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Character is Built in The Night

Psalm 16:7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

The hidden man of the heart decides most actions. Among the mental health solutions most recommended for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and both process and substance addictions is a regimen named CBT.  CBT stands for Cognitive (Thinking) Behavior Therapy. Address your thoughts and your actions will follow.  Follow with your actions. You are what you think. You become that on which you mull and meditate.  Your actions come from the inner man, the heart, the soul, the mind, the will, and the emotions.

Character Guides Profit

The product of business is profit.  Profit is a good thing unless it is the only thing.  Why do I want to profit?  Have I built a character base to guide my gain? Two good friends come to mind.  Both are wealthy.  Both focus all gain/profit on expanding the kingdom. Yes, they live fulfilled lives, but not over spending lives.  The amounts they give to kingdom works and benevolence is outstanding as a percentage of profits. Another, “Christian”, friend spends his profits on himself.  He travels extensively and posts all over Facebook of his travels and love for family.  His gain is his gain. He shares some of the wealth, but his focus that he shares is himself first and God when convenient.

The first two friends fulfill this proverb of the seventh verse. First, they bless the Lord not just with words, but action.   They recognize that God gave them wisdom and access to wealth.  In gratefulness, they give back and bless Him and His work.  Second, they are extremely prayerful men.  They take everything to heart.  They are persistent disciples of Christ and run their businesses with compassion and Christian disciplines.  Their hearts (mind, will, and emotions) are guided even when they sleep and especially in hard times (night seasons).  They do not become a different person under pressure because their heart is secured to His heart.

Character Guides People

The product of a community organization is people.  Whether you are the Salvation Army or a church or the local women’s shelter, you are focused on people.  You need finances, but that is not your product.  The same questions apply.  Why do I want to touch people? Have I built a character base to guide community gain?  A conversation with the mayor of a community we reach revealed his heart. We spent hours discussing how to develop the hearts of the people in the community alongside all the economic growth and infrastructure changes.  Discussions with other community leaders takes the same direction, but not all.  Some want to tear down old houses to “clean out the rats” or “take away places for crime”.  Others want to tear down old houses to deliver kinder, gentler neighborhoods and encourage growth.   There is a difference of heart.

Character Comes in the Night

Struggles reveal the deep meditations of the heart. Profits will be challenged.  Our people touch will be challenged.  At those moments, we go back to character built in other moments to make our decisions.

Character is built by quieting our fears with faith.

Character is built by quickening our faith in the face of risk.

Character is built by quickness to turn to God when nothing seems solid.

Character is built by quietly meditating on His wisdom in His Word when all is well and our thoughts are clear.

Character is built in the inner man to be exposed by the outer man of actions.

A few years ago, my wife and I had major decisions to make concerning our future contributions to profit and people.  For days, we locked ourselves in prayer.  Intense hours were spent reading scriptures and prayerfully considering our future lives.  Each option in front of us had risks and gains.  Today as I look back, the choice was made from a life of handling risks and gains in God’s grace not just the few days of prayer.  Our

impact is many fold what it had been.  Our finances are nowhere near where they were, but our people impact is exploded. Deep character is built in the night.

solumleaf

Phil 405.388.8037  phil@shepherdok.com 

 

 

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Pleasant Places

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. Psalms 16:6 NKJV


Know Your Partners

“Everyday your competitor gets up to take away your business.”

A mentor and partner spoke that to me at a critical juncture. Later his competitor nature surfaced and he took away the business. Daily, I served the partnership in expectation of continuing reward. I should have listened more closely.  I thought he was talking about someone else. He was warning me of his nature. I was duly warned. My bad.

In Aesop’s fable he tells of the duck and the scorpion.  The scorpion convinced the duck to give a ride across the water, promising he would not hurt him. With caution and compassion the duck agreed. As he jumped off the duck’s back at the end of the ride, he stings and kills the duck.  The duck astonishingly asked, “Why?”, as he dies. Scorpion replied, “I can’t help it. It is my nature.”

After dealing with such, we find it hard to trust a faithful and good God. He defines a great path for those under His grace and protection. It is His nature.  He also has a nature of justice and just retribution, for those who live outside His path. We need to understand both and chose the path of greatness that appeals to His protecting and providing nature. Once we become family, He stays with us.

The beauty of God is His unchanging good nature.  We might shift, but He does not shift. He puts us in a world of reward and growth. Our defining lines of strength are given and He does not change. Yes, we choose to live in them or not, but He does not change. When He commits, it is forever.

Know Your Swing

 I didn’t learn how to swing a golf club until late in my career. And even though I won all those tournaments, I still struggled with consistency, and I relied on my strengths, which were hitting the ball long and high, and I could chip and putt with the best of ’em. Tom Watson

Watson gives great insight. Gold is not my thing.  I play for fun and friendship. When I take out a new ball, I paint a smiley face to remind myself why I am playing.  Each has ability and strengths.  Weakness is hard to fix. Cover it with strengths. Adjust and play to your best side. Early in my career, I found a ready and excellent skill to fix broken processes and develop others.  Those skills serve me every day. I enjoy them. They have served me in retail, print-publishing, discount, non-profit, community, and healthcare concerns. The skills are adaptable.  What are your skills?

 Three Hats Check this out.

Know Your God

In business and community, God is faithful to give me good.  Companies have folded and sold. Partners have shifted and shafted. In all, my contract with God has held solid. We always stay together and the situations always work through to good benefit. My lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. They can for you, also.

Never Fails – Supply Chain

Lord , you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5 NIV 
Businesses come and go. Fortunes are made and lost. Communities crumble and triumph. Organizations develop and deteriorate. The Lord protects His own.

Serving the Lord of Creation for four decades, I have never seen Him fail my family, friends, finances, or community.  He is faithful even when we fail to follow.

Yes, I have seen horrid and untimely death. I have seen people lose home and property. Yet, these were not the Lord’s doing or desire. He is a Father Protector for those that allow.

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Sigmund Freud

All need protection and leadership.  You need fathers in faith and life. Father God works direct and through others.  I am gratefull for the mentors and fathers that have watched over me and coached. Men in business, community, and faith have exampled strength, character, and faithfulness. If you only follow self, you are walking in circles. None stays fully faithful, except THE Father.

He is a portion and supply.  A good mentor walked into my office with a sizeable, surprise bonus. According to company rules, I was not eligible.  He went to bat for me and got it done. He taught me gratefulness comes bearing gifts. My portion was increased.  The Father increases my portion. Faithful in little becomes trusted with more. He is my portion and He is huge. He increases me.

He is a cup and vision. Most business professionals have a favorite cup. A mug sits on the desk for coffee or water or tea. Me? I rotate my cup based on current project. A Dad’s University cup and a grandpa cup are my current favorites. And I have many others given as gifts from kids and friends. The cup is a sign of blessing and focus. The Father is my cup, reminder, blessor, builder, focus and vision.

He makes your lot and assignment secure. A group of executives under which I served for a season gave me a good lot.  Then they shifted vision and offered me a bad lot. A lot is a place in which to prosper. In the good lot I could prosper them and me.  In a bad lot, they prospered and I did not. Win lose propositions are always lose lose. I had to leave and they lost all the prosperity. The Father makes our lot secure, solid, longlasting.  He does not shift the terms so quickly we can not adjust. He watches and builds. When I have hit rough times, He enters with new and consistent opportunities to be supported and grow. They can be tough, but they will prosper you. He is not a trickster.

Portion, cup, and lot give us a track on which to grow. Supply, vision, and assignment might be another way to say it. Be strong in these three. Cover yourself with stability through established mentors. Depend on the Father to be the core supply and security of all three.

Balancing the Cart

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Psalm 16:4 NIV
Developing life, business, and community can at times take too much of us.  Our pursuit takes over our thought life and overall sense of well being.  When that happens, our balance is tipped and the joy begins to retreat. The Lord sees that.  He wants us to enjoy balance.

“Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.” Gregory Peck

Many gods consume attention. Social climbing, physical beauty, happiness, perfect health, good works, education, personal fulfillment, recreation, profit, and religion are a few of these gods. They do not need to be of wood or stone or precious metals. They only need to take our primary attention away from The God.

Every one of these gods mentioned is good. They build us.  They build our lives and the lives of others. Each develops a component of life and society. You need to develop socially, physically, mentally, financially, well being, personally, benevolence, and expression of faith. They only become a god when we worship and serve above our worship and service to The God and His desire. Anything that becomes bigger than Him destroys. Our creative design is upset.  Enjoy all of life starting with the God component only He can fill.

Businesses and organizations become skewed. Over focus on profit and mission disallow balanced lives of colleagues. The corporate man or woman must conform to the corporate look, feel, and religion at unreasonable levels. Eventually, it fails. A certain freedom of personal balance needs support.

Personal lives become skewed. Drive to look good or have the best or promote personal opinion stifles faith, family, and friendship. Love becomes violent. Hurt replaces health. Anger stirs and streams.

Three of the Ten Commandments focus on: 1. God first 2. God honored and respected 3. Keep His days separated to worship and rest. The others speak also to family, finances, friendships, community, and order. The Lord of Creation wants us to be balanced and fulfilled in Him and others and self. He is not hung up on hard living.  He is hung up on us living fully and healthily in spirit, soul, body, mind, will, emotion, wisdom, wellbeing, relationships, and family.

Consider the layout of your week.  Prioritize time in each day and the Lord’s Day to worship Him. Prioritize your relationship with Him. Many distortions can be healed through a simple and top priority friendship with the Creator.

Have a great day. The Lord of All is on your side. He is FOR you.

Phil@shepherdok.com 

Delightful People

I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Psalm 16:3 NIV

Every journey in business and community begins with company. in those people you will find help, strength, wisdom, grief, betrayal, loyalty and a thousand other characteristics. Mixed in those people are people of the Lord’s tribe, so affected by Him that they bring Him to every meeting, every workday, and every interaction.  Thy aren’t preachy or perfect, just different.  They are refreshing. You find Him in His people.  That is where He lives.

Separated to Him is a God thing. These people don’t follow the flow of lemmings. They are hard and faithful and caring individuals. This world must lose hold and the Master gain influence. If you join them, you are a separated and distinctive and peculiar people. Love His people. In some ways we are strange as we become more like Him. Love these people. Embed yourself in them. Become like them.

Noble people are loved of all.  True believers are loved by others because they are loving toward others. And they are noble.  They stand above not aloof. They are not haughty but distinctive. They are repulsed by the banal but not judgemental. They are turned off by the crass, but understand why others live there. This is the Lord”s people.

Delightful people give us a place to join and are grateful to serve. The Lord’s tribe is an open table. Anyone with the committed heart is welcome to join.  Anyone can sit at the table and try out the food to decide.  The committed join. These people know how to explain their love of others and service to God without being offensive. There is a delightful place for all.

 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

In all things be grateful for the Lord”s noble and grateful people.  He builds a living monument to His love and mercy and strength and calls it a family.  You thrive in the family. A business or community endeavor will grow with the influence of these.

Once at a lunch room table, a rather crude man rose to tell an off color joke.  It was obvious and his normal habit. Off color usually means sexual lyrics or racially demeaning.  A loving believer quietly pushed back his chair to exit the conversation.  Just then as the joke opened, a woman piped up, “Really. Jack (the believer), doesn’t want to hear your joke and neither do I.  Why not keep it for the bathroom?” The others at the table chuckled and nodded.  Jack settled back in his chair and the air stayed clean.

Stand and Stare

I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2 NIV

Prayer is a matter of fact transacting of business. Hudson Taylor

In a negotiation and business relationship, we acknowledge the position and power of each involved. In front of God, acknowledge His position and power.

When I pray, I pray to the Creator of All.  Remember to whom you are speaking. Realizes He is able to do whatever is needed. Acknowledge Him in His greatness. Stand before Him as a child of greatness.

When I pray, I pray to The Great Love. His love is outstanding above  all human expressions of love. Come repentant. Acknowledge gratitude for this love through a changed life. Yearn to be like Him.

When I pray, I pray to The Good God. His goodness challenges me to step up my life. He is good to all. His mercy covers all His creation. Acknowledge love and acceptance for others unlike yourself. All are Hs creation and objects of His goodness and affection.

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Struggle through life issues with a confidence and reliance on the Great Lord. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Boss. He is In Charge. He is King. He is not here to do my bidding but for me to express His will and way.

In employment and business relationships I try to remember the parable of the talents. Jesus tells the story of a business operator who assigns assets to be managed by three men. Two are faithful and increase the value. One does nothing. In the end the businessman says to the two, “Enter into the joy of the Master.”

The joy and reward is most defined by the owner of the asset and the most powerful in the transaction. When I recognize that, I open myself to greater reward in negotiation and relationship.

Approach God open. Allow Him to define the terms of reward. Drop preconceived ideas of what you want and understand He only has good to give.

Stand before the Lord, Creator, Great Love, Good God and stare into His power and presence. He will change you and your circumstance. He has good to give.

Positions In The Lead

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. Ps 16:1

The writer positions his mind and heart in God as he prays and preps for the day ahead. We need that. As a community and  business professional, I need that.  We need to position to posture and to pose in our our mind and heart as we approach the Living God in the day of challenge that lives ahead of us.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do You Stand in Front of the Lord of All in the Face of the Day?

Position with humility. Recognize He is God and I am nothing. Yet, in my nothing , He makes something. He makes worthy. He makes valuable. He makes able to stand before Him. No longer am I nothing. I deserve nothing and receive by grace everything as a free gift.  Sure, I have good successes. Sure, they can vaporize in a moment.

Position with gratefulness. Thank Him for all He brings. He brings life and life with abundance. He gives forgiveness and the freedom to walk without bondage of depression and anxiety and defeat. I am grateful for all the years I have  success. I am grateful to the I have served and those that serve me. I am grateful most to the God, who has stood with me.

Position with power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is on my side and your side. Stand there in His favor. Allow Him a place. Spiritual power is necessary for balanced growth. It is not just me or others, but His intervention that gets me through the tough spots.

Position with confidence. Confidence builds through conquest. Problems rise and fall. We rise and fall in and through them. Rise more than fall. It is said the average strong business leader fails five times before striking on the right formula to success. Get up and go again. Stand up and sing again. Never stop singing. Never stop standing.

Approach the Lord of All with a calm dependence on Him and a sure readiness to act. Be ready for Him to support and you to work without tiring. Position heart and mind to succeed. Shake off failure and put on confidence. He invests in you. He believes in you. He will not make a bad investment.