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The love of power vs The power of love

I just finished reading a motivating article about a pastor who dressed himself up as a homeless man before they announced him as the new pastor of the church. He walked around the parking lot for 30 minutes before the church, asked a few people for food before coming inside church. When he came in, he sat in the front only to be told by elders to please move to the back of the church. After the church announcements, they introduced the new pastor. As everyone clapped and waited for the pastor to come on stage, the homeless man stood up and walked to the front. He revealed to the church that he was disappointed in the way he was treated but before he did he quoted “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

What a great lesson for people to have their eyes forced opened that morning in church. How did they feel after they knew the truth? Do you know people who treat others with dis-respect instead of respect? I often wonder how they feel about their thoughts or actions. Do they know who the person really is that they are judging so harshly? Are they basing their decision off the love of power instead of love from their hearts? They can answer that question better than I can, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow if you or someone you respect is on the receiving end of negative actions.

I encourage you to be better than that. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and no one is perfect, but at the start of your day ask yourself…… How can I do better today than yesterday? Challenge yourself to this daily. Remind yourself that your heart was made to love others, not hurt others. If you let negativity become the only thing others hear from you, then that negativity will push people away. No one wants to be alone with only negative thoughts and being avoided like the plague, so why be that way? Leaving your legacy doesn’t mean you are leaving what you feel others think, but you are leaving what others think of you. Remember to spread Gods love for everyone and remember that person you asked to sit in the back of your church could be your pastor one day:)

Everyone can change, Change for the better.

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To love as he loves us….

I would like to stretch out of the norm for a minute of usually useless information that I am know for sharing to share something that touched my heart this morning. I call it a good reminder of the meaning of love.

 On my way to work a side job this morning I got stopped by a red-light.  My first thought was dang, I could have made it! As i abruptly stopped my car before the line, I slowly looked up at the light.  It was one of those times that for the first few seconds after you stop,  you realize how far under the light you are and have to lean forward just to see the light.  Well I had to do just that.  As I mumbled in my head about my decision of stopping, something caught my eye and my heart.

I was not far from an low income government subsidized apartment community that some would call run down, dirty, old, ugly and probably more derogatory words.  Truth be known, I have probably thought those same thoughts before having to remind myself to not be judgmental.  As these thoughts ran through my head of the times that I had been in that apartment community, and the bad things I had seen with my own eyes, Spiderman got my attention.  

This Spiderman was on the back of a new, clean backpack of a little boy being carried by his mother walking.  She had him all bundled up with a jacket and a toboggan, with gloves and holding him tight against her chest.  This is a congested area of work commuters, that probably are not paying attention to what is going on around them…just as I was, until Spiderman captured my heart.

As I sat there and waited, I looked over to the car beside of me.  This mother still carrying the love of her life was now in front of this car as the light turned green.  I saw the look in the drivers eye .. it was as if I could hear what he was saying in his mind.  Almost like a thought bubble over his head…..Hurry up woman! Gosh I am late! This Starbucks coffee is horrible this morning! Dang i wish this woman would hurry!… As I looked back away from the driver, The loving mother holding her proud Spiderman was now almost in front of my car.  She made eye contact with me and knew she was in the intersection at a bad time with the light turning.  I motioned her to pass in front of my car without hesitation.  At this point, my heart was filling with enough love to get out and stop the whole intersection myself.  The look she gave back was a thank you.  With heartache in her eye from the daily stresses of life, I thought to myself .. Who are you? What is your story? What are you doing?

She passed my car and made it to the corner, where I saw her stand under the KAT bus pick up sign.  That is when I realized what she was doing.  I began to pull through the intersection and looked through my rear view mirror.  She was still holding him, but he had turned his head to look back at the intersection.  The innocence in his face screamed at me.  It Screamed, this is my mommy.  She takes care of me.  She holds me close when it is cold and puts on extra clothes along with my gloves to keep my hands warm.  She makes sure I put on my Spiderman backpack for daycare and I know she loves me.  

I continued to think.  The mother was dressed as if she was working, and her son was dressed as if for daycare, no old enough for school.  Emotions flooded my heart with how this little boy doesn’t know struggles or pain that the woman holding him is going through.  The pain having to ride a bus to her work, and not having a car.  He doesn’t understand why he has to get up a little earlier than other kids, so they can make the nearly half mile walk from his apartments to get on that bus.  At this point, He doesn’t know that there is any difference in his run down playground, than the playground at McDonalds. All he knows is that he is loved.  He has friends that he loves to play with, He has a soft pillow for bed time and he has a mother who bought him an awesome Spiderman Backpack. Love, that is what he knows.

I said a quick prayer for that mother.  A prayer for strength and for God to show her that she is doing great.  That life throws curve balls, and from the love I saw in 45 seconds, she is doing everything right.  

It reminded me of Gods love for his children.  For all of us.  She held him tight, she was keeping him warm, and she was caring for all his needs to the best of her ability.  Just as God Loves us, holds us and is with us regardless of where we live, or what we do.

It was a humble reminder that our God is an awesome God.

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Matt black vs The Darkest Night

“Innocent people, ear piercing screams and chaos, there is no where to turn..but to God”

Psalm 46:1 (KJV) ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble “.

I actually was one of the many that was at the premier for The Dark Knight thursday night, at the same time the horrific events were unfolding in Aurora Colorado. I found out via a movie goer about the shooting after the midnight show. I immediately looked it up and read the preliminary articles about this nightmare. A nightmare full of innocent movie goers and a mad man.

I started thinking about all the people around me, the smiling faces, outbursts of laughter, excitement in their faces ( mine included, being a dark knight fan ). And then it hit me, these were the same faces with all the same emotions that the movie goers at the Century 16 were wearing .. until some evil coward violently ripped all the fun and excitement from the bowels of their souls. The aftermath turning a family fun theatre into a nightmare so violent, you couldn’t even screen into a horror flick. My heart flushed and filled with pain as if it had been pierced with sharp knife, the sorrow i felt for the people connected to this massacre was overwhelming. I immediately prayed to God to give these people peace in a time of such mass confusion.

I remember taking a psychology classes in college and yesterday dove back into research mode about the profiles of people who commit such violent crimes. The bulk of the research that has studied the psychology and motivation of people who have committed this type of crime, defined as “mass killings” that take place usually in broad daylight or in a public place, where the victims are not specifically chosen and are generally strangers. Most ending in the gunman turning the weapon on himself.

As I researched these kind of heartless people i found according to a study of adolescent mass murderers (who killed over three people), they are most often white males (79%) with a median age of 17, and they have a history of reclusive behavior as opposed to violent behavior. The majority of them were reported to be people who kept to themselves, often focusing more on books, dreams, and brooding inside their inner worlds than real social connections with their fellow students, friends and families. The site i read this on said this study is based on multiple source data gathered about 27 incidents of this kind, between 1955 and 1999.

This type of mass murderers are grouped under the “pseudocommando” category. I learned pseudocommando refers to murderers who come to a public place, prepared with a full arsenal of weapons, and are generally moved by revenge fantasies, on account of feelings of powerlessness and humiliation.

It seemed that the shooter fell into several of the categories that us as the general public can read on various reporting websites. I don’t really want to know much about him other than how can we prevent future incidents, and how to help handle the events in our hearts that are still aching with sorrow.

Will we ever know the true meanings of why people do such horrible things? I am confident the answer is no. All we can do is try to educate ourselves on the make up of the majority of these kinds of evil people, and combat it with knowledge, but most importantly prayer and our faith in God. As any horrific event being covered in the media, it will slowly become a news story of the past, with the coverage going from every hour to none at all. I try to take situations like this and go to the bible for strength and answers to my questions, when I feel like they are none.

Of course the popular bible verses poped up first in my research such as 1. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”. And this is so true, he is there for us when we don’t even realize it. I love that verse and think of it when I am in a dangerous work situation, or somewhere that I feel alone or even scared. The more I looked at different verses, the more I kept going back to

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Reading this verse, it gave me another perspective. God will touch many lives from this horrific incident, and who knows how many people will turn toward God, because he is always there. He will be there for these families and individually help them get through this time in their life. Heroic stories will start to come to life after the initial news gets information on all the events. You will read how people helped one another out of the theatre, how strangers held hands and prayed, how injured people were helped by people they were standing next to in the popcorn line. How officers transported victims themselves in patrol cars, when there was not enough ambulance services to provide help to all the injured. You will hear the stories of the victims that did not make it out… The students, the teachers, the military men and women. Mothers, fathers, daughters and sons that never got a chance to be with their loved ones again. But you will hear how they had touched peoples lives before theirs was so violently taken away. We will tear up in our eyes and see ow they will be remembered and loved, with their memories. We will pick up the pieces, policies and security measures will change, and the ripple effect will go on for months. After all is said and done, it will come back again to God and his unconditional love. The constant reminder to do the right things, trust in one another, pray daily and most importantly never overlook friendships of people you have contact with. When will our last day be here? No one knows the answer. So why do we live our lives so selfishly? I encourage you to pray for the families and reach out to help others around you. Tell your others what they mean to you, and live life to the fullest, remembering God is in control.

I also hope you will embrace positivity, show others we love them as a brother or sister in Christ. We never know what tommorrow will bring, or if tommorrow will ever come at all.

May God bless us all.

Blacks Out…

Matt Black vs Negativity (Filter Friday edition)

Filter Friday!

So what is Filter Friday? Let me explain.

Just as anyone else, throughout life I deal with daily struggles. Work, finances, family, friends… Many of us have a lot going on… Sometimes more than we realize. All these things can generate stress. I wish I could call it the 4 letter bad word, but it has 6 letters, and that just doesn’t have a catchy feel to it! So I will just call it A bad word! When stress levels get high, it effects us in more ways than we probably realize. Mentally and physically it takes toll on our mind, body and spirit.
Most of our stress comes from different places, but throughout my career I have had the opportunity to see others in a whole lot more bad shape than me, and have been able to try and help them with stress management. Some of the things I deal with at work are very bad situations that no one would want to be in, but some can’t help it.

Developing a defense to this evil stress is very important! I feel like the more positive i am about general ever day things, the less stressed i am about anything. Being positive can be very hard! Especially with all the bad that lurks around asking questions that cannot be answered. We live in sometimes feels like an evil world, and with more negative energy it is only going to get worse! So I say let’s change that and..get Positive! let’s do what’s right!

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness ( I really hope that’s a word! Sorry, as you can tell I didn’t major in English!) in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Positive thinking starts inside you. If you get your attitude right, it will then reflect outside. If thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

There are tests that have proved that stress and being negative can effect multiple things in our life, but did you know that optimistic people are less likely to get common colds? No one likes a cold! So if that is my only motivation I can give to you to be more positive…then I think it’s still worth it! But it s not easy by no means, and will take practice, practice, practice. I found some good tips online about becoming more positive and would like to share a few..

1. Put God in your heart and love others as he loves us. That seems like an easy one, but it is easy to forget our faith and leave God on the back burner. In my opinion, a healthy relationship with our creator should be the first priority every day we get up. Pray hard and Pray often. It will help in more ways you can imagine…just try it if you don’t believe me!

2. Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

3. Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

4. Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed. Be able to laugh at yourself, and then share it!

5. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress. eating has been my weakness. I have been overweight and out of shape for years, but over the past two months I have been changing, and I can personally tell you that it makes a huge difference!

6. Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways. Those more negative friends, you need to pray for and help them turn more positive.

7. Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond what is good about you. For example…. If you are in a situation that you say .. there is no way this will work, try to change that to… I will try to make this work. Another example is if you find yourself saying I’m not getting any better at this….try to tell yourself I’ll give it another try. It will not be easy, but worth the try!

If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually you will feel better about things. You may also become less critical of the world around you. Plus, when you share your positive mood and positive experience, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost. I promise it works!

Wow, I have probably stretched this a little larger than I wanted to but I am long winded! So let me get back to answer my own question I started this blog with.

What is Filter Friday? Filter Friday is a something I started to share with family and friends to remind ourselves to take one day out of the week and filter out negativity and replace with positivity. Every Friday try to wake up knowing you are going to have a good day no matter what happens around you! Do anything possible on Friday to let go of negative thoughts,actions and even negative people around you for just one day! Look negativity in the eye and tell it…today you are going to stay away! Focus on doing what is right, let the things that would normally bother you or get on your nerves, roll off your back. Tell people positive things! Smile more, give a wave or a nod to strangers when you walk by them in the hall. Try to be positive inside and out, it will feel great! This challenge will be hard, but remember you are just trying this for one day. Let’s see how it feels! Let’s see what we get in return. See what it feels like! I promise you will like it! It is a great way to kick off the weekend!

Give Filter Friday shot, tell your friends to try it! Everyone enjoys a challenge!

Let’s all Fiiiiilllttteeeerrrrr Friiiidddaaayyy!!!!!!

May God bless us all!

Black out…