Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Stephen Collins’

Mercy

Two candles in love. The flame is inverted hea...

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My heart is stirred today in much emotion – a heavy heart over events and situations that have lately affected my life and made it difficult to press on.  A difficult season of life – with many things out of my control – leaving deep sadness,  remorse – and resignation.

Our pastor, Stephen Collins, spoke on the subject of ‘Mercy’ today.  And although it is a subject that is not new to me – or any people of faith  – I believe  I heard newness in this simple message today – things that I will continue to ponder in the coming weeks.  I found myself very emotional.  This is a subject that is close to my heart and life.  And so with tears streaming down my face – I sat there and took it all in – and allowed the Lord to minister sweet words of comfort and blessing.  I was touched and moved beyond words.

I’ve noticed something about people who are merciful. – they are the first ones to forgive, love, embrace and welcome back,  those who are lost or fallen away.  They have no trouble accepting forgiveness or giving it.  They do not accuse and blame.  They have tender hearts – and they understand the value of mercy – because God has shown mercy to them.  They are also the happiest and most positive people in the world – with many friends.  Their friends trust them – and turn to them when they are in trouble – with no fear of judgment of alienation.  These are people who have been forgiven.

We’ve been watching ‘A Christmas Carol’  – I was noting how Scrooge shows no mercy at the beginning of the story – and then after being shown his life by the ‘spirits’ – he begins to see others and himself in a new light.  The Scrooge story is a story of mercy.  A story of second chances and a new lease on life – a valuable reminder to all of us to remember that when you show mercy to others – others will be merciful.  And it is interesting to note – that the nephew and employee of Scrooge have merciful hearts and embrace him without question – at the beginning of the story – when he is NOT merciful – and later as he is transformed at the end of the story.  No questions – no judgment – no criteria.  Just open arms of love and mercy.

I want to be one that shows mercy – even when I feel as though others have judged me and not understood me – or shown mercy to me.  I want to be the first to say, ‘I understand, I forgive, I love’.  And leave it at that.  No questions asked.  No hesitation.  No disbelief.  Just love and mercy.

Help me Lord to be that kind of person.  Help me to get over myself, my pride, my hurt and pain.  Help me to let go of others that have wronged me – those who have no understanding that their words and actions have wounded me more than they will ever know – and help me to forgive them and show mercy. For I am very aware that if I do not show mercy to others who have failed – or not done what I think they should, then you will not show mercy to me.  Help me to walk with a pure clean heart – free of agenda – free of revenge.  Help me to see others through your eyes.  Amen.

God Bless

How To Find And Keep A Woman

Sean Connery at the 2008 Edinburgh Internation...

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I was challenged today (and I love a challenge) by my friend and pastor, Stephen Collins – to write an article to ‘piggyback’ on my article from yesterday, ‘How to Find and keep a Man’.  This time – this one is for all you men out there – wanting to learn some basic ‘secrets’ about women.

Greg and I have been reading the book (our 10th time or so) “The Truth Will Set You Free – But First It Will Make You Miserable” by the late Jaime Buckingham.  In one chapter he talks about the subject of virility of men – and baldness in particular. His writing is humorous and insightful – hearing what men really think about their manliness – how loss of hair affects their feeling of youth and purpose, and dealing with insecurity – either correctly brought on by others – or self-imposed.

I stopped Greg in the middle of the chapter – and said, “Why are men so hung up on losing their hair? – Some of the best looking men – in my opinion have no hair at all!  Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek Next Generation‘, Chris Daughtry, of the band, ‘Daughtry’ – Andre Agassi, Vin Diesel, Billy Zane, Bruce WillisSean Connery – to name just a few.  These men exude confidence – and that has NOTHING to do with whether they have hair or not.  And no woman would say they are NOT sexy.

Anyway – I digress.  Back to the subject at hand.  If you are a man – how do you understand, and more importantly win a woman and keep her?

Women aren’t so complicated.  I think there has been much dialogue on this topic over the years.  I think they are more emotional than men are for sure – but basically there are some basic needs and a smart man knows how to meet them.  And a smart man – has just learned to listen more and learn from others who get it wrong.

What should you be looking for?  If you want a long-term relationship – here are some things to watch out for.

1. A woman worth having is one that can adapt to change. I say this because there are many changes throughout life and marriage.  This is the woman who can love you past your enlarging mid-section and loss of hair.  The woman who thinks you get better looking as you age.  The one who will not get squeamish at the first sign of change, both physically or emotionally.

2. Make sure she has a great sense of humor. You’re going to find that this one quality may save your marriage some day.  Can she laugh at herself?  Take a joke?  Not take herself or you too seriously?  Then you may have a winner here.  So many women start out with a sense of humor – but quickly lose it when life becomes serious.  And nothing can make you lose it faster than having children, family issues, financial stresses, external relationships and aging.  Some woman lose it and never get it back again.  The ability to laugh is HUGE.  If she is great fun to be around and can see humor in anything – you may have a winner.  Don’t give her a reason NOT to laugh.  Give her permission to see the ‘lighter’ side of life.

3.  Beauty is fleeting – don’t choose her because she’s ‘hot’. Now I KNOW I’m treading on very thin ice here – so I will just say that the curvy blond that you fall in love with – just may put on a few (okay – maybe more) pounds after having children and may NEVER look like she once did when you first met her.  Now for some of you men – this is a real problem. I’ve even seen it in some members of my family – the man will INSIST that the woman always be on a diet – or NEVER cut her hair.  All in the attempt to keep the woman the way he first saw her and fell in love.  News flash:  Women always know if you love her just the way she is – or if you have conditions on your love. Even is she pretends she does not.  Don’t be one of those men.  Love her exactly the way she is.  And communicate this clearly with how you treat her.  She should always feel like she is the most precious and beautiful woman in the world – to you.  If you do not – believe me – she knows.

And when you have found her – the perfect woman – here are some tips on how you can be sure to keep her.

1. Treat her with respect. She is not the housekeeper or the cook – or *gasp* – your property. She is your partner.  And although I believe the woman sets the tone for respect in the relationship – (please see my article from yesterday) it is also the man’s responsibility as protector and head of the house to set the tone of respect with the woman he loves.  This will do a couple of things.  First, if a woman is treated with the proper amount of respect from her husband – she will do ANYTHING  for him.  And I mean anything.  And secondly, you will become the ‘hero’ in her life and you will feel like a better man because of her.  You will be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound – all because of giving her the proper respect.  If a woman is disrespected by the man who is supposed to (and who has signed up to)  love, honor and cherish her, she will quickly withhold love, respect and honor from him.  I have seen this happen in too many marriages.  You cannot afford to disrespect and dishonor your woman.  It will have terrible repercussions on you for years to come.  And she will not love you physically the way you want or need her to.  Woman are funny that way – they must be emotionally cared for first - before they can give physical love. It is much easier for you men to separate the emotional from the physical.  Remember – she is not a man – or one of your guy friends and you cannot treat her disrespectfully (like you do with your friends) and then expect that she will respond to you in a passionate way.  Woman’s brains do not work that way.  They do not compartmentalize ANYTHING.  Everything touches and affects EVERYTHING else.  All things must be right and healthy in her world first – before anything else.

2. Listen to her heart. This sounds so silly to most men.  Good grief – I married her didn’t I?  Why do I have to ‘listen’ to her?  She’s so emotional – she just needs to think and be more like a man – then all would be well.  This kind of thinking will get you into big trouble.  And as I stated in my last article – if you don’t think she’s worth listening to – or find her valuable enough to hear what’s going on in her heart – then someone else (who has learned the emotional secret to women better than you) will be there – willing and able to step in for you.  Don’t be stupid.  It happens ALL THE TIME.

3.  Encourage her hopes and dreams. Any woman worth having and keeping has hopes and dreams – some that she’s afraid to even speak out loud – but they are there.  Let her talk about them.  Key in on her and let her tell you about them.  Don’t interrupt – or worse yet -  be too busy for her.  Make the time to really listen.  Don’t try to ‘fix’ or dictate your own agenda.  Most men make the mistake of trying to ‘set her straight’ – or trying to ‘fix the problem’ because men are problem solvers.  Women don’t always need a problem solved – they just want the right to be heard.  And they need someone to understand them.  When you – her husband won’t do this – you are setting yourself up for HUGE problems.  Treat her like she is the most valuable thing in the world – and she will return it.  That’s a guarantee.

Woman love ‘little things’ done for them or with them in mind.  They love getting notes, gifts, flowers – it doesn’t really matter – it’s the thought behind it that really melts us.  We are deeply moved by a sensitive man who will move heaven and earth to be with us – and like my pastor and friend, Stephen said to me yesterday – ‘a man will run through a brick wall’ for the right woman who loves him and respects him.  So true.  And likewise – a woman with the love of a man like that – will do anything for him.

I love it when Greg will call me up when he’s out on a business call – and say, ‘I’m on my way home – are you available to have a coffee break with me?’  OH YES!!  I also love dates – either long evenings together – dinner and a movie – or just going somewhere together and taking a walk and talking together.

I know I am probably leaving many things out – but these are the most crucial to keeping a woman.  A smart woman knows a good thing when she has it – even if she may sometimes forget.  Be that man who reminds her – by treating her like she deserves to be treated.  This is the best way to ‘affair proof’ your marriage – when this happens so much today.

I pray God’s richest blessings on your relationships!

God Bless

Are You Happy?

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by Jame...

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Heard another great message from our pastor, Stephen Collins yesterday morning.  He has begun a series on “The Beatitudes”.  This question was asked:

Are you happy?  Is this really what you want?  Will that alone satisfy you long-term?  When feelings change and emotions are fickle?

The most profound statement came in the middle of the message.  ‘When we settle for just being happy – we aim too low’ – missing out on God’s blessing in our lives’. Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to be happy.  Sometimes there are lessons in the ‘gift’ of pain and hardship in our lives.  The most significant changes in our heart and character come when life is not ‘happy’ – but dark and sad.

For me – I know this is a true statement – and sums up just what I have learned and lived through over the past 2 years – as I grew and discovered God’s ‘gift’ of hard times, both personally, in my relationships  and spiritually.

If we accept the ‘gift’ in the way it is intended – then God can do His greatest work in us – bringing us more than just ‘happiness’ – but a blessed and meaningful life And sometimes what may feel like the end of the world – may only be the beginning of a great and rewarding life.

Are you happy?  Is that what you really want?  Or do you want more?  Do you want God’s rich blessing poured out in your life.  I know I do.  I want to reap the reward of choosing to do the right thing – when doing that goes against everything I may be feeling.  It means doing right by people and relationships – and being the right person. Living by character and integrity – rather than emotions.  And when I do stray away and don’t choose what is right – at least initially – then knowing how to get back on the right path – hard as it is – to reconcile and fix it - and keep my heart open.

I am more than happy.  I am blessed. I understand this now – but it took a couple of hard lessons to really believe it.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family, a man who loves me with everything that he is -  and friendships that mean everything to me.  What I lost – God has richly replaced – and has taught me a great many lessons in the process.  Things I could not have learned – just by following my heart and emotions because I ‘wanted to be happy’.  When we see life as a journey – and know that there is a much bigger picture than just personal happiness – we will not want to aim so low.

Are you happy?  Are you wishing for more than that?  I invite you to share in some hard times – and think of them as a ‘gift’ – an added blessing to enhance your character and integrity.  I wish you more than happiness, my friend.  I wish you a life of blessing and purpose - a holy calling in which you give up ‘personal happiness’ for something richer and deeper.  To see people the way that God sees them.  To understand there is a lost world out there – and your unique gifts have placed you right where you are - to influence those that He has entrusted to you.  Use them today.

Be more than just ‘happy’ – be blessed and be a blessing to those in your life.

 

God Bless

JUMP!! It’s Monday Again!!

 

Family jump

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I woke up this morning to Sunny skies and the smell of homemade 12 bean with bacon soup – that has been slow cooking all night long.

I love my life. I know this is the opposite of what is being said right now – at least the ‘cool’ people – but I have never been ‘cool’ so I guess this proves it.  Life to me right now is good.  I have an AMAZING man in my life – I love my kids and have INCREDIBLE friends too!  And though there are a few things I’m still waiting for explanation and validation on – for the most part – I am content, fulfilled and very happy.

I sat and listened to our Pastor, Stephen Collins of LifePoint Church – talk about being an influence in the work place – and NOT hating our jobs – and even if we do and are struggling – to ‘go the extra mile’ to be an example of Christ – to be a testimony of our changed and exciting lives – and to be a witness for what that changed life looks like.

I love my job.  Granted, I am self-employed and work from home – set my own hours – have 3 day weekends every week and work with the most lovable and talented students in the world – but even before I did – I always tried to laugh and be cheerful – and make the work place a pleasant place.  It is a mark of character and integrity to do this – and to produce more than what is required of us – because people are watching.

We’ve all been to the retail store and have had poor customer service.  We’ve all been waited on – sometimes reluctantly by someone who ‘hates their life’ – and we all have a picture in our minds of what that looks like.  It’s not pretty.  Especially at a restaurant.  Or when you’re trying to get help at a retail store.

Last week Greg and I went to Sears to buy an Elliptical machine for our home exercise room (his office) and were waited on by the nicest guy – I would estimate him to be in his mid twenties.  He did everything right.  He was helpful – didn’t take us to the most expensive – but rather showed us an inexpensive well made machine and urged us to go online (which we did right there on our iPhones) and check the reviews and customer comments.  They were most impressive – and so was he.  He left us alone – no hype – no pressure – very low-key.  Exactly what we expect when we go to purchase something.

When you love your job – it shows – and this young man did.  He was confidant and helpful – and people were waiting in line to be waited on by him.

I love my students – I am a private music teacher.  The ages of my students range between 5 and 70.  They know I love them.  I love to hear their jokes and stories – I always begin with, ‘How was your week – and what’s new with you today?’  If I don’t say that – they remind me I haven’t!  They love to tell me and I love to hear it.  It is one of the best parts of my day – seeing their faces – watching them learn – and knowing I have made a difference.

Make a difference today in your work place.  Put your mark there – and make people take notice of your cheerful and helpful attitude.  You will be noticed, my friend – I promise you that.

If this song by the Pointer Sister’s doesn’t lift your spirits and put a smile on your face this Monday morning – you are dead, my friend.  Plain and simple.

Enjoy!

God Bless!

Keeping My Eye On The Ball

Heard a great ‘message/personal story’ by new pastor Stephen Collins at LifePoint Church yesterday.  His main illustration and emphasis was about baseball.  He talked about how his Dad taught him at a young age to ‘keep his eye on the ball’.

If you play ball – or know anything about it from others who do – then you know that this advice from coaches is not just a suggestion – but a tried and true method in which you connect with the ball.  You take your eyes off – and you not only lose the possibility of connection – but you can miss altogether.  This is a great ‘life lesson’ as well.

There are many distractions in life – those things that can take our focus off what is really important.  Oh – sometimes they are really little things – hardly detectable by anyone else – but for you – they can mean the difference between having a ‘win’ – or ‘striking out’.

I believe that things happen for a reason.  Emotions and situations are neutral.  It is how I process them – and choose to react to them that makes the difference between a ‘win’ for me – or a ‘loss’.  When I understand this – I am able to find my focus and not let others distract me – or try to pull me to one side or another.  If God is truly the central focus of my life – and He is – then the ‘other things’ become neutral. My responsibility is to do what He asks me to do – nothing else.  That – for me – is ‘keeping my eye on the ball’.

In every heart – in our deepest part of our soul – we have a ‘God space’ – that no one else can go.  It is our ‘secret place’ with Him alone.  Others can not fill us up – it is for Him alone.  When we try to fill it with other things in life – or other people – thinking these things will be enough and satisfy – we are easily distracted and disappointed – become discouraged and can be depressed.  Especially when our self-worth depends on what others think and say about us or to us directly.  When we keep our eyes on Him alone - the rest does not matter – we don’t need man’s approval – or advice to make us feel better.  We can simply rest in Him.

I plan to ‘keep my eye on the ball’ – I will fail because I’m flawed and capable of really messing it up – but after I blow it – I will again pick myself back up and find my focus once again.  I know I will be distracted by ‘well meaning’ people who try to sway me in one direction or another – but my goal is to be secure in spite of these obstacles – and be confident enough in myself – even when others don’t agree – even when things are slipping out of my hands and my world is shaken – even when I don’t handle it right with people.  I want to be solid and unswayed in my belief that I only need to answer to God alone – and NOT take my focus off what I know He is calling me to do.

What is God calling you to do?  Do you stand alone?  Are there many distractions and troubles?  Is your heart heavy from the weight of it?  Welcome to the club!  Welcome to life. Hold on weary traveler – don’t lose your focus – or be weary in well-doing.  Keep your eye on the ball.

God Bless

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