The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Viewing by month: February 2009

Life's Energy

Do you know someone that sends a tingle up and down your spine? I mean, someone that raises your spirits, which seems to “energize” you and makes you feel better in his, or her presence? You are picking up this person’s energy, their “life force”, and it’s not imaginary; it’s real! You feel inexplicably drawn to this individual, and it’s a feeling that will take you by surprise when you are fortunate enough to experience it.

 

If you have a husband, wife, partner, or “significant other”, you know what I’m talking about. Love is the benchmark that most of use in relating to the type of energy I’m referring to. At this moment you’re probably recalling the first time you got “zapped” by the intense emotion of real love….good feeling, wasn’t it? 

 

Then there are those very unique relationships in which two people give and receive energy between one other. These relationships aren’t reserved for spouses or lovers; quite often they are between friends or acquaintances. Jackie (my wife) and I have found this in each other, and it has served to make not just our marriage, but our bond, so strong. When I am down, she lifts me up, and hopefully I am able to do the same for her when life throws her a curve. Individually we are both very strong; collectively, we are a force to be reckoned with. Add God to the equation, and, well, “…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 The end result is that among all that Jackie is to and for me, she is still my best friend….even after 20 years (this April) of marriage.

 

Conversely, at some point there have probably been people in your life that have had just the opposite effect on you. These people can lower your spirits in an instant; you feel like they are draining the very life out of you. Guess what? They are; they’re feeding off your energy, and if you’re around them for any period of time, you feel absolutely drained. This too, is very real; be aware of it.

 

Here’s the funny thing: Some of these people are aware of what they are doing, what I like to refer to as “inviting me to share a seat on their pitty pot in life”. You know, it’s the “misery loves company thing”. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have compassion for people when they’re down. You just don’t want to get into the habit of “feeding” their weakness, because you will indeed find yourself taking a seat right next to them, which is doing no favors for either of you.  

 

Still yet are those that don’t make a conscious effort to sap your strength. They are just lacking something in their lives that creates a void, a void that your energy can fill, even if the effect is only temporary.

 

I know that just a week ago I was urging you to share your light with people, as found in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world…..let your light shine before men….” I’ll remind you that to “share” means to tell, allow to use, or to give a portion of something to someone. A portion. Share your light with others. Share your energy with others. Don’t give all of either of these away, and don’t let anyone take all of them from you!

 

Okay, I’m gonna step “outside the box” for just a minute and talk about something; some of you will understand it, some of you will think about it, and the rest of you may think that I’ve lost it! And that’s okay. Look, I’m not trying to win a popularity contest on this site, or in life. During the past two years I’ve learned that you lose a few friends when you speak openly about your faith in general terms, and even more when you speak openly about God. Those relationships I may have lost along the way have paled in comparison to what I have received. I’m sorry; I went on a tangent, which I am prone to do….back to the topic.

 

I want you to take a moment to think about someone you know that absolutely walks with God every day. Think about their spirituality, the depth of their faith, and the inner-strength that you would assume comes with that faith. If you don’t know someone with these qualities, think of, I don’t know, a priest, pastor, minister…you know, a person of the cloth. Got someone in mind? Good.

 

Now think about this for a moment….there are people that walk with the devil (or whatever term for evil you prefer to use), on the dark side, every day. These people also possess an inner-strength, and it is not a good one. They would like nothing more than to corrupt you, steer you off course, and rob you of your “light”. Beware of these people….they do exist. If you are around an individual or group of people, and you sense that something is wrong, trust your instincts! Say a quick prayer, or just ask God to protect you from anything not of Him. Look, I’m not trying to scare you. I’ve told you all along that I want to share what I believe to be true. It has been my experience that the closer I get to God, and the closer I get to doing His work, the more the devil does to thwart my efforts.

 

I’m not suggesting that you walk in fear. I’m asking you to walk with the awareness that evil does exist, and that the devil doesn’t go after bad people; he already has them….

 

Try to keep company with people that lift you up, that gladly share their energy, their “spirit”, with you. As your “walk’ in life changes, so too will the company of those you keep; you’ll want it that way. Do your best to stay away from those whose mere presence brings you down. I know, I know, there are individuals that you have to be around, like some family members or co-workers. But that doesn’t mean that you have to share in their misery, or let it rub off on you. When you must be in the company of these individuals, you will find that your awareness of the situation will make things better….not necessarily for them, but certainly for you!

 

Each day, ask for discernment in recognizing those with whom you may share your energy, those from whom you may receive energy, and those that you want to keep at arm’s length. You’ll be surprised by the amount of intuition you are given as you walk the path of life.

 

 

Contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

  

 

 

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 02/23/2009 at 7:29 AM | Categories: Outside The Box -

Crazy?

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently—they’re not fond of rules…You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”            Steve Jobs~Apple Computers

 

Have you ever read something and immediately claimed it as being “yours”? I don’t mean in the sense of claiming to have written it, but more along the lines of identifying with it, as though it had been written for you?

 

When our friend Britta e-mailed this quote to me I thought “He’s talking about me….this guy, this Steve Jobs, he just described me!” You see, I am crazy enough to think I can change the world; better yet, I believe that I can change the world, even if it’s one person at a time.

 

Look, there are some people that, while not really believing that I’m crazy, want to steer clear of me. I mean, who can blame them? Here’s this guy (me) who discovers the joy of walking with God at 53 and wants to talk about it, advertises his faith in and through his business, putting people ahead of money while doing so, reads the bible daily while walking outside the box of conventional “religion”, openly and brazenly gives “witness” to the goodness of God, and launches a website as a means of sharing his blessings with people around the world….all the while maintaining that he’s just a regular guy with a message! What’s crazy about that? J

 

Before you come to the conclusion that I really am crazy (you may have already done so), let me try to explain something to you. Unlike Enrico Fermi (he developed the atomic bomb), Henry Ford (he changed the face of American Industry), and Bill Gates (you know, the computer guy), I don’t really believe that I have a contribution to make that will change the world. I guess that my ambition, my mission, my ministry, is to change the way that some people look at themselves, those around them, and the world in which they live.

 

During my daily meditation and prayers I always ask God to put four or five people in my path that I can inspire, lift up, or help in any way. If nothing else, I’ll settle for simply putting a smile on their faces. Living out each day with my petition in the back of my mind, I look for opportunities to do exactly that. And you know what? He delivers!

 

What makes me think that I’m qualified to inspire others, to change their outlook on life? Let’s just say that it has to do with this certain light……

 

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”                                       Matthew 5:14-16

 

There are times, when I’m speaking to someone, that I sense Christ’s light shining through me. I believe it shines brightest when I’m sharing the good news of God and what He has done for me, but it also shines when I’m just talking about life in general. The light is always there; He puts it in my eyes for all to see, if they choose to look. Sadly, some don’t look, for a variety of reasons…..some don’t know that the light exists, some feel intimidated by it, and some are envious of the light, thinking that they can’t have it. Conversely, during the course of a conversation, if I am fortunate enough to encounter an individual with the light in their eyes, it makes for an unbelievably uplifting exchange!

 

I’m going to let you in on a secret: We all have that light within us. You have it in you. At this very moment, God’s light is in you; it always has been!

 

For those of you doubting that this light is in you (actually it is God’s presence), take the time for prayer, reflection, and looking within to find Him. If you have trouble finding Him, seek the help of a person “of the cloth”, family member, or friend. If there is no one in your life that you feel comfortable confiding in, I would humbly offer my assistance to you in your search for Him.

 

Now, for those of you that are aware of God’s light in you, I offer the following questions: What are you doing with that light? In the words of Christ, are you “putting it under a bowl”? Are you embarrassed to share it with others? Do you fear that your light is not bright enough to share? That you’re not worthy to share it? That you’re not good enough? Do you think that your light won’t make a difference?

 

“You are the light of the world……let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

 

God wants us to share our light with those around us. He has given you a light that is unlike any others; it is as distinct and unique as your fingerprint! He gave you it to that you might go out and cast your light where there is darkness. This light is a gift; treasure it, nurture it, and share it with those in need of its warmth.  

 

I challenge you to go out and share your light with others, and in doing so planting the seed of hope that a better life is to be lived by walking with God every day. Together, we may just go out and change the world.

 

Contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 02/16/2009 at 7:22 AM | Categories: Life -

Linda's List

On January 5th I offered a post titled The List. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you may want to do so before continuing with this one.

 

The List is about an exercise that you may use to free yourself from the pain of being hurt by others and the guilt of causing hurt in others. It certainly was a great help to me when I began this spiritual walk a couple of years ago.

 

In response to the post Linda wrote “….which, for me, is proving difficult. The list is short, but the names are those whom I love the most. I can and have forgiven them, but am powerless to change the circumstances that led to their names being on the list. Where do I go from here?”

 

Great question, one that I don’t know that I’m qualified to answer….I’ll gladly give you my opinion; take what you want and leave the rest…..

 

There are several facets, or dimensions, to Linda’s question, and I’m gonna try to address all of them.

 

Linda wrote that while she was able to forgive those that hurt her, she couldn’t forget the circumstances that led to the hurt. It would be easy for me to throw the old Cliché forgive and forget at you right now, but that would just be a bunch of hooey! I don’t think it works like that; never have.

 

Funny thing about our memory….it remembers things! And we don’t want to change that. If we had the ability to flush memories from our minds at will, we might inadvertently dispose of a memory that is near and dear to us, like one of those “epiphanies” that I’ve written about before. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to run the risk of forgetting any of my “Kodak Moments” in exchange for erasing the memory of some bad ones! Also, if you’ve ever known someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you are aware that both the individual and their loved ones would like for them to remember anything, good or bad.

 

It’s easier to forgive someone that you love for a wrongdoing than it is to forgive a friend for the same offense, just as it is easier to forgive that friend than a complete stranger.

 

I believe that we don’t ever truly forget events that cause us pain; they are burned indelibly into our minds. We can’t roll back the clock and “undo” them. We can try to pretend that they never happened (our minds know better), but by and large, we can’t forget ‘em.

 

What we can do is learn from them. I believe that every “circumstance” that has caused me pain, in my entire life, has been a part of God’s plan for me. Some of these lessons have come from the minds, mouths, and hands of other people; in many instances, these were people that I loved or admired. They caused hurt; deep hurt. Hurt that I still remember, but strangely enough, don’t feel any more. The List didn’t allow me to let go of the memories; it allowed me to let go of the pain.

 

You’re going to have to bear with me on this; I’ve mentioned to you before that in offering you my thoughts, I learn more about myself….I’m having one of those moments now.

 

I’ve told you before that everything I do in life, every move I make, every step I take, points back to God. I don’t know if this “happened” the day I got my tattoo, or if it was a shift in my thinking over the past two years, or if there was a “moment” of commitment to Him. I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is this:

 

I know (because there are some things in life that you just know) that God has forgiven me for figuratively slapping Him in the face, time after time after time during my fifty-six years on this earth. Offenses directly against Him. Offenses against Him through what I’ve done to others. Offenses against Him for what I’ve done to myself. My list of offenses is probably ten times longer than the list of people that I put together. And He forgave me for every one of those offenses. How do I know that? Because the God that I love is all-forgiving….I mean, come on! He forgave the men who nailed His Son to the cross….He GAVE His Son to us knowing what was going to happen. What greater love can there be than that?

 

I believe that God has forgiven me for my offenses because I asked for His forgiveness. No matter how small, or how large, the offense, He has forgiven me. I believe this with all that is in me. In turn, what has someone done to me, what could someone do to me, that would be any worse than He forgave us for?

 

I believe that God has a plan for me; this plan has been designed exclusively for me, and for no one else. I’ve finally come to realize that while I have a hand in shaping my destiny, He already knows the end result. I trust that He knows what’s best for me, and that whatever He gives me, good and bad, is for a reason; His reason.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:

 

If you will “let go and let God”, He will give you the strength to let go.

 

 

Contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 02/09/2009 at 4:59 AM | Categories: Life -

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