"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 31, 2013

20 Reasons (re-post 1.18.2011)

Fundamentals: serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles; the fundamental structure.

Bryce Bailey

I watch a lot of basketball. 

I feel very comfortable giving my opinion on basketball. 

I was fortunate enough to play (and watch) basketball, be named a captain my senior year, and play in the Div III Final Four at Wittenberg University in 1987. I was, and still am, a Tiger. Wittenberg University is the all-time victory leader (1653 wins and counting) in NCAA division III basketball history. During my time there I was also fortunate (As you can see the the key word is fortunate) to play for coach Larry Hunter. Coach Hunter, according to available research, has compiled a record of 600-325 (.649) and is the 61st NCAA men's basketball coach all-time at all levels and 38th at the NCAA Division I level, including the 12th active coach to reach the 600-win plateau. Hunter joins the likes of all-time wins leader - Mike Krzyzewski; Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Bob Huggins, Roy Williams, Jerry Slocum, Bo Ryan, Cliff Ellis, Mike Montgomery, Rick Byrd and Rick Pitino among the active coaches with 600 victories.

While I was at Wittenberg I played behind Tim Casey (Div. III player of the year in 1985 and 2-Time All-American), Steve Iannarino (All-American and Wittenberg's All-Time leading scorer, and Steve Allison (All-American and top ten all-time scorer at Wittenberg).

All three men are in the Wittenberg Hall of fame. 

Those are the players I went against everyday and played behind for my entire career at Wittenberg. I imagine I was awarded the "Tiger Award" for the simple fact that I had to compete against all of them during my four years there. And though Wittenberg isn't a division one program and I was not a D-1 player I do believe all involved at Witt learned how to play the game the right way.

So with that, I feel very confident in giving my opinion on the game of basketball. I am no Bob Knight, Rick Pitino or Coach K... I just believe I understand how the game should be played.

Below is a piece I wrote two years ago (Bryce was a freshman then) in response to Bryce's JV coach's request to give 20 reasons why they lost. I believe that is/was the coaches job. Ninth and tenth grade kids playing basketball don't know 20 valuable things about the game of basketball.

I hope you enjoy... it was therapeutic for me to write.

Again, my goal wasn't to be arrogant, and I apologize if I came across as a horse's butt. I just wanted to re-post this piece because I believe many, if not all, of my words still ring true today as I watch my son play varsity basketball in this his junior year season. At times it's very difficult to watch. -sbb

 #22: Bryce


My son Bryce, as well as all of his teammates, had to write a paper for their JV Coach tonight outlining "20" reasons why they have lost their last 4 out of 5 games. They got beat this evening by Jonathon Alder. 

The coach wants it at the beginning of practice tomorrow.

20 Reasons for this Season

(1) Communication: We lack communication. The quickest way to become a group of players that form a team and not group of players that are a group of individuals is to communicate with each other. Communicating isn't screaming "ball, ball, ball", it is calling out screens, shouting "shot" when the ball goes up, calling out "cutters" and yelling out "deny" when a player picks up his dribble. Communication also entails encouraging your teammates as often as possible. Communication can be a look of approval, a high five or a pat on the back. Communication is the key and we don't communicate. The greatest way to build trust with your teammate is to "consistently" communicate.

(2) Rebounding: Specifically "defensive" rebounding. One of the most important keys to any basketball game is to limit the number of possessions the other team gets. The quickest way to "increase" the other team's amount of possessions is to let them dominate the boards (... especially when they are on offense... turn overs don't help either). We don't rebound because our first move, once the shot goes up, is to the basket not to our opponent. When we consistently rebound we will greatly improve our chances to win. We need to put a butt on someone every time the shot goes up and box them out. (4 on 4 shell game during practice is the best way to improve this. You stay on the court until you get a defensive rebound... it works)

Ball fake & create contact

(3) Turnovers: Turnovers, like a lack of defensive rebounding, increase the number of possessions for the other team. Everyone must treat the ball like they would their imac, ipod or ipad. Guards, specifically point guards, must protect the team from having too many turn overs. If a guard lets a big man or non guard bring the ball up the court and there is a turnover it's the point guards fault. A point guard must demand the ball and get the ball up the court. The point guard is the coach on the floor and he must recognize what situations give his teammates the best chance to succeed. To whom much is given, much is expected. There is nothing more valuable than the coach giving you the ball... point guards either control game or they don't. It's that simple.

(4) Awareness: We need to be more aware of the shooters on the other team and communicate it. We also must be mindful who is in the game for us and get our best shooters and scorers good looks at the basket. We have to recognize, identify and execute.

(5) Transition Defense: Get back on defense and stop the ball as soon as we can. When we don't do this we give up easy baskets and get in foul trouble.

Play "D" with your feet....

(6) Transition Offense: Look up the court and get some easy baskets. Getting easy baskets takes the pressure of our half court sets and demoralizes the other team. Easy baskets also creates more intensity for our defense. Run a secondary break and down screen for your shooters. Down screen not just to get a shot off, but to create separation/space and to throw it in and out of the post.

(7) Defense: Play defense with our feet not our hands. We (I) commit too many dumb fouls that put the other team in the bonus sooner thus giving them more opportunities at the foul line. Bad fouls also hurt our team because we limit the time our best players play.

Be aggressive!

(8) Hedge the Pick: Every team loves to "high pick and roll" with a guard and a big man. We have to help and "hedge the pick". When we don't we get killed in the lane when the guard penetrates.

(9) Out of Bounds Plays: Defensively we get to caught up in picks too easily creating lay ups for the other team. We either need to execute getting over a screen or play zone on the out a bounds plays that are under our own basket.

(10) Zone Offense: The guards need to do a better job penetrating the zone so to get open looks for shooters spotting up. It's OK to pick against a zone defense.

Be a leader!

(11) Ball Fake: When players close out on us, especially when they are in a zone, we need to do a better job of ball faking. When we ball fake we then can take one dribble to create distance and space between us and defender thus creating a better look at the basket or finding an open man.

(12) Free Throws: Make them... they are free. We have to have a goal as a team to shoot 75% or better at the line. Good foul shooters concentrate when they are tired. Good foul shooters have the same pre-shot routine and shot the same way every time. Good teams make their foul shots.

(13) Enthusiasm: Be excited to play... don't be timid or nervous... be excited. Enthusiasm is contagious. The point guard has to get the others involved physically, mentally and emotionally. That is what a leader does.

(14) Leader: We have no defined leader "on the court". Someone has to step up and be a leader "on the court". He has to communicate with everyone and be someone the coach can trust to lead "on the court". We are half way through the season. Who is our leader on the court? That has to be me and I have not been consistent in being a leader. Leaders don't get in foul trouble and they don't turn the ball over... and they don't panic.

(15) Lay ups: We miss too many lay ups. We need to concentrate and be under control when we get lay up opportunities.

Push the ball...

(16) Reverse the ball: On offense if we consistently reverse the ball we will get more wide open shots. We will also put more pressure on the defense. Reversing the ball makes the defense become more reactive. The more situations we put the defense in that makes them react the more control we have offensively.

(17) Penetrate: The more we penetrate offensively the more pressure we put on the defense, we increase our chances for three point plays and getting our opponents in foul trouble when we get in the lane with an advantage. When we penetrate "under control" good things happen.

(18) Dribble with a purpose: The ball moves faster in the air than it does by dribbling it. Dribble with a purpose, if there is nothing there pass it and cut.

Force ball to the screen. Hedge the pick.

(19) Consistent effort and execution: For "4" quarters. We need to be more consistent with our effort and our defensive and offensive execution. Being consistent takes self discipline AND DESIRE.

(20) Sense of Urgency: We need to play with a sense of urgency from the very beginning of the game. Either this is important or it's not... we, the players, ultimately decide.

I could give you a reason for how I failed in each of these areas, but it really comes down to the same thing in each instance.


When I become consistent at being "fundamentally sound" I will be become a better player and a more significant contributor to the team. 

Thanks for your patience.

Bryce (and his Dad)

sbb  18.1.11
Basketball Jones  .  Barry White & Chris Rock

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Want Change? (re-post 2.6.2012)

Growth: the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.

Positive change in one's life is about growth.

This past week I had the privilege to listen to our senior pastor, Ken Murphy, speak during a live interview on the radio.

As I listened to Ken speak I realized that I've been listening to him share his words of spiritual wisdom and thoughtful counsel for over ten years. As I stated earlier, it has been a privilege. I consider Ken as our church leader, my pastor and, more importantly, my friend. Ken has challenged, encouraged and inspired me to become the man that God has purposefully created me to become. Again, I will reiterate, it has been a privilege and an honor to have spent the last ten years developing a relationship with him.

Ken Murphy

As I mentioned in the opening sentence; "positive change in one's life is about growth."  During the course of Ken's interview it struck me as ironic as he talked about our churches tremendous growth over the last two years -which I have to take this moment and say it has been nothing short of amazing-.  In listening to Ken's words I realized that growth has very consistent qualities no matter where the growth is taking place. Whether you're trying to grow a business, grow an institution or grow a church the qualities that aid that growth are the same. With this being said, I think it is important to remind ourselves that growth is more than about numbers. Growth in our families and personal lives has more to do with developing a high emotional IQ, increasing our knowledge, maturing as an adult and growing in our acknowledgment and recognition that God should be the cornerstone; the foundation of our lives. 

The only number that is important, and recognizable, in that equation is the number ONE.

The one is you. 

Before we go anywhere, before we experience life at its fullest, with the greatness amount of purpose, we must first resolve in our heart, mind and soul that life wasn't meant to be lived without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We were created by God, for God.

And if we are to grow in the right direction we must first acknowledge this simple truth. 

John 14:6 shares this truth with us when Jesus states; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

It's pretty simple.

Many would like to believe that change that leads to growth is simple also, but it's not.

Change and growth are difficult.

Growth should be everyone's goal.

During Ken's interview he touched on four attributes; qualities if you will, that have been paramount in the growth of the Cypress Wesleyan Church over the past two years.

All four of these specific choices can be transferred to any area of our personal and professional lives if we choose to emphasize positive growth as a goal for our self as we travel this land that is called our life.

What needs to happen for change to occur you ask?

Allow me to share.

Better said yet; "Be Intentional." In order for any growth to occur in the home, in the work place or in the church you must become more intentional in your thinking. Dreams are important, wishing can be inspirational and having hope is important because at times it can sustain you, but until we collectively learn to deliberately think with a specific purpose in mind where we want to go, and what we want to accomplish, we will never accomplish what we set out to do or get to where it is we want to go. Again, its that simple.

Specific and intentional are not the same. Specific by definition is having a special application, bearing, or reference; specifying, explicit, or definite: to state one's specific purpose. Once we become specific on what we want to accomplish then we can become intentional in our thinking, being specific will aid us in planning with a purpose.

Pastor Ken has said any times that the most important thing a new person must see when they step into Cypress for the first time is an inviting smile and a helpful hand. That first experience will often determine if that person will come back again in the future. Hospitality is everything; hospitality is about attitude. You show me a person that opens their home with an inviting smile and a warm heart and I will show you someone that values the importance of a good attitude. In my first work experience upon graduating from Wittenberg University a man from Atlanta by the name of Bob Paige, my regional sales manager at the time, shared with me that attitude determines outcome; attitude determines altitude. Twenty-five years later that simple belief concerning attitude is one the most important keys in how I choose to live my life. Attitude is everything.

Psalm 86:1 recites a prayer by David with these words:

1 Hear me, LORD, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 have mercy on me, Lord,
   for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
   for I put my trust in you.
 5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
   abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, LORD;
   listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
   because you answer me.

For any consistent, powerful and life changing growth to take place in one's life prayer has to be an integral part of the plan. I find it ironic that the very things that are needed for growth; intentional thinking, specific purpose and a correct attitude, are also part and parcel of what it takes to engage in "powerful praying." When a person participates in a prayer life that is intentional, specific and with an attitude that is Christ centered and not self centered is when real spiritual growth takes place. It is the kind of growth that acknowledges the need for Jesus Christ to become the Lordship of our life, accepts His forgiveness and allows His grace to transcend our lives. When this truly takes place we experiencing growth at its best. In the end, our prayer life is to be intentional, specific, with the proper attitude that will open the door of acknowledgment, acceptance and allowance of all of God's treasures that He so wants to graciously bestow upon us.

Some grow faster than others...

This past Saturday after my two youngest boy's basketball game I started down the path of joking with them concerning their lack of offensive prowess during their weekly game. As their coach, and father, I find it very easy to share with them how I feel about certain, if not all, things. And it was during the course of our back and forth that my youngest son, Addison, shared with me his thoughts. "Dad", he said, "If you didn't make the tallest player on the team guard me then I could've made more shots." I looked Addy straight in the eyes and I said; "you're correct." See, we as coaches in the youth league determine what player will guard what player and because of that I should've realized that Addy, and Ryan, would struggle mightily with a much taller player guarding them.

I was humbled.

With all the basketball I played as a youngster, and with all my playing experience in high school and college, with all the games I've watched and coached its very easy for me to falsely, and arrogantly, believe I know everything. And in the end, when its all said and done, - and trust me, there is always more said than done - a little six year old shared with me the most obvious thing; he is short and the player guarding him is tall... and I could've changed that dynamic.

God has a wonderful, if not clarifying, sense of humor.

Hebrews 11:1-39

Sometimes growth comes when we least expect it. Sometimes, if not most of the time, it takes others to aid us in that process. Positive change that leads to growth can be very difficult to experience and because of that we need all the help we can get.

Remember, work the process of change by being intentional, being specific, maintaining a great attitude, praying and in the end never becoming too full of pride, or arrogance, to accept the help of another that is trying to aid you in growing.

It's that simple.

sbb 6.2.12 

Monday, January 28, 2013

ANDY (re-post 1.28.2011)

Promise: a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one.


Four years ago today a very close friend of mine died of liver failure. We were roommates for over three years after my second divorce. Andy was very good to me. Andy lead a very troubled and desperate life at times, but he was a man that was faithful to his friends and one who genuinely cared about those around him more than he cared for himself. The saying goes; "that he would give you the shirt off his back." Those words apply to Andy. Thinking and remembering you today Andy. Below are the words I wrote on the 2nd year anniversary of Andy's death. 
Love you, Shawn 

Two years (now 4 years) ago today a very good friend of mine passed away from liver failure. We were roommates in the late 90's and into the early 2000's. My oldest three boys came to know him as Uncle Andy.

Andy was 39 when he died.

Andy was adopted and never met his birth parents.

I think of my friend often and I can still remember going over to his house the December before he died having no idea that would be the last time I would have a conversation with him. When I received a call from his girlfriend and another close friend to come to Riverside Hospital to see him before he passed away I was numb and without words. I prayed with him and asked him if he wanted to accept Jesus Christ into his life. He nodded, but till this day I'm still not sure if he understood what I was talking or praying about. 

When I left the hospital I was grief stricken.

I loved Andy. 

He had seen me at my worst and at my best and in both instances he treated me the same; he treated me like a great friend.

Andy was a true friend.

The reason I went to visit Andy that cold day in December of 2008 was because I wanted to talk to him about his faith. He contacted me earlier that month and said that he found a journal that I kept in college and that he was reading it every day.

He said it gave him hope.

I shared with him that day that my life was different. I told him that God was the center piece of my life and that the transformation in my life was evident to anyone that would want to take a look and notice.

He agreed.

Buckeye & Andy...

I believe that Andy heard the words that I shared with him, but I have no idea if he accepted Jesus Christ in his heart.

I hope he did. I think about it just about every day.

Since then I made a promise to myself that through deed and word, more deed than word that I would share my faith with anyone that would like to talk about it. I also promised myself that I will share with those that I'm close to that God has changed my life.

I will never again put off sharing with someone the good news of Jesus Christ. 

In my bible I have Andy's obituary laminated and placed as a bookmark for Psalm 39. 

"Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath."
-Psalm 39:4

Andy lived roughly 14,235 days.

Tomorrow is never promised.

Written in my bible, in the margins between Psalm 38 & 39, is the name ANDY.

Andy means a lot of different things to me, but below is what ANDY stands for to me and what I have written in my bible. 

Allow me to share... 


Always share your faith in Christ through your conduct, character and conversation. People appreciate watching a good sermon instead of hearing one. Our actions often speak louder than our words. I fail at this often, but it is truly important to me to live a life that demonstrates a deep belief in God.

Never be ashamed or obnoxious about your faith in God. It is important to me to share my faith in a way that will not offend or alienate anyone, and in a way that displays sincerity and authenticity. 

Don't wait to share your faith with your friends. Tomorrow is never promised. Many of us share with others, and anybody that will listen, things that have no true significance; sharing the gospel is sharing something that has value. When we share the good news with others we speak hope into their lives that can produce mighty change into their lives. That is awesome.

Y ... Why share? Why "not" share is the real and right question. Matthew 28:18-20 states; "And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.' And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. ...and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but He who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem." Those verses are a pretty good reason why we should share the "good news" with those around us.

Andy's favorite song was "You're in my Heart" by Rod Stewart. It was played at his funeral. Andy was known to ask strangers to dance with him when this song was played.

Couples danced to this song at the funeral home when it was played during his funeral.

I cried.

The song states:

"You're in my heart, you're in my soul
You'll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you're my best friend
You're in my soul"

I could write another 1000 words concerning the irony of that stanza.

But I will not. 

I will only say that upon further reflection I do believe that God was in his heart and in his soul during Andy's final days here on earth. 

I really do.

I'm thinking of you today Andy.

I miss you very much.

sbb  28.1.11

Friday, January 25, 2013

Game Changer

Perspective: a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance

Below is an email I received from a young lady that I love very much. Our parents have been friends for a long time, but their daughter, Kaitlyn, and I didn't meet until after her life altering accident. We are very close friends today. Below are her words to questions posed by Olivia Christensen, CEO at There are so many things that are on my mind considering this young lady, but courageous is the first word that comes to mind. Life happens fast and it can change forever even faster. Psalm 39:4-6 states this:

"Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.You have made my days a mere hand-breadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be."

Life is truly short, but what really matters is not the brevity of it, but the impact that it has on others. Every time I speak with Kaitlyn I'm reminded and encouraged how important, and wonderful, true impact in others lives can be. Kaitlyn, I'm in awe of you and love you as if you were my own daughter. Girlfriend, you are what they call a "Game Changer". - sbb

"Zero" handicap

How did you get into the accident? 

On December 2, 2010 I was in a rush on my way to school of my senior year. When I took my last steps and got in my car I never put my seat belt on and sped off 85 miles an hour on a country road. Just 5 minutes down the road I hid a sheet of black ice that spun me off the road into a ditch that caused me to flip my car "front over end" ejecting me out of the sun roof and throwing me 70 feet away from my car. I broke 3 of my ribs and severed my spinal cord which left me paralyzed from the stomach down.


How has it changed your life? 

This accident drastically changed my life because of the simple fact it permanently took away from me the use of my legs. The only way I can do anything is if I sit in a wheelchair. I was used to waking it up and putting on heels to dress up for school and after school cheer-leading, running on the track and cross country team and playing other sports like tennis and volleyball. I had to completely relearn how to do EVERYTHING, even the simplest things like getting dressed, using the restroom, and showering myself. I still do things on my own, its just completely different and I had no choice but to face the fact that my life would never be the same!

Family and the "New Normal" 

How has it inspired you? 

My accident itself devastated me, I never knew anything like this could happen to me, I thought I was just a normal teenager? However once I realized that my accident should have killed me and that it was a true blessing to still be breathing with a second chance at life, I knew I needed to take advantage of it since I took everything else for granted. I now appreciate things I never dreamed of appreciating like having the use of my hand and a brain that still works because I could have easily been more paralyzed than I am now or hit my head so hard I forgot how to move or communicate anything at all. It has made me focus on the positives and what I can do instead of what I can't do.

Helping others...

Where are you from? 

I am from Columbus, Ohio

Making a difference...

What are your ultimate goals?

My ultimate Goals are to graduate with a college degree, get married and have children, while in the process doing as much therapy as possible to recover as much as I can because even though my doctors left me with no hope of walking, I believe that I can overcome this injury if I work hard enough! I also want to speak to as many people as possible about my story so I can inspire them to not let anything stop you and fight for everything you want. I want to break down as many barriers and misconceptions as I can about people who live with disabilities. In the process of achieving all the above I will be dancing with my wheelchair dance team as much as possible!

Never give up!

What is Team Hotwheelz? 

Team Hotwheelz is a wheelchair dance team that dances to inspire the world! All the team member had to overcome the transition of going from being a fully able body person to becoming disabled and living life in a chair at some point in their lives. We are all very strong and independent girls despite what others assume about us. Dancing is what brought us together. We have a particular routine that we incorporate able body dancers with our 7 girls in wheelchairs to show the world that dance is dance and there are no limits and that we don't have to be separated, we can interact together! Team Hotwheelz wants to inspire both worlds (able and disabled)!

Dad & Daughter 

"Wheelchairs Won't Slow Theses Women Down."

sbb 25.1.13

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Me and My Circle (re-post 2.28.11)

Circle: a closed plane curve consisting of all points at a given distance from a point within it called the center: equation: x 2 + y 2 = r 2.

"Circle of Trust"

"Let architects sing of aesthetics that bring Rich clients in hordes to their knees; just give me a home, in a great circle dome where stresses and strains are at ease." 
-R. Buckminster Fuller

On March 5, 1963 two men, Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr, developed a product that was inspired by their observation of Australian children twirling a wooden hoop around their waste during gym class. The product that Melin and Knerr patented in 1963 was marketed by Wham-O earlier. 

The product, after it was patented, sold 25 million in the first four months on the market.

The product was a toy, and the toy was the "Hula Hoop".

 Get it girl...

The reason for my little history lesson on the hula hoop is because of a speaker I had the privilege to hear speak at our church yesterday. The speaker, Dan Seaborn, shared with us that while watching his wife hula hoop in their bedroom one evening (easy now... she was exercising... serious) he was reminded that all of us have our own personal circle we operate and exercise in every day. 

And while all of us have our own circle many of us like to observe others in "their" circle. We like to comment and opine on their situation and how we could fix them, and their problems, if only they would listen to us. 

Think spouses, kids and friends alike and you will get my drift.

We're all so ready to jump into another person's circle and fix them and their situation.

We tend to look at other people's faults with a microscope and our own faults with a telescope.

We as humans think everyone else has the problem and if they would let us counsel them that we could eliminate their issues. Many of us think this way while having more issues than Sports Illustrated... I include myself when I say many.

Our attention needs to be on our own faults, not on the faults of others.

With that being said, the only way we can identify, acknowledge, and change our faults is with the help of God.

James 1:5 states; "If you need wisdom- if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent you asking."

We all need wisdom.

And we all can have it... all we have to do is ask.

We have to ask and believe.

James 1: 6 continues to say: "But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." 

Isn't it funny that our children, when they are in their early elementary years, believe everything their teacher says and then when they get to junior high they think their teachers are idiots? The reason for this is because they begin to doubt what they are being taught and who is teaching it. I blame the parent for that, but that is a topic for another day.

But whether it is the parents or not what does begin to creep into our children's head is doubt. 

The point here is when we ask God for wisdom we have to believe that God is who he says he is and that his promises in the scripture are just that... they are his promises to us.

We cannot do it alone and God knows this. He will provide us with giving us his helper in the form of his holy spirit.

The Greek word for Holy Spirit is Parakletos (par-ak'-lay-tos) or (pair-of cleat-tos) which literally means "one who consoles, one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate."  

God will actually provide for all who will invite him into their life a counselor, a comforter and an advocate.

All we have to do is ask. 

I will say it again... all we have to do is ask

The last statement is so simple, but so difficult for most of us to do. I ask myself why?

I'm often fascinated by what, and who, we invite into our circles. Many of the inhabitants in our circle cause so much pain and misery. We often invite poor relationships, addictions, arrogance, ego, jealousy, work, material items and poor counselors to name few. And though I do prescribe to the theory that experience, expertise and authority, when teamed together, can move us closer to the truth and improve our reality, whatever that truth may be, the fact still remains the same for me that it is only through the guidance of God's almighty hand do we realize real truth in our lives. In the end, we invite everything else in why not invite God in.

When we invite God into our circle then, and only then, will we see the truth. 

Mercury Falling

In the 1996 song "I Was Brought to my Senses", penned and sang by Sting on his Mercury Falling album, Sting shares with us these words:

I walked out this morning
It was like a veil had been removed from before my eyes
For the first time I saw the work of heaven
In the line where the hills had been married to the sky
And all around me
Every blade of singing grass
Was calling out your name
And that our love would always last
And inside every turning leaf
Is the pattern of an older tree
The shape of our future
The shape of all our history
And out of the confusion
Where the river meets the sea
Came things I'd never seen
Things I'd never seen

When Sting wrote this song he was referring to a lover that had changed his perspective and changed the very way he looked at things. The prospect of a loving relationship with his lover gave his life clarity, purpose and meaning.

Love has a way of doing that to us.

But when I hear those words I think of how point on that description is when we invite God into hearts. A veil is truly removed from our eyes and for the first time we see things that we have never seen. 

We begin to see how things truly are.

Finally, it is my hope that the next time you see a kid playing with a hula hoop that you picture yourself standing with a circle around you. I hope you process for a moment your circle and what you currently have in it with you. And once you're reminded of the circle that encompasses you and your life, be mindful of God and invite him into your circle. Ask for his help, his protection, his peace, his favor and finally ask for his wisdom.

You will not be disappointed.

sbb  24.1.2012