Weekly, But Not Weak Review

I know it’s not possible but I feel like the winds this week blew us into the weekend a lot quicker. 

At least the forecast is now calling for less hair product needed and we can stand a little taller while looking back at the winds of change from the past week on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

It began with “Increasing Value”.

Everyday it seems we hear about increases in prices and how the value of this and that continues to reach record highs. 

But what about you?

Is your value increasing? 

Are you taking steps to ensure that it is or are you allowing yourself to be devalued by others?

If you’re waiting for someone else to declare your value is in creasing, not only may you have to wait a long time you are looking in the wrong direction.

The way we increase our value is bringing ourselves into alignment with God’s definition of us. We are His masterpiece.

From the moment He created us, we were designed for more. As you can read in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

A masterpiece, designed to be able to successfully fulfill your unique purpose.

Do you feel that way?

At times we can all be guilty of not living up to the standards we were designed to exceed, so how can we overcome those moments and become all we were intended to be?

It’s another of those steps on the path to “Becoming Today” that at times can sound easier than it is. To develop strong positive self esteem is more than just saying you want to. It takes work, hard work, deeply personal work and concentrated effort.

Toosday brought about the question “What’s In A Name?”.

Personal identifiers are apparently now perceived far differently than I was always led to believe. A name was something to take pride in, live up to and share as a way of making connections.

However it seems, especially as we emerge into our ‘post pandemic” realities. That must no longer be the case.

We can look back through history and see that names have been held in esteem.

For example, JFK, we don’t even need to use his full name to recognize him, said, “ Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names”. 

Shakespeare asked the same  question I posed, more than 500 years ago, answering it with 

Another line of thought, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Well before the bard, Solomon wrote of how “A good name is rather to be chosen than riches”.

And even Confucius says “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name”.

Call things by their proper name.

That’s a lesson that seems lost. In this era of “branding” and people being urged to create their “personal brand”, it seems too many have been sold on the idea that it is more than a name. You can still have slogans and mottos along with a name to further identify but still central to the concept should be a name.

Besides I believe a brand is something that is forced up some and has been used to show who you are owned by rather than who you are and what you represent.

McDonald’s is a name that represents to the world what they do.

Branding is “the action of marking with a branding iron”. Like cattle to protect ownership. Like was done to slaves or even as the TV show “Yellowstone” shows to retain ownership over an individual.

With those images in mind maybe you can see the wisdom in addressing someone by their name and aspiring for your name to mean something rather than being branded as to how others want you to be seen or try to take ownership over you.

I bring this up, because names and the use of or the refusal to use them is part of an ongoing disturbing trend that has led to people being more divided. 

Now there are some that want that to be. Segregated, divided, kept apart, distant are things that enable those who for their own often nefarious purposes seek to misinform, practice disinformation or are desiring to control people rather than serve them. 

I stand in direct opposition to those individuals and in support of those seeking to empower, support and uplift. 

Unfortunately many of the groups that claim to be seeking to help, disciple or assist people have been learning towards the negative. Since the waning days of the last century, this has become a very common trend that has been dispiriting and serves only to keep the doors closed to others.

Churches are not supposed to be exclusive clubs, yet too many times I’ve been involved in conversations like this, just random occurrences while shopping or running errands.

Random individuals say something to start what they apparently perceive as a discussion, followed by,

“…oh our church is just wonderful! I’m so busy there.”

“Really that’s nice. What are you involved in?”

“Oh I do this and I do that and we are helping so many people.”

“So you have a strong membership?”

“Oh yes, it’s just wonderful!”

Then they walk away.

I have even encountered one woman in a similar scenario, who saw her Pastor in the store, and he joined in by bragging about their group and a meeting of their mutual admiration society was held between the two, both smiling and so proud of themselves.

They then individually leave the conversation and go their separate ways.

Do you notice what the two scenarios have in common? 

Neither member nor leader ever offered an invitation.

They told me how wonderful they were but it never crossed their mind to ask me to come and see for myself. 

In the incident in which the Pastor participated, as I was left there alone, another man who had been observing approached me and asked, 

“Did I miss something?”

I say, “in what respect?”.

He says “did they ever say what church they belong to?”.

I sadly replied, “no they did not”.

Then he adds, “did they even tell you the name of their church?”

“No. No they did not”.

That’s where the importance of a name comes into our conversation today. Your name should be a testament to who you truly are, what you believe and what you are willing to stand for.

It should be a representation of the content of your character and proof that you live what you say you hold as being true. You cannot be “Living Authentically”, if your name does live up to it. 

You can make all the false claims you want but sooner or later people will make the correct associations with your name and you. Plus it’s not just churches…

Wednesdays we’ve been conducting an ongoing search and rescue mission for wisdom. 

In “Searching For True Love”, Perhaps a bit misleading but the headline makes sense in a few moments. First though let me make it clear that this is not about romance, nor is it about hunting for a soul mate. 

So what then does this have to do with true love? Glad you asked, it’s about what your true love should be. Centered around Proverbs 7 from The Passion Translation® the chapter is titled, “Wisdom, Your True Love”.

When the Bible keeps talking about the same thing over and over,that’s because it is important.   That’s why Solomon continues  on the themes  of loving wisdom and treasuring her.  

Along with that we choose to understand that honoring the commandments of God will prevent us from making complete messes of our lives. They are our service, protection and give us life, joy, and everlasting blessings.

This verse, yes again does make another reference to adultery, and a “predatory woman”, however keep in mind as we’ve previously referenced it is metaphor for all sin. All things that can try to tempt us, attempt to lead us astray, divert and distract us from  our purpose of always being “Becoming”. 

As was written in verses four and five ” Say to wisdom, “I love you,” and to understanding, “You’re my sweetheart.” ‘May the two of you protect me, and may we never be apart! For they will keep you from the adulteress, with her smooth words meant to seduce your heart.”

Honoring the wisdom and commandments of God as well as the inspiration and guidance available from Him within each can and does keep us safe. They protect us from the “predatory woman” who tries to lure us into her traps and away from Divine Love; which should be our true love as it is the only 100 percent pure love.

The following day, we continued on our limited edition series looking at the 8 Points of Light that I came to understand through personal discovery and revelation. This past Thursday, we turned our attention towards “Becoming” Merciful.

Let’s begin by coming to a shared understanding, by developing a common definition.  

Mercy is described as:

-compassion or forbearance shown especially to someone who has offended or wronged us. 

-a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion

-a fortunate circumstance

-compassionate treatment of those in distress

For our purpose parts of all four are relevant. So let’s bring them together as, 

“Mercy is a blessing. A gift of compassion in unfortunate circumstances or troubling times.”

Mercy matters because we all need forgiveness. Plus it creates a common bond between us.

Mercy begins by opening ourselves to those with whom we disagree. Starting with small acts of understanding, can lead to life-changing experiences of compassion, dignity.respect, peace and love.

Like our other points of light, Mercy can be readily available as long as we are willing to accept it. Time and time again, I have given testimony to things working out at the very moment I needed it the most. More often than not, circumstances have improved, beyond what I had previously limited myself to expecting, or at times even hoping for.  

After a while I could no longer be in denial of it. Despite a battle of impatience, if I continue in faith and trust, at the very least my needs, hopes and dreams are delivered – often exceeded beyond what I had prayed for.

Does that mean everything happens when I want it to, or think it should?

 Absolutely,… NOT.

Sure I experience delays, Argue with myself over whether or not I’m being too patient, but time and time again I have come to know that when I do I’m just adding to the length of time it will take to “find” what I was searching for. 

That in itself is merciful. When becoming the recipient of mercy, it is freeing. Allowing us to continue advancing along our shared path of “Becoming Today”.

Fridays have become our day to discuss topics spiraling around our environments. Wide ranging and freeform, the conversations, wanders and rambles, but I hope you find useful and perhaps even thought provoking and inspiring on some level.

Perhaps the best comment I heard on the debate surrounding the Supreme Court leak this week, had nothing to do with the actual case being heard or the questions involved in it. 

It was not focused on supporting one belief over another. It came from Alan Dershowitz, who has spent his life arguing  constitutional issues and teaching generations of litigators. 

He commented, ‘There has to be one standard of justice. It cannot be based on your own personal or political views’.

In this country we have three branches of government for a reason. A system of checks and balances and it is not the role of any one of the branches to control the others. 

Also from the headlines, while much of the discussion we hear about the current situation of inflation in the economy is based around finger pointing and trying to assign blame, I came across one individual who is trying to offer some advice. 

Be exceptionally good at something”. 

No not complaining or blaming, Warren Buffet is encouraging people to step above the fray and rather than murmur to seek to excel,

In reinforcing his long-held advice that one of the strongest protections against inflation is sharpening your skills and working to be at the top of your field, the “Oracle of Omaha”, reminds that ‘skills, unlike currency, are inflation-proof’. 

‘If you have a skill that is in demand, it will remain in demand no matter what the dollar is worth.’

“Whatever abilities you have can’t be taken away from you. They can’t actually be inflated away from you,” adding. “The best investment by far is anything that develops yourself, and it’s not taxed at all.”

That brings a smile to my face. Personal growth and development are rewarding, and as you work at “Increasing Value”, you can also be at rest that it releases you from burdens, including more taxes.

I also want to share with you this dazzling report.

In Arkansas there is a hidden gem. The Crater of Diamonds State Park. You can go there with your buckets and hand implements and actually mine your own diamonds. From time to time someone encounters an amazing jewel.

That was the case for Adam Hardin who recently unearthed a 2.38 carat brown diamond. He did so after visiting the park regularly for ten years. While it’s not the biggest ever found there, that was a more than 9 carat stone in 2020, Hardin has named his discovery “Frankenstone.”

Because in his own words, “I thought of the name because it has a pretty and kind of not-so-pretty look to it. Us diamond miners call that ‘character!’”.

As I was smiling at this character then the TV news anchor who feels she has to interject her opinion over that of those actually involved in a story boldly declares. “Wow! Ten years. I’ll bet there are a lot more people who have been at it ten times longer than that and have found nothing”. 

Really?

I don’t think so. 

In fact I think even with a little fuzzy math we can disprove her belief.

Ten years times 10. That would be a hundred years. 

I doubt there is anyone, not a single individual, much less “a lot more people” who have been digging diamonds there for the past 100-years. 

I hope that this week was as rewarding for you as it has been for me. I pray each of you has a safe and blessed weekend and then come Monday join us again on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.

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