Category Archives for "Inspirational"

Choices

 

We make them all day long in a million situations, so why are some choices so easy and some so hard? Complexity, weightiness, timing, cost, opinions, repercussions, collateral damage, so many factors can be in play. So how can we do this well?

The choices we make today shape the direction our lives take tomorrow.

Choices, big or small. We always want to make the correct call, right?

There are tons of factors and influencing voices involved in decision-making. All in all, they are still our choices to make. I remember a trip to Russia the summer after the wall came down. I was shocked at the almost total inability of the people there to make even the smallest decisions on their own. Seventy years of being told every single thing to do and never having the freedom to make their own choices had very obvious effects upon the people. They were very well versed in history, art, and science. All seemed to have some level of education in these areas, but in what we call common sense or decision-making, they were stifled or undeveloped. Today I see this same thing in overprotected children that never are allowed or encouraged to make their own choices. Today in the USA we have college-aged kids who do not possess the power of making good choices on their own. Like the Russians in the first years of freedom, these students are being exploited because of this inability to make wise choices. They soon have overwhelming student loans and credit card debt looming over their heads and hopelessness gripping their lives. They are not being prepared to make decisions at home or school. We have so many immigrants coming into our country who take the base level jobs. Our kids used to hold those jobs that developed their work ethic and decision-making skills.

Not that immigrants are bad, I am just saying that things are different today compared to even a decade ago. Therefore, we must work to train our children and ourselves how to make better and wiser choices. Decisions are not only in the daily things of life but also in spiritual things as well! Four decades ago most kids knew how to milk a cow. Today, most kids do not know that milk comes from a cow! They are afraid of it if it’s not “organic,” even though they have no idea what that means! We fill them with fear, not wisdom, or experience. Someone might respond, “Well, they all have the internet!” That may be a big part of the problem. If the internet was actually the infallible word of all wisdom that might work, but it leads them to a million and one bad choices while they are looking for the right choice! This brings me back to those spiritual things!

Most generations of Americans were raised with an understanding of one absolute authority that would never fail them. There is one real infallible truth that built our country’s base moral fiber and held us in a common unity up until the last few decades of American history. That truth was inscribed on the walls of our justice system and the halls of our Congress. It was written into our establishing documents and ratified with the blood of the brave men and women before us. The Truth! The Word of God! The Bible! The present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit! This is the ultimate standard by which wisdom is gained.

The Word of God is the one true source of how to live, love, invest, treat people, and win in life by making great choices. It’s your choice! What will you use to help you make the next choice? The internet or The Truth?

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; …… Your call! Today it is your choice! Your kids are watching! You also influence others; they are watching, too.

I am not trying to be condemning, I am trying to point the way to making great choices in your life and teaching others how to do the same.

Your Choices are so important! They link together and reveal your true heart and integrity. They define your destiny.

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

Life Changing Moments

Life Changing Moments

Stop and think of the real monumental moments of your life. How did they change things for you? Some are good, some not so much, but none the less, life-changing. How did you handle those moments?

As I am writing this post, the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and another massive “category 5” storm named Irma is aimed at Florida and bearing down on our coast. Grim reminders of how from moment to moment life changes, tragedy or triumph changes come. One day, one decision, one life-changing moment after another, we must rise to a level of courage to continue on, in spite of what we have experienced or what lies ahead! I think that when life puts the squeeze on us, it is a revealing experience. It will expose our hearts and minds revealing the hero or villain hidden within us, our true character on display. Life-changing moments can help us see who we really are and what we need to improve or build upon.

Life-changing, metal-testing experiences are coming. Are you ready?

Some will be big but seem so small; others will seem so small but become bigger than life! Life seems to know exactly how to throw curve balls we are not ready for, so how do you cope? How do you prepare against road rage, cheating, needing to be right all the time, late all the time or lying about everything? These seem small until… they become a life-changing moment.

We all need a super-hero! We all hope we will be a super-hero when the occasion comes. In that moment, will the good or the bad be revealed?

Matthew 12:34b says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!

Would you really like to know what’s in your heart? Well, it is actually easy to know exactly what is in there. When life puts a little squeeze on you, just listen to what comes out. You can hear it in living color! If you are full of bitterness, envy, and strife, that is what comes out. If you are full of God’s Word, compassion, and love, that is what will come flowing out of your mouth.

Life puts the squeeze on us, and this is often when life-changing moments happen. What comes out of you? Remember what you say is what you sow. Your words are like seeds; they are ready to go out there and produce for you. What kind of harvest will they bring? I contend that sometimes we fail to recognize the real life-changing moments.

Moments of faith or frustration unleash our word seeds, and the harvest is planted.

When you were a child without a lawn of your own, it was fun to blow the dandelions and watch the seed pods flying in the air. One day you finally figured out what had been happening. Likewise, you need to understand that your words are like seed before you let them go. When you do, you become the one in charge of your life-changing moments. It can go a level above that when your word is the Word. When you speak the Word of God, and you are in agreement with Him, the Bible says that He is careful to perform His Word. The Word is more powerful seed than any other, and the caregiver is a cut above what you can do on your own. Talk about defining moments!

Load your heart and mind with the Word of God. When life pressures you, out will come seeds you want to see flying through the air and going out to start your next harvest! Life-Changing Moments. Even if you are standing in the midst of a mess, you decide how life will go from there!

Declare your destiny in the middle of the storm. Your words are filled with power.

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

Feelings of Insignificance

Feelings of insignificance

by Fred Hughes

Life has a way of presenting things that can cause you to see yourself as insignificant. The vastness of the outdoors or the complexities of the business community can be inspirational or be overpowering. Our perspectives can change quickly, especially if we do not have a healthy view of who we are. Confidence in knowing our true purpose and how we fit into this giant-screen movie called life is essential to every human on earth.

You were made on purpose, for an important purpose, to fulfill a purpose created just for you by God! In other words you are special! On purpose!

Psalms 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knoweth very well.

It is vastly important for us to have a right view of ourselves. To see you as God sees you is more important than how your boss sees you, or how your friends see you. What voice or voices you are listening to is also huge! What is God saying vs. what are all the other voices out there saying?

John 10:4-5, 17-18, 27 Basically, in these verses Jesus tells us that His sheep, or followers, know and can hear His voice, and no other voice will they follow. His followers, believers, then and now recognize and know when God speaks. This is how you learn who you are in Christ. You listen to His Word (Bible) and to your heart (Holy Spirit) speaking to you. As you do this, all of the other voices you may hear seem out-of-tune in comparison. If you are a believer you just know what the truth sounds like, and it is always confirmed by the Bible. (example: The voice will not say, “Take advantage of an opportunity to steal from the company,” because the Bible says, “Do not steal.”) The two will never disagree! When the voice of the Lord and the Word of God agree, you can have great comfort in knowing you are on the right track! Feeling insignificant will not be an issue because you know that you have heard from the Creator of the universe. That moves you into boldness and bigness, not insignificance.

Hearing God’s voice and knowing God’s Word will destroy the fear of insignificance.

Feelings come and feelings go, but the truth stands steadfast. The Truth will always trump feelings, emotions, and even facts in your life. Trust the Truth and His voice. Facts may tell you that you have cancer in your body, but the Truth says, “By His stripes we (were/are) healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 & 1 Peter 2:24) Which will you choose to believe? God’s Word or your feelings of insignificance because of the doctor’s report. The voice of your employer may have said, “You’re fired!” The Bible says, “God is your provider.” Whose report will you believe? (Isaiah 53:1 & Romans 10:16) It is not about how you feel; it is all about what you believe.

From the very beginning, you were created to operate from faith, not feelings. The Bible says, “You are more than a conqueror!” (Romans 8:37)

If you are having feelings of insignificance, exchange them for conquering faith!

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

Self-discipline

Self-discipline is a fruit you grow!

Listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as one of the fruit of the Spirit you find self-control. We gain benefit in disciplining the body so that it will profit a little (1 Timothy 4:8). How much more attention should we pay to development or growth of the fruit of God’s Spirit in our lives? In this case, we have a double benefit in developing self-discipline. Our bodies and our spirits advance. A true 2 for 1 sale! I, for one, like to work on them both at the same time! I love to pray in English and in the Spirit while I exercise my body!

Your body is designed to go and do! Your mind (what you think), will (what you do), and your emotions (how you feel) — these three comprise your soul. When you are Born Again (John 3:3,5,7) or born from above, you receive a spirit. So, you are Spirit, Soul, and Body.

Spirit, Soul, and Body

When you allow God’s Spirit to be in control or in the lead position, the Soul and Body will follow, and Christ will live through you as a believer. His plans are to see you at your very best! The car manufacturers include an owner’s manual, that will if followed, keep the car at peak performance levels. The Word of God is exactly that for the believer. It will help you develop self-discipline in all three areas of your life. The Bible will help you discover who you are and produce much greater results than just working on your abs! Don’t just punish your body, but grow some fruit! In fact, the whole list is in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (or self-discipline). Against such, there is no law!

That is really good news! You can operate in the fruit of the Spirit and not break any laws! Notice that fruit is singular! The whole list develops in you, and they all work by love (Galatians 5:6). Exercise your body, but don’t forget, self-discipline is a fruit you grow!

Blessings!

Self-Control – Titus 1:8; 1 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Timothy 3:3

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

Simplicity

The pure joy of life is found in simplicity! As a professional photographer, I have studied under some great masters of imagery. Without exception, the true artist in almost every expressive medium will tell you that simplicity is their most powerful and trustworthy tool. As musicians, artists, photographers, writers, we all understand the value of simplicity. However, it is the most often overlooked element in the creative process.

The power of simplicity is that it overcomes confusion and wisely communicates clarity. ~ Fred Hughes ~

Simplicity is not just reducing something to the lowest possible existence. It is much more akin to highlighting or bringing contrast to what is important. Identify the intended subject of the image, description, sound or concept. Simplicity skillfully presents clarity. The only major challenge with simplicity is that it is often dismissed or overlooked because it is so simple!

Just because something is simple does not mean that it is not complex or profound.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Simple, but very profound with huge impact! A seven-year-old child can understand and receive the benefits of this powerful but simple Scripture. This 67-year-old is still amazed by the depth of its meaning.

Simplicity: it clears the clutter and reveals the main focus, so the true value can be seen.

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

What is all the buzz about?

 

If you know me personally, you know that I am a big time want-to-be technology geek. Alas, I have to rely on four much younger and true geeks who are willing to put up with this old guy! Raymond, Dusty, Clint, and Ryan each help me keep my tech-itch scratched, poor guys! I love the buzz! I want to be in on everything that is happening.

Most people have one or two areas of interest they like to keep up with the latest buzz. What is it that draws you to the buzz? Technology, fashion, headline news, hot cars, cooking, stock prices, movies ….. what pushes your buzz button?

Five things to consider concerning your pursuit of the buzz:

1.) Is the buzz benefiting your life in some way? Entertainment can be a reason and benefit enough. It can also be a productivity thief. You have to weigh the cost and gain!

2.) Buzz almost always introduces something you do not have and is an enticement. How do you respond to the constant call to new acquisitions? The buzz can have a devastating effect on your finances and that can affect your relationships too!

3.) In many areas, the buzz can blind you to see things in a very biased way. Are you able to step away from it long enough to see from other vantage points or perspectives? What does it cost you to always follow the buzz: friends, family, money, time?

4.) Are you able to see trends and cycles in the buzz? Sometimes the opportunities are right there in the buzz! Can you successfully analyze and apply the information that you are gathering from the buzz that will assist you in making good choices?

5.) When do you need to be creating the buzz rather than listening to it? There comes a time where the buzz needs to be all about your leadership and directives. Most people are buzz consumers. Only a few people learn how to be buzz producers. These are the world changers.

The fish lays thousands of eggs at one time, the chicken lays only one or two, but she creates a lot of buzz about what she does! So, what kind of eggs did you have for breakfast this morning?

What is the buzz all about in your life? Surprisingly enough, it may be a healthy question to ask yourself.

Philippians 4 :6-8 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Stand your buzz up next to Philippians 4:6-8. Measure it well and prosper, my friend!

Blessings,

Fred Hughes

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www.byfredhughes.com ~ www.decision1.org

Worry & Hurry

Everyone already knows that stress is the leading cause of killer diseases, yet we seem to be unable to curb our appetite for worry and hurry.

Why is that?

I would suggest three key reasons why people ignore what seems to be reasonable thinking. We used to call it “Common Sense” operating from the assumption that every reasonable person would both know and practice this. One of the big reasons we miss it so sadly today is that our general population does not possess such practical knowledge anymore. Here are the three key reasons I believe we have so little in common.

We have an Identity crisis. We simply do not know who we are! What do all Americans have in common? As a country, are we united under any set of solid ideas that every single one of us would charge hell with a water pistol to uphold? Once common among us all were our morals, beliefs, standards, and basic values. What do we have in common today? Because we do not know who we are, we worry and hurry.

We live in an ocean of lies. Integrity is almost totally gone. Words mean nothing at all. There was a time in our history when someone gave you their word you could literally bank on what was said. Commerce actually transpired upon a man’s integrity to the point that a verbal contract was binding. Today it is accepted and expected that whatever is said means nothing! This desensitizes us to the truth and sets an expectation of deception and dishonesty. Trying to sort through all the lies, we worry and hurry.

We are self-centered to a fault. Our pursuit of rights instead of righteousness is refocusing the fabric of our nation. Selfless service and goodwill charity have become something more often scorned than praised. The attitude of the World War II generation versus today’s mindset is markedly different. One group united under hard times and rose up to a common cause and a world crisis. Would this generation be capable of the same? That thought is far from most people’s mind, yet our world is extremely volatile. Focusing on self is a way to ignore other issues, but it causes us to worry and hurry.

Please understand that I am not condemning our great country. I fully believe in our capability to rise to greatness, but I see the 3 things listed above as very destructive to us a nation. America was founded on unity, faith, and family. I am not suggesting that we return to those times (even if we could). I am suggesting that we return to some of those values and unifying principles the nation was established upon, grew and prospered under. I am sure of one thing: worrying and hurrying will not get us there.

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? look as verse 27, Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Add one inch to your height.) verse 31, Therefore, do not worry…

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your cares (Worries) upon Him (God) for He cares for you.

Worry leads to hurry and hurry always makes the dumbest choices.

Don’t Worry! Don’t Hurry! Trust God … He will make a way, He really does care!

Fred Hughes, M.Photog.

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The path to fun and fulfillment

The world beats a path for all to follow the fun and fulfilled life!

However, there are a few issues people encounter along the way they neglected to tell you about! The composite picture I created to illustrate this fantasy world I titled, “Eat It All” has something of a double meaning.

What path are you following in life? How is it working? Is there be a better way?

Great questions! Do you really want answers, or are you comfortable enough where you are right now? There are some wild rides and tasty temptations out there, but there are more that seem to float away in the air than offer stability over the long term. What path do you choose or avoid? What rides do you take along the way? What is the price you will pay? I see a landscape of more dry bones than real success stories, so where do we turn for the real answers and victories we dream of seeing?

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel saw a strange vision of Dry Bones coming to life! He was told to prophesy to those dry bones, or to speak life back into them.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. (27) “I will put My Spirit within you…

Many times God gives us visions, pictures, dreams or ideas that are not always clear at first. Daniel, Joseph, and Paul all had visions like Ezekiel’s “Dry Bones” (Ezekiel 37:1-14), but in time clarity came. Then these men knew what to do, and so will you. How will you know? The same Holy Spirit who led them will lead you! When you start to speak or prophesy what God gives you, those dry bones start coming together. Life starts returning to what you may have given up on as dead and gone. Suddenly, life comes back into some idea or business venture. Suddenly, you see what you have been looking at with a whole new heart! Suddenly, you see the traps in front of you, and the wisdom of how you really can get to “Eat it All!”

There is a path to fun and fulfillment as the world offers it! (Be sure to read the fine print! “Some restrictions apply.”)

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The true fun and fulfillment of life is to discover the path that God has for your life — to be reconciled to God and to be given a word of reconciliation and a ministry of reconciliation. Dry bones are out there waiting for you to show up and start speaking!

The Holy Spirit is in you waiting to show you how to speak life into people and bring a word of reconciliation. As you go and function in the ministry of reconciliation God has given you, the answers and direction you need will come. If God can get something through you, He can get something to you! Trust God!

Blessings!

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

EatitAll-Composit copy (Large)

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Relationship

 

Let’s talk about relationship!

There are many different kinds but three basic types that I want to point out. Choosing the type is critical in establishing a relationship that actually works out for both, or all parties. Before we start talking about the three types, allow me to make a brief statement about intent first. The intent is the foundational set of values that all parties must agree upon. The bedrock of this relationship is for the purpose of _________. Filling in that blank is massively important. Before you can build anything, you have to draw the plans, buy the lot, level the ground, and pour the foundation. Omitting the foundational development is deadly to the success of any relationship, especially long-term relationships.

  1. Agreement – The basis of this type is to accomplish a task or an event. An agreement is personal and can be powerful, but usually it has a specific term, duration or goal. The agreement ends when accomplished, completed or there is a loss of agreement.
  2. Contract – A contract is often legally binding and very specific rules and requirements are reached and held. A binding contract is signed and set into action. Termination is reached in the fulfillment of the contractual terms, or legal breach of the contract occurs. A contract is a deeper level of agreement and often has more resources involved, thus the legal aspect.
  3. Covenant – Like the other two, it is an agreement. However, that is where the distinction takes a major turn. It is more than an agreement, more than a contract, it is a life commitment that involves vows that make all parties one new entity. The individual rights are dismissed, and those entering the covenant are made one. All parties are equal in rights and obligations. As an example: Covenant would be cut between two tribes of people. One tribe was agrarian and good food producers, but poor warriors. The other tribe were great warriors but were often hungry. Covenant was cut. This means an animal was cut into two halves, and the two tribes would assemble in the middle of the divided carcass. They would vow a union and exchange garments, weapons, and other identifying articles, so they were one people. The weaker would usually take on the name of the stronger, or they together establish a new name together. This practice is called a blood covenant and in most civilizations was common practice up until modern times. Needless to say, a covenant is the deepest, most intent relationship people enter.

I point out these relationship types in order to ask the question, “What foundation are you laying? What type of relationship are you building — a friendship, civic organization, company, marriage, church or family?” You may be building several at the same time!

Allow me one final thought. I recommend that you should set a priority on the most important relationships and that in turn will have a positive effect on the others.

Your relationship with God is the highest covenant level union you can build. and if you are Christian it is Jesus who shed His blood for a relationship with you. When your covenant with God through Christ is healthy, your relationship with your spouse is better, and your children benefit from your healthy marriage.

If you are building a marriage relationship, by its nature it must be a covenant. Contracts and agreements do not possess the strength to endure. The central differentiation is laying down self in order to form a new selfless “we.”

If you are building a business or organization, there are more levels than in marriage. The partnership or leadership may be able to function at a covenant level, while the workforce may operate at the contract level. The clients may be served at an agreement level. Each relationship type has a purpose and can be very effective. Choosing the wrong type may negate the relationship completely.

The value of building relationships the right way for the right reasons is worth the time and investment you put into them.

I sincerely believe that walking in love is the key to any relationship. When you operate in the kind of love described in the passage below, you can rest assured it will strengthen and affirm the relationship.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV)

4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8) Love never fails.

Look also at verse 13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

John 13:34 (NIV)

34) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Finally, one factor that destroys many relationships is fear, it comes in many forms, but it is a destructive force at work against most relationships.

1 John 4:18 (NIV)

18) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Blessings, my friends! My hope and prayers are that you will be encouraged and empowered in your relationships by walking in love.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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3 Basic Principals

Almost all business ventures have 3 basic components that cannot be ignored.

1. Identity

  • Who are you? If you do not know, you will have a hard time convincing anyone else. Branding is part of it…. not all of it!
  • What goods or services do you provide? Why are you providing them?
  • What quality level can be expected at what investment level?
  • What availability and timely deliverables or completion rates will be provided?
  • What do you give back to the community? Are you an asset to the public or simply a partaker?
  • Identity for your employees may be the single most important part of your success and future strength. Never under-estimate the power of unity with-in your company or organization.

2. People

  • Who is your Avatar, Tribe, Target Group? Whom are you trying to reach and serve? Who exactly is your audience, you need to know more than simple demographics.
  • Who are your team members, both in-house and resources?
  • Who are your supply and support affiliations and who are your second choices?
  • What are our people saying? (employee testimonials)
  • How are you helping people discover the value you are offering?

3. Integrity

  • How do you stand behind your products and services?
  • What makes you trustworthy?
  • Why should anyone do business with you more than once?
  • Do you have current, customer/client testimonials, and industry testimonials/awards?
  • How you honor people, community, and your industry reveals your intentionality and integrity.

If you regularly check on these three key elements, your business will have a much greater chance of succeeding. Success, especially in the world we live in today, is elusive, to say the least, but not impossible. These three business components are worthy of your attention and can be factors that affect your bottom line much more than branding, SEO, credit scores, marketing style, and funnel design. Sometimes you just have to get back to a little common sense, my friend!

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom, and in all your getting, get understanding.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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3BasicBusiness

 

 

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