The biblical definition of happiness, or blessedness, is different than our culture’s definition. If we were to rewrite the Beatitudes for the 21st century, they would be vastly different than what we find in Matthew 5. Modern beatitudes would sound something like this:

Blessed are the beautiful, for they shall be admired.
Blessed are the wealthy, for they have it all.
Blessed are the popular, for they shall be loved.
Blessed are the famous, for they shall be followed.

But Jesus started the Beatitudes with a bombshell: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Some have falsely interpreted this verse to say, “Blessed are the poor,” but that is not what Jesus said. In fact, the Bible does not commend poverty. Nor does it condemn wealth. It has nothing to do with your bank account. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” In the original language, the word “poor” is from a verb that means “to shrink, cower, or cringe,” as beggars often did in that day. This is speaking of a person who is destitute and completely dependent on others for help. So Jesus was speaking of those who esteem themselves as they really are before God: lost, hopeless, and helpless.

Apart from Jesus Christ, everyone is spiritually destitute—or poor in spirit—regardless of their education, wealth, accomplishments, or even religious knowledge. To be poor in spirit means to acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy, to acknowledge that you are in need of God.

C. H. Spurgeon said, “The way to rise into God is to sink in your own self.” If you want to be a happy person, a blessed person, then you have to see yourself for what you are: a sinner in need of a Savior.

[ Greg Laurie ]


On the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee there is a hill, green and gently sloped and overlooking deep, blue waters. From this hill a panorama unfolds of the early ministry of Jesus—healing in nearby Capernaum, calling His first disciples to fish for men, and simple yet profound teaching that continues to change lives to this very day.

Two thousand years ago, multitudes of people flocked to this hill in hopes of being healed by the young miracle worker (Matthew 4:23–5:1). What they found was a Teacher unlike any they had heard before. He left them “amazed” (7:28–29).

Crowds still gather at this place to listen to Jesus’s words from Matthew 5. On a recent tour of Israel, my wife and I went to this hill to hear anew the familiar expressions of “Blessed are” preached by Chuck Swindoll. But there, on the Mount of Beatitudes, it was what I saw, more than what I heard, that really demonstrated the power of Jesus’s words.

The morning light was brilliant. Sunshine shimmered on the lake below. Trees and grass, awakened from their evening slumber, stretched toward the warming sun. And as the sun crept higher, so, too, did the temperature.

We sat in a little covered amphitheater on the southern slope of the hill. When Chuck began preaching, an older woman at the back of the crowd caught my attention. She was unable to walk down the steps to sit in the shade. Instead, she sat on her walker at the top of the steps in the ever-intensifying heat of the sun. Watching her, I heard Chuck read the well-known words of Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” He explained that the poor in spirit have “an absence of arrogance and pride . . . [they] aren’t impressed with themselves.” Just then, I saw a man in the crowd grab two bus signs and hold them as a makeshift shelter to shield her from the sun.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” Chuck read (Matthew 5:4). While Chuck spoke of loss and pain, this dear woman began to weep. Fending off the sun with his signs, the man reached down into his backpack and pulled out a tissue and gently touched her shoulder—all without fanfare, without fuss.

By the time Chuck read “Blessed are the gentle” and “Blessed are the merciful” (5:5, 7), beads of sweat formed on the man’s forehead and ran down his cheek. I then realized—I was witnessing a living demonstration of Jesus’s words.

Chuck had told us that our time at the Mount of Beatitudes would be an unforgettable moment in our lives. How right he was. Being there, where these truths were first taught, and seeing them lived out before my eyes in such simple gestures, was, for me, the embodiment of being the Beatitudes—a challenge I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.

[ Derrick Jeter ]

The Christian life-style reflects a distinctive value-system that clashes with the world and nominal religion, not only in the first century but in the twentieth century. Carl F. H. Henry evaluates today’s culture with warning:

What we are witnessing, rather, is human existence deliberately and routinely collapsed into a “me-first” philosophy-“me-first” in sex, in work, in all dimensions of life…For earlier generations the intimidating feature of Christian commitment was its rebuke to ungodliness and its reminder of future judgment. Today’s narcissistic philosophy considers biblical imperatives a barrier to self-realization and the church an impediment to free and creative selfhood. Renewal of sinners in Christ’s magnificent image is replaced by conceptions of a “new image” defined by physical gratification, material affluence, and worldly status…George Will writes of those who believe that “the good life is the glandular life.” Chastity is considered prudery and unchastity a virtue. Not hell but herpes is what these moral rebels fear. We now must cope with a segment of society for whom abortion is good under any circumstances, for whom adultery and divorce are good, the nuclear family restrictive, incest therapeutic, and crime justified as social necessity.

Because of this Francis A. Schaeffer called contemporary Christians to become revolutionary in outlook:

The only way to reach our young people is no longer to call on them to maintain the status quo. Instead we must teach them to be revolutionary, as Jesus was revolutionary against both Sadducees and Pharisees. In this biblical sense we must be revolutionary. If we are going to say anything meaningful to our generation, whether for individual conversation or for a cultural transformation in which Christ is Lord of all, we must build upon the understanding that the generation in which we live is plastic…To be a real revolutionary, you must become involved in a real revolution-a revolution in which you are pitted against everybody who has turned away from God and His propositional revelation to men-even against the user of god words.

This is the essence of what Jesus was calling for in the Beatitudes-a revolutionary philosophy producing a distinctive life-style. The believer must live a life that reflects his acceptance of the gospel of the kingdom, body and soul! No wonder the original audience was uncompromised righteousness, offering to the onlooking world living embodiments of this paradoxical parade. The Beatitudes form the introduction for the Sermon on the Mount , and no doubt are meant to be illustrated by kingdom citizens who point the way to the King of the kingdom.

[ Doug V. Heck ]


Hmmm…has Jesus, in His supreme wisdom, done something ‘wonderful’ here? Has He taken the Beatitudes (at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount) and turned them into a ‘prayer’—in such a way that it draws out the internal essence of the Beatitudes?

Do you know that when you say, “Our Father” in the “Lord’s Prayer,” you are praying, “Lord, make me to be poor in spirit”—and that you cannot rightfully call God, “Our Father,” without an attitude of poverty of spirit?

Then, you might realize that you need to be “pure in heart” in order to be able to say sincerely, “Hallowed be Your name.” You can say the same thing about every ‘item’ of the Lord’s Prayer.

So, it’s been suggested that every time you pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” you have prayed for the spiritual ‘qualities’ mentioned in the Beatitudes.


POOR IN SPIRIT……… Our Father
MOURNING…………… You Kingdom come
MEEKNESS…………….. You will be done
RIGHTEOUSNESS…….. Give us our daily bread
MERCIFUL……………… Forgive us our debts
PURE IN HEART………. Hallowed be Your name
PEACEMAKER…………. Forgive us our debts
PERSECUTED………….. Lead us not into temptation
INSULTED……………… Deliver us from evil



1. Approve of yourself.
2. Your limitations may just be in your mind.
3. Lighten up and have some fun.
4. Let go of anger.
5. Release yourself from entitlement.
6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.
7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.
8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.
9. Do what you want to do.

[ More details: ]

GLP is more of a “who” than a “what?”

We’re a global community of people from all walks of life. From artists to entrepreneurs, full-time parents to C-suite execs, students to savants and everything in-between, if you’ve got a pulse, you’ve already passed the first test!
Together, we’re on a quest to help each other live more meaningful, connected and vital lives. No sleepwalking, no fluff, no delusion or confusion. We’re about living in the real world, pursuing our good lives in a way that is powerful and inspired, yet also sustainable and practical.

And, we’ve got a fun invitation for you!

Come play with us! Find inspiration in the conversations and ideas. Learn and grow with our programs and events. Kickstart your own personal good life quest and let us help you come alive. Because you need it more than ever. And, truth is, right about now, so does the world.

“A good life is not a place at which you arrive, it’s a lens through which you see and create your world.” [ Jonathan Fields, Founder of “Good Life Project” ].

“We have no explored what the good life truly is. It is not a matter of personal gratification; it is not an exercise in narcissistic self-love. It is a transformative journey from death to life, a journey toward transcendence begun when the Holy Spirit brings a cold heart to feel the warmth of Christ’s fiery love. This action restores the heart and the will of man, returning each to its original purpose and design, causing showers of blessing to pour into the regenerate soul.

The good life alone, in contrast with all other contenders for this ‘title’, elevates the soul beyond this world. No other existence leads us to Heaven, where we will truly see God face to face, and worship Him forever. In words both plain and stirring, Jonathan Edwards captured this ‘reality’ in “The True Christian’s Life Journey Towards Heaven.” There he reminded his ‘flock’, so weighed down with the cares and trials of this world, that:

“THE WAY TO HEAVEN is an heavenly life. We must be traveling towards Heaven in a way of imitation of those that are in Heaven, in imitation of the saints or angels therein, in their holy employments, in their way of spending their time in loving, adoring, serving, and praising God and the Lamb.

This is the path that we prefer before all others. If we could have any other that we might choose, if we could go to Heaven in a way of carnal living, the way of the enjoyment and gratification of our lusts, we should rather prefer a way of holiness, and conformity to the spiritual, self-denying rules of the Gospel.”

[ Owen Strachan – “Jonathan Edwards on the Good Life” ]



It is worth looking closely at each aspect of the singular fruit of the Spirit (v 22-23):

1. Agape = Love. It means to serve a person for their good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings to you. Its opposite is fear: self-protection and abusing people. Its counterfeit (a fake version) is selfish affection, where you are attracted to someone and treat them well because of how they make you feel about yourself.

2. Chara = Joy. A delight in God for the sheer beauty and worth of who He is. Its opposite is hopelessness or despair, and its counterfeit is an elation that is based on experiencing blessings, not the Blesser, causing mood swings based on circumstances.

3. Irene = Peace. Meaning a confidence and rest in the wisdom and control of God, rather than in your own. It replaces anxiety and worry. the fake version of peace is indifference, apathy, not caring about something.

4. Makrothumia = Patience. An ability to face trouble without blowing up or hitting out. Its opposite is resentment toward God and others, and its counterfeits are cynicism or lack of care: “This is too small to care about.”

5. Chrestos = Kindness. Is an ability to serve others practically in a way which makes me vulnerable, which comes from having a deep inner security. Its opposite is envy, which leaves me unable to rejoice in another’s joy. And its fake alternative is manipulative good deeds, doing for others so I can congratulate myself and feel I am “good enough” for others or for God.

6. Agathosune = Goodness. Being the same person in every situation, rather than a phony or a hypocrite. This is not the same as being always truthful but not always loving; getting things off your chest just to make yourself feel or look better.

7. Pistis = Faithfulness. To be utterly reliable and true to your word. Its opposite is to be an opportunist, a friend only in good times. And it counterfeit is to be loving but not truthful, so that you are never willing to confront or challenge.

8. Prautas = Gentleness. The opposite is to be superior or self-absorbed. Humility is not the same as inferiority.

9. Egkrateia = Self-control. the ability to pursue the important over the urgent, rather than to be always impulsive or uncontrolled. The slightly surprising counterfeit is a willpower which is based on pride, the need to feel in control.

When we look closely at the fruit of the Spirit, and see that one aspect of it cannot be seen in isolation from any of the others, we see that we are far more in need of growth in the fruit of the Spirit than we think. When we stop looking at our gifts as a sign that we are Christlike, and stop looking at our natural strengths as a sign we are Christlike, but challenge ourselves to look at the nature, unity, and definitions of the Spirit, we have a much deeper dense of how we lack these things.

[ Tim Keller – “Galatians For You” ]


Traditionally, most Bible scholars agree that some numbers have some ‘symbolic’ or literal significance. Some say that the number nine conveyed “finality” and the “fullness of blessing” when used in the Scriptures.

In the apostle Paul’s writings he had two ‘nine-fold’ lists—the “Fruit of the Spirit” and the “Gifts of the Spirit.”

Jesus used the number nine in a few of His parables [ Leave the 99 sheep to find the lost one; Of the 10 lepers cleansed, only one returned; 9 didn’t return; Jesus was mentioned praying many times the ninth hour; 90% is left to use after one gives their tithe; The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) begins at sunset on the 9th day of the month; The 9 judgements of God in Haggai; Jesus died at the 9th hour ].


There are four major words for love: AGAPE, PHILEO, EROS, and STERGO. There are also a number of variations of these words such as AGAPETOS, ASTORGOS, KATAPHILEO, PHILADELPHIA, PHILANTHROPIA, PHILEMA, PHILIA, PHILOS, PHILOSTORGOS.

Four Main Words
AGAPE is the most common word for love in the New Testament. It occurs 259 times as a verb or as a noun. PHILOS and PHILEO occur only 54 times. EROS and STERGO do not occur at all in the New Testament.

AGAPE: This word was used in Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favored by a god. It has the idea of a person giving all his or her love or favor to another. It was used to speak of parents giving all of their love to their only child. So in the New Testament it is used to make the same point. God gives each of us all of His love.

PHILEO: This Greek word has the idea of emotional love. While AGAPE emphasizes the complete giving of love to another person, PHILEO emphasizes the affection, emotion, a fondness one person has for another.

EROS: Rrefers to love between a husband and wife. It is more than sexual ecstasy because it also includes embraces, longing, and caring.

STERGO: Primarily refers to love between parents and children. It sometimes refers to love between people and their ruler and to love between a dog and his owner.

The Other Words
The other words for love combine different words to make a special point. The meanings of these words are briefly given below.

AGAPETOS: Beloved or loved one.
ASTORGOS: Without love.
PHILADELPHIA: Brotherly love.
PHILANTHROPIA: Love for mankind
PHILEMA: A kiss.
PHILIA: Friendship love.
PHILOS: A love for a friend or relative.
PHILOSTORGOS: Tender love or affectionate love.



This fall, instead of gravitating towards apples (I know—they’re so much easier to love: ripening more predictably in our fruit bowls, traveling better without bruising, simultaneously offering tart crunch and creamy flesh, and coming in a wide range of different flavors, shapes and colors), give pears a chance: this may be one of the healthiest food choices you can make.

Pears are a powerhouse of anti-cancer nutrition, especially if you eat their skins. Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains three to four times as many phenolic plant nutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. Pears are also an excellent source of dietary fiber—both soluble and insoluble—roughly half of which is concentrated in their skins.

One area in which pears have been found to be helpful is maintaining stable blood glucose levels. Certain chemicals in food can improve our cells’ insulin sensitivity—i.e. their receptiveness to insulin, a hormone our bodies produce to regulate blood glucose levels. High blood glucose and insulin levels increase our cancer risk, so it’s important to keep these moderate, and by sensitizing our cells to the effects of insulin, we can lower both the insulin and the glucose circulating in our bloodstream.

Of special interest in this area have been three groups of flavonoids (flavonols, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins); all pears contain flavonoids falling within the first two groups, and red-skinned pears contain anthocyanins as well. Most phytonutrients such as these provide antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. As a result, intake of pears has now been associated with decreased risk of several common chronic diseases that begin with chronic inflammation and excessive oxidative stress, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Pears also appear to reduce cancer risks. For one, fiber from pears can bind together not only with bile acids as a whole, but also with a group of bile acids called “secondary bile acids”. Excessive amounts of secondary bile acids in the intestine can increase our risk of colorectal cancer. By binding together with secondary bile acids, pear fibers can help decrease their concentration in the intestine and lower our risk of cancer development.

In the case of stomach cancer, pear consumption has also been shown to reduce risk. Here the key focus has not been on pear fiber, but on pear phytonutrients, especially cinnamic acids (including coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and 5-caffeoylquinic acid). In a recent study from Mexico City, it took approximately two total fruit servings per day and four daily vegetable servings to accomplish a decrease in gastric cancer risk. Pears and mangos were among the key foods determined to provide cinnamic acids in the study.

Esophageal cancer (specifically, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, or ESCC) is a third cancer type for which pear intake helps lower risk. In a very large-scale study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons (involving 490,802 participants), pears were found to be a key food associated with reduced risk of ESCC. Interestingly, numerous foods belonging the rose (Rosaceae) family were also found to lower risk of ESCC, including apples, plums, and strawberries.

So let’s hear if for pears! And why not celebrate them in style with this delicious pan-cake that makes a nourishing breakfast, after-school snack or dessert. It’s quick and simple to prepare, especially if you use a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.
If you want to have a laugh while your pear pancake is baking, I suggest you enjoy this funny video about fruits—and pears in particular—by British comedian Eddie Izzard (do not watch this if you are offended by bad language).

[ Conner Middelmann Whitney, B.Sc., DipION ]


A fresh, juicy pear is a fall treat you might anticipate all year, and when you eat one, you’re doing something good for your health. Pears are an impressive source of fiber, and they also contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy. Pears come in a range of colors and they’re inexpensive, making them a smart addition to your healthy eating plan.

Digestive Benefits
One medium-sized pear contains 5.5 grams of fiber toward your daily goal of 21 to 38 grams. When you eat plenty of fiber, your digestive system works the way it’s supposed to. Fiber helps your body absorb the vitamins and minerals from your food. It also helps prevent and relieve constipation and can keep you from developing painful hemorrhoids as well.

Nutritional Benefits
A medium-sized pear supplies 212 milligrams of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that helps your heart beat normally and keeps your muscles working the way they are supposed to. The same pear contains 7.5 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 10 percent of your daily needs. Vitamin C helps prevent infection and keeps your immune system strong. Pears also supply a good dose of vitamin K to help clot your blood, as well as vitamin A for your eyes.

Health Benefits
The fiber in a pear helps keep your heart healthy and might reduce your risk of certain types of cancer as well. A pear a day might also keep you from having a stroke. A 2011 article published by the American Heart Association reports that eating one pear a day can reduce your risk of stroke by as much as 52 percent. Pears might also cut your risk of dying from heart disease. A 2007 article published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” notes that the flavonoids in pears might lower your risk of heart disease, as well as death associated with heart disease.

Eating Pears
Fresh pears are your healthiest choice, but canned pears can also be beneficial to your health. If you eat canned pears, choose versions packed in 100 percent fruit juice rather than syrup because they contain no added sugar. Chop a pear into bite-sized pieces and add it to a fruit salad, or stir the pieces into a carton of low-fat yogurt. Replace the jelly in your peanut butter sandwich with thin slices of pear, or add pear slices to a tossed green salad. Cut a pear into quarters and brush it with a small amount of butter. Sprinkle the pear with cinnamon and nutmeg and broil it until it’s soft for a tasty and nutritious dessert.

[ Sara Ipatenco ]


In the war against the weight, you may want to add apples, pears and berries to your arsenal as a recent study has revealed that flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables can keep the extra kilos at bay.

The study examined the association between the dietary intake of seven flavonoid subclasses and weight change in a large study of 124,086 men and women based across the US over 24 years.

Study findings revealed that increased consumption of flavonoid-rich fruits like apples, pears and berries can keep the extra kilos at bay.



– We received seven inches of rain in four hours – The underpass was flooded
– I never brush my teeth – I have 5 cavities
– Smoking cigarettes – Lung cancer
– Many buffalo were killed – Buffalo almost became extinct
– The streets were snow-packed and icy – Cars needed more time to stop
– He broke his arm – The doctor put it in a cast
– The boss was busy – Her secretary took a message
– A basketball player was traveling – The referee called a penalty
– I flipped the light switch on – The light came on


The concept of “casual association” is kind of like the ‘conditional’ thinking software programmers use: “if” this, “then” this (“if/then”).

FYI: There happens to be a really cool app I use that helps you ‘program’ repetitive things for you that you do yourself now. It’s called “If This Then That” (IFTTT):



Interdependence means mutual dependence, reciprocal dependency, or mutual reliance. It happens when two or more people rely on one another for their needs. According to the Bible, the church is an interdependent group of Christians whose need for one another is often greater than we perceive. According to Hebrews, Christians who abstain from fellowshipping with other believers may be in danger of spiritual defeat. Healthy relationships with other Christians are the preventative vitamins that keep our souls healthy. Do you sense your need for other believers? How are you making yourself available to God to help meet the needs of others? Are you spurring one another on to love and good works?

[ Jeffrey E. Miller ]


Proper Roles and Relationships within the Church Results in Interdependence.

As children, we seek adventure and fun. Our minds often take us to far away galaxies. A whole afternoon can be spent defending the tree fort from the brutish, cootie infested forces of evil…girls. In adolescence, friends, fashion, and popularity take the place of Luke Skywalker and Flash Gordon. Besides not having enough time, a bathtub quest will kill a cool reputation in a heartbeat.

Long story short. By high school the desire for independence, adulthood and love begin to take root. After graduation, we move onto college to enhance our minds. Idealism and youthful optimism are the motivation and we are ready to be unleashed. We barge through the doors into the “real world” ready to fight the world alone. Little do we know that the world leaves a booby trap that demoralizes and crushes. The banana peel of death, lying in wait right outside.

This is called “livin’ la vida loca” — Living the crazy life. The Bible tell us that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike. Life’s booby traps and hang-ups have the potential to cause one to lose their optimism and even their faith. Life’s problems can also create opportunity and hope.

As a species, humans are social creatures. We desire relationship, love and guidance. As Christians, our desire for a relationship with God is reflected in everyday living. In general, independence is directly related to interdependent relationships. Proper placement of relationships help to achieve interdependence. What is best put in order is God, church, family, pastors and leaders, friends and peers.

God is the most important relationship in you life. However, you can only achieve a proper relationship with Him if you choose to accept that all relationships are ordered by Him. For instance, one who neglects his family, quits his job and is outright unreliable because he has to pray all day long may not truly know God.

Get planted in a Church and stay there. I was reading in a Christian forum and I was baffled by the amount of pseudo-biblical advice given to this woman who wasn’t getting “fed” at her church anymore. She was advised by the people on this forum to leave the church and find a place where she can get fed.

Scripture doesn’t tell anybody to be fed. instead we are to be subject to the governing authorities placed in our lives by God. What separates Christianity from all other world religions is that it is not introspective. We do not seek personal enlightenment but we live to serve others. If you are not being fed at your church, it may be time to start feeding others. When you do, you will find your perspective changing in radical ways.

Family should be placed in a position of importance but never take the place of Christ. Guidance from parents, your spouse, your cousins and others must be placed in perspective. Family, even Christian families, have a bias to you and your feelings. Love your family and take their advice. It is usually beneficial, but not always.

Pastors and Leaders
The wisdom of pastors and elders can save a lot of heartache in your life. But one should judge whom they choose to submit to. There are a few questions to ask. Does my pastor seek to lift himself up? Does he preach good doctrine? What is his reputation in the community? I choose to submit to my leadership because the evidence of integrity is there. Often times I am offended at what my pastor says but I do what he says unquestionably because his life is ordered and fruitful.

Friends and Peers
Good friends lend an ear and pray for you. They encourage, promote and are just plain fun to be around. But friends are not pastors. They should be placed in an area close to familial relationships. Advice should be taken but also confirmed by Scripture and by pastors or leaders.

Relationships in our lives are like an ecosystem and can only be sustained by the proper placement of the integral components. As you continue livin la vida loca, remember that we were created to have relationship with God and man. If we love God then we must also love His ways. He has placed order in the universe as well as in our relationship with others.

[ Roberto Perez ]


Nature, families, employment, and even the Trinity members themselves are interdependent.

Mutually dependent; depending on each other. God did not make us to live alone, or to be private creatures. But we are often mistaken in the use of our privacy, using the privacy we have been given to serve the flesh.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

We can use our privacy for selfish reasons, rather than for what it was given for, the right to live our spiritual life before God and for God.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

How do we glorify God in our body? By Gathering together in Hebrews 10:25. By Serving one another.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

By Loving one another.

Why are we told to not commit these sins? Because when we commit these sins we are not living in love! We are hurting another person! But if you have love, you will not want to hurt others.

The 4 laws of divine establishment:
1. Freedom of volition.
2. Marriage
3. Family
4. Nationalism

We have no idea how much greater and more intense it could be.
We have barely touched the surface of what it means to operate as ONE BODY.

Interdependence, relying on and working with others, and God, has a great power associated with it.

And TOGETHER, Pastor and the other pastors studied diligently to reveal a greater purpose of God: that the PURPOSE behind relationships is where the power is.

God designed it so the greater secrets of His Plan are revealed to those who work together as the body of Christ.

The implication: we NEED each other. The eye NEEDS the hand, the head NEEDS the feet.

We have no idea of the great things God wants us to discover, and succeed in, until we really take advantage of one another, and we also decide we need one another.

God designed us to be interdependent, to rely on one another, and to enjoy the service we can give to one another. It is actually selfish for us not to attend church face to face, and to exercise our gift in the presence of the body of Christ.

We are all arrogant of course, and one sign of it is when you resist the compulsion by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 9:16

God is entreating you to share your time, talent, treasure and spiritual gift with those in the body that He has assigned you to.

You will be happily surprised at the way God decides to pay you back!

Regarding your home life, many people say they want to live alone they don’t want a roommate, they like their privacy

Another area we are dependent on each other is friendships. And if we learn to depend on one another, yes at times we will be hurt, but life can be so much easier and more enjoyable!

You can’t do that if you are independent and greedily guarding your privacy.

Another area we are interdependent in Dating Relationships. Right now someone else is dating your right one!

We must have an attitude of caring, an attitude of love. Love is caring, even impersonal unconditional love involves caring.

Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

It involves being a friend first, acting like a friend, loving like a friend.

We must learn to enjoy interdependence, it is the secret ingredient to releasing the power in the body of Christ.

You can choose to do what’s good, or choose to do what’s better.

It’s good that you listen to Bible doctrine, but it’s better if you come listen face to face. It’s good that you pray for a friend, it’s better if you get off your @(*!! and help your friend.

It’s good that you enjoy the privacy of your priesthood between you and God. It’s better if you put aside your privacy to serve another.

It’s good that you are motivated to serve God because of the rewards He wants to give you. It’s better that you serve God out of the greatest motivation of all, LOVE.

Yes you are serving, giving, studying God’s Word, but is there something better you could be doing, that you are avoiding because you want to stay in your comfort zone?

Ask God to show you the BETTER way, and if you ask Him to, guaranteed He will show you, and reveal some awesome things to you in the process.

[ Robert McLaughlin ]



1. Do just one habit at a time.
2. Start small.
3. Do a 30-day Challenge.
4. Write it down.
5. Make a plan.
6. Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong.
7. Don’t start right away.
8. Write down all your obstacles.
9. Identify your triggers.
10. For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead.
11. Plan a support system.
12. Ask for help.
13. Become aware of self-talk.
14. Stay positive.
15. Have strategies to defeat the urge.
16. Prepare for the sabotagers.
17. Talk to yourself.
18. Have a mantra.
19. Use visualization.
20. Have rewards.
21. Take it one urge at a time.
22. No exceptions, or you’ll have a backslide.
23. Get rest.
24. Drink lots of water.
25. Renew your commitment often.
26. Set up public accountability.
27. Engineer it so it’s hard to fail.
28. Avoid some situations where you normally do your old habit, at least for awhile, to make it a bit easier on yourself.
29. If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again..

[ Leo Babauta ]


Step One: Identify Your current attitude.
Step Two: Is it the one you want? If not, how is it making you feel?
Step Three: Pick a new attitude. How would that one make you feel?
Step Four: Identify the block that is making it hard to shift to the new attitude
Step Five: Take time for quiet reflection- emotional outburst-and/or journaling
Step Six: Look for your hidden rules. Is there a “Rule” you are living by that isn’t working for you anymore?
Step Seven: Is it in your power to change the situation? If so, create your first action step to fix the problem
Step Eight: If there is nothing you can do, can you let it go?
Step Nine: Write out three affirmations of your new attitude.
Step Ten: Take one new action step that propels you in the direction of your new attitude.

[ Wendi Kelly ]





Willpower: I’ve spent much of my life curious about why some people have it, and some don’t. Some say they’re going to lose 10 pounds and they do it without struggle.

The rest of us struggle to some degree. Should I have the fries or the salad? We argue with ourselves, and the angel and the devil on our shoulders seem to be in cahoots to keep us going in circles.

Willpower Is a Learned Skill
I spent two years researching the topic of willpower in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. I discovered that willpower, a quality I thought was reserved for a certain set of people, can be learned. Here is a sampling of mindsets those with strong willpower possess.

1. Clearly define what you want.
How do you know you’re “giving in” or “resisting” if you don’t even know what outcome you desire? Gaining clarity on your goals eliminates room for negotiation, a fierce willpower killer.

The first step to developing great willpower is to get crystal clear on what you want your life to be like and why. This helps you clearly define what actions to take and what to avoid. (Hint: it helps greatly if your “why” ties into a higher purpose that’s much bigger than you.)

2. Believe you can.
While we don’t have control over everything, we have total control over what kind of behavior we expect of ourselves. Whatever we believe is true, because our choices reflect what we believe.

If your belief is “It’s too hard,” then you will act in line with that belief. Doubt prevents us from making real effort. People with extraordinary willpower know that you will achieve what you believe. When you think you’ll succeed, you’ll find ways to do just that.

3. Solve problems instead of giving up.
Change is uncomfortable, and so when most people bump up against an obstacle, they’re happy to throw in the towel and see that as an excuse to maintain the status quo.

Those with great willpower see a bump in the road and take a moment to figure out how to get around it. With practice, anyone can become a creative problem solver, and it’s a lot more fun than giving up and staying stuck.

4. Take full responsibility.
The fastest way to get trapped in unhealthy habits is to blame circumstances and people for that which you have control over.

People with extraordinary willpower fully accept the statement, “I alone am responsible for my actions, my habits and my life.” No matter how you were raised or what kind of day you had, instead of looking to blame, divert your attention to how you can succeed and how you can follow through with healthy decisions and actions.

5. Be willing to pay the price.
When we fear the pain that change brings, we get stuck inside the tiny bubble of our “comfort zone” that represents familiar behaviors, thoughts and feelings.

People with extraordinary willpower know they’ll endure a certain level of discomfort to get what they want. They understand that stretching and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone is simply part of the system of change.

6. Be fully present to your emotions.
Many of us will grab a pint of ice cream or a glass of wine at the first sign of distress. (Wine and snacking in front of the TV were my go-to stress relievers prior to my research.)

Emotions? Yuck! Except for the happy one, right? Well, no, not really. Emotions help us navigate through life. As Albert Einstein said, “Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” When you feel your feelings and stay in touch with your own needs and desires for your life, you focus on making improvements rather than avoidance.

7. Be open to positive possibilities.
Our brains are like a filter, clinging to all the negative experiences we have as we go through life as “learning experiences,” while tossing aside the positive experiences as “flukes” or coincidences. Psychologists call this the negativity bias, and we’re all inflicted with it.

When you become conscious of this tendency, it gets easier to flip the equation and focus on what’s working and what you’re doing right, which is an essential motivating element of sticking to your plans.

8. Love yourself unconditionally.
Many of us think we can whip ourselves and our lives into shape by punishing ourselves with diets or routines we don’t even like. That’s a miserable way to live, and it sets us up to swing in the direction of overindulgence once we’ve had enough torture.

In order to form habits, a key component is pleasure. We’ve been wrongly conditioned to think that hard work, healthy food and exercise aren’t pleasurable. What we often forget is that healthy habits and productive actions can easily be enjoyable when we consciously frame them that way.

To strengthen your willpower, get creative in finding pleasurable and healthy ways to show yourself unconditional love.

9. Focus on values, not perfection.
When we act from a place of expecting perfection, we keep our lives restricted by rules to maintain a false sense of control, which results in a fear of making mistakes. Perfectionism is a pass/fail game that cannot be won. When we inevitably make mistakes because we’re only human, we experience a crisis of confidence, hopelessness or shame.

When we drop perfectionism and instead we focus on our values — which encompasses the big picture and our “why” of point number one — we’re better able to learn from mistakes. This promotes wisdom, improvement and growth. We get better over time at recognizing how certain behaviors add to or subtract from our positive experience of life and it gets easier to steer our choices accordingly.

10. Don’t judge others negatively for having what you want.
Frankly, it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to go after what we really want in life, but while we’re busy judging and comparing, we have way less time and energy left over to make our own lives great.

People with extraordinary willpower look objectively at other people’s success, admire the hard work that went into it, and use that as inspiration. Rather than begrudging others for having what we want, we can develop extraordinary willpower by directing our energy towards figuring out what we want in life and making it happen.

Katie Morton helps people overcome sabotaging and numbing behaviors in order to live big, blissful lives. Get her free eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful Life, to learn how to break bad habits and start living big.

[ Katie Morton ]


The sixth in the foundational attributes of sales effectiveness is Determination.

Determination follows the first attribute, self-discipline. Self-discipline provides the foundation for the ability to persevere, to keep trying even when things aren’t working.

Determination follows the second attribute, optimism. Optimism enables determination by allowing you to continue to try without being discouraged.

Determination stands on top of the third attribute, competitiveness, enabling you to continue fight and to win in a tough contest.

Determination follows the fourth attribute, initiative, sustaining the desire and the ability be proactive.

Determination follows the fifth attribute, resourcefulness, allowing you to persevere until you finally find a way to succeed or until you make one.

[ Anthony Iannarion ]


1. It means focusing on your heart’s desire(s) and not giving up on your goal(s) when you are forced beyond your comfort zone or when inevitable setbacks or disappointments happen.

2. It means focusing on changing the things you can and not complaining about or focusing on the things you cannot.

3. It means taking action and doing what is hard & necessary to get things done and not expecting others to do it for you.

4. It means facing your fears and battling doubts, but refusing to give in to either.

5. It means making mistakes, falling down, or suffering embarrassment—but learning from these experiences and using them to push forward towards your goal—not letting them weaken your resolve or overcome you.

6. It means taking steps every single day, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and no matter how small your steps may be, to move towards your heart’s desires.

7. It means focusing on the bigger picture—making sacrifices and delaying gratification in order to invest in where you intend to go.

8. It means letting go of trying to please or be “friends” with everyone.

9. It means potentially (likely) stirring things up, causing a “ruckus”, drawing complaints, or attracting “haters” due to your actions—and pushing forward regardless.

10. It means dealing with the criticism from friends, family, colleagues, competitors, or anyone at any time who may cross your path and judge you or laugh at you or tell you “you can’t” or “you won’t”, but not letting it stand in the way of you and your goal.

11. It means living with integrity—sticking up for your beliefs & values and being honest with yourself and others—even when it’s uncomfortable or your views or goals appear unpopular.

12. It means constantly seeking ways to improve yourself and your “craft” and better ways to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal.

13. It means not giving up when a door is slammed in your face or you are told “no” 99 times—instead, you focus on finding alternative paths to your goal—some way, somehow to get to the person behind the 100th door that says “yes”.

14. It means if you are offended, betrayed, or belittled by people who are close to you or you discover others working against you, not letting it derail you from reaching your ultimate goal.

15. It means continually and deliberately reaching beyond your comfort zone and doing what others won’t in order to achieve your goal.

16. It means understanding both your strengths and your weaknesses—and maximizing one while trying to minimize the other.

17. It means fueling your own fire and being a significant source of your own motivation—utilizing your passion for what you’re doing to achieve your goal.

18. It means finding a way, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable what you’re doing may be, to enjoy and learn from the process and journey—to live in the present and appreciate what you’re doing or any positive impact it may have on others.

19. It means believing in yourself and a goal that may appear “unrealistic” or against the odds to man—but knowing deep down that it’s not only possible, but that you can do it.

20. It means living up to your own standards.

Giving up is the easiest thing to do. In fact, many times people are happy to accept quitting as long as one appeared to put in some effort—even if it wasn’t their best—“It’s ok, you did the best you could.”

Some may even tempt you with, “No one will think any less of you for quitting.”, but…

If you’re truly going after your heart’s desires and you truly believe in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish, then it doesn’t matter what other people think because you’re not doing it for them—you’re doing it for you.

[ Zero Dean ]


Iterative design is a design methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process. Based on the results of testing the most recent iteration of a design, changes and refinements are made. This process is intended to ultimately improve the quality and functionality of a design. In iterative design, interaction with the designed system is used as a form of research for informing and evolving a project, as successive versions, or iterations of a design are implemented. [ More… ]

[ Wikipedia ]


The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of Observe,Orient, Decide, and Act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

The OODA loop has become an important concept in litigation,[1] business[2] and military strategy. According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage. Frans Osinga argues that Boyd’s own views on the OODA loop are much deeper, richer, and more comprehensive than the common interpretation of the “rapid OODA loop” idea. [ More…].

[ Wikipedia ]

(About prototyping and iterative design)

Several years ago here at TED, Peter Skillman introduced a design challenge called the marshmallow challenge. And the idea’s pretty simple: Teams of four have to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and a marshmallow. The marshmallow has to be on top. And, though it seems really simple, it’s actually pretty hard because it forces people to collaborate very quickly. And so, I thought this was an interesting idea, and I incorporated it into a design workshop. And it was a huge success. And since then, I’ve conducted about 70 design workshops across the world with students and designers and architects, even the CTOs of the Fortune 50, and there’s something about this exercise that reveals very deep lessons about the nature of collaboration, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

So the question you want to ask is: How come? Why? What is it about them? And Peter likes to say that none of the kids spend any time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti, Inc. Right? They don’t spend time jockeying for power. But there’s another reason as well. And the reason is that business students are trained to find the single right plan, right? And then they execute on it. And then what happens is, when they put the marshmallow on the top, they run out of time and what happens? It’s a crisis. Sound familiar? Right. What kindergarteners do differently is that they start with the marshmallow, and they build prototypes, successive prototypes, always keeping the marshmallow on top, so they have multiple times to fix when they build prototypes along the way. Designers recognize this type of collaboration as the essence of the iterative process. And with each version, kids get instant feedback about what works and what doesn’t work.

So the capacity to play in prototype is really essential, but let’s look at how different teams perform. So the average for most people is around 20 inches; business schools students, about half of that; lawyers, a little better, but not much better than that, kindergarteners, better than most adults. Who does the very best? Architects and engineers, thankfully. (Laughter) Thirty-nine inches is the tallest structure I’ve seen. And why is it? Because they understand triangles and self-reinforcing geometrical patterns are the key to building stable structures. So CEOs, a little bit better than average, but here’s where it gets interesting. If you put you put an executive admin. on the team, they get significantly better. (Laughter) It’s incredible. You know, you look around, you go, “Oh, that team’s going to win.” You can just tell beforehand. And why is that? Because they have special skills of facilitation. They manage the process, they understand the process. And any team who manages and pays close attention to work will significantly improve the team’s performance. Specialized skills and facilitation skills are the combination that leads to strong success. If you have 10 teams that typically perform, you’ll get maybe six or so that have standing structures.

[ Tom Wujec – Autodesk Fellow ]

[ RELATED: “Marshmallow Challenge”: Encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity; Improving a team’s capacity to generate fresh ideas, build rapport and incorporate prototyping – all of which lie at the heart of effective innovation. – ].

Agile software development is a set of principles for software development in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Agile itself has never defined any specific methods to achieve this, but many have grown up as a result and have been recognized as being ’Agile’.

The Agile Manifesto is based on twelve principles:
– Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
– Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
– Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
– Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
– Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
– Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
– Working software is the principal measure of progress
– Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
– Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
– Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
– Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
– Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly


Throughout my life, the most profound “word picture” in the Bible has always been the Refiner’s Fire. As a young adult, the image of the Lord being my Refiner helped me endure some of my most difficult trials. Therefore, I’ve chosen to share with you the topic of Trials . . . through the eyes of our Refiner.

In both the Old and New Testaments, we find numerous references to the refining of gold and silver . . . as a parallel of God’s refining us through painful trials. This unforgettable allegory is meant to help us understand the purpose beyond our pain—to conform us to the character of Christ. Clearly, we don’t develop Christlike character all at once. Character is forged over time, especially through fiery trials. Indeed, God is our Refiner. Psalm 66:10 says, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”

Because the Bible is filled with images of God working as the Refiner in our lives, we can gain much insight by understanding the refining process.

Stage I: The Breaking
—The refiner breaks up the natural ore.

In biblical times, a refiner began by breaking up rough ore—hardened rock encased with common minerals such as tin, copper, and zinc. But that rock also had the promise of valuable, rare metals hidden within—the precious metals of gold and silver. The breaking of the rock is necessary to begin the refining process to expose highly valuable metals to heat. The Lord communicates His perfect plan to us—we are rough rock in need of refining fire. “‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’” (Jeremiah 23:29).

Stage II: The Crucible
—The refiner places unrefined silver into a crucible.

The refiner puts broken, crushed ore into a “crucible”—a fireproof melting pot able to withstand extreme heat. Then the refiner places the crucible into the furnace at the precise temperature necessary for removing other metals that would mar the quality of the gold or silver. Just as the furnace is used to purify silver in the crucible, our Refiner uses heat to purify our hearts and cleanse our character. Proverbs 17:3 says, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

Stage III: The Dross
—The refiner places the crucible in the heated furnace to remove dross.

As the ore melts in the crucible under the watchful eye of the refiner, a layer of impurities called “dross” eventually forms on the surface. The Bible says, “Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel” (Proverbs 25:4). For us individually, dross represents any misplaced dependency—any wrong motive, wrong attitude, wrong action—anything that keeps us from being all that God wants us to be.

Stage IV: The Heat
—The refiner raises the temperature to higher degrees.

After the refiner painstakingly skims off these impurities, he then turns up the heat and places the crucible back into the blistering furnace. Again and again (up to seven times, we are told in historical literature) impurities rise to the surface. He knows that only certain impurities are released at certain temperatures. Psalm 12:6 says, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.”

Stage V: The Purification
—The refiner continues to remove the impurities.

Each time, with utmost skill and patience, the refiner removes the dross, leaving behind gleaming gold and shimmering silver . . . more pure and precious than before. To gauge his progress, the refiner looks for his own reflection on the surface of the silver-filled crucible. The more dross removed, the less distorted his reflection. The Bible says our Refiner sits over the refining process to purify us, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Stage VI: The Reflection
—The refiner sees a clear image of himself.

Only when the refiner looks into the crucible and sees a clear reflection of himself is the process complete. Finally, the silver attains its highest degree of purity! And that, my friend, describes our Refiner’s loving intentions for allowing us to be in the “furnace of affliction.” As we trust Him to use our trials to cleanse our character and purify our hearts, we will begin to see the “silver lining.” Isaiah 48:10 says, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”

But how do we hang on to hope in the midst of our trials, especially when the heat is turned up beyond what we think we can bear? We persevere by pressing into the heart of the One who allowed the trial . . . trusting in His perfect plan and His character . . . and surrendering our will to His will.

Remember, the pain God allows in your life is purposeful. The heat is never intended to destroy you, only to conform you into the character of Christ. His gaze is continually affixed to your crucible. As the heat of painful circumstances intensifies in your life, know that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify . . . and refine them like gold and silver” (Malachi 3:3).

As you allow the Master Refiner to do His work, transforming your life into His image, I’d like to share a Scripture that has been the bedrock in my own life, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2). My prayer is that these words from the Lord will be a comfort to you as they have been to me.

This month I want to offer a powerful resource to help you—and help you help others—walk with the Lord through trials. Filled with biblical hope and practical help, our Quick Reference Guide on Trials is an inspirational source of comfort and peace. You can download your free copy today at At Hope For The Heart, there is not a day that passes that the Lord doesn’t bring people to us who are in the midst of traumatic trials. Many are being reached through our books which are available in 28 languages, our broadcasts, our worldwide counseling Hope Centers, the monthly Biblical Counseling Institute, the telephone Care Center helpline, and many other avenues. We consider it the highest privilege to share God’s Truth for Today’s Problems with each person. It is a blessing and a privilege to partner with you in this effort.

[ June Hunt – Hope For The Heart ]


What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Where should I go to school? Should I take this job, or is there something better on the horizon? Who should I marry?

Life is a never-ending series of choices. Can we know whether we are making the right decisions? Should we consult our horoscope? Maybe we should call the psychic hot-line? Do we go with what the experts are saying or rely on our gut-feeling?

Should we look to the stars — or should we seek the Maker of the stars?

– Scripture
– Speaking To Our Heart
– The Prophetic
– Godly Counsel
– Confirmation
– Peace of God
– Circumstances/Timing

[ More… ]

[ Craig von Buseck ]

Is it possible to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His disciples, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit is available to those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ. He speaks to our hearts and leads us in the right direction when we learn to listen. The Holy Spirit has been described as wind (John 3:8), a dove (Mark 1:10), and a gift (Acts 2:38). The Spirit of God can be grieved and quenched by disobedient believers. However, it is possible to hear the voice of the Spirit when believers humble themselves to:

– Be Quiet
– Be Prepared
– Be Aware
– Be Open
– Be Patient

Are You Listening?

[ More… ]

[ Crystal McDowell ]

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