Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

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.

Read this and other blog posts on our websites.

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!

Read this and other blog posts on our websites.

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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Taking that leap of faith!

Actually, the Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith! Therefore, faith is something we should operate in. The problem is: how or what we choose to base our faith on. One of my friends back in school was always quick to leap. His big issue was that it was almost always a leap of stupid! Reckless abandon is not faith.

Faith is acting upon the truth.

However, facts are not always the truth. We work hard at gathering facts to base our decisions upon but sometimes fail to search the truth. In order to discover the wisdom we need to actually make the right choices, we need more than facts can provide. We need a peace that surpasses our human understanding — something that is the truth and trustworthy at the deepest level even though we cannot see it physically at the moment!

Facts are not always the truth! That is a bold statement. Let me give you some examples: Someone may have told you, “You will never amount to anything!” That may have been a fact based on that person’s view of you at that moment in time. Was it the truth? No, it was not! Your bank statement may say in a very loud voice, “You’re Broke!” It may be a fact right now, but has it said that to you before? Then things happened, and some prayers were answered. Something turned around, and the truth is “Broke” is not permanent!

Truth trumps facts every time!

When truth and facts agree, it gives us the confidence to take that leap of faith. How then do we tune-in to the truth? I am glad you asked, because I do have the answer for you. Let me introduce you! His name is Jesus. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The meaning of the word “know” is to be intimate with. The truth that you become intimate with, that is the truth that will set you free. Jesus is the truth. His word (The Bible) is like a tuning fork. It will tune you in to the truth that trumps facts!

The doctor said you have cancer! That may be a fact, but the truth says, “by His stripes you were healed.” The CPA may say you are in trouble! That may be a fact, but the Bible says, “Let the poor say I am rich. It also says, “My God shall supply all of my needs in Christ Jesus.”

Facts are subject to change, but the truth never changes!

You see, when you find the truth and believe it, it will trump facts all day long. Taking the leap of faith becomes a lifestyle of grace rather than a fearful risk! Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Leap into the Word. Leap into the truth. He will set you free!

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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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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Desert Experiences

When challenges loom larger than life.

Life has a way of bringing issues that are seemingly so vast and insurmountable that hopelessness arises quickly to steal vision. “Dream Dashers” or “Desert Experiences” I would title the books that could easily be written by almost any entrepreneur, writer, artist or ministry. All of us face this same formidable foe at one point or another, and it is no small task that must be overcome.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Whatever you do, do it as though you are employed by God. Knowing that He will give both strength and provision to accomplish what He has called you to do. Rest assured that what things stand in the way are big compared to you but small compared to God.

If there were nothing to overcome, how could you become an overcomer?

Consider this perspective: if an obstacle arises to block my progress, I can seek wisdom from either of two sources, God or the world. Both can provide a game plan for me to follow. Take note of this Bible verse with that in mind.

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.

Our faith! In other words which choice do I believe and act upon? Which choice will make me a victorious overcomer? I desire for my ideas, choices, and decisions to be born of God. God ideas, not just good ideas. Sometimes the world actually has good ideas, but God ideas are out-of-this-world better!

Rejections, disappointments, failures, lack, and the list goes on of “Desert Experiences” that we face and need to be able to overcome. The good news is that God never runs out of ideas. Our lack of faith to believe those God-ideas is the only real “Dream Killer” that will keep us from overcoming whatever the world throws at us.

3 Keys to Overcoming “Desert Experiences”

1.) Deserts are dry! So, you need the Water of the Word: Jesus is the living water.

2.) Deserts are a place of temptation! The enemy will come and test your commitment levels offering what looks like alternative good ideas. Testing of the original “Born of God” idea will reveal your faith.

3.) Deserts are a bad place to wander around for 40 years. Without water and without the God Idea, wandering in the desert is what happens. Some die out there, so avoid wandering and get started being an overcomer. All the God-ideas come with a good set of instructions.

Your challenges may seem bigger than life, but they are never bigger than God.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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photo-By Lionello DelPiccolo (Large)

Speaking To The Mountain

We experience opposition in life on many levels. We find resistance and push back on our ideas, decisions, actions, goals and dreams; this is actually normal! How we deal with the voices that oppose us is critical to a successful life. When we face towering, ominous mountains that seem to proclaim death to any hope we have of being successful. How we handle these very convincing voices of opposition and the mental pictures they paint is so vital to our becoming victorious overcomers!

There are volumes written about how to win over these opposing forces. Loads of self-help books and videos are available showing you the 3-winning ways and the 6-step method to climbing the mountain. Unfortunately, most offer no substantial assistance, because they are more about marketing than revealing real truth and wisdom.

Listening to the one true voice will empower you to overcome. Nothing is impossible for God. The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our “ever present help in time of need,” and the voice of God in our lives. Holy Spirit is the Voice of Truth and will never speak contrary to the Bible.

Matthew 17:20 And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

This scripture says we only need a little bit of faith, so it is not necessarily a lack of faith but rather that we do not use the faith we have. We do not say or speak to the mountain or problem and command the solution we need to manifest. Sometimes we pray and ask God to do it for us when God has given us the authority and power to overcome the troubles we face.

1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

As believers, you and I have been given the victory, and we are called overcomers!

Don’t speak to God about the mountain. Speak to the mountain about your God!

 

“Well, I hope we at least break even this next year!” Does that sound like the voice of victory or failure? You need to understand, how we speak matters! How you see yourself determines what you say. Those voices coming from the mountain are saying, “You are defeated from the start! You will not make this work! You should have never started this!” Statements like these will defer your hope and make your heart sick. Hopelessness will come, and failure will soon follow. However, with only a little faith rising up in you to say, “No! I am more than a conqueror. My God shall supply all my needs. I am going to overcome these things that are in my way, because the wisdom and power of God is inside of me. When I agree with what God says, I know He will cause it to manifest. How do I know that? Because Jesus did it two thousand years ago so that I could have it now! It is already done, and the minute I believe it, it is mine! When I know whose I am, I began to get the revelation of who I am and what I have in Christ. I can then boldly proclaim “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” “Mountain, move out of my way!” ” I’m going over I’m not going under!”

You see, the Greater One lives inside of you, and nothing is too difficult for Him. This is not merely a positive mental attitude or positive thinking. This is knowing without any doubt the truth and power of a Child of God… an overcomer! It is from a position of authority and power like that of a king sitting in a chair called a throne, and he speaks or decrees something, and all of the forces of the kingdom rally to accomplish it. Speak to your mountains, and you will discover God has already moved them for you. Opposition and resistance are easily broken with words of faith! You move in the faith and power of the Holy Spirit and walk in victory, not defeat.

Take your little faith and start telling those mountains to move over, you are coming through! No matter what your age, race, gender, economic status or abilities are, if you are a child of God, you are an overcomer! Moses was old, and a foreigner, but he asked God for another mountain to overtake! Timothy was young and inexperienced, yet he was handed great authority and leadership. Paul worked two jobs but he was a great overcomer. Time to get it all done seemed to be multiplied for him, and revelation came to him that still amazes us even today.

It may feel a little silly, my friend, but find time to pray, and then start speaking out loud to that mountain – Addiction, Lack, Debt, Fear, Sickness, whatever name it has. SPEAK to it. Tell it about your great God, and command that it move! You do not have time to mess with it! You have bigger mountains to climb!

Fred Hughes, M.Photog.

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