Written by Jimmie Burroughs
Most of us have always been confident that nothing could happen to the United States. After all, we are the greatest super power in the world. The United States, the most powerful nation, has always been able to preserve social and political stability, guided by a genius constitution with all the checks and balances necessary to guarantee freedom, justice, and liberty for all.
In the past, it has been easy to ignore warnings that might otherwise be worth our attention. As early as the 1980s, Paul Kennedy, a Yale scholar, warned that America was on track to succumb to the same fate as ancient Rome.  His warning was scary at the time, but it carries a bit more weight today when you consider the dangerous world of 2015 and the obvious regression of the United States for the past several decades. There are many dangers, but there are five real dangers facing the United States worth our serious consideration, dangers that could produce the perfect storm.
1. Danger of financial collapse
The United States has an $18,195,242,281,000 national debt, which is beyond the point of no return. From August 2011, the national debt has gone from 14.7 trillion to 18.1 in 2015.  When you put the math to it, the United States total income falls near a trillion dollars a year short of funding the national budget. Even more alarming, the unfunded liability now stands at $123,287,673,620,145 (growing exponentially by the second), which includes Medicare (leading the list at nearly 80 trillion dollars), Medicaid, Social Security, student loans, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA.  In order to keep the present lifestyle of America afloat, the Federal Government must continue to borrow. Obviously, we are living beyond our means, which is unsustainable for the long haul. According to natural law, it is only a matter of logic, without some drastic changes, which seems unlikely with the present conclave in Washington, that financial collapse is unavoidable and will probable happen in the near future.
The financial dilemma that America faces has been brought on by years of bad leadership, mismanagement, and shortsightedness in Washington D.C. At this point, the Feds are locked into a seemingly hopeless predicament. With Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Military occupying two thirds of the budget, what do you cut first? Can you cut out Social Security, or drastically reduce it, and leave millions of retirees homeless and starving, or do you cut Medicare and Medicaid and let the old die, or maybe cut the military and grow weak and defenseless.
2. Danger of the loss of the dollar as the world currency
Contrary to what some may think, the real threat to America goes beyond the terrorists, which is the primary focus of Washington these days. The loss of the dollar status as the world reserve currency is the greatest threat because it could render America powerless to defeat not only terrorists but also any military enemy. It is scary when you consider that country after country is already rapidly moving away from the dollar, countries like China, Russia, and Japan. Compounding the issue is that America has gone from being one of the most loved countries, after World War II, to one of the most hated, so there will be no allegiance to restrain countries from dropping the dollar.
It’s is not something that we would hear on the news, but there is little doubt that the sixteen Federal agencies must be on high alert because of the possible fall of the dollar as the global reserve currency. No doubt, they have begun to estimate the impact. The British Empire experienced the impact when the dollar replaced the pound as the global reserve currency, post World War II, which reduced Great Britton to a sub-world power and elevated the United States to a super power.
Why does it make any difference whether the dollar is the world reserve currency or not? Michael Payne, in a recent article, outlines the difference it would make and some of the potential effects: “The demise of the dollar will also bring radical changes to the American lifestyle. When this economic tsunami hits America, it will make the 2008 recession and its aftermath look like no more than a slight bump in the road. It will bring very undesirable changes to the American lifestyle through massive inflation, high interest rates on mortgages and cars, and substantial increases in the cost of food, clothing and gasoline; it will have a detrimental effect on every aspect of our lives.” 
Venezuela experienced runaway inflation a few years ago; a Big Mac at McDonald’s cost $16.27 before they devalued their currency.  Devaluating currency has its bad effects also. How would you feel if you awakened some morning and learned you were half as rich as you were twenty-four hours earlier; that is what devaluation of currency could do to your finances. Devaluation is one of the first steps governments, in the past, have taken when their currency is in danger of collapsing.
One of the most devastating effects to the American economy if the dollar lost its prestigious status as the world currency would be the rise in cost of gasoline. Some countries already pay twice as much for gasoline as Americans. Higher fuel costs would cripple the United States ability to manufacture goods and ship them long distances. The cost of food and goods would increase dramatically. The only salvation is if America becomes capable of supplying its own energy needs without imports. So far, Washington Diplomats, influenced by the environmental community, have blocked that possibility.
Some believe the dollar will remain because there is no other alternative, but they are wrong. There is already a ten year documented plan to replace the dollar as the global reserve currency. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) reported that “The Dollar Reigns Supreme by Default.” [They] . . . issued a report Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  The IMF is a likely candidate for a new world currency (they are not the only contender), because they have a clean balance sheet, liquidity, and are far less leveraged than the U.S. and other currencies. Presently, they are best suited to provide the world’s financial needs. Far from being a nice group, they are unelected and unaccountable kings, Dictators, and communists, probably with a few terrorists to boot. So what will the new currency be called? Calling the new currency “world Money” might be too edgy, but that is what it would be. That could be a precursor to a one-world government, which is a feature of the end-time.
3. Danger of the collapse of the stock market
Has the stock market reached a super-critical stage? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes. The value of the stock market is supposed to equal the economy, or the GDP. When stocks outgrows their value, it creates a bubble much like the housing bubble of 2007. A bubble can only stand so much inflation until it burst. At this point, the stock market is way over valued. The difference in the ratio between the economy, or the GDP, and the stock market is greater today than it was before the last recession and even greater than before the Great Depression. Before the Great Depression, the ratio stood at 87%; today it stands at 203%.  Even worse than that, the global derivatives are ten times greater than the global GDP.
What are derivatives? “In finance, a derivative is a contract that derives its value from the performance of an underlying entity. This underlying entity can be an asset, index, or interest rate, and is often called the ‘underlying.’”  More commonly, they include forwards, futures, options, and swaps. Unlike stocks, they do not represent investments in anything. They are incredibly complex and hard to understand. A simplistic way of explaining them is that they are wagers or guesses on what may happen in the future, somewhat like betting on the outcome of the Super Bowl. In other words, they are a big gamble. Big gambles can either be lost or won. Why would big banks take such a risk, considering that five of the largest banks hold 40 trillion dollars in derivatives? The short answer is greed (That amount of money is unimaginable). Derivatives can pay off big. The problem is that the total holdings in derivatives are ten times larger than the total global GDP. As is the stock market, they are overvalued. Like the present stock market bubble, the derivatives bubble will eventually burst (and as sure as the sun is bright, it will happen). When it does, the impact on the global economy will be beyond description. The domino effect of the collapse of the stock market will result in the collapse of the overvalued global derivatives, and the depression will extend worldwide. The loss of wealth could be twice that of the recent recession because there is much more wealth involved.
4. Danger of a long-term depression
Events often have markers before they happen. For example, you know a storm is intimate when you observe certain markers like a darkening sky, distant thunder, lightning, and wind. Depressions have markers also. Some of the same markers are present today that preceded the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until 1940 and brought hardships on Americans that scarcely register on the minds of the present generation. According to some of today’s economists, including Jim Rickard who outlines it in his best selling book “The death of the dollar,” the coming depression could last 25 years. You may find that hard to believe, but if you know your history, you know that there was a 30-year depression from 1870 to 1900.
America is past the marker stage. The fact is that depression has already begun. In the thirties, they had soup kitchen to feed the hungry. Today 20% of American households are on food stamps or 47.7 million people.  In 1933, unemployment peaked at 24.9%. Today the unemployment rate is actually 23% according to the true calculation, which the Feds do not use.
When the economy grows, so does employment; when the economy decreases, so does employment, which results in recession. The primary way the economy grows is when people spend money. The past year, 2014, was a dismal year as far as private spending. Part of the problem is that people do not have as much money to spend as they did in the past. According to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, “A majority, or 64%, of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to handle a $1,000
emergency expense.”  The reason given was many spent their savings in order to remain solvent during the last recession. The rate in which people spend money is called the velocity of money. Today the velocity of money is lower than it was before the Great Depression of 1929.
Another prevalent marker is The Misery Index, which is the combination of the Real Inflation Rate plus the Real Unemployment Rate. If you compare today’s Misery Index to the Great Depression, it is higher. The Misery Index during the Great Depression was 27; Today it is 32.89.
Depression creates a domino effect. People quit spending money. Businesses do not have enough income to survive; as a result, banks fail. Today banks have an estimated 60 trillion dollars worth of debt on their balance sheets. Banks fail when people and businesses cannot repay loans. If you remember, this happened in 2008, and the Feds had to bail the banks out. What happens if the Feds are no longer able to come to the aid of the banks? The Federal Reserve is at the point of insolvency. The only way the Feds keep their head above the water presently is by printing a trillion new dollars each year, which, actually, is as bogus as counterfeit money. Some believe that the American banking system is on the verge of imploding.
5. Danger of world war III
The next Great War, World War III, will be fought on three fronts, financial, cyber, and militarily. The financial war has already begun. Months before Russia invaded Crimea, Putin was dumping American treasuries to offset the Sanctions he knew America would impose. China has joined Russia in dumping American treasures. If they can dampen the American economy, it will give them far more advantage in a military confrontation.
The first major act of the cyber war took place recently when North Korea hacked Sony Pictures, which cost Sony 15 million dollars. Cyber attack is even a greater threat than terrorism, according James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.  Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, warned of a cyber Pearl Harbor. . The cyber world is connected to nearly every facet of life from health to finances. A cyber war would affect each of us.
A Third World War involving the military is already seeded in the Ukraine. Arming the right-wing regime in the Ukraine with billions of dollars in advanced weaponry is presently being considered by the Obama administration. This seems like a good move to counter Russian aggression, but is it worth the danger of sparking a direct conflict between The United States and Russia that could lead to a Third World War? The direct confrontation between two nuclear-armed powers is a scary situation. The question in the minds of many is could the present conflict in the Ukraine lead to a nuclear war? According to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, it could. He recently said that a European war over Ukraine would “inevitably lead to a nuclear war.”
The road ahead for the United States is bound to be stormy. There doesn’t seem to be any redemption for it. However, there is redemption for those who trust in God: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (I John 4:4). God is still in control of His creation, and He alone is in control of the outcome. That does not mean that believers will experience no effects of the coming storm. What it does mean is that regardless of what happens, we are in the protective safety of Gods hands. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28). To learn how to claim your redemption from the coming storm: Click Here
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. He is a dedicated believer in Jesus Christ and considers helping others his calling in life. His websites contains over 600 articles on preparing yourself for success through personal development and the things that accompany personal development.
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15
Have you had the feeling that someone you’ve gotten to know is true, loyal, honest, and genuine? I’m sure that you have. You trust them and it gives a good feeling; would you agree? Does it make you want to be more of that kind of person? Does it help you to understand why trust is so important?
Job of the Bible is a great example of trust. He knew God, but why did he trust Him so completely that his trust in Him could not be shaken even after he had lost his family, his health, and his wealth? The answer is because he knew that God loved him; therefore, he trusted God. It’s hard to talk about trust without including love, which is a prominent component of trust.
How do you win another person’s trust? While there is no magic formula for creating the trust of another person, there are logical reasons why trust exists. Trust is a result of love. Love is treating others with fairness, kindness, and respect. A simple way to put it is that creating trust means expressing your love toward others. Expressing love is a personal and spiritual matter that requires caring about others, their well-being emotionally, physically, and financially.
Trust is important because good and lasting businesses rely on trust from their customers to keep them going. If you don’t trust a person, or business, why would you want to have a relationship with them or do business with them? Perhaps, there are instances when you feel that it’s necessary to do business with someone that you don’t trust. I have, but is doesn’t make me like it and I’m constantly trying to find another way to meet my needs without doing business with them.
Trust is important because it is the key to any relationship whether it is a business relationship or a personal relationship. I knew a person who had not trusted their mate for over twenty-five years because their mate had an affair. Unfaithfulness surely puts a damper on any marriage. Infidelity is an act of betraying the one to whom you promised you would always be faithful. It betrays the other person’s trust. Once trust is broken, it becomes nearly unfixable.
As I said earlier, that there is no set formula for building trust. Nevertheless, some things are necessary if trust is built:
Acceptance is allowing others to be themselves without being judgmental or trying to change them to what you think they should be. Non-acceptance is one of the greatest detriments to building any relationship. It is true that we may not understand why a person is what they are, but we must still make them feel accepted. My wife didn’t like aluminum Christmas trees and I couldn’t understand why. I understand now because neither do I. She preferred live Christmas trees and now I do also. Did she influence me? I’m sure she did, but she never tried to force her view on me. In time, I changed of my own volition. The “I’m right, you’re wrong” judgmental mindset must be put aside if there is to be true acceptance.
There can be no relationship without commitment. What does real commitment entail? Actually, it entails a number of things. First, it entails accepting the fact that commitment is not easy. It may seem easy as long as things are going the way you want them, but what happens when hard times set in, and things are out of your control. Are you still committed to making the relationship work? Secondly, the relationship has to be more important than you always having your own way. Thirdly, you must be able to consider the other person’s emotions. Fourthly, you must be willing to work with the other person, which will require some compromise. Fifthly, you must convey to the other person that you will stay regardless of the circumstances and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make relationship work. Rate your level of commitment to a relationship on the scale of one to ten and determine to make improvement where improvements are needed.
Dependability is doing what you say you will do every time. People will never place their trust in you if they cannot believe what you say. Be on time every time unless you are delayed by things out of your control. Dependability results in showing consideration for others. Making others wait until you arrive shows inconsideration. Let your actions assure others that you are dependable.
Showing gratitude is a rare quality that only a few have. Gratitude is a way of showing your love for another. It is not flattery; flattery is a lie directed toward manipulation and control while gratitude is showing your sincere appreciation.
A moody person isn’t consistent. They may seem caring on one occasion and very uncaring on another occasion. They range from happy to sad, complacent to angry, withdrawn to outgoing, and loving to indifferent. It is difficult to respond to that sore of personality. Circumstances affect each of us, but to our relationships, we must be true. When people matter, it is of an essence to be consistent in areas that affect the relationship regardless of how we may feel at the time.
If you have a critical, judgmental attitude, recognize it and change before it wrecks your relationships. If you are keeping a record of the mistakes others are making, tear it up; instead, keep a record of your own mistakes, and then do something about it. Most of us need to change our way of being in the world rather than trying to change the world. It will improve our relationships exponentially.
Remember that trust has to be earned and that often takes time. It takes time to get to know someone and knowing someone is essential to building trust.
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
We cannot afford to be mistaken on what it means to be a Christian. As someone said, “Eternity is too long to be wrong.”
Consider some of the mistaken things that people often confuse with Christianity:
It might amaze you that you can do any or all of those things and still not be a Christian. Those things may be good things in themselves, (although a vision from heaven might be rather unusual) but they are not what make you a Christian. If your answer to what it means to be a Christian is based on the things you have done, you could have omitted true salvation.
According to the gospel of John, many believed on the name of Jesus, when He came to Jerusalem for the Passover, because of the miracles that He performed, but Jesus knew their heart. He knew their shallow belief did not include true faith in Him. He knew that in time, they would turn to follow Him no more: “He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:24–25). Therefore, Jesus did not commit Himself to them. So it is today when anyone trusts in anything other than Jesus for salvation, He does not commit Himself to them. They are not truly of Him, and on the Day of Judgment he will say, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).The point is to be sure about what type your faith is, whether it is based on what you have done or what Jesus has done for you.
What is necessary to become a Christian? What do I have to do? God sent His Son, who did all which is necessary to become a Christian. It is not what a person does that makes them a Christian. It is by receiving what God has done for them. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and arose from the grave. Jesus said on the cross “It is finished,” (John 19:30) meaning that the plan of salvation was complete. In the following article, what it means to be a Christian is defined, and the difference in becoming a Christian and being a Christian is distinguished.
Becoming a Christian requires regeneration
Regeneration means to make new or bring to new life. In the case of salvation, regeneration means making the spirit of man alive: “…even when we were dead through our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5).
Being made alive in spirit takes place when the Spirit of Christ comes into man’s spirit: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). Regeneration is by the Spirit of Christ when he enters a person. If a person does not have the Spirit of Christ, according to the Scripture, he is not a Christian. Regeneration is not a result of what we do but of what we receive. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ” (John 1:12).
Receiving means receiving the truth about Jesus. It means believing with the heart that Jesus is Lord and Savior and trusting Him for forgiveness and everlasting life: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Salvation is not by rehearsing a scripted prayer. It is not the result of a prayer. It is the result of believing in the heart and then professing that belief with the mouth. The prayer of confession follows salvation. It does not cause it: “Having believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13). The Scripture says having believed, (not having prayed or having done anything else) results in salvation. Keep also in mind that it is not an intellectual assent to the gospel; it is a belief of the heart, not an intellectual belief. Many have a mental ascent. They will tell you that they believe in God and Jesus. In fact, about 84% of the population of the United States says they believe in God.
The Bible describes a Christian as being “A new man…,” (Eph. 4:24) being “In Christ and Christ in them… a new creature,” (II Corinthians 5:17). Those who experience no change in their life, fail to realize the reality of what God’s word says in those verses. It is those who claim to be Christian but who experience or demonstrate no change in their life that nullifies credibility and creates doubt concerning Christianity of the world about them.
I have just completed a biography of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was an Olympic runner, who would likely become the first four-minute miler when the United States entered the Second World War, and the Olympics were canceled. Zamperini joined the Air Force and became a bombardier on a B24. After many successful bombing runs, his B24 crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He, and the pilot, spent 47 days adrift in a raft, drifting over two thousand miles before finally being captured near a Japanese occupied island. Zamperini was placed in a Japanese prison camp and later transferred from one camp to another. When he was repatriated at the end of the war, he had spent two and a half years as a POW. Finally reaching America, he became a drunk, struggling with nightmares, and unable to get past the horrible treatment that he received at the hands of the Japanese. One night, at a Billy Graham crusade in LA, he received Jesus. He experienced a change that revolutionized his life. He went home and poured out the liquor he had stored, trashed his cigarettes, and threw away his girly magazines. He never had another nightmare, and finally found peace. That is what the Bible means when it speaks of becoming a new creature, a new man. Laura Hillenbrand writes the Louis Zamperini biography, called “Unbroken” . Unbroken was made into a movie in 2014, and in July the same year, Louis Zamperini passed away.
Receiving Christ is by invitation only: …Those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified ” (Romans 8:30). The old hymn says:
“Jesus is tenderly calling you home
Calling today, calling today,
Why from the sunshine of love will you roam,
Farther and farther away? ”
Many have already refused the invitation of the Savior and made their decision, rejecting Him and His offer for eternal life. For them there is no hope. If you are reading this article, I am persuaded better concerning you. For you “Jesus is tenderly calling…” If you hear His voice, do not delay; accept Him today. Becoming a Christian is a personal matter between you and God. It is up to you to accept His invitation and to come to Him in faith. Believe and receive Jesus Christ into your heart; be willing to confess your sins, turn from them, and follow Him.
Can you say, “Yes I do believe in Jesus and trust Him for forgiveness and desire to follow Him.” If so, the Bible has a promise for you: “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In addition, those who believe in Jesus have the promise of His enduring power and presence in their life forever: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Perhaps, right now is the first time in your life that you have fully accepted Jesus and believed in Him in your heart, if so, tell Him that you believe, turn from your sins, and trust Him to forgive you. Seek out a Bible believing church (This may take some time and investigation) then share with the pastor your faith in Jesus and ask to be baptized by emersion to express to the world your newfound faith in the Savior.
Being a Christian means to follow Jesus
Our culture has a work ethic, performance oriented, mentality. Therefore, It is understandable that we want to be able to take part in our salvation or in living the Christian life. It is somehow gratifying to think that by doing something, or behaving in a certain way, that we are contributing. However, what we contribute is flawed by the sinful Adamic nature; therefore, it is unacceptable to God’s perfect standard. Jesus taught His disciples, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” (John 15:5) meaning that only what is done through the indwelling Spirit of Christ is acceptable to God.
Fleshly, human, effort is no longer efficient or needed. Christians serve by the power of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus. This is what the Apostle Paul meant in Galatians chapter 5: 16-18, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Jesus outlined what it means to live the Christian life: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Those that Jesus called, He also equipped. Jesus’ presence within is all the power needed to follow Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).
Paul describes what it means to follow Christ as bearing the fruit of the Spirit of Christ: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). If you try to copy those things by self-effort, you will find it impossible. Those are the result of the outworking of Gods presence—via the Holy Spirit—that resides within. The Bible declares that the Christian life result in “that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal body” (II Cor. 4:10, 11). Not only is becoming a Christian by our self-effort something outside of possible but so is living the Christian life. It is all of God and from God. As Adrian Rogers often said, “Everything that goes to heaven comes from heaven.” That clearly eliminates all work of the flesh. Living the Christian life is not a result of trying hard to be like Jesus; rather, it is submitting ourselves to God by allowing Jesus to manifest His life through us.
Contrary to what some think and practice, living the Christian life is not accomplished by following certain rituals of worship or legalistic rules of Christian behavior. The beatitudes of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, were not intended as a to-do list of things necessary to live the Christian life; they were a to-be list, the things that characterize the presence of Christ within. It is true that God wants to perfect us in our behavior. This is His work of sanctification (sanctification is a result of committing each thing about ourselves that needs improvement to God). As the Bible promises, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Nevertheless, the power to live the Christian life comes from God. In His last sermon on earth Jesus said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). It is God, who causes us to be proficient. It is He, who provides “all sufficiency in everything” (II Cor. 9:8). Paul said, “We are not adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (II Corinthians 3:5). Paul gave the credit to Jesus for his Christian life, his ministry and everything when he said, “I do not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Rom. 15:18).
Unlike what some unbelievers may think, being a Christian does not reduce life’s enjoyment, it enhances it. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Being a Christians certainly changes one’s desires: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). Our desire should be as the Apostle Paul’s desire, who said, “For me to live is Christ and for me to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Paul meant that Christ lived through him. Living a holy life is the kind of life God intended for His creation before sin entered the human race. It was a reflection of His perfect character. It is the absolute best way, we as God’s creation, can live a fulfilled life.
What it means to be a Christian: It means having the living Spirit of Jesus indwelling you. It means a person’s behavior manifests Christ’s presence and brings glory to God.
I hope that this article has been a wake up call for you to make sure of your relationship to Christ. If you would like a detailed systematic instruction for receiving Christ as you Savior, please click here.
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
According to a new poll by the United Press International, nearly half of those interviewed believed that 2015 would be a better year for them, and only one out of ten thought 2015 would be a worse year.
I became interested in this particular study about a year ago when a friend told me about a new book, “Harbinger,”  by Jonathon Cahn. He and some friends were using it as a group study, and he highly recommended it. I ordered the book from Amazon, and was very impressed with it, so I gave kind of an overview of it to a study group. It was well received, and some of the group read the book. This year, in November, a friend gave me a copy of Jonathon’s Cahn’s new book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah” , Once again very impressed, I decided to write this article for the first publication on this website for the 2015.
In order to prepare you for the article, here are five questions for you to consider:
Those are the questions that I want to try to answer in this article. You decide, by the time you finish reading it, what you believe.
Harbinger (Harbinger means warning) is wound around an obscure verse of Scripture found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Isaiah 9:10. If you’re like most, you may never have noticed this verse.
“The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.”
This was Israel’s response to a warning God had given them. God’s warning was that Israel was to turn from their Idols, so He allowed the Assyrians to Attack them for a wake up call. They ignored God’s warning, as well as the wake call, and instead took the attitude of defiance, as is clearly indicated in the verse above.
In order to understand the meaning of Isaiah 9:10, it is necessary to have knowledge of its context. After we clarify the context, we will see what connection the verse may have to Modern America.
Israel did three things to trigger God’s warning:
They turned from God to idols:
In Ezekiel 23, the prophet Ezekiel tells the people a parable of two sisters who were harlots, Oholah and Oholibah. In the parable, metaphorically, Oholah represented Samaria, the capitol of the Northern Kingdom, and Oholibah represented Jerusalem, the capital of the Southern kingdom. These two prostitutes represented the spiritual adultery of the two kingdoms. Both Israel and Judah turned away from the Living God to worship idols made by hand, idols of the Canaanites. God had commanded Israel, when they first entered the promise land, to drive the Canaanites out of the land. When Israel refused to do so but instead turned to the idols of the Canaanites, God turned Israel, the northern kingdom, over to Assyria, and Judah, the southern kingdom, was turned over to Babylon. It was their descent into idolatry that brought judgment as well as their defiance of God’s law.
The Canaanites were pagans. Their religion was polytheistic, or in other words, they worshiped many false gods. Over 30 false gods, or idols, are mentioned in Scripture. Here are three that are probably most familiar:
They Ignored the shemitah:
According to the law God gave Moses on Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel were commanded to honor the seventh day and keep it holy. It was to be a day of rest from their labors, just as God also rested on the seventh day after he made the heavens and the earth (Exodus 20:11).
The law also commanded the Israelites to allow the land to rest every seventh year (Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:1-7). The Sabbath year was known as the “Shemetah,” which means seven or Sabbath. No crops were to be planted and nothing was to be harvested. The lands became public lands where anyone could gather whatever food grew on its own. The shemitah also touched the financial:
“At the end of every seven years all debts were canceled. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan he has made to a fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed” (Deut. 15:1-2).
During the Sabbath year, God provided for the farmers and those who labored on the land. He said,” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year, that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop, and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in” (Leviticus 25:21–22).
For 490 years, Israel and Judah, together, violated the shemitah. Divide 490 by 7 and you get 70 years of shemitah, which were neglected, the amount of time Judah spent in Babylonian captivity. God provided three years of gain during the sixth year and did not renege on His promise, however, Israel was greedy and omitted the Shemitah, putting even more gain in their pockets.
They rejected God’s warning, sent through His Prophets.
God warned both Israel and Judah for 19 years before He finally said, it’s enough, time for judgment. Israel, beginning with the attack in 732 BC and over the following 10 years, were taken into Assyrian captivity. In 586 BC, God allowed the Babylonians to siege Jerusalem and they were carried away.
God’s messengers, the prophets, pleaded with the Israelites to turn from their sins and their idolatry, and promised them if they did that, they could stay in the land. God said through His prophet Jeremiah, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you” (Jeremiah 25:5-6). Israel ignored the prophets of God and choose instead to go their own way; therefore, they invited God’s judgment.
The connection between Isaiah 9:10 and America was revealed beginning with 9/11 2001, but first, what is the connection between ancient Israel and America?
When the Pilgrims and the Puritans landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, they considered America as New Israel, and they dedicated the new found world to honor God and vowed to worship Him alone.
Fast-forward to the inauguration of George Washington, America’s first president, April 30, 1789; it was on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, that the inaugural took place. Federal Hall was the first U.S. Capitol and the site where the first United States Congress met.
On the same day of his inauguration, after the oath had been administered In 1789, newly inaugurated President, George Washington, gave a prophetic warning: He declared, “America’s prosperity and protection were dependent upon its adherence to God” .
He, the Vice President, members of the Senate, and House of Representatives, proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel, only a few blocks from the nation’s capital. From there they dedicated the new nation to God . That little chapel still stands today, though by a miracle. It sits on the corner of the same property where the twin towers once stood and where the new World Trade Center now stands. When the bricks of the twin towers came falling down, the chapel only received minor damage. However, a sycamore tree on the property was cut down by flying debris. The sycamore tree was later replaced using a stronger tree in the Cedar family. Does that ring a bell? Wasn’t that also what Israel decided to do? After a ceremony of dedication, the new tree was named “Tree of hope,” a hope based on America’s own initiative, not God’s help, as was the case with George Washington, the nation’s first president.
The hedge of protection removed
When Israel entered the promise land, they were not trained warriors, and they were ill equipped to fight a war. Nevertheless, they quickly and easily defeated the Canaanites and drove them out of the land, at least some of them. How were they able to do this? God fought for them and placed His hedge of protection around them to protect them from the enemy.
When Israel turned from God to the same idols the Canaanites worshiped and defied God’s covenant, God removed the hedge of protection and the Assyrians attacked in 732 BC. This could have been temporary if Israel had heeded God’s warning and repented, but they did not.
Instead of repenting and turning to God, Israel looked to themselves, and in defiance they said, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” The buildings that were made of clay bricks would now be replaced with much stronger hewn stone; the Sycamore trees would be replanted with a stronger variety, the Cedar.
After decades of turning away from God, God also removed His protective hedge that kept America safe. After the terrorists attack of 9/11 and the bricks came falling down, the United States also pledged to build stronger. Using the same words as Ancient Israel, quoting Isaiah 9:10, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” The new World Trade Center is said to be much stronger than the original. The possibility of the domino effect that brought down the twin towers has been eliminated, and today the new World Trade Center stands in all its glory as a symbol of America’s defiance. It wasn’t the rebuilding that was wrong but the attitude in which it was built.
As did Israel, America also has enjoyed God’s protection and blessings, growing to become the most successful and most powerful nation in history.
As did Israel, America also departed from God. Therefore, God removed His hedge of protection and then came 9/11. The day after the 9/11 attack, the US Congress met and the Speaker of the House of Representatives delivered a speech concerning the tragic attack by terrorist the day before. His speech centered on Isaiah 9:11, “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” Little did he know that he was pronouncing the same judgment on America that befell Israel some 3,000 years earlier. Over the following few days, several high in government used the same terms and ultimately also the President of the United States.
This year, thirteen years later, at the near completion of the new World Trade Center, another president, Barock Obama, attended a dedication ceremony of the new building. However, his comments were much different from George Washington, the first president of the United States and different from those of George Bush after the 9/11 attack. Instead of depending on God, as did George Washington, for God’s protection and blessings, Obama continued the same attitude of defiance as Israel.
Paraphrasing Isaiah 9:10, he scribbled on a steel beam, before it was hoisted to the top of the building, “We remembered, We rebuilt. We come back stronger.” Unlike George Bush, it was no longer a statement of future intent. It was now stated in the present tense. America’s president had officially stamped his seal of approval on America’s defiance of God. No one seemed to understand that Isaiah 9:10 was stated by Israel in the attitude of defiance. So now, America was defiant. Instead of turning to God in repentance, asking Him for forgiveness, and help, they relied on their own power and initiatives, the same as ancient Israel had done.
As Israel had done, America also turned away from God. God was removed from the public square. The Ten Commandments were no longer welcome on or in any governmental space.
In 1962, the Bible and prayer were banned from public schools.
In 1973, abortion on demand became law. Israel had sacrificed their thousands; until now, America has sacrificed over fifty million unborn babies for the sake of convenience.
America has now embraced a new code of moral ethics to fit modern day, broadminded people. Believers were told to put aside the Bible as the guide for moral ethics and accept America’s new moral code. Laws were written to enforce compliance to the new moral code of ethics, with the threat of fines and or imprisonment for those who refused. I don’t think it is necessary to detail what is meant here.
Morals in America eroded over a few decades to an all time new low, and those who still hold to a belief in God have become a joke and are ridiculed for their ignorance, and referred to as homophobic, religious nuts, and fanatics. However, after 9/11, droves of people returned to the church to pray for America, and for a while, it looked as if there would be a new great awakening in America, but it was short lived and people returned to the way things were before and even worse. The drift away from God continued. America had ignored God’s warning.
Amazingly, God used the same rod that judged Israel to judge America. He used the terrorists. In the chapter that followed Israel’s statement of defiance, God said, “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation,” (Isaiah 10:5).
The ancient Assyrians were the father of terrorism and were feared by every nation. They used terrorism to accomplish their means, and flayed resistors alive and nailed their skins to the wall.
The terrorists of today are the descendants of those ancient Assyrians. The headquarters for the ISIS was Mosul, Iraq, (recently moved to an unknown location) which is just across the Tigris River from the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrians. The terrorists who flew the 737 jet liners into the twin towers, could well have been of the same bloodline as those Ancient Assyrians. They spoke Arabic, which is the closest language to the Assyrian language, and their tactics were the same.
The Shemitah effect
The attack on 9/11 was just a beginning, which resulted in the stock market shutting down. When the stock market re-opened, seven days later, it sparked a downward turn, which went on record as the worse one-day drop in the market’s history.
By 2008, seven years later, the stock market had regained its strength just in time for the second financial implosion, which surpassed the one seven years earlier, to become the worse one-day drop in the history of the stock market.
Jonathan Cahn, paints and interesting correlation of events surrounding 9/11, using the number seven. He shows in his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” a connection between 9/11, and the events which followed, to the Shemitah (The Shemitah was the seventh year in which the land was to rest in Israel and all financial debts were wiped away, according to Jewish law).
Counting backwards from September 17, 2008, the final day of the seventh year of Shemitah when the second financial implosion occurred. According to the Jewish calendar, this was on Elul 29, the culmination of Shemitah in which all financial debts were canceled. On that day, at the ringing of the final bell at 4:00PM, the stock market had lost 7% of its value, topping the financial implosion seven years earlier as the worse one-day drop in the stock market in its history.
Counting backward seven years to the day and hour September 29, 2001 at 4:00PM, was the first financial implosion after 9/11, resulting in a 7% loss of the value of the stock market, which amounted to 777.7 points, which also occurred on Elul 29.
Counting back seven days to 4PM on Tuesday September 11, 2001, brings us to the day the two airliners struck the twin towers.
Counting back seven hours brings us to a seventeen-minute span of time in which both airliners struck the twin towers.
Counting back in segments of 7 minutes each brings us to 8:46 AM, September 11, 2001, the exact minute when the first plane struck the first tower.
I don’t know the statistical odds for all these events lining up perfectly in a series of sevens, but I can imagine it would include a long string of zeroes. I believe that it is far more than coincidence. Only God has perfect control of the timing of events.
The present Shemitah
While America is not obligated to observe the Shemitah, that doesn’t keep God from using it as a reference. Seven years since the last financial implosion in 2008, commenced the next Shemitah beginning September 2014 and continuing through September 2015. This is the third Shemitah since 9/11 occurred fourteen years ago. Fourteen years ago, it was 9/11. Seven years later it was the worse one-day implosion of the stock market in history. Does this mean that since America has ignored the past warnings and continued its departure from God, that another calamity is coming in the culmination of the Shemitah in 2015 or perhaps sooner?
Date setting is not the point and is not what I’m emphasizing. In fact, in 2015, nothing may happen in proportion to 9/11 and the following two implosions of the stock market. The point is that America needs to repent and turn to God while there is time.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel never repented and they were defeated and carried away into Assyrian captivity, never to be a nation again.
The southern kingdom of Judah never repented and was carried away into Babylonian captivity for 70 years so the land could enjoy its rest. Judah did return after 70 years to the land and rebuilt the temple and Jerusalem, but for 2,500 years they were under the control of other nations and only became an autonomous nation again in 1948.
Will America wake up in time and repent, or will it follow the same course as Israel and Judah? Only time will tell. Pray for America.
There are many who are fearful of what 2015 may bring and with good reason.
It isn’t my intentions to scare you, but quiet to the contrary, it is to encourage you. The Bible tells us, who are believers, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (John 4:16-18)
However, for America, the big question remains when you consider all that is happening in the United States and abroad, “What does the future hold for America in 2015 and beyond?” Will America be weakened by internal problems to the point of a possible collapse? There are many unsolved problems in the United States, and there seems to be no viable solution on the horizon to any of these complex problems. It’s not necessary to predict the future to realize that 2015 could be very challenging and become one of the most difficult times America has encountered. Neither is it necessary to invent reasons why this may be the case. The causes are already in place:
There is not space to comment on all the above. However, to give you an idea of how serous times are, according to a new survey by the personal finance website, Bankrate.com., Americans are in a financial straight, with 62% not having the available cash to pay for a $1,000 emergency or a $500 car repair. Most Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. Any kind of a recession now would be devastating, much worse that the previous one. According to many of those polled, all of their savings were depleted to survive the last financial downturn. Saving is far more difficult for most because they are too far in debt.
As I mentioned earlier, a shemitah year began at sunset on Sept. 24, 2014 and will end at sunset on Sept. 12, 2015. If the next 12 months don’t result in serious trouble for our country, it will only be due to the grace of God, because America for generations has been in rebellion towards God, deliberately abandoning His principles and attributing His blessings to our own ingenuity.
America has been blessed more than any other nation in history because in the past we have honored God and lived according to Word, the Bible. As soon as America stopped honoring God and started depending on their own initiatives, God’s blessings began to diminish.
Is There Hope For America?
Perhaps there is hope for the time being and the near future, But According to the Bible, America’s final destiny is to be completely destroyed, along with all other nations among which God’s people Israel have been dispersed (Jeremiah 30:11).
There are more Jews dispersed to America than all other of the world’s largest countries combined, with the exception of Israel. There are over two million Jews in New York City alone, over twice the number of Jews that are in Jerusalem. There are as many Jews in New York City and LA as was led out of Egyptian bondage by Moses. America has no national covenant with God, as did Israel. Nevertheless, God’s people, those who are believers, do have a covenant relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, we will be saved from the final destruction that is to come on America, and we shall live with God eternally.
God also has promised to deliver Jews from the time and place of America’s complete destruction, and from all other nations were Israel has been dispersed. “For I am with you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly And will by no means leave you unpunished.’which will come during the time of His Wrath,” (Jerimiah30:11), New American Standard Bible.
The time of God’s wrath takes place in a specific seven year period, called the tribulation that will begin on Earth shortly after the Lord takes His saints to His Father’s house in Heaven (John 14:2-3). Believers will be spared the wrath. “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:9), “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thes. 1:10).
Believers from around the world will join American believers and be delivered from God’s wrath, not claiming a country as their home but instead claiming citizenship in God’s heaven.
If America is all you call home, then you have every right to be worried about 2015 and beyond. However, if you claim heaven as your citizenship, you have genuine cause for hope. As citizens of heaven “we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body” (Phil 3:20-21).
The Lord will come at a time when the world least expects Him, and we who are alive in Christ shall be caught up to be with Him (1 Thes. 4:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Here’s the thing: We need to rethink our stand for Jesus Christ now in the beginning of the New Year, 2015. For many of those who call themselves Christians, the church is only important when convenience allows. Their Bible gathers dust. The average Christian today couldn’t recite the 10 commandments if their life depended on it, nor could they list the 12 apostles by name or even tell you the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Out of the 84% of Americans who claim to be Christian, according to the 80/20 principle, only about 16% are truly believers, though there is no way we can know for certain the number of believers.
The Bible tells us that God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should repent, and come unto Him. You may be a church member, but perhaps you may not be among the true believers. I invite you to become one today. The Bible teaches that salvation is a result of believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave and then confessing that belief with you mouth and through the symbol of baptism. Baptism is a confession on your part to the world that Jesus died and arose.
I want you to pray the following prayer to God as a re-commitment to God if you are a true believer, and if you have doubts as to your relationship to God, pray the second part of the prayer.
Dear Lord, I realize that I need to re-commit myself to you. I want my priorities to be right in 2015. I want to center my purpose in life on you instead of my own selfish desires. Please give me a renewed, and stronger, faith in you. Amen.
Dear Lord, I believe in my heart that you died for my sins and rose from the grave, just as the Bible says. I ask that you forgive my sins, the sins that I’m willing turn from and no longer want to characterize my life. Help me to rely on you and place my faith and my hope in you alone. Amen.
If you prayed the above prayers, either one, and would like to receive some fifteen lessons for new believers free, please click here.
© 2014 www.Jimmie Burroughs.com All rights reserved.
 “The Harbinger” By Jonathan Cahn, www.TheHarbingerBook.com
 “The Mystery of the Shemitah” By Jonathon Cahn, www.TheHarbingerBook.com
About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. He is a dedicated believer in Jesus Christ and considers helping others his calling in life. His websites contains over 600 articles on preparing yourself for success through personal development and the things that accompany personal development.
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“Even if toxic people are right about what is ‘good,’ they are wrong if the approach is not healthy.”
John L. Lund
“Capable of causing injury or death…” is the dictionary definition of toxic. Although this definition is pertaining to chemicals, it can also be applied to toxic people who can be very harmful and dangerous. Toxic people can harm you physically, mentally, spiritually, financially or emotionally. The following will give you some ideas on how to easily spot toxic people and deal with them.
Here are a dozen characteristics of toxic people that I have observed over the years:
I read an article, some time ago, about a foolish man who thought he could tame a poisonous Rattle Snake for a pet. He succeeded for a while until the snake bit him on the neck and he died. It may not be quiet so dangerous dealing with a toxic person, but it can be harmful and may be just as futile.
Here are some things you must know about toxic people in order to deal with them:
There is only one fully, effective and viable solution for dealing with a toxic person and that is to lessen their presence in your life. This may be difficult if they are a spouse, your children, close relatives, or they happen to be a coworker or supervisor. If this is the case, you will need to be very creative as to how you deal with it, but deal with it you must if you are to have peace in your life. It is true that life is too short to have to constantly deal with a toxic person, but sometimes it must be done. Since you cannot control the other person’s behavior and they are unwilling to change their behavior, you must change your own. If you cannot lessen their presence, then you must find ways to repel their toxic behavior. It may require outside counseling or even making decisions that are very difficult to make.
I had a friend once that was married to a toxic person. He could have been a really, good person, but his wife made him miserable, and some of her toxic ways rubbed off on him. He believed strongly in keeping his marriage in tack, therefore, he finally only managed to escape her evil presence through his own death, which I believe was premature because of his long years of suffering at her hand.
Once again, there is no fully acceptable remedy for dealing with a toxic person other than lessening their presence in your life. Since that isn’t always possible, you must work out your own redemption. Considering that each circumstance is different and the extent of toxicity varies from one person to another, there is no set plan that works for each individual. Learn all of your options and then determine your course of action. Read as much as you can about toxic people including those with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Perhaps you can learn enough that fits your particular situation to, at least, co-exist. Remember, the change will have to be you. The toxic person will never consider any change because they believe that they are perfect and that any failure is your fault. In fact, they may refuse to recognize that they are toxic at all and if they do, they will refuse to make any change. I don’t believe in divorce, but it seems that it is the only workable solution sometimes when a spouse is a toxic person. Since you can’t divorce your parents or children, there has to be other workable solutions. If it is a toxic person at work, you may find another job, but that may only take you into the presence of another toxic person, therefore, it may not be the solution either. In the end, your only solution may be to work it out with the people involved as best you can. I know that this may seem impossible, but if it is the only option, you can only do your best. I’ve had to do this, and I can assure you that it takes a lot of your energy and brings some unavoidable pain. Remember, what ever your decision, do not let a toxic person have power over you to ruin your life, or they will do just that.
“If you want to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.” Aristotle
Our pastor was sharing with us last Sunday how difficult it is to be a pastor these days. He said that it did not really matter what he did there were always those who had something negative to say about it. He was right. Just as the quote above states, when you take action, which can be just opening your mouth, be prepared for criticism.
No one likes criticism, nevertheless, it is a fact to be dealt with. If you are creative, you will be criticized. Keep in mind that not all criticism is bad. In fact, you may find some good in all criticism. Even hateful, malicious criticism may contain something worth considering. Before you discard any criticism, even from those whose intent is to hurt you, be sure to skim off any nugget of truth that might be helpful to you. Sometimes we cannot see the trees for the forest as the saying goes. In other words, we are sometimes too much a prisoner to subjectivity, or even ego, to see the objective truth.
Be truthful to yourself, and try to see yourself as you are, and improve in the areas that need improvement when suggestions are made. This does not take away from the confidence that you have but only adds to it. There is however a caution: Be Careful not to be subdued by others, made to feel inadequate, brought down, or allow them to spoil your contentment.
Critical people have different motives. Some actually want to help you by pointing out things that you might have overlooked. Others may be jealous and want to bring you down to their own level. Some may be cruel and just want to hurt others when the opportunity presents itself. Being able to discern the valued or unvalued of criticism will enable you either to disregard it or carefully consider it to your own good.
It is important to give constructive criticism as well as to receive it. It is the positive approach to solving problems. It can apply to work or to personal behavior. When it is given, timing as well as delivery is crucial if it is to be well received. For example, if what someone says or does makes you angry, that is not the time to hand out criticism; it most certainly is not likely to be well received. If criticism makes you angry, wait before you address it or until you are calm. If criticism is given in a caring way, it will be more likely heeded.
A constructive approach to criticism builds the other person up by pointing out something positive and then includes suggestions for improvement. This is the attempt to help others, not hurt them or bring them down.
The receiver of criticism should also be noble and receive criticism with detachment. Constructive criticism’s intent is to help. If we ignore it without careful consideration, we may bring harm, hurt or even unnecessary suffering to ourselves.
Not everyone is adept in giving criticism, even constructive criticism. Therefore, it behooves each of us to be adept in receiving it. For example, a person my have valuable critical suggestions but their tone and style of giving it may be atrocious. It is therefore important to separate a person’s emotion from what they have to say and consider instead the value of their suggestion.
If we value only praise, which can or cannot be sincere, we miss the opportunity to grow through helpful criticism. The key is learning not to take everything people say personal. I am more than my work, my appearance or even my words. When others criticize, they are not touching the total person that I am but only a small aspect of who I am, or it could be entirely outside of me. For example, if I build a birdhouse that does not look so good, it only means that my carpentry skills need improving but has nothing to do with the person that I am. It is totally outside of who I am.
The big question is how do we deal with the false criticism that comes our way? If we are discerning, it is easier to deal with the false criticism than with that which is true. False criticism does not deserve any response in which to give it credibility or energy. Just like some people need to be deleted, if subscribers, or ignored or distanced. Jesus said of the critical Pharisees of His day, “Leave them alone.” Life is too precious to allow uncouth, negative and hateful people to disturb it. Better not to allow your dignity be ruffled by these kinds of people. Others will respect you more for it.
When you are criticized, be sure to keep your composure. Do not let it upset you or cause you to act or say things that are negative. Smile if you can, and let the person know, in a kindly way, that you will consider their suggestion. Kindness is always the best defense. It will bring the other person’s guards down faster than anything you can say or do.
© 2014 Jimmie Burroughs. All rights reserved
Drugs like statins, which are known to have dangerous side effects, are generally prescribed for heart problems. However, there is a much safer and better way. Lifestyle choices when they are bad are the cause of many of the heart problems people face, and when they are good, they can reduce the risk of heart attack by 86% and prevent heart problems before they develop.
A Swedish research involving 20,000 healthy men age 45 to 79 years old without a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes, determined after 12 years that lifestyle factors weighed heavily on heart attack incidence. It was concluded that controlled alcohol consumption, not smoking, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, keeping waist size below 37 inches, and exercise reduced the risk of heart attack by 86%.
Only 220 of the men studied, or about 1%, followed these five lifestyle choices. It demonstrates that the vast majority of men are not making good lifestyle choices. The research indicates that good life style choices could help prevent 4 out of 5 heart attacks among men in the U.S.
The research also concluded that by only drinking two or less alcohol beverages and eating fruit, vegetables, fish, and nuts reduced the risk of heart attack by 35%. However, with a little added effort the results could be far better.
Adding more fiber to your diet from foods other than grains can lower the risk of heart attack by as much as 40%. While grains do add fiber, they also cause insulin spikes and inflammation, which increase the risks of harming your heart.
It is good to know that a healthy diet does not necessarily need to be tasteless food. You can find healthy food that suits your taste. Some common healthy foods include tomatoes; beans; greens such as turnip, collard, mustard, and kale; eggs, fish (Salmon is excellent even the canned variety); and apples. If you are like me and don’t always get enough fruit and vegetables in your regular meals, try vegetable juice and apple cider or apple juice to supplement.
Add Exercise to your lifestyle. It does take a lot of determination and discipline, but its benefits are numerous. Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t require you to spend hours in the gym. In fact, too much exercise has proven to be harmful to your heart. High-intensity exercise for as little as 30 minutes a few days per week is effective for reducing your risk for heart disease. A healthy diet and exercise can enable you to keep your waistline under 37 inches. It is believed that waistline is a crucial issue for men in maintaining a healthy heart.
Instead of depending on pharmaceutical drugs and aspirins, even when prescribed by your doctor, try lifestyle changes, which can improve your chances of avoiding heart attack by a whopping 86%, according to the research presented above.
A billionaire’s definition for success: “Do what you do the best you can when nobody is looking.” In other words, plan to do something and then do it the best you can until it’s finished without thinking about success or what others think.
Why do you suppose that is success? It reveals character, which is an essence for true success. Jim Rohn said, “You attract success by the person you become.” If you want to be successful, first work on becoming the best person possible, a person who finishes what they start, who value integrity and principles more than money, that do what they say they will do. Doing what you say you will do is not something achieved by most people; doing so marks you as an achiever.
It’s easy to promise things and then not do them. It’s also easy to plan to do something and then quit. Carrying through with what you say and start is success and not carrying through is failure regardless of what it may be. Few do what they say they will and only 15% of people finish what they start. Any wonder there are so many failures.
Success requires discipline. “Success is just a few disciplines practiced daily,” Jim Rohn. Success is rarely a goal of successful people. To the contrary, success is what happens when people get busy doing what they love to do the best they can.
Success means adding value, value that helps others have a better life. Albert Einstein, in his wisdom said, “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” The measuring stick for success goes beyond making money or being famous, it is more about personal development that leads to being valuable to others. The side effect is often in terms of making a lot of money.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said that success was “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”
Contrary to a lot of thinking today, success isn’t restricted to the young. If you are over seventy and have a dream, don’t let age steal your dream. Older people have accomplished much. The list include such achievers as Americans award-winning author Harriet Doerr, whose first publication was when she was 74; Colonel Sanders took his first social security check at age 65 and opened the first Colonel Sanders fried chicken restaurant; famous artist, Grandma Moses began painting when in her 70s; Swedish Olympic medalist, Oscar Swahn won his final medal in marksmanship at age 72; Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira didn’t become a full-time filmmaker until he was 73. Don’t let life wear you down to the point that you give up on your dream. It is sad that some retired, older people resign themselves to sitting home day after day watching TV, becoming spectators in life rather than living life. This is only understandable for those whose health disallows them from doing more.
Without action, there is no success. Failure to act guarantees failure. Success comes as the results of a lot of effort as Olympic gold medal winner Peter Vidmar explains: “There’s only two things I had to do to win the Olympic gold: Train when I wanted to, and train when I didn’t.”
Also, being able to recognize opportunities when they pass your way and not hesitating to take advantage of them before the window of opportunity closes is an avenue to success. Fear often keeps us from grabbing opportunities when they are right before our eyes. When people on their deathbed were asked what their greatest regrets were, the most common answer was that they wished that they had not been afraid to take more risks and do more things.
Life at best is short. Don’t waste it. Prepare to be successful by recognizing your potential and developing your gifts. Take advantage of the opportunities to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Don’t be afraid to take action while you can. Don’t be shy of taking educated risks.
What is love? Apparently, many would like to know; it was the number one search question for Google in 2012. That means that millions upon millions of people around the world typed that question into the Google search box. That is understandable since love is an illusive, abstract term with many shades and facets. Today when I Googled the title of this article, there were about 6,440,000,000 results, nearly the population of the world. Love is difficult to define and hard to understand, but it is extremely interesting and desired by all and applied to almost everything from the love of money to making love or having sex. That love is misunderstood and misapplied is an understatement. So, what is love? Let us try to get to the bottom of it, or at least shed some light on the age-old problem of trying to understand it.
First, love is not just one thing. Biologically, it is a strong neurological condition, part of what makes us human. It is innately programmed into our nature as is hunger, thirst, and sexual desire, along with many other drives. Physically, love is chemistry, involving the release of an array of chemicals: dopamine, pheromones, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin and vasopressin. Philosophically, love is for survival; it promotes long-term relationships; parental support and protection of children, and secures and promotes feelings of safety and security for the family, and provides the logic for personal defense.
Ironically, even though the English language has the largest vocabulary in the world, it has only one word for love. Other languages, unlike the English language, have various terms to express the different variations of love. For example:
We clearly see from the above that love certainly has many shades and facets that include love for God, others, neighbors, parents, children, country, and on and on. Each facet of love has qualities of its own. Each is unique with varying attributes such as steadfast, reciprocated, unconditional, one-sided, fickle, blind, tragic . . . misguided, etc.
It is said that love is what makes the world go around. Just imagine, if you can, a world without love. We see many violent situations across the world that is fueled by hate, while love stands in defense of right and battles evil. What if there was no love and no desire to battle evil? What if evil were free to do as it pleased? What would happen to freedom? What would life be like in a world without love? Would it be bearable? I think not! Love is what gives purpose to life. It is the basis of all life’s stories, whether romantic or otherwise. It is foundational of all that is good and worthwhile.
It is easier to experience love than to define it. We easily recognize its presence or its absence. Love is best experienced when we love God and share His love in our lives. This is the first kind of love mentioned above, agape. Jesus condensed the meaning of love and commissioned love in one short sentence. He said, Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself, Mark 12:28–34. According to our Lord, these are the two most important things in life, loving God and loving others. Do you think that the world in general accepts this? What do you suppose would happen to the quality of life if they did? Loving God above all things enables us to love others even with all their imperfections. God’s love in us is life’s greatest blessing. It is a powerful force that brings with it purpose, hope, joy and peace.
The Apostle Paul described love as the most important virtue of all. In First Corinthians, he wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres,” I Corinthians 13:4–7, NIV.
Paul continues in Galatians 5:22 with a similar but expanded description of love: “For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance.” Actually, in this verse, love is the subject and the other eight words are the results of love.
According to Galatians 5:22, God, is the source of love, which is mirrored in those who are walking in the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. The more we give ourselves to God the more we are able to give ourselves to others through His indwelling love.
St. Thomas Aquinas accurately defined love as “to will the good of another,” or to desire the best in life for another. This is why Jesus commanded His followers to love others, even their enemies, because it is the same attitude God has for His human creation, to will good and the best life possible for them.
In John 3:16, 17 we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him,” NIV. John further states, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love,” I John 4:7–8, NIV.
While it may be impossible fully to understand “What is Love?” or God’s love or the way He enables us to love others, it is certain that the only way we can fully experience the depth of love is when God lives within us via His Holy Spirit. That happens when we trust Him and invite Him into our lives. If you would like to know how to experience the fullness of God’s love in your life, read the article “How to have a relationship with God.”
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