What Sword Are You Using?

July 6, 2018

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

July 4, 2018

 

Swords can be found throughout history. When we found knives and daggers were too short we made them longer into swords. Swords are an important part of human history.

One state has sword in one hand on its state shield and flag, Massachusetts. The motto, in Latin is Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem which loosely translates to “By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty”, supporting peace through strength.

God set a flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.

The sword of the Spirit, is the word of God, the Bible is the written Word of God.

Swords in their sheaths are not ready for battle.  A dull sword is not ready either.

Tongues have been used as swords to slice and dice others by words. It would seem a growing number of people are using their tongues and written words to vitriolicly castigate others simply because they disagree with them.  Unfortunately the vitriol is increasing to a fever pitch with the intent to incite violence just because they don’t agree with the other person.

Some argue that their vitriol is just a free speech expression. Free speech ends when the speech infringes upon someone else’s rights.

Swords, just the spoken and written word can cut sharper than a two edged sword. The spoken and written words can cause pain or can be used to heal.

Bullies have perfected their art of using their spoken and written words to abuse, cause pain, fear, anxiety, and suppress the rights of others.

Bullies may have started in the school yard or they may just copycat someone else.  Bullies generally are covering up their own insecurities and   inferiority complex.

Bullies manifest themselves as perpetrators of Domestic Violence. Bullies are given to quarrellings and other assaults. Domestic Violence bullies also use verbal and physical assaults, emotional and economic pressures to abuse and exact submission harming others, such as wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends or others related or not..

Bullies while using their spoken and written words to cause pain, fear, anxiety, and suppress the rights of others have a condition of the heart. Their hearts are full of hate, fear, insecurities, anxiety and pain. Unless bullies learn to deal with this condition of their hearts they will continue to cause havoc with people around them.  The havoc of bullies can cause PTSD in those who have experienced the bully’s wrath.

The overflow of the bullies’ heart can change if the bully is open to change. The change won’t be easy but it is possible. The best way to change the bully’s condition of the heart is to allow the Sword of the Lord to do His work to make the changes and guard your heart.

Everyone has a sword such as their tongue.

A good way to check the condition of your heart is to how people react to you when they see you. Do you see love or fear in their eyes, do they come toward you or go away from you?

Everyone decides how to use their sword for good or bad.  The best way I can see to use your sword is for peaceful conditions under liberty.

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org 


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Fear of Success

June 1, 2018

 

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

May 28, 2018

 

 

You will be successful if you decide you’re going to be. Get out of your own way and quit with the excuses.

Success is never an accident. It’s a choice.

Are the decisions you are making today changing your life for the better or worse?

Identifying feelings is important as the excitement of success can feel like anxiety for some. For some it is that anxiety which relates to a trauma they experienced somewhere in life.  No one gets out of life unscathed.

Our pasts have a way of throwing up roadblocks; it could be words someone said or event. You decide where you are going to live in the past OR the present heading to the future.  Time to go over, under, around, or through the obstacles holding you back: leave them on the side of the road as you travel on the road to success.

Get up out of that chair, go to the door, turn the handle, open the door, walk over the threshold to the future, and now close the door to the past behind you.

An overnight success is never overnight.

People who do not succeed often practice self-sabotage.

What is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotaging can range from not returning an important phone call, turning in work assignments late, or continuing to become romantically involved with those who are emotionally unavailable. At its essence, it is engaging in behaviors that are against one’s self-interest, while at the same time not being able to practice self-care and promote one’s well being. What is so troublesome about most self-defeating behavior is that it primarily operates on an unconscious level, making it often very difficult to address.

So often we feel it is an outside force that prevents us from realizing our dreams when in fact it is our own fears that ward off opportunity. Too often I’ve heard someone say that God must not want me to have this, when in fact the person has a deep seated fear of moving beyond their comfort zone to accept the greater responsibilities that growth and success offer.

One thing I have noticed increasingly is that many people who regularly consume self-help and spiritual healing products remain stuck in unhappiness.  Chasing after the next new book, course, seminar, healing modality has become an addiction in our quest to liberate ourselves from continued suffering.  Yet, as the high of the promise and hope of the product leaves you, you find yourself back to where you’d started.

Are you satisfied with making dozens of calls for the satisfaction of making that many calls or are you satisfied with making a few good calls that led to changing your future for the better.

Our pasts have a way of creeping in and being a part of our future. They can be heavy objects to move out of the way. What do you need to let go of? What words have others said that still fill your mind?

If you always do the unsuccessful things of the past, you’ll always get what you always got….and it is not success.

Success is never an accident. It’s a choice.

You will be successful if you decide you’re going to be. Get out of your own way and quit with the excuses.

See you on the road to success.

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org 

 

 


Head For A Soft Landing

May 4, 2018

By Rev Paul N. Papas II

May 1, 2018

 

 

After a long hard day some people head for a soft landing into their favorite chair to unwind, relieve stress and relax. Some exercise to relieve stress, some soak in a warm tub.

Stress is any change in the environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.

Stress is a normal part of life.

Not all stress is bad.

Stress can motivate people to prepare or perform, like when they need to take a test or interview for a new job. Stress can even be life-saving in some situations. In response to danger, your body prepares to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity, all functions aimed at survival.

Harmful stress needs to be dealt with and relieved to escape what could turn out to be long term life changing events such as stroke or heart attacks.

Soaking in warm water has a soothing effect on both the body as well as the mind. Its relaxation and therapeutic benefits are based on the stimulation of blood circulation and release of muscle tension. Hot baths initially rise heart rate and temperature, and to dispel the heat, the body perspires which gets rid of toxins. Then the blood vessels dilate and improve circulation, thus removing lactic acid from muscles, lowering blood pressure and easing pain.

Many who suffer from anxiety or depression have found a good soak in a warm tub to be a natural and helpful relief. A good soak in tub has proved to be helpful for many other reasons as well.

You may also try a very natural stress reducer in getting a good night’s sleep. It is well known that insufficient sleep leaves people irritable, cranky and on edge, whereas too much sleep will have the effect of making them sluggish and depressed.

Soft landings are preferred by birds, planes, and economists. Not many people I know would prefer the sudden stop of a crash, whether it be in a plane, car or health issues. Crashes cause damage to people, property, and the economy.

There are certain foods and activities which add to stress then again there are certain foods and activities which reduce stress. Generally processed food can help produce stress as your body in not adequately fed with required nutrients. Long stays in front of a TV or computer can cause or add to stress.

Soft landings can be found in spending quality time with your family or pets. Horses, dogs, and cats crave personal attention and help you to a soft landing.

Eight Ways Your Pet Can Help You with  Relieve Your Stress and A Soft Landing: 1. Just being around an animal decreases your blood pressure; 2. Our pets decrease our reactions to stressful situations; 3. Pet owners on average get more exercise; 4. People with pets are less likely to say they feel loneliness; 5. Pets help you be in the moment; 6. Pets lower stress by fulfilling our need for touch; 7. Pets seem to help support feelings that make you more resilient at dealing with stress; 8. Finally, they make us laugh(1)

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org  

 

 

References

(1) http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/8-ways-your-pet-can-help-relieve-your-stress

 

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/pets-depression#1

 


Devolving Into History

April 6, 2018

Rev Paul N. Papas II

April 1, 2018

 

 

Instead of learning from history it appears we are trying to repeat the old bad ways with a high tech twist.

Old ways are not necessarily bad ways while at the same token not all new ways are good.

I would think most people would not want live in a time before Due Process was considered a Right to be guaranteed.

Due process is required for committing someone to a psychiatric facility. In the old days people who were a problem to someone with power would just make arrangements to have a person committed. Once committed; the person was discredited, no longer believed and the family, business or political problem was resolved. Today proper notice must be given and hearings held.

Many of the Mental Health issues that were once ‘treated’ with extreme measures, such physical or chemical lobotomies can be addressed with the help of caring, knowledgeable people.  PTSD, once called shell shock, fear, anxiety, and depression are among those which can be treated with the help of caring, knowledgeable people.  Getting to the root of the problem is the beginning of true lasting healing.

Homeowners had much less protection in the old days than they do today before a foreclosure. There are many horror stories people loosing their homes for a variety of reasons including seizing the wrong property. Mortgage lenders are not generally known for their forgiveness.

The Ancient World Was Pro-Death

Down through history, many have believed that death could solve problems.

About the middle of the 6th century before Christ, a boy was born to a wealthy nobleman in India in the province of Bihar.  His name is Mahavira.  His parents, though well-to-do, belonged to a sect that looked upon birth as a curse, and upon suicide as a blessed privilege.  When their son, Mahavira, reached his 31st year they ended their lives by voluntary starvation.

The young man, moved to the depths of his soul, renounced the world and its cruel ways, divested himself of all clothing, and wandered through western Bengal as an ascetic.  From his life a new sect was born, the Jains, which had a considerable effect upon India, including Gandhi, the revered man we know who would starve himself to death on the basis of policy.

Some notable ancient Greeks also believed that death could solve some things.  A Greek scholar, D.W. Palmer, compiled an impressive list of quotations from Greek lyric poetry, drama, philosophy, and rhetoric to establish the fact that in the Greek world there was a widespread belief that death is preferred for those whose life is a burden.  By it one was delivered from the troubles of earthly existence; death brings rest from one’s labors.

Socrates expressed this on one occasion when he said: “And if there is no consciousness but it is like a sleep when the sleeper does not even see a dream, death would be a wonderful gain” (Socrates’ words in Plato, Ap. 40, C-D).  Josephus, the historian, wrote about the oppressed of his time: “They had no opportunity to put up a strong fight, but reckoned it a gain if they died, a misfortune to live” (Josephus, Ant. 15. 158).

Our culture seems to be devolving back into a culture of death during my lifetime as witnessed by violent rhetoric, violent actions and lawlessness reported in the media.

 

The Easter faith is counter to such “pro-death” views.  It opts for life.  When death starts to look inviting, one must be reminded that one “is still here,” and to that fact one must bow.

 

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org  and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org

 


Related

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/new-old-weapon-of-destruction-rediscovered/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/stepping-up-use-of-new-old-weapons/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/ward-and-june-cleaver-criminalized/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/surrender-or-lose-your-head/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/abuse-home-work-church-a-boiled-frog/

 

 


Courage In the Face Of Tragedy

March 2, 2018

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

February 26, 2018

 

The News is not always good and sometimes it is downright terrifying.

There are terrifying times that try men’s souls. There are times when heroes emerge from the worst tragedies.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham

“The pages of history have proven the absolute truth of this quote by Billy Graham.  A courageous act by one brave person can truly inspire others to be courageous.  No sane and rational thinking person can dispute the timeless truth of this quote.  Brave individuals throughout history have often shown despots and tyrants the hard way that courage is contagious and can spread with amazing quickness once it takes hold.” Stan Burman

Heroes come in all sizes, shapes, and backgrounds. No true hero set out to be a hero. A true hero found himself in a place and circumstance where he knew he had to act.  Examples of true heroes can be found in the 3,400 Medals of Honor recipients of our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation in 1861.

In the recent tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School many questions need to be answered. I’m sure you have heard of the Sheriff Deputies who waited outside hiding behind their police cars while students were being shot inside the school and 17 died.

There are many who tried to help as they were spurred on by one off duty police officer in shorts and a tee shirt. His courage was contagious, as Billy Graham said.

Reporters with the local paper Tribunist wrote what happened next:

“When the fire alarm went off, he didn’t think it was unusual. The panic that ensued changed his mind. When he heard shots, he ran toward the sound of the gunfire.

On the way to the school he found a student who had been shot in the leg. Sgt. Heinrich moved the boy to a dugout and stabilized him with supplies in the baseball team’s first-aid kit.

He then ran back to the school. There, he met a Coral Springs SWAT team member who had extra gear. Sgt. Heinrich threw on an extra vest (one that wasn’t rated to stop rifle fire). The SWAT officer handed over his sidearm so Sgt. Heinrich wouldn’t be unarmed, and they entered the building.

Sgt. Heinrich ran into the chaos. He didn’t wait outside. The officers from Coral Springs [Police Department] led the way. Behind them, paramedics were able to triage and treat the wounded [students]. The SWAT medics from Coral Springs provided crucial support.

[Only then did] the Broward County Sheriff’s Department [go] in after Coral Springs [people].”

 

Not everyone will face situations as dangerous as those faced by the Medal of Honor recipients or Sgt Heinrich.

Many of us can be heroes to someone at home or in our community by helping where we see a need. You may never receive a medal or make the news and that is okay. In someone’s life you made a positive difference and that is what counts.  Real heroes don’t need a ‘Thank you’, but will accept it.

Billy Graham’s Last Message to America & the World…listen carefully…

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org  

 

Related

 

https://history.army.mil/moh/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Medal_of_Honor_recipients

http://tribunist.com/news/hes-the-heroic-police-officer-who-charged-into-douglas-high-school-in-shorts-and-a-t-shirt-to-save-lives/

 

 


When All Seems Lost

February 2, 2018

By Rev Paul N. Papas II

January 28, 2018

 

Not many people have been spared the feeling at one time in their life that all is lost. That situation is an invitation to find a way to go over, under, around or through the predicament. The other choice is devolve into such a depression and allow fear and anxiety to overtake you, it is a choice.

Alcoholics and Drug addicts have to come to the bottom of their bottoms to get to the point when all seems lost. Businesses facing bankruptcy come to the point when all seems lost. A relationship breakup can bring one to a point where all seems lost. The 1929 cash brought many to the point when all seems lost, some completed suicide over it.

Some brave men and women who lost parts of their bodies as a result of injuries received in combat protecting our Freedoms probably had a few moments when all seemed lost. Many of these brave veterans overcame many obstacles to go on and lead productive lives.

Over the past several years leading up to the 2016 elections some thought the country was getting to the point when all seems lost. For many, hope has been restored as the economy is improving.

With a lot of hard work, after the 1929 cash people and businesses reinvented themselves and went on to rebuild the economy to once again become prosperous.

You can also rebuild and become prosperous.

Abraham Lincoln had many losses before he was elected President

 

YEAR FAILURES or SETBACKS SUCCESSES
1832 Lost job
Defeated for state legislature
Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
1833 Failed in business Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois
Appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon County
1834 Elected to Illinois state legislature
1835 Sweetheart died
1836 Had nervous breakdown Re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district)
Received license to practice law in Illinois state courts
1837 Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield
Became law partner of John T. Stuart
1838 Defeated for Speaker Nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus
Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district)
Served as Whig floor leader
1839 Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention
Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
1840 Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
1841 Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan
1842 Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress
1844 Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
1846 Elected to Congress
1848 Lost renomination (Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
1849 Rejected for land officer Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court
Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate Elected to Illinois state legislature (but declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)
1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President
1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate
1860 Elected President

 

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/failures.htm

 

Most people reading this won’t become President, but the point is you loose when you stop trying. Just because a door closes it does not mean there are no doors open for you…you just need to find the right one.

Are you where you want to be?

Have your goals been reached?

What can you do today to accomplish your goals?

If you have not found that open door, keeping seeking it, it is there.

Be encouraged by those who have overcome. They did not do it alone, but they purposed to overcome and you can too.

Today is a new day, a blank page in history. We may not be able to control the events today; however we can chose our reaction.  All may not be lost, just headed in a different direction.

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ)   www.narrowpathministries.org  and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org

 

 


Look, The Glass Is Half Full

December 1, 2017

 

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

Nov 28, 2017

 

The story is told of two psychologists who sought to determine whether heredity or environment decided a child’s mental outlook. So they placed a pessimistic child in a lovely room chucked-full of beautiful toys, and an optimistic child in a room filled with horse manure. Hours later the pessimistic kid was found in the corner, pouting. “Why aren’t you playing with your toys,” the psychologists inquired? “Cause soon as I do, someone will come and take them away from me!” By contrast, they discovered the optimistic child enthusiastically swimming and diving through the manure. His reason? “Man! With all this manure, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!”

Which child would you rather be around? The pessimistic child is often not easy going or fun to be around.  I would venture to say most people would go the other way to avoid the pessimistic child.

Pessimism is an attitude that one is not competent enough to control the situation at hand backed by the anticipation of failure thereby programming themselves with an excuse for failure. Pessimism prevents one from fully committing to a project or event. The refusal to fully commit could cause one to bail from something that otherwise could have been beneficial.

Pessimism could be a defense mechanism to reduce effects of traumatic or disturbing events that one experienced.

A less talented optimistic team could defeat a greater talented pessimistic team because of their optimism.

One’s outlook on life has a lot to do with whether you are an optimist  or a pessimist. One’s outlook on life could determine whether one would spiral down into depression.

Shorter days and holidays can also contribute to depression and anxiety.

Thomas Carlyle once wrote that “the block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak, becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong.”

Now you can choose this day whether the block of granite is an obstacle or a stepping stone, whether the glass is half empty or half full.  Yes you can.

“Optimists, on the other hand, seem to approach life in a way that pays off. They’re more resilient in the face of disaster or tragedy and are happier with their lives in general. But it’s not all in their heads. They are generally healthier, have stronger hearts, and tend to live longer. They’re even more resistant to colds.

One reason is because optimists learn to cope well and make connections with others who help and support, says Barbara Fredrickson, head of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina. “You’re better equipped to deal with the difficulties in life because, in the good moments, you’ve accrued more skills and resources,” she explains.” (1)

 

You may be able to retrain from pessimism to optimism with the help of family, friends, counselors, life coaches, or other professional, once you first decide the block of granite is a stepping stone, the glass half full.

Enjoy your optimistic life.

Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ)   www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org

 

 

 

(1)  https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/accentuating-a-positive-attitude#1

 

 


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