Feeling good

The basics

You have been designed by God, your creator, to feel good all of the time. All of the systems in your body and spirit have been designed to function in harmony with each other in order to enable you to be comfortable and to feel good in the circumstances in which you live.

Your nerves are equipped with sensors that will create feelings of pain to alert you to the fact that some of the cells in specific parts of your body are not working in harmony with other related cells. You are then faced with some options to take steps to enable your body to fix the problem. If something in your situation doesn’t seem to be working in a way that contributes to your comfort and sense of well being, sensors in your emotional center will alert you to this condition by creating feelings of stress or worry or frustration or depression or sadness or even hopelessness in order to motivate you to take steps to take some course of action that might be good for you.

How these systems work

As you grow up your mind is programmed with pathways of learned skills and mental abilities that give you various levels of control over what you subject your body and your mind to that you have learned produces various levels of comfort and pleasure and satisfaction from what you are experiencing. The basic tool in your mind for starting your learned steps of action in your body and spirit is your thoughts. Your thoughts are the basic “links” to your choices that you have “tagged” with various adjectives of priority for the benefits that you have come to expect from the course of action that is implemented in your body and spirit. These “tags” will indicate in your range of thoughts what choices are apt to be most “helpful” or “wise” or “loving” or “right” or what ones are your “favorites” or “easy” or what ones are “momentary” or what ones are “risky” or “expensive” depending upon the condition that they produce in your situation and your resulting feelings about it. So you are confronted every day or even moment by moment with a series of choices that you must make to determine what you do in your body and spirit in order to remain comfortable and safe and at “peace” in your situation, and the “link” or trigger to your range of choices is in your thoughts. And you have a lot of control and freedom over those thoughts. You have not been designed as a robot, even for your own good.

Wise choices for feeling good

Since it is not always easy to know confidently what is going to make you feel good in your situation, and some previous choices have proven to produce less than comforting and good results in the experiences in which they place you, you are faced with the frequent challenge of trying to figure out which thought (link) to activate to take you to the experience that you hope will be comforting and good for you.

In God’s creation of your initial parents (Adam and Eve) He warned them not to seek the knowledge of what was “good and evil” in their own mental abilities, because to do so would produce results in their nature and physical situations that would be fatal, not good at all, and would severely corrupt their natures with “evil” influences and severely break their direct and personal relationship with God. They refused to heed God’s warning, and they claimed this knowledge for themselves and they and all of us human beings since them have inherited the deadly consequences of their rebellious choice (the account of this episode in our history is recorded in Genesis 2:16-3:24). Part of those deadly consequences is experienced in our inability to really know what is basically “good” for us and to be wise enough in our mental options to make choices by our thoughts that will be free of the “evil” influences of the devil in our hearts and minds and our own self-serving passions and rebellious attitudes against God and His authority in our lives.

Paul, and early apostle of Jesus and teacher of God’s loving redemption for us rebels and the wisdom of His will in our lives, has taught us that in order for us to live in daily experiences in which we are really comfortable and feeling good that we need to give our attention in the thoughts of our minds to choosing those courses of action in our lives that are in keeping with God’s almighty powers to supply us with desirable comforts and eternally lasting good gifts in our daily lives. We can make these choices by activating thoughts that are “true” and “honorable” and “just” and “pure” and “lovely” and “commendable”, trusting God to provide us with what is “good” rather than depending on ourselves or the devil to do so (see Philippians 4:7-8 in the New Testament for Paul’s teaching and citation regarding these thoughts).

Securing these choices

Like learning any new challenging skill or sets of new bits of information that you can activate with new thoughts and choices of actions, learning to trust God and the guiding wisdom of His Spirit in the challenging moments of your daily life will not be easy. The process will require that you spend concentrated moments in the repeated mental exercise of these good thoughts and healthy choices of trusting God with Bible study and prayer so that your mind will become programmed to enable you to harvest the “fruit of God’s Spirit” throughout the days of your life. The devil is going to persist in trying to distract you with thoughts of previous sinful pleasures and “bad” choices of conduct and remind you of all the times that you fail in your efforts to trust God, but part of your efforts of exercise in this process is to trust God and His Spirit to engage the devil in these spiritual battles so that you can continue to live and to function with His blessings of “peace” and “self-control” in your daily life. Changing your thoughts and choices through this process of trusting God will give you many experiences of feeling good in your daily life.

Distractions

General problem
It is probably good for you to endeavor to start each day with a somewhat specific agenda in mind for what you want to accomplish during that day. If that is your habit, then any distraction from that specific list of intended efforts will be a general problem that hampers your accomplishments for the day. During the days of work, you probably have an established routine that you, and probably your spouse, follow that enable you to move from responsibility to responsibility in a somewhat satisfactory manner. But any unexpected problem at work or in your home can interrupt your habitual agenda and probably create some stress or frustration in your mind. Such stress or frustration may be quickly relieved if the problem can be easily solved, but if that isn’t possible, your agenda for the whole day may be disrupted.

Special problem
But special problems to your daily agenda are generated when you allow your mind to be distracted from your responsible agenda by some personal wants that are basically secondary in importance to what you need to accomplish during the day. These distracting thoughts may just be your desire to indulge in some activity of entertainment that could break the ordeal of some hard work that you are facing. And the source for such entertainment may just be a few clicks away on the computer that you are working on. Or you may have some pills in your pocket or purse or cabinet that could give you some relief from the uncomfortable pressure that you encounter from time to time in your regular agenda and you haven’t yet learned how to handle. If you often cultivate such distracting thoughts in your daily agenda, they can become severe threats to your ability to carry out your personal adult responsibilities as a productive worker and probably a parent of some dependents in your family. And if you continue to indulge in such distractions by the choices that you make for your conduct during the day, you may experience some very severe and disruptive consequences in your personal life that are almost impossible to fix.

Solutions to these problems of distractions
There are no easy or quick solutions to these problems in entertainment or drugs or even in sex. And it is good to set time aside to relax and to share moments of tender affection with those whom you love each day, but these times should not be regarded as disruptions. The best solution to these problems will be implemented in your daily life when you are able to focus your mind and your daily agenda on whatever is lovely and pure and commendable and worthy of praise, whatever is honorable and just and right and loving in your life. You are probably not locked into the harness of your daily responsibilities as it may seem, so you have choices that you can make during the day as you seek to effectively manage your agenda. What have you discovered in your life that helps you to avoid these problems of distractions? Let’s talk about this.

Pancreatic cancer

My physical challenge
The CAT scan that my doctors have used to examine my abdomen in response to some pains that I was experiencing there have revealed that I have a tumor on my pancreas that they assume to be cancerous. Although there are no other signs of other tumors on the other organs of my abdomen and the pain was due to an over secretion of acid in my stomach that has now been reduced, they have ordered more scans to test for visible tumors throughout the chest portion of my body. My expert cancer surgeon has assumed that this initial tumor has spread, so he is planning on starting a series of chemotherapy treatments to shrink it and begin to kill other cancerous cells that it has probably planted throughout my body. If no other cancerous tumors are spotted, then my doctor will remove this initial cancerous tissue and my spleen to end their threat to my health and continue with the chemotherapy treatments to kill any other remaining cancerous cells in my body. I understand that the chance of being cured from this form of cancer is very slight, but these treatments could extend my life for several more years.

My spiritual challenge
The presence of this cancerous tumor in my body also presents me with a spiritual challenge regarding my personal relationship with God and Jesus, my savior, that has been a major source of blessed ministry in my life. God has been and is very good to me, although I have not always been as obedient and faithful as I know that I should have been in my life and efforts to serve him with the special Spirit anointed gifts that he has given to me. I recognize this cancerous tumor as a spiritual source of discipline to implement more of the Spirit’s transforming and redemptive work in my heart and mind to bring me into a closer relationship with God and Jesus through a greater degree of self sacrifice in my efforts to serve God. I don’t know exactly what the course of this discipline is going to include in my body, but I do know that it will be good for my heart and mind and my soul’s relationship with God, my Father. I’m trusting Jesus and his Spirit to complete their good transforming and redemptive work in my life before they are through with my physical body.

Let’s talk about this
If you have some experience with pancreatic cancer, please share some of the details with me and the readers of this post. What are your recommendations regarding how I should face the challenges of this pancreatic cancer? How have you experienced the goodness of God in the face of such severe challenges in your life? Your comments regarding these experiences would be appreciated in this post.

Thankful Living

Thankful Living

During this Thanksgiving time it can be easy to express thanks to others as well as thanks to God.  Certainly it is a tradition in America, and as in most holidays, there is a purpose to the holiday – it is to remember.  Remembering is good – it helps us to keep connected to our family or our culture or God.

In ancient times, they would remember by building a pile of loose rocks.  The loose rocks would stand for many years.  When people would pass by, they would remember and tell the next generation the story and reason for the pile of rocks.  These early monuments helped people to recall how God had worked in their lives.  We so easily forget the good things that have happened and focus on current problems.  Reminders are good.

Holidays serve the same function; they help us to remember the good things and recall the stories of the past.  Hopefully these are good memories of happy times.

But whatever the past, we can choose to remember and be Thankful.  As the Young Frankenstein movie noted, “could be worse… could be raining” – and then it starts raining.  Its easy to think of current circumstances and focus on what’s missing or disappointments. It can take effort to change the focus of our thoughts to being positive and appreciative.  We can also choose to be Thankful and express appreciation.

Appreciation is a muscle that can atrophy with lack of use and build strength with effort.  Expressing appreciation to those who serve you such as wait staff, host staff, grocery store staff, etc.  The daily interactions we have with people throughout the day can be expressions of gratitude. People will notice.  People will appreciate the smile and the thank yous.  Verbal expressions of honest praise and appreciation can be just as valuable as a raise.  Such is the case for me at work.  When my manager notices accomplishments and says “good job, thank you”, it is a motivation that can last for weeks.  As Mark Twain said, “I can live for 3 months on a good compliment.”  I can still remember some compliments from years back.

And then expressions of gratitude toward God works the same way.  It helps to reduce our pride and thinking that I have attained everything I have by my own strength and will and might.  When in reality, it can all change very quickly with a car accident or serious medical report, or betrayal from a financial partner or other relationship.  So much of life circumstances is not in our control.  HOW WE RESPOND to these circumstance is TOTALLY in our control.  So being able to recognize the positive and express gratitude helps is to overcome difficult times and live with a fulfilling focus on others.

It is so ironic that when we focus on ourselves, we tend to never be content or satisfied.  However, when we give to others, we find meaning, purpose and fulfillment… which translates into contentment.  Showing gratitude and thanksgiving as a way of live takes the emphasis off myself and gives the focus to others – to caring for them, to serving them, to appreciating them.

While we cannot control how they respond, we are still giving to them.  Just as giving someone a gift can be rewarding, we cannot control how they receive the gift.  We cannot control their response, their use of the gift, or even if they re-gift or sell it on ebay.  Yet, it does not matter how they respond if the gift is given from the heart.

So it is with giving Thanks.  Give the gift of thanks to others and to God this Thanksgiving.  But not just 1 day, but all year. And you will find a new perspective on life.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  God’s best Blessings to you today and all year long.

Dana

 

 

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Good groups

Some common groups
The most common group, other than a special group that is personally selected, that individuals probably appreciate and enjoy is the one that is provided by their immediate family. Initially that is composed of the individual and his or her parents or adult guardians and then siblings as they are added to the group. And this group will grow as aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents all get together for various “family” occasions. In most such groups the “young” individuals experience loving acceptance and enjoyable activities as they learn some basic skills that will enable them to participate comfortably in the activities and fellowship of their families. As they became more independent in their personal abilities and attitudes and the “freedom” to express some of their personal independence, the group that they begin to cultivate and enjoy will be composed of individuals from outside of their families that live in their neighborhoods or that they meet in school or through some common non-family activities, like personal sports. These non-family groups can become very important and influential in the lives of their members, even providing more comfort and training experiences that are different from those that are provided by their families.

Special groups
Individuals in the process of growing up and building relationships with others may find themselves needing to experience some personal benefits from a relationship with others in a group that is different than just being enjoyable or growing in some personal skill. Such experiences may involve seeking direct personal caring support to enable the person to work through some personal threat to his or her daily abilities to function well or to feel good about his or her self perception. Such support is expected to be different from that which is commonly offered by one’s family or other social groups. This support may be sought by the individual to enable him or her to overcome some harmful consequences that he or she is experiencing from habits of conduct and desires that are individually difficult to change. The support that is offered by such groups may be based in the principles of healthy psychology or religious beliefs or wise economic practices or just good teamwork on the job, but in anyone’s life such support is “special”.

Let’s talk about this
How would you describe the role of “family” in your life? What are the social groups that you enjoy the most in your life? What special
group or groups have you sought for personal help with some issue in your life? What was it about this group that made your experience with them most helpful or particularly good? Everyone needs a good group in his or her life, because life cannot be well experienced alone.

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Religious spam

The nature of spam
Spam is a processed form of ham that has been particularly created to be protected from spoilage, tasty, easy to handle, and cheap. Although it is noted to be not very nutritious because of its high levels of fat, sodium, and preservatives, it is still occasionally consumed by some individuals who like its spicy taste. Some written comments that are published online may be easy to read and may be immediately pleasing or at least not offensive in the tone of their words, but they may be regarded as “spam” and not be accepted or appreciated by their intended consumer who has not requested this “product”. Some published statements that contain religious or spiritually meaningful words, even those that come from the Bible or other religious documents, may be regarded as “spam” and may be rejected by their intended readers.

What is wrong with religious spam?
I do not generally appreciate religious statements, even those that briefly quote passages from the Bible, that are so brief as to be impractical in their implementation in my life and a nuisance to handle in my online programs. So I regard such statements as religious spam that I have not requested or intend to save or to use. Religious spam is frequently published and displayed online as a post-it-note with a colored background, which draws one’s attention, but the content of the “package” has no practical or personal value. The authors of such religious statements and others that are displayed in other formats are probably very sincere in their efforts to write brief messages of spiritual help and encouragement for individuals in their audiences, but sincerity will not overcome the failure of their “product” to deliver anything of any real personal benefit. They should be regarded as religious spam.

Let’s talk about this
What do you regard as religious spam online? Why do you regard such statements in this way? What religious statements that you see on online or receive do you appreciate? What is about them that you appreciate? What religious topics or matters of personal interest or concern would you like to see getting more published attention online? Let’s talk about this.

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A good neighborhood

Basic factors for a good neighborhood
A neighborhood is determined by the street on which you live. Its factors include your neighbors who live there adjacent to you, any businesses that also operate on that street, the nature of the street, the way in which people and their vehicles move on that street, and the nature of the fellowship that you share with your neighbors. Each of these factors affect the quality of life that you and the residents of your house experience every day in your lives. Pulling the shades and locking the doors cannot isolate you all from the effects of these factors of your neighborhood upon you all. When you leave your house for any reason or your children go to school, the effects are there. Certainly when the children play or relax outside in their “free time”, they are personally affected by the quality of these factors upon their ongoing experiences of learning how to live and function with others.

Quality of these factors for a good neighborhood
The primary quality for these factors and their total effects upon you and the residents of your house is probably the matter of safety. Do you and the residents of your house feel safe each day living in your neighborhood? If not, you probably take some steps to avoid being exposed to any dangers, but the effect of living in fear much of time will seriously effect you and the residents of your house. Does the street provide for the easy flow of traffic in both directions and for parking vehicles? What kind of public vehicles regularly move on the street? Are there sidewalks for those who walk, especially for the children? Are they well maintained even in winter? Is there any space for the children and youth to play and to relax together? Are the businesses that operate on the street conducive to attracting visitors to the neighborhood who will maintain its “good” qualities? Do their hours of operation allow for some quiet time in your neighborhood, especially during the early morning hours of each day. Are the utilities to all of the facilities well maintained and all of the properties clean? Do the public law enforcement agents work with the residents to maintain a safe neighborhood and enforce the laws for civic order on the street and in the various facilities of the neighborhood? Is affordable trash pick up regularly provided for everyone in the neighborhood? Do you enjoy wholesome fellowship with your neighbors?

Most of these qualities have little to do with the economic level of the residents who live in the houses in your neighborhood. Responsible adults should be motivated to maintain a normally “good” condition to their residencies and to keep them clean. Everyone in the neighborhood should be motivated to respect the rights of others for safety and privacy. Being a “good neighbor” should never be a matter of economics.

Let’s talk about a good neighborhood
What factors of your neighborhood are important to you to make it a “good” place to live with the residents of your house? Which of these factors could be improved? Who should make the appropriate improvements? What are you willing to do to make your neighborhood a “good” place to live? Meeting with local community officials in a convenient center to discuss various issues of concern will probably not be a permanent strategy to providing a good neighborhood for you and the residents with whom you live.

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