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This attribute is powerful, possessing tremendous relevance and meaning.
According to The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, some of the benefits include:
- A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a "helper's high", involving physical sensations and the release of the body's natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional wellbeing.
In a recent Time magazine essay, Lance Morrow writes that "the mentality of addiction, of alcoholism, prevails in zones of American life even when no drugs are involved." How true! This means, of course, that no "war on drugs," no "drug czar" will be able to solve our problems with addictions because drugs are not the problem. When one addictive substance or behavior is not available to us, we can surely choose another. A long list of socially acceptable addictive behaviors and processes (work, shopping, religion etc.) are available for those who are not attracted to chemicals. Anesthetics for the emotional pain of life are, and will always be, cheap and readily available.
Charles Dickens' 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol is the famous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by spirits representing the past, present and future. The novel, while set during the Christmas season, is a story of redemption. It's a wakeup call. It's a lesson on making amends. And it has the Twelve Steps all over the place.
Steps 4-12 heavily involve the "other" of wronged people in our lives, hurt by our destructive choices. They speak to our rebellion of the changed life we need to experience.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shutter once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.
You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for, happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact she is not Cinderella and you are not Prince charming , and that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings or beginnings for that matter, and;
That any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. And in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love,
Appreciate or approve of who or what you are and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own Views and opinions).
And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and ...sense of newly found confidence is born -- of "self-approval."
You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) – And you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that
Not everyone will always be there for you, and that it’s not always about you. So, you
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20
The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:
"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."
Adorable. Humorous. Human.
Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.
Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
How many times do we pray this portion of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" and yet fail to consider what we're asking? It is a petition, a request of God to forgive us - in the same manner and proportion in which we forgive others. Are you okay with that? Are you comfortable with receiving God's forgiveness to the same extent that you give it to others?
I recently came across a little gem about the ego and the soul.
It's quite profound. It states things like:
"Ego looks outward. Soul looks inward."
"Ego sees lack. Soul sees abundance."
According to one definition of the word, soul is comprised of the mind, the will and the emotions. So, it stands to reason soul would be quite vulnerable to disease. Indeed, there is a battle going on.
And, let's get real -- a large part of that battle involves the toxic pride factor.
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
And that pride rubs shoulders with rebellious foolishness.
The fool hath said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalms 14:1
And yes, that goes for even us Christians.
It's not about being a good little boy or girl in the pews on Sunday. Instead, it has everything to do with the very real, very rebellious, prideful and diseased thoughts which have ensnared us in affliction. Saying "no" when we should say "yes."
As is echoed in the "Ego Versus Soul" post...
"Ego rejects God. Soul embraces God."
And, while we may nod our heads in agreement with that statement, do we really examine any rebelliousness lurking in our tricky hearts?
After all, we're not above being deceived...
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
For, once upon a time, there was a certain rebel who let some audacious, prideful attitudes rip.
And he said unto them, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Luke 10:18
Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
We get angry over a lot of things. To be honest, Americans as a society are pretty angry. Perhaps it stems from our idea of "rights." We believe (and expect) that certain things are due us, that our lives should include the ability to choose and have and do (sometimes even without consequence). When those expectations are denied, we get angry.
It’s also a form of control. Here in America (and in other countries), we have come to believe that we control our own destiny. We choose the vocation or profession or job we will have. We choose where to live, who to marry, how many children we will have (aborting the rest). We choose when we will work and when we will play (and we play a lot!). So when we are denied these things, we get angry.
We often couch our anger in morality, claiming that this or that is unfair or wrong. But if we are honest, many times our protests cover our fear. We cannot control the situation so anger is better than . . . trust. You see, God is in control. All the time, in all things, through all people. And while we all have free will, ultimately His plans will come to effect.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NRSV
This verse doesn’t say that God will only work out the good things or the things we control or when we are obedient (as opposed to sinning). It says that He will work out all things. And often, He works them out with Heaven in mind. That means the story doesn’t end here, on earth, but rather ends There, with Him. Hebrews 11:39-40a tell us that
Perseverance for me is essential because the alternative is defeat and loss of faith. Defeat and loss of faith is totally different from surrender.
Surrender] is knowing that God is Lord of lords, King of kings. It is knowing that I must and need to depend on Him totally and completely at all times.
\0/ praise .....
it is so easy to praise God when all is going well in our lives. We are happy, joyous and free but then the you know what hits the fan and our lives become unmanageable. We find ourselves totally powerless. fear creeps in and anxiety rules.
It is time to ....
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G. K. Chesterton
Intentional awareness of our countless blessings will always provide fuel for a wildfire of gratitude in our soul! A fitting starting point in our quest for gratitude is to take special note of the Jesus experiences of each day. They will become kindling for that wildfire of thanksgiving. These awesome experiences continually stoke the embers of past experience into the blaze of present blessings and grandeur in Him!
Jesus did not just solve our problems by waving a magic wand from afar. He entered into the middle of the conflict, stepped into the domain of contradiction, entered our hell, faced death itself and from there He conquered. If this doesn't warm your heart and evoke gratitude, it's not likely anything will! As we consciously meditate each day upon the wonder and grandeur of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our hearts will remain 'strangely warmed'.
Then, as we live from that place of gratitude, we also become enraptured by the moment by moment revelation of Father that Jesus brings. The masses of the world will never be converted by a second rate Christian version of itself. And neither will you or I! They will however, flock to places that give them what nothing else can; a life that won't leave them fatherless and thus thankless.