How does love affect us?

gary, davis, love, live, heart, affect, christian, clueless

Your first thought should be, “You’re kidding right!?!” Everyone knows how love affects us. Do we? From The World of Psychology comes these ideas on How Being in Love Affects Your Personality. https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/05/30/the-science-of-love-9-ways-being-in-love-affects-your-personality/ .

  1. You’re a Combination of Happy and Anxious.
  2. You’re Addicted.
  3. You’re Capable of Taking More RISKS.
  4. You’re Over-the-Top Overprotective.
  5. You Can’t Focus.
  6. You’re Confident
  7. If You’re Neurotic, You Become Stabilized.
  8. You Don’t Judge.
  9. You’re Smarter.

In short, your dopamine level propels you to heights you never thought you could achieve. But it’s not simply chemical. That’s merely a scientific analysis.

Being LOVED is an enabler, a foundation, a definer, a source of personal strength, a reference point, and a reflective mirrorof who you are. When you know you are loved you feel safe, secure, and in a place where things make sense. This is true of romantic love, family love, brotherly love, or familiar love. Love provides the context for so much of our life that it can never be underestimated.

NOT being loved creates a vacuum in us which is not always filled by wonderful things! Just the opposite; we replace a healthy human love with a self-promoting, self-aggrandizing love. This kind of love may seem fulfilling at the moment, but in the longer view creates isolation, protective walls, and a façade we want others to see. Choose your loves wisely.

There is yet another effect of love on us. It stems from the love that we give to others. Because if love is to be grasped to the fullest, it not only must be received, but given. Dare I say that if you have difficulty receiving love, you will have equal difficultyexpressing love. Love’s manifold facets affect us in the giving and receiving of it; its volume expands exponentially as it is given. For that is what grounds love in its fuller context.

So, if I may ask, How’s your love life? Are you being loved in such a way that it fills your life? Are you loving another that enhances your own life (& theirs, of course)? Or do you find it hard to love or be loved? These are the kinds of questions to talk over with your spouse, a good friend, or a counselor.

 NEXT DISCUSSION:  What are the effects of NOT being loved? Of NOT loving?

 How do you say “I love you?

Gary

Advertisements

The cold never bothered me anyway

Disney, frozen, clueless, christian, new englandIt’s early morning. I wrap my hands around my coffee mug in front of the warmth of a wood-stove fire. A layer of fresh snow coats the hill out back where sledding is a favorite pastime. The sun is just on the rise. And…, it is COLD. -2F at the moment; but we could see 20F today if the sun is bright.

This is my kind of day!

We have a lot to do today. Writing, counseling, designing the future with some local Christian leaders. I will probably get to my office uptown at some point after my doctor’s appointment at 9:00. But right now, I am simply content to sit here and ponder the deeper questions of life in the flames of the fire.

You see, the cold never bothered me. I love it cold. When a lot of New Englanders head to more southern climes, my wife and I head north; usually to Freepost, ME, for a time of play at LL Bean and hiking snow covered beaches. We love the cold that much. And yes, you go right ahead and think we’re crazy. We are.

It’s a lot like that with faith too, isn’t it? When our faith seems cold we long for those warmer times. All of us go through cold times and hot times in our faith. Yet I wonder if this is more a commentary on our temperament than on the reality of our faith. We may feel cold in our faith at times; but that does not negate the genuineness of our faith. It is Christ that holds us. Christ before me, Christ behind me… .

If we could see our future would it then still be faith? No. For there would be no reason for faith. It would be more like following a map than carving a path through the wilderness.

My faith, though based in history and Scripture, often feels like blind faith. This is especially true in those seasons of cold realities, when there seems little to hope, little to celebrate. In those times, bland faith might be a better descriptor.

We who deign to be Christ followers need to learn to rise above the pain and trust again. I know I’ve had to this past year. And it was not easy. It was time and energy consuming. But I trusted that our Lord would never give me more difficulty than I could bear, more adversity than could be a crippling weight. Even David, in Psalm 42 was aware of his despair and depression. But he fought back and knew he would again praise God even for these times. Just not yet.

So don’t let the cold bother your faith. Push through it. Maybe you’ll even learn to love the cold. Go ahead. Go out and play in the snow. Wow! The temperature is almost up to 12̊ F!

 

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Weeds in my Soul

weed, faith, weedkiller,

I have a confession to make. I hate grass! Ok, then you also know how much I hate weeds. The problem is…, if we killed all the weeds in our lawn there would be no green left. I swear the whole lawn is a field of weeds!Conundrum.

Weeds seem to sprout up no matter what I do. Weed Killer, Clover Obliterator, or Brush Fire Kits— nothing works. The same is true as I seek to live an honorable life before God & man. Weeds. Everything is basically green, but when you look closely— weeds.

One of the books I am presently reading talked about the weeds that grow up in our souls. We don’t always notice them because they are green like everything else. Sort of. They seem to creep amongst the lush grass that I have been cultivating and grooming most of my adult life. It’s like some of the Spiritual Turf Builder spread evenly over the green grass of my soul is snatched away by the weeds, just like on my lawn.

I’ve learned to live with the weeds in my lawn; not so sure I am all that comfortable with the weeds in my soul. Nestled within the deep crevices of my soul they can do serious damage. Not that I live with a pseudo-spirituality or surface-Christian faith. I do not. I live as upright a life as I can. But there are weeds.

For most Christians, green is green, weeds, grass, what’s the difference?!? But for professional Lawn-Keepers for-the-Lord, they can spot a weed from a mile away. Sometimes, that’s all they see. That’s all they focus on. Thankfully, the Father looks at us through the eyes of Christ. Our sins are forgiven and our weeds are taken away. Now that’s Turf-Builder!

So stop wallowing in your guilt and shame. Get on with grooming your soul to produce that pleasant aroma of freshly mown grass, announcing that your spiritual lawn is now trimmed and your weeds are gone.

Remember that about other people while you’re at it.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

Still sleeping…but half awake

cat, asleep, awake, gary davis, christianity, thinkingMany genuine Christians in this postChristian era still do not comprehend the extent to which the influence of the Christian message has lost its hearing in Western Culture. The mighty dollar is the new God of choice. Power is the new religion; whatever it takes to stay alive or succeed is the practice of faith.

Christianity has lost sway over people’s lives, government decisions, and general morality. What genuine Christianity is flourishing here is doing so outside the mainstream cultural inclinations. But we are not at odds with our culture; we have been subsumed within its values so fully that we are barely noticeable; unless, of course, one of us tries some lame-brained stunt to get noticed in the name of Jesus. Thus do we verify our culture’s judgment that we are irrelevant to anything that matters.

We are still sleeping when it comes to understanding what normal people genuinely think of us; if they think of us at all. To be fair, though, some of us are waking up to the reality that we are in the minority; at least in American culture (referring to the US). Most Christians in the USA still need to come to grips with the realities of the cultural changes and blurring-of-the-lines that has taken place. Do you want to know what people think of us?!? Ask them. Take time to build rich relationships with people around you who never, EVER go to church. Do you want the truth, or do you want to stay asleep…, in a permanent daze?

Let’s wake up and get involved in the lives of those who sit just on the fringes of our lives, who need Jesus.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

  Gary

Vice Versa

image001
Fractal Machine

A good friend of mine once said, “Life is painful. If you haven’t realized that yet you haven’t lived long enough.”

Life changes. So also do our perceptions of who we are and what we are yet to accomplish.

For example, when I was in my 20s I had a clear sense of calling—

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19, (NIV)

With great energy and enthusiasm I plunged into the depths of our world’s myriad throngs, making one mistake after another. I was so intent on proclaiming that I have spent a lifetime relearning how to communicate our faith so those who need our Lord can understand it. The message is the same, but its transference is now attuned to the culture, experiences, and nuances of those who hear it.

Today, Our Lord Christ reminds me that He is the One who fulfills our faith. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders (us) and the sin that so easily entangles (us). And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2, (NIV)

Christ Jesus will be the One who will draw all the peoples of the world to Himself. He will fulfill the Great Commission given to us. Nonetheless, we are the ones who are called to not loose heart, to stay the course, to throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that entangles, and to keep our focus on our Lord. If we tilt our glance to one side or the other we may believe that we are no longer in the race. I assure you, we are.

Of a truth, I must admit to some discouragement and weariness along the way. Sometimes I’ve just wanted to throw in the towel and say, enough! All I hear back from God is, “Really! That’s interesting.”

Get the point? You are not the one who gets to decide when your calling, your race, is over. Do not mess with the God Who made you. It’s way too dangerous.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

Getting Lost – Intentional loss of control

control, lost, letting go, clueless, Christian, gary, davis

GETTING LOST: intentional loss of control

All of us face times when we feel like we are out-of-control: some of those times we actually are out-of-control. When launching a new venture it may become obvious quickly that we are not in control; at other times, we will simply lose control. This isn’t always a bad thing.

In our postmodern marketplace the smartest thing an entrepreneur or inventor can do is to let go of control at times, to watch others wrestle with the problems for themselves. Intentionally stepping out-of-control not only creates distance from projects, it often carries perspective as well. Stepping aside provides space to think, to get away from things for a while. It creates space for other people to step in and try their hand at generating solutions. They will rise to shine or they will learn from failure. This is a win-win situation all around. Corporate and personal growth comes through struggle and adversity. Stepping out of the way so others can take control gives them the opportunity to show their stuff. It will turn them into more capable employees who have greater trust and respect for your leadership.

If they do fail, they will only do so once; ok, maybe twice, or three times. But eventually they will learn from their short-comings and rise to the challenge. The next time they attempt to tackle a problem they will probably come up with a better resolution than you could. Good job team!

So step out-of-control every now and then…, intentionally. It will be good for your soul and produce pride for those who must solve the problem in your absence.

Incidentally, stepping out-of-control in your Christian life might just give God the room He needs to move you where you need to be.

[n.b. There will be no EMPulse during the month of August as we will be out of the office. Unless…, one of you would step forward to write some?  I’m stepping out-of-control.]

Honor God; honor people…, make a difference,

Gary

Beyond Words-Final Take-What the future holds

future, hoverboard, clueless, christian, gary, davisA good portion of the Christian landscape in the West seems to be all about impending gloom & doom. To address this, I refer you to this web-post last August, 2015— http://worldrevivalnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-you-have-been-duped-into-believing.html. Humanity, as a whole, is doing better than it ever has. But there are still a few of us who are the crazies, the conspiracy theorists, the terrorists; the prophets-of-doom who try to drag us into their spiral so only they can “show us the way” and pull us out.

If I remember things aright, the Lord God of the Universe holds the future in His hands and we are admonished to not be afraid.

In the light of being heralded a false-prophet, or even a heretic, I would like to make some predictions about the immediate future. The sun, in all likelihood, will come up tomorrow. Some parts of life will get better; some parts will get worse. We will ALL still have to pay bills, eat, and take out the trash. Some of us will not have food to eat; some, sadly, will not. Our world governments will continue to play with the balance of power between those who HAVE and those who HAVE-NOT. Some of us will get in a vacation: some of us have no concept of that in our language or culture. So, same ol’, same ol’— with continuing sophistication & refinement.

Not much of a prediction, is it? Hardly a prophesy either.

But I hope the point is clear. At best, our future is only marginally within our control.

Since time-travel to the future has not yet been perfected, the future remains a matter of trust and vigilance. We trust that our own efforts, individually and corporately, will make us ready for whatever curve-balls life will hurl our way. But vigilance must remain constant. We need to keep our eyes open in persistent awareness that we are not the final arbiters of all things. If you are trying to make it on your own, controlling and/or containing your immediate environment you are, of all people, absurdly in over your head.

So…, what does the future hold? It holds possibility, determination, hope, pain, struggle, sorrow, loss, and celebration. It is an open door for us to step through with trepidation and boldness. We live and move and have our being within the safe perimeters of the God who made us. If we can learn to flourish within them we can change the world. So help us God.

 

Honor God; honor people…, make a difference,

Gary

______________