The Power Of Forgiveness…It Can Be Complicated!?

The Power of Forgiveness…It Can Be Complicated!?
“I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder—either before or after—and I pray and hope that some day everybody out there will forgive them also.” So said Ursula Ward less than an hour after a jury convicted former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez of killing her son.She added, “I will never have a grandchild from my son or grandchildren.  I will never get to dance at his wedding.”  She told the packed courtroom, “The day I laid my son Odin Lloyd to rest I felt my heart stop beating for a moment.  I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son.”  Nonetheless, the grieving mother has chosen to forgive the man convicted of his murder.
Nouman Masih was a 15-year-old Christian living in Pakistan.  According to a prominent Pakistani human rights attorney, Nouman was walking to work when he was approached by two Muslim men.  They asked if he was a Muslim or a Christian.  He told them he was a Christian.  They beat him, chased him down, doused him in kerosene, and set him on fire.  He died last week.British Pakistani Christian Association Chairman Wilson Chowdhry told reporters that Nouman forgave his killers, but also wanted them caught: “He just said that he forgave them. . . . but he didn’t want his attackers to prevail and enact their crimes on anybody else.  He was just being very magnanimous in a Christian way saying, ‘I have forgiven them but I want them to go through the justice system.'”Who has hurt you most recently?  Most deeply?  What can Nouman Masih and Ursula Ward teach us about forgiveness?  Consider three facts.
One: forgiveness is complicated.  Ursula Ward could extend unconditional forgiveness to Aaron Hernandez because he had already been sentenced to life in prison without parole, and would never again threaten her fellow citizens.  By contrast, Nouman Masih wisely knew that his murderers would likely kill again.  While he forgave them personally, he wanted the justice system to keep them from attacking more Christians.Forgiveness is not excusing the person who hurt you or pretending your pain does not exist. To forgive is to choose not to punish personally.  But there are times when those who hurt you must face the consequences of their actions, lest they hurt others as well.

Two: forgiveness frees the one who forgives.  Researchers have linked forgiveness to higher functioning cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.  When we forgive, we make ourselves, not the person who hurt us, responsible for our happiness.

Three: when we forgive, the world takes note.  Nouman Masih and Ursula Ward would probably not have generated headlines if they had not forgiven murderers.  Our ILCT ministry exists to help others change their culture and way of thinking—there is no more powerful witness than to imitate Jesus’ decision to forgive.

C. S. Lewis notes, “Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”


Loneliness Kills

Loneliness Kills

If you’re not careful, loneliness might kill you.

Everyone feels lonely at predictable times, like when a special friend or relative dies. But doctors are quick to point out that it’s the continuing, persistent kind of loneliness that carries very real health risks.

In a 2010 AARP survey, 35 percent of all responders reported feeling lonely. Of those, nearly half said their loneliness had persisted for at least six years. That’s a lot of time for a harmful condition to unleash its dangerous effects.

Here are just a few of the consequences of persistent loneliness:

Studies suggest that loneliness is more dangerous than packing on some extra pounds. Yet Americans spend billions of dollars on diet products and often make little effort to address their loneliness.

  • Loneliness increases the risk of premature death by 14 percent.
  • Loneliness affects not only our current mental health—think depression. One recent study also suggests it increases the risk for dementia later.
  • Loneliness often brings fragmented sleep, the choppy kind that seriously affects health.
  • Loneliness can increase inflammation throughout the body, which carries its own risks. That inflammation can also exacerbate existing conditions like arthritis and heart disease.

Mother Teresa—the impoverished nun who spent her life helping the poor—described loneliness as the “most terrible poverty.”

Time with friends

The July 2014 issue of the Mayo Clinic’s Health Letter suggested strategies for combating loneliness, including these ideas for nurturing friendships:

  • Reach out: An unexpected phone call or email, even just to say hello, is a meaningful gesture.
  • Be positive: Think of friendship as an emotional bank account. Make deposits of kindness and approval, keeping in mind that criticism and negativity draw down the account. Nonstop complaining also puts a strain on a friendship.
  • Listen up: Ask what’s going on in your friends’ lives. Let people know you’re paying close attention through eye contact, body language and reaffirming comments. When friends share details of hard times they are experiencing, be empathetic.
  • Extend and accept invitations: Invite a friend to join you for coffee or lunch. When you’re invited to a social gathering, say yes. Contact someone who recently invited you to an activity and return the favor.
  • Respect boundaries: Don’t overtax the friendship with your own needs. Remember that friendships require both give and take.

Need more friends? That same Mayo Clinic article offers these ideas for finding new friends:

  • Attend community events: Get together with a group of people working toward a goal that you believe in, such as an election or the cleanup of a natural area. Find a group with similar interests in an activity, such as reading, sports, crafting or gardening.
  • Volunteer: Offer your time or talents at a hospital, place of worship, museum, community center, charitable group or other organization. You can form strong connections when you work with people who have mutual interests.
  • Take up a new interest: Take a college or community education course to meet people who have similar interests. Join a class at a local gym, senior center or community fitness facility.
  • Join a faith community: Take advantage of special activities and get-to-know-you events for new members.
  • Take a walk: Put on some good shoes and keep your eyes open. Chat with neighbors who also are out and about, or head to a popular park and strike up conversations there.
  • Think beyond two legs: Whether it has four legs or even wings, a pet can provide many of the same companion benefits as human friendships can.

I’d add to that list “Activate old interests.” I’ve made new and interesting friends, thanks to signing up for weekly hospice visits to the  sick and shut-ins.

Every list I see about maintaining wellness invariably includes a recommendation for staying socially engaged. It’s good for body, mind, and spirit. Communicating via email and cellphone is nice—and certainly convenient. Still, there will never be anything like the real thing: spending time—together, face to face—with other people.


The Alpha and The Omega!

The Alpha and The Omega: Some thoughts to consider!

It’s so very important that all things begin (Alpha) and end (Omega) in a positive and loving way. To this, I would add the following 10 negative ways of engaging life in a way that God cannot/will not bless.

Wearing a mask to impress others.
Letting someone else create your dreams for you.
Keeping negative company.
Feeling uncertain and insecure.
Avoiding change and growth.
Giving up when the going gets tough.
Trying to micro manage every little thing.
Settling for less than you deserve.
Endlessly waiting until tomorrow.
Being lethargic and wishy-washy.

Of course, if you want God’s blessings, then do the opposite of the list above!

In the end, it is said, that one can experience great peace and Divine favor when one lives in peace with all in as much as it is in their power to do so.

Have a blessed 2015…(D.J.Saker)

The Power Of Forgiveness!

The Power of Forgiveness !

If you feel stuck in any area of your life it could very well be
due to a lack of forgiveness. Perhaps you are having trouble
forgiving someone else or yourself. It doesn’t matter. Holding on
to past memories or “stories” is guaranteed to tie up your energy
and block your ability to attract what you want.

I struggled with forgiveness for many years because I believed that
if I forgave someone they would not receive the “just punishment”
they deserved for what they had done to me. But as I looked at that
belief I realized it was just that, a belief. In fact, it was just
an assumption and an illusion.

What I learned is that God (Life) will always seek balance and HE
will deal with that person or situation in the appropriate way,
even if it that means letting them off the hook. The outcome in
their life has nothing to do with the outcome in my life unless I
choose to keep myself tied to it.

If you think about it, when you choose to forgive someone, it is
nothing more than an ego trip. When you say “I forgive you”,
what you are really saying is you have some sort of hold over them.
By saying “I forgive you”, you decree that you are pronouncing
them “free” of your resentment. That isn’t forgiveness. That’s an
ego trip.

There is really nothing to forgive. What we call forgiveness is
simply letting go. It is not placing judgment on other people or
yourself. When you are truly conscious you realize that nothing
“bad” or “wrong” happened. You may judge it as “bad” or “wrong”,
but from the view of ALL THAT IS what occurred is simply what
occurred. It’s over. It’s done. It’s history.

Because we believe something “bad” happened, we still think of
ourselves as being victimized no matter how much we try to forgive.
So we are caught up between two conflicting energies and this creates
a new reality loop. One is to condemn and blame and the other is to
forgive. This is why we struggle with forgiveness.

However, when we are truly conscious we realize nothing “bad”,
“negative” or “evil” happened at all. In fact, what happened didn’t
happen TO you but FOR you. It happened to help you to awaken and
grow. It was part of your life lesson to bring you to where you are
right now and to allow you to let go of your “story” of victimization.

So if you are stuck in any area of your life, take a look at your
unwillingness to forgive yourself or others and just let it go!
Realize there is nothing to forgive. You just have to release it
and move on.

Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation
that you are making progress – IF YOU LOOK FOR IT! No matter how
large or small, please record it in your Evidence Journal. It will
only take a few moments and will AUTOMATICALLY put you in the Flow.


Helping The Poor Brings Favor

Helping The Poor Brings Favor

Isaiah 58:7-8 (WEB)

7 Isn’t it to distribute your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth as the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard.

Promise: If you help the poor, your light will shine like the dawn.

God’s heart is for the underdog. He protects the widow and the orphan and has chosen the poor of this world to inherit His kingdom. In today’s Scripture promise, God tells us that if we feed the hungry, give the poor shelter and clothe the naked, then His favor and His blessings will shine on all that we do.

The NLT version of Isaiah 58:8 says… “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.” (NLT)

What a glorious promise! If we look after those who can’t look after themselves, then God will look after us in every way possible. Our wounds will quickly heal, the light of our godliness will lead us forward and the glory of the Lord will protect our backs! God’s heart is for the underdog. In every way, we too are underdogs that God protects and provides for. May we see the world through our Father’s eyes today and see the many opportunities that He presents to us so that we can be a blessing to others.

Lord help us today to see the needs around us and be a manifestation of your love, life and provision to those who are in need. Thank you that as we help others, your love and your glory will keep us safe too.


Will We Learn From History? (Tisha B’Av)

Will We Learn From History?

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Tonight we enter into Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year. Some of you may know that a lot of bad things have happened to the Jewish people on this date, the first of which was when the spies returned with an evil report of Canaan, the Promised Land, recounted in Numbers 13 and 14. Both the first and the second Temple were destroyed on this exact date, hundreds of years apart. The Crusades began on this day in 1095. The Jews were expelled out of England on this day in 1290, and again were expelled from Spain and Portugal on Tisha B’Av in 1492. And there are many more examples of this infamous day in Jewish history!

The number “nine” is sometimes associated with “judgment” or “fruit” in scripture. Not taking this too far, yet we may still see repeated expressions of the Lord’s judgment through this recurring historical pattern. Moses warned, especially in Deuteronomy, of the terrible things which would happen to the Jewish people throughout history were they to abandon the Lord, worship false gods, and forsake His covenants. And He often used idolatrous nations who hated or were jealous of Israel, to bring judgment upon their disobedience, though they often went way too far and angered the Lord bringing His judgment against them as well.

But God’s judgments are almost always tempered with His mercy and grace, for one constant purpose — and that is to bring people back to Himself! We see this in our own lives and in the history of nations throughout the world. But as the saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. And we have a powerful example of this in Tisha B’Av. Israel’s idolatry brought God’s judgment upon her. And as the Jewish people around the world are fasting in preparation for the observance of this “day of judgment”, we may remind ourselves of our own past failures which we don’t want to repeat!

Will we remember and learn from these past failures? We are not doomed to a fate of failure. If repentance is sincere and deep, we can avoid the judgments and consequences of past sins, and learn from history. If we seek the Lord to expose the roots of failure in our lives, and pray with faith for healing and deep repentance, trusting Him for the power to overcome the sinful nature…we really can avoid a pattern of judgment. Let’s spend the time with Him now… so we don’t need to return to Him through the terrible shame and sorrow of “Tisha B’Av.”


Managing Stress!!

Lessons for You and Your Clients
Managing Stress for Life Coaches and your clients.

Stress does not exist outside you. You are in charge of your stress level and can learn to manage it to your advantage.

By David J. Saker Ph.D., ILCT

The stress-response is a normal, sometimes life-saving, physiological change in your body, designed to energize you to cope with perceived threats or stressors. You make thousands of internal adjustments (adaptations) each day of your life. You usually learn your “coping mechanisms” early, and with time and practice, they become “automatic.” Coping automatically with the stressors in your life is essential to smooth functioning and adaptability. Coping mechanisms that are automatic, are called “unconscious adaptations.” Each of us requires and uses a variety of unconscious adaptations and most people cope successfully with 98% of their stressors.

Every one of your coping mechanisms works…or you wouldn’t use it again. What’s more, you have always coped with the stressors in your life. But some unconscious adaptations have a high cost. These are known “negative coping mechanisms.” For example, smoking, doing drugs, eating or drinking alcohol do bring rather immediate relief from stress-related tension or pain. But the positive effects of negative coping don’t last very long and the negative effects are often quite serious.

Stress is not all bad; it only becomes a problem when it goes off when not needed; when it stays on longer than is useful; or when you can’t turn it off. Stress can also be used to motivate and empower us to accomplish tasks, to sharpen our thinking, and to maintain a high level of energy. The key is to learn to control and manage stress to maximize performance and avoid burnout.

Here are 15 tips to creatively manage stress.

Know that stress does not exist outside you. You are in charge of your stress level, and can learn to manage it to your advantage. Discover and exercise your strengths. Consistently seek more efficient and effective ways to deal with stress and accomplish what you want.

View change and “problems” as challenges, not as loss or threat.Keep in mind that everything changes. Allow yourself to “float on the river of life.” Search for the opportunities, not the obstacles, inherent in change. Convert the stress of change into excitement for meeting a new challenge.

Have a continuous positive orientation and outlook for yourself and others.William Arthur Ward once wrote, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” Give attention to what you find most valuable.

Set priorities. Be consistent. Focus on the present moment. Spend your time and energy in ways that meet your values and standards.

Develop flexibility, agility and tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Ensure flexibility in your approach by being willing to quickly modify what isn’t working.

Explore new roles and possibilities. Learn conflict-resolving skills which lead to “win-win” solutions. Intend your conflicts to result in everyone getting what they want.

Forgive easily and readily.

Use language to create meaning and context for change, achievements and solutions. Everyone needs to feel important. Use a vocabulary that recognizes and appreciates others. Nobel laureate, Hans Selye, in his groundbreaking research on stress said that “gratitude is the most stressless emotion.”

Identify the things you can control and focus energy and attention on them. Avoid spending time, energy, worry or thought attending to things over which you have no influence or control. Instead, give attention to what you find most valuable. Set priorities. Spend your time and energy in ways that meet your values and standards. Focus on strengths.

Refuse to get derailed by those who are pessimistic, resistant or discontent. Explore other possible points of view. Look for the positive in every situation. Define a problem as a challenge or opportunity for a new experience or the development of a new skill.

Look for humor in your life. Attend to the positive qualities of yourself and those of your family members.

Take 100 percent responsibility for your responses. Winston Churchill once said,”The price of greatness is responsibility.” Use and control your own impulses. Develop your own, accurate belief system and act accordingly. Drop some commitments when you have too many.Under-promise and over-deliver. Give and receive feedback that is relevant and important to managing both the risks and possibilities associated with anticipated or desired change.

Refuse to take personally the tensions and conflicts brought about by change or by those people around you. Set your own standards and boundaries and let other people know what they are. Accept others’ boundaries. Really listen to others and respond from your understanding of their expressed point of view.

Have confidence in your ability to influence events and circumstances around you. You do have an impact not only with your actions, but also with your thoughts and energy. Success guru, Napoleon Hill wrote,”You have absolute control over but one thing, and that is your thoughts. If you fail to control your own mind, you may be sure you will control nothing else.”

Take excellent care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Maintaining a balance in all of these aspects of your life will minimize your stress and maximize your health.

Frequently debrief with others. Have a community of people who are optimistic, passionate and oriented around possibility, creativity and opportunity. Make new friends. Be a friend to others. Touch each other mentally, emotionally, physically, affectionately and gently.

Continually renew and update your knowledge and skills. Never stop learning. Invest yourself in a meaningful way. Serve or do someone else a favor. Persist in gaining self-knowledge, growth, goal-attainment and self-improvement.

Allow yourself and others the space to experiment with fresh approaches. Encourage the expression of new ideas, solutions and viewpoints. Explore other possible points of view.

Accept your friends and family members for who they are now, and realize that nobody is perfect all the time. Give yourself lots of encouragement and positive, self-affirming statements. Give lots of “positive strokes” to others as well.

View setbacks and mistakes as natural and necessary aspects of risk-taking and learning. View failures as stepping stones toward success. Let go of your problems. Define a problem as a challenge or opportunity for a new experience or the development of a new skill. Reward yourself.

By practicing the above principles, you can maximize your stress-management abilities and enhance your performance! Good luck/work building your business. (DJS)

Happy 2014