When The Facts Aren’t

ship aground  It’s amazing to me how often I hear people quote “the facts” to prove their point. They often do it with supreme confidence and an arrogant superiority to silence the voice of opposition. This has been especially prevalent in the past 10 or so years as our government has declared “war on coal”, pushed the “clean energy initiative” and force people into “saving mother earth” by using green energy and recycling. Public schools have created mandatory classes for students, billions of dollars have been spent on add campaigns and trillions have been thrown into building an entire recycling industry that nobody questions. My question is, what’s really going on here?

The book “Silent Spring” was one of the first radical books printed that wept for a doomed planet where selfish, greedy, wicked humans polluted all life. It painted a picture where the sweet voice of birds would soon be gone, and no call would be left to usher in the song of spring. Al Gore’s money pit movie and liberal speaking tour, “An Inconvenient Truth”, proved to be very inconvenient indeed. None of his planet-wrecking prophecies have genuine, hard, factual data to back them up. But he had plenty of pictures to prove his point. Most inconvenient of all we have been in a 50 year global trend of cooling not warming. Recent satellite pictures show that Antarctica is bigger now than it has been in the last 50 years. Opps… so much for global warming!

Coastal flooding, well, it never happened! In fact the sea level has remained basically constant globally while some actual records indicate it is rising at a current rate of only 10 cm every 100 years. There are no Appalachian Islands as prophesied by the Core Curriculum on the east coast of the US, and no continental deserts blowing sand and dust over 1/3 of the globe due to soaring temperatures. The facts just really knock a great big hole in the fanatical outcry of the “save mother earth” crowd. Liars can figure but the figures don’t lie!

Don’t misunderstand what I just said. I believe we need to take care of this planet and responsibly use the natural resources that are here. That’s the job man was given in the garden and it’s still our job. I want the generations that follow me to enjoy clean air, pure water and an abundant food supply. I want to preserve the natural beauty that is all around me. Only a certified nut case would not want these things. But let’s stop all the hysteria, the liberal hype for just a moment and check the actual facts… PLEASE!

What really gets me is that no matter what happens, somehow it always seems to “prove” the current fanatical point of view. Want an example? Last year the Eastern US, Canada, Europe and Russia all experienced one of the coldest, longest  and snowiest winters on record. Yet, the global warming crowd either ignored that reality altogether or twisted the facts to say that it was some far-fetched anomaly that would eventually result in higher temperatures. Huh???? So… even when it’s colder than ever it’s really not! In other words just ignore the facts. Keep promoting what you want people to believe, and keep shouting it louder until the voice of reason and truth have been overpowered and lost.

Consider that during a period lasting from the Bronze Age through the Minoan Warm Period and continuing through the Roman Empire, the ancient city of Ephesus had been an important seaport and commercial hub. Now that city in modern-day Turkey is four miles away from the Mediterranean sea. The old Roman port of Ostia Antica located where the Tiber River once emptied directly into the Tyrrhenian Sea is now an astounding two miles up-river. A painting by Raphael depicts a sea level high enough to accommodate warships at that port during the Battle of Ostia in the year 849. When William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, history states that he landed his ship at an old Roman fort on a small harbor island on England’s south coast. That same island location is now known as Pevensey Castle, and it is presently one mile inland from the seacoast. Sea levels are rising due to global warming? Did we all just miss the above facts here?

You can continue to mindlessly repeat the new age mantra, but what about the facts? Well, when they don’t support the current radical view  the media is embracing and the government is promoting, they are just ignored and the world goes screaming into the night believing, repeating and teaching their children the same old lie. Why? Because very few people know the facts or care to question what might prove to be an embarrassingly massive outlay of cash for something that does not exist.

What about you? What would you do if you really believed something in your heart of hearts only to find out you had been told a lie? Would you hold on to the lie because of pride and embarrassment, or would you face the truth, embrace change and be set free? The truth is, when it comes to eternal life we all have been fed a great big, fat lie. If we are good enough, if we do and say the right things, then we are in pretty good shape. God is love and because of that love there is no worry when it’s time to die. And yet…. there it is… hanging in the air… we all have to know what is really going to happen when it’s “my” time to die. It’s there gnawing at the back of our mind, and we can’t let it go.

Here is the short answer. If you believe the truth that you are guilty of sin and Jesus died on the cross in your place, for your sins, then death has noting on you! You have passed from death into life and God is waiting with great joy for you to be with Him. However, if you believe a lie, believe in your self and your own ability to work your way into heaven, then you are still lost and separated from God. He still loves you, but He can’t do for you what you must do for yourself. He did his part by loving you enough to die on the cross, now you must do your part by embracing that love and freely accepting what Jesus did for you. Jesus is your salvation. He is God’s answer for a lost and broken world.

So, now that you know the truth, what’s holding you back? The truth is simple; “there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved”. Why not surrender right now? If you want to embrace the amazing love of God that was poured out to all mankind through His son Jesus, then do it… right now. Ask Jesus into your heart and life. Thank Him for his death on the cross and for the price He paid for you. Ask Him to be your Lord and savior. Then, drop me a line and let’s talk about it. It will change you today and give you an answer for eternity as well. Take the plunge and jump into what God has for you in Jesus Christ. You’ll be so glad you did! Now, go have a really great day!

The Quantum Mechanics Of Life

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I have always been a science nerd, and I am proud to admit it. I just love any discipline of science, and have spent the last 35 years teaching it at various levels. Earth Science, Geology, Archeology, Weather Science, Space Science, Human Biology, Natural Science, Physics and Chemistry; I have taught them all, and more. In fact, all of these have been a fascination for me from the time I was a little boy. I was always taking things apart, both living and non-living, just to see how they worked. In fact it has been this “what’s in there” mentality that has been a blessing and a curse in my life. I just can’t leave things alone. There is no rest until I know why and how that thing in front of me works.

Yesterday I was watching something on Quantum Physics (yes that’s right I told you I was a nerd) and they began to talk about how super computers are now being used to do “Quantum Encryption”. I was hooked and had to get this no matter how long it took. It seems that super computers are able to take a stream of light and use single photons of it to encode each with a binary number. That’s the basic code used by all computers to transmit information. In essence this basic computer code is equal to a one or a zero. In any case, they figured out a way to encode a one or a zero on each packet of light in order to transmit information in a super secure way.

At the quantum level, this is fantastic. Why? Because at that level, if anyone even looks at a stream of this data, some of the photons are changed. This means that the intended receiver of the transmission immediately knows someone has tried to look at that data. However, with quantum encryption, any change is also a marker that is left by the hacker’s computer. That computer will always look for it’s own marker when it tries to hack back into any future transmission. If the sender of the information simply removes those markers, the stream becomes invisible and the hacker’s computer thinks the data stream is gone. Only the one sending and receiving that specific data stream will ever know it’s still there.

There are billions of quantum encrypted transmissions going on every day, and there are brilliant, dedicated hackers trying to break into that code as well. As long as the good guys stay one step ahead everything is held in check and life goes on. However, if that balance ever swings in the other direction may God help us, because we will not be able to help ourselves. The fact is, our modern world would collapse overnight if this code ever had a major breach. This is because the fundamental electronics that runs the world now depends on specific computer programs. If hackers ever breach these, they would cause global chaos in a matter of hours.

Imagine what it would be like if hackers accessed the electric grid, the banks, the stock market, communication satellites and traffic control systems all over the world. Consider how life would change if traffic lights stopped, refrigeration ended, power plants shut down, nuclear plants over heated and it was totally black at night. What about gas pumps and cash registers, furnaces and water not working in your home any more? No more welfare checks, food stamps, retirement checks, electronic money transfers or garbage pick up. Even basic transportation or things like medication, bread and milk would be gone. Major cities would become war zones of survival. 50,000 planes would come crashing out of the sky and millions of cars and trucks would be abandoned on roadways. Within a few days society as we know it would be over. All of this is possible just because of a single stream of data… Wow!

For me, this is amazing food for thought. It makes me reconsider what is really valuable in life. It makes me sit back and think about what I give myself to and how that changes those around me. Is it my job, my money and my home that are high on my list? Are my goals and vision up there? How about friends and personal accomplishments? Do they rank on the upper end of the scale? When all is said and done my relationship with God and the love I share with my family trumps everything. Why? Because nothing and no one can take these from me. They are my foundational truths that can’t be shaken.

How about you? What are really the top priorities in you life? If this world were to fall apart tomorrow, who would you call, what would your emotional state be and where would you go? The answer is clearer than you might imagine. Where you invest your money and how you invest your time tells the real story. What you might find is that your mouth speaks one thing while your actions declare another. Until your words, your finances and your relationships are all connected, you are not focused, and worse than that, you are missing the best life has to offer.

Let me encourage you today to get focused and start building for the future. Use what you have to establish the life you want and the legacy you want to leave behind. Invest your time, your words and your money in those things that have real meaning. When all else fades away, or the world falls apart, two things will always remain; God and family. Invest in these and you can’t go wrong! Don’t invest in them and a day will come when you will certainly wish you had.

A Few Degrees Of Change

first snow Today is September 22, and it’s cloudy and 46 degrees outside my window. There is a stiff, cool northwest wind blowing out of Canada and with it comes the smell and feel of Fall. There is no denying it when we get to this point in the season. Even though Fall is not officially here for another 16 hours, that fact is negated by the reality of what is happening outside my window..

My wife and I were up north this past week in Lake Placid, NY and we visited my home town of Bloomingdale. Generations of the Emmons family were born and brought up there, as were my two sisters and I. Due to jobs and marriages, one by one we all moved from that place and my mother was the last remaining Emmons to call our ancestral village, “home”. At age 90, in 2007 even she finally moved south to live with my sisters, and when that happened an era ended. Bloomingdale, NY  was still home, and we were still part of the community, but there was no one in the family there any longer, and that was hauntingly strange.

When I return there I still go into Normans General store. It’s been a landmark establishment in town for over 100 years. The last two generations of  Neiderbule family Art and his son Artey, still own and run it. They also know me and greet me with fond affection when I come through the door. That’s because I’m a native son of the village and we all know I somehow still belong there. We get caught up on family things, they ask how my mom is doing and with a fresh brewed coffee in hand I’m on my way. It’s always the same and life in that place has somehow just stood still.

However, even in this place change still comes and we have to adjust. I remember what happened when I helped my mother pack up and move from Bloomingdale. It was a gray November day, and a very light cold rain was falling, as it often does in the northern peaks of the Adirondacks. In the distance, I could see wet snow just starting to fall on Whiteface Mountain. It was clear that winter was on the doorstep and mom was getting out just ahead of it. She had finally made up her mind to leave her “little mountain nest”, and the view of the mountains she so dearly loved was to be left behind. It was a hard decision for her after all the years, the memories and the gatherings that had occurred there. But, she also knew it was time to let go of that place, her church and her friends to begin the last leg of her journey in a warmer climate among her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

That day she gave all her things to me and her furniture, cooking utensils and appliances were carried out and loaded on my truck. It was odd placing her belongings on my truck bed and realizing that I would never again come home to taste her amazing cooking. More than once I had to wipe away tears as I lifted and looked at her things. Memories of our family life together came flooding back with each one. My dads rocking chair, where he spent every evening watching Walter Cronkite and Huntly/Brinkly give the evening news. He sat in that chair until 10pm every night while having a last cookie and cup of coffee with my mother and reading another historical novel by James Mitchner.

The oak, drop leaf table and four chairs they were given on their wedding day in November of 1941 was carried out. I had eaten countless meals around that table and I had heard the whole history of mom and dad’s life and love. The bed, high-boy and dresser they had used their entire married life was taken apart and loaded up. We had all been conceived in that bed and my father had died in it as well. The dark mahogany headboard still showed the place were dad had rocked his head back and forth as he suffered migraines during the winter of 1951. There were a few faint burns on his night stand were Camel non-filter cigarettes has left their mark during all the years he had smoked.

Mom only took her clothes when she got in my sisters car and somehow that just did not seem right, but the reality of things hit me hard when mom kissed me good-by.  She smiled, waved and blew me a kiss as they turned and drove down our hill. She was starting a new adventure but two hundred and fifty years of family history in Bloomingdale had just ended like that, and my heart sank. I was left standing in that cold November rain feeling alone and disoriented. It was as if something had died, and I guess the truth is, something did die. No more cookies, special soups, home cooked meals or family memories were going to be savored in that place. It was over. “Home” was no longer there, and there was no way of going back.

A fine wet snow had just begun to fall as I locked the door to mom’s place and handed in the key. The fact is, when I sat in my truck and closed the door, I cried. After a moment every thing got very quiet and as i sat there. something happened, I watched as the grey wet November world was transformed into a beautiful white wonderland. It was amazing to behold. The change happen before my eyes as the temperature moved just a few degrees lower and rain became snow. It was amazing, almost magical to behold.

As I watched this transformation, and pondered how a few degrees made all the difference, another truth about change rose up in me as well. Home is not locked up in a specific place. Home is really embodied in the people you love who live there. Mom WAS “home”, more than this place, and if she was now happy than that was fine by me. With that reality, I wiped away a tear, a smile broke over my face and I began the drive to my “home”, my beautiful wife Esther, and the life God had given me with her. With joy in my heart I drove past the village limits of Bloomingdale that afternoon as the first snow fell singing, “walking in a winter wonder land”.  All this happened just because of a few degrees of change and it was wonderful!

Perhaps that’s all you need, just a few degrees of change, to give you a completely different perspective in life. It doesn’t take much and doesn’t take long, but you have to be willing to embrace it when it comes. I could have been worried about driving in the snow. I could have been troubled about ice on the road and added that fear to the weight of what I was already feeling. However, I chose to see the beauty in the change that came and made it mine to enjoy. That small shift in perspective, actually set me free and it can do the same for you.

A few degrees of change today can make tomorrow a much better place  if you have eyes that can see it and a heart that is willing to embrace it! let me encourage you today to reframe how you see your current situation. Replace the sorrow and loss your are feeling with a song and a laugh you are releasing… then go walk in your own winter wonderland!

A Broken Package

damaged_packageMy wife and I are frequently in Canada doing ministry. We just returned from 6 days in the Province of Quebec, in a community called Thetford Mines. We have developed a good relationship with quite a number of Canadian pastors over the years, and even though they speak French primarily, we still have great communication with them. This is due by far to faithful interpreters. My basic knowledge of French and their basic knowledge of English has also helped in the process. Beyond that, there is the love we share for one another, and for the Lord. In the final analysis, it is this genuine love that really breaks down all the barriers of language and culture that might tend to be a problem.

We love these Pastors and their congregations, and we count it an honor to be invited back to minister in their churches year after year. Best of all, they really love and respect us. They have come to recognize the treasure we bring and they embrace it because they have also come to respect the integrity of who we are. It is this combination of who we are, and the ministry gifts we have, that makes such a profound change in those who hear us. However, even the gifts we may bring really don’t matter if the integrity of character is not present to back them up.

I was once told by a man I deeply respect that the talents and abilities I have are the gifts God gave me. But, the character and integrity I have are the gifts I give myself. God gives the first two and He never takes them back. However, if we fail to give ourselves the second two, what God gave us will have no platform to stand on. In other words, unless we do our part and live honorably, it really does not matter what God has already done in us, and that is a shocking truth. By failing to walk in honor and transparency we actually treminate what God intended for us to do with our time here on earth.

This concept is found so clearly in the business world. I worked for several years at department and grocery stores as a young man. In each of these the policy was exactly the same. If the package was damaged, or the seal was broken, the product could not be sold. In fact it was illegal to sell any product in such condition. This is because there is the possibility of damage to what’s inside the package. Worse yet, the product could be contaminated with something that was harmful, or even deadly, to anyone who touched it. As a result such containers were sent back to the manufacturer or thrown out.

Imagine how all this applies when it comes to the gifts and abilities in us. If we lack integrity, honor and transparency we are a package in a damaged condition. That means the nasty things around us or in us can contaminate what God gave us to bless others. In that state even the most powerful gifts have the potential to do a great deal of harm. This is one reason why we need healthy relationships in our life. We can’t stay isolated. Healthy relationships are like watchmen that keep us safe and keep our gifts in a pure condition. The bottom line is simple, the treasure we have is no better than the container that protects it.

Are you broken in ways that may have damaged the treasure within? If you have compromised your integrity, lost your honor or clouded your transparency, then the damage has already been done. Like it or not, this has impacted the gifts that are within you and you are in need of repair. But take heart, because all is not lost. We can all begin again, any day, with a fresh start. We can choose to do the right thing, one thing at a time, and slowly but surely rebuild our lives.

The recovery of any broken life is just one good decision away. Once we face who we are and what needs to change, we can begin. If that’s you, and you are a broken package, then my hope is that you will start today by making your first right decision. You can rebuild what was lost, one good decision at a time, and have a life story to help others do the same. Now is the time and now is the day to begin changing your world……. so just do it!

When Destiny Changes

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Margaret “Peggy “ Shippen, was born on the 11th June 1760 and died the 24th of August 1804. She was a very beautiful woman, born into a prominent Philadelphia family, who were Loyalist. They loved the American Colonies but felt the British Empire had the right to rule the nation it had so heavily invested in. As an 18 year old she made the acquaintance of, and fell in love with, the military commander who was in charge of the city following the British withdrawal of 1778. Peggy married her dashing, brave commander on April 8th, 1779 at the family townhouse on Fourth Street, in Philadelphia.  

Not long after they married the couple was deep in debt, frustrated with congressional politics and angry that Peggy’s husband had not been given the recognition they both felt he deserved. Peggy’s new husband began to have second thoughts about the American cause. His heart had been impacted by bitter disappointment and began to be turned by his love for his new wife. Her loyalty and constant influence towards the British cause soon changed his clear vision into muddy waters. As a result, he began to rethink his military career and his place in the strategy to defend America. Within a year of his marriage, in September of 1780, he decided to change sides. With his wife’s encouragement, and his military connections, he began to secretly conspire with the British army to do just that.

This brilliant and imaginative general was a personal friend with General George Washington. He was also a trusted advisor to the continental army’s commander. Because he was considered one of the rising stars of the American Revolution, he was able to convince Washington to let him command a strategic fort, which was a key to keeping the Colonies safe from any British invasion. What Washington did not know was that his friend had negotiated a deal with British commander Sir Henry Clinton, to turn the fort over to the British for 20,500 Pounds Sterling , the equivalent of over 1 million dollars in todays money.

Just before the British attack came, the plot Peggy and her husband had hatched was exposed. British Major John André was arrested in early September of 1780 while he was carrying documents concerning the planned surrender of the critical Continental Army base. Peggy and her husband immediately fled to New York City where they traveled together to London in 1781. Her husband was given a commission as a Brigadier General in the British army where he faught many battles against his former country. He eventually retired, opened a lucrative trade business and formed a trade agreement with Canada. In 1787 Peggy joined her husband in Saint John, New Brunswick, but problems with local businessmen eventually forced them to return to London. Peggy’s husband died in 1801, a broken, unknown man, filled with shame and grief over the betrayal of his native country. Peggy died in 1804 alone and poor in London, known only as the wife of an American traitor.

Who was Peggy’s husband? Benedict Arnold. This true life story is such a tragedy because Arnold was destined to become one of Americas greatest hero’s. His daring, brave and selfless leadership on the battlefield was unparalleled. His friendship with General George Washington would have opened doors for him to be a leading political figure in the new nation, perhaps even president of the United States one day. However, he gave it all way because he did not understand the value of loyalty or the power of trust. Instead of being remembered as one of the greatest American hero’s he will always be marked in history as one of Americas greatest traitors.

When Arnold used Washington’s loyalty against him, and betrayed the commanders unquestioned trust, it demonstrated more than you might imagine. It actually exposed the weakness of Arnold’s character and the instability of his true nature. Under pressure from his wife, and due to debt and bitter disappointment, these deadly flaws showed up and he caved in. The million dollar question I have to ask is, “what did it take for you to turn against those you once believed in”?

We all have our breaking point. It’s there lurking in the background, waiting for the right time, circumstance and place to rise to the surface. Unless we have our heart anchored in the truth, and strengthened by transparency, it will happen. Sooner or later we will be hurt, wounded or angry enough to do what we swore in another season we would NEVER do. It might ride in on the back of greed or disappointment, jealousy, hurt or anger. However it comes, unless we quickly recognize our vulnerability, and hold onto those who can walk with us though it, we will give in and in the end betray more than those around us. We will betray our own destiny!

I wonder, are you one who has turned your back on Bishop Callahan or Apostle Menard. Have you pulled away from any other leader or pastor in MMFI that your destiny was at one point tied to? If you have failed the loyalty test, and you now feel a division or a distance between you and that leader, it’s time to make a change. You know who I am talking about. It’s the person who once was more than a friend in your life, but now they are hardly even recognized or honored. Perhaps this is God’s prophetic wake up call for you to rebuild that connection. Remember, unity is the lifeblood of the Kingdom, and it is a major key to the vision of MMFI as well.

As we draw near to the annual MMFI Fall Conference, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to reconnect that which has been broken. Why it happened is far less important that the fact that it did happened. Your destiny is tied into the life and ministry of others, and you can’t get away from it. You can settle, like Arnold did, for another life, but it will be lesser than the one God intended. 

The point here is quite simple. You can’t go where you were called to unless you do it with those God put in your life to get you there. As TD Jakes  has said many times, “we hold onto our past at the expense of our destiny”! Maybe it’s time to just let things go and make those God-ordained, all important reconnections. Your destiny hangs in the balance and those the enemy has successfully pulled out of your life are part of the solution you need right now. Consider this as you meet and greet one another at the end of the month. I believe it could change everything!

Evidence Of The Past

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I took the better part of a beautiful early Fall day this past week to enjoyed some much needed quiet time on one of my favorite “reserve” trout streams. I have a number of these that are hidden several miles off the main road in the Adirondack Mountains. I only fish them twice during any season, and have faithfully done so the past 25 years. This keeps them under-fished and highly productive whenever I go.

After several hours traveling north I parked my motorcycle and began the beautiful hike up one of these streams. As I walked the stream bank I failed to notice at first, the clear evidence that something had happened in my absence. There apparently had been a deluge of rain at one point in the past several weeks but at first glance things had changed very little. Everything still looked pretty normal, but what had been left behind was clearly there once I started to notice it. Even though the stream still seemed healthy, and the deep holes that have always held nice trout were still productive, things were definitely different. What’s interesting is that at first I didn’t see much of anything. The signs were so faint that I just never saw them. However, as I rounded a bend about a mile upstream, there it was, a massive silent witness to the power of what had really gone on.

I had not experienced the storm, but the clear evidence of what had happened was there. The magnitude of that storm was right in front of me and impossible to miss. Piled in the center of what had once been a deep hole was a huge tangled mass of logs, limbs, bark, rocks and brush. This massive mound of water-stripped twigs and weeds, earth and logs was so solid that it blocked the natural order of the stream and redirected it’s life-giving flow up alongside the opposite bank. The river was actually out of it’s ancient stream bed and eating away at the right bank of the river. It had already managed to unearth several big boulders, solid bedrock and a number of enormous, primal tree roots that had been buried for hundreds of years. Once I wrapped my mind around what I was seeing, the whole scene became both amazing and shocking to look at.

In that moment of awestruck wonder, something deep and profound hit me. I realized we are all like that river. Perhaps I should say we all have our own river of life, and the condition of the river took on new significance. What I mean is that we all have our own course marked out, and for the most part we just keep rolling along. However, on occasion, a massive storm comes along in life, and when it does we can be deeply impacted. So impacted in fact, that a pile of debris is left to clog up and redirect our reality. We think things are back to normal and life goes on just because we survived the storm. The fact is, nothing could be farther from the truth, and for the most part people are blind to the mess that is often left behind when trauma hits. The thing is, people we meet after our storm is over, don’t really know what happened to us. We look normal enough, and even act like there is no problem. However, even though the actual storm may be gone, it has left a pile of evidence behind, just like the log pile in my river, and we don’t realize it for the most part.

Until I rounded the corner, I had no idea it the log pile was there. Without realizing it, this is exactly what people run into whenever they are in contact with us, when we are in this condition. All seems good for a while, and the relationships are just flowing along until someone turns a corner and then “Wham!”.. they run right into a pile of storm debris, and things get messy. Have you been through a deep and troubling storm? Do you feel basically healthy and normal, but somehow always hit a place where things go so far and them stop or seem to fall apart? If that is your life pattern, it could be that the storms of life have left a tangled mess in the middle of your streambed and you just don’t see it.

The problem is that everyone who walks your bank runs into all the debris that has been left behind. The result, and real issue here, is that you now have the potential to leave your debris in everyone who gets near you, and that messes up their life as well. To stop this destructive pattern you need to face the issues in your own life. You have to admit that there was hurt, betrayal, wounding or pain. It’s a problem in you and it’s yours to own. Healthy people remain healthy no matter what others do. Believe it or not, the life of conflict you may have been living is not caused by others. It is caused by the storm debris that is still piled up inside of you. This debris brings up unhealthy emotions and thoughts, and they drive you to make bad decisions when others get close enough to unsettle your world. People are not the problem, they are only the catalyst that sets the problem in motion.

So where is the solution? Once you admit your have storm debris, it then needs to be cleared out. You may have to offer apologies, make phone calls, write letters, ask for forgiveness, see a counselor or even make restitution. Whatever will move you to a place of forgiving yourself and others, just do it. Next ask a trusted friend or mentor to speak honestly with you about what they see in your life. Don’t get offended or wounded by their truthfulness and candor. Such comments, when embraced and applied, will go a long way to making you emotionally healthy.

Finally begin each day with a fresh commitment to face yourself so you can make the needed changes. Ask God to support you along the way. He is always there to lend a helping hand. Do what you can and then let Him do all the rest. When you have this kind of partnership you are sure to win the prize. Last of all, no matter what, never give up! Just keep going no matter how many times you fail. You will see change if you persist, and that means you will be happy with the life you end up with. Best of all, so will everyone else who gets near you. Now go make a change and have a great day!

The Cost Of True Leadership

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Of all the leaders in world history, Winston Churchill has been identified as the best of the best. His unwavering decisions during the difficult years of World War II changed the course of the war and the course of human history. One such decision he had to make was very painful, but absolutely necessary. In making it his leadership, motives and sterling character all came into question by those who knew him best. However, by making it he qualified himself as a leader among world leaders and secured his place in world history.

The British secret service had broken the Nazi’s secret transmission code and informed Churchill that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry. The Prime Minister knew he had only two alternatives. He could evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of British lives. This however, would be at the expense of letting the Germans know that their secret code had been broken. Secondly, he could take no action at all and that would mean hundreds were going to die. This course of action would also keep the German’s secret information flowing to the allied forces. It was no easy decision but he alone was the one who had to make it…. and he did!

Churchill chose the latter and by making that difficult decision many of those in his own administration bitterly criticized him. He was painted as a heartless warmonger who did not care for his own countrymen. They whispered behind his back and some of his own staff showed clear anger for what appeared to be a thoughtless and callous decision. It is reported that many nights Churchill could be heard weeping and crying out to God in his private chamber as he agonized over that decision, and all the lives that had been lost because of it.

He stubbornly refused to change his mind and the outcome indeed did prove to be fatal.  Hundreds died in Coventry when the Nazi bombs began to fall. Yet, because the knowledge of the broken code was never revealed it turned the tide of the war. In the end it allowed many battles to be won and it let the Allied forces feed false information to the German army on a regular basis, thus confusing their efforts to outmaneuver the advancing armies. It is estimated that this one decision, which was so bitterly opposed, saved tens of thousands of lives and actually helped to end the war much sooner. Because of this decision, Churchill went down in history as one of the most loved and faithfully followed leaders the world has ever known.

When it comes to leadership, there is no substitute for doing what must be done in a difficult season. It’s true that not all decisions look like they are right in the short term. However, a real leader has insight and can look beyond the moment of emotional crisis to see what the final outcome needs to be. It is clear vision for the future, rather than yielding to the tyranny of an immediate problem, that causes genuine leaders to stand their ground and rise above the rest.

True leaders learn how to graciously take the angry criticism of a few cynics in order to do what ultimately is best for all. They are not swayed by popular opinion and don’t second-guess themselves because others don’t agree. Yes, they do tap into the wisdom of those they trust, before a decision is made. However, in the end, they must be willing to stand, even if it means they are standing alone, in order to achieve the vision that has been cast.

What about you? Do you believe you have leadership material within you that is trying to get out? If so, let me suggest a few things you can do to move in the right direction. If you will apply these things you will be amazed at how quickly your position will change. Leadership begins with the simple things and it also ends there as well.

First of all connect to and support the vision of your current leaders. No doubt they have made some difficult decisions and they need to know you are one of the few who will faithfully stand with them. Secondly, get the wisdom of those around you before you make any decision. People need to know you are a team player if they are going to follow where you are going. Last but not least, honestly communicate with and encourage everyone you meet. If people know you have their best interest at heart they will trust that you are going to value their ideas and honor their input.

When it comes to leadership, there are not substitutes. Honor, integrity, communication and trust will unlock your full potential, and the full potential of those who follow you. If you lack any of the above, it will hang you on the gallows of self-interest. Manipulation of others for the purpose of self-advancement may be practiced in some circles, but nothing of lasting value is ever built when we stand on the backs and dreams of others in order to reach our own goals. The point being, true vision is always focused through the lens of humility and honor. If these have been missing in your life it has impacted you more than you realize.

If your leadership has been held up, gone unrecognized or simply been ignored, it could be related to those key issues just mentioned. You may have to go back and apologize to those you stepped on, or wounded. You may have to rebuild a few burned bridges so that important roads of destiny are reconnected. If you are serious about fulfilling your call to leadership than let nothing stand in your way. I believe this could be a turning point for many. All it takes is a decision to begin moving in the right direction and the rest will follow.

Now lead on…. and have a truly great day!