Don’t Blend In, Be a Hero Instead

I love to read about the time in Israel’s history known as the restoration period.  

The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah tell us how Almighty God used ordinary men and women to accomplish His purposes on the earth.

We might prefer to think of them not as ordinary at all but as heroes of the Faith, but actually they were both.  None of them were perfect and none of them achieved hero status automatically. They all had life choices to make, they all had to have their faith tested and their characters built in the circumstances of life, through trials and triumphs, difficulties and challenges. 

Others were tried and failed, these were the ones who overcame.

In a world where most people are just trying to fit in, to keep their heads down, not rock the boat, not fight city hall or offend anybody real spiritual heroes are willing to stand out and stand up for what’s right.

As believers we are not made to fit in, which really means blend in and disappear from sight. We are only here for a brief time and every one of us has a purpose.

We won’t all achieve God’s purpose in our lives, we can miss it, any many do, but His purpose will be achieved. He will always find a way. 

That’s what Mordecai said to Esther and that’s what caused her to stand up, she fulfilled her destiny and Gods purpose.

That should be our aim.  My destiny and Gods purpose fulfilled. 

King David prayed before all the people of Israel in 1st Chronicles 29…this is part of what he said starting at verse 13

 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

The next day they rejoiced as they sacrificed 1000 bulls, 1000 rams and a thousand male lambs and they crowned David’s son Solomon as their new king.

David left a wonderful legacy and the fact we are talking about him 2700 years later is a testimony to that.  Not many will emulate all the mighty deeds that David did.

But are we at least meant to stand out in our own circle while we are here? 

That means being outstanding. 

And I don’t mean being loud or overpowering or chasing after celebrity status. 

It might simply mean standing up for what’s right, when everybody else is compromising. 

It might just mean speaking the truth in a time when society frowns upon truth and governments pass laws against it.

It might mean we lose our job, or finish up in prison, or in a fiery furnace or a den of lions…because we stood for what’s right. 

I am not suggesting we fight every battle.  

There are some battles that have been lost already. 

Just because we don’t fight them does not mean we agree with the enemy, we are not sleeping with the enemy but we must let him lie in the bed he has made for himself. 

The judgement is coming but we are not the judge.

God will set things right.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  

And that’s not what we want for anybody. 

It’s not what God wants either. 

It’s not his will that any should perish…but the truth is evident…the heavens declare the glory of God.

And the word of God…the Holy Bible is God’s gift to mankind. 

Nobody can look into it with an open heart and mind and not find truth. 

Many look into it with a critical spirit and a desire to take out the parts that offend them and the truth is hidden from them.

The bible is full of undisputed proofs that it cannot be the work of men but quite obviously must have had a supernatural author but there are many who don’t want to know that…or at least to admit it 

Because if they do they will have to change the way they live.

And they don’t want to change…they enjoy their sin.

And sin is enjoyable…but the enjoyment doesn’t last

So the people of God have chosen 

…rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

Hebrews 11:25

a commendation to stand in faith alongside Moses, another of these outstanding heroes who have gone before.

26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.

Moses left the land of Egypt where he had been born and raised…the world was our spiritual Egypt and we left it by faith when we too looked upon the one who is invisible and trusted in Him.

But we are not at home…

“The Bible says that as long as we are here on Earth, we are strangers in a foreign land. 

“We must look up, but we can’t go up until He calls us. Heaven doesn’t make this life less important; it makes it more important.”

There are enemies to be conquered before we return home. There are multitudes to be rescued. Many are in the valley of decision.

This world is not our home; we are citizens of heaven.”

Jesus said,  We are not of this world, 

but we are in it and we are in it on purpose, with a purpose.

There was another great Hero of the faith, who was carried away to Babylon in the time of Nebuchadnezzar and continued to live there even after Cyrus allowed Zerubbabel to lead the first return and was still alive when the Persian King Darius threw him in the lions den. 

Daniel was probably 90 years old when the King was flattered into demanding that everyone should worship him. Daniel stood strong refusing to bow the knee to any God except Yahweh.  

He knew he couldn’t win every battle but this was one place he knew he must draw the line. 

He was a mighty man who knew his times were entirely in Gods hands and he was right. God shut the mouths of the lions.

Daniel knew a lot about the things that were to come too. 

Chapters 7 to 12 were written decades, and hundreds of years before the events they describe happened….and yet they are a record of history so accurate, so well timed and detailed that many unbelievers are certain that Daniel could not have been written when it was.  Even some believers struggle, suggesting parts of it must have been added later.

They are wrong. They just can’t admit it because they will be admitting that only God could have known these things.  

Some of them have still not happened. 

But they will… and soon.

As often happens with the things of God there is simply 2 choices.  

1.  It was all written later and the Bible is a cheat and we can throw it in the bin or at best simply think of it as literature. 


2, Daniel wrote the book as God gave him the prophetic messages before it all happened in which case God knows the future in advance. 

In fact He knows the end from the very beginning.

I go with the latter and there is further proof all over the Bible. and that’s why we need to look for it…to strengthen our faith. We believe the Bible and we try to teach it. 

Not just a gospel message…that important for the lost…but its only the beginning… the saints need meat. 

They need to build their faith in the same way they need to build and maintain physical strength.

They need to hear the deep things of God to strengthen their faith. That’s why people come to church…and thats why they stop coming when the word is watered down. Or when the word is not taught at all.

Genesis 38. is a great example. Most people will pass it by. What could possibly be in it of value? It seems like a break in the story, and even a break from Gods plan, but was it? 

Judah left home and married a Canaanite woman. Over time they had 3 sons Er, Onan and Shelah. Er married a young lady called Tamar. But Er was a wicked man and God killed him. 

Isn’t that terrible, that a sovereign, holy God should deal justly with wicked men. 

But Judah tells Onan to marry Tamar and raise up a child for his dead brother. 

Well Onan turned out to be disobedient and God killed him too.  You can read the sordid details for yourself.

So Judah told Tamar to wait until Shelah grew and would be old enough to marry her. 

She dutifully went back to her Dad’s house and waited patiently but Judah broke his promise  and never gave Shelah to her. 

It’s hard to blame him having already lost 2 sons but a promise is a promise so she took matters into her own hands and waited at the road-side pretending to be a prostitute at a time she knew Judah would be coming by. 

He was unable to resist the temptation and being impecunious at the time He promised to send payment for her services later. He left his staff and seal as a pledge but the man he sent back with the payment couldn’t find her. 

Truth is she didn’t want to be found.

So when the neighbours were ready to condemn her to death because she was pregnant out of wedlock she produced the staff and the seal asking who is actually guilty here? Judah confessed.  Tamar was saved. 

Twins were born and the one called Perez is in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1. 

If you count 7 generations from Judah you come to a righteous man called Boaz, who you may know married a Moabite woman called Ruth. She was saved too because a Jew was not permitted to marry a Moabite woman but Boaz saw that she was a part of God’s plan.

Actually she became the grandmother of King David.  

People accuse me of talking the Bible literally. 

But I don’t take it literally. 

I know the Bible is full of metaphors and allegories and pictures and types. 

You can’t take them literally. 

But you better take them seriously because it’s usually pretty clear what the pictures mean.

The book of Daniel is a mixture. The first 6 chapters are factual historical stories of a group of young men living as exiles in a strange land but refusing to be assimilated into the culture.  

The challenges were great but their faith was greater. They served the same 

 miracle working God we serve and he shows he is with them all the way.

They are called Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah. 

They were high born and educated in the ways of Israel but the Babylonian plan was to re-educate them to serve the king of Babylon.

Jewish parents name their children with a purpose and every name has a meaning so the re-education started with a change of name. 

Daniel became Belteshazzer. The others became Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

They didn’t seem to resist the change of name, they knew it was God who sent them there. 

They will have received some important words from…Jeremiah 29:1

Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 

This is what Jeremiah’s letter said:

4 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

You won’t build anything if you are always pulling down, objecting and rebelling. 

Jeremiah says it was God who sent them.

If God had sent them then they should do their best to follow His plan for them. They knew they couldn’t win every battle.  

So the deportation and the name changes, and the education and all of those things they went along with. 

They were going to live pretty well, they were supposed to eat the same food as the King. Drink the same wine. Their indoctrination was not going to be arduous. Three and a half years free education in all the wisdom of Babylon. 

They could learn to fit in pretty quickly. 

By the time they graduated they would have been wonderful devoted models of Babylonian society. 

An asset to the empire and a guarantee of its future security.

And in some ways that’s what Jeremiah had told them to be…work for the peace and prosperity of the city, pray to the Lord for it,  its welfare will ensure your welfare. 

You are to live in that world now…but we will never belong to it.

And we must never forget who we really are, never lose our identity. 

and thats the difficulty we all face…how to live as exiles in this world, to work hard and do well in it whilst staying right with God.

Many Christian young people today have trouble dealing with the temptations of the world when they go away to university. 

They move away from home for the first time, and mum and dad are no longer there to help them stay on the straight and narrow…and its probably the biggest test of their lives so far.   Sadly many don’t pass it.

Moving away to college is tough enough, but being forced to move 900 miles away from home, to the city of Babylon, which was one of the most ‘worldly’ cities that has ever existed was something completely different.

One of the most difficult things for Daniel and his friends was to remain faithful to their religious beliefs and values, in a city and country that was full of immorality.

But it’s not just young people, if you claim to be a Christian are you still a Christian in the work place?

Do your colleagues know you’re a Christian? 

Do you live differently or do you blend in perfectly with them, and do all the same things they do, talk the way they talk?

The rich meat and the good wine was more than just food and drink, it was part of the Babylonian culture and the worship of their gods.  

They knew they could not fight every battle, and actually they didn’t want to. 

They didn’t see Babylon as the enemy even though they were captives. 

Babylon was going to be their mission field. And they were not going to win anyone over if they fought them on every little thing. 

But they needed to stay pure.  

They had some red lines,  lines which they would not cross.

Daniel Chapter 1: 8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 

Not acceptable, why?

Because it wasn’t kosher and it had been dedicated to false gods…

What’s acceptable in Great Britain today.  They serve halal meat in many of our English schools these days. Even some Christian Schools.

They sell it in Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s . 

Not only is it killed inhumanely. It’s dedicated to Allah at the point of slaughter.  

Daniel was determined not to defile himself …but he didn’t make a fuss. That would not have got him anywhere.

He was being trained in diplomacy and he made a good start. 

1:9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 

10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”

11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 

12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 

16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

God gave them natural wisdom but also he gave Daniel the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirt. The Gift of the Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge and the Discerning of Spirits. 

God made Daniel a real live prophet.

18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

21 Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.

Do you think that Daniel might have mentioned to Cyrus those verses Isaiah wrote about him, calling him by name nearly 200 years earlier?  

Or perhaps showed him what Jeremiah had written about the return after 70 years.  

I can imagine Cyrus being quite thrilled that God knew him before he was born.

I can imagine him asking.  

And when will these 70 years be up Daniel?… three weeks on Saturday your majesty. You’ve turned up just in time. 

Now the Bible doesn’t say those conversations took place, maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. 

But we know that Daniel was still there and would be there even after Cyrus had gone.

He was there at the end because he nailed his flag to the mast right at the beginning.

All these people were ordinary men and women but they became heroes of the faith by the choices they made.

If you nail your flag to the mast, if you stand up for Jesus you can be sure he will show up for you. 

Let’s give the Bible the final word. 

Hebrews 11:33-34 NLT

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.”

Persistence and Determination are Omnipotent

The Bible is the users manual to get us through life and it’s full of tools that we must use if we are going to be over-comers. Revelation 2 and 3 tells that’s our goal in life. Every reward goes ‘to he that overcomes’. 

100 years ago in 1923 Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president of the United States. There’s not much of historical significance to remember about his administration but he left a personal quote behind that has changed thousands of lives for the better. 

Maybe you’ve head it.  Let me read it to you.   

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.                                      Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.          Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.                                     Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.                                       Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.                                             The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” 

Sometimes life is tough. Maybe you are going through a tough time right now.

Remember the Billy Ocean song?  ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” 

There’s always a choice…give up or keep going. What will you do?

The old president said Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.

Jesus dealt with persistence In Luke chapter 18 first in the parable of the widow and the unjust judge and then we saw through what happened with the blind beggar by the roadside just how it works in practice.

And between those two stories He dealt with determination head on…

In Luke 18:31-33Jesus took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

Accomplished just doesn’t seem to be the right word does it?  But Jesus knew that it was the right word, and He knew that the words of the prophets had to be accomplished in what was about to happen to Him.  

The journey to Jerusalem had begun back in Luke 9 verse 51 which says Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,  

I’m sure there were many times that Jesus  would have preferred an easier option. None more so that in the garden of Gethsemane where He sweat blood as He prayed, but we all know what he said there.  

Not my will but yours be done. 

So much of our praying is about our will, we want the Lord to do it our way, its what makes us comfortable, it’s what makes our life easier, eases our suffering. 

And much of the time that’s what God wants too, but what he wants more than anything else if to get us into heaven, and getting us ready for heaven sometimes means trials and testings and suffering here. 

Paul told the Romans. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17

He set His face to go.

When we can set our face to go God’s way no matter what it takes, when we can truly say and mean, “Your will not mine be done”,  I believe we will see the revival we all think we want. 

so Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem. Three and a half years of ministry were coming to a climax and it was going to mean pain and anguish and unimaginable suffering. 

But He was on His way anyway.

And even knowing what was coming, His kindness, His goodness, His care for those that were lost was still uppermost in His mind.  There were souls to be gathered in. The blind beggar at the roadside received his sight. and all the people when they saw it gave praise to God.  

That was something they would never forget. How many would be telling the story to their grandchildren in the years that followed.

“We all told that worthless blind beggar to be quiet but he shouted out and Jesus stopped, He stood still and commanded some of us to bring the blind man to him. And then He healed him. He could see as well as me.’

If you call out to Jesus, from the depths of your heart, He will stop, and listen, and He will answer.

If you are in trouble today, take your eyes off your problems and cry out to Jesus. He may not do it your way but if your happy for His will to be done you might find He knew best all along. 

He knows best but if you want His best there is one thing required of you. Keep going. Don’t give up. Pray without ceasing.  

Remember, the parable of the widow and the unjust judge: Jesus told it for one reason.  Luke 18:1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 

Can a Single Word Change a Destiny? MKMMA continuation

Early on in the MKMMA course of study we switched the use of just one word and replaced it with another which proved to be so much more powerful. Whilst the thing the two words described did not change at all the attitude towards it and therefore the effectiveness of it changed greatly. Let me explain in greater depth for clarity and to enable me to take the lesson learned to another level.

We had a 3×5 card on which we wrote a promise to do something new each week, nothing too difficult, it was ‘keeping’ the promise that was important for the exercise and not the size or nature of the promise itself: so it needed to be something we could definitely achieve in the timeframe. The idea was to convince the subconscious that “I always keep my promises” by actually keeping each weeks promise. So the promises started simple, like “I promise to tidy my office by Sunday the 4th” or I Promise to wash the car by Sunday the 11th” and they gradually got more challenging like  “I promise to contact 4 people about my opportunity by Sunday 18th” There was no significance about Sundays except thats when we met online to discuss our progress.

Early on we called this 3×5 card “The Chore Card”… and it was a chore that had to be done and indeed was done.  After a few weeks we renamed the card…from that day on it was to be called “The Service Card”.  Everything else about it was to remain the same but the change in name put the card and the promise into a completely different light. Instead of doing a chore we were now giving a service which made it much more pleasurable and felt like we were now making a contribution to ourselves and others instead of simply meeting an obligation. Same job…but done with more enthusiasm and with love.

That was to set the scene…we also have what we called the Law of Giving and Receiving and we wrote these out by hand on another card and read them aloud daily.  Obviously the aim was not just to say them but that reading them would influence behaviour from the inside out and cause us to do them. I will get to the Laws themselves in a second but first I wanted to apply the previous lesson to them…A few weeks ago I realised that they were not Laws at all and my calling them laws was putting me in the same mindset as the chore card had done earlier.

We are studying the Masterkey by Charles F Haanel. A Master key will open any lock but it occurred to me that these four sentences we were reading each day were actually not laws but keys each of which would open its own lock .

So where I used to say, “I promise to read the 4 laws of Giving and Receiving 3x daily I began to say…

“I promise to use my four keys to giving and receiving 3x daily…since words carry power the very act of speaking them was using them and then taking action in line with the words was further reinforcing the power of repeated use.

Can I recommend that you write them out for our yourself by hand and also begin to read them out loud each day… faith comes by hearing and there is nothing more powerful than hearing the repetition, with feeling, of our own voice.  The four actual laws/keys are in bold below. The additional writings around the bold letters are from other sources or are my interpretation and what I want my own subconscious mind, my inner man, to hear and believe.

so here is my new reading…

I promise to use these four keys of giving and receiving as a normal part of my life and I read them aloud three times each day…

The first is the key of Generosity…Wherever I go I bring a gift, I may bring a compliment, a prayer, a trinket, a flower, but I promise I will give something to every person I encounter.

The second is the Key of Gratitude  Because gratitude is a cause and not an effect…I promise to be a grateful receiver of the gifts that surround me, noticing nature, kindnesses, smiles and compliments, which I gladly receive with a ‘Thank you’.

Third is the Key of Encouragement…I promise to give the hope for Joy, Affluence, Kindness and Love consciously with every encounter regardless of the brevity.

Fourth is the Key of Faith…I promise to give without expectation of reciprocity from the channels I enrich because I know (I have faith) I am in the dynamic flow of giving and receiving and I know my God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I always Keep my Promises

I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences these past months…I am not a hearer only but a doer…I have not succeeded on every encounter but I have on very many done exactly what I promise each day to do… I have received some amazed responses and occasionally have caused delight far above the effort I have invested. These keys unlock the treasuries of mens hearts. I bought a box of pens with a torch light on the end especially to give away and although they cost not much more than a pound each some people have responded as though I had given them a gold coin. As the Master Teacher said “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

Propagating our new knowledge for the benefit of others.

As a consequence of six months study with the MKMMA  a big part of my DMP, the part which involves significant growth in the membership of the church where I am pastor, has become clear and the pathway to get there plain.

We are looking to develop leaders because we have a vision to greatly grow the church in numbers and in significance. It is evident that a strong church family is the body to support the home family unit and to lead a successful society.

So talking to the individuals who came to our first early Saturday morning session eager to lean and develop as individuals and leaders we introduced the session this way.

Before you can have you must do and before you can do you must be. But you can be anything you want to be provided it is in harmony with the will of God.

You can be what you will to be…meaning you can design the future you by thinking the thoughts, speaking the words and beginning to do the things that the person you want to be in your future would do.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The scripture tells us that nothing shall be impossible to us if we trust in Christ and live right with God.

You can have anything in life you really want. You just have to help enough other people get what they want. Jesus said if any would be great among you he must first be a servant. Therefore the greatest among you will have served the most people the best way possible. The more you serve, the greater your reward and the closer you get to your own goals.

We then watched John Maxwells Lesson which will be reviewed separately.

And then looked at the first 5 chapters of John Maxwell’s book  “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.” Because as well as watching the Developing leadership videos we are conscious that we must all grow individually into the position as leaders and have chosen this as our first text.

Chapter 1 The Law on Intentionality I choose to grow…and I take action every day to develop myself. Of course there is much more in the full chapter and these brief summaries are only to serve as a memory jogger. Please read the book one chapter a day.

Chapter 2 The Law of Awareness   I know myself…I know where I am now…where I want to be…I am working hard to find out what are the various ways to get there and especially what is the best way for me right now.

Chapter 3 The Law of the Mirror.  I see value in myself… I am a child of God… He thinks I am worth saving so I must believe I am worth the effort it will take to develop myself to reach my full potential.

I don’t see this as a chore…but as a service to the world around me. The more I develop myself the more I have to offer. If I add value to myself then I can add more value to the world. This is a virtuous circle since the more value I add the greater will be my rewards.

Chapter 4 The Law of Reflection. I must let the growth catch up. Spend time each day thinking, concentrating on the person I wish to become… allowing my spirit to bring my soul up to speed with what I have learned. The penny may take a few days to drop when I am leaning new things at a fast rate. Time spent in meditation and thought helps me to gain an understanding rather than simply storing facts by memory.

Chapter 5 The Law of Consistency

Success in any venture does not come by one massive effort though it may sometimes look like that’s what happened…but success is built over a long period, many small positive steps taken one day at a time.

Similarly failure does not come by one big error of judgement although it can be that one error that finally brings a man down. The character that finally brings about the error was built over a sustained period. Lots of small steps taken every day until they became habitual.

So whatever we have consistently thought and done in the past has produced the person we are now. Whether that is good or bad we can’t turn the clock back but we can make it better. We can develop, we can grow.  And over the next 16 weeks if we help each other we can all be better and we can all be on a track to life long improvement.


Hey everybody… we are only three weeks in to the Master Key program and I am already noticing some strange behavioural changes affecting me in every area.

I am getting things done too soon… I am not sure if I can cope, I am finding myself with time to spare and nothing to do in it.

You see I am a deadline person, I have always thrived on the last minute rush… I began my working life in Newspapers and then did 13 more years in publishing at Yellow Pages either in front line sales or first line management. All that taught me the excitement of working to deadlines.

It pervades everything…Even after 30 Years of preaching and many hundreds of sermons I rarely have one ready before midnight on the night before it’s due.  To be honest I have liked it that way. You can’t believe the adrenalin rush as you step up to the platform having only finished the message a few hours earlier.

But what’s happening?…Mark J has had me saying “Do it Now” 25 times twice a day out loud. I have been writing on little cards… I promise to do stuff by the following Thursday or even Sunday and saying “I always keep my promises”, but in most cases I have done it by the next day.  I was asked to write a script for our Melaleuca online presentation months ago…literally months, and I was keen to do it too, it was needed but somehow I just couldn’t chisel out the time…I wrote it down on October the 2nd…I promise to write the Melaleuca Script by Sunday the 9th of October…and ‘I always keep my promises’. I read it out loud 3 times each day.

No joke… I had done it by Tuesday…that’s a victory worth celebrating… but to be honest I don’t like it much and I am working on making it more exciting and adding emotion to it.

Ahhh…what am I thinking.

That’s what they made me do with my DMP. (thats my Definite Major Purpose) I followed the course instructions and wrote it down exactly the way I see it and sent it off by email. I couldn’t believe it when it came back after a few days with comments all over it…”sounds like a list”…”where is the emotion”…”how is Subby (that’s the subconscious mind) supposed to go to work on this” etc. etc.

I suppose I was a bit miffed but I got to work right away and changed it anyway…and then I changed it again…and again…and again.

I was limited to 400 words which I thought was too few but I decided to trust the process… and I am very competitive too so I got it bang on 400. I thought it was good, I was quite pleased with myself…but back it came anyway. Truth is, I would never have believed how much better I could make it with a little help from my friends and a bit more constructive thought on my part. I think I nearly have it now. Lo tengo ahora.

Well you would think that would be enough wouldn’t you…BUT NO…Now I feel compelled to go over and over my Melaleuca script making it better each time I do…and believe it or not I got up even earlier than normal on Sunday morning and went through my sermon again and I do reckon I improved it quite a lot. With a bit more thought I managed to say more, more powerfully and with less words in less time.

You never know, this might catch on.


I have been reading Charles F Haanel’s Master Key Course for about a week alongside Og Mandino’s book “The Worlds Greatest Salesman” as part of a course…taking the time to sit and think…reading the materials and feeding the subconscious with good things…and its amazing to say but my whole demeanour has changed for the better.

It may be coincidence but sales have shot up. I don’t really believe in coincidence so I put it down to the change in my attitude that has been brought about by reading the first scroll in Og Mandino’s book each day. Seven sales in a week and seven happy customers too so that’s very satisfying… quite apart from the commission. Honestly though… commission only matters when there is not enough. Once the pump is primed and the cash flow is regular, there is no pressure and selling is a delightful profession. Of all the thousands that I have seen fall by the wayside in my 35 years in the profession I just wish that some had stuck with it a few weeks longer.  Over 20 years ago at Encyclopaedia Britannica we used to say “Keep them one more week, Teach them one more thing” EB has pretty much gone in book form of course, computer technology brought the end to an institution that was founded way back in 1768… but the principle remains…stay with it one more week… learn one more thing…and IMPLEMENT it.

Habit is the key word in that first scroll, isn’t it funny how when a message comes it seems to come from every angle…  I have been thinking a lot about habits recently anyway. Les Brown, Darren Hardy are both people who have been talking about it on CD’s and books I have been reading. Les had been advocating reading 30 pages of a good book that will build me up spiritually or help in my profession. That has been something I have been trying to implement for a few weeks but although I read quite a lot and every day anyway trying to establish a firm habit and stretching myself to a 30 page commitment was not proving easy.

Og Mandino, together with the other reading required to stay current in the MasterKey Alliance has helped with that

Back to habit…I have been careful about my eating habits, replacing bad with good, since my 60th birthday at the end of Feb. (7 months) and I am delighted with the progress so far. Just replace ‘A Mars a Day’ with ‘An Apple a Day’ and see what that does for you in 6 months or a year.  I didn’t actually eat a Mars a day of course but the equivalent useless calories in bread, cakes and biscuits doesn’t quite hit the conscience in the same way does it? Kind of sneaks up on you.  Anyway 27lbs have melted away somewhere so check back in another 6/7  months to see how I am doing then.

Come to think  about it…it might be nice for you to join me and I will let you know my secret.

Only joking…Actually I will let you know now…there is no secret…it is simply about replacing a destructive habit with a habit that serves you well, one day at a time. And just take one habit at a time too…most of us can manage that.