"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Affirm: to state or assert positively; maintain as true: to affirm one's loyalty to one's country; He affirmed that all was well.

Below is a piece I wrote last year when I turned 46. The words I shared, the feelings I expressed and personal convictions I communicated are still true today. My personal relationship with Christ has changed the husband, father & friend I am today. God has transformed my heart, my mind and my emotions. God has changed my life. I'm a very blessed man. All of my kids and family contacted or called me today to wish me a happy birthday. My wife told me; "I want you to know how much I love you... your my heart. I can't make it without you." I'm a blessed man. Lastly, my son , Bryce, texted me this message on the way to school this morning:

"Happy birthday dad... read Proverbs 11 last night before going to bed, and it talked about the righteous and how they will prosper... I think your righteous Pops... love you." 

I think it's safe to say that with a comment like that from my son that God is prospering me; God is blessing me. I don't deserve it, but He is.Thanks for many kind words today from everyone and I hope you enjoy the piece... again.
-Shawn 1.12.12


Proverbs 18:20 states; "Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person's lips brings satisfaction." I believe that verse, and as I sit here reflecting upon those words, and the fact that I will be my forty six tomorrow, I'm reminded of some tremendous words that were said some time ago about age and birthdays.

There are three that specifically come to mind.

The first quote is attributed to Jonathan Swift when he said;  

"May you live all the days of your life."

The second choice of words is so very true when Voltaire displayed his keen insight when he uttered the words; 

 "What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy."

And finally there are the words of Emily Dickinson that reflect how I feel and our perfectly suited for my current perspective;  

"We turn older with years, but newer every day."

I have been reading Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" and I have to agree with Ms. Dickinson that depending on our perspective we really do have a grand opportunity to become newer every day. And as I read Mr. Warren's book I realize that when I gain the understanding that my life has a purpose, a meaning, and that I play a vital role in identifying my purpose and leading a life that has meaning I begin, and only then begin, to grow. And the growth happens daily.

I become newer every day.

In my search to grow as a man and mature spiritually my life has become more focused; refined and defined. Eliminated is behavior that is counterproductive, attitudes that weigh me down and activities that waste precious time. My life has increased in value and in turn has become more valuable to those around me. When we have no real driving force, no real focus and direction, everyone involved in our life suffers.

I've come to realize that for the believer and the non believer alike God will only ask two questions some day to all of us. Two crucial questions, two important questions: first, "What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?" and secondly, "What did you do with what I gave you?" Those two questions help me realize that my purpose is more than being a father, more than being a parent, friend and more than being an employee. Please don't misunderstand me, these are very important and critical callings and functions in our life, but our main purpose is more than what those areas encompass.

And because I believe my main purpose is to serve Christ I want to be able to answer both of those questions honestly and without any hesitation or reservation.

I want to answer them well.

What did I do with Jesus Christ? 

I accepted Him into my heart. I did not tell Him that I will be perfect the rest of my days. I did not tell him that I will display Christ like qualities every day and in every situation. And I did not tell Him I would be obedient to his word and will every day. In the end I realize that my works will never be enough even though I so desperately want to be all those things I just listed. What I do know, and what I did say, is that I believe in Him and I accept Him, Jesus Christ, into my heart. 

What did I do with what God gave me?  

There were times I squandered, ignored, was at times shamefully unappreciative; abused, horded, hid, lost and wasted what God gave me. But because of God's mercy and grace I realized that every relationship, opportunity, material item, money, adventure, experience and the very breath that I breathed was only made possible because God allowed it to be possible.

Through God's wonderful grace He has showed me that life is truly a test. He has also showed me life is also a trust and it's temporary.

Each success and disappointment, every trial and tribulation is another test taking opportunity. A test that God wants us to pass, but nonetheless it is a test that we will either pass or fail. And if we pass it doesn't mean that we have mastered the task and when, not if, but when we fail that failure isn't necessarily fatal or final. We will have many other opportunities to get it right. 

Life is a trust.

Life is the trust we put in others, in ourselves and, most importantly, the only trust that will not fail us is the trust we put into Jesus Christ. God has also entrusted us with relationships, opportunities and treasures. We will all answer to God on what we did with these entrusted gifts. 

Life is temporary.

This leads me back to the "purpose thing". Life is short. We all have heard that, but many don't embody that statement on a daily basis. I know I didn't for many years. Since life is temporary I truly believe it is vital that we all discern what our purpose is while on earth. Because we are created by God, for God, I believe it is our purpose, if not our ultimate destiny to serve Christ. Colossians 1:6 states; "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,... everything got started in him and finds its purpose in Him." Everything includes me. My success and failures are temporary, and so is my life. And because everything around me is temporary, except God's love and my soul, it paramount that I spend my time here on earth purposeful and engaged in living a certain way that has eternity in mind.

My purpose is to serve Christ and others. I want to serve and encourage others instead of discouraging them. I spent enough time disappointing and discouraging people.

The main reason I started writing was to leave something tangible and real for my children, and to encourage and affirm someone, anyone that might take the time to read what I have written. 

I believe this to be my purpose while here on earth; to serve Christ and encourage others.

Proverbs 18:4 explains, "A person's words can be life giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook." 

It is my sincere hope you feel better after you read this than you did before you read it. I hope my words refreshed and inspired you to think seriously about the meaning of your life, to think deeply about your life's purpose. 

I want to encourage you. I hope I have. It is my goal to continue to encourage you. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says,  

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look to me in earnest you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes."

I wanted to share with you what I think affirmation means and how I believe that is God's will for me to encourage and affirm others. 

I got sidetracked. 

Tomorrow I will share with you what I believe the word AFFIRMATION to mean. But tonight remember that God wants to affirm you right now.

Invite Him into your heart and life, and ask Him what now? What do you want me to do? He will wonderfully and precisely direct you in the path that will gain you the greatest gift you have ever received; the gift of eternal salvation and the gift of a life that truly has meaning and has a purpose.

Your purpose is awaiting you. 

Don't waste another moment. 

I can honestly say, that at 46, asking Jesus Christ into my heart in is the single best decision I have ever made. 


sbb  1.11.11

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