Joy

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace

The recent days have been difficult.   

Death, bad weather, and depression in every direction.

The recent days have been difficult.

Terror attacks, war and economic hardship in every direction.

The recent days have been difficult.

Political dysfunction, gridlock and unreasonable positions in every direction.

Yet, oddly as it may seem in these difficult days;  God promises us joy:

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.   Romans 12:12

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,        James 1:2

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.   Philippians 4:4

-Yes, we have had some difficult days.

-Yes, we are in the middle of some difficult days, right now.

And

-Yes, we will experience difficult days in the future.

However, rest assured when we give our cares, our difficulties and our very lives to the Lord, He will keep his promise.

There will be Joy!

There will be joy!

There will be joy!

So, let’s us rejoice! 

Although, our hearts are broken with the death of our brother the coach and our sister the educator; because we will miss them greatly.

So, let’s us rejoice! 

Although, we are weary and distraught from the cold of winter and the snow of a lifetime.

So, let’s us rejoice! 

Although, our elected officials lack the courage necessary to make the right decisions for America.  While, they remain consumed with promises and decisions surrounding their reelection.

We can rejoice; because of God’s promise. Regardless of the difficulties… there will be Joy!

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

 

The Resiliency of Our Faith

The famed boxer Muhammad Ali, defined resiliency as the ability to get knocked down by a punch and then get back up to fight again. Folks in Boston, Chapel Hill and my hometown of Gray have been knocked down by a punch. However, those whose faith rest with God will get back up again.

Three events happened recently that reminded me again of the fragile state of our lives.

  • Boston, MADeluged by paralyzing snow. Pilled so high that the resolve many has been melted while the show has not.
  • Chapel Hill, NCDismayed by the senseless shooting death of three bright young Muslim Americans. At the hands of a despot who claimed the killing was just over parking and not their religion.
  • Gray, GADemoralized by the untimely deaths of Shirley Black, and Glen Daniels two Godly members of our church in my hometown.

Joshua, the person selected by God to lead the Israelites after the death of Moses had a resilient faith. This passage from Joshua 1:9 is evidence of how Joshua repeatedly told his people of God’s command to be resilient in their faith:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV

The resiliency of Joshua and the Israelites allowed them to achieve miraculous victories in the face of impossible odds.

The resiliency of our faith can also allow us to:

  • Survive the paralyzing snow
  • Make sense of senseless shootings
  • Accept an untimely death

The famed boxer Muhammad Ali, defined resiliency as the ability to get knocked down by a punch and then get back up to fight again. Folks in Boston, Chapel Hill and my hometown of Gray have been knocked down by a punch. However, those whose faith rest with God will heed His command:

  • To be strong and courageous
  • To not be frightened
  • To not be dismayed

For The Lord is with us wherever we go. The resiliency of our faith will allow our fragile bodies   to get back up again and fight. From any punch that life dishes out.

© 2015 Marben Bland

www.marbenbland.com

5 Easy Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Standout

It’s clear with a little work you can easily create a Standout LinkedIn profile that will meet your goals and expectations. With over 200 million members worldwide someone is looking for you and you are just a standout profile away from that connection.

If you are looking for a job, trying to make a better professional impression or closing a sale, having a standout LinkedIn profile is important.

Here are 5 easy ways to make your LinkedIn profile standout:

 1. Have a Standout Picture

LinkedIn research indicates that your profile is 14 times more likely to be open when it contains a picture.   Professional Woamn1

Recommendations for a Standout Picture:

  • Professional Photo: No Selfies
  • Headshots Only
  • Be Friendly and Approachable: Smile look at the camera

2. Turn Your Headline Into Your Mission Statement

Your name and headline follows on LinkedIn. So, make it easy for people to know what you want or are about by using it to make that statement.

I am currently conducting a job search so my headline reflects that by simply stating:

Human Resource Executive Looking For A Job

LINPro

3. Use the Summary Statement to Confirm Your Headline

So your mission as indicated in your headline is telling everyone that you are looking for a job. Great! Now, confirm and tell your readers more about your efforts in your summary statement.

Don’t forget to include contact information; including links to webpages and phone numbers in your summary.

MDB Summary

4. Likening and Sharing

In the world of LinkedIn, content is the name of the game. Your profile will standout with more views when you “Like” or “Share” the content of others.   It is really easy to do. The next time you are standing in line, for example, at the coffee shop or lunch counter, go to LinkedIn, using your smartphone and read an article. If you like it, click that you did, and that update will be visible to all of your contacts on their home page. Hint: Get started now by liking this post!!

 5. Extra, Extra Write All About It!

As a professional, we know the importance of staying up-to-speed on industry trends and business news. Now, LinkedIn is in the content business in a big way with LinkedIn Publisher.   Publisher provides commentary from big names like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Barrack Obama along with letting you become part of the discussion by posting your own writings.

Publisher is a wonderful tool to make your profile standout by drawing people via your writings. I consistently get a 20-30% bump in profile views when I post.

Here are LinkedIn’s recommends to boost your blog views:

  • Pay attention to the headline

Great headlines carry a lot of weight. They draw in readers who might otherwise skim and move on; help keep your writing focused and give search engines valuable information. One rule to remember: Use puns or jokes sparingly.

  • Write about what you know

Get inspiration from your professional life. Use LinkedIn as a sounding board – share your ideas, then get feedback to refine your topic or just have a friendly debate.

Your Profile Can Standout

It’s clear with a little work you can easily create a Standout LinkedIn profile that will meet your goals and expectations. With over 200 million members worldwide someone is looking for you and you are just a standout profile away from that connection.

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

P.S. I am in job search mode now, looking for a senior human resources, staffing or training positon. Location and most other details are flexible. Drop me a line marben@marbenbland.com if you have any leads.

Shirley Black: A Treasure from God in a Fragile Clay Pot

As we celebrate Shirley’s homecoming we rejoice in what God has allowed us to witness. A perfect example of how to live a full positive, hopeful and giving life, lived in a fragile clay pot protected and illumined by the light of God.

In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul likens us to a fragile clay pot containing a great treasure. (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

That great treasure is a light given to us from God that shines in our hearts. The light from The Lord provides a great power of protection over our fragile clay jars as we do His will here on earth.

Nearly sixty-six years ago God put a light in a fragile clay pot and named it Shirley. God made His light shined so brightly within that fragile clay pot named Shirley everyone could see it.

The light shined brightly as the fragile clay pot twice battled cancer.

The light shined brightly as the fragile clay pot survived the sorrow of the sudden loss of her sister.

The light shined brightly as the fragile clay pot endured the tragic death of her beloved husband Herman.

Although that fragile clay pot named Shirley was pressed on every side by troubles the grace of God allowed it never to be crushed.

Although that fragile clay pot named Shirley may have been perplexed by it all her faith in God never drove her to despair.

And Although Shirley’s fragile clay pot may have been hunted down by cancer, knocked down by loss and confused by all manner of things but God’s grace never allowed it to be destroyed.

Because of the light that God put into that fragile clay pot named Shirley.

  • She may have suffered but she was never harmed.
  • She may have been scared but she was never in danger.
  • She may have been lonely but she was never alone.

Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 4:10 “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

-The life of Jesus was revealed in that fragile clay pot named Shirley in the work, that she did with cancer survives and their families.

-The life of Jesus was revealed in that fragile clay pot named Shirley in the commitment she had to the profession of education with over three decades of service to the children of the Jones County School System.

– The life of Jesus was revealed in that fragile clay pot named Shirley in the love that she had for her friends, her community and her family especially for her sons “Duce” and Bill.

The life and the light of Jesus has shined in Shirley for all of us to see. And unlike with many it did not take her passing for us to realize that when we were with her we were in the presence of someone special, someone gifted and someone truly sent from God.

And as we celebrate Shirley’s homecoming we rejoice in what God has allowed us to witness. A perfect example of how to live a full positive, hopeful and giving life, lived in a fragile clay pot protected and illumined by the light of God.

Lord, thank you for the life of your servant Shirley Black. The light you gave her touched our hearts, enriched our lives and blessed the fragile clay pots that personified all who knew her.

©February 14, 2015 – Marben Bland

For more on Shirley read: The Difference One Godly Woman Can Make

How To Lead Like An Alpha Dog

I understand Alpha Dogs. I am honored to say I have seen some of the best Alpha Dogs in operation; up close in the military, the faith community and in business. I understand Alpha Dogs; because I happen to be one.

In the animal kingdom the Alpha Dog set the rules and boundaries for the rest of the pack. The Alpha Dog doles out correction to members of the pack when rules are broken.

There are Alpha Dogs in the business world as well. They develop the strategy. They set the tone; and they direct the activities of the other members of the pack.

I understand Alpha Dogs. I am honored to say I have seen some of the best Alpha Dogs in operation; up close in the military, the faith community and in business. I understand Alpha Dogs; because I happen to be one.

As a self-acknowledged Alpha Dog, I know that there is a delicate balance between the good we can do as leaders; and the bad things our dominate attitude can bring as leaders to the pack.

Clearly there are bad Alpha Dogs; however, in this post let’s take a moment to focus on the higher qualities and thinking of great Alpha Dogs.

Therefore if you are an Alpha Dog or being led by one here are some things to consider:

  1.  Know that there are other Alpha Dogs out there

Top dogs must be acutely aware that there are others out there who have equal or perhaps greater status; and they should learn how to work with them. Alpha Dogs who can make things happen with their fellow top dogs have developed a skill that isn’t easily shared by most Alphas. However, when they can join and lead as a team it is beneficial to all in the group.

  1. Protect the non-Alpha Dogs

An Alpha Dog is only as good as the others in the pack. For many times they are the one doing most of the hard work. Therefore, Alpha Dogs are not only the leader; but are the protectors and promoters of the pack.

Empower, share the credit and demand accountability; but, take the heat when needed. Remember, your duty as the Alpha Dog is to preserve, serve and defend the pack.

  1. Understand the sound of your bark and the effects of your bite

Leaders must know the power that they bring to the position. The things that they do and the things that they say have an impact.

Alpha Dogs should not be afraid to use their bark and bite to praise, cajole, motivate and move the pack to action. However, the Alpha Dogs must be strategic with their words and careful with their actions. For regardless of what they do, the pack will be watching; and even more importantly, they will react to the bark and the bite.

  1. Never forget the days when you were not the Alpha Dog

Alpha Dogs may not have started at the top; and the memories of those days of apprenticeship should not be forgotten. Remember to respect the role of leadership; because it is a level and role of honor. Yes, you are the leader; but, not necessarily the smartest, the fastest or the best in the pack. But you are the leader; and this is your pack. So, set the goals, communicate the expectations, understand the capabilities and lead the pack.

  1. Realize that every Alpha Dog will have its day

You will not and should lead the pack forever. Your time as leader is limited. So, use it wisely. Be a fearless listener. Be bold in the execution of your duties; even when the tasks seem mundane. Remember to be endless in your service to the pack. However, know that your time as Alpha Dog will end; therefore one of your most important service to the pack will be to find, develop and coach a diverse number of dogs to take over as the Alpha Dog.

We are all Alpha Dogs

Great Alpha Dogs are needed to lead our military, businesses, churches and nation. Moreover, we need to develop the inner Alpha Dog within us to meet the greatest leadership challenge of all; that is, leading ourselves.

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

Did You Enjoy This Article?

I would love to learn about your time as an Alpha Dog or other Alpha Dogs that you have been exposed to. Write a comment below or send me an email: marben@marbenbland.com

Brian Williams And The One That Got Away

The big lie! I have done it; perhaps you have too. We have all done it. We are seeing the results of “telling the one that got away” play out in the saga of Brian Williams

Embellishment! The whopper! The big lie! I have done it; perhaps you have too. We have all done it. We have told our friends, co-workers and even our family an account of the “one that got away”. A story that started in truth. However, over time with every added twist and turn, it becomes an outright fabrication; or, as my mother would call it… “A Bald-Faced Lie.”

We are seeing the results of “telling the one that got away” play out in the saga of Brian Williams; the anchor of the top rated NBC Nightly News. For years, Williams has been making the rounds with a story claiming that his helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while reporting from Iraq. Now, after a decade of soaking in the accolades reserved for a war hero the story has proven not to be true.

Williams issued an apology saying that over the years he unfortunately, conflated the account of the helicopter that was hit with rocket fire, with the account of his helicopter; which actually was not.   This was the explanation given to us from a man who the nation trusted for accurate reporting; and he has done very little to clear the air. Williams, who has the job of reporting the news has now become the news; which resulted in him voluntarily removing himself off the air for a few days.

So, what can we learn from this, besides the obvious? If we are the most “trusted” news reporter in the United States, should we jeopardize our career by telling the one that got away?

I believe that there are additional things that we can learn from this story: Trust, Integrity and Second Chances

Here are my thoughts.

1, We All Lie

In John, chapter 8 a woman who was caught committing adultery was brought to Jesus before being stone to death. The Jewish leaders, attempting to trick Jesus asked Him what should they do with the woman. He said “Anyone here who has never sinned should throw the first stone at her.”

As we stand here with stone in hand, ready to throw them at Brian Williams, we need to reflect on ourselves, first. Have we ever embellished? Have we also conflated? Have we ever lied? The answer for me is yes. I love stories, one about myself, and others and as a writer and speaker, I have fallen to the temptation to inflate, to over hype and to lie.

From what I know now, there is no question; Williams’ actions were wrong. He may not be able to retain his current job; if accounts are true and he told the story many times, including to a national audience on David Letterman. However, that decision belongs to his employer, NBC.

The Bottom line for me: But for the grace of God go I; and therefore the stone of this writer, speaker, human resource executive and humble servant of God will remain in his pocket.

2. Money and Power are Blinding  

Brian Williams anchors the top rated nightly news broadcast in America. The program rakes in millions of dollars for NBC. Williams has been given enormous power as anchor of the News and managing editor.

Williams’ fused account of the helicopter rocket fire, has been known by many at NBC for years. There was an NBC crew with him on the helicopter; and let us not forget the executives that signed him to a 10 million dollar per year contract. However, no one challenged Williams about the lie and the possible consequences. Could money and power be the cause of the blindness?

The credibility of the network, the hardworking staff and the other reporters who are actually in the war zone were placed in danger by those that chose to keep quiet.

David the powerful and rich King of Israel involves himself in an adulterous, murderous affair with Bathsheba. David believes that his actions have gone unnoticed until Nathan was sent by God and in a dramatic encounter in 2nd Samuel 12 declares to the King. “You are that Man”

The Bottom line for me: Power and money can blind us from the truth. All leaders, teachers, human resource executives, preachers and anchormen need Nathan’s in our lives. We need people with the courage to withstand the pressure that the money and the power bring. So that we can mount the power to reveal the truth to those in power.

 3. Everyone Deserves A Second Chance

We all know that trust is hard to earn; but easy to lose. In nearly a decade in the nightly news anchor chair Brian Williams has earned our trust. In the days and weeks that follow, we will see if he can keep or regain that trust.

However, if that is not the case and Brian Williams lose his job as anchor of the NBC Nightly News, he deserves more than a second chance. He deserves our forgiveness.

Jesus Christ died on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. Forgiveness is giving pardon, acquittal and mercy for our sinful acts. Jesus forgives us regardless of what we have done.

Luke 7:36-48 tells the story of a sinful woman who crashes a dinner party attended by Jesus asking forgiveness by washing his feet with her own teas and drying them with her hair. The outraged party host demanded to know why Jesus would even allow such a sinful woman in his presence. Jesus responds by saying “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But, a person who is forgiven little, shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The Bottom line for me: Brian your sins are forgiven. Your second chance is now; regardless of your job status at NBC. You are a talented reporter and broadcaster and I look forward to seeing you on the air again.

The one that did not get away

The teachable moment for all of us is not about the conflations of Brian Williams.

We should take this moment and think about how we acknowledge our own sinful nature and reframe from throwing stones. How can we become Nathans and resist being blinded from the truth, money and power? Additionally, how do we give second chances and forgive?

For if we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, we would want nothing less, when we find ourselves as Brian Williams has with the one that got away.

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

What is your take on Brian Williams?

Write a comment below or send me an email: marben@marbenbland.com

 

Bearing Godly Fruit Each Season

The type of fruit that God wants us to bear is highlighted in Galatians 5:22-23, as Paul tells us: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Psalms 1, celebrates the joys of those who delight in the law of the Lord. The verses say that those who enthusiastically obey the Lord are like trees planted along the river bank bearing fruit each season.

So, what type of fruit are you bearing? Rather than focus on the bad fruit, let’s take a look at the type of fruit that God wants us to produce. Therefore the question truly is “Are we bearing Godly fruit?”

The type of fruit that God wants us to bear is highlighted in Galatians 5:22-23, as Paul tells us: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”   

So, regardless of our season, that are in be it old, young, happy, sad, rich, poor or anything in between; when we, the tree of God’s creation are planted in His river bank, the fruit that we produce will be delightful to God. It will also be helpful to His people. Ultimately, as promised in Psalms 1, the leaves of our tree shall never wither, and we will prosper in all that we do.    

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland │

P.S. Tell me about the fruits that you are bearing and your journey as a tree planted by God’s riverbank.  Comment below or drop me a line marben@marbenbland.com either way all of your notes to me are confidential.

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

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