Hurricane Isaac 2012

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Here we sit at home, feet up, and watching a movie while the wind rages outside. My daughter is in New Orleans without power (but a generator), and my other daughter is in Baton Rouge where the storm is about to descend.

Tropical storm now, and perhaps tropical depression by 10pm tomorrow night. This is the longest hurricane I have ever lived through!

Desires of the heart

In these days of soft-soap Christianity and the feel-good-do-it society, I've noticed that people reach for that pleasure factor in worshiping our Lord God Almighty. Have you noticed that?

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I think there is nothing wrong with going to God for the pure pleasure of it. In fact it gives great pleasure to believers to go into the Throne Room to worship and bring praises to God our creator and our deliverer. But just as Solomon found out there is a limit to how pleasure pleases the mind and the body (Ecclesiastes 2) It leaves a yawning hole that craves more and more to fill it.

It is exactly like marrying a person for the physical body or that chemical reaction attraction ... eventually a person gets exhausted of nothing but pleasure and it then comes to a point where there is no more satisfaction in the pleasure act and cravings begin to develop for something more than just pleasure. That first taste of an intoxicating drug that causes flames of pleasure coursing through the bloodstream dies out and it takes larger doses for the same effect.

We are created with different aspects and facets to the same jewel. I think pursuit of pleasure as a motivation to serve does seem a bit selfish. It is the same as the end justifying the means which is wrong thinking. Our motivation should be a deep desire to please and not so much focused on our own pleasure, although that is a great benefit.

After all to obey is better than sacrifice and to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 14:22

Who can I speak to and give such a warning [and bear witness] that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, [ = unresponsive to God] so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the LORD has become contemptible to them— they find no pleasure in it. Jeremiah 6:10

The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man; whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich. Proverbs 21:17

God searches the hearts of men all over the world, but the hearts of those that serve Him are of the most special interest to Him. If God finds a self-serving motive--such as pleasure seeking-- how true is that Believer's heart? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the fat of rams?

And here is where I have the problem with the pleasure-motivated service to God. Where does the personal agenda cease and the neck bend; when does the will submit to God's will and His agenda?

Jesus for the sake of the joy ahead... that was to come, endured the cross. How hard that struggle was for Jesus knew the torture and pain in store for Him, yet He willingly set His face toward it. He looked past the shame to the joy, (notice the word in that Scripture is not happiness) beyond the cross. Jesus knew when He comes, the joy and sheer pleasure will be so intense we will have to have glorified bodies to contain it.

So... with that in mind, how enduring is a pleasure-based motive to serve God? When the trials and troubles come, does the pleasure motive have roots deep enough to withstand the storm? We human creatures have this temporal body so we rarely contemplate the infinity of eternity. Pain and troubles are temporal--just for today. It doesn't stop there, though.

God is love and His gift to His children is His enduring love. Ergo, love-based motive is stronger and more enduring, and longer-lasting than the pleasure-based motive. Here is the thing, if a person does good deeds simply because it makes them feel good, does that diminish the good deed's worth? Perhaps in the sight of God it does, perhaps not to the person receiving the good deed.


Seeking to enjoy God for the pure pleasure of His company and the pure pleasure it brings is very okay! That is the fun time, that is the dancing time and it is enjoying Him that gives strength for the other times that are not so enjoyable when He calls us to sacrifice for Him.

Sacrifice is all about Him and none of self. It is all about obedience and none of selfish desire. Since God searches the hearts of man, Jeremiah 17:10 I, Jehovah, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. Therefore, pleasure is a poor motivator for the things of the heart that would please God. He promises that if we delight in Him, then He will give us our heart's desires.


Does that mean that our desires are given to us, or does it mean that He puts desires in our hearts? I would that He put His own desires in my heart, then I know I would delight in Him and delight Him. How great that is... putting a smile on God's face! To please Him brings great pleasure, but that kind of pleasure is much more pleasant. It doesn't depend upon another person, or even upon one's self. It just bubbles up and pours all over us like a the spring in a well-watered garden. Isaiah 58.

Another misguided Eagle Scout

The Sun Herald reports another Eagle Scout (54) returns his medal and certificate (this one signed by Richard Nixon) because of the stance the Boy Scouts have against gay leaders and gay scouts.
The 54-year-old architect, who grew up in Columbus, Miss. and earned scouting's highest honor there, tells The Portland Press Herald ( http://bit.ly/TjogsL) he witnessed racism first hand in the deep South and wants to be "on the right side of history." Sun Herald

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/08/09/4115245/maine-eagle-scout-returns-medal.html#storylink=cpy
I think returning his medal was a completely empty gesture. How sad that we have become so blind to our true roots that we fall into the deceptions of Satan so willingly and with such fervor.

The Boy Scouts' ban on homosexuality is the farthest thing from racism. The fact that God Himself finds homosexuality an abomination means nothing any more? When will Christians take the blinders off and understand the difference between a lifestyle and the person?

God sent His Son to die on the cross while we all were still ugly in sin. None of us are worthy to receive eternal life. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one deserves Heaven, no not one.

But...

God created Man in His own image and God called it good. God considered His creation worthy to save, therefore He sent His Son to cover us with righteousness so that we could be saved. Homosexuality is a perversion of the gift God gave husband and wife. It is either marry a husband or wife, or be celibate. Those are the only choices.

Where are the courageous young men and young women who love Christ above all things, and who care more about what God thinks than what lowly mankind thinks? Wake up America!


Word of mouth--new???


Today it is becoming a trend to utilize customers’ word of mouth only now it is more like fingertips to eyeballs using Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. Social media is this acclaimed “brand new thing” that sells better than any other kind of advertising…if one can use it correctly. That takes listening to what the customer wants and supplying that solution. Anyone who cut their sales eyeteeth on Zig Zigler tapes (before CDs) or Brian Tracy books had this basic concept embedded in the fibers of their being. But that's old stuff... or is it?

Brian Solis uses the example of Zappos which began something “new” in his book End of Doing Business As Usual. Zappos started listening to their customers and their sales rocketed from $32 million to $174 million in two years. It was all due to listening to their customers, providing what they needed, and making customer service a top priority. People began to talk, and spread the word so more customers began to buy. Amazing. Boomers remember the days when this was standard procedure. Gen-Xers never had the pleasure.

Zappos made sure to have a clear understanding of what the customer wanted. Then it became crystal clear that without that, no one would ever be satisfied. Old customers, new customers, old prospects, and new prospects were paid close attention. Zappos knew if you don’t pay attention, then you’ve got a disappointed, unsatisfied person who not only doesn’t want to do business with you, but you’ve also got a walking time bomb of potentially negative advertising.  If they have a bad experience they’ll tell more people about it than about a good experience. A person with a negative message (bad experience) will repeat it eighteen to twenty times. One with a good message (good experience) may repeat it three to five times. (Chilton Research,1995). That was back in the day when word of mouth was telephone to telephone (landlines generally connected to the wall with a cord). Today, that number has astronomically expanded because of social media, just a click away.

The take away is very simple: Don’t use terms like small stuff or waste of  time with any customer. You never know if that customer will turn into one of the most loyal customers you ever had. They surely won’t if you make them feel mistreated and unimportant: read that small. Even the best client can have a bad day and be snappish. You don’t have that luxury because service with a smile can change the worst attitude, but bad behavior in response to bad behavior just means everyone loses. Of course you know this already. Do your employees know this?

Listening is deciding that what that important person is saying is more important than what you are doing at that precise moment. That should be the simplest and most attended to lesson.

Every business owner and executive has heard this before. Every employee should have heard it, but it seems that fewer are hearing it every day. Every entrepreneur has had a bad experience and vowed not to repeat the mistake. It isn’t a new message. But, it is obvious that there are a lot of companies that must train their people in people skills, and most especially listening skills.  Listening, it seems, has become a lost art that has suddenly been rediscovered. Imagine that!