Hand Of God

A photo posted to Face Book and a news article quote both appearing today caused me to ponder this question:

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“This traffic just north of Atlanta heading to South Carolina to observe the total Eclipse which will last twenty seconds.”

If God was scheduled to make a 20 second appearance today, would we be reacting the same way that we did for the pending Solar eclipse? One news agency called it the eclipse of the century. Another said; eclipse captivates millions. Some communities planned parties up to a year in advance. A brief drive around my neighborhood found dozens outside, looking up. Likely by the time you read this, the “event” will be long over and we’ll have moved back to arguing over statues and political candidates and such. But imagine for a moment if we got this excited over something that really made a difference.

Now I understand, this is a rare and exciting moment in universal history; first time in 99 years. I went out and took a peak too. But I can’t help but wonder how many people will pause to consider what one journalist did this morning. Eric Metaxas, a Fox News contributor wrote, “Three thousand years ago a man in Israel wrote: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” That man didn’t have a telescope or a (Encyclopedia) Britannica, but he saw something many of us today still do not see. He saw a God behind it all.”Quotes_Creator_20170821_092257 copy

We have a crisis in the world today. A crisis of hope, and identity, and purpose. We’re losing site of what we’re here for, and we’re falling for anything the media chooses to lay on us. Seems like we’ll believe anything they tell us. There used to be at least a foundational belief in universal truth. Now, I’m not even sure the whole community of faith can agree on much of that. But it’s not time to despair. It’s time to stand up and represent the universal truth again – that the Kingdom of Heaven is here, now. Wasn’t today impressive evidence? And we got to be a part of it! It was so much more than wonderful science. It’s a context that’s critical to understanding your life. People need God now more than ever. He showed Himself in a magnificent way today. And the world paused, even just for a moment, in unity, to witness it.

Maybe, rather than just being a natural phenomenon, moments like the eclipse today are God’s way of trying to remind us that we are truly not alone. That we are a body of creation featured in an epic story being told by an amazing creator. That we are not like as C.S. Lewis described as, “half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Our since of awe and wonder has been tickled today, even if for just a minute or two. We were in a frenzy for a few moments, about something God had his hand all over. May that since of wonder and delight bleed over into our life everyday prompting us to see Him in all things about our lives. May we allow God, the Creator, to be in charge more, and ourselves less.

Greg Tutwiler – http://www.FreedomLiving.org

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A Different Point Of View

A writer’s mission is to articulate something – truth – mystery – instruction … usually from a collection of thoughts and ideas scribbled and jotted down in journals, notebooks or computer files. Those nuggets come to us, and we save them, curate them, and share in a way that hopefully the reader gets what we are trying to say. That’s how it usually happens.

For me, today, the ideas felt so complete that I decided to share them just as I got them – in the order that they came to my pen. I hope they offer as much encouragement and inspiration to you as they still are to me.

“It’s time to get off the poor me train, give yourself a good kick in the ares, and start taking action to get the life you truly deserve.” (Steve Atchison)

“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.” (Steven Covey)

“Happiness is, when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” (Gandhi)

Stop focusing on how stressed you are and start focusing on how blessed you are.

“Soulful living is about slowing and developing a present-moment awareness.” (Prevention Magazine)

“Growth is painful; change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” (Steve Maraboli)

“The best teachers are the ones who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” (Alexandria K. Trenfor)

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” (Frances Bacon)

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” (Henry David Thoreau)

I could probably chew on these the rest of the month and not taste the full value they bring to my life. How about you?

Greg Tutwiler, www.FreedomLiving.org

We Want Peace

“We live in a culture that places a high value on being busy,” writes Rev. Dr. Judy Morley. “We go through life sleep deprived, stressed out and worried that we didn’t finish everything, despite getting more done than was thought humanly possible just a generation ago. We have become human doings instead of human beings.”

It’s no wonder that interest in things like off-grid living, tiny house projects, and container gardening are on the rise. We have succumbed to a spirit of busyness and our inner spirit is growing weary of the chaos. We want solutions. We want relief. We want peace.

But we have it backwards. Our creator says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Divine guidance, hope, faith, inspiration, encouragement, direction), and everything you need will be added to your life. But our priorities have shifted to a predominately materialistic point of view. We seek first everything we think we want or need and then ask God to bless it. Morley says, “We replace diving guidance with frantic action and hope that our effort will produce enough results to compensate for our lack of inspiration.” We have to get out of the spin-cycle before it chokes our soul completely.

One way to do this is to practice lingering. In moments of love, beauty, laughter, etc., don’t rush to check them off your list; linger. Stay in the moment. Allow them to make an impression. As the March 11th entry for the devotional, God Calling, describes, “Look for beauty and joy (intentionally seek) in the world around. Look at a flower until its beauty becomes part of your soul (linger). It will be given back to the world again by you in the form of a smile or a loving word or a kind thought or prayer (paying it forward).” Listen intently to the song of a bird, or the rustling of the leaves on a tree. Take a few extra minutes to gaze at the clouds or the stars. Dip your hand in a stream and experience the water flowing through your fingers.

In these moments, linger, and soak in the Divine creation for it’s incredible power to bless you as you pause. These moments have the ability to shift your mind back towards a simpler life if you will practice them often enough. And they can return you to a state of calm and peace. Otherwise, a life void of these moments will starve the heart and eventually destroys the soul.

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different. Choose a new path. Make different choices. Different results come from different actions. Just stop it. Really. Life is a continuum of actions and reactions. So act and react in a new way.

Ask yourself these questions:
What am I willing to do differently?
When am I willing to do it?
How will I stay committed to doing it?

Understand, you don’t have to do anything. Changing yourself is not a requirement. You have free will. But, if you are dissatisfied with the current condition of your life, then only you can alter it. Blaming your past, your parents, your partner, or your present circumstances only serves to keep you enslaved to the present situation.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Most of us aren’t insane. So let’s don’t act like it. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different. Sure, it might take a while – but so did Rome.

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Don’t Assume Inferiority

“Not that I have already obtained all this,” the apostle Paul wrote. “Or have already arrived at my goal. But I press on to take hold …”

I take great comfort in Paul’s assessment of his own journey. One of the greatest contributors to the New Testament freely admits that even he hasn’t mastered his own advice.

The danger of pursuing help from those we perceive as masters is in believing  that they have mastered their own advice. Not at all. Sure, they have insight we need – sure, they are submersed in their topic – and hopefully have experienced fruitful application. But, they are on a journey just like you and me.

“The master is not above the student.” Don’t lose sight of that. Learn from the master, but don’t assume inferiority. You’re better than that.

Reinvention

I’ve been reading Steve Chandler’s book, “Reinventing Yourself.”

My first inclination was to defend my absence from writing by saying I’ve been off in the corner reinventing myself, but I don’t think that’s true. While there has been a personal (writing) recess/restoration in play for sure – I think it’s been more evolutionary than reinvention. I’m not knocking the book – I rather enjoy Steve’s perspective, and highly recommend it, actually. For me though, it’s been more about moving to a new level of living my life. Maybe that’s reinventing – or maybe the idea of reinvention just added clarity to the process. Regardless …

There seems to be so much consumable ink out there these days, I felt it important to be certain, at least in my on spirit, that any written effort I put forth into the ethers had a destination in mind – even if it was just for my own growth. Voltair once said, “Writing is the painting of the voice.” And so here I go, at least for today, painting with these words what my soul seems to want to say.

As a coach, I encourage people to write; Diary, Blog, Journal, let it out. Make sure it matters to you, and let it out. Don’t write to prove or defend a point. That is a dangerous trap. And don’t write to impress someone either. Write to encourage your own soul to expand and evolve. I am firmly convinced that our personal mission here on earth, each and everyone of us, is to mature into the individual that we’ve been created to be. And one of the tremendous exercises we have to encourage that is writing. It’s an extraction process. It cleanses and refreshes the soul. And for some, yes, it’s even a reinvention. And that’s okay too. Otherwise the rust just takes over and stalls the whole process.

Greg Tutwiler, CCLC http://www.FreedomLiving.org

Liking It Is Not Living It

We all do it. Most of us multiple times a day. Some say we’re addicted. We probably are. I’m talking about Face Book. Look around the mall, coffee shop, heck even the side walks are jammed with people face planted into their smart phones, engaged in social media. Okay, so I’m not even going to delve into the statistical data and multifaceted arguments about all the physiological erosion taking place. I have a more specific concern.

It’s that Face Book like button I’m worried about. I know, we all wish we had an unlike button many times too, but we don’t. That’s beside the point. Here’s the thing – we troll through our news feeds liking and sharing these cute pictures with these fancy quotes and sayings embedded in them all day long. But are we really paying attention to the words. Many of the ones I post and re-post garner that ever popular comment; Amen, frequently. I know what it means. You really liked it. It struck a nerve with you. It stirred your heart a little. Good. But here’s the thing; Liking it does not mean you’re living it. See, information is not transformation. When you like something someone else posted or quoted, do you ever stop and consider why you liked it? Did it really stir you? What is it that made you say “amen”?

While I often try to offer original thoughts and ideas, I mostly consider myself a curator. I am a collector of thoughts, and ideas, and quotes – verses, proverbs, saying, and such. And I love sifting through them and sharing the ones that mean something to me – or, ones I think will mean something to the followers on my page. But here’s the key; If it moves you, move into it. Inspired action is the only path to authentic, productive change. Otherwise we’re just members of the Amen choir. If something moves you enough to hit the like button and/or re-post it, then also consider why it was so significant.

As an example, I recently posted a photo with this quote by Pablo Picasso, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I liked it because I believe it’s true. And because I believe it’s true, I’ve spent a lot of quiet time seeking to understand my purpose. I’ve allowed the idea to transform my life.

If you like that quote, consider why? If it stirs you, don’t ignore it.
Does that make sense?

Unless we are actively pursuing the substance of those thoughts, and verses, and saying, and quotes, and ideas, then all we are really doing is collecting information. If these pieces of revelation don’t inspire us to alter our life in some fashion, we are just wasting our time and our Amens. If you like it, live it. Find a way to incorporate those notions into your journey. Consider rethinking the like it button as your live it button. When you click it, believe you are saying, “I am going to take this idea in to consideration and find a way to incorporate action into my life.” How would your life be different if you lived the likes?