Thursday, December 31, 2015

If you want the next 12 months to be different than the past 12 months, look at your habits.

Changing a habit, especially a bad one, is among the most powerful forces you can employ to make your life and business better.

Here are 12 habits many of us repeatedly struggle with. If you recognize yourself in any of these, you really need to get rid of them--and this time next year, you could be free of the consequences they cause.

1. Stop giving up.

Success in life and in business comes when you simply refuse to give up--because failure doesn't come from falling down, failure comes from giving up.

2.  Stop letting everyone else make decisions for you.

If you want to be successful, never allow anyone to tell you what's good for you. You're the one who knows what you need and what works for you. So stick to what you know and do what you know is right.

3.  Stop thinking you're on your own.

Success is not an individual undertaking. Be smart and brave enough to ask for help when you need it and allow others to help you along the way.

4. Stop chasing after those who don't want to be caught.

Don't waste time on people and projects that aren't going to happen. The right people, the right project, the right venture, the right idea will show up with hard work and patience and when it does you want to be prepared.

5. Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren't.

Sometimes we focus on what we aren't--that we don't see who we really are. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve the very best. The strongest factor of success is self esteem, believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.

6. Stop focusing on the negative.

Success comes when we stop focusing on what's against us and we start focusing on  what's good for us.  Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. Our positive thinking gives a positive attitude. That doesn't mean always expecting everything great to happen, but accepting whatever happens to us, to make the best of it. 

7. Stop being hard on yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn't mean we have to pay for them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes smart and successful people make bad choices. It doesn't mean they are not smart, and they can't be successful; it just means they are human.

8. Stop mulling over the past.

It's hard to see the future when you're always looking back. Use the past only as a road map to help guide you toward your future. Practice this every day of every month this year.

9.  Stop running from problems.

Everyone has problems. What's important is to stop running from them. Own them and deal with them, however overwhelming they may be--because if you don't face them, they will own you.

10.  Stop expecting life to be easy.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and the most rewarding aspects of life are the things we fight the hardest for.

11.  Stop holding on to things you need to let go.

Many people think that letting go means giving up--but in fact it means accepting that there are things in life that are not working out. When you let go of them, you help clear the road toward success.

12. Stop giving up on who you are meant to be.

If you want to be successful, you have to stop settling. Spend every single minute of every single day working toward who you are meant to be; it will not happen on its own. Start working toward your purpose.

New Year’s 2016: Part 2 Shape Your Life:

New Year’s 2016:  Part 2  Shape Your Life:
Is There Room for the Light of the World in Your Life?!

We concluded Part 1 of this article with the observation that, “So, while we all want the freedom to make our lifestyle choices, we need an inner compass to point us in the right direction to make the best and healthiest decisions.”

But, where do we find such an essential inner compass?  When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, she was ready to deliver her baby. The timing for making such a long, difficult, and obligatory trip (~ 90 miles), while Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy is certainly not a choice that most of us would make. But Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy, and God orchestrated things to make certain that Mary and Joseph would be in the right place at the right time. There Bible is filled with accounts of God moving people into the exact location and at the precise time they needed to be there (e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, the prophets, and the apostles). Some had visits from angels and signs from God; others listened for ‘the still small voice’ within (a.k.a., the Holy Spirit’s prompting). Some made choices based on knowledge, experience, and discernment—the Bible refers to the combination of these characteristics as “wisdom.”  Common sense is another important element. Sometimes Christians act and react in a manner that totally ignores common sense. However, my husband often reminds me (and others) that “Christ came to take away our sins not our brains.” 

So, then, how do these three factors (i.e., God moving people into the right place and at the exact time they need to be there, listening to the ‘still small voice, and using wisdom and common sense) relate to possessing an inner compass to aid us with our decision-making?  And are there other elements to consider? Yes! Jesus admonishes us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,’ ” (Luke 10:27, New International Version). As we keep these areas of our lives nourished—heart (emotions), soul (spirit/spirituality), strength (physical/body) and mind (intellectual thinking and learning)—we enjoy the balance that we seek. Thus it is essential to regularly evaluate our lives to determine if any of these areas is out of balance and to make any necessary adjustments.  When we combine an active focus on these areas (i.e., heart, soul, mind, and strength) with having faith that God will move us into the right place at the exact time that we need to be there, listening to the ‘still small voice, and using wisdom and common sense, we will have a strong inner compass. And while we are being guided by this inner compass, our lives are infused with the balance of peace, hope, and love that the Light of the World—Jesus-- provides. Then, wherever we go, we carry that Light within, and we offer that Light to others so that their lives can also be overflowing with the elements that bring equilibrium to our lives.

While you are shaping your life, via the choices that you make, ask yourself, “Is there room for the Light of the World in my life?” This is the first step toward living a life of greater stability.  Also contemplate how you will share the Light of the World with others. I’m not suggesting that you hand out tracts or preach on street corners (although you may do so if you wish). Many times a smile and a friendly ‘hello’ open up doors for us to offer encouragement and hope to others, in His name and for His glory.  And, as we begin a New Year—2016—I pray that our inner compass directs each of us as we make choices that will result in better health and balance in our own lives and that we share this practical wisdom with others via offering the Light of the World to transform their lives, too.  Many blessings!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year’s 2016: Part 1 Shape Your Life

New Year’s 2016: Part 1 Shape Your Life: Is There Room for the Light of the World in Your Life?!

Before the celebrations begin on New Year’s Eve, before the clock strikes midnight, before the simultaneous kisses, toasts, and fireworks, many people have considered what their New Year’s resolutions will be or if they will even make any. Some of the top resolutions each year focus on losing weight and exercising more; quitting smoking; eating healthy; learning something new; spending less and saving more; cutting back on alcoholic drinks; taking time to travel; giving back to the community; spending more time with loved ones; taking time for relaxation; getting organized; and, reading more. Whether they are goals for greater physical health, mental growth, personal recreation, financial stability, or spirituality, it recently occurred to me that all these resolutions fit into the category of shaping our lives in order to bring balance to them. This desire for greater stability in our day-to-day living can be a struggle as the demands of life crowd out our best intentions to keep our resolutions, which may fall by the wayside.

Yet, the resolutions that we make reflect a yearning for a more balanced life, one of less stress and more peace. Additionally, in the increasing national and international turmoil, unrest, uncertainty, and attacks on our familiar way of life, it’s even more difficult to quell anxiety and maintain inner peace and stability. As a result, many people are looking outside themselves for answers (e.g., purchasing home security systems, guard dogs, and guns). However, these decisions often stem from apprehension and may not produce the results that we desire, because they may not reduce anxiety or they may produce a false sense of security. Furthermore, even non-Christians are beginning to focus more on the need for equilibrium and inner peace; this is evidenced by the growing establishment of “healing” centers and workshops in communities, as well as numerous articles about spirituality in magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet.Still, our lives are shaped by the choices that we make, and God gives us the freewill to choose. In fact, each of us engages in making numerous choices on a daily basis, such as what we will eat or drink, what we will wear, where we will go, the types of interactions that we will have with others who cross our paths or what errands and tasks we hope to accomplish. Some of the choices that confront us may be more critical than others. For example, significant choices are involved in changing jobs, getting married, having children or relocating to another city, Province or State, or even to another country. Other life-transforming choices may include a career change, taking a mission trip, or choosing to be in full-time ministry (in whatever form that takes). With the challenge of all these choices, it can be overwhelming to address the areas in our lives in which we desire to make additional changes (e.g., those in the list of common resolutions listed above). So, while we all want the freedom to make our lifestyle choices, we need an inner compass to point us in the right direction to make the best and healthiest decisions. 
We will consider the concept of an inner compass in New Year’s 2016: Part 2 of Shape Your Life: Is There Room for the Light of the World in Your Life?! Many blessings!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer

Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Postgraduate Course from Midlevel Christianity

A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thornbushes, nor
grapes on bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. — Luke 6:44-45

The British Museum in London received an ancient artifact, a painted rock, in 2005. Titled "Early man venturing towards the out-of-town hunting grounds," it featured animals, a man, and a curious tool.

After being on display for three days, the museum removed the artifact from
its exhibit. It turned out that the "curious tool" painted on the rock was a shopping cart! A notorious hoax artist was responsible for
getting it into the museum, where it remained until experts realized the piece was a fake.

People have the ability to show a certain personality on the outside while being something different internally. And just like the museum's
"artifact," one's outward personality can be seen as legitimate if concealed well enough. However, there will come a time when something--a phone call, a speeding driver, a crisis, will expose the person's true identity. The hoax-life will be revealed. Unless our outward appearance matches our inward appearance, we will be exposed for who we are inwardly.

Jesus said, "A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit" (Luke 6:43).

Likewise, a person claiming to know Jesus as Forgiver and Leader should not go around berating or threatening his or her coworkers. These
attitudes diminish one's potential witness for the Lord, giving those who don't know Jesus "valid" reasons not to believe him. Sooner or later our outward appearances will drown out our inward claims. We should be doing our best to exhibit Christ in the most positive light we can. Otherwise, our words and actions will be revealed as hypocritical.

Let's be real--to ourselves, to others, and to God--and help others to be the same. That way, the only inward thing that will be exposed is the Lord we love and follow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

A couple come to Bethlehem
With nowhere else to stay,
They take a humble cattleshed,
In time for Christmas Day.

Their child is born within that place,
Half-hidden in the hay;
His cot, the cattle’s eating trough,
On that first Christmas Day.

Some shepherds come in from the cold

To where the baby lay,
And kneel before the One whose birth
Created Christmas Day.

Years later, with expensive gifts,

Some wise men homage pay,
And find it’s not their gifts, but he
Who makes their Christmas Day.

You wish that Christmas time could last?
You wish that it could stay?
Then seek the only One who can
Make each day Christmas Day.

Howard P. Webber

"Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.

His name? His name we’ll know in many ways — He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace."
(Isaiah 9:6)

Clive Adams, 
UK & N Ireland

No copyright intended - may this music glorify Gods name.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Stranger THE BRITISH BANDSMAN DEC 20, 1952 Editorial, Eric Ball OBE

It happened three years in succession and always on Christmas Eve.

We have always kept up the old tradition of caroling – a tradition which goes well back into the 1880's, when our town band was first formed. We have a scattered district, and there are many folk who look forward to our annual visits; and the good old custom of plying us with mince-pies and coffee (
and sometimes with something a bit stronger) has not altogether died out. We grumble a bit about carolling but we always enjoy it.

About three miles from our little town, near some crossroads, a new community has sprung up. There is a large old house, rather gloomy and somewhat derelict, which was once the home of the "county" family, but is now the sub-let to two or three groups of people. Nearby, some old army huts, put up during the war, have been turned into temporary homes for a strange mixture of folk, including some foreigners who come to work on the land, or in the new factory project not far away. All are strangers to us, but with go along and play some carols, and they seem to like them.

It is on this spot, for the last three years in succession, that we have been joined on Christmas Eve by a young man, pale of face, with dark eyes; hatless and wearing a rather shabby overcoat. He stood very near our ring of bandsmen, almost part of it, and sang the words of the carols, although we never heard his voice - we play lustily in the country!

When we finished he always slipped quickly away. One of the foreigners, we presumed; but he intrigued us, and we appreciated the fact that he took all this interest in us.

By last year we felt he was an old friend, yet he was actually still a stranger.

                                 *                    *                *

During my holiday last summer, I visited a part of the country where, I had been told, one of our old bandsmen live, and I decided to try to find him.  He was delighted to see me, and talked almost incessantly of the old days - he was over 80.

He asked about the old house where he was once the gardener - it happened to be the one at the crossroads I have described to you - and this led on to me telling him about the strange young man.

"I know him", said the old chap. "Son of the folk I used to work for. A bit of a wanderer; been away many years."

"I suppose he still lives around there somewhere", I said.

"No he doesn't", said the old man. "
We were there carolling a long time ago, one Christmas Eve, and he came up the lane from his travels, slowly, as if he was very tired, but evidently wanting to be home for Christmas".

"But he's still a young man," I interrupted.

"Maybe so", the old chap said. "But when he got near the band he staggered and fell. We learned afterwards he had been very ill, and when we picked him up he was dead!


What we shall do if the stranger turns up again this year I really don't know!

Eric Ball
Former SA officer

The Mozart of the Brass Band Movement was how Dr Roy Newsome described Eric Ball, the highly regarded Composer, Adjudicator and Conductor whose Birth one hundred years ago is being marked all over the world by brass band enthusiasts.  Eric Walter John Ball was born in Kingswood near Bristol on 31st October, 1903.

Christmas Shoes, The 2002 TV H264 AAC for iPod Nano5G


Why do you fall upon your knees 
As you enter this cattle shed?

Is it because of the heavenly host

And the words that the angel said?
Or is it because of something sublime

That you see in that old manger bed?

Why do you fall upon your knees
At the sight of this toddler at play?
Is it because of the star in the sky
Which led you to travel this way?
Or is it because you've glimpsed the divine
In the child, that such homage you pay?

Why do you fall upon your knees
When you view the Nativity?
Is it because your emotions are stirred
At the heart-warming scene that you see?
Or is it because, beyond sight and sound,
You've discovered the reality?

Howard P. Webber

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Light of the World: Advent --Christmas 2015

The Advent season has been a spent in preparing our hearts and minds, which enriches our time of celebrating Christ’s birth. For the past four Sundays we have explored the meaning of four of the candles in the Advent wreath:  The Prophecy Candle (a.k.a., the Candle of Hope); The Bethlehem Candle (a.k.a., the Candle of Preparation); The Shepherds' Candle (a.k.a., the Candle of Joy); and "The Angel Candle", (a.k.a., “The Candle of Love").

Today we celebrate the Birth of Christ! We have now arrived at the lighting of the final candle in the Advent wreath, the white “Christ Candle,” which represents Jesus. Depending on when churches hold their Christmas service, this candle is lit on either Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day. Joy to the world, the Lord is come, and we are thrilled to celebrate His birth with reverence and with elation! On this holy day we commemorate and celebrate Jesus’ first coming to earth;  and the white candle reminds us that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” (John 8:12 Common English Bible).

While Advent encompasses the first coming of the Light of the World, it also includes His second coming. Thus, it’s also a time of celebrating the hope that we have of Jesus’ promised return.  Therefore, our wait is NOT over. We could argue that Jesus’ nativity, as a vulnerable infant, was ‘restrained’. However, the package deal (i.e., of angels, angel choirs, a huge, bright, shiny star, shepherds and magi from the East) was anything but subtle.

His second coming will be even more prominent.  Scripture asserts, “We can tell you with complete confidence…that when the Master comes again to get us… The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words,” (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18, The Message). What a thrilling experience that will be!
Last year my husband and I attended a Carols and Candles at Southern Wesleyan University. When we entered the chapel, we received a candle. At the conclusion of the program, a candlelight service was held. In the vast auditorium, with all the house lights shut off, celebrants received light for their candles from the university chaplain’s candle. Then these individuals moved down into the aisles of the sanctuary, and began to share the light with the person at the end of each row. The people in the rows passed their candlelight to each other. The light was also shared with all the concert participants. It was a very moving moment when, with all the candles lit, the chaplain held his candle high, and we all followed his lead. One little lit candle in that dark room might not have seemed significant, but the impact of many little lights was moving. The candle-lighting was a reminder that we are called to reflect the Light of the World in our daily lives (Matthew 5:13-15).  

There is a song, written by Chris Rice, called, “Go Light Your World”. The song speaks about the loneliness, confusion, helplessness, frustration, and weariness that many individuals experience.  It also has the repeating admonition, “Carry your candle, and run to the darkness… And hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle, and go light your world,” (RICE, CHRISTOPHER M., Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group). Like the song advocates, we carry the Light with us; and, as we hold out our candle to others, we offer the Light of the World, the epitome of love, hope, and healing.

May you have a blessed and holy Christmas celebration.

Dear Lord,

Our lives have been transformed by You, the Light of the World. Let Your Light in us shine so brightly that others want to know You and to become part of Your family.  Give us the courage and the passion to boldly share Your Light with those who are hungry for hope, light, and faith so that their lives may also be changed.  
In Jesus’ name.

Suggested Scripture Readings:
Thursday, December 24th  The People Walking in Darkness  Isaiah 9:2;
Matthew 4:16

Thursday, December 25th: The Birth of Jesus  Luke 2: 1-20
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer