Avoiding Temptation

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV). For change to occur a person with a shopping problem should stay out of the mall. A drinker should stay out of the bar. A gambler should stay out of the casino. A person trying to lose weight should stay away from a buffet. It is easier to avoid temptation than it is trying to beat temptation. Acknowledging that we possess a self-created problem within ourselves allows the ability to let solutions work through and for us. That permits us to change our ways by living in a positive, progressive, forward moving, massively growing manner. As Tony Robbins advocates, “Raise your standards. Change your shoulds into musts. Stop shoulding all over yourself.”

Helping Others by Helping Ourselves

Witnessing firsthand and personally experiencing too many of those aforementioned harmful effects in my life manifests deep pain and empathy for people, which is a pivotal reason for choosing to help others. A dominant universal goal regarding all spiritual realms is to mitigate pain and suffering. Caring for individuals working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse constantly makes me question, “Is there something we as a community, society, nation, and global enterprise can do to help prevent these tragic fatalities?” Tears of compassion and frustration well up and trickle down an anguished face, while contemplating the horrors that families of these loved ones face and endure.

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized that I was somebody” (Lily Tomlin). Can such tragedies be averted? Young teenagers and adults are too often admitted for heroin overdoses with irreversible anoxic brain injuries, while ventilators keep their bodies alive as the brain swells, crushing parts of the cerebrum or spinal cord ending in brain death. All four extremities spastically and uncontrollably jerk up and down with both eyes transiently shooting open seemingly bulging from their skulls as their necrotic viscera pour out. Paralytics are administered because families do not need to witness such horror. Others drink themselves silly, which leads to irreversible pancreatitis or hepatic destruction, culminating in multisystem organ failure and subsequent death.

Even today, visualizing and feeling the glowing warmth, energy, kindness, and friendly smile radiating from a fellow high school classmate’s face 20 years later is poignantly palpable. His abundant energy, radiant countenance, joy, and ability to make others laugh was contagious. He made the tragic decision to try heroin one time, which ended his short life. Let’s decide to help others make better choices by making them for ourselves first.

Doing Our Best

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8: 36 NLT). Moreover, harmful effects can ensue due to excessive gambling, extreme shopping, gluttonous eating, pornography, smoking, mind-numbing alcohol intoxication, and illicit drug use. Several poor behaviors mentioned above have ruined countless marriages, relationships, and even ended in fatality. Do you frivolously love and yield to bad habits more than you enjoy living in victorious freedom by loving and caring for your own mind, body, spirit, and soul? Let’s not stoop down to a level below our absolute best.

Overcoming Despair

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” (Victor Frankl). Have you or a loved one ever felt trapped, seemingly with no way out due to bad decisions or uncontrollable circumstances? I certainly have and overcoming the seemingly inescapable confinement as a result of poor choices is a wonderful and liberating experience.

Man or Woman Up

“Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is. How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self” (Millicent Fenwick). Many people that drink alcohol excessively or do illicit drugs are trying to fill feelings of emptiness or a void in life. When a person loses control over themselves and the food or substance is eating (killing or creating a negative effect) them and not the person consuming the food or substance to stay heathy, invigorated with energy and aliveness to achieve greatness, then it’s time for a serious inward radically transparent and truthful self-examination. Be humble enough to ask for help when necessary. None of us knows everything, while acknowledging how little we know may ignite the fuse necessary toward seeking out transformational resources. Don’t die in lonely despair because an oversized ego or fear of embarrassment stole your true potential to fully live an extraordinary liberating life.

Never Giving Up is Living Life

“I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul” (Douglas MacArthur). Through proper exercise, combined with embracing dreams, attitudes, principles, moral codes, life philosophies, and ideals we can feel young at any age. Doing the most challenging exercises in any work-out regimen first, allows the body to expend more glycogen (stored usable energy), while optimally completing each exercise routine. The same principle applies toward performing the most energy-consuming tasks prior to doing less strenuous responsibilities throughout the day.

Hopeful Action

During a Kari Jobe concert a man spoke about a young boy he observed while on a missionary trip. The child kept tiptoeing up to a volunteer missionary lady and saying, “Hola,” with a great big universal smile spanning from ear-to-ear while giving her monstrous hugs. The boy would hold the woman tight in his arms, while grinning extremely wide, day in and day out. He said, “Hola,” hugged her, smiled enormously large, and darted away. The boy’s behavior began to seem peculiar. Later, the volunteer missionary man found out through a translator that the boy had been bounced from one home to another, over and over, throughout his young life. From the ages of four through twelve, the boy fought to stay alive, while transiently living alone on perilous streets in isolated regions of South America. Finally, the young boy found a home where he became loved unconditionally and consistently, which gave him stability and hope.

“…Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NIV). Nourishing our mind, body, spirit, and soul with truths and life-giving principles keeps our cups plentiful. Worry does not add life, peace, joy, health, wealth, love, or any good thing to anyone. Stop being anxious and let it go. Be grateful for everything, use it advantageously for good, and drive on. The road toward sunrises and sunsets are but one beautiful ride. Replace fault-finding with good-finding and change pessimism to optimism, therefore transforming your life.

“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLV). Moreover, the pain and suffering that child endured and overcame instilled strength, courage, resilience, and compassion into the depths of his soul. The boy cried when the volunteer lady had to leave because she reminded him of his new mom whom loved and cared for him dearly. The boy was immensely grateful.

Furthermore, through World Vision, a 13 year-old boy from Ghana in need of sanitary water, food, shelter, education, and hope is being sponsored. I am not asking anyone for donations to this cause, although start someplace by giving a portion of your money, time, talents, gifts, skills or abilities to a mission, vision, and purpose you believe to be worthy. Ideally, 80% or more of your monetary donation should go strictly toward the helpful cause and not to overhead, such as administration and marketing costs. Investigate and choose accordingly. Giving not only shows that we care, but creates an abundance mindset that we have more than enough. The character built through giving is infinitely more valuable than the act itself.

“Don’t be misled, you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7 NIV). God knows our heart’s genuine intentions, therefore let’s purify our love with sincere wholesome purpose. We truly do reap what we sow, thus sow seeds of greatness, today.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant” (Robert Louis Stevenson). The art of living is sowing seeds of greatness, much more so than reaping. Let serving and giving be pivotal maps that direct decision-making. The byproducts of giving and helping others think, grow, and become their best is cosmically of greater value than monetary gains.

Living Truths

“I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more, as I grow older” (Catherine Drinker Bowen). Truths shared can brighten the loneliest and darkest holes of downward cyclical utter despair. Relentlessly seek and share personal truths and be exonerated from any black frightful abyss, which may be consuming your heavenly soul. No profit or earthly treasure is worth exchanging your own soul to acquire. Now is the time to get up out of that dastardly hole of despair and courageously crush through walls of darkness so you, too, can live in light of newly found truths!

Shining Light

“On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good and not quite all the time” (George Orwell). Divine instruction embraced, combined with unwavering hope as a result from experiencing progressive light can tame humans and negate the savage within. Additional insight and enlightenment from teachings through the attitude of keeping an open, willing and cooperative mind allows empowering, gracefully brilliant light, to shine through crippling black, secluded, cold, damp utter darkness and merciless evil perils. Let your newly lit light shine on through to this side of ABLE.

Hopeful Future in Each Moment

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 19:11 NIV). Education cannot be taken away or taxed upon. Never stop acquiring, developing, and strengthening the intangibles in your life. Persistently being truthful, kind, caring, loving, humble, accepting, and authentic, among many other intangible character traits are worthy of our time and deliberate efforts. Becoming the best version of ourselves opens gateways to greatness that no man, woman or child, or even heaven or hell can shut.