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“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am interested in what type of responses I may get from that quote. Many may say “life is the pursuit of happiness”, or “I work this hard to be happy”, or “The meaning of life is to find happiness”… and so on. However, happiness is fleeting.

Let me expound a bit. I large slice of cream cheese cake makes me happy, so does a large plate of buffalo chicken wings, but it’s temporary. And frankly the side effects may not be so pleasant if over indulging. I am very happy when I my children, laughing & playing. However, that is fleeting, especially when I have to return them back to their mother. My Harley Davidson makes me happy, but a newer Road King in addition to it may make me happier. However, when it is in the garage or during winter months, I am unhappy about that. I am happy I am alive & have healthy children.

However, that is more on the thankful scale of happiness. The point is that we can chase after happiness in a form of idolization to realize it is not what truly provides us peace & contentment. I believe true fulfillment or contentment in life is better discovered by being useful, honorable, compassionate like Ralph Waldo Emerson eludes in his quote above. To strive to make a positive impact in the lives of others, to live a life that is honorable, lived to it’s fullest in the priceless gift that it is.

Money, promotions, material things will come & go, or rot or rust, but the contributions you made for the better, or the positive impacts that you make in the lives of others, may last for generations and possibly change a community or even potentially the world. I have a saying, The good life isn’t about how many toys you have or money you make, it’s how many lives you touch and good you create. So rather than constantly chasing after happiness, discover your mission, purpose, “Ikigai” and apply it to be epically useful, impactful, and make a positive difference. You may realize that is much more than happiness.

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This is one of my favorite quotes. It has either been framed on my wall, sat on my desk, or in my cubicle as a reminder for over 15 years. It still sits on my desk at this very moment.


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Great article for anyone who leads & manages people & teams..

Great article for anyone who leads & manages people & teams..

A quick search of books on Amazon.com on the topic of “leadership” currently yields 137,827 results, with new titles added regularly. There are countless experts and self-proclaimed gurus who speak often on the topic. And, if you don’t believe me, search #leadership on Twitter and you’ll find some of them.

Yet with all of this at our fingertips, we still suffer from leadership deficiency — in our nation, workplaces, churches and homes. We have too many leaders who believe their position mandates their influence, rather than their influence enabling them to be effective in their position. Many of today’s leaders lead by forced coercion — a “my way or the highway” mindset that makes them more like dictators.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The leader leads, and the boss drives. The Boss often plays the Boss Card. They force obedience, strictly because of their position and status. But, as author and expert John Maxwell says, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It’s about one life influencing another.”

As you are reading this, odds are you are picturing someone you know in a leadership position that drives more than they lead. I know I am picturing someone as I write. I also have to quickly examine my own life.

God has placed all of us in a position of leadership, if not in our workplaces or churches, then certainly in our homes as parents. I know there have been times when I don’t exemplify the qualities of a Godly leader. I don’t want to knock all of the great books out there on leadership. There are some terrific resources available from people who know far more about the topic than many of us do.

But, there’s one resource that has a lot to say on the topic of effective leadership, and it’s available for free. You can actually access it right on your phone. It’s the Bible, and the passage is Proverbs 16. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait. This chapter is chock full of leadership lessons. Below are nine principles that are critical characteristics of a good, godly leader.

A good leader seeks God’s direction.

Is there anything more important in a leader than he or she seeking God’s direction? Proverbs 16:1 says “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Verse 3 adds, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” And verse 9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” A good leader seeks the Lord, commits his way to the Lord, and the Lord establishes the next steps.

A good leader is modest, not arrogant.

We’ve all encountered the know-it-all leader, the “submit-or-else” type of leader. But Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to be referred to as an abomination to the Lord. That’s some pretty scary stuff.

A good leader is a peacemaker.

Proverbs 16:7 says “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Yet so many leaders aren’t interested in examining an opposing viewpoint or other ideas. We’ve lost the ability to empathize with others, and compromise has become a bad word. There’s something to be said of sticking to principles. I believe God calls us to be steadfast. He doesn’t however, call us to be jerks. And, when our “boldness” is interpreted as “coldness,” we are not doing it right.

A good leader is fair and just.

“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). I believe in goals, and working hard to achieve them. But, the end always justifying the means is simply not true. A good leader is more interested in doing things the right way.

A good leader surrounds himself or herself with honest, trustworthy counselors … and then listens to them.

“Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right” (Proverbs 16:13). Do you know leaders who surround themselves with “yes” people? Personal insecurity drives them to seek only positive reinforcement for every decision they make. A smart leader surrounds himself or herself with smarter people, who are willing to speak their minds and offer sound counsel. After all, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

A good leader is a good learner.

Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” A good leader should always be learning, growing and improving. The day you feel there is nothing left to learn is the day that pride and arrogance have taken root. And, we’ve already discussed how the Lord feels about arrogance.

A good leader is humble.

We’ve seen countless prominent examples of Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” From politicians and celebrities to CEOs and pastors, many have grabbed headlines as their empires have fallen. In most of these cases, it’s pride that has crept in. They thought themselves invincible, but quickly found out that no one is. “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19).

A good leader is sensible and kind.

“Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Proverbs 16:22–23). Being smart and sensible makes a good leader more persuasive and effective. A good leader uses “gracious words” (verse 24), not speech that is “like a scorching fire” (verse 27).

A good leader is slow to anger.

We’ve all seen the caricatures in movies and television of the angry boss; the person who yells for no reason, barks orders and berates and demoralizes the staff. Perhaps you’ve even worked for such a person. The Bible says that “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” As you read through these qualities of a good leader, hopefully you find them as challenging as I do. God tells us how to be effective, godly leaders. It’s up to us to put our human tendencies aside and embrace these principles. It’s also up to us to pray for those under which we serve, that they too would be the good leaders God wants them to be.

Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.




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Don’t be naive…

Difficult Times Ahead:
“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-9 The Message (MSG)

So let me ask you, especially those of faith, do you think these are difficult times that lie ahead, or are we there now?




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Never quit…


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Surround yourself…


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Are you a child of God?


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Meaning of the Black Belt

A karate student was training for many years to finally receive his black belt. He had worked hard, advancing in rank & was excited for this day to come.
He kneeled before his Master Sensei and the other Sensei. He performed all the Katas he knew, very well. He broke the boards & concrete that was required for testing. He sparred with several other black belts and scored extremely well, passing all the tests.
It came to the end and he again kneeled before his Master Sensei and waited when his Master Sensei said, “What is the true meaning & essence of a black belt?”
The student responded, “It is the end of my journey” The Master Sensei paused for several moments, seemingly disappointed with his reply, and then answered, “You are not yet ready for your black belt, return in one year”
The student continued to train hard and returned to the Master Sensei after one year to receive his black belt. He kneeled before his Master Sensei. His Master Sensei again asked, “What is the true meaning & essence of a black belt?”
The student replied, “It is the mark of true accomplishment in our Martial Art”
The Master Sensei again paused for several moments seemingly disappointed, once again, waiting for more from his student. He then replied with, “You are not yet ready for your black belt, return in one year”
After another year of hard training the student returns and kneels before his Master Sensei. The Master Sensei asks, “What is the true meaning and essence of a black belt?”
The student replies, “It is the beginning of my journey. It is the first step of a never ending journey of discipline, hard work, and the pursuit of an even higher standard. To apply and demonstrate integrity, respect, heroic courage, honor, compassion, sincerity, and loyalty. It is the first step, and why we start at one, the first degree.”
The Master Sensei replied, “Yes, you are receive the black belt and begin your work.”
This article was written by and given permission by and of:
~ Sensei Don Martin
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