Of Love & Order part 2: Love Yourself First

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Courtesy of wisbar.org

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 12:31

You have to love yourself or you’ll never be able to accept compliments from anyone.
Dean Wareham

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy. Kirstin Chenoweth

Who Are You?
Everything that happens to us, we make happen for ourselves and/or others and our actions and inactions shape and mould us into who we are. We live in an imperfect world which means we are in a constant refining operation. This is a slightly easier undertaking for those who make an effort to renew their minds as often as possible. Daily taking up your cross as growth towards conforming to the image of Christ occurs is not a walk in the park. If we are going to be real with ourselves and be serious about not cheating ourselves by portraying aspects of ourselves we wish we were-both to others and to ourselves-it will start with a few things.

Conquer the dark side
Every now again I would ponder the existence of a dark side within each of us. People often refer to this as fighting our own demons. For the constantly prayerful Christian this does not apply to them because of the Psalm 91 protection. The struggle to gain and maintain high self-esteem is a battle that can feel like it lasts for an eternity. I am of the impression that building and prolonging high self-esteem comes primarily from being honest with yourself. There can be truly no excuse for certain behaviour and patterns to persist firstly  in the individual’s life at all, but more so for those caught in the vicious trap of ignorance. Erupting in complete anger (much worse in longer durations) towards someone important to you, especially your relationship, has devastating effects. You can attempt to defend yourself, “The circumstances made it appropriate for me to be angry. They messed up,” supposing it is so, is it not true that  preserving a relationship is more important than being right? Overcoming our dark sides (the things we hate about ourselves) will be a tough but necessary process. Why am I leaning towards this direction? Here is the bottom line:

NB: If you are going to give yourself to someone, give them someone you love

There is nothing more selfish in the whole world than you not loving yourself. Take time to think about that. It is completely unfair to everyone you come into contact with and everyone already in your life. You do not have to be fully whole and complete when you either meet your life partner or continue the relationship with them, but you must do your level best not to be completely broken as well. Be honest. Joyce Meyer mentions the value of having a meeting with yourself. Work diligently to improve on those things you dislike or hate about yourself. Are you short-tempered? Being patient, listening, understanding and empathetic, slowly but surely, is a place you will eventually reach.

Love Yourself
Giving a part of yourself to anyone requires a certain measure of love for them. You will not give your time to someone you do not like or respect. Give yourself first what you will give someone else. You say you love them? Good, love yourself immensely. You say you respect them?  Have lots of respect for yourself. Their importance to you stems from you having deep self-worth. The measure of love you give to someone will be the same measure you have for yourself. Why is this the case? Simple. You can’t give what you don’t have. In the process of loving yourself, particularly if you are finding yourself, ask these questions:

What do you see yourself as?
Does that change every now and again?
Are you a different person in public than you are at home?
Do you have very good standards in general?
Are you honest about who you say you are?

Qualify Your Expectations
A great woman of God, Ashley Brown has been doing a series on her YouTube channel Ashley Empowers called “Dating With Purpose,” where she interviews different couples who have gone through the process the right way. I highly recommend you see as much as possible. This couple Rachel & Roger have a lovely story and share wonderful lessons they have learned in their journey. The one I will be focusing on here is the significance of being who you are looking for. It is crucial to be real about your relationship and expectations for it. If you desire someone who is fit then you will need a good reason for that. It does not make sense to expect something in and of someone that is not already in you.

A message from the King of love
Taking note of the creator of love is paramount. Joyce Meyer says, “Love yourself, but don’t fall in love with yourself.” Hit those affirmations and declarations over yourself. Personalize Scripture. Romans 8:31 which says  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? You can read it as  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for me, who can be against me? It is vital to remember that. Chapter 10:17 talks about faith coming by hearing the word of God so be sure to hear the word you speak over yourself. A good way to bear in mind the avoiding of falling in love with yourself (where pride and conceit thrive), is to be guided by these:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:3-4

 

 

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Of Love & Order part 1: What Happened To Love?

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Courtesy of completewellbeing.com

“When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.” Ian McEwan Enduring Love

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” Nan Goldin

Starting from the beginning
Things in my life are moving in a way that only God can orchestrate. From not knowing my purpose and passion, to having TV/Film skills. From only possessing video production skills to having design traits too.. From enjoying an ordinary relationship with God to an extraordinary one. From being single to being in a relationship!
Of course when I put it like this it sounds like everything is going smoothly, all according to plan. That is far from the case. I have had to learn patience, deep trust in God, and persistence especially through and in prayer in the process. The fact that I am even writing this right now is a testament to His goodness! With gloves off, hands rubbed, we are ready to get into highly likely the most exciting journey yet.

What it is about
What is love? No I am not talking about Haddaway’s song! I am sincerely bringing to mind the reality of the most impactful force ever to hit humankind. There seems to be a widespread knowledge or more accurately information, on the subject with it affecting each of us in a completely different way. If you ask one person what they believe love to be, you will get a completely different answer to what the next person will say. The question that eats me every time is if two people (man and woman) were always meant to be, how is it that there are cases where break up happens after 4 or more years? It truly is baffling to me. As I brushed up on my dating knowledge through so many various means including books, TV (talk) shows/series, movies, internet articles, music, conversations/discussions, seminars/conferences and CD’s,  I began to see a pattern between the thriving relationships and the ones that appear to be doomed for failure before they even start. No I am not claiming to be some expert or anything, there is still much for me to learn in spite of all I have already learned, I am merely putting forward my observations in the hopes that someone will have a good or better understanding of love. The point is to let the reader combine their knowledge, insight, wisdom and understanding with what they glean from here.
In case you are wondering Why “Of Love And Order?” It is simply based on this profound principle: Worthwhile relationships take work. Before diving into what I believe that entails, we will observe what I am of the opinion is the world’s standard for love.

Types of relationships
The info about to be displayed is an excerpt taken from a book by the world-renowned dating coach Nick Savoy, founder and CEO of Love Systems. In his journey to find love (married now), he came to discover 6 different kinds of relationships:

  • Traditional: One boy, one girl, no one dates anyone else.
  • Traditional Plus: Like traditional, but sometimes you involve other people in your sex life (not your emotional life). Usually this is when both you and her enjoy threesomes with other women.
  • Open: Your primary emotional commitment is to each other, but you are both free to date other people. Open relationships vary in intensity: some are much like Traditional Plus relationships while others are far more casual.
  • Multiple: You have a strong commitment to each other, but nothing theoretically limits what you can do with others.
  • Dating/Undefined: The rules of what you’re doing and where you’re going are unclear, but there is no explicit commitment. Often early in your relationship and usually the case before you sleep together.
  • Friends with Benefits: No significant emotional commitment. Relationship is primarily sexual.

You would be surprised to note that there is in fact a TV series called Friends With Benefits! Jaw-dropping I know. One can be rest assured that most people’s view of love would have been influenced by one or more of the above. What this therefore implies is that the relationship gets shaky right from the get go because it is established on an unstable foundation.

Aiming for the target
What this series hopes to zero in on is “popularizing” the notion of fighting for your relationship, first of all by learning more about why such a pure and precious thing has been tarnished not only by the world but by and with Christians as well, and coming back to what matters most, the only One qualified to define and execute exactly what love is. We have found that much of the reason for relationships going bad is because there is not much preparation made before entering into it and there are few, if any, boundaries put in place as well. This served as the introduction to the series, which could  have the subheading What happened to love? if you will. Links to stories that are moving, depressing and eye-opening, as well as stories from my own life will be covered in subsequent posts. The most important thing to realize is that outside God, there is little to none satisfaction and fulfillment in this life. No need to take my word for it, just ask Solomon (Book of Ecclesiastes)! Even he, in the fulness of the wisdom pouring forth from the wisest man who ever lived had this to say:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Hear Instruction, Heed Correction

If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
– Marcus Aurelius

In this month in the past weeks, I have been following the Proverbs each day and found out one particular theme that jumps out at me as if it were the only thing written in the book: How the wise deal with rebuke as opposed to the fool.

In the Proverbs the fool comes in two parts, firstly as the person who is a rebel, any act against God, His laws or even those that the general public follow but are established by God; secondly as someone that is genuinely void of any wisdom, knowledge or understanding. Now depending on the context the word (fool) is used, it is either the one or the other.

During moments every now and then spent with my dad, arguments about trivial things came up. Sadly it would all break into, in my opinion, a very unnecessary lecture. Why was it unnecessary? It may contain nuggets of true, precious and valuable wisdom but the thing is, I pay more attention to body language than statements. I would make my choice to heed his counsel or not depending on what (I felt) his motive was. If he spoke in love, I could easily sense that in the tone of voice and the look in his eyes, however, most times neither would indicate so, hence, the more likelihood of me forgetting what he said.

The other reason of course is the number of times he repeated himself after making his point. As I said in my earlier post, being lectured (or corrected/rebuked) is something I experienced a lot last year. Extremely little information was of great value to me because it was not spoken in love. Even sincere and intense anger fuelled out of concern and love is something easy to sense as well. I realize how effective using body language passively is, that is, paying more attention to how someone communicates than what they actually communicate. Is there unity between words and facial expression?

Proverbs 19:20

Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.

I remember in primary school I often got reproved on the right to treat women, how to behave around the White guys, how to address those in authority as far as my culture is concerned and the list goes on. Reading all that one would think that I basically did everything wrong. All my life it felt that way. I have to the harsh whip of constant correction by different people from different places. Up to a certain point in life I realized that I am not only too easily misunderstood, to which I am still to find the reason why, but I basically am in position where the best thing to do is to not only conclude that some, not all, people have a general hesitant disliking towards me, but also fight my way through any misconceptions anyone may have about me. Some times I do think about the accusations, no matter how small, but most times I disregard them.

Proverbs 9:9

Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser; teach a righteous man (one upright and in right standing with God) and he will increase in learning.

Matter Of Choice

Someone said something that is quite interesting: It’s easier to advise than be advised. Now I will be the first to admit that I have been on the other side of the coin on this (the giving advice). There have been successful results with the recipients giving positive feedback and still remembering the advice! Quality does not come better than that. I have been, however, stuck with the giving-at-the-expense-of-following habit. Some characters in movies and TV shows portray this (Francis Underwood- House of Cards). Slowly but surely I am beginning to take note of the whole practice what you preach thing. Thanks to that I keep it mind when I am being given advice too. Now I realize that the choice to take the advice makes all the difference. Just like general information, advice is simply information given to you from someone else’s perspective of your situation. This means I can decide which part of the advice to follow and also see whether or not someone else agrees with what the previous person said without prior info on what they said, although that applies more to me seeking advice. More often than not I split up auto-advice simply because I am deprived the opportunity to choose the necessity of receiving the advice. In the end I believe becoming wiser when you are rebuked and corrected is a matter of choice. Choice made from an intellectual perspective rather than emotional.

Saving: A Lesson In Frugality

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” John Stuart Mill

He who does not economize will have to agonize.” 
Confucius

Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” 
Samuel Johnson

Proverbs 13:7

One man considers himself rich, yet has nothing [to keep permanently]: another man considers himself poor, yet has great [and indestructible] riches.

Ever since that day 7 years ago (it is 2014 at the time of this writing) when I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad 3: What The Rich Invest In That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not,” that I started to think incessantly and considerably about the concept of saving. I looked at so many articles on About.com on the matter and watched plenty of Youtube videos as well. I tried to learn as much as I could. 

I found out how saving coincided with investing. That was an interesting and irritating discovery. Interesting because both have to do with the discipline of waiting in order to grow, and suppressing the desire to consume the money in any way. Irritating because it meant understanding as much as possible about investing (which feels like studying for a one-and-a-half to two-year college degree), and finding out which avenue I am most intrigued with and most likely to be skilled at.That would mean learning through trial and error and finding the balance  between the amount to be saved, the amount to be invested and thus leaving me with the amount to be spent. All this obviously cannot take place without the most crucial part: budgeting

My 5 stage process

The discipline required to follow through with this is very heavy. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted. For one to claim they can, or at the least, have the means and/or ability to apply them, must surely be put to the test. It is something I am doing my best to apply as well and I admit that sacrifices have been made in the process but are necessary for further financial development so as to reduce the amount of sacrifices in the future. 

Stage 1: Tithe

My ultimate tithing goal is to get from 10% of my income to 90% of my income. Essentially the first thing I do is to set aside 10% and tithe that only as often as I receive the pay check. In other words if you receive it weekly then you tithe weekly. If you receive it monthly then you do it monthly too. I currently do a single tithe (10%). I want to get to a point where I give double tithe, then triple, four-fold, 50% all the way up to 90%.. Giving that much to me is the greatest evidence of financial success. Yes there are a lot of people talking about financial freedom which is awesome, and if that is to be obtained, then I believe in addition to doing homework as to how and deciding how badly you want it and how hard you’re willing to work for it, you go at it with all your heart and give just as you have received.

Stage 2: Budgeting

NB: A budget is telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went.

The main rule for this is Every dollar/rand (your currency) has a name. What does that mean?  I love the session on Wealth, Wisdom and the World that Dave Ramsey gave. He basically talked about how important it is to literally name the assignment every penny has. Spendthrifts have a good attitude in this department. They are constantly thinking about what assignment their next wage, salary, pocket money and allowance is going to get. The only problem is their application of it. They plan this mentally but not practically. In other words, it is not written down. I know motivational speakers on goal-setting talk about how the writing down is half the goal being fulfilled. I have sections (in my budget) for why the money is being used in that area not just where.

Stage 3: Saving

After finding out where and why the money goes to where it goes, I decide how much of the remainder will be saved. This is where the sacrifice comes to play. It is in the making absolute certain that there is always something to be saved. That would mean telling someone that you do not have cash (to spare) for them at that point in time. You would be reducing the number of people and times you say that the bigger your savings gets. Another sacrifice is shortening the Personal category in the budget list. Eating out, going to arcades/theme parks, spas, concerts and so on may need to be done fewer times in the month, just to start off. As time goes by you will find that you will be able to do all those things more often and still save money. How awesome is that!

I tax myself the amount that should be saved from every purchase. I begin with 5% then as my budget for anything and/or everything increases, so does my tax for saving. It helps a lot.

Why Save?

A few reasons:

  1. It’s for a rainy day. Emergencies (which you should have a separate account for); helping family members or friends out of a real pinch; unexpected pregnancy. I don’t even know how that makes sense. A job lay off.
  2. Spending with cash. I hate credit cards unless I have absolutely no other choice. There is nothing like “buy now and pay later” unless you have a plan for reconciling the debt you incur on that purchase. It is so much work finding out how you’re going to get out of debt knowing that you will get into it, when it can be avoided altogether.
  3. For a long term investment so that you can retire with dignity and you can send your kids to college.

Stage 4: Investing

After setting aside the amount to be saved for the month, I find out how much from the savings is to be invested. If I see that I can save $500 then I decide that $250 is to be invested then that is what I go for. Of course there may be months where the investing plans work out in such a way that you will have to take all the savings (from the budget you form not the savings account) and invest that. When faced with such a decision I then plan how much of the R.O.I (returns on investment) will be saved. Basically the roles are reversed. The best thing with this strategy is that you have money growing for you while you earn some too.

Stage 5: Spending

This is where stage 2 comes in handy. Everything in the budget takes priority. That may sound like a common sense statement but the term, “Spendthrifts,” would not exist if it was. Tick off everything that you have chosen to spend cash on and then the remainder is essentially Pocket Money. You can either have a separate account just for pocket money or you have two parts for your savings account: General and Pocket Money. However you do it, make sure you know that it is your pocket money at the end of the day and not confuse it with anything else. The fun part comes when you get to include the items in the Personal part of the budget. It is a whole different feeling when you spend money on something you like after having planned on paper/screen for it. 

Conclusion

I don’t know why but I love being frugal, even the idea of being frugal is exciting. Some people would be like, “What? What does that even mean?” I believe it is the lesson in these passages:

Better is he who is lightly esteemed but works for his own support than he who assumes honour for himself and lacks bread. Proverbs 12:9

It is all about taking it one step at a time:

Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches]. Proverbs 13:11

Work as hard as you can, as much as you can:

He who tills his land shall be satisfied with bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits is lacking in sense and is without understanding. Proverbs 12:11

Plan your recovery from disaster i.e debt

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender Proverbs 22:7

Save what you can, then save more than you can:

There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it Proverbs 21:20

Remember to budget well and include a reconciliation plan in case you spend more than you budgeted for:

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. Proverbs 16:9

Know your investments and be skilled in your vehicle of choice ([a]stocks, which includes bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s [exchange trade fund], shares etc, [b] real estate which includes, houses, apartments, flats etc, [c], businesses which includes clothing stores, shopping centres, food courts, jewellery stores, hardware stores, computer stores etc, [d] commodities like crops and other items):

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6.

Heaping Coals Of Fire

Courtesy of 1.bp.blogspot.com

I recently read this passage on how to make amends with your enemy and thought it was quite interesting. It actually has a lot to do with the counterintuitive aspects of life. I will talk more about that in a later post. I believe this scripture is so easy to misunderstand because of taking it literally as it is. Let’s check it out:

Proverbs 25:21-22
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Paul referenced this passage when encouraging the Romans to live a life that exemplifies peace and godliness. Starting from verse 17 we read:

Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.

18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.

20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his headRomans 12:17-20

Breaking Down Verse 20
God wanted His saints’ minds to be so far from revengeful thinking that He lays down one prior condition: Vengeance is Mine. This means that at the actual moment we harbour the thought of paying back the enemy for what they have done, we are first of all to remember that revenge is not our place. Revenge implies that we think of ourselves as more important than our enemies, I would go as far as including those who hurt us but are not necessarily (regarded by us as) our enemies. This is because the principle applies in that situation as well. The reason I say that revenge suggests we think of ourselves as more valuable is because we believe in that moment that being right (meaning justified) is more significant than maintaining our relationship, but Paul said, “I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance].” Romans 12:3

Chapter 12 of Romans begins with Paul asking us to give our bodies to the Lord as a living (and holy) sacrifice, and then goes on to discourage us from patterning ourselves after the ways of the world; an attitude that begins in and with the mind. Therefore in order to preserve the holiness of our bodies we are not to entertain any thoughts that desecrate that holiness, particularly to the extent of multiplying the damage dealt to us. That is what revenge is all about. You slap me, and I will crush you with a bat.

This word of encouragement from Paul, as well as Hezekiah (he wrote chapters 25 through 30 of Proverbs), may be difficult to apply but bears enormous importance. It is almost as if everything that happens to us and “our enemy” hinges on that split-second choice on whether or not to deal eye-for-an-eye, which has huge ramifications.

Taking this word of exhortation literally, means as you do good to those who do bad to you, the idea in that case is to shame and embarrass your enemy. I know some people think that when God says, “Vengeance is Mine, ” He is to bring His wrath all the more fiercely on your enemy so as to justify you (especially if that is the whole purpose behind you acting kindly towards him in the first place). That could not be further from the truth! Here is one extremely substantial reason why:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. Proverbs 24:17-18

That is a consequence you do not want befalling you. The idea behind doing good to your enemy, even in a literal sense, giving him food when he’s hungry and drink when he’s thirsty (including any other necessity), is so that he feels so ashamed for what he has done that it leads him to repentance, loves the person he once hated and is careful not to both repeat the wrong he has done, and also not do any further wrong in the future.
Think about this statement:

“When he remembers the food and drink thou hast given him, thou shall burn him, as if thou puttest coals upon his head to burn him, and “he will take care of doing thee any ill. This matter will be hard unto him, as if thou heapest coals on his head to burn him, because of the greatness of his shame”, on account of the good that he shall receive from thee, for the evil which he hath rendered to thee.”

How amazing would life be on earth if we understood that so far should the saints be from meditating revenge upon their enemies, that they should do good unto them, as Christ directs, (Matthew 5:44 ) , by feeding them when hungry, and giving drink unto them when thirsty.

NB: The results from such an act of faith can possibly take a long time flourish. Patience is vital before, throughout and after the action has been implemented. It is the consequential process, one that tests the heart to see if diligence in seeking to please God, is the order of the day. Hebrews 11:6

Time & Its Expressions

The Time Difference 

First there are 2 Greek words for time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the sequential or chronological time. The clock that passes as the earth continues to spin on its axis. Then Kairos is more a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time where everything happens. It’s like an opportune time, seasonal, in the sense that events occur in your life in different patterns and moments.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.

 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

All this is the kairos time because it speaks of moments in time. In other words a moment to be born and a moment to die. Those moments will transpire as chronos, the chronological time, takes place. As you begin to think about events you plan and attend, also think about how each small moment in your life affects you as it leads up to that event.  One more thing before I discuss some expressions.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Another version says, “By being at the right place at the right time.”

Expressions about time

Money expressions.
“Buy me some time” This one is often used in movies in situations where the enemy may need to be distracted so that the hero and his team can infiltrate the premises and achieve the main goal, or at least the means to the main goal. People use it today as if it’s a commodity or product. Can anyone sell time?

The thing I don’t get is, people some times or often waste time because they don’t take time to carefully think about and plan how they are going to spend their time. This means they don’t invest time in the small things so that they won’t have to worry about losing time through being unable to control their emotions, which puts them in a position where they may not be able to get that time back, especially when it matters most.

The other thing is people spend too much time doing trivial things that they think are important; are unable to make time  (or make up for it) for the really important things (friends and family); burn themselves out and end up having no time for the especially important things (meetings, talent shows, time out with friends and the intimate relationships and so on).

My favourite one, “I don’t have the time,” or “When I have the time.” Some of these expressions really are funny. It is not as if there is ever going to be a moment where time will not exist for anyone. The people who use those particularly phrases correctly say, “I don’t have time for that.” Of course some would go on to add, “Right now.” I must confess, I very often have the habit of saying that I don’t have time for that, this would usually be because I refuse to do something or prefer not to do it.

Now the show that popularised the phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” Sweet Brown, really got my friend saying that a lot. Anyone who has seen that will react that way the very second I mention that I don’t have time for that. That is the key point to mention, “Time for something.” It is completely different to simply stating that you don’t have time.

This next one is so true in the TV And Film industry, “Time is money.” When we say that we mean it in a very literal sense. The more time you waste the more money you waste, because it means whatever could not be done has to be either be redone, or the particular items, props, vehicles and so on used, need to be purchased again. Not to mention the production costs for rehiring the room, the length of the scene and so on.
People use it (the expression) nowadays either to make a point (such as a lecture against asking for money to argue for working for it) or to hurry someone up.

Uncomfortable terms
Here’s one, “I need to kill time.” Now that I think about it, it is actually quite funny if you look at it from literal perspective. Doing things that will help you pass the time should be useful for a time. Now there is one thing I do not really agree with that much:

Time heals all wounds
That simply is not true, at least, I do not think so. Some relationship break ups can be very hard, and it can definitely take some years to get over someone or recover from the break up. Those who have been verbally and sexually abused-whether as children or adults-have a really difficult time dealing with both the thought and reality of the experience. The only kind of wounds time can heal are physical ones.

Some awkward ones
I’m running short on time. Time to confess. How often have you said this?

Living on borrowed time. Meaning to live beyond your life expectancy. How many times have you heard this being said? How many people do you know can relate to this?
Anyone who has been in a situation where they survived when they otherwise would not have, had it not been for the miracle of God, can relate to this.

I’m pressed for time. I used to say this a lot. More often than not it was to make myself appear busy so that the task that someone wanted me to do, that I did not want to do, would be less important simply because I would not have time for it. There were more times where that was genuine than those that were not.

Let’s split the time. I said this a lot when it came to group activities where some individuals had more time to do a certain activity than others.

Find the time. Something quite a big majority of people have a hard time doing. All they have to do is look for it in their schedule or sacrifice time from something else. I know it is not easy, but it can be done. Interesting enough, though, you can’t find what you already have.

Conclusion
At the end of the day life is short:
James 4:14

 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]

Psalm 103:15-16

As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more

Though we may not be able to make up for lost time, we can make the most of the time that we have now.

For it is up to us to decide what to do with the time that is given to us, Gandalf the Grey: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

As every second passes we grow to realize that we will never get it back and I believe it starts with our words because it all comes from the heart. If we can guard our heart with all vigilance, above all that we guard, for out of it springs the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23), then I believe we have lived the life, that at the foundation and heart of every human’s existence, that is the life meant to be lived.
We grow in time, we learn in time, we flow with time and wait in time. When time is lost for one thing, we find it in another. Time is often traded for an experience. Which would you choose: A walk in the park with your beautiful/handsome friend or a free whole day pass in a theme park where you can have the time of your life?

Most things, if not everything, in time happen for a reason. Now that reason may not be easily understood at the current moment in time, however, there are some things that are meant to be known and revealed in due time. Therefore it is important to know the contrary effect of time. Where there is light, there are always shadows. Where there is victor, the defeated also exist. A desire for peace (in one area) can give rise to war (in another). Hatred (towards something) is born in order to protect love (for something else).  Time unveils these things as it goes by, and so all we can do is be prepared for them when they come. Of course our choices affect how these things come to be. All time does is give us the result of the choices we make. If we are disappointed with the outcome of what has taken place, we have to look back and locate the source of the choice made.

These are things that are in our control. The other things such as natural disasters, are beyond our control. All the crime in the world, the riots, the decisions politicians make at the expense of the citizens they lead, are all things that time allows us to understand when the right one comes. Our responsibility-in order to change that which we do not like-is to take the time to understand why the events have taken place the way they have up to a point where we can agree that there is nothing more that can be understood, then,  use our own personal time to the best of our abilities to improve ourselves so that we can lead a life that improves others. I am certain that the meaning of life lies in those two things.

Time is the best teacher

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.
Delmore Schwartz

Use your time wisely

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check your priorities

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
Lee Iacocca

Small things matter

You’re writing the story of your life one moment at a time.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin

Do only a few things

One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.
Chinese Proverb

Focus on the present

It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.
Marcia Wieder

Lost time gone forever

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
Author Unknown

The importance of time

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
M. Scott Peck

Don’t procrastinate

A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
Baltasar Gracian

Don’t excuse, you are in control

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
Sir John Lubbock

The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.”
Franklin Field

 

6 Reasons Why The Mind Is Hard To Clean

Disclaimer: This post contains some images that are bit graphic but not the point of vileness. The content contains slightly more explicit material than I would normally put together. It is generally a PG13 kind of post. Now because of the world we live in, I state things just as it is. Some of it maybe offensive but that is to illustrate what the world thinks of and is doing to Christians. I do this in order to drive the point home effectively. Being euphemistic dilutes the impact that the content is supposed to give. How else can you be real in a world like this?

Various suggestions
Now I am not saying that these are the actual reasons, but rather some possibilities as to why it is that out of all things in this world to clean, the mind is the most difficult.

I remember in my film shoot last year (during Nov-Dec 2013) our main character, who was a female lead together with our male lead because she played the wife, often wore short dresses and skirts. It was set in the ’70s through to the early 2000s. The thing that I found interesting about that was the fact that I knew that our actress was not the kind of person who normally wore such clothes. In fact I would go on further to say that if she never could, she never would!

I mentioned my observation to our supporting character who played the daughter in the story. This was on a day when she was not on set. When I said, “I like how she is putting on mostly dresses and skirts because I know she would not normally have them on. She looks great in them,” she replies, “Because their short!”
I knew that she was thinking what she thought I was thinking, but it was far from it. If anything she is the one who put the unnecessary thought in my head. I responded by saying, “The mind is the hardest thing to clean.”

Some observations based on possible conclusions people may come up with

I have not actually done a survey but this what I believe people would think.
1) Some blame it on sinGen 6:5

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually

True that we are generally born into sinful nature and therefore because of our fallen state we would naturally be drawn towards fleshly thoughts and desires. However, even without the forgiveness of sin, moral and ethical living can still be taught to an individual, most of which will be principles from the Bible except those pertaining to self-development and improvement. Through that, one can, as much as possible, control unclean thoughts and develop the habit of right thinking.

2) Some blame it on the corrupt world1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]

Now I do agree that most things, if not everything the world offers is instantaneously gratifying and self-fulfilling. Furthermore it is about taking control of one’s own destiny the idea that the most important thing above all is to do whatever you like. It is sad that most wars arise as a result of this unquenchable thirst and desire for more accompanied by a territorial mindset. In other words, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”
To remedy this one’s mind must be filled with life lessons on being interdependent and good morals (lessons about good behaviour) and ethics (the good behaviour being practiced).

3) Some blame it on themselvesJeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings

This one is very closely linked to the first one. It is arguable that your background and “mentors” so-to-speak have a huge effect on your worldview and life in general. One may justify your actions by saying that you don’t know any better. However that does not make it excusable, you still have to face the consequences of your choice. Now there is one thing even in situations like that, I believe serve as saving aid for the individual: The Conscience. Deep down inside, because everyone gets taught good principles of earthly living at some point early on in their life, though they may be deceived by some people, feeling bad about certain actions taken at first is a starting point for a turn-around and acceptance for proper living. One needs not blame their status, background, sphere of influence (people around you that impact you and you impact), or anything else for the choices they make.

4) Some blame it on others- Matther 7:3-5 

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye

Yes some would love the comfort of knowing that the choice they made was highly influenced by someone else and therefore the responsibility rests on someone else’s shoulders instead of their own. The teacher, the friends, girl/boyfriends, wives/husbands, boss, coworker, siblings and worst of all the parents. I have noticed especially from a lot of movies (meet the parents, meet the fockers, little fockers, definitely-maybe, cheaper by the dozen among others) and songs and/or music videos (Cleaning out my Closet-Eminem, Words are weapons D-12, If You Seek Amy-Britney Spears) that if not directly then indirectly or subliminally cause youth mostly to eventually rebel against their parents. Perhaps peer-pressure, wanting to fit in, dangerous board games or innocent card games with twisted rules that may have a truth or dare feel to it, heavily influence young minds. The emotive feel of music and movies is not be underestimated. I stress parents because of the greatest commandment relating to humankind:

Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12

5) Some blame it on circumstances- Not just the ones relating to background or the past but even the current ones and the future. How do you think pessimists become that way? Life does not treat everyone fairly and neither does everyone have the privilege of being taught how to overcome tough situations with a clear mind, focusing on the main goal and not the immediate obstacle. Being shaped by negative content and material plays a huge role in an individual’s life, as does being shaped by people.

6) Some blame it on work, politics and schools- those three make up the core aspects of any nation: business, government and education. It’s always the system’s fault! The truth is we cannot do anything about the things that happen to us, but we do have a say and choice on how it affects us. Now that is the key. Working with or for companies that do not have just dealings or being ruled by unfair politicians and national leaders, or being mistreated, cheated, or deceived by either the school or friends or anyone in any a learning environment, is in an unfortunate situation. Are such experiences (meant) to change your worldview? Are they to affect how you see and do life? Do they impact who you are and who you want to be?
These are things worth thinking about.

Let’s look at Mark 7:21-23

For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery,

 Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness).

All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.

The solution to it all
Now that we know or at least have any idea where the unclean mind comes from, the most important thing to do would be to:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

When we do this it becomes easier when we are told:

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect Romans 12:2

Something interesting to think about
I have observed that self-control is the most important thing that humankind has to deal with. The greatest thing given to all mankind was the freedom of choice. Second to that is the easiest and hardest way to live life: self-control.
I am convinced that if humankind has self-control in these three areas of life then they cannot be tempted at all.

1) Self-control with words. Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]

James 3:2
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.

2) Self-control with food.
Proverbs 23:21
For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags

1 Corinthians 6:13
 Food [is intended] for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will finally end [the functions of] both and bring them to nothing. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [to save, sanctify, and raise it again].

3) Self-control with sex. Now because the Bible deals specifically with one aspect of sex, we should look deeper into that and learn more about what it truly entails: Sexual Immorality.

What is sexual immorality?
The definition of immoral is deliberately
violating accepted principles of right and wrong.

The sexually immoral includes:  prostitution,
pornography, having sex outside of marriage,
homosexuality, and adultery.

It seems as though sexual immorality comes in different ways. We will take a look at each of these:

Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.

You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14

If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10

Fornication: sexual intercourse between people not married to each other.
Pop culture: freedom to have sexual intercourse with anyone not married regardless of number, gender and age in order to gain and maintain a high social status.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4

According to the cited biblical verse, those who commit adultery defile through this their future marriage and the marriage bed, that is their sexual relation. No one will be able to rejoice of a defiled sexual relation, but it will transform his/her future wife or husband in an unguilty victim.

Masturbation: stimulate one’s genitals with one’s hand for sexual pleasure.
2) stimulate the genitals of (someone) to give them sexual pleasure.
Mutual masturbation: is a sexual act where two or more people stimulate themselves or one another sexually, usually with the hands.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11

Prostitution: the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.

None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 23:17-18

Pornography: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.

There are two kinds of pornography:

Softcore pornography: generally contains nudity or partial nudity in sexually suggestive situations, but not explicit sexual activity, sexual penetration or “extreme” fetishism (sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object, or from a specific situation).

Hardcore pornography: Hardcore pornography contains graphic sexual activity and visible penetration.

I would like to think it counts as well when visible penetration is obvious even when the genitals are not in the frame.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body 1 Corinthians 6:18

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality. Galatians 5:19

Sexual Perversions

This practice is an aberrant (departing from an accepted standard) sexual practice.

This world becomes more and more evil and it becomes harder to believe that things will get any better. The world makes the things of great disgust seem normal and even calls it, “untraditional sexual orientation,” but God calls it, “an abomination,” and “defiled.”

None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:6  

In continuation, the text defines clearly who are considered blood relatives, with which the marriage is banned. These are the parents, the step parents, the sister, the brother, the nephew, the niece, the aunt, the sister of the brother, the aunt from the uncle, the daughter-in-law, etc. All these sexual relations are incest. After that, the list continues with other things that are defined as perversions:

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. Leveticus 18:22–24

The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:10

Immorality of the mind

What does immorality of the mind mean? Lord Jesus defines it in this way:

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  Matthew 5:28

Self-control in these three areas, even in a corrupt world like this one, will help humankind get closer to freedom from mind abuse. I leave you with this:

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.” William Blake