Welcome To December 31st: Where Did The Time Go?

Welcome to December 31st.

Where did the time go?

As we look back on the previous 364 days, one has to wonder. How did we spend the 525,600 minutes allotted to us?

Moses’ prayer in Psalms 90:10-12 speaks of the time allotted to us:

Seventy years are given to us!

Some even live to eighty.

But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.

Who can comprehend the power of your anger?

Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Job 14:1 reminds us that Man, born of woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.

We are almost 365 days closer to the end of our lives.

Our focus should no longer be on how we spent the previous 8,760 hours that made up 2014.

We should ponder how we will spend the time that God will give us in 2015; and any remaining years after 2015 that God will give us.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Welcome to December 31st. Where will the time go?

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

 

 

 

Why It Is Better Being Flo Instead of The Marlboro Man

The Marlboro Man2Do you remember the Marlboro Man? That rugged dude who lives life on his own terms and by his own rules. He didn’t need anyone or anything; just his horse and of course, his cigarettes.

If you are as old as me, not only do you remember him; but, you have most likely had Marlboro Man moments. That is, you have tried to do it all, on your own, without even as much as a cigarette.

You may have experienced some success in those endeavors. However, what was the cost? How sustainable is the Marlboro Man approach?

Some of you may have discovered the fallacy of the Marlboro Man. Instead, you have embraced the realness of another spokesperson, Flo from Progressive.

Flo is the complete opposite of the Marlboro Man, she is always in need of others. She seeks outFlo the company of co-workers, customers and you; in her grand scheme to let the world know the goodness of auto, home, and boat insurance.

Let’s Compare the two corporate spokespersons; and see why it is better to believe and follow the realness of Flo than the strong silent type of the Marlboro Man.

 

Slide1

Final Thought: We Can’t Do It Alone

This widely satirical example of comparing Flo and the Marlboro Man was done to prove one simple point. No man or woman is an island. Our success depends on others. Being a team player, showing concern and having passion for our work and those who we work with is the key. We must work well with others in the sandbox. The skill set that Flo brings will always bring out the best in others; while the Marlboro Man, doesn’t mind sitting alone in the sandbox.

So, put out the cigarette and join Flo. The success will make you progressively better

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland

Need an inspiring speaker for a seminar, workshop or conference keynote? Let’s talk! My unique background in the military, business and the faith communities allows me to speak effectively on many topics of interest to your audience. From a project management seminar to stirring speech about the importance of leadership I can give a presentation that will leave your audience entertained and informed. Call me today at 608 358 1309 or email me marben@marbenbland.com

Marben Bland is a business strategist, professional speaker, faith leader and writer. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace. Find more post at www.marbenbland.com

.

It Is 4 Days After Christmas and Where Are The Gifts?

It is four days after Christmas; and the focus is still on the gifts.

Four days after Christmas, where are your gifts from this holiday season?   Depending on how hectic your holiday may have been, some of those gifts are probably:

  • Still in the box; with the wrapping paper they were received in… still on.
  • Never going to see the light of day.
  • On the way to being returned.
  • Actually being used

Wherever your gifts are, we can’t dismiss that the main focus of the Christmas season has become all about the gifts. The ones you received and the ones that slipped through the cracks and were not received; however, you will be able to pick them up yourself with the gift cards you were given!!!!

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus reminds us not to live a life dominated by materialism:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

We can live lives not dominated by materialism when we take the gifts that God has given us and use them to help his people in support of the Great Commission, as outlined in Matthew 28:19-20

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Here is what we can do with the gifts that God has given us:

Prayer

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

Prayer is the lifeline that keeps us in touch with God and provides an intercession where we can ask God’s help for others.

For the next 30 days let’s give the gift of prayer to others. Find 3 people and pray for them daily, you will be amazed by the difference it will make in both of your lives.

Scripture

There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of the Scripture is God- showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 2 Timothy 3:16 (The Message)

Give yourself the gift of scripture by becoming a daily reader of the Word. If you are a daily reader of the Word for the next 30 days look for opportunities to share it with people in your life.   If you are not a daily reader of word, now is a great time become one.

Bible Gateway.com has a variety of devotionals to get you started on a daily reading plan for giving yourself the daily gift of reading God’s word.

Praise  

Encourage one another and build one another up.

1st Thessalonians 5:11

Praise is the action, the demonstration, the essence of telling God and the entire world of His goodness, His might, His love and so much more.

In the quick to criticize world, we fail to utilize God’s gift of praise for his greatest creation….the human race. For the next 30 days let’s do all we can to praise each other. We can do that by:

  1. Praising Sincerely, Freely and Often

In our lives look for opportunities to be:

  • Gracious to even the strangers in our lives
  • Kind to those who give us service
  • And generous in spirit to everyone in our lives.

2. Saying Thank You

O’ Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good Psalm 107:1

“Thank You” a simple expression with the power to empower, to transform and to make the giver of the “Thank You” and the receiver of the phrase feel like they are on the top of the world.

Therefore, for the next 30 days the challenge is to use the power of “Thank You”; by using the phrase to sincerely express our gratitude to the people in our lives.

3. Write Our Phrase

“Write the vision; make it plain…. Habakkuk 2:2

Without question praise is one of the most powerful communications we can do. While praise is effective when it is given verbally; praise is dramatically more effective when written.

Written praise from God’s people is making the vision plain. It is the encouragement we all need to act and live in God’s will.

So in these next 30 days our challenge is to get into the habit of sending written praise. It can be in the form of:

  • A Card
  • A Letter
  • Or a Text Message

It is 4 Days after Christmas and how is your relationship with God? If you died today, are you certain that you can receive God’s gift of everlasting life?

If you have any doubt, or even if you are secure in your faith, join with me in this prayer.

Lord I know that I am a sinner.

And, I thank you for sending your son Jesus who died on the cross for me.

I believe that you are Lord and I ask that you forgive me of my sins.

Lord, come into my heart today, change me, clean me up and make me new.

So that I can live for you and do your will.

And it is in Jesus name I pray – Amen

If this is the first time you have prayed this prayer, know now that you are saved.

For as Roman 10:9 tells us “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

If you are saved, but have fallen out of a right relationship with God.

Please know that when you prayed that prayer all is forgiven and you can receive and give His gifts again.

It is four days after Christmas and where are the gifts? They can be yours if you make the decision to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

 

Coach You Are Fired: How to Survive Getting the Pink Slip

The NFL regular season ended yesterday and the playoffs, the tournament to determine the Super Bowl champion has started. However, before the playoff games kickoff next weekend, another tradition in the NFL has stated. Today is “Black Monday” the day that Head Coaches are fired.

For an NFL Head Coach, being fired is part of the job description. Many of the greatest Head Coaches in NFL history have been fired:

  • Mike Ditka, was fired three years after winning a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears.
  • Tom Landry, the legendary coach and winner of three Super Bowls was fired by the Dallas Cowboys.
  • And before he became a “genus” winning three Super Bowl championship as the coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick, was fired by the Cleveland Brown.

While they are paid well, at least one million per year, four years is the average tenure of an NFL Head Coach.   As the Super Bowl winner hall of fame coach Bill Parcells put it “As a head coach you are hired to be fired.”

Many of you reading this post have either been fired or know someone who has been. I have been fired, it stinks, it hurts, and it’s not an experience that I would recommend.

However, as horrible it may seem the experience of being fired is not the end of the world. I can tell you from personal experience that life can be better on the other side of the firing.

So for those NFL Head Coaches who have been fired today, and those of us less celebrated workers who have been fired or will be fired at some point during our career. Here are five tips, coping skills and attitudes that can help you come out of the other side of the firing as a winner.

  1. Have A Pity Party and Then Get Over It

Regardless of the situation getting fired is an emotional event. You need time to process what has happened. Ultimately, you will need to throw yourself a pity party. Then, regroup and get over it. Your anger, disbelief, sadness and other emotions will hinder any job search. Your ability to get over what happened will determine what will happen to you in the future.   So get over it and move on!

  1. Create A Game Plan For What Is Next

Now is not the time to wing it. Having a clear vision of what’s next is the only clear way to have something positive happen to you next. If the severance package from your dismissal includes outplacement, use it. Don’t forget to include financial planning as part of your game plan.

  1. Tell Everyone About Your Current Status

One of the most difficult parts about being fired is telling people that you have been let go. Well guess what? You don’t have to tell them. Now, I am not suggesting that you lie. However, my advice is to tell people in your network that you are no longer with your current employer and are now looking for work. The reason why you left is immaterial. However, what is important is that your network knows that you are in the market and ready to go back to work.

  1. Update Everything

Quickly update your LinkedIn profile and all other profiles with your new status. This is the perfect time to employ your strategy as describing yourself as a professional looking for a job. Naturally, these updates include your resume.

  1. Seek Help

Yes, finding a job can be a lonely existence. But, you can’t find a job alone. This is not a time for pride. Seek out help from your current network and take steps to expand your network. Seek out professional job search groups and clubs. They can be a wonderful source of assistance, solace, and information.

If you don’t have outplacement or are not pleased with what you currently have I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. I have helped many folks who are looking for work find what is next in their lives. Give me a call at (608) 358-1309 or drop me a line, my email address is marben@marbenbland.com

Black Monday Is Not The End

Monday will not be a good day for several NFL Head Coaches and the assistance coaches that will be fired today.

However, with the right attitude and strategy, Black Monday can turn into gold. Over 90% of dismissed NFL Head Coaches find a new job within six months.   I am confident that you will as well because despite being fired you are a champion!!!

 ©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a business strategist professional speaker, faith leader and writer. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace. Find more post at www.marbenbland.com

 

Police Lives Matters

The tragic events in New York over the weekend reminds us of the difficulties and dangers of being a police officer.

However, the shooting deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos should not present us with the two false choices that some are promoting.

False Choice #1: The protest caused the shooting

We are asked to believe that the recent protests of the grand jury verdicts in the Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Michael Brown cases is the reason behind the shooting.

False Choice #2: If you support the protesters, you are against the police

I would hope that all of us are smarter than the political talking heads and know that both Police Lives Matters and Black Lives Matters. We can support both, protesters and the police.

The Police Are Not Under Attack

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar six-time NBA champion put it best in a brilliant article for Time.com when he said: The Police Aren’t Under Attack… Institutionalized Racism Is.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley the man who allegedly shot the officers in Brooklyn and then turned the gun on himself was mentally ill. He shot his girlfriend before traveling to New York. Brinsley had a checkered history of arrests, internet rants and anti-social behavior long before the protests started.

Reporting that the protests inspired Brinsley, is the kind of lazy thinking that is at the root of the black community, now, a growing white community mistrust police which has sparked the protests and only reinforces the institutionalized racism charge.

Supporting The Police and The Protesters

Yes to some it may seem impossible but I support both the police and the protesters.

Supporting the Police

  1. I will support the Police by: Understanding that they have a difficult job and that they are put in impossible situations as they serve and protect all of us.
  2. I will support the Police by: Advocating for greater training, tactics and strategies giving officers more tools to use in forceful situations.
  3. I will support the Police by: Supporting funding to hire and train more officers for underrepresented communities. Included in this funding should be higher pay for officers, and protective gear and equipment like body armor and cameras.

Supporting the Protesters

  1. I will support the Protesters by: Calling for the use of special prosecutors to bring police abusive force cases before Grand Juries.
  2. I will support the Protesters by: Supporting measures to bring more economic opportunities to distressed communities.
  3. I will support the Protesters by: Demanding greater accountability in the communities by calling on citizens to vote in greater numbers and become more involved in community affairs, and develop positive relationships with law enforcement.    

Police Lives Matter – Black Lives Matters

I will proudly put on my NYPD cap and support the police and the families of Officers Liu and Ramos; just like I put on my “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt last week to show support for the Garner, Gurley, and Brown families.

In fact, I think I will put them on at the same time to let everyone know that Police Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter!

 

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland

In 2015 Let God Handle It

In 2014 I messed up a ton of things:

  • I have messed up relationships
  • I have messed up my promises to myself and others
  • I have messed up my money

In examining my mistakes, mishaps, and missteps one thing is clear. I messed up; because I did not let God handle it.

God wants your 2015 to be better. He can help you do that by simply following the commands outlined in 1 Peter 5:6-7

So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.

However, we don’t have to wait until 2015 to get it right. Start right now! If we give ourselves, and everything we have to God, He will help us. He will be there for us; and keep us from messing things up.

Humbling ourselves to God does not mean that we will not have difficulties. In fact, the very next verse, 1 Peter 5:8, states that our “enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey.”

We can resist the devil by standing firm in our faith and simply doing three things:

  1. Prayer

“Everything you ask for in prayer, if you have faith, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The key word here is faith. Faith is all about having confidence that God will handle the things in our lives that we have been messing up.

  1. Reading the Word of God

“The Word that God speaks it is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword: it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet, to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being.” Hebrews 4:12 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The powerful Word of God will keep us from messing up and making the same mistakes again, again and again. For the Word of God exposes everything. If you are not reading the Bible on a regular basis I suggest that you start. Bible Gateway.com has several great reading plans to get you started.

  1. Worship

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20

I can’t tell you how many times I have messed up; because of my failure to connect with others. Our lives of faith is not meant to be spent alone. God wants us to worship and fellowship with others for we can find strength, confidence, and answers when we praise God with others.

Final Thoughts: The Value Of Letting God Handle It

The scripture and our own history reminds us that without God we will mess things up. While we cannot live mistake free lives, God will give us the peace, confidence and most importantly the ability to overcome any misfortune that befalls us when we “Let God Handle It.”

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Giving Gifts That Matter

Top 2014 holiday gifts:      

  •  Wearable fitness activity trackers
  • Small laptops or tablets
  • High-end headphones (Bose or Beats by Dr. Dre)
  • GoPro wearable cameras
  • Smartwatch (Apple or Samsung)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet
  • Smartphones (LG G3, Apple iPhone 6 & 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy, HTC One

These wonderful items will be under the trees of many Americans, making kids of all ages happy beyond belief.

Christmas is a big commercial event for the business of our country. It is estimated that nearly 80% of all retail sales are generated during the holiday seasons.

The bottom line is our consumer spending during this period put people to work and provides a big punch to our economy.

While many of us may covet the items on the most wanted list, God commands us to live a life not dominated by materialism:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

This verse tells us the obvious pitfall about accumulating a ton of stuff:

  • Our beats headphone will break or become obsolete
  • The Smartwatch will be stolen
  • And we never have enough time to fully enjoy the Kindle

However, when we store our treasures in things eternal, they will never become obsolete. They will not be stolen, and God will always give us the time for them.

Top 2014 Heavenly Treasures

  • Prayer
  • Praise
  • Gratefulness

While the top holiday gifts are nice, this year, I hope you will consider doing what I and countless others will do for the ones they love and give heavenly treasures.   Let’s consider the value of each one:

Prayer

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

Prayer is our lifeline to the Lord. It is our gateway. It is the way to peace, happiness and to get things done.

Gift Suggestion: Give the Gift of Prayer

Find out what people on your list really need for the coming year. Certainly, give them some of the material items they want. However, pray for them regarding everything else. Your faithfulness with God will make an immense difference far more than any material thing you can provide.

Praise

Let All That I am Praise The Lord  Psalm 104: 1

Praise is the action, the demonstration, the essence of telling God and the entire world of His goodness, His might, His love and so much more.  

Gift Suggestions: 30 Days of Praise

We should exalt God for His power and creativity; and continuously praise Him all the days of our lives. However, in his praise we should also acknowledge God for His greatest creation, the human race.

We were created for praise so let’s take our praise to a new level. For the next thirty days let’s go out of our way to sincerely and honestly praise, our friends, family, co-workers and others that come into our lives. In my post Let All That I am Praise The Lord I outline a strategy for giving the gift of praise.

Gratefulness

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   1 Thessalonians 5:18

We will never receive full contentment in material things. For as scripture tells us they will become obsolete, they will break or they will be stolen.

Therefore, let’s find solace in the things that we have, and count the blessings of gratefulness.

Gift Suggestion: A Daily Practice of Gratitude

Stephanie Milton, a 28 year old Christian author, from Bon Aqua, Tennessee, writes in her blog about a practice of gratitude she takes part in and the abundance it has given to her life.    

“In 2008, I started a daily practice of gratitude as part of my spiritual studies. Each night before bed, I wrote down at least 15 things that I was thankful for-for example: I had clothes to wear, a fridge that was full of healthy food, a roof over my head, a safe car to drive, and a family that loved me.    

After about a month, I noticed that I had more money in my bank account. It turns out I had been spending less and less; because there was less and less that I wanted.  

Several years later, I still write in the journal occasionally; but mostly, I talk about things that I’m grateful for throughout the day-be it a great parking spot or rain coming to water our garden.

I continue to feel so grateful with what I already have that there are few things left that I truly desire. I used to waste money on cheap items that I never really used, such as makeup or nail polish. Now, I no longer buy something just to buy it. 

If I see something I like, I ask myself three things before buying: Where will I put it in my small house? Will I use it? Do I really need it? The item has to satisfy question number one, plus either number two or three.”

Final Thoughts: Give Gifts That Matter 

What was the favorite toy given to you for Christmas? Where is it now? If you are like most of us that toy succumbed to either being broken, or being stolen or obsolete.

However, what remains is the memory of how that gift made you feel. When you give the heavenly gifts of Prayer, Praise and Gratefulness we are storing treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

This holiday season give heavenly gifts; because they are gifts that matter.

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:16-20