3 Things to Consider

Think about how those involved are working to make things better.

 

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Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places.  When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.

A Writer’s Residency, Reimagined

WRITE A HOUSE

We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.

 

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Keys to Staying Positive
  1. Simplify your life.
  2. Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.
  4. Take time for yourself, even if it means saying “no” to others.
  5. Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
  6. Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.
  7. Help others

 

A21

JULIA

http://www.a21.org/content/liberty/go3mpk
via A21.org

 

Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.

When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.

But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.

With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.

After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence

Get an A Plus

Ashton Kutcher
via InStyle


twitter.com/aplusapp/status/961355137343143937

  @lisahopeking

Ashton Kutcher’s new media company A+ is off to a start that, well, suits its name.

On the surface A+ is a website that publishes feel-good content. Some of the upbeat, quirky headlines read like those on Upworthy — “They Expected To Rescue 1 Dog, But A Few Days Later There Were 10 More” and “You’ll Never See The World In The Same Way After Watching This.”

At its core A+ is a publishing platform that its founders hope will be used by writers, marketers, and celebrities who want to make viral content. In exchange for viral stories, A+ will pay some of its contributors a share of the ad revenue generated from their posts.

A+ was co-founded by Kutcher and two software developers, Kendall Dabaghi and Evan Beard.

“We situate ourselves as the new social publisher,” Dabaghi told CNNMoney.

Already, A+ has attracted an impressive audience with very little promotion.

Read article at money.cnn.com

Worry

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Psalm 145:5
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondorous works, I will meditate.
Observation
Meditating about the splendor and majesty and works of God is a proper investment of time.
Application
How much do I meditate on God?  Do I spend more time worrying, thinking about my problems or wasting time on unproductive thought? I want to be reminded to meditate on God when I catch myself being less than prudent with my thoughts.  If I make note of when this happens I can keep a record and be able to document the benefits that come about because of this change in behavior.
Prayer
Lord, let me redeem the time and invest the time You have given me fruitfully, even my very thoughts, more and more with who You are and what You have done, and less and less with frivolous or empty pursuit, Amen

Book Review: The Palace Job, by Patrick Weekes

Book Review: The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic book 1), By Patrick Weekes

Nice magical adventure

What you should know

The fantasy primarily revolves around magic. A quite imaginative repertoire of charms and gifts are displayed not only to add entertainment, but also to stand in for modern earthbound technologies. So with magic, the society was advanced yet preindustrial at the same time.

In a realm where one part of the world is governed by an empire, and the other a republic, a dispossessed aristocratic ex-military vet of the republic serves as the heroine who seeks out vendettas against those whom she thinks have taken what she seeks to restore.

What I liked

From the beginning I found a steady plot development with pleasant surprises in every chapter. The level of intrigue was fairly high, with plenty of conflict between multidimensional characters. And there were multiple characters with multiple conflicts between them. Fiction writing is part gift, part skill, part craft, and part discipline. What I mean by that is I can pretty much divide fiction writers into two camps. Those that write great dialogue, and those that don’t. I appreciate quality dialogue in a novel. While tastes differ here, I found Weekes in the former group. I found chapters full of very smart dialogue. These conversations were intertwined around decent action set pieces, which were handled skillfully. As for the romantic readers, there was enough sexual tension to heighten the interest.

What I didn’t like

The passage of time and events is narrated by a plot device. The author used a puppet show as the form of official news media. During a time in a place most closely identified as medieval, where there is no written newsprint, crowds gather in the public square to hear the news told in the form of puppets on a stage.  The  players are composed of standins for the actual political rivals and are represented by a griffon, a manticore, and a dragon. While they are certainly inventive, I found myself straining to follow these vignettes. We never find out who the sources were for these pundits. Perhaps that could have helped.

Just a lot of fun reading.
It’s hard to imagine how the author could follow this effort up with something equally entertaining. Since this is book one, readers will have a chance to find out the answer to this proposition. My curiosity was perked concerning the political rift between the republic and the empire as little was explained about the structure of the republic and nothing at all about the makeup of the empire. Perhaps Book two answers a few of those questions. Let’s hope my curiosity will be satisfied by another good read

Recommendation: Good Read

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Bible Study

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Scripture
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Observation 
In order to do the good work that God wants people to do, the practice of learning Bible scriptures and applying them to daily living is the path to use to accomplish things that have real lasting value.
Application in my life 
There are many competing beliefs in the world.  There are people all around who teach and profess principles they assert are practices for others to follow and benefit from.  My responsibility is to focus on what I learn from the Bible as my primary source for what to practice and what to believe is best for me and people I know.
My prayer 
Lord reveal Your teachings to me as I commit to understanding them and applying them daily.  Guide me along a direction that avoids harmful ideas, and promotes life fulfilling behaviors.  Amen

Disciple

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Matthew 13:19-23
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart…20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it.  He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
Observation
The four responses to the word of God are explained and only one response is the fruitful response.
Application in my life
I hope this will be a time for me to bear fruit in a small group of people who desire to learn and grow in their journey as Christians.
My prayer
Lord, I pray that You will direct me and the people who are to be in the Bible study. Let us be fruit bearers who will continue in the practices of applying the words of the Bible after this period of group study is over. Amen
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Politics in the U.S.

What I think Apostle Paul said that applies to national politics.

“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/gal.5.15.niv

Do you know any political office holders who respectfully disagree with their opponents, and attempt to reach consensus through persuasive discussion?

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Invitation to Disaster…

it all Enns here!

D25C87DB-C000-4AE1-B0C8-C2314CD09C72We live in an age of information overload. All one has to do is turn on the television, or open a smart phone app to be inundated with information from all over the world. Some of this information is accurate, some is mistakenly inaccurate, and much of it is intentionally misleading. It is left to the person consuming the information to filter through what they are hearing and seeing to determine what they will do with it. The words of Solomon in today’s proverb can be helpful in that filtering process.

13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding,
but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.
14 Wise people treasure knowledge,
but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Proverbs 10:13–14 (NLT)

In my estimation, I suspect that somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty to ninety percent of the information I find in social…

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Pray for Calvary Baptist Church — ThomRainer.com

Location: Spotsylvania, Virginia Pastor: Justin Spradlin Weekly Worship: 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, Eastern Fast Facts: Calvary Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church nestled right in the middle of Spotsylvania County. Pastor Spradlin has been there for nearly a year after returning as pastor to his home church. Calvary is a smaller rural church…

via Pray for Calvary Baptist Church — ThomRainer.com

Prayer

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
The Mystery of Prayer
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭12:1-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
…he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭12:12-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Observation
The angel exhibited 7 supernatural expressions while rescuing Peter.  1 appearing suddenly 2 providing light 3 loosing his chains 4 making Peter think it was a vision 5 passing the guards unnoticed 6 opening the gate 7 leaving suddenly.
Peter did not recognize the angel or the reality of what happened until it was over.
Later the people praying did not believe the report of the girl that their prayers were answered.
Application in my life
I am touched by the message in verse 15 that shows how the answer to prayer may not be accepted or believed because of the source of the answer.  The church did not know at the time that their prayers for Peter had been answered and they did not believe it had happened even though the answer had come and Peter had been freed. Here is my conclusion.  Even when I do not see that my prayers have been answered that still isn’t a good enough reason for me to believe or think that they haven’t been.
Peter was probably as close as a person could be to Jesus yet he did not recognize the presence of the angel or the reality of what was happening.  If Peter didn’t realize what God was doing, perhaps I would have even less of a chance to recognize God moving in my life when it happens.  My hope is that I will realize afterterwards that it was God, just as Peter did.
I have to firmly understand that complete prayer includes the act of believing, not waiting until I see results before believing.  This is an accurate example of faith.  Easier said than done.  Just as the people in the house did not believe – that did not make it any less true that Peter was free.  So it wouldn’t be any less true that prayers have been answered even when I haven’t seen it for myself.
My prayer
Lord I am amazed by how great a work you do for those you love despite how I might miss it sometimes.  I want to take this lessson to heart so that I will better appreciate how you respond to prayer and make a difference in our everyday lives, Amen.
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