The Peace Painting Contest

http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-08-10-1005882_10201160464311689_86884851_n.jpg

In the medieval times there was a king that wanted a painting in his room portrait representation of peace. He wanted to glance at it in bad times to become peacefully inside his soul so he declared a contest by decree to all paint artists in his kingdom to make a painting that resembled peace and the winner would have a good reward. All artists turned their work for the king to examine. The king saw a painting of a lake and children calmly wetting their feet in the lake. The next was that of a sea with no waves and a fisherman calmly sleeping in his boat. The next painting enraged the king. It was that of a storm. The king had thought someone was making fun at his authority and he was made to be brought forward before the king. It was an old man and the king asked him if he was making fun of him. He wanted paintings of peace and you bring a painting of a storm. The old man looked at the king in the eye and told him to look carefully in the painting. The king did so and he understood for there was a nest in the rocks of a cliff where the storm was passing through with a bird hugging the newly born. Indeed that was peace and the king declared this painting the winner by decree.

The Lost Art

Influence People Around You
by Phil Cooke

INFLUENCE
Rule: Before you can be an influence in people’s lives, you must be more present.
In the rush to grow your social media influence, don’t forget that influencing the people you meet every day is far more helpful and important to your life and career. I’d rather have 10 people who really care about my message and ideas than 10,000 who just click a “Like” button.

To that end, here are some key things to remember about extending your influence to the people you meet everyday:

1. Put down the mobile device and actually be in the moment.

The most valuable commodity of the 21st century will be undivided attention. But most settle for what’s been called “continuous partial attention.” Conversations happen around glancing at email, texting a quick note or glancing at your Twitter feed.

Next time you meet someone for coffee, try this: Give them your full attention, and see what difference it makes.

2. Have something to contribute to the conversation.

What are you reading? What significant movies have you watched lately? Been to a museum in the last year? Be the type of person others want to be around because your interests are so fascinating. Remember the “garbage in, garbage out” rule?

If all you’re consuming is People magazine or other people’s Facebook updates, chances are your conversation will be less than insightful.

3. Learn to listen.

No matter how fascinating you may be, the best influencers are great listeners. Conversation is about listening—not just thinking of the next thing you want to say.

4. Finally, seek out opportunities for real, face-to-face contact.

You’ll actually find that most people are starving for real contact. Invite people for coffee. Have them drop by your place after work. Invite them to lunch. You’ll be grateful you did.

Becoming an influencer in the culture starts with influencing the people around you. Why wait? Start today …

Do you have any other good tips for influencing people you meet everyday?

Soul Searching Prayer

Soul Searching Prayer

Does my life please You as I live each day? 
Do I glorify You, Lord, in everything I say? 
Do I show others Your love in all that I do? 
When others see me do they also see You? 

Are my motives pure– I know that You see? 
Would I want other Christians to be just like me? 
You understand my thoughts– You’re the only One Who can. 
When I’m all by myself am I a God pleasing man? 

I don’t mean am I perfect, for without Christ I know I’m not, 
But am I doing doubtful things hoping that I won’t be caught? 
Are there any hidden issues in the depths of my heart 
That, as a born again Christian, I should bid to depart? 

If there’s any thought or action that’s bringing You shame, 
Help me to surrender it in Jesus’ blessed Name. 
I don’t want to continue anything that displeases You, 
And I want to do everything that You would have me do. 

Dear God, in Your wisdom, You know how to keep me straight, 
If You ever see me straying correct me before it’s too late. 
By Your grace You have saved me and forgiven all my sin, 
I love You, I thank You, and I praise You. Amen.

Me? A Prodigal Son

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a spiritual weekend, away from distractions. After coming home I was reflecting on the things learned and diacussed. As I meditated on God the Father, I was reminded of the parable of the prodigal son.
For the first time I applied this parable to my faith and tried to discern exactly where I might be in this parable applying my own experiences.  Certainly there was a time where I parted from God and went out into world and indulged myself without thinking of my Father. Oh what a great and horrible day when all was gone and the time came for reconciliation. My thoughts much like the Son’s were discouraging to say the least. I, so ashamed of what I done, tried everything to avoid going home to face my father. Eventually I realized that even though I didn’t deserve it, he might show me some compassion. After all that would still be an improvement over current circumstances. So away I went to beg for mercy.
Nothing could prepare me for the journey I had to take. As I approached similar surroundings my spirit reached its lowest point. I could see clearly the path in front of me, the life I had so easily disgarded and I wanted to turn back, only there was no where else to go. If their had been this story surely would have ended in death. Having no place else to go I walked the road diagraced, humiliated and alone. My head looked down as slowly anticipated the disappointed Father I would have to face. I was so involved with my pity, I did not notice the man running towards me. Suddenly I felt a familiar embrace, one I remember and missed. My first thoughts were of how much I missed the embrace of my Father. I did not want it to end. But once again I turned away from him and explained how my actions made me unworthy of the position I once held, but could I least live under his protection with others like me. What happened next I will never understand. He through a huge celebration in my honor. He went around and introduced me to everyone as his son. He was so proud of me as if I had achieved some grand accomplishment, but all I had done was go home.