Month: September 2020

Finishing What God Started-AYEPEE

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It is such a joy to speak on the title – the end of the matter, because it is always the end that matters and not how we begin. Over the years in ministry I have seen a lot of people who began well but ended very badly or sometimes not even to be seen. On the contrary there are few others who had very simple and humble beginning who do well phenomenally till today. I want to draw your attention to this scripture in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7 and verse 8 the first portion of it. It reads this way – the end of the matter is better than its beginning…
I remember reading a quote by the famous and first prime minister of the independent India, he brings the idea of the end this way – Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves. (Jawaharlal Nehru) I also am reminded of another quote that read “Life without AIM is like a boat without oars in the mid sea.” This morning I want to bring the acronym AIM as the key word for achieving the end that is desired.
I am sure lots of us have Aim in life or probably you call it goals whatever be it, we all desire to achieve something but in achieving are we playing it according to the rules and the moral code that the bible gives us…? That is exactly what I want to share so that our victory doesn’t hamper the growth of the other or we destroy someone for achieving our goal. Let’s begin with the AIM…

A – Attitude matters to reach the desired end:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus – Philippians 2:5

What was the attitude that Jesus had? The bible tells us though he was the ultimate he decided to stoop down for the sake of mankind and also as a matter of obedience he humbled himself before the Father and that to death – a gruesome death on the cross. Jesus never had a negative perspective to anything that he did he always had a very positive outlook and he expects us to have the same. What is our attitude? Are we very negative about anything and everything? Attitude is most of the time what we perceive in mind about matters concerning us. Attitude can be trained but by nature we are tuned to be negative. For example when a plain paper is passed to people with the title “what do you see?” with the black dot on it most often people only see the black spot and never the white around. We are trained to see the bad and never the vastness of good around. Let me share a story that will narrate the positive attitude, that I read in John Maxwell’s book – in his book he talked about a shoe company hiring two candidates to promote and sell their shoes in a particular village, the response of one employee was that there cannot be any sale since no one wears shoes whereas the other guy responded no one wears shoes therefore it would be good if you send a truck load of shoes so that it can all be sold out. This is in short how one looks at life. You can be either positive and venture out or totally negative and quit. What is your attitude? Are you willing to see beyond or just ready to quit?

I – Information matters to reach the desired end:

When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. – Mark 6:2&3

We are simple people we are driven by who says and never by what is said. This one I want to call it the informer oriented way of living and information oriented way of living. In the Christian world if a renowned speaker says something weird people are ready to follow but never are willing to examine the content of what is said. The reason for many cults among is this because we are ready to listen to the big head and failed to see that big heads too can fail if he/she is trying to bring in any new idea away from the bible. We see an amazing example from the scripture the Pharisees were not able to accept Jesus for the simplest reason that he was a carpenter’s son and the mother happens to be Mary, they are driven by who Jesus was and not by what he said made sense to them. The bible tells us that they took offense…what a weird response purely driven by jealous cannot bear to see a carpenter’s son perform miracle or even have wisdom to share some thing amazing. My friend are you like that driven by your hero and impulsively following them or are you keen to listen to anything that makes sense without discriminating who says it? I leave it to you decide for yourself.

M – Mindset matters to reach the desired end:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Renewing of the mind is very important, as human beings we fix up something in our mind and we go by that alone and never are willing to change or even think of altering the course of our action. We have such strong mindsets but the bible tells us if we need to do the will of God we need to have a renewing of our mind. Let me share this very clearly with the help of this story that I read some years ago. It was about an old lady who lived in the hills and she was a widow. For her survival she would knit and do some hand crafts and bring them to the plains to sell them. She had a very strange habit of carrying a stick in her hand and tossing the stick when she reaches a junction and then taking the path the stick points to. One day she came to a four road junction and was tossing the stick many number of times and never went ahead, there was a young man who saw this and was disturbed and he asked her if everything was ok with her, to that she replied that she was tossing the stick to find the path that she would go, but eventually the stick did not fall to the direction to which she decided in her mind. This is exactly what a mindset is all about. Dear friends very often we are like that we decide something very strong and then still look for God’s will. Breaking the mindset is giving our ideas totally to God and going by what the bible tells us.

Conclusion:

Now I know you will be nodding your head saying, “yes” I surely have an AIM but I need to check the Attitude, information and the mindset that I hold dearly. I want to conclude on a very positive note by quoting I Corinthians 15:58.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Our labor in the Lord is never in vain; therefore, let us run with perseverance and achieve the goal that God has for us. God bless you as you AIM to carry on with the scripture in mind, the end of the matter is better than its beginning. Amen.

“We get a second chance at everything, including our mistakes.”-AYEPEE

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Conformity To The World

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Conformity involves changing your behaviors in order to “fit in” or “go along” with the people around you. In some cases, this social influence might involve agreeing with or acting like the majority of people in a specific group, or it might involve behaving in a particular way in order to be perceived as “normal” by the group.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.- Romans 12:1-2

An Essential Means of Transformation: The Renewal of Your Mind

And in Romans 12:2 Paul now focuses on one essential means of transformation — “the renewal of your mind.” “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Oh, how crucial this is!

If you long to break loose from conformity to the world,

if you long to be transformed and new from the inside out,

if you long to be free from mere duty-driven Christianity and do what you love to do because what you love to do is what you ought to do,

if you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice so that your whole life becomes a spiritual act of worship and displays the worth of Christ above the worth of the world,

then give yourself with all your might to pursuing this — the renewal of your mind. Because the Bible says, this is the key to transformation. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

What’s wrong with the human mind? Why does our mind need renewing? And what does this renewal look like? And how can we pursue and enjoy this renewal?

Definitions

Psychologists have proposed a variety of definitions to encompass the social influence that conformity exerts.

Essentially, conformity involves giving in to group pressure.

Some other definitions include:

  • “Conformity is the most general concept and refers to any change in behavior caused by another person or group; the individual acted in some way because of influence from others. Note that conformity is limited to changes in behavior caused by other people; it does not refer to the effects of other people on internal concepts like attitudes or beliefs … Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience because it refers to any behavior that occurs as a result of others’ influence – no matter what the nature of the influence.”1
  • “Conformity can be defined as yielding to group pressures, something which nearly all of us do some of the time. Suppose, for example, you go with friends to see a film. You didn’t think the film was very good, but all your friends thought that it was absolutely brilliant. You might be tempted to conform by pretending to agree with their verdict on the film rather than being the odd one out.” 2

Why Do We Conform?

Researchers have found that people conform to a number of different reasons.3 In many cases, looking to the rest of the group for clues for how we should behave can actually be helpful. Other people might have greater knowledge or experience than we do, so following their lead can actually be instructive.https://c43457098f0c40346cf32c50371af5a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

In some instances, we conform to the expectations of the group in order to avoid looking foolish. This tendency can become particularly strong in situations where we are not quite sure how to act or where the expectations are ambiguous.

In 1955, Deutsch and Gerard identified two key reasons why people conform: informational influence and normative influence.4

Informational influence happens when people change their behavior in order to be correct.5 In situations where we are unsure of the correct response, we often look to others who are better informed and more knowledgeable and use their lead as a guide for our own behaviors. In a classroom setting, for example, this might involve agreeing with the judgments of another classmate who you perceive as being highly intelligent.

Normative influence stems from a desire to avoid punishments (such as going along with the rules in class even though you don’t agree with them) and gain rewards (such as behaving in a certain way in order to get people to like you).5

SCARP Remembers 9/11

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“September 11… I will never forget feeling scared and vulnerable… I will never forget feeling the deep sad loss of so many lives… I will never forget the smell of the smoke that reached across the water and delivered a deep feeling of doom into my gut… I will never forget feeling the boosted sense of unity and pride… I will never forget seeing the courageous actions of so many men and women… I will never forget seeing people of all backgrounds working together in community… I will never forget seeing what hate can destroy… I will never forget seeing what love can heal…”-AYEPEEToday is 9/11, also known as Patriot Day. Amid all of the challenges that we are facing as a nation right now, I believe today is an opportunity for us to pause and gather in solemn remembrance of a day of dark tragedy and even brighter heroism in our shared history.I will be praying for our brave men and women in our military who continue the fight against terrorism as well as our first responders – our law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs – who continue to protect us here at home.For your information, it was 8:46 a.m. when hijackers steered American Airlines Flight 11 into 1 World Trade Center; 9:03 a.m. when they crashed United Flight 175 into 2 World Trade Center; 9:37 a.m. when the terrorists steered American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon; and 10:03 a.m. when, after learning of the other attacks, the passengers on United Flight 93 saved countless lives by launching a counterattack against the hijackers, resulting in the plane crashing into an empty field near Shanksville, Pa.Most of us are old enough to remember the heart-wrenching acts of personal sacrifice that dominated the news on the day of the attacks and for several weeks afterward – firefighters rushing in to the soon to collapse buildings to rescue those trapped within; first responders digging through the rubble to find survivors; and Americans of every walk of life banding together in cities across the nation to lend one another their strength, their comfort, and their brotherhood.When enemies sought to sow division and fear, America responded with strength and unity. May we cultivate that same strength and unity in America today, despite all who seek to divide us. May we do it not only for ourselves and our children, but also in remembrance of all those that lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind.All the best,

SCARP

We Do Recover

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When at the end of the road we find that we can no longer function as a human being, either with or without drugs, we all face the same dilemma. What is there left to do? There seems to be this alternative: either go on as best we can to the bitter ends—jails, institutions or death—or find a new way to live. In years gone by, very few addicts ever had this last choice.Those who are addicted today are more fortunate. For the first time in man’s entire history, a simple way has been proving itself in the lives of many addicts. It is available to us all. This is a simple spiritual—not religious—program, known as Narcotics Anonymous

Wounded Warrior Vindication

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Journeys Through Homelessness and Housing Instability End Positively for Three Beckley Veterans 

The Challenge

Three Beckley, West Virginia, Veterans had different experiences, backgrounds, challenges and journeys through life. Yet in recent years all found themselves facing the same problem: actual or near-homelessness in southcentral West Virginia.

  • For Michael Pendley, a 41-year-old father of three and post-9/11 Veteran, homelessness followed after he lost his job.
  • For Ayana Jones, a 40-year-old mother of three and another Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, homelessness came after she experienced domestic violence and went through a divorce.
  • An anonymous third Veteran was on the verge of eviction, which was caused by an untreated mental health diagnosis that resulted in lost employment, depleted savings and immobilizing bouts of panic.

The Fix

When the Veterans turned to the Beckley VA Medical Center for assistance, Cynthia Pugh was ready. As Beckley’s Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) case manager, Pugh sat down with each Veteran to assess their situations and set goals for securing permanent housing, employment and other services.

“Every Veteran’s situation is different, and each has personal goals,” Pugh said. “As HUD-VASH case manager, I make sure they are connected to permanent housing and then assist them with achieving whatever’s next.”
 
A key entry point for all three Veterans to exit or avoid homelessness is HUD-VASH, which provides housing choice vouchers through HUD as well as case management and other supports through VA.

“But addition to HUD-VASH, I can connect Veterans to an array of VA programs and services to make sure they have what they need to achieve their goals,” Pugh said.

Within two weeks of being screened for HUD-VASH eligibility, Pugh secured a housing voucher for Mr. Pendley that quickly led to permanent housing.

Likewise, Pugh worked with Ms. Jones to enroll in HUD-VASH, get VA medical and mental health care and obtain VA compensation for her service-connected disability.

The Result

Thanks to their grit and determination—and Pugh’s strong assist—these Veterans are now permanently housed and are looking forward to bright futures.

After becoming housed, Mr. Pendley reenergized his career search and landed a pharmaceutical sales job near his new home. He plans to exit HUD-VASH soon.

Ms. Jones now enjoys a more independent, purposeful life, and has started the process of buying her own home. She is active in her community and serves as a volunteer at local domestic violence shelters, churches and Veteran clinics.

The anonymous Veteran is in a much better state, too. The Veteran is engaged in health care, has left HUD-VASH and achieved a personal goal of home ownership.

“Having a home lets our Veterans focus on what’s most important—their health and their futures,” Pugh said. “Those of us at Beckley’s HUD-VASH program are incredibly honored to provide these Veterans with the hand up they needed to get a fresh start.”

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