I'm a nondenominational Christian, who regularly studies the Bible. I was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran tradition, later I joined a Baptist church and was baptized as an adult in the Baptist tradition. I feel there are some issues with "religion," including Christianity. I believe religion was originally meant to be a way to become a better person and overcome our natural selfish desires, by developing our virtues and internal values, and to bring people together to share life, and build each other up.
I was mostly raised by a single mother, God bless her. I was raised in a small town in the Midwest. I volunteered to join the military at 17 for a salary job with 100% health benefits, four weeks paid vacation a year, a good retirement plan, to get a free ticket to see a bit more of the world, and last but not least, because I thought it would be good to serve our country.
I went on to retire from the U.S. Army Special Forces. It was an honor to serve our country, with great men and women in uniform and civilians. It was also an honor to serve other countries, doing my small part on a team, doing our small part for their country. When I was younger, I never imagined I would have made a career out of the military, it just kind of happened, as I was open and willing to accept challenges and opportunities, and do my best.
I gave my best (physical) years to the military and respected the golden rule. I believe our military members have great potential as they have proven a base level of discipline. When I left the military, I thought I had the world figured out. I tried my own business and it did not work out so well, even though I had some friends and the church I volunteered with helping me with customers. During this time I also started pursuing a business degree and became passionate about learning about business. It was no surprise to learn the most important factor in business, just like any organization, is leadership, not funding, cash flow, timing, the idea or the team, these are all choices made by the leadership.
Shortly before finishing my degree I started having some significant health, relationship, and finance issues. This was one of the two very challenging seasons in my life where I questioned my hope in the future. Like most people my age I have experienced some significant challenges.
I've had many challenges over the years and found myself reading a lot of books to help overcome these challenges. I eventually realized that there are at least 10 single principles or disciplines that all claim to be the one most important principle for "success," however you define it. I've always been active and analytical, so after a while of developing my own theories I self-published Opportunity Truth, knowing it can help others.
I currently live with an energetic and fun-loving Labrador Retriever who enjoys running on the treadmill before he eats. Of course he can also be frustrating at times. His most admirable quality is that he truly loves unconditionally. I'm trying to be more like him in that area, but I find it tough sometimes. It seems that the U.S. is becoming more divided, with fear taking hold of hearts and increasing hatred. That was not the legacy our founders left us, and that does not have to be the legacy of our present generations.
The following is from a great book, Man's Search for Meaning, by Dr. Viktor Frankl... Ultimately, we should not ask what the meaning of our life is, but rather, we must recognize that we are asked. Each person is questioned by life; and we can only answer to life by answering for our own life; to life we can only respond by being responsible… Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.
I believe there are guarantees in life including laws of nature, laws of human nature, change, challenges, opportunities, choices, and 1,440 minutes each new day. I also believe there are shortcuts in life, in books that explain how the guarantees in life can be applied to learn well, live wise, and love strong, without spending years of trial and error.
I also believe there are natural and human-made opportunities, and the choices we make with our natural abilities/opportunities affects the human-made opportunity we attract. This is the core belief behind my book Opportunity Truth: Personal and Professional Development Principles to Help You Succeed. You can browse the table of contents and read the introduction when you click on the link above (brings you to my book on Amazon.com) then click on the book cover. Or you can read highlights of each chapter at my other website https://anewtrek.com.
About my book Opportunity Truth...
Opportunity: A situation that offers a chance to have a positive impact.
Truth: An objective reflection of reality, which can be based on data or reason. Not to be confused with a personal belief or opinion. A “personal truth” is like saying something is an “opinion fact.” I would say that a fact is a subset of truth, and is based on historic data.
The truth is, our natural abilities are natural opportunities, and when developed, they are more likely to attract human-made opportunities.
All able people are leaders. Leadership is responsibility and influence. No one has more responsibility or influence on our personal growth, professional growth, and leadership growth than we do as individuals.
Personal Foundation - Identity, mind and emotions, and health
Personal Purpose / Art of Fulfillment - Faith, desires, and relationships
Personal Achievements / Science of Achievement - Planning (goals), productivity (habits), grit (passion and perseverance), and consistent investment.
Compound interest doesn’t just apply to money, it also applies to our knowledge, health, and relationships.
There are more than 200 important life principles and my book Opportunity Truth provides an opportunity system with three levels that cover ten key chapters with the most important principles. Our humanity needs to catch up with our technology and I believe developing opportunity can help, especially our natural opportunities.
While putting together my book I noticed the Bible gave us verses on each of the ten chapters in my book, the most important life principles, and some of these verses are covered on the Christian Growth page. The book Opportunity Truth is based on one Bible verse, God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power (achievement) and love (fulfillment) and self-control (discipline) (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). It seems this could also be related to the Bible verse, we are a spirit, with a soul, in a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Abraham Lincoln, Republican, President of the United States 1861-1865
The following are parts from his Second Inaugural Address, 4 March 1865
Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invoke His aid against the other... that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes... With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat, President of the United States 1933-1945
The following are parts from his speech The Four Freedoms, 6 January 1941
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms... freedom of speech and expression, freedom for every person to worship in their own way, freedom from want - which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, and the freedom from fear... The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.
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I was raised in a single parent home and joined the Army right after high school. I believe the original institution on earth is the family, and parents are meant to be the primary teachers and leaders of our children (future leaders). It seems this institution is in need of some help and the book Opportunity Truth would be a great start.
After many years in the US Army I retired from the Special Forces. It was a fulfilling career with many memorable peaks and valleys. It was an honor to serve with great men and women. A couple years after I retired I found myself facing many challenges in my health, relationships, and finances.
I turned to my faith for answers, asking God, "Why me?" I used to think of reading the Bible as a chore, like it is something I should do but didn't have time for. Now it seems more like an honor, God is waiting to talk with me, through His word and prayer, each morning and/or evening, inviting me into a deeper understanding of His larger story, and my role in it. I believe the Bible is our life manual. If you don't think so, just read the book of Proverbs. The Bible told us about important life principles over one thousand years ago. The Christian growth page provides supporting Bible verses for each chapter of my book Opportunity Truth.
I feel there is a difference between meaning and purpose. It seems purpose is a deeper and more specific type of meaning. Meaning can, and many would argue, should be found in all three areas of fulfillment, including faith, strengths, and relationships. However, it seems that purpose is a unique combination of character, personality, strengths, and desire, and it feels like the answer to the question “Why am I here on earth?” I believe people can live a meaningful life and not find their purpose. I also believe people can live a life of specific purpose without even knowing it, because it comes natural. However, the world can draw us away from our purpose if we are not diligent to actively pursue it.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). “We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace (William E. Gladstone). Viktor Frankl said the more purpose we have in our life the less likely we are to chase pleasure or power.
God made us in His image, with free will to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and with power in our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) and words (Proverbs 18:21). The first man and woman blew it, so we now struggle with our flesh 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The desires of the flesh are against the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). We have spiritual armor and our spiritual weapon is God's word (Ephesians 6:17).
To anyone who has read this far, thank you and God bless you. Please share.
There are guarantees in life, including change, challenges, opportunities, and choices.
God and His Son Jesus are the greatest opportunity and choice.
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