May 25, 2015

We've Got To Live together If We're Gonna Be FREE!

I just returned home after out running errands. I was blaring this song on my car stereo while I was driving around town, tears streaming down my face. It was on repeat! Enjoy... ♥

When Lisa Stansfield released her first album "Affection" in 1990, I was 20 years old and thought romance whenever I heard this song. Although now, this song has such profound meaning to me. I think of Americans and then I expand my vision and heart and think of THE WORLD.

Live Together ~ by Lisa Stansfield

This is all we need, to be FREE,
TO UNDERSTAND, and find the answer
So let's do it now, let's do it RIGHT NOW...

We've got to live together if we're gonna BE FREE
We've got to live together
We've got to SEE EACH OTHER for whatever we are
We've got to solve the problem
We've got to live together

Take a look at me, I'm the honest kind
When I say it, I mean it
I swear I need you all my life
All WE NEED is sympathy, if we want to change our minds
This is no second thought, this is for ALL TIMES
All my life

This has got to be FOREVER
Whatever's come, whatever's been,
It's livin' life for what we see
Promise not to lose our hope

We've got to live together if we're gonna BE FREE
We've got to FIND the answer RIGHT NOW
We've got to live together
We've got to SEE EACH OTHER for whatever we are
We've got to SOLVE the problem, RIGHT NOW
We've got to live together
Live together

We're gonna give it ALL that we got
We'll believe it whether or not
Loving ourself and loving our hearts
Love is seein' all that we are
We're gonna do it, do it right now
WE CAN DO IT, we can live together

You don't need no reason to hold your head up high
A little pride so you can justify your whole life

This has got to be FOREVER
Whatever's come, whatever's been,
Livin' life for what we see
Promise not to lose our hope

We've got to live together if we're gonna BE FREE
We've got to find the answer RIGHT NOW
We've got to live together
We've got to SEE EACH OTHER for whatever we are
We've got to solve the problem
We've got to live together

Respect Means Everything... ♥

"To love one another is to see beyond what society
or some ugly experience would impose on another
and to see in them God's awesome creation."
~ by Mark Brown ♥

I don't care what part of the world you are in, whether you live in a palace or a hut, what mode of transportation you use, what you earn, what religion or spirituality you practice, what political belief you stand behind, whether you're straight or gay, carnivore, omnivore or vegan, fat or thin, tall or short, beautiful or average, rich or poor, smart or not. If you are my friend and treat me with mutual respect, you are my friend. I accept you for who you are, and that's ALL that matters. Friendship transcends all. ♥ Respect means everything... and I respect your God given right to exist on this planet whether I agree with you, understand you or not. But there is one caveat, DO NO HARM. As long as you are not harming others in any way, I don't care who you are or how you have chosen to live your life. My attitude has always been to each his or her own, live and let live.

For those of you who don't know what harm means:
HARM is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as:
1. Physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted.
2. Material damage.
3. Actual or potential ill effect or danger.
Someone hurting your "feelings" IS NOT HARM. Someone telling you no you can't have that IS NOT HARM. Someone telling you I don't like you IS NOT HARM. Someone telling you no you have no right to park in my assigned space IS NOT HARM. Someone not baking you a cake IS NOT HARM. Someone not officiating your wedding IS NOT HARM. Why? Because they are not the only person or business who bakes cakes, or the only priest/pastor who officiates weddings. They are not your only choice offering the product or service you want. You do however, have the right to take YOUR BUSINESS (money) elsewhere. AND for the other examples I gave, you have NO RIGHT to take what doesn't belong to you without a person's permission whether they use it or not, this can be a person, place, or thing. It never belonged to you. That is known as THEFT since the beginning of time. There are 7 billion people on this planet, not every person is going to like you, and not every person is going to be nice to you and give you what you want.

However, those retaliating against people that hurt your "feelings" by harming them financially, harassing them, and threatening their lives is the dictionary and legal definition of HARM. Also, FORCING others to like you, and FORCING others to give you anything, is HARM too. Because you are taking away their FREE WILL, their God given birth right to decide what is right for them, AND imposing your will on them. An insecure, immature, bully is known to exude this behavior.

Being KIND to you is a CHOICE! Liking you is a CHOICE. Giving anything to you is a CHOICE.

Now what does RESPECT mean in its most basic expression? It means, I RESPECT your right to exist, whether I like you or not, I RESPECT your space on this planet, and I have NO INTENTION of causing you any HARM.

For those of you who don't know what respect means:
RESPECT (transitive verb) is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:
1. to consider worthy of high regard: esteem.
2. to refrain from interfering with; example: please respect their privacy.
I feel the gay community is shooting themselves in the foot by demanding others comply to their request by force. The gay community will become very unhappy when the tables are turned on them. To help you understand what I mean. Don't you want the right to say, "No, sorry, but you can't build that humongous mosque in our gay community." OR "No, sorry, you can't preach in our gay club. If you don't stop preaching, you need to leave." OR "No, sorry, but we don't allow burqas in our gay club. You need to leave." How in the heck are you going to feel when the gay community starts getting sued for discriminating against those who want to impose their beliefs, lifestyle on you and then get the courts TO FORCE YOU to accept them into your world. Suddenly, these people start INVADING YOUR SPACE BY FORCE, and will mark my words, make you FEEL VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. Why on earth is the gay community exciting about exerting their power over others, when the gay community knows damn well that they don't want OTHERS to exert their power over them?! Makes no damn sense.

"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter,
and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning
and is refreshed."
~ by Kahlil Gibran ♥

Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand
~ by Diana Ross

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(Just try)
Take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement
To someone who's lost the way
(Just try)
Or would I be talking to a stone
If I asked you
To share a problem that's not your own
We can change things if we start giving
Why don't you

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(Just try)
If you see an old friend on the street
And he's down
Remember his shoes could fit your feet
(Just try)
Try a little kindness you'll see
It's something that comes very naturally
We can change things if we start giving

Why don't you
Reach out and touch
Why don't you (Why don't you)
Reach out and touch somebody's hand

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

What The Enemy Meant For Evil, God Turns To Good. ♥

written by J Todd Hostetler
[source: City on a Hill]
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good....” Gen. 50:20 NKJ
In Genesis, after his brothers had perpetrated wrongs against Joseph, he told them essentially, what you meant for evil, God intended for good.

We are all faced with situations that seemingly will overwhelm and defeat us. We ask God, “Why is this happening to me?” Remember when life seems out of control that what the devil means for evil Jesus will turn around for good. If you are in the middle of an evil attack by the enemy realize that the matter is not over yet. If you will keep your eyes on the Lord, He will turn the situation around to your good. Impossible?

A few years ago I was in a car accident. The driver that struck me was blinded by a semi and was accelerating when he hit me, not braking to avoid contact. He hit my car with such force that it literally spun my car around one hundred and eighty degrees, out of my lane and into oncoming traffic.

My car was decimated and I was frustrated. I stood there looking at my car, with the passenger door lying on the road. It is easy to get centered on self and feel sorry for yourself when things happen. As a result I wound up at a business, waiting for a ride home. There, I had opportunity to meet a young lady who was deeply depressed and defeated. We talked about the Lord and His love for an hour. Then we prayed. When we were done she had tears of joy as she renewed her relationship with the Lord. She said to me that it was God’s timing that I was there when I was.

It made me realize that what the enemy intended for my destruction, God turned around for His good. The enemy tried to harm me and the result was that not only did God supernaturally protect me (as I was totally unharmed), but God took another soul away from the enemy’s cruel clutches and she is now walking in His joy. If we keep our eyes on the Lord and not the circumstances that unfold in life, we will realize that in everything that seems like a misfortune can be turned around to your good and to His glory.

Is the adversary of your soul attacking you to harm you? What he means for evil in your life God means for good. Confidently watch and see how Jesus turns it all around.

Be Strong And Courageous

[source: Pebbles]

Six times in Scripture God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.”They are as follows:

1. Deuteronomy 31:6

2. Deuteronomy 31:7

3. Deuteronomy 31:23

4. Joshua 1:6

5. Joshua 1:7

6. Joshua 1:9

The Hebrew word for strong is hazaq meaning mighty, powerful, strong, hard, internal strength of character, and unyielding. The Hebrew word for courageous is ames meaning to be stronger, to persist, to be determined, to muster, to take heart and be victorious.

Notice if you will, how close these six Scriptures are huddled together, like a cluster of fruit from the vine of God. Time and time again, God is building Joshua up, encouraging him, stirring him up inside, fanning into the flame the gift from God to be strong and courageous, for God was with him just as He was with Moses.

We may face new ground in our walk with the Lord; we may be on the threshold of stepping into a battle for lost souls, or even a new direction. Never fear, take heart, for God is saying to you today, “Be strong and courageous,” for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

My friend, God repeatedly spoke to Joshua to build him up, to stir within him a strong, unyielding faith that no matter what stood before Him he would know that God would be with him just as He was with Moses. Now, let me bring this closer to home for you today, just as God was with Moses, just as God was with Joshua, just as God was with Jesus, so God is with you today. So rise up in the power of His strength, the power of His might and go forward. Hear the word of the Lord stirring you up, giving you internal strength of character to be stronger, to be determined, to take heart and be victorious. Hear the rally call of God to your heart today saying, from our text for today in Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV), “Be strong and courageous,” for the Lord your God is with you.

God bless you my friend, Matthew.

Lessons from the Life of Joshua: Be Strong and Courageous

[source: Revive Our Hearts]

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If we were writing the script for our lives, we would not assign to ourselves the tasks that God assigns us. We would play it safe. We would do something we think we could manage.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, April 22. Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling overwhelmed by fear of the unknown, fear of your to do list, fear that you won’t be the mom you want to be?

We’re about to continue studying the life of a biblical character whose task list seemed impossible to tackle. I think this story will make you feel less overwhelmed. So let’s begin Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 8): Before We Conquer.

Nancy: One of the important things to look for when you’re studying the Scripture is repeated words or phrases. When God says something one time, it’s important. When God says something twice in close context, like “Verily, verily, I say to you,”—God repeats something—that makes it emphasized. It means you better really listen to what He’s saying.

If He says it three times, then that’s really triple emphasis. We’re going to see one of those passages where God says something multiple times and we need to pay close attention to what He’s saying.

Now let me give you the context here. In Joshua chapter 1, we’ve seen that Moses has died and God has spoken to Joshua and has said, “You are the next leader of the Children of Israel.” Joshua had been Moses’ assistant for 40 years as the Children of Israel had been traveling in the wilderness and God says, “Now it’s your turn to be in charge. You’re the leader and you’re going to lead my people over the Jordan River”—no small challenge for starters. We’re talking one to two million people he’s leading here. This is a good-sized city. And God says, “You’re going to lead them into the land that I promised to give them.”

Now at this point, Joshua is about 90 years old. So no small challenge, not only to get across the Jordan, but for him at this season of life to take up this huge responsibility. And you have to think that Joshua in his humanness must have wondered, “Am I up to this challenge? Is there any way I can take and fulfill this assignment?”

By the way, for some of you who are older, let me just say God is never finished with you and He’s got a job for you and a responsibility and an assignment for you here on this earth until He takes you to heaven. I hope one of the things that will encourage you from the life of Joshua is thinking that you are here to fulfill what God has called you to do no matter how old you are. God will give you the strength to do whatever He has called you to do.

Now as we pick up in Joshua 1 verse 6, I want you to listen for a phrase and for certain words that are repeated multiple times. You won’t be able to miss them.

Joshua 1 verses 6 and 7:
Be strong and courageous [God says to Joshua], for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.”
Then look at verse 9.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
What were the words that were repeated? “Be strong and courageous.” Now the Hebrew word in the Old Testament that is translated “courage” is often tied to the concept of strength. If someone faces a challenge and loses courage, he’s going to feel weak. He’s going to feel inadequate. He’s going to feel, “I can’t handle this.” But if a person has courage, he’s going to be strengthened by that courage and he’s going to tackle whatever is before him with confidence and strength.

As I’m reading this passage, I’m asking myself why did God repeatedly tell Joshua to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid? And by the way, this wasn’t the first time these instructions had come to Joshua. If you go back into the book of Deuteronomy, God had already told Joshua previously through His servant Moses, “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”

Why did God feel it was necessary for Joshua to hear this message over and over again? Well, God knew what lay ahead for Joshua and for the Children of Israel. God knew that the task to which He had called Joshua was bigger than He could handle. God knew the task was not humanly possible. And God knew that there were many tough battles ahead. There were fierce enemies that were going to have to be overcome in the Promised Land, and apparently God also knew that Joshua would be prone to be easily discouraged, to become fearful in the face of those challenges.

So God says over and over again to His servant, “Don’t be afraid. Be strong. Be courageous.” God was speaking to the inherent human weakness in Joshua and saying, “I want to infuse you with strength, the strength of My Spirit, the strength of My presence, the strength of My promises, the strength of My Word. Be strong. Be courageous. Don’t be frightened. Don’t be dismayed.”

Now you also have to wonder not only why did God say this over and over again to Joshua, but why did God take the time and make the effort to record this whole speech in the Bible? Why not be more succinct? I’m an editor by background and training and trade and I have been taught you have to be succinct. You don’t necessarily need to repeat things over and over again. The passage we’ve just read we would call redundant.

So why did God in His sovereignty as He inspired the Scripture inspire the repetition of these phrases? Well, I’m convinced it’s because God knows us and God knows what lies ahead for each of us. He knows that we are prone to be fearful and to become discouraged when we’re faced with major challenges or major assignments that are beyond our human ability.

So Joshua is commanded to be strong and courageous. Courage doesn’t mean you don’t run into fearful circumstances. It means you do run into fearful circumstances and you do it with confidence and without fear. You do it with resolution. It’s a quality that God gives to us as we trust in Him, but it’s not an option for the servant of the Lord. God didn’t say to Joshua, “I hope you will be strong and courageous. I hope you won’t be frightened.” God says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.”

This suggests to me that to be strong and courageous in the midst of challenges is an expression of faith. It’s an exercise of the will. It’s a choice we can make to run head-on into the situation by God’s grace. God says, “You are to be strong and of good courage. You are not to be frightened or dismayed.” That word “dismayed” means to be afraid, to be confounded, to be alarmed.

How many of you right now in your lives are facing situations—one or more situations—where your natural response could be to be frightened or dismayed? Let me see your hands. Okay, most in this room. Let me say if you didn’t raise your hand just now, probably your hand will be up before too many more days pass because life being what it is, you’re usually coming out of a storm or in a storm or heading into a storm.

So we need these words. God gave this instruction not just to Joshua but for our instruction, for our exhortation. “Be strong and of good courage. Do not be frightened or dismayed.”

Now Joshua got his direction from God. Joshua didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I think I’d like to go across the Jordan River with these one to two million people. I think we’d like to take over Canaan, the Promised Land. I think we’d like to go tackle Jericho.” This was not Joshua’s idea.

If we were writing the script for our lives, we would not assign to ourselves the tasks that God assigns us. We would play it safe. We would do something we think we could manage. Some of you have a lot of children and if you were writing the script for your life, you would probably have determined how many children you think you could manage and then that’s how many children or how few you would have had.

But God knows what you can manage and God wants you to live in the realm of faith, so whether it’s children or marriage or work or church or relationships, God takes us past what we think we can handle, past what we can handle apart from Him, and He says, “Now go in and be strong and courageous.”

When we’re doing what God has assigned to us, we can be strong and of good courage. But we need to make sure what we’re doing is what God has assigned us to do.

Then God’s direction for Joshua was accompanied by some great and precious promises. God said in verse 3, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.” That’s a promise.

Verse 5:
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. [That’s a promise.] Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. [That’s a promise.] I will not leave you or forsake you. [That’s a promise.]
I think that was the most reassuring promise God could possibly have given to Joshua and the same promise God gives us. He doesn’t just tell us what to do. He says, “I’ll go with you. I will be there. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

“Go therefore make disciples of all nations,” Jesus said to the disciples as He was leaving this earth. “And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). He never sends us to do anything that He does not go with us.

Now as you study the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, which kind of blend together in this story, you’ll see that one of the things that helped protect Joshua and Moses from fear was the fear of the Lord. We see in the Scripture that the proper fear of the Lord displaces our natural human fears of what God may ask us to do.

Fifteen times in the book of Deuteronomy, twice in the book of Joshua, we’re told to fear the Lord. I think that’s one of the keys to being free from other fears.

Now Joshua needed to learn, as do we, that we are to be strong and courageous, not in our own strength or ability, but in God’s strength. Ephesians chapter 6, verse 10, tells us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

If I have a mantra for my Christian life (pardon the use of that word), it’s this little phrase that comes to me over and over and over again from the little song, Jesus Loves Me. It’s that phrase: “We are weak but He is strong.” We are weak but He is strong. Many, many days I awake with that phrase on my heart. I am weak but He is strong. It’s His strength.

The Scripture says in Psalm 18, “For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall” (verse 29). “It is God who arms me with strength” (verse 32). “I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed” (verse 37). “For You have armed me with strength for the battle” (verse 39, NKJV).

Remind yourself of that when you feel like the battle that you are in is more than you can face, when you’re tempted to be discouraged, disspirited or fearful. “You have armed me, O Lord, with strength for the battle. It’s Your strength."

Think of that wonderful passage in Isaiah chapter 40.
The LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. . . . He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. . . . Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength . . . they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (verses 28-31, NASB).
It’s an incredible exchange God offers to us. We give Him our weakness. He gives us His strength. As long as we are in this flesh and in this world, we will face powerful enemies. The world, our flesh, the devil—they’re always opposing us. Even as Joshua was going to go into Canaan and face these Canaanites and Hittites and Perazites [that’s not parasites—that’s Perazites], but all these people who were opposed to God.

We face powerful enemies and we have no chance of resisting them successfully, much less overcoming them, as God has called us to do, if we are dependent on our own strength. We can’t do it. But when we go forth into battle—it may be a battle against that besetting sin, that temptation you face. It may be a battle for your marriage. It may be a battle for the soul of one of your children or your grandchildren. It may be a battle against the encroaching worldliness of this world system. When we go into battle armed in His strength, we cannot lose. The enemy, no matter how fierce, is no match for Christ.

I love that hymn that Charles Wesley wrote hundreds of years ago.

Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armor on.
Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son. Strong in the Lord of Hosts and in His mighty power.
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.

You want to be a conqueror? Realize you don’t have the strength to conquer. Come to Jesus and say, “I am weak but You are strong. I trust today, Lord Jesus, in Your strength and Yours alone.”

As I was studying for this session, I came across a quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon that relates I think beautifully to this passage in the book of Joshua. He says,
Be not disspirited [disspirited, discouraged, disheartened] as though your spiritual enemies could never be destroyed. You are able to overcome them. Not in your own strength. The weakest of those enemies would be too much for you in your own strength. But you can and shall overcome them through the blood of the Lamb.”

Do not ask how shall I dispossess them for they are greater and mightier than I? But go to the Strong for strength. Wait humbly upon God and the mighty God of Jacob will surely come to the rescue and you shall sing of the victory through His grace.
Isn’t that a great word of encouragement? Go to the Strong for strength and God will surely come to your rescue.

I shared earlier in this series how my study of the life of Joshua was prompted by a time of great weakness and discouragement in my own life as we were heading into a new phase of the ministry. We were moving from a quarter-hour format on the radio program to a half-hour daily format and I was feeling very disspirited. I’ve shared some of that earlier with you.

During that period of time when I was wallowing in discouragement and fear, I got an email from a man who’s in the Christian radio industry. He works with one of our partner stations. This man has got a pastor’s heart. He’s an encourager. We had not talked about what I was going through, but somehow God put it into his heart to know that this might be a difficult time for Nancy.

Please click HERE to read the entire transcript...

Psalm 23 (KJV) Memorize And Meditate (Verse by Verse) On This Prayer ♥

Pslam 23 (KJV)
[source: Biblegateway]

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever and ever. In Jesus mighty name. AMEN!

Surviving Dark Valleys

Surviving Dark Valleys
written by Pastor C. Matthew Recker

Stress Relief from Psalm 23

This Psalm summarizes a year in the life of a sheep. The sheep starts the year in the low country in the lush green fields and cool waters. As the weather gets warm in the summer, the Shepherd leads the sheep through the valley to higher ground away from the stifling heat into the cooler mountain regions. The sheep move slowly, feeding as they go, working their way up the mountains behind the receding snow. As autumn approaches, snow appears on the highest ridges and the shepherd leads his sheep back down to lower elevations. Toward the end of the year they are driven back to the ranch headquarters.

The last half of this Psalm describes the journey up into the mountain away from the familiar grazing ground for the sheep. It illustrates the intimate contact the sheep have with the shepherd as they are under his personal care day and night, 24-7!

There is an old parable that says “All Sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” What that means is life is a mixture of pain and pleasure, of victory and defeat, success and failure, of sunshine and rain, and of mountain tops and valleys.

Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

In the Scripture, valleys are places of difficulty, of darkness, of disappointment, of defeat, of depression.

Now, valleys are an inevitable part of life. Count on it. Face it. The problem is, they are unpredictable. You usually do not want them and do not expect them. Valleys are like flat tires; you do not plan them. They come suddenly. Valleys and Baskin Robbins are alike: they come in 31 flavors. Trials and difficulties come all of a sudden. Listen, all of us face valleys. If you are in a valley, it does not mean you are a bad person, or more sinful than someone else. It does mean you are a person. No one is exempt from the problems of life. You will have tragedy, loss, your loved ones will die. You will get sick. You might have a bill you cannot pay. Valleys are temporary. You go through the valley. I guarantee you that the valley will pass, for this life is short.

2 Corinthians 4:17; For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Let me tell you another thing about valleys: You need the valley.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

What is God’s purpose for you in this world? Is His chief purpose for you to be comfortable? Is His chief purpose for you to have everything you need. No, His chief goal for you is that you give him glory. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One of the ways you glorify God is to go through the valleys with him. Now, how do you survive those dark valleys.

1. REMEMBER: Valleys Lead to Higher Ground

The valley you are going through can lead you to higher ground. Every problem has a purpose. Faith is built in the valley. God wants to build your character. He is more interested in your holiness than your happiness; He is more interested in your character than your comfort. God wants you to grow and mature. That is impossible without valleys.

The only way TO the mountaintop is THROUGH the valley.

I am saying that every mountain has a valley, and the only way to the top of the mountain is through the valley. Remember the same Shepherd who restores our soul and leads us in the path of righteousness is now leading the sheep through the valley of the shadow of death. This is not death, but it makes the sheep feel like he is going to die. It is a place of gloomy darkness. Here is menacing fear. This is pervading pressure. This is continual confusion. But is it also a place that will lead to the mountaintop.

The valley will build your faith.

When we first came to NYC, Debbie and I were helping a church in Park Slope that needed a pastor. I felt sure this church would call us to be their pastor, but as time went on, they did not make any decision. I was in the valley as this church put off making a decision to vote on us as their pastor. I was really crushed and disappointed. Yet, as I look back, I am so thankful, for the Lord led us to establish a church in Brooklyn, and then Queens. I would not exchange those experiences for anything in the world. God led me in the right way, although I did not see it in the middle of the valley.

2. REFUSE: To Panic

He says, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He does not RUN through the valley. He is refusing to panic. He is walking. He say, I will fear no evil. This indicates a choice. Do you know that fear is a choice. I will not be afraid.

If you are in fear this morning, you are choosing to be afraid. If you are discouraged, you are choosing to be discouraged. You are choosing to look at the negative things.

Many people today suffer with a problem of panic attacks. They get into a certain situation and just become a ball of fear. They panic. They avoid those places where they have these panic attacks. Fear becomes a paralyzing foe. This has happened to me.

When I was a student at Clemson, in History class, I had to write essay questions, and I just began shaking. I knew the answers, but my hands just started shaking. I asked the teacher if I could go to a private room and right the answers. He allowed me to do it. I was not a Christian, and it was things like this that made me realize I needed a Shepherd.

Also, refuse to panic because Shadows cannot hurt you. It is the shadow of death. It is not death. It is the shadow of death. Someday, a shadow is going to fall over your life, and you will be tempted to fear. You will want to panic.

Remember: shadows are always bigger than the reality. A little, harmless object can cast an ominous shadow in a child’s room.

Shadows cannot hurt you. Shadows are image without substance. If you are run over by a shadow, it cannot hurt you.

There is no shadow without a light somewhere. When you are in the valley, you might think you are all alone. If there is a shadow, it means the light of God’s presence is there.

Turn away from the shadow, and look at the light, and the shadow will fall behind you. Jesus is the light of the world. When you are in the valley of the shadow of death. Look to Jesus! If you look at the world, you will be distressed, if you look within you will be depressed, but if you look at Jesus, you will be at rest. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

3. REALIZE God is With You

How do you refuse to panic? You focus on God’s presence and not your problems; you do not focus on your circumstances, but on Christ.

Verse four is a changing point in this Psalm. Up this this point, He is talking about God (v.1-3). The Lord is my Shepherd. He maketh me to lied down… He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness… He is talking about God. In the midst of the valley, He now talks to God. Thou art with me, he says. Your rod and staff they comfort me. YOU are my God in the valley. God does not lead us to the valley and forsake us. He is with us in the valley.

The Sheep now finds refreshment from God Himself in the valley.

Why does God allow valleys? We look God face to face in the valley.

If we are prone to wander from God in the green pasture, we are looking to be as close as possible to the Shepherd in the valley. If we are prone to forget about God when we are sipping from the cool waters, we only thirst for God Himself when we are in the place of unsurety.

We become more intimate with God in the times of darkness. The ultimate becomes the Intimate in the valley! It is in the valley that we find refreshment not from the green pastures and the still waters, but from God Himself. In the valley we are not talking ABOUT God, we want to talk TO God. The religion becomes a relationship in the valley. God becomes real in the valley. We enjoy the mountain top, but We never enjoy God’s presence more than when we are in the valley.

Up to this point, the Shepherd is given praise for providing good things and nice surroundings. Our God does this for us. He does not want us to begin trusting the circumstances of life to provide us with joy and strength. God wants us to trust HIM.

In the valleys of life we find refreshment from God Himself.

As a believer, you will never go through the valley alone. God has promised to never leave you or forsake you. There is nothing to fear, for Jesus is near.

My life’s verse is Acts 18:10. God promises His presence to Paul.

4. RELY on God’s Protective Care

“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

The valley is an unfamiliar place. The valley is not home. Predators roam in the valley; coyotes, bears, wolves, or cougars. The Presence of the Shepherd and His rod and staff bring great comfort.

The rod speaks of God’s Protection for the sheep. It is a club, about two feet long with a hard knot at the end of it This rod could be thrown like a bullet at any enemy. The rod is the weapon of power and defense for the shepherd. In the wild west, a cowboy would call his gun his rod, for eventually a gun took the place of the rod. They could throw it with speed and accuracy. It was an extension of the shepherd’s right arm. He uses the rod to beat away snakes, or to drive off coyotes, wolves, or stray dogs. The Shepherd is our defender and protector.

The staff tells us of God’s Care and guidance for us. The staff is a long stick with a hook at the end. The Shepherd uses the staff to guide the sheep, to examine the sheep, to lift them up when they fall, to sometimes draw the newborn lambs close to their mothers.

What is Our Heavenly Shepherd’s rod and staff for us? His Word and His Spirit. His Word is our defense against temptation. His Spirit indwells us to guide us and give us His comfort. His Word and His Spirit, they are my comfort.

John 14:16; And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

John 14:26; But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

If you are going through a valley, there is hope in Jesus Christ. He can give you peace as you trust him. Christians have problems; financial, family, physical problems. In the valley, what will you focus upon? The shadow of death, or the Lord of light?

There is no shadow without a light somewhere. When you are in the valley, you might think you are all alone. If there is a shadow, it means the light of God’s presence is there.

Turn away from the shadow, and look at the light, and the shadow will fall behind you. Jesus is the light of the world. When you are in the valley of the shadow of death. Look to Jesus! If you look at the world, you will be distressed, if you look within you will be depressed, but if you look at Jesus, you will be at rest. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

While both believers and unbelievers pass through similar valleys of life; the difference for the Christian is not the absence of the shadow, but the presence of the Shepherd. Thou art with me.

What valley are you going through? Loneliness. Fear. Pain. Financial. Relationship. The valley is temporary. The Lord will help you walk through the valley. There is a mountain God is seeking to lead you to. Look to Him in your valley.

Pray this: O God, I need you in my valley. I am confused, discouraged, tired, and fighting fear, but I thank you that you are with me. AMEN! ♥
  1. REMEMBER: Valleys Lead to Higher Ground
  2. REFUSE: To Panic
  3. REALIZE God is With You
  4. RELY on God’s Protective Care

Mountaintops or Valleys: Which Do You Prefer?

Mountaintops or Valleys: Which Do You Prefer?
written by Judy Sylvia, the Growth Coach

Mountaintop experiences sound much more appealing of course! Who wouldn’t want to be living on top of the mountain having successfully maneuvered and climbed to reach that destination, that moment, where you can scream it from the mountaintop “I did it…I arrived…I made it”. Releasing a big “Yes”. What exclamation, what passion, what celebration. A triumphant moment to be treasured and memorialized for certain!

But let’s not discard the treasures we learn in the valleys. For it is in the valleys that the fruit is grown. It is in the valleys that growth occurs. We gain wisdom, develop roots and learn to live tenaciously. Winston Churchill says it best “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them”.

Did you ever meet a leader who seemed to climb that mountain effortlessly and almost instantaneously? You blinked and all of a sudden there they were standing on that mountain. Success made easy. They started sharing their 5 Steps to Mountaintop success and people flocked around them to learn their secrets. They enjoyed their position of leadership, success and fame. But somewhere along the way they missed the lessons learned in the valleys and at the first sign of storms, they crumbled. They hadn’t the strength to stand firm. They hadn’t the endurance to keep pressing on and before you knew it they were cast into the unknowns. Time passes and their name fades from our memories.

Right now, many of us may find ourselves smack in the midst of our own valleys. Let’s not despair…let’s embrace the invaluable lessons we need to learn from the valleys:

Lesson #1: The ground is fertile in the valley. Typically when we are in the valley, we are more “fertile”. We are open to receive instruction, wisdom and seek advice. When we are on the mountaintops, we don’t feel the need for any input. Take this time to improve your skills and talents, seek out those that could mentor or help you. Look at those in business that you admire and go talk with them. Be open to lessons you can glean during this time.

Lesson #2: The fruit grows richer in the valley. The result of the valley experience does mature us. We see the “fruit” of increased strength and stamina. We see the “fruit” of courage and commitment. We see the “fruit” of persistent determination and tenacity. We have faced some of our greatest challenges and we have survived. The fruit grows sweeter and so nutritious.

Lesson #3: There is only one way to go – up! We may have descended to the valley, camped out at the valley but we are not staying. There is only one way to go and that is up! We look for new opportunities. We look for ways to utilize our current resources. We take what we have learned with what we have in our hand and we set out on the journey. Knowing full well that we will be breathing that cool fresh air and savoring those incredible views once again. Yes, the valleys bring much reward, just a different view!

The Six Pillars of Character

The Six Pillars of Character
[source: Character Counts]

The CHARACTER COUNTS! approach to character education doesn't exclude anyone. That's why we base our programs and materials on six ethical values that everyone can agree on — values that are not political, religious, or culturally biased. Use the points below to help young people understand the Six Pillars, and use the mnemonic devices at right to help them remember.

For a more detailed discussion of the Six Pillars, consult our book, Making Ethical Decisions, reprinted in part HERE. <== FREE online outline.


Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country


Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements


Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes • Set a good example for others


Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly


Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need


Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer

Character, Integrity and Leadership

I am compelled to touch on these specific qualities we all must strive to achieve. I have these three quotes framed and hanging on my wall. I purchased them from Successories decades ago.

The Essense of Character:

Your TRUE character is revealed by the clarity of your convictions, the choices you make, and the promises you keep. Hold strongly to your principles and refuse to follow the currents of convenience. What you say and do defines who you are, and who you are... YOU are forever!

The Courage of Integrity:

The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity... these are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

The Essense of Leadership:

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.

[This is the quote I live by.]
"In the end, leaders are much like eagles...
they don't flock,
you find them one at a time."
~ Unknown author

The Courage of a Flower Compared to the HUMAN SPIRIT... ♥ I Have to Share this Lovely Awe-Inspiring Osho Zen Tarot Card Description With You! ♥

“Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed”
~by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed.

Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls - and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many.

There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.

The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed.

This card shows a small wildflower that has met the challenge of the rocks and stones in its path to emerge into the light of day. Surrounded by an aura of bright golden light, it exposes the majesty of its tiny self. Unashamed, it is equal to the brightest sun.

When we are faced with a very difficult situation we have a choice: we can either be resentful, and try to find somebody or something to blame for the hardships, or we can face the challenge and grow.

The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of the darkness and into the light. There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be.

U.S. Memorial Day 2015 In Honor Of Our Soldiers Who Gave Their Lives To Defend FREEDOM! GlobalAwareness101 Thanks Our Soldiers For Their Service! ♥

May 15, 2015

I'm Sharing My Personal DIY Experience Removing And Installing A New Radiator In My Car. Enjoy! :)

UPDATE: 5/25/15

PROJECT #1: Replace radiator. Piece of cake.
PROJECT #2: Flush and burp air pockets (bubbles) out of cooling system manually. Pain in the butt. Why? Because my car wasn't made with a bleeder valve. I'm still burping my car for hours at a time after two weeks using a Lisle spill-free funnel. I still have air pockets trapped in the cooling system.

Hi everyone! Well... I did it. I replaced the radiator in my car myself. I went for it this Monday. It took me two days to iron the kinks out. Then another two days to merge, edit video clips. I finally uploaded my DIY video on YouTube this morning. Now I'd like to share my video with all of you. I hope you enjoy my crazy, fun, nerve-racking experience recorded in real-time. :)

Mitsubishi Radiator cost MSRP $300. I paid $107 for an after-market radiator manufactured in Canada, not China. I couldn't find radiators manufactured in America. :(

Local Mitsubishi Dealer Radiator Installation labor cost $110/hour. The local dealer told me it would take them 2-3 hours to install. Total cost $330. Oh, and the Mitsubishi dealer only installs OEM Mitsubishi radiators. Three other estimates from independent mechanics to install the radiator were $150, $160 and $180.

I saved myself $500 or maybe even more doing this job myself, and the hands-on learning experience itself was priceless.

So save yourself a good chunk of money. If I can do this project all by myself with absolutely no prior mechanic experience, so can you. I am on my way to becoming a bonafide Grease Monkey! :)
I have typed a transcript of my 2 minute message at the beginning of my video:

Hi everybody, Josette here, getting ready to replace the radiator in my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS. My car has been overheating for the past two weeks. So I started trouble shooting starting with the least expensive repair. I have already replaced the thermostat ($21 for the part) and cleaned out the throttle-body (because my car had a rough idle) hoping that would resolve the problem. But, my car is still overheating. The radiator may be clogged up or damaged.

The original OEM radiator lasted for 13 years. So, it’s probably time to replace anyway.

Now, I’d like to point out that I’m not a mechanic. But I am tired of getting taking advantage of by male mechanics that do crappy jobs, sell you repairs you don’t need, overcharge and leave a mess under the hood. This is why I decided to do the job myself. I watched several DIY videos on YouTube, and read the Haynes Repair Manual for my car.

I’m video taping this project to encourage YOU, to believe in yourself. If I can do this with absolutely no experience in the auto business, then you can too. I had to get over my fear and silence the little voice in my head telling me that I couldn't do this. I feared the unknown, and that made me feel insecure.
Plus, I had to overcome the ridicule, even laughter from male mechanics, and other guys after I told them I was going to replace the radiator in my car myself. They made it sound like it was so hard to make me feel insecure, give up, and take it to them. Even my own mom thought I was nuts, and told me to take it to a professional mechanic. So, basically I had no moral support while pursuing this DIY radiator project. I'm sharing my personal experience so you have no excuses to stop you from doing anything. (added emphasis after the fact)
But once I took the initiative to learn something new, that knowledge gained, gave me confidence! You and I can do anything, once we set our mind to it and tell ourselves,

I - can - do - this. Keep repeating to yourself, I can do this!

So let’s get started… I made a list of the tools and supplies you’ll need for this job. (I share this list in the description section of my video for you to print or copy down.)

May 10, 2015

Encouragement From God...♥

Looking Through the Eyes of Love... ♥

This is such a beautiful song with powerful lyrics to complement this touching movie. The original movie "Ice Castle" was released in 1978. AMAZING story! Professional ice skater loses her eye sight and her boyfriend's love and persistence gives her the courage to continue skating blind and become the world class champion figure skater she was. The gift she had was within. ♥ Enjoy! :)

Looking Through the Eyes of LOVE
~by Melissa Manchester
Theme song from the movie "Ice Castle"

Please, don't let this feeling end,
It's everything I am,
Everything I wanna be;
I can see what's mine now,
Finding out what's true,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

Now I can take the time,
I can see my life
As it comes on shining now;
Reachin' out to touch You,
I can feel so much,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

And now I do believe,
That even in a storm, we'll find some LIGHT;
Knowin' You're beside me,
I'm alright.

Please, don't let this feelin' end,
It might not come again;
And I want to remember
How it feels to touch You;
How I feel so much,
Since I've found You
Lookin' through the eyes of LOVE.

♥ A Love Story! ♥

"Love knows only one time: NOW and only one place: HERE" ~ by Osho

A Love Story
~Author Unknown~

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived; Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment.

When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of silver in my boat. There is no place here for you." Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered. Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh....Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself." Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder. "Who helped me?" "It was Time," Knowledge answered. "Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?" Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."

Donkey In The Well... I Love This story! :) ♥

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from God.

Life's Choices! This Is A Such GREAT Story! ♥

Life's Choices
[source: Moytura]

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today.

You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life, choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.

You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.

The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower! After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued, "... the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "he's a dead man. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.

"Yes, I replied." The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Enjoy each day, each breath and mostly each and every friend.

What If? A Poem by Ganga White. Awwwe... This Message Is So Beautiful And Profound. ♥

Photo credit: Alberto Villoldo

What If?
A Poem by Ganga White

What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being