Life Lessons – Opportunity a Game Changer
vowpost@charisfoundation.org

I want to take a few moments to discuss the necessary preparation in order to seize the opportunity of greatness that is set before you. In order to take advantage of an opportunity you must first understand what opportunity really is. Opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. The circumstances you have endured were merely building blocks to assist you in completing the task – your destiny. Often time people can be thrown off course because they did not anticipate the series of events they would have gone through in order to be equipped to handle the weight of destiny. Troubles and problems come to make you strong but if we never take the time to matriculate through our problems, we never gain any strength. We fall into mediocrity because we did not have the strength to seize the opportunity of victory.

There are certain things you must do in order to gain access to the world of opportunity that awaits you. You have to elevate your expectation before you experience elevation. Your perception determines your level of reception. What you receive out of life will be directly correlated to what you thought to be possible in your life.Thomas Edison said ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work’. Opportunity is only obtained when effort is applied. You cannot wait for opportunity to come find you; you have to create your own opportunity. You never get what you want; you only get what you prepare for.

Often times you hear people say that opportunity only knocks once, which paints the picture that opportunity comes to find you. The reality of the situation is that if you never take the time to build a house to accommodate your opportunity, it will never knock because it won’t be able to locate your address. Abraham Lincoln said ‘Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle’

Society, past experiences, haters will try to talk you out of your opportunity, painting the picture that you aren’t smart enough, that you can’t possibly be great, that you will never achieve greatness beyond where you are right now. Man may try to tell you what you can’t have because of what their opinion may be of you, but their preconceived pinions should never change you.

Ancient Hebrew Wisdom says “in all labour there is profit but idle chatter leads to poverty. Don’t talk about it, be about it.” Opportunity achieved only through putting forth effort. It is imperative to always remember that if you keep your perception in the proper place put forth your best effort and know that you are already qualified for greatness and you truly will be able to experience a world of opportunity.








Life Lesson - Cultivating Culture
vowpost@charisfoundation.org

How would you describe the culture of your home? A culture is the normal order by which we understand ourselves, others, the world, and how things work. Whether or not you realize it, parents play a key role in determining the culture of a home. And creating a culture of godliness is one of the most important things fathers can do for their children. Think of it like this: Your kids get to grow up in a place where it’s normal to say thankyou, to spend less than we make, to say we’re sorry, tell the truth, honouring authorities etc. We can add all this wonderful behaviour in our kids’ lives and it becomes part of their ‘normal’ culture. A good culture can be imparted to our home only through our personal relationships with them. You can sum it up in one word: communication.

Communication puts the greater emphasis on what the other person says, rather than what I am saying. In other words, it matters more to hear than to be heard. Ancient Wisdom puts it this way: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” If our culture at home becomes oriented around this, it will be a game changer.

Ancient Greek text says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” So, when you apply this text to your relationship with your children, it essentially says what you think is important, but what your children think is more important. Valuing what our children say is one of the biggest ways to lay our lives down for our kids. The way we listen to our kids reflects this. It’s how we affirm and encourage them when they are right and lovingly correct them when they are wrong. People get along with each other best when there is transparent communication. But it’s not easy. Research Study says 7% of any verbal message is conveyed by words, 38% by vocal elements, and 55% by nonverbal elements. The likelihood of miscommunication is staggering. Researchers confirm that what is not being said communicates more profoundly than what is being said. Sadly, one of the things commonly communicated is parents don’t care what their children think. While they

would never say that with words, it is often communicated either by distraction or absence. The opposite of love is not hate—it’s indifference. So what makes your children feel cared for? Primarily this: knowing that a person who is important to them cares deeply for the issues of their heart, and believing the things which are significant in their lives deeply matter to parents. In short, children want to be heard. And fathers, you’re the man for the job.

3 Tips for Listening to Your Kids
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of listening to our kids, putting it into practice may seem difficult. However, there are simple ways that you can begin opening up new lines of communication with your kids. And in turn, improve the culture of your home. Here’s how you can listen intently to your children:

1.Focus
Look your child in the eye when he or she speaks. Turn off the TV; don’t answer the phone. This communicates to them that what they are saying is the most important thing on earth to you.

2.Ask
Ask open-ended, curious questions such as, “How did that make you feel?” “What do you suppose the consequences of that decision might be?” and “Will the end result of that action be success or failure?” In so doing, you will train your children to think well and value home culture above their own desires.

3.Encourage
To encourage is to put courage in; to discourage is to take courage out. We all need encouragement, especially our kids. Tell them you love them and believe in them. Remind them an ancient proverb ‘a good name is better than great riches’








Life Lesson - Companionship
vowpost@charisfoundation.org

The companionship simply means true friendship!

Everybody needs somebody. We are not designed to live in isolation but in community. Ancient Hebrew Wisdom says “it is not good for man to be alone”. That is not to say that everyone needs to be married but everyone needs companionship. Whatever you are in life and whatever you accomplish, recognize that you could have done more, if you allow someone to help you. Husbands need wives. Wives need husbands. Parents need children. Children need the parents. Teachers need students. Students need teachers. Doctors and Nurses need patients and vice versa. We all need somebody. We need each other’s. We need people in different capacities.

One man said “Three men are my friends – he that loves me, he that hates me and he that is indifferent to me.” He who loves me teaches me tenderness, who hates me teaches me caution, who is indifferent to me, teaches me self- reliance. It is a tragedy to live life and never know the joy of true companionship or friendship. If a potential spouse is not first a friend, you lose the best part of the relationship.

Dorothy Retsloff said ‘ A friend is a person who will help you in the hour of sickness, who will lend you money without interest, who will help you up hill when you are sliding down; who will defend you in the hour when others speak evil of you; who will believe in your innocence until you admit your guilt; who will say behind your back what he says to your face; who will shake hands with you wherever he meets you, even though you wear patches and who will do all these things without expecting any return’

When you have a companion, you will realize that no person is useless as long as he/she has a companion! Everyone in life can make it, if they know that one person still believes in them be that one person!








Life Lessons – Depression
vowpost@charisfoundation.org

There are many in our society who are personally struggling with anxiety and depression. Let’s talk the reality of it. When suffering strikes it may feel like everything is shattering. The question is how do you deal with the fall out? How to deal with difficult circumstances? Many lives are crumbled without any hope and the negative voice of their souls pulls them further down. Your situations can paralyse your lives and turns to a never moving mountain.

Some of you know what it like is to have your zest for life vanishes, to have simple tasks feels like impossible demands, no more energy or strength within. Words like ‘Hope’ and ‘Joy’ become nothing more than just words without real meaning. In a world you are totally dry. You are exposed to major events that make you feel this way and you may struggle with the sense of experiences that you had in life. In our society, couple of Flaws are believed when it comes to the issue of Depression.

Flaw # 1 ‘It’s all in your Head’

It’s not really real but you just think it is real. It’s all in your imagination.

According to researchers findings 9% of adults are struggling with feelings of hopelessness and despondency and or guilt that generate a diagnosis of depression. Ancient Wisdom says ‘we are fearfully and wonderfully made’, and that implies the fact that we are very complex beings and we are held together in a very delicate balance which means a lot we can go wrong. Our certain factors like genetics or family history or personality factors, stress and bio chemical disturbances etc can add to our feelings. For instance, if there is an imbalance in our brain chemistry the neurotransmitters send chemical messages that work inside your brain, if something is asked you can feel a certain way because of it. So if you’re serotonin level is low that’ll disrupt sleep patterns. It will increase anxiety. If your norepinephrine levels are low it will produce fatigue and a depressive mood can follow. If there is an increase level of hormone cortisol it will intensify your reaction to fear and stress. All these we mention to say that our brain is a real organ and to deny the possibility of clinical depression is flat-out wrong and certainly unhelpful.

Flaw # 2 Religious people should never be depressed-‘If you are depressed , it means you are unspiritual or immature’

You will be disappointed to know that the guys who wrote these religious books are all over the emotional map, they are on a high and then they are crushing….Religiosity will paint a false picture about issues of life. I grown up seeing them with their fake smiles. They will add stigma to those people who are feeling low and make them do many things. They will say ‘just come and participate and life’s problem will be automatically solved’ ‘you will always be wealthy’ ‘you will always be healthy’ ‘you will always be happy’. Being phony or portraying a certain emotion as something that happens all the time is wrong. We observed that many Spiritual leaders of

the humanity were suffering with severe Depression and they confessed also. One of them quoted ‘I have been in depths of which I hope none of you ever go. There are dungeons beneath the castle of despair’

Some major reasons of Spiritual Depression

Reason No# 1 Unfulfilled Expectations

When you expect something to happen that doesn’t happen, that’s an unfulfilled expectations. The person feels like cut-off from life and becomes isolated. Eagerly waiting to find solution and refreshment but finding no relief whatsoever.

Ancient Proverbs says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’
Whenever our purpose is challenged or our usefulness is challenged we become susceptible to spiritual depression. This shows up when a person feels trapped in a marriage, when a person feels trapped in a job, when a person forced into retirement because of medical conditions. They start asking questions “what use am I?’ ‘what is my purpose?’. We all have expectations and some of them are realistic. When we do this we expect certain things to happen. But some of the expectations in life are just flat unrealistic. The more unrealistic our expectations are, the more severe the depression will be.

I found an interesting article I want to share with you. It caught my attention. It was a research. Very religious people who addicted to the advices of god mans are three times more vulnerable to experience major depression than others. When an average experience of major depression is 1.7% , whereas the rate among these people are 5.4%. Researchers believe that it’s because in past people who were already depressed were attracted to their promises of physical and spiritual healings. They counsel that ‘if you come to us all your problems will be solved and you will be wealthy and healthy’. When you live with those expectations and they don’t happen then you come crushing down.

Reason # 2 – Criticism
When we are surrounded by people who continually taunting and mocking us , it produces anxiety. And when you get the critical eye and the critical comments from the people, you feel lost. Hebrew Proverbs says ‘Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression. You may say ‘I love the mankind but it’s just people I can’t stand’.

Reason # 3- Accumulation
The cumulative effect of much affliction can be depression. One struggle after another struggle. It’s the cumulative effect of many trials that just feel like they pile up. One event after another. It doesn’t end. It’s all piles up. It’s the daily pressure that adds up and make us feels like waves crushing down. A few years ago I read a book named ‘ Executive Stress Manuel’ It was two authors who wrote this book about stress, and they looked at the experience that people have in life and they try to determine why is it that some people experiences nervous breakdowns and deep depression. And so they assigned what they called

‘life change units’ to events that happen in our life. According to their findings if a person has between two to three hundred of these ‘life changing units’ in a year period, they’ve set up for a nervous breakdown or depression. See, stress is stress whether it’s good stress or bad stress, it still has its effect.

So here’s some of the numbers
1) The death of a spouse will yield 100 ‘life changing units’
2) A divorce will yield 73 ‘life changing units’
3) Marital separation from your mate- 65 ‘life changing units’
4) Detention in jail or an institution- 63 ‘life changing units’
5) Death of a close family member – 63 ‘life changing units’
6) Major personal injury or illness- 53 ‘life changing units’
7) Marriage- 50 ‘life changing units’
8) Being terminated from job – 47 ‘life changing units’
9) Pregnancy – 40 ‘life changing units’
10) Vacation- 13 ‘life changing units’
11) Retired from work- 45 ‘life changing units’
Reason # 4 –Wrong use of past

Remembering the past but doing at the wrong way. We may have memories of better days what it used to be like. And if we think that it will always be this way because it has always been that way, you set yourself up for a crash. Life doesn’t always stay the same. The past will either become a rudder to guide you or an anchor to hold you back. It’s interesting to me that there’s this huge market for nostalgic things. Sometimes, we talk about the ‘good old days’ may be part of our bad memory. But it’s amazing what a lapse of time will do as we look backwards. And so whether it's in music or clothing there's just this huge attraction towards the "good old days".

Reason # 5- Pre- Occupation with Yourself,

When you are preoccupied with yourself you are in the swirls of a depressive behaviour patterns. It’s out of balance. When your plans aren’t being fulfilled, your life is crushing down. And though there are many reasons that lead to depression one of the basic problems is self- centeredness.

Remedies
What are the remedies for it? How do you mitigate against that kind of thinking or those kind of experiences and your reaction in your thinking to them? Many of them are not good remedies. Some people will drink as a remedy or smoke or shot something up as remedy and it gets worse. Did you know that some people who have been or are depressed say that they solve it by watching Television.

REPLACE
Replace means Take something out and put something into replace that with.

We must talk to ourselves instead of letting ‘ourselves’ talk to us! Most of our happiness in life is due to the fact that you’re listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. As soon as you wake up in the morning and you hear the chatter in your head- Stop it. Replace your thoughts with Truth and that’s the grid that you approach your life. I know it’s human nature to be self- absorbed in suffering, but in some point by bringing God into the picture we can focus from inward to upward. I remember a Nazi camp war survivor said ‘Look around and be distressed. Look within and be depressed. Look to God and be at rest’. Our outlook is determined by our up look and counsellors can help us to do this.

I love the story about Martin Luther. For several weeks he just hung his head and moped around the house and looked really hummed out and just said negative things. And one day wife Katie wore all in black. Back then you wore black because you are going to a funeral. So she comes out in black dress and Martin Luther says ‘Katie who died?’ And she said ‘God is dead’. And he said ‘What do you mean?’ She said ‘I’ve been looking at your life last few weeks. It must only mean by your attitudes in the house that God is dead’. Well, this shook him to the core. It is said that Martin Luther wrote a single Latin word ‘VIVIT’ which means ‘He Lives’ and placed it in his study room. So every day he’d walk by it and he reminded of the truth God lives and the need to bring God and replace God with myself.

Replace your past with your Future

It’s all forgetting the past. Whatever has happened in your past, it is your past. Much of it cannot be changed. But replace your past with your future. I want to conclude by saying if you are experiencing what the ancients refer to as the ‘dark night of the soul’ you are not a failure. You are a fellow member of the human race. That’s all it proves.

Many years ago, there was a young Lawyer who was suffering deep depression. It was so bad that his friends thought ‘we got to keep any razors or sharp objects from him’ And they took him out of the house and he couldn’t see any purpose for going on. He couldn’t see any purpose for his future. And he wrote these words ‘I’m now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell. I awfully for bode I shall not’. But somehow from somewhere this young lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln got enough courage and encouragement to press ahead








Life Lesson- Transformational Living
vowpost@charisfoundation.org

YOUR LIFE can never be lived beyond the level of YOUR THINKING.
Have you ever stopped to ask the question “Why do some people do well in life but others don’t? What makes the difference between those who succeed and those who plod along in mediocrity? I want to suggest four things that I believe are different maker in the life of a person. The difference between who you are and where you want to be is found in what you do!

1. The quality of person’s thinking is a difference maker
The thoughts in your mind will always be more important than the things in your life. If you want your future to be better, forget making numerous resolutions that you end up failing to keep. Instead, commit yourself to simply making better decisions in the everyday affairs of your life- the decision to exercise, the decision to what you’ll eat, the decision to whom you’ll associate with, the decision of what you’ll do for the personal development, the decision of what you need to eliminate from your life etc. Your life can never be lived beyond the level of your thinking ‘as a man thinks in his heart, so is he’

2. The quality of a person’s character is a difference maker
YOUR character is who you really are. Character is impacted by your personal identity – How you see yourself. Ethics and Values are the principles that guide your life. Self – Discipline is your ability to control yourself. Your emotional security is your self-esteem. So many people have such poor character now a days that having good character immediately causes you to be set apart.

3. The quality of a person’s relationship is a different maker
YOUR relationship which are closest to you determine your level of success. You have a natural tendency to gravitate to the level of those with whom you associate. People with big dreams helps you to dream bigger. People who are big thinkers help you to think better. So include those in your inner circle who challenge you, who believe in you, who support you, who encourage you and who help to mentor and guide you.

4. The quality of a person’s attitude is a different maker
PEOPLE do business with those they like. If people like you, they will help you win in life. If person dislike you, they will help you fail. An attitude is an external expression of an internal feeling. An attitude is a frame of mind. And whether you realize it or not, your attitude is discernible by others. If you’ve got a bad attitude, guess who is reasonable for it? And guess who has the power to change it? Yes, You! When you think of the proper type of attitude to possess, we learn to be a position person who liberally expresses gratitude and encourage others.