Guidance for Life

When Life Hurts! 

Rumours can destroy people’s lives. How are we to respond when we hear bad news about someone, or experience it ourselves, or when the loss in our life is overwhelming? It may be that our health breaks down, or someone we love dies.  What about the day-by-day things that rob us of love, safety, peace, enjoyment? The world has gone crazy with violence.

First– Principles of Life that have helped me, followed by verses from the Bible explaining a quality life.

THE TEACHINGS OF LIFE ITSELF

Each of us develops a core value about life from our childhood: about work, family, security, and even wealth and poverty. These fundamental beliefs affect the choices that we make, and some of the reactions that we have. The core values either limit us,  or set us free to be who we really want to be.

No one has the same core values, but we tend to be drawn towards those with similar beliefs. I speak to the ordinary person to offer guidelines that will bring healing to our nation and our world and is helping to heal myself.  General things, basic psychology someone might say, but the truths that can help us all.

I speak to someone who is suffering, because it takes courage to face the blows of life.  There was no help  when the medical profession I had given my life to failed our family in the terrible death of my grandson. I fled the country for awhile to try to escape the pain, but that tragedy lingers on in the life of my child. I offer hope because I had to find it myself, and keep on doing so.  With the terrible situation in the world, especially the suffering people of the Middle East  let alone the starving millions in Africa and elsewhere, for all of us it begins with simple truths.

We  limit ourselves by what we say to ourselves and what we absorb from the voices of other people, and may feel “I can’t do that!” So of course you cannot.  Want to be rich? Then learn how to be rich. But thousands of rich people and lottery winners can attest that there has to be more to life than fame and fortune. What you believe becomes your reality. Thoughts lead to action. So we begin with our mind.

Believe in yourself, that you have worth, that you can contribute something worthwhile to this world, and that you are unique and valuable. I personally feel we all want and need that, but the attacks against self worth are undermining our society.

Look for creative ideas to express yourself, even dream bigger dreams even if your circumstances say it is impossible. Then fine tune things and begin baby step to get what you really want. Write out your goals. Study what others have done.  Research areas in which you lack knowledge. With regard to finance,  learn to control  the money you have,  especially one’s spending. and always live on less than your income.  Talk to your partner about these things so you are in agreement in the direction of your lives.

Gather people around you that encourage you,  and limit the time you spend with those that do not.  Choose your friends carefully. Even if you are dying, pray,  because there is no  greater resource available to you than releasing God’s power to work in the lives of yourself and others.

Love yourself. The suffering, the failures, the jolts that hit us all, can wound us internally and affect how we view the world around us. We need  time to heal from the pain that limits us. How? By stopping all negative thinking first of all. Listen to what you are saying to yourself.

As soon as a sad thought comes into your conscious thinking, “Nobody cares , ” stop it, block it, then deliberately replace it by saying something nice about yourself to yourself. ” I am a kind person.” We have to break the habits of negative thinking, often not recognized,  into a positive belief inside of us. Find something to be thankful for this very day, and  do it every day. You can control your thinking.

It took me six years of my life to learn to do this, and I thank Oprah for teaching me because I was floundering in grief, endlessly going over unhappy thoughts again and again in my mind like a vicious circle. I had to stop it all, and learn  a new pattern of thinking, which I am sharing with you. It saved my life because I lost all desire to go on.

Be very, very careful what you think about, “things that are true, are lovely and are of good report,”says the Bible. This is extremely important.   Choose to believe what you may not be feeling, that you are loved, you  are worthwhile, you  were made you for a purpose, God is wanting the best for you, to prosper you and give you hope. He loves you. We should have the same attitude.

Now bring your statements in line with your beliefs. Speak positive words about your future, yourself and your situation. Deliberately focus on this. Words have power. Be careful what you say to yourself, to others.

Fight the battle for control of your mind. Chemicals get depleted in the body, affecting our mood. Get medication to replace them  if you struggle with depression or intrusive thoughts, especially those wanting to harm you or others. Seek medical help if you are spiraling downward. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep.

Many people have found the benefit of sitting close to a special lamp whose rays help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depression caused by a change of seasons. The further you live from the equator, the more likely people will be affected,  and becomes noticeable around Day Light Savings time.

It is a form of light deprivation and one’s mood, energy and sleep falter. The light mimics the sun to boost the chemical,  Seretonin, in your body, that produces the pleasure felt on a bright, summer day. So, spend 30 minutes a day in the morning to reset your body clock, sitting about 12 inches from the light. The rays must reach your eyes.  It really works.

You can turn your life story into a message and money that can completely change your current situation. Begin where you are, follow these steps,  and let the ashes of your life become your greatest power for good.

Love others: Let go of the list of wrongs you may have in your mind against anyone, and overlook insults. It isn’t about changing your opinion. It is realizing that anger and bitterness are hurting you and affecting your relationships.  Forgive others and yourself, and give thanks instead. Stop talking out loud in recounting the wounds of the past. One day you may realize that painful experiences no longer hurt, and now you have a great message to share with others.

Realize that loving others is no guarantee that they will love you back, or even care. They may even abuse your generosity and kindness. Don’t let any bad experience stop the flow of your help because  too many people believe the world owes them something,  It does  not. Encourage people to work even for  few seconds before handouts, to encourage self respect. “Would you help me………..” 

The Bible says if you will not work, you should not eat. So how to find the balance of loving through giving and not giving, that is not easy to decide for any of us. If there is an immediate need for shelter, food, safety on the street. That should draw on our compassion, but there is room for much more.

There seem to be three groups of those who appear to be in need: people who deliberately try to deceive you into feeling sorry for them to get freebies, the panhandlers.   Sadly a growing number of other people  have developed a helplessness and inability to face the responsibilities of life, are not practical, and find themselves on the street hiding behind a wall of indifference, addictions, some with severe mental illness,  and so on.  They do need to be cared for by others in providing housing and financial management.

A third group of homeless people includes thousands  who may have lost their job and their homes, or may be running from abuse, even Christian widows who love Jesus, and  professionals, each with a heartbreaking story. The Internet just reported that 6,900 people are homeless in Toronto this winter,  and there are not enough shelter beds for them all. Multiply that by how many cities? It is a growing epidemic here in North America, and speaks to the need for affordable housing and a steady income. I met someone who won’t go to a shelter because of a very bad experience there.

In my travels last summer, I  learned a lot more about the desperate plight in people’s lives. I walked by a church  in Toronto  that is housing about 40 drug abusers and the mentally challenged, people who have found a place of refuge. I chatted with a neighbour who told me about this ministry.

Another time I was staying at a Guest House in another city  and paused at a small bus shelter on a side street. I chatted with a man in a wheelchair. He told me he lived in that glassed enclosure, and I thought he was just waiting for a bus as I was.

I came out of a Sunday morning church service in a city and walked over to a nearby park in a city to rest, to discover a group of people serving lunch to the public. They fed me and many others, while I learned they had been doing this every Sunday for the past five years. Thank you for such dedicated caring for strangers.

The Salvation Army, and other front line personnel,  secular and many faith organizations are doing a wonderful work of trying to help suffering people. In some communities the Church is strongly present by providing free community meals and operating Thrift Stores. I just read of one church in the States that has developed a paved parking lot with washrooms and showers where people can live in their cars. Another has a developed a trailer park for the homeless. Together they are putting faith into action.

But all these efforts are a drop in the bucket of suffering humanity. But they do matter. This is our country and this situation strikes at our pride in our nation, and much, much deeper than that. No one should suffer like this. Millions are trapped in refugee camps around the world and is North America to have one next? Maybe they are called ‘shelters’ here.

The difficulty is that prices are leaping in the grocery stores while packaging is growing smaller; wages are too low to offset this growth,  and jobs are hard to get or keep. An aging population needs care,  and youth want freedom at almost any cost. So the streets are getting crowded with people who have no where to go and don’t know what to do. The rage and bitterness at life, the frustration, the fear, the desperation is no doubt contributing to the rising crime rate.

There has to be a plan for people to recover from homelessness and poverty, but many have no plan at all,  and have no insight what led to their situation. Who will teach these people financial principles and money management, and what one has to do step by step? Here perhaps is an overlooked area that needs to be addressed, especially in shelters. To provide sessions with local people who have walked the road themselves and found their way back. A fellow sufferer, who can answer those questions a homeless person night never ask the professional. To give hope,   in practical terms.

The great tragedy is that there is deep stigma associated with being homeless, even in the Church.  it should not be.   Governments are trying to help, while others are not.  May I encourage you to do at least one thing to help one homeless person this week. If even half of the people who visit this site did that very thing, we would start a chain of events that would explode  into joy. Catch a vision and let it grow. Getting people properly housed heads the list.

Love your neighbour as yourself, ” the second greatest commandment.

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Find what you are passionate about in life, and build your  life around this. It may mean turning a hobby into an income producing business or just enjoying spending time doing something for pure pleasure. Give yourself permission to enjoy life, and self care. Mothers especially struggle with this one sometimes. Slow down, go for a quiet walk in nature,  spend time with those you love, lots of time.

Hating your job will limit your future advancement. Decide to be the best employee you can be at any job you have.  Each experience, if viewed positively, can help  you become a better, more caring person and that should be our goal. “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure” Norman Vincent Peale.

Save for retirement. This is so very important,  as one who now lives it. Changes are coming, and there may be no  guarantee of a government pension for those who expect one. Rents are now higher than many people’s pensions, causing untold suffering. So regularly put away some money where it can compound in interest,  develop multiple streams of income, especially passive ones not related to employment , and review and update your financial goals annually. Leave an inheritance to your children’s children. Families, please care for each other and especially your oldest members. Don’t expect society to do that.

I believe that having specifics goals is important in life, to choose the direction of your life instead of just letting it happen to you. I’ve done both, but having a focus lifts me out of restlessness and makes life more enjoyable.

Suddenly, abruptly my working life was over, and I awoke to realize  that I gave away most of my income to other people to have a life style I wanted, and none of that mattered any more. It shocked me. I had to find a new life for myself, a purpose, a reason to get up every day. Something of value to give away. This website is my gift to the world, to you,  and to myself. Preserving history matters to me,  as does faith and family.  What are you leaving behind?

What about today? I’ve  been studying the five love languages, ways in which people want to receive love,  and how they prefer to express it to others:  through touch (affection), words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and spending quality time with someone.

Identifying these in myself and in those around me, has brought deeper understanding of humanity.  Helping fill up the love tank in other people by using  all five love languages is a wonderful goal and healing touch in my own life. May you be so blessed today.

What would you do,  if you were not afraid?  Let’s stretch a bit, trying out new interests from time to time as we try to identify what really gives us joy? Even more than that, what gives God joy?  What are we to do to please Him, because we take nothing with us when we die.  What  awaits us when we stand before God  and give an account of our life?  Every thought, every word, every action.

Finally, give away a portion of your income to a worthy cause that you support. Somehow this releases a positive flow in your life, something hard to understand if you have only pennies left this month on which to live. Pennies no longer circulate in Canada, but you get the principle. Making someone else’s life more positive by donating your money, your time, and your guidance will enrich your own life in amazing ways that may even surprise you.   It may save your life..

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

A QUALITY LIFE

Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12  “Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long, and that it may go well with you.

Proverbs 23:22 “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 13:1  “A wise son heeds instruction and correction, but a scoffer listens not to rebuke..”

Proverbs 29:15  “A child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.”

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Psalm 15:1-3 (NIV)  Lord, who will dwell in your sacred tent?….he whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on another.”

Psalm 101:5 “Whoever….slanders his neighbour, him I will cut off…who has a haughty look, and a proud heart I cannot and will not tolerate….”

Proverbs 10:18   “He who hides hatred is of lying lips, and he who utters slander is a fool.”

Proverbs 19:11   “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Matthew 7:10 “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Matthew 19:19; 22:35 Jesus said: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, among with all malice.

II Timothy 2: 22  “ Flee youthful lusts and purse righteousness, faith, love and peace. Refuse foolish and stupids arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Matthew 5:43, 44  ” Love your enemies…bless them that curse you…….do good to them that hate you… and pray for those who persecute you.”

Luke 3: 15    And the soldier likewise demanded of him, saying, “And what shall we do?” Jesus said unto them, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wage.”

Romans 12: 19, 20   “Do not avenge yourselves. ….. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”.

Titus 1:5-9    “Be blameless, faithful to one’s wife, helping one’s children believe, and not wild or disobedient. Not quick tempered, overbearing, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Be hospitable, self controlled, holy and disciplined. Honest.”

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him something to drink…..do not be overcome by evil,  but overcome evil with good..”

I Timothy 6: 17-18    “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share….”

Proverbs 3:5,6    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

LOVE is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous, does not brag and is not arrogant. Does not seek its own, is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  I Corinthians 13

God loves us unconditionally. There is nothing that He doesn’t understand, and He keeps on loving.   He knows everything:   the past, the  future, our thoughts, our name,  even the number of hairs on our head, all of it He knows–not that any of us deserve that depth of love– but because of who He is.  God’s character is the very essence of love.  Jesus rose from the death, fulfilling all the Godhead demanded as a sin offering for you and me,  and  returned to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the fulfillment of the last days. Jesus is coming again.  Hebrews 1:1-3; 12: 1-3

The Godhead is Holy, majestic, the Judge of all, to be feared in deep reverence and respect.

Hebrews 11:6  “For without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Jeremiah 29:11    “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the LORD, thoughts and plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I Corinthians 10:13  “There is no temptation taken  you but such as  is common to man. But God, who is faithful, will not let you be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, so you will be able to endure it.

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You may have heard the words, The Gospel, but maybe wondered what that is. Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

John 3:16   “For God so loved this world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”   Romans 3:23.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6:23

“For by  grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”   Ephesians 2:8, 9

” If you acknowledge and confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord,  and in your heart believe that God raised Him from the death, you will be saved.”    I Corinthians 9:10

“If we freely admit that we have sinned, and confess it, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9.10

“I urge you to present your body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”   Romans 12:1

How, then, are we to live our lives?

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor rude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”  Ephesians 5:4

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrasy, envy and slander of every kind.”  I Peter 2:1

“But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if any has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord forgives you, so you must also forgive.” Colossians 3:12,13.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6.

“Love the LORD with all your heart, and all your strength and with all your mind… and keep His commandments.”   Deut 11:1; Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22: 29.

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24

READ THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Print off a chart provided to encourage systematic reading of the Bible. Why? To discover God’s principles for living life today. To imprint our mind so that we build an automatic godly response when trials and struggles arise. To protect us. To heal us. To know God, his ways, His attitudes, He- Himself, so we can worship and learn to understand His plan for the world and our own life.

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