Welcome to the Truth@Life Blog Site by Curtis Songer

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There are 5 threads of thought in this blog site:
1. Church Stuff - things pertaining to the evangelical Christian Church of today
2. Leadership Corner - concepts on management & leadership
3. Two Becoming One - principles of marriage enrichment
4. Train Up a Child - principles of parenting
5. Personal Thoughts - my mental ramblings on how God is growing me

I highly recommend you find an entry on one of these topics that interests you and click on that label at the end of that entry. It will bring up all the entries on that particular category. And be sure to check out the great web site links in the lower right corner of this page - Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Step 3 for a Successful Life in 2017: Eat the Frog!

“Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
If you’re like most people, there is a task every day you procrastinate because it scares or overwhelms you. This task is your frog, and according to Mark Twain, you should eat it right away in the morning.The problem with procrastinating eating your frog is that it’s hard to concentrate on getting other things done; you’re too busy thinking about the frog you need to eat later. Also, putting it off makes it seem even more overwhelming because you have time to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong with the task.

Eating the frog early in the day gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s great to start the day feeling successful. Finishing your dreaded task immediately can give you the momentum you need to get other tasks done throughout your day. Plus, they’ll all seem easy compared to the frog you started with.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Step 2 For a Successful Life in 2017: Set/Review the Schedule for the Following Day

Time is our most precious resource, and it’s irreplaceable. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to plan how you’re spending your time.  It starts with defining your priorities which I covered un Step 1.  One way to do this is to take time each evening to write out a schedule (or review the schedule of activities on your calendar) for the next day. Writing out your schedule helps for three main reasons: It helps you maximize every hour you are awake; it helps you set aside time to focus on your priorities every day; and it helps you discover if you're wasting a lot of time. I recently read that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching TV. Setting a schedule will help you avoid the trap of time-suckers like TV.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Some Great Parenting Tips for 2017

Family physician, psychologist and author Leondard Sax wants parents to know that they are “raising kids wrong.” The author of “Boys Adrift” and “Girls on the Edge” has written a new book, “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat them Like Grown-Ups.” 
“Most American parents are completely confused and going utterly in the wrong direction,” Sax said. “There’s a collapse of understanding what parenting involves.” He offered some solutions:
Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” he said. One study found that for each additional meal a family had together, the children were less likely to internalize problems such as anxiety or externalize problems such as skipping school. It also helped children develop good nutrition habits, lessening the obesity problem.
Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cell phones, computers, TVs and video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnosis.
Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. This generation lives life in a virtual world. Online friends can quickly become more important than the friends children see in person. They don’t know how to communicate with someone face to face or have outside interests and hobbies. Video games also rewire the way their brains work. And what they post online never goes away. Install software like My Mobile Watchdog, which will share every photo that they take or post with you.
Teach humility. Give lessons that show children that they are not the most important people in the world. They need to be able to see the world through another lens and be able to handle rejection or failure. Teach your kids how to cope with defeat.  It's not always someone else's fault when they fail.  Not everyone gets a blue ribbon for participation in the real world.  It really cannot be “everybody gets a trophy.”
Have an alliance between the school and you. If your child did something, don’t approach  teachers or administrators with suspicion and distrust. “Parents swoop in like attorneys demanding evidence,” Sax said. Instead lessons of honesty and integrity should be enforced. That means that a brilliant kid who cheated takes the 0.
Parent what they do. No, your 14-year-old cannot go to a party with college students or to the beach for spring break. No, they will not be at parties where alcohol is served, and you will not be the one serving it. You have to think of worst-case scenarios like drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning and sexual assault, and know that these are not decisions that they are ready to make because they are not adults. They need an adult, and that’s you. And even if their peers’ parents are fine with something, you don’t have to be. “Other parents don’t have a clue at what they are doing,” Sax said. “That’s why what they are doing doesn’t have good outcomes.”
Some of those things, especially if they are new for your family, can be difficult and might be hard to enforce. Sax recommends persistence and commitment.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Step 1 For a Successful Life in 2017: Define your priorities.

What are your main three priorities in your life? What three things do you do with the majority of your time? Do your priorities match up with where you’re spending your time? If so, awesome. If not, you’ll need to work extra hard to be intentional about spending more time on your priorities, and getting rid of the junk that prevents you from doing what’s important to you. Really think about how you want to spend your life – you will likely only feel successful if you spend your time on what matters most to you.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A message from me to my kids.... What I want for Christmas

What do I want for Christmas? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, someday when you have your own - I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your spouse & your kids (when you have them). I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don't care. Hearing you laugh is music to me. I spent the better part of my life raising you - now, give me time to sit back and admire my work, God's work, we're both I'm pretty proud of it. Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don't mind. In fact, I wouldn't want it any other way. What do I want for Christmas? I want another year of you.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Part 1: Maxed Out

Our lives are maxed out.  This is especially true around the holidays.  And the busier we become, often the things we fail at first are the most important.  When we get too busy, bad things happen.  Is this the best way to live?  Jesus says "no."

What if the secret to a successful and fulfilling life is not doing more things, but doing more RIGHT things?

Where are you at?  Are you feeling maxed out?  Jesus has some answers.  There are some intentional things we can do to be more fulfilled and less maxed out.

Do you have margin in your life?  Downtime to reflect and dream?  Do you have spiritual margin - time to pray and meditate on God's Word?

Let's look at Mary and Martha...

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:38-42‬ ‭

As the busyness in our lives increases, internal stress in our lives also increases, and our relational intimacy decreases!  WOW. Did you read that?  Think about it!

Martha was stressed and her relationships suffered greatly - with her sister and her God.

Jesus said Mary CHOSE the better way.  You have to intentionally build margin in your life.  We need to CHOOSE a fulfilled life, not a filled life.  Fulfilled lives are relational lives.  Why am I cursed with an ENTJ personality?

Ask your self the following questions:
Do I often feel stressed and maxed out?
Is my relationship with Jesus stressed?
Is my relationship with family stressed?
Is my relational intimacy with either lacking?
What am I continuing to hold onto things instead of dropping things that I need to let go of?

Dear God, please show me how to build margin in my life!  

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

Part 3: Politics & Flannel Graph Faith (the stories you learned in Sunday School seen in a new way)

“Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭

Given enough time (200 years) new leaders forget what was important to the original leaders.  Leaders driven by fear make very bad decisions!

The most common command in the Bible is to not fear.  It causes us to act the opposite way God desires us to act.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭

Things started going VERY BADLY for Israel.....
“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:11-14‬ ‭

In Genesis 15:13, God told Abraham this would happen.  But He had a plan.  It felt awful to the people at the time, but it was all for the best.  It helped Israel to put their faith in God and not in the nation of Egypt.  Just like in America today.  So we freak out and worry about who will be elected.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:1‬ ‭

God is always in charge.  Your faith cannot depend on your circumstances.

““When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭

Sounds horrible, disgusting, unthinkable.  Right?  Inconceivable?  Yet Americans do it to 1,000,000 boy and girls every year.  It's called abortion.  To date, since Roe v Wade, Americans have killed over 50,000,000 children.  Makes Hitler, Stalin, and Castro not such bad guys in comparison!

Pharaoh's command did not work, so he comes up with another (worse) idea:
“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:17-22‬ ‭

One family prayed for a daughter so they would not experience this horrible tragedy.  But God gave them a son.  What would they do?

“and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:2-4‬ ‭

What a horrible situation, now what?  Read on - in the midst of all the horrible evil and chaos, God was still in control!

“Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:5-7‬ ‭

What a brave little girl and what a cool idea.  Who will she go get?

““Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

So God took Pharaoh's commandment and defied it, orchestrated a plan in which his own daughter in his own house would raise one of the Hebrews as the prince of Egypt!!! Moses will eventually be the savior of his people, used by God to deliver His people.  He is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the one true Savior.

What about you?  What have you placed your faith in?  God or your bank account or your nation.  Who or what is your functional savior?  Your reaction to the outcome of the election will answer that question.

Prepare your heart and your mind now.  Victory or defeat, your way or your opponent's, how will you respond?  What have you put your trust in?

Regardless, God is in control.  Your past is your past and it will not change.  In many cases, you cannot change your circumstances.  But like God drew Moses out of the Nike, God can draw you out of your circumstances.

It doesn't matter if Clinton is president or Trump is president, as long as God is in control!  Our joy, freedom, and salvation is only in Jesus Christ!  Praise be to God for what He is about to do!!!  

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Friday, November 25, 2016

Part 2: Flannel Graph Faith (the stories you learned in Sunday School seen in a new way)

Joseph & the Baker and Cupbearer
“Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.” “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.” Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. (And you thought Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump would be crappy leaders of our nation - it could be worse!).   The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭40:1-23‬ ‭

Joseph has endured years of injustice, and now this.  Surely now he is ready to "curse God and die!"

“When two full years had passed, (what?  Are you kidding me?  TWO FREAKING YEARS!?!) Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. (It's about time!). Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭41:1-13‬ ‭

“So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. (Seriously, this does not seem like a good opening statement for Joseph to make to a man who kills men in a heartbeat - impales them on a pole - turns them into shish-kabobs),

“but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up. “In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.” Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭41:14-40‬

In a moment, Joseph went from lowly prisoner slave to the 2nd most powerful person in the world.  Wow - think about it!

Now think about this?  What if the cupbearer had remembered Joseph 2 years earlier?  How would that have worked out?  ANSWER: Not as good as it did!

God has perfect timing.  We don't always see it.  Sometimes it seems He takes a lot longer than he ought to.  And sometimes we feel like he has abandoned us.  But he has a plan - and there isn't anything that could possibly be better.

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Part 1: Flannel Graph Faith (the stories you learned in Sunday School seen in a new way)

The story of Joseph...

How could a group of brothers determine to kill their own flesh and blood?  In today's culture, this could never be the norm.  But is is.  Mothers choose to kill their babies everyday.  4,000,000 of them.

The brothers sold him into slavery to descendants of Ishmael - Muslims.  They hated the Jews, because generations earlier, Abraham made a very bad mistake and had a child who would grow to hate his half-brothers, the Jews.

Joseph's brothers deceived their dad, Jacob, by telling him the found Joseph's bloody coat.  Jacob was called the deceiver. He deceived his father and stole his brother's birthright.  What goes around comes around and results in generational dysfunction.

Joseph later deceived his brothers and pretended not to know them - more deception.  Finally, he became transparent and honest and vulnerable and the devotion ended.

Generational dysfunctions.  We are imprinted by, and impacted upon, our parents and grandparents and what they did.  Will you let it continue or will you bring it to an end?  It is your choice.  You can stop it.  Let it end right here right now.  What dysfynctions in your family need to come to an end?

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Change of Pace + A Change of Place = A Change of Perspective

Have you ever confronted the pace in which you have been living?  Consider the following:
— Social media and the pace of life today make it easy to be distracted from our what our real priorities should be.
— Many of us need to get back into important conversations that matter, ones that make a difference in our lives.
— If we don’t set specific goals, in all our life dimensions, and track our progress, we are going to end up someplace we don’t want to be.
— If we don’t set boundaries and rules, we are going to end up spending energy that does not move us in the direction of our goals.
— Consider this quote from Mark Batterson, “A change of pace + a change of place = a change of perspective.”
— By periodically getting away to a new place with a new pace, we have the opportunity to gain a new perspective.
— New perspectives can be life transforming!
When was the last time you experienced a positive, lasting, life transformation?  Perhaps it's time.  Time to get away to a new place, to live life at a different pace - even if only for a little while - to plan for a new direction.  Let the transformation begin!
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com