complain about something, the more of that something you invite into your life. Cut it out. You don’t get any comfort out of complaining, only troubles.

81. Reject What You Don’t Want

It’s so simple, yet so underrated. Society wants us to complain even when we don’t really like stuff. Like forcing us to smile when we don’t find it funny. Allow yourself to walk away from something you don’t like. Just do it!

82. Being Is Better Than Having

Too much and too often we shape our life’s fulfillment degree to the amount we possess. The fundamental mistake. If you’re doing it, stop it right now. You’re not what you’re having. Being is so much better than having.

83. Listen To Your Critics

This one might be difficult in the beginning but once you get used to it it’s fantastic. You may find out a lot of stuff about yourself that you didn’t know about. You think you are one kind of person, but others may disagree.

84. Don’t Take It Personally

Never. Your world is shaped by your reaction to things, not by the things themselves. Don’t get upset, don’t think that somebody knows you enough to make right assumptions about you. Acknowledge and move on.

85. Laugh

This time is not about smiling. It’s about laughing. Don’t you ever miss another opportunity to laugh. Especially at yourself. The longer your laughing sessions, the shorter your misery ones. Looks like a nice deal, isn’t it?

86. Go With Passion

Don’t let your rational mind stand in the way of your passion. If you found – or at least felt, even occasionally – something that thrills you, you’re there. You don’t need a confirmation on this from anybody. Go with your passion.

87. Trust Your Emotions

Don’t underestimate your emotions. Or overestimate them. Your emotions are your feed-back system and for that they are very important. Trying to ignore your emotions is like depriving yourself from lights in a car running in the middle of the night.

88. Live It Like A Holiday

Ever observed how nice you feel during your holiday? How light, joyful and authentic? Everything is just wonderful. Well, you are on a continuous holiday here. It starts with your birth and end with your death. Live it like a holiday.

89. Make A Story Out Of It

Do you like a good story? I love it. Make everything in your life story-worthwhile. Make it as it would be a fantastic journey and you will be at all time the observer, the hero and the narrator. Create the story of your life.

90. Stop Being A Follower

Admiring is nice. But being admired is even better. Stop trying to fit in other people’s shoes. Find your own path. If that means breaking up completely your lifestyle, so be it. If you are “like” somebody else you can’t be “like” yourself anymore.

91. Watch Your Beliefs

Your beliefs are not you. But they are shaping your life constantly. You have the power to change them at any point in your existence. But in order to do that, you must first start to observe them, to isolate them, to accept them.

92. Stop Lying

To others and to yourself. Although it might ease a complicated situation, a lie is not good in the long run. The trick is that if you’re telling a lie you’re altering your reality. And a distorted reality will be impossible to handle.

93. Stop Reacting To Stuff

And start acting on stuff. Initiate things. Start projects. Predict situations and be there before the hurricane hits. Reacting to stuff is a victim paradigm. Stop being a victim and start acting. Create your life instead of being the creation of others.

94. Live Today

Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Go for what you can do today and leave yesterday behind for good. It’s not here anymore. And tomorrow doesn’t even exist yet, so why bother. All you have is today. Don’t waste it.

95. Expect The Unexpected

If there’s something unusual that happens to you, go for it. The unexpected is a signal of an opportunity. It will not always be nice, this unexpected, but whenever it’s around, magical things are happening. Wait for it. Praise for it.

96. Enjoy

Like being in joy. Like giving permission to yourself to extract joy from any situation you’re in. Even if it’s bad. Or especially if it’s bad. Joy is everywhere, you just have to let it manifest through you. Don’t resist joy. Don’t reject it.

97. Make Your Own Rules

And stick with them. Go for what works for you, not the others. Go for what you want, not the others. Including me. Make your own system and be proud of it. You may upset some people in the process, but hey, that’s life.

98. Love

Unconditionally. Totally. Constantly. Restlessly. Love is the only glue that keeps your life running. You were born out of love and you carry it deep down in your being. Love is never about the others, it’s about you.

99. Get Rid Of Labels

Things are what they are. Don’t use labels anymore, use directly the things. Your notion of “right” and “wrong” are nothing but labels. In a different country your “right” might be “wrong”. Don’t charge yourself with this unneeded burden.

100. No Regrets

Regretting something is another form of not accepting reality. What you can do about it now? It’s gone. It doesn’t exist anymore. Focus on what you can change: your present moment. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Now. Live now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prayer To See Jesus

Jesus, I want to see You, for no other face can show me the Father, and no other light can reveal His image. I want to know what it fully means to have the eyes of my heart opened to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to be in awe of Your glory. Reveal to me the grace upon Your countenance, the joy within Your spirit, and the love that moves Your heart toward mine.

Lord, I seek to move closer, to see clearer, and to be drawn nearer to You—where there are gaps in my understanding of who You are, close them; where there are blanks, fill them in; where there is a lack of clarity, bring things into sharper focus.

Jesus, I know that in You there is no lack, for I am complete in You; there is no emptiness, for I am made full in You; there is no fragmentation, for I am made whole in You. Thank You for being the image of God that I can see, the provision of God I can receive, and the light of God that I can follow.

May You find in me a faith that is growing, a trust that is building, and a love that is deepening day by day. Jesus, I wait upon You, come to me; I listen for You, speak to me; I look to You, show me; I lean on You, keep me. I thank You for being the hope of my heart, the joy of my life, and the reason why I live.

Scriptures: Revelation 4:11, John 1:3, Ephesians 1, Colossians 2:9-10, Hebrews 1, 12:2, Philippians 3:8-13

Friday, May 20, 2011

Minimizing the Possibility of Becoming a False Prophet

Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.
By William Lau
Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. …21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 
Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.

The Elijah Challenge trains believers to heal the sick and cast out demons for the proclamation of the kingdom of God to the lost. Of course none of us who serve the Lord and perform miracles in His name want to be judged by Him as a false prophet on the last day. Yet Jesus foretold in Matthew that this will in fact happen to many. How can we minimize the possibility of a sincere servant of God falling away in this manner? 

In this article we will address two important ways by which we can protect ourselves from deception. The first involves following Scripture closely. The second involves living a holy life where the desires of the flesh are being put to death daily. It is clear that simply having signs and miracles in one’s ministry does not prove that one is in fact a true servant of God who will be rewarded by the Lord when He returns.

Protecting Ourselves from Deception by Following Scripture
There is one matter on which all born-again followers of Jesus Christ should agree regardless of their church or denomination, and that is the authority of Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Our ministry and its practices should be centered on that which is strongly supported by the word of God. Let me define what this means to me. There are today various practices in the Church which are referred to in some way or implied in Scripture. A potential problem with these practices and manifestations is that we do not see any record in Scripture where they actually took place in the context with which we are involved. When a practice is not explicitly found in Scripture---that is, there is no instance recorded of a believer actually performing the practice or of the manifestation actually taking place, especially in the New Testament---it would be better not to practice it or at least not to emphasize it. It should be kept on the periphery if at all. (See the article Major in that which is major; minor in that which is minor.)

Such practices and manifestations can include the focus on angels in healing and deliverance, and the practice of ministering healing to the infirm by using what appears to be physically violent actions on them such as striking or kicking them. They may also include spiritual warfare in which believers personally and directly rebuke territorial spirits; and the appearance of gemstones and gold dust and the like during services. In the meeting of one servant of God in Malaysia whose ministry is often accompanied by such manifestations, a diamond was found on the floor. When it was examined, it was found not to be genuine, but a fake diamond. One can draw one’s own conclusions from this.
A practice such as striking infirm people to heal them might actually “work” and appear at the time to bring glory and souls to God. However, outward “success” is not necessarily the stamp of God’s approval and His will. Since it is not found clearly in Scripture, we should not make it into a practice or a focus of our teaching. There are reasons for this.

When we engage in practices not explicitly supported by Scripture, we might run the risk of going “beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6). When we do this, we might be going beyond what we have been authorized by the Lord to do. And when we go beyond our authority---for example, by directly and personally rebuking territorial spirits---we and our loved ones can be vulnerable to unnecessary and painful counterattack by the enemy. And we can also fall into the deception of false doctrine. Thus it is safer to be conservative in our interpretation of Scripture and in our practices. This does not mean that we cannot live “risky” for the Lord. If we want to be bold and take risks for the kingdom of God, let it be with wisdom and proper understanding of Scripture. Let’s obey the clear command of the Lord to heal the sick and proclaim His kingdom to the lost on earth instead of venturing unauthorized into the heavenlies. 

Moreover, it is risky to explain extrabiblical practices and manifestations under the rubric of the “greater works” that Jesus said his disciples would do in John 14:12. We cannot with a wave of our hands simply accept them all as “new” things that God is doing in the end times. It is risky because in doing this we are excused from exercising discernment. When that happens, then deception becomes a definite possibility. Certainly not all miraculous manifestations are from God. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

There is yet another reason for taking care not to major in “peripheral” and thus non-essential practices.
The Lord clearly desires unity for His people. What is the basis for this unity? It is the Lord Jesus Christ and the word of God found in the Bible. All born-believers stand in agreement that the word of God should be our rule for doctrine and practice. There are doctrines and practices that are universally accepted by the body of Christ; these are those that find strong support in Scripture. If in our ministry we emphasize teachings and practices that are not strongly supported in this way, we will run the risk of being rejected by some part of the body of Christ even as we are embraced by another part. There will be some believers who say that what we are presenting is not scriptural. And we will not be able to answer them satisfactorily from the word of God even though what we teach may actually “work.” When this happens we can in effect be encouraging division in the body of Christ despite our good intentions. This grieves the Lord since we are all part of His body for whom He suffered and died. 

This appears to be what is now happening among charismatic believers in the aftermath of certain practices and manifestations---not found in Scripture---which have taken place in the state of Florida. A deepening rift has formed over issues which involve among other things a relationship with an angel named Emma; the practice of striking or kicking the infirm who come for healing “as led by the Holy Spirit;” the tattoos covering his body which the evangelist seems to flaunt; and the lack of emphasis on repentance and conversion in the preaching. Accusations and bitterness on both sides are mounting. One internet commentator even identified the manifestations with 2 Thessalonians 2:9 where “the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.”

Such a grievous situation might give us reason to be careful to base our practices and teachings closely on Scripture. Even more alarming is the verse quoted by the commentator from later in the same chapter referring to the counterfeit miracles: “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” When we do not follow Scripture closely we run the risk not only of fomenting such divisions within the body of Christ, we can also fall victim to a powerful delusion from God Himself and become false prophets. 

How can we tell which side of this controversy is the deluded one? The only arbiter can be none other than Scripture itself.
Ultimately it is the Lord who will judge each of us on that day, and not man. Other servants of God can only exercise discernment about us by what they see and hear; the Lord alone knows our heart. We are each responsible before the Lord for ourselves. Thus it is paramount to ask: how can we minimize the possibility that we ourselves will not be rejected by the Lord as a false prophet on that day? (According to Jesus, this will happen to "many.") The only answer must be by understanding and closely following the logos---the Word of God---with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Protecting Ourselves from Deception by Living a Holy Life
The second way by which we minimize the possibility of falling into deception is by living a holy life. Having the fruit of the Holy Spirit---love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control---is essential (Galatians 5:22-23).

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 

The apostle Paul here mentions sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. These first three sins are especially unbridled today even among servants of God with the advent of easy access to pornography on the internet. We must use the authority given to us as believers to put to death such evil desires of our flesh. (See the article Overcoming the sin of pornography and fantasy lust.) 

The fifth sin listed here is greed, which Paul equates to the sin of idolatry. Greed is also today rampant in certain circles of the charismatic movement, theologically justified by a false doctrine involving extreme and unscriptural prosperity. (See the article Extreme Prosperity Teaching.) Let us see what Scripture says about false prophets and greed.

1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. …9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 

Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. …20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The Greek word translated “ferocious” in Matthew 7:15 literally means “rapacious” or “ravenous” as in describing an extortionist or a robber. This kind of false prophet is likened to a wolf that preys on sheep---the followers of Jesus Christ---for personal financial gain. One possible sign of a false prophet is in the amount of time (and the pressure tactics) devoted to the taking of offerings and to the hawking of products in the meetings. Even if these are not done for personal gain, the worldly money-making spirit in which they are done arguably should have no place in the Church of Jesus Christ. Other troubling signs are a full-time minister of the gospel who lives the life of the rich and famous from offerings he receives from God's people, or who demands exorbitant fees for speaking engagements and sets unreasonable conditions on his hosts as a condition for him to appear. It is also disquieting when such a minister must operate his own jet to fly to his engagements. Certainly Jesus did not behave in that fashion.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. …14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 

Jude 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error....

Let us then be careful to guard ourselves against the deception of greed. Instead of looking for our reward and comfort on earth or following the ways of the world, let us set our hope on the grace to be given us when Christ appears.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Regarding our earthly needs, do not worry. “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32-33).

If we take care to follow Scripture closely and to live a holy life, we can safely and fruitfully heal the sick and cast out demons as we proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost. On that day we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Master!” 
Rev William Lau is the founder and director of The Elijah Challenge - a ministry that teaches ordinary believers to heal the infirm in the context of sharing the Gospel.