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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A "Smashing" Video



Check out what Nick does to the gingerbread house:



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Friday, November 26, 2010

Your Story



This is a story of your life in one area or another. If we consciously avert this tendency as described in the video, we will save ourselves a lot of misery.



Audio Download to MP3 Player
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Transcript
This is a story as told by Dr. Wayne Dyer, which I believe resonates with all of us, in one area of life or another. It’s a story of you. It may be a story of your relationships. It may be a story of your work. It may be a story of your studies. It may be a story of your career choices. Or it may be a story of another area of your life.

Chapter 1. I pick a street to walk down. It feels good on this street. It feels comfortable walking down this street. Suddenly, I fall into a hole. It catches me off guard. I didn’t see it coming. “How did I end up here?” I ask myself. I am hurt. Eventually, I climb out of the hole. It takes some time but the wounds eventually heal.

Chapter 2. I walk down the street. It feels good. I fall into another hole. “How did this happen again?” I ask myself. I can’t believe I am down here again. I eventually climb out. But it still hurts. My wounds eventually heal.

Chapter 3. I walk down the street. It feels good for the time being. This time, I see a hole coming. I still fall in. “I can’t believe it! How could I still end up down here!” I climb out. It doesn’t hurt as much because my body has now adapted. My shell’s become more hardened.

Chapter 4. I walk down the street. It feels good. I see a hole. This time, I walk around the hole,… but this street is still getting me nowhere.

Chapter 5. I walk down another street. Another street. The right street.

IF YOU COULD SKIP STRAIGHT TO ANOTHER STREET, CHAPTER 5, SKIP STRAIGHT TO CHAPTER 5. Walk down a different street, the right street. Although some people do go through chapters 1-4, going down the same street with the same holes, you’ll save yourself a lot of misery if you skip these chapters. Selectively seek out chapter 5, ANOTHER STREET, the right street and go right on it.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

It's All Possible, With God



It's all possible if you follow God's calling and keep connected to Him. Peace Pilgrim was called by God to walk across the country spreading the message of peace and helping multitudes of people. She gave away everything she had and just walked across the country with essentially nothing, trusting that all her basic necessities would be provided for her, as long as she is on the purpose from God. She walked across the country for more than 30 years carrying virtually nothing. She didn't have a steady paycheck. She didn't carry food with her. She did the work she was called to do, and everything was provided for her. It was just like how Jesus and his disciples walked around everywhere carrying nothing with them. (Matthew 10:7-10) Rationally, we would say, "It's impossible. How can someone not prepare necessities so basic as food, money, tranportation, and shelter and be okay? The answer is - it's all possible, AS LONG AS YOU ARE SERVING GOD. It's all possible as long as you are FOLLOWING YOUR CALLING OR PURPOSE from God.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Restore My Sanity



Restore my sanity! Live video right now at



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Monday, October 18, 2010

Follow Your Heart, Don't Live Someone Else's Life



The following video contains extremely important life lessons from Steve Jobs. He was speaking to Stanford University’s graduating class of 2005 at their commencement. It's only 15 minutes. His lessons echo what I’ve been saying (to anyone with opened ears) since 2004. I have to urge you to first set aside what you know and what society has been teaching you before you start listening to this speech. First, empty your cup.


If you prefer to read instead, transcript is available at the bottom of this entry.



Review the Following Themes of the Speech (I recommend that you watch again keeping them in mind)
(1) Trusting that the dots will connect. (He didn’t specify trusting who, and mentioned several options. I would say trusting God, the one and only.)
(2) Getting off “the well-worn path” when necessary “and that will make all the difference”. (This is a whole lesson by itself, about the “road less traveled” as I’ve taught students and friends (with opened ears.)
(3) Find your TRUE love (regarding your work as well as your companion).
(4) Remember that you’re going to die. This will remind you that you have less to lose than you think.

Rare Interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Together in 2007











Transcript of Steve Jobs' Stanford Speech
Thank you. I'm honored to be with you today for your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. Truth be told, I never graduated from college and this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation.
Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories. The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months but then stayed around as a drop-in for another eighteen months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife, except that when I popped out, they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking, "We've got an unexpected baby boy. Do you want him?" They said, "Of course." My biological mother found out later that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would go to college.

This was the start in my life. And seventeen years later, I did go to college, but I naïvely chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and no idea of how college was going to help me figure it out, and here I was, spending all the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out, I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms. I returned Coke bottles for the five-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example.

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer was beautifully hand-calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me, and we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts, and since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them.
If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on that calligraphy class and personals computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky. I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents' garage when I was twenty. We worked hard and in ten years, Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We'd just released our finest creation, the Macintosh, a year earlier, and I'd just turned thirty, and then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew, we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so, things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge, and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our board of directors sided with him, and so at thirty, I was out, and very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down, that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure and I even thought about running away from the Valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me. I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I'd been rejected but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods in my life. During the next five years I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer-animated feature film, "Toy Story," and is now the most successful animation studio in the world.

In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT and I returned to Apple and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance, and Lorene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life's going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love, and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it, and like any great relationship it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle.

My third story is about death. When I was 17 I read a quote that went something like "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "no" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important thing I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctors' code for "prepare to die." It means to try and tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next ten years to tell them, in just a few months. It means to make sure that everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope, the doctor started crying, because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and, thankfully, I am fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept. No one wants to die, even people who want to go to Heaven don't want to die to get there, and yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it's quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalogue, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stuart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late Sixties, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. it was sort of like Google in paperback form thirty-five years before Google came along. It was idealistic, overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stuart and his team put out several issues of the The Whole Earth Catalogue, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-Seventies and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath were the words, "Stay hungry, stay foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. "Stay hungry, stay foolish." And I have always wished that for myself, and now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Thank you all, very much.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Poetry



To all you romance readers, you may find this poem from the bible interesting and surprising. It is written by King Solomon (of a man to his bride) in Songs 4. The bible has a lot more than what most people think, including romance. Here it is:

How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Mount Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.

Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.

Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with elegance;
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.

Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.

All beautiful you are, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions' dens
and the mountain haunts of the leopards.

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.

You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.

You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.


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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not Imprisoned By Our Past


This was an entry I wrote on another site on 9/13/2004. I feel that it's a very important lesson as reminded by another blogger. I am reposting here.

"We are products of our past, but WE DON'T HAVE TO BE PRISONERS OF IT. God's purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader, and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life too. God specializes in giving people a fresh start." (Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life)

"What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven... What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record." Psalm 32:1 (LB)

Back in the days when Jesus was on earth, the devil wants the sinners to remain sinners. The devil wants the prostitutes, the dishonest tax collectors, and other sinners to remain in their sin. They were broken and the devil wants them to stay broken. The devil did this through the spiritual leaders such as the Pharisees. They didn't eat with sinners and they want to remain elite above sinners. They rejected the sinners which encouraged the sinners to remain as sinners. Unfortunately, there are some Christians today doing the same as the Pharisees of those days. Do not let them discourage you from walking with God. (In my personal experience, they had almost turned me away many times.)

God however had other plans, as shown through Jesus' actions when he was on earth. He wants the sinners to no longer be sinners. He accepted the broken and the fallen. He forgave, and caused many to repent and start anew with God. In another words, he spread the good "condition" of starting anew.

Even if this is not your first time of starting anew with God, you can still do it again. No where in the bible limits how many times you can start new with God or limits how many times you can repent. (This is not to say that you should plan to sin in the future.) Focus on now and plan now not to sin again and plan now to remain with God. Don't worry about whether you will succeed in doing so. No matter how many times you have repented and started anew with God in the past, right now you can do it again.

From my lessons from God through experiences, through bible lessons, and through different teachers, I'm here to tell you that you can start anew. All you have to do now is CHOOSE to start NOW. CHOOSE to walk with God. Make that choice. It's that simple. Don't be imprisoned by your past sins (of what you should've done or what you didn't do) whether it was 4 years ago or yesterday. Past is past. Learn from it, then let it go.

After you made the choice now to walk with God again, the second thing to do is repent. Choose now not to go back to your sinful ways. When we don't have God with us, we were like aimless wanderers. Remember. What's important is now. Choose now. Now not as in pressuring you with urgency, but now as in: don't dwell on the past (which you cant change) and don't dwell on the future (which you do not know).

Copyright: © 2004. This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for free on your web site, blog, or other publication if and only if you include this entire copyright notice including the following links and statement. Other free teachings from Amadeo Constanzo can be found at SpirFit.com and SpirFit.org

Shu Chan 陳樹中 University of California, UC Davis, Brooklyn Tech

Terence Chan LIU Long Island University

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not a Saint



In my last blog entry where I critiqued how some women dress, I might have sounded like a saint. I am here to tell you frankly I am definitely no saint. That's exactly why I wrote that entry, because I am being "real". I am a real man and we are biologically "built" in a certain way. When a woman dresses a certain way revealing too much or wearing clothes too tight, it's hard for a man not to look. However, this is not the kind of attention you want, ladies, as I've mentioned in my previous blog.

I am not a saint, but a man. A saint would not need women to stop dressing in a certain way in order for him to not look at them a certain way. Ladies, this is not the way you want us to look at you. We are not looking at you like a princess. This is not the type of attention you want. For more on this, see my previous entry at - http://stanzo.blogspot.com/2010/08/ladies-how-you-are-dressed.html

For the men who aim to be spiritual, there is a practical reason to strive to not let your eyes and mind wonder toward that "natural" place. You could find numerous examples of men bringing themselves to ruin because they were unable to do so, if you look in history or even current events.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Ladies, How You Are Dressed


Okay, ladies. This is the first time I am commenting on the way you dress, which is probably a dangerous thing to do. But hey, I am not the type who plays it safe.

For those of you who have the tendency to expose a lot to get guys’ attention, I just want to point out that there are different kinds of attention from guys. When you are exposing a lot of yourself, do you actually think the guys are saying to themselves, “What a beautiful princess?”

Trust me, we are are not thinking, “That’s the girl I want to marry.”

There are so many different dressing styles out there that you could actually choose a more elegant dressing style that is very beautiful without dressing immodestly. Check out the following fashion clip has some classy and beautiful styles, yet still modest.



To some Christian women (or spiritual women of other faith), I want to say this. Just because you are to dress modestly, it doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes that look like they belong to your grandmother.



I know that some of you may want to complain about the stick figure models in the video. As a fitness expert and a guy, that will require a completely separate blog entry about whether being stick figures are healthy and attractive, or not.

Copyright: © 2010. This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for free on your web site, blog, or other publication if and only if you include this entire copyright notice including the following links and statement. Other free teachings from Amadeo Constanzo can be found at SpirFit.com and SpirFit.org

Shu Chan 陳樹中

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don't Leave the Great Project


"I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down with you?" Nehemiah 6:3

Today's devotional at http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/nehemiah/a-great-work speaks directly to me. Boy does this apply to my work. For the few of us who have "left the tribe" and have been led by God onto "the road less traveled", this message applies. Things, circumstances, and even people have and will try to pull us away from the "great project" unintentionally or intentionally. From my experience, most of them do it unintentionally (which is slightly different from Nehemiah's case.) Some of them may even be beloved friends and family.

Similar to Nehemiah's experience, my experience also has been that fear tactics have been used to try to pull me away. They tell you that something bad will happen if you don't follow them. Maybe they are saying that you will be bankrupt financially and lose everything if you don't follow them. Maybe they are saying that you will get in trouble with the law if you don't follow them.

Whether they are intentional or unintentional, the consequences will be dire (more dire than their claims) if we succumb to them and allow ourselves to be pulled away from the great project.

In the end, you will have a happy ending if you stay on the project or the path God has put you on. If you stir away from this path, it will end badly. This is what you should fear, not the things that they are threatening you with.

A final advice for those of you in a similar situation. Keep a distance from them. If "they"include loved ones, you have to keep a distance or at least limit the frequency of contact with them. You unfortunately have to do this at least until the great project is completed.

Jesus also served as an example in this area when his own family was attempting to hinder him from his work (although they were doing so unintentionally). You probably remember the incidence when he was speaking while surrounded by a great crowd. Somebody told him that his family was on the outside trying to reach him and trying to get him to do what they wanted him to do. Another incidence was when he was a teenager where he allowed his family to travel a distance without him as he stayed behind to reason with the priests.

In my case however, I am blessed that most in my family support me or allow me to stay on this road God has placed me on. There is only maybe one person in my family who subtly tries to manipulate me to get off this road although she on the surface says that she supports me on this road.

"Father, You have given me a great work to do. Help me to see through the seeming "golden opportunities" that come my way to divert me from that which You have called me to do." (Elaine Stedman at http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/nehemiah/a-great-work)

Copyright: © 2010. This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for free on your web site, blog, or other publication if and only if you include this entire copyright notice including the following links and statement. Other free teachings from Amadeo Constanzo can be found at SpirFit.com and SpirFit.org

Shu Chan 陳樹中

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wireless Mic Law and Churches



"The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) changes to the radio spectrum left
churches around the country scrambling
to replace wireless microphone equipment
by a June deadline. The 700 MHz band,
used by about 25 percent of wireless mics,
has been re-designated as the FCC creates
space for digital television broadcasts
and mobile phones. Some churches say
replacing their equipment has cost tens of
thousands of dollars. After June 12, violators
faced fines of more than $100,000."

- Christianity Today

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Your Health Insurance



A few months ago, I wrote an article summarizing the health reform bills that President Obama signed, including key points that may affect you. I forgot to share it here. Here it is - http://www.baycurrents.net/key-features/item/217-what-the-new-health-reform-means-to-you

Not all the changes from the bill will take place immediately.... Some have taken place already such as your insurance company’s requirement to allow you to include your son/daughter (upto age 26) in your insurance plan. Other changes will take place later.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Pursuit of Unhappiness


In this country, we have the right to the pursuit of happiness (as written by one of the founding fathers.) However, we also have the right to pursue unhappiness. We have the right to get married.

I kid. I kid... Or do I? You have to ask my shrink.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How Do You Want to Be Remembered



How do you want to be remembered? That’s a question Dr. Stephen Covey asks us to think about. I came across a poem that I would want to be read at my funeral when I leave here.

THROUGH DEATH TO LIFE
by Kathleen A. Sullivan

The calm and gentle angel, Death,
Has folded in his strong embrace
One whom we loved – has borne him hence
To fill on High some special place.

We call him dead, and mourn his loss,
But yonder in the Home of Rest
No more he bears his earthly cross;
He lives in Heaven with the Blessed.

...

How oft, as years roll swiftly by,
Our lips will move in silent prayer,
...

His flock have lost their dearest friend,
But why make murmur or complaint?
For when that noble life did end,
God’s Kingdom gained another saint.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

John Wooden Passed Away at 99



The devout Christian and legendary coach John Wooden (winning 10 NCAA championships) passed away last Friday, June 4th. More about this at:

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2010/06/john_wooden_a_l_1.html#more

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Voices



“I believe that the voices of fear, both from without and within, can only be dispelled by trusting the voice that comes from the heart. Be still and listen to it. If it speaks of love and compassion for others, for the world itself, it just might be the voice of God – or a reasonable facsimile. If, however, it snarls with fear of the unknown, fear of losing what you have or of not getting what you want, then it just might be the voice of Rupert Murdoch – or a reasonable facsimile.” - Chuck Lorre

I can’t say that I entirely agree with the philosophy of Chuck Lorre, but I find this quote to be quite funny, and partially true.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Let Your Possessions Possess You


We have to look out for our natural tendency to be overly consumed by over-materialism and excessive comfort. This tendency correlates with lack of spiritual development.

"I don't know what spiritual development really means. But I do know we're deficient in some way. We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don't satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted" -Morrie Schwartz (the late sociology professor who was an agnostic)

"Whether the subject is bike racing, or cancer, or just living, comfort only takes us to a point that's known. Since when did sheets with the right thread counts, a coffeemaker, and an electric toothbrush become the only things worth having or working toward? Too often, comfort gets in the way of inner reckonings." -Lance Armstrong (an agnostic, cancer survivor, and 7-time Tour de France winner)

Here are two men with their new found wisdom while they were facing death. Not surprisingly, they echoed what the bible has been teaching us all along about the folly of putting too much focus and time on materialism (apparent in our "bling-bling" pop culture.) See Luke 12:16-21. Don't get me wrong. I do realize there are some real necessities in materials like food, clothing, and shelter. I even think that it is necessary to maintain a certain level of appearance (because we have to make our "temple of God" presentable). However, many of us in our pop culture go overboard in our excessive spending on our appearances, on decorating our houses, and on "souping" up our cars. Our obsessions have gone way beyond necessity. Our obsessions with luxury are causing our miseries.

I remember a dear lady, who was up in years. She was working so hard and always complaining. I finally said to her, "Why in the world do you need to work so hard when you have only yourself to support?" And she said "Oh, I have to pay rent on a five room house." "A five room house!" I replied. "But you're alone in the world. Couldn't you live happily in one room?" "Oh yes," she said sadly, "but I have furniture for a five room house." She was actually working her fingers to the bone to provide a proper home for that furniture! And that happens all the time. All I can say is, don't let it happen to you.

BECAUSE OF OUR PREOCCUPATION WITH MATERIALISM WE OFTEN MISS THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE, which are free. UNNECESSARY POSSESSIONS ARE UNNECESSARY BURDENS. IF YOU HAVE THEM, YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.

I'll tell you about one more woman. She was liberated, although not in the best possible way. I saw her only occasionally, but I happened to see her about a month after her huge house, in which she and her husband had been living alone since the children were grown, had burned down while they'd been out. They lost everything except the clothes they were wearing. Remembering how attached she had been to that huge house, in spite of the fact that it was such a burden for her to take care of, I started to say a few words of sympathy. But she said, "Don't sympathize with me! Now, you could have the morning after, but not now. Just think, I will never have to clean out that attic. I will never have to clean out those clothes closets. I will never have to clean that basement! Why, I've never felt so free. I just feel I'm starting life all over again!"

She and her husband were living in a sensible size apartment and, indeed, I'm sure they did experience a wonderful sense of freedom. But wouldn't it have been better if they had learned to give and had extended their surplus towards those who needed it? Then they would have been blessed by the giving, and others would have been blessed by the getting. In any case, it was a situation which liberated. (Peace Pilgrim)



If you have enough for food, if you have housing, if you have enough for clothing, if you have enough for a certain level of freedom in transportation, if you have enough for unforeseen conditions or illnesses, and if you have enough for all the vital needs, you are fine. On the other hand, it is not necessary to drive a Porsche instead of a Honda. (That extra money you spend on a Mercedes could've been partly invested in funds to generate passive income to cover more necessary expenses and partly donated to the needy.) It is not necessary buy brand name clothing when there are a lot of beautiful clothes available for 1/3 of the price. (If you ever see me in brand name clothing by the way, they were gifts from others. The last time I bought a brand name anything was probably more than eight years ago and the price must have been drastically cut.)

"I am not a slave to comfort and convenience. I wouldn't be a pilgrim if I were. We can allow false beliefs to govern our lives and be enslaved by them. Most people do not wish to be free. They would prefer to moan and chafe about how impossible it is to give up their various enslavements to possessions, food, drink, smoking, and so forth. It is not that they can't give them up--they don't really want to give them up." -Peace Pilgrim

Here's the take-home lesson - Don't let your possessions possess you.

"I realize that if you don't have enough you won't be happy. Neither are you happy if you have too much. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest." –Peace Pilgrim

Copyright: © 2006, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for your web site, blog, or e-zine only if you include the following statement and web links-
"Additional free teachings from him can be found at stanzo.blogspot.com and spirfit.com". You automatically have permission to post this article if you include the above statement and links. Otherwise, permission requests could be sent to healthsciencewriter@gmail.com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Going Through A Storm



Are you going through a storm? If you are, the following will help you tremendously:


http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=70573336&blogID=304161531&Mytoken=273BC7B5-39BC-4ACC-BF18C0B221B90490969731


http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/mark/why-are-you-afraid

http://Life.SpirFit.com/2009/06/power-of-uncertain-part-1-opportunities.html

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=70573336&blogID=304963041&Mytoken=273BC7B5-39BC-4ACC-BF18C0B221B90490969731



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Friday, March 26, 2010

How Do I Forgive



Will we be punished for our unforgiving hearts, our anger, and our resentment? Or are we punished by them? My answer: both. Those of us who have Christian parents or other spiritual teachers may have already learned that we will be punished for our anger and unforgiving heart when we face judgment at the end of this life. However, many of us do not realize that we are also punished by our anger and resentment.

Rick Warren explained this insightfully: "Resentment always hurt you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offense and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake, learn from it, and let it go. The Bible says, 'To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.'" (Warren, 2002) Warren quoted this passage from Job 5:2. The New International Version (NIV) of this passage states: "Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple." When our resentful and unforgiving hearts take control, don't we feel like it's killing us inside? It really is foolish to let the resentment eat us up inside.

Dr. Wayne Dyer provided a good metaphor on this topic (Dyer, 2001). When a person is bitten by a poisonous snake, the person does not die from the bite. Instead, the person dies from the venom that flows in his bloodstream after the bite. In the same way, when someone does something that hurts us, his action isn't the most harmful. What is most harmful to us is the resentment that flows within us after the action has been done (just like how the venom flowing in the bloodstream is what kills the person). However, we have a choice to get rid of the resentment and prevent it from flowing within us.

There is plenty of scientific evidence that support this biblical advice of having a forgiving heart and getting rid of our resentment. Such resentment and anger are negative emotions. There are a growing number of scientific studies showing that such negative emotions cause illnesses and aggravate existing illnesses. Such studies have been done by researchers like Dr. Margaret Kemeny (Kemeny, 2003) among others (Koh, 2005 and Enkelmann, 2005.) Medical doctors and medical school teachers such as Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Herbert Benson also have given lectures that are consistent with what I am stating here. Science is showing that God's advice in the Bible has a practical purpose to do us good.

So how do we obtain and maintain a forgiving heart? How do we eliminate our anger and resentment, or how do we prevent such negative emotions from taking over us? To do so, we need to ask God for help in prayer. The seemingly impossible goal of having a forgiving heart is possible when we have God's help. It is possible when we are connected to God by prayer. The healthy practice of taking out uninterrupted quiet time will also help. Another method to obtain a forgiving heart is daily reading of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). From these books, we read about the heart of Jesus who was the most forgiving human being in history. When we read about Him, we are reminded of how our hearts should be.

A third method to obtain and maintain a forgiving heart is by listening to loving and positive music such as Christian music. It is very important to stay away from music of violence, hate, immorality, and negativity. The same also goes for video games and movies. There are too many movies of the hero taking revenge, when in reality the real heroes deserving respect are those who do not take revenge.

Whatever wrong is done to you cannot be undone by revenge and resentment anyway. Instead, resentment and revenge always cause more problems.

Let's look at the example of Jesus and the forgiving heart he had when he lived on earth. When he was being tortured and about to be killed, he prayed the following:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34 (NIV)

Jesus is such a great example of having a forgiving heart. He asked God to forgive strangers who were torturing and killing him by the worst possible method during that era under Roman rule. Yet we think that it's such a hard task to forgive even our loved ones! It really is nothing compared to how much Jesus forgave.

Our family and friends love us the most, but they can hurt us the most. I think most people can agree with this. So how do we get ourselves to forgive our family, our relatives, and our friends when they hurt us? It is much easier to forgive our loved ones if we change our perspective. We have to see past their outer action and words. Instead we should focus on their inner intent and inner concern for us. We have to focus on their inner love and see past their external behavioral mistakes and imperfect actions that aggravate us or hurt us. When we look deep inside their hearts, we will see that they only want what's best for us. We will see that beyond their imperfect actions or words, they have real love and concern for us. We should also remember times when we said things or did things that frustrated or hurt our loved ones, and we sought their forgiveness. When we remember those times when we do the hurting, it's easier for us to forgive. We also should know that there are times when we hurt our loved ones, and we don't even realize it. In those instances, wouldn't we want them to see past our faults and forgive us? Remember this and it will be easier to refrain from anger and resentment toward our loved ones when they do us wrong.

Personally, I sometimes remember experiences in the past when strangers, former employers, neighbors, and others intentionally attacked me because they had no concern or love for me. They attacked me for their own little benefits. Generally I try to keep such memories out of my thoughts, but frankly it is sometimes difficult to keep them out of my mind. So I use these memories to make it easy for me to forgive my loved ones who care deeply about me. I also make an effort to remember all the instances when my loved ones did good things for me. Doing so makes it easy for me to forgive them. We should all make an effort to remember all the instances when our loved ones do good things for us.

Again, we need to look beyond the imperfect external actions, words, and behavior of people. We need to look past these and look deep inside them to see their inner love. I know people who fail to do this and they are very unhappy. Peace Pilgrim once said, "Stop being a surface liver who stays right in the froth of the surface." (Peace Pilgrim, 1991) We must look beyond the surface!

Understanding the importance of forgiveness in establishing and maintaining a connection with God may make it easier for us to forgive everybody. Having a forgiving heart is extremely important in our connection with God. The Bible states the following: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25(NIV)

One of the most common complaints I hear is, "Why doesn't God help me? Why hasn't he heard my prayers?" The biggest reason I see in many cases is that we have a weak connection to God, if any. There are numerous reasons for this, one of which is having an unforgiving heart. When we have an unforgiving heart, we can't connect to God. When we don't have the connection to God, we complain that God isn't listening to our prayers and we conclude that he is powerless. It's like a man concluding that the internet doesn't exist because he refuses to get a computer and refuses to sign up with an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

One of Jesus' parables in the book of Matthew demonstrates how we really are when we fail to forgive in comparison to how much God our master forgives us:

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him.

'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'

The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him.

'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in.

'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'

In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

- Matthew 18:23-35 (NIV)


To fully understand this parable, we must realize that we are just like that unmerciful servant, and God is the merciful master. If we are honest with ourselves, we would see that we all are that unmerciful servant with our natural vengeful minds and our desire to seek "justice" for ourselves. We must realize this and make an effort to no longer be this unmerciful servant. Yes, it takes effort, but it's worth the effort. Our connection to God will become better after making the effort. Our immediate lives will become better and it will keep us from hell in the long run.

Summary
We must all strive to have a forgiving heart. If we don't, we are only hurting ourselves with our resentment and anger. We are also destroying our health and our connection with God. We are punished for our anger and resentment, but we are also punished by our anger and resentment. We should keep resentment, or the "venom", out of our systems by forgiving. So how do we forgive? To do this, we should pray to God for help and look to Jesus as our example by reading the Gospels and books of similar nature. We should have uninterrupted quiet time daily. We must connect to God. We should listen to positive music such as Christian music and stay away from negative music. We should stay away from movies of violence, hero's vengeance, killings, and immorality.

References
1. Rick Warren, The purpose driven life (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), 28.
2. Wayne Dyer, 10 secret for success and inner peace (Carlsbad, California: Hay House, 2001), 115.
3. Kemeny, ME. (2003). An interdisciplinary research model to investigate psychosocial cofactors in disease: Application to HIV-1 pathogenesis. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 17, S62-72.
4. Koh, KB (2005). The relation between anger expression, depression, and somatic symptoms in depressive disorders and somatoform disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66(4), 485-491.
5. Enkelmann, HC, et. al.(2005). The relationship of hostility, negative affect and ethnicity to cardiovascular responses: an ambulatory study in Singapore. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 56(2), 185-197.
6. Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim: her life and work in her own words (Santa Fe, NM: Ocean Tree Books, 1991)

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Copyright: © 2005, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. This document may not be copied, copied for resale, or incorporated in any publications, recordings, broadcasts, performances, displays or other products, without the written permission of the author. Requests for permission should be made in email to healthsciencewriter@gmail.com