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10 Commandments of Deliberate Practice

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10 Commandments of Deliberate Practice

Note to Writer:

Main Source: Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin.

 

Colvin begins the book by examining the lives of several famous “greats,” including Tiger Woods, Mozart, Jack Welch, and Jerry Rice. He says that most people think their greatness arose either from a) hard work; or b) talent. Colvin says neither, and uses scientific and anecdotal evidence to support his claim. Instead, he points us to “deliberate practice.” Not simply working hard, but working the right way. Deliberate practice, often the fruit of effective mentoring, has five elements:

  • It is activity designed specifically to improve performance
  • it can be repeated a lot
  • feedback on results is continuously available
  • it’s highly demanding mentally
  • It isn’t much fun

 

 

Contents

COMMANDMENT ONE: DESTINY IN LIGHT OF STORMING AND NORMING.. 3

Power Truth. 3

COMMANDMENT TWO: HABITUAL CASTS. 1

COMMANDMENT THREE: CHURCHES AS ICONS OF PEACE. 4

Power Truth. 4

COMMANDMENT  FOUR: A SYNOPSIS OF SABBATH IN PRESENT TIMES. 7

Power Truth. 7

COMMANDMENT FIVE: THE AMAZING VIRTUE OF LOVE. 10

Power Truth. 10

COMMANDMENT SIX: TALENTS AND SMALL CHRISTIAN  COMMUNITIES. 13

Power Truth. 14

COMMANDMENT SEVEN: DELIBERATE PRAYERS ANSWERED.. 16

Power Truth. 16

COMMANDMENT EIGHT: THE PORTION OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE IN CHRISTIANITY AND TALENTS. 19

Power Truth. 19

COMMANDMENT NINE: DELIBERATE SETTING OF TARGETS AND SUB-TARGETS. 22

Power Truth. 22

COMMANDMENT TEN: HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT CHAMPIONS. 24

Power Truth. 25

 

 

 

 

COMMANDMENT ONE: DESTINY IN LIGHT OF STORMING AND NORMING

“Only through practice and more practice until you can do something without conscious effort.”

Joe Hyams

Power Truth

 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9 NRSV

 

Every human being wishes to have a revelation of their ultimate destiny. Although it’s a lengthy discussion, we can attempt to unravel the destinies of each one of us just to a relative extent. However, even as we struggle with the attempts to stitch back everything, we can only learn so much from history and those around us.[1]

Human conscience deliberately pushes us to our destinies in the constants of aspects like time, being, and opportunities.[2] All along, inner voices, interventions by people of concern, and well-wishers are also key players that shape our destinies, deliberately.

As a form of inception, it’s usually an effigy, unclear. But, with time, things may clear out. With a word of caution, however, some people struggle with the aspect of discovering their destinies way too much into their old ages.[3] Most, unfortunately, never gather a whiff of a clue about it all their life.

The way destinies shape out usually follows some consistent path.  Initially, the discovery phase is laced with unrealities. After the storms, there comes great resistance and inexperience with everything. Over time, things clear out, and every piece falls into place, ushering in a spell of normality the norming stage.[4]

Christopher Columbus[5] is feted as the first man to have attempted and traveling and discovering the Americas. In his figuratively storming phase, Columbus struggles with widower-hood.[6] At one time, he knocked at the door to a monastery[7] to request for some water and bread, if only for his starving son. Columbus had no advanced education (but was self-educated in geography and astronomy) at the height of his duty to go out and explore the unknown lands. In more precise words, Columbus had had a fair share of the harsh realities that could face beings at his prime age.

What we know of Christopher Columbus[8] are just a few feting lines regarding his findings of the unknown lands- the Americas. If we could turn the wheels of time, we can see Columbus, losing a wife and all that before seeking an audience with the Queen Isabella of Spain.[9] In fact, it’s told that some ships, deliberately crewed by pardoned convicts freed to aid Columbus, just connived to abandon the mission somewhere at an advanced stage.

To a more considerable extent, modern formal education is to blame for teaching out heavy theory without adequate practice. More venomously is also the fact that formal education just churns out graduates without factoring in their ultimate purpose of whatever they teach. One of the worst recipes for disaster is the shelving of talents in place of theory. Formal education is just unfortunately laced with too much formality.  Sure, it happens to be so even in theology. Believers want to associate with pastors and bishops with titles not lesser than masters or so.[10]

There seems to be no golden rule of spotting talent. But opportunities unearth themselves with the lapse of time. Looking at the autobiography of Whitney Houston,[11] she arose from a modest upbringing, being favored by church praise and worship until it was crystal clear that she was a gifted soloist. In some aspects, Joseph, Jacobs’s son, narrated his dominance over his brothers through his dreams.[12] According to the destiny that opportunistically befell him, his brothers condemned him to death. It was only at Benjamin’s intervention that he was enslaved.  Past the storming stages, Joseph ended up as a prime minister in Egypt. And the norming does not end there until he dined with his brothers’ right in Egypt at the height of hunger in Canaan.

Could Joseph have ever guessed about his opportunity? Life often presents us with such challenging, yet opportunistic spells. Amazingly, talent seems to be the nuggets that unlock and push us closer to our destinies. Talent is a rare prowess that is naturally endowed, requiring brushing up to fit the precise needs with time. Joseph, being nicknamed the dreamer, just ended up being his ultimate deal-breaker in his life. The most significant rise saw Joseph rise to the role of a prime minister in Egypt.

 

What now

  1.  How did Joseph’s dreams change his life?
  2. What was the most significant achievement of Christopher Columbus?
  3. What title was Joseph given in Egypt by the Pharaoh?

 

 

 

COMMANDMENT TWO: HABITUAL CASTS

 

“Through practice, gently and gradually, we can collect ourselves and learn how to be more fully with what we do.”

Jack Kornfield

Power Truth

But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.  For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror;

James 1:22-23 NRSV

 

 

 

English draws our attention via the saying that a habit is a disease.[13] As we know, habits start small, and eventually, with the lapse of time, they blow out of proportion. What qualifies a pattern is the element of consistency. We must be alive to the fact that habits are formed in short spans of days or as long as many years.  Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, had the habit of attending the annual festivals at the Lord’s temple at Shiloh.[14] It was in one of those meetings that Eli noted the anguish of her childlessness, which he’d mistaken for doing too much wine.

One formal setting is the formal schooling systems around the world. Kids start with schedules that are meant to make them ready for the informal world. In one of her TEDx Talks, Amy Cuddy[15] did a feature with the mantra “fake it till you make it.” And what exactly is the faking? Without a doubt, it’s imitation.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus is a great believer in the power of imitation. By being a Christian, one is refined to follow in the footsteps of Christ; in better words, loving God with all might and to fellow beings with an equal measure of unselfishness.

In the last supper,[16] Christ shares the allegory of bread and wine with clear instructions: “Do this in memory of me.” When we call to mind the suffering and passion of Christ, our mortal senses awaken to the eternal realities surrounding life, and past it. Well, the afterlife is always a scary topic, but we must learn to confront it head on, as Christ did. He did mention that after the last supper. Matthew 26:29 says, “But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

The life of Christ can be summarized mainly as a disciplined spell of practice that he ingrained into the first twelve.[17] As a great leader, he did what was achievable and reasonable. Christ, too, was very deliberate when it came to sharing his thoughts. A good number of his teachings border on the parables- they tell the long stories in shorter words. Drawing from one instance regarding a woman who only contributed only two small coins, that’s all she had.[18] Christ’s lauding of her brings out the aspect of selflessness, which he always upheld. It was, therefore, Christ’s habit to teach on a topic, riding on practical opportunities. Ideally, those situations are hard for the mind to forget.

When human beings attain the age of majority, more freedom, and control, especially by governments and parents, in most social norms, it’s known that people always love to go overboard- it’s a human habit. That’s the main reason there are lawmakers. Further down the issues to do with lawbreakers, still, some wrestle slyly with everything, hence the need for prosecutors and judges to guide judiciaries.

According to Paul, the law is just a landmark in which Christians should not focus too much on fulfilling the law[19]  as they should with loving God. What do we mean? Loving God has a higher value than wrestling with the commandments. Loving God waives you the subconscious worry that you’ll break any commandment. Therefore, loving God should be our habit as opposed to worrying about this sin or that.

Christian behavioral habits may be hard to distinguish between them and their talents. Practice and talent have thin lines between them. However, the bringing of both together presents us with more wonderful opportunities. A clergyman rides on the talents of believers to imitate preaching, teaching, and praying to a purely perfect level. It matures from once-off things to daily habits that blend into a spell where we can hardly notice the differences between them.

On another note, Christian upbringing has huge habitual gaps to link up. Ideally, children brought up by devout families[20] have more precise reasons for why to remain forever with Christ, as opposed to those raised by heathens. It all comes from our habits.

 

What now

 

  1. What was Eli’s initial accusation of Hannah as she prayed to God at the temple?
  2. Concerning the advice of Paul, what should we give priority between fulfilling the law and loving God?
  3.  Why did Christ hail the woman who contributed the least at the temple?

 

COMMANDMENT THREE: CHURCHES AS ICONS OF PEACE

 

“Practice makes better, and prayer makes perfect. The more we do, the easier it gets, and all the while praying perfects us in the art.”

TemitOpe Ibrahim

 

Power Truth

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then, you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1 NRSV

 

 

All around the world, people are very busy, chasing their lifestyles. All around the world is a lot of unrest, war, and bloodshed. Where is the elusive peace across the nations?[21] What is the ultimate cure for the disorder? Christ, in a very excellent way, delegated the work of cultivating peace to the apostles, and by extension, to the current clergy in our churches. It is paramount to note that the lack of order at individual levels has the cumulative effect of what we generally see from the world at a glance.

At our levels, society loves money far too much. You may have heard of the saying, “Man eats man society.”[22] That’s a society that views money with higher esteem, forgetting that our Christian roles are to deliberately natural peace at every level. It’s worth noting that there are icons of peace, who, apart from their personal beliefs, upheld forgiveness in the place of war and revenge. In better words, we can borrow from St. Francis of Assisi’s words: “Where there is war, let me sow peace.” South Africa’s Nelson Mandela chose to forgive and forget apartheid while he had a chance to lead a vengeful spree. And what is the cost of forgiveness[23] and the eventual peace it yields? It’s costless.

Human conflicts have far different consequences than any other pandemics.[24] Leaders who can make sense out of conflict often offer to mediate and seek peaceful resolutions. Recalling Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007-2008, Kofi Annan,[25] once the General Secretary of the United Nations, offered to come in between the parties. He succeeded, in an attempt[26] that Rev. Jesse Jackson had made earlier.[27] After the chaos, Kenya learned great lessons that no one is greater than the nation; else, their patriotism is questionable.

In light of the current advances in technology, nations live in fear of one another. What catastrophe can happen when all or most countries of the earth have nuclear weapons at their disposal? That may shed light on one of Albert Einstein’s[28] rare comments, that a fourth world war shall be fought with stones. The deliberate efforts of the church towards finding long-lasting peace are not all lost. Leaders who personally believe in Christ have been of much help to the entire causes of peace.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union,[29] much has transformed. One of the most prominent markings of history was the reunification of East and West Germany. In better words, it’s the fall of the Berlin Wall. The roots of reconciliation had borne something different, a unique and peaceful German nation that is far much more prosperous than it was before the eighties. One of the most historical figures was Joseph Konrad,[30] whose ideas and beliefs ignited peace through the formation and rise into power for the Christian Democratic Union – CDU.  To this day, the CDU still natures democracies around the world via the non-profit arm known by name Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Silently, one of the precursors of chaos around the world is the strife with international trade. Despite the numerous calls and peace pacts calling for peace, ammunition still finds its way into nations richly endowed with natural resources. Unfortunately, culprits hide behind religion, as is the case with Nigeria. Christian versus Muslim[31] conflicts escalate into factions like Boko Haram. However, the main question is not the faith, but greed and unequal sharing of resources. Selfish leaders find the whole issue of oil and resource-sharing as a scapegoat. They, therefore, veil themselves behind cocoons perpetrating violence in the name of religious conflicts.

In other spheres, the detachment of Southern Sudan[32] from northern Sudan had religious angles. The South is pro Christian, while the North is pro-Muslim. The church has much to do, right from pacifying the individual and the world at large. It’s in tandem with evangelization; none of it can yield meaningful fruits unless churches pursue the pillars of peace in the first place.

 

What now

  1. To whom did Christ give the role to nature peace among believers?
  2. In the words of Francis of Assisi, what would he uphold in the place of war?
  3. What is the trouble with a lack of peace at individual levels?

 

 

COMMANDMENT FOUR: A SYNOPSIS OF SABBATH IN PRESENT TIMES

 

“Preaching is to much avail, but the practice is far more effective. A godly life is the strongest argument you can offer the skeptic.”

Hosea Ballou

Power Truth

For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness.

Romans 10:3 NRSV

We mostly know the Sabbath as the seventh day, when God rested from His week-long work of creation.[33] Coincidentally, by fault or default, the same holds to date. Although Christian tradition borrows heavily from Mosaic norms, there’s a great sense to keep it as God made it.

It may be argued that Sundays, the day the Lord set aside for Himself from human domains, has little to do with creation. That is not true. The aspect of rest is one that God values and therefore validates the reason to cascade it into our human domains.[34]

Our busy lives mean that life is always competing with the resource of time, which is forever limited. God, in some definitions, appears to be a very selfish God. In better words, God hates to be undermined at whatever level. However, God is the utmost generous. Why? Out of the seven days, He requires only one day.  That is an open clause in that; one is free to dedicate more than one day for the Lord.

Professionals may find themselves chasing schedules to no end. In cognizance of the fact that spiritual nourishment play is a pivotal role in professionalism itself, many resolutions have been adopted in the deliberate honor of the Sabbath. A great example is the institutionalization of religion across many armies around the globe.  Quite a good number allows servicemen, servicewomen, and officers, to take part in rituals critical to their faith, without discriminations of sorts.

Our faiths play critical roles in ensuring that we live balanced and hopeful lives. In tandem with the saying that “a change is as good as rest,” the same holds with Sabbath. It’s lovely when the faithful have a loose schedule in honor of every Sunday in their lives. The free schedule should, however, be strict when it comes to honoring God. In the real sense, it means a relaxation of every other business, in favor of God’s schedules- related to the Sabbath.

In the Gospels, Christ came out very clear regarding the adherence to rules. Synoptically, Sabbath is a day to honor God unreservedly,[35] but not in ignorance of fellow humankind. If we take things back to the roots, Christ hails seeking forgiveness in the place of ticking boxes in favor of meeting schedules. About Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan, a Levite’s explanation for neglecting the robbed person fails to fulfill Christ’s criteria of ultimate love to God. Why? No one can love God and hate man, while they belong to the human race.

Is there room for anger on the Sabbath? According to pagans, yes, but according to Christ, it’s a big no.[36] Christians are bound to desist from fits of anger. True, we all react differently; however, violence has no space on and beyond Sabbath. The Sabbath itself is a day of freedom, for one seeking inner peace that should be extended to others indiscriminately. There’s no significant difference between the day of Sabbath and the annual intentions, as cited in the sabbatical year.

Due to various beliefs, many Christians observe Sabbath with slight variations.[37] They could be time, resources, and ultimate festivities.  However, Sabbath creates an appropriate moment for one to tithe and bring in other offertories to the Lord’s presence. Therefore, it should not be a formality, but a moment to look forward into self-reflection and penance.

There is no limitation to how much you can extend the Sabbath into your personal life. For instance, during the thanksgiving ceremony, God does not limit anyone on any day, the Sabbath inclusive. However, on quite rare occasions, you may find preference being given to the Sabbath. A good case is where national holidays fall on a Sunday.  Most nations simply extend the weekend into a long one, where Monday is declared a holiday to suffice for the Sunday affected.

What now

  1. Which day did God rest after creating the earth and all things in it?
  2. Is venting anger at others justifiable on the Sabbath day?
  3. Why did Christ disapprove of the Levite’s act as narrated in the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

 

 

COMMANDMENT FIVE: THE AMAZING VIRTUE OF LOVE

“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.”

Hyman Rickover

Power Truth

Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray.

Proverbs 22:6 NRSV

 

 

Throughout the history of salvation, God has deliberately called humankind back to Him,[38] and His overarching virtue is love. It’s the selfless bit about it that is the backbone of the salvation story. In some instances, it may be quite hard to discern the way of the love of God.

One key and very deliberate way of punishing King Ahab was through the declarations made by the prophet Elijah.[39] Ahab did ignore and consequently felt the pinch when he discovered that the land was going into drought in line with God’s words, through Elijah. What was Ahab to do, Elijah was in the caves, finely hidden from Ahab’s vicious reach. At the height of everything, Elijah resurfaced after God took good care of him through the widow at Zarephath. Ahab faced real trials when the gods of Baal failed to light up the wet wood, which was meant to consume the sacrifices. At Elijah’s invocation, Yahweh sent fire from heaven to consume the same damp wood.

God’s love for Elijah did not end at that; He allowed him to get to heaven on a chariot of fire, a bridge which we cross via death. From that point onwards, Elisha took over the mantle of Elijah, as he had wished.

One of God’s best Israelite kings was David. God loved him, crowning him from his simple undertakings as a shepherd into a great warrior at a time he was most needed in Israel. A rare display of God’s David is depicted in a brief parabolic conversation between him and Prophet Nathan.  David’s utter of the few lines, “I have sinned before God,” melted the Lord’s probing destruction to waive David a catastrophic punishment on its way. What sin had David committed? They were murder, adultery, and contempt of office as King of Israel, all in line with the killing of Uriah and the taking of his wife, Bathsheba.

God deliberately listens to the tears and sorrows of hearts.  When King Hezekiah[40] received his message of demise, sadness gripped him. He faced his wall and called on God of heaven to allow him a bit longer to live. According to God, King Hezekiah was a righteous soul, and He allowed Him 15 more years alive, as a bonus.

Fast forward into the times when Christ was alive, he deliberately allowed us to see how sin is inwardly destructive. Looking at the scene when a woman was dragged before him being accused of adultery,[41] the crowd waited for his decision. However, through his divine wisdom, Christ, through God’s love, used no other weapon than words of love. Rather authoritatively, Christ requested that anyone so pure and sinless be the first to stone the woman. Each of the accusers dropped their vengeance and their stones, knowing inwardly that they too were sinners. At the climax of that scene, Christ did not punish the sinner. He used the kindest of loving words- go home and do not sin anymore.

In a better outlook of Christ’s coming and sin, he declares that he came just for the sake of the sinful.[42] At the hallmark of everything, he lost his life on the cross out of love for wicked people, laying himself as an example for us to follow. As a citation of his strong words, he promises life in the place of death, by requesting that we shed away our rather heavy and burdensome lives.

It may be hard to discuss Christ’s love without mentioning his beloved apostle, Paul. When the veil of sin was lifted from the life of Paul, he desired nothing other than service to Christ in his entire life.[43] Paul seemingly reciprocates Christ’s love for fellow believers. Amazingly, his deliberate love is shown through the Pauline epistles. Without a doubt, Paul was able to immerse himself, physically and spiritually into Christ’s love and ready to radiate the same to fellow believers. Deliberately, God speaks to ages through the words of Paul, which surprisingly seek to cultivate love among humanity, and by extension to the Almighty God.

 

 

What now

  1. What happened to Elijah after he announced the pending three-year drought?
  2. Who did Christ come for between the righteous or sinners?
  3. Why did the accusers of the adulterous woman leave the scene, one after the other?

 

COMMANDMENT SIX: TALENTS AND SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES

“We are practicing what we preach so that we may preach what we practice.”

Ralph Nader

Power Truth

For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

Hebrews 6:10 NRSV

It’s hard to imagine a church without the offshoots in the forms of small Christian communities.[44] Whereas it’s more of cumulative effort in the form of worship and praise for a large church gathering, there’s a more significant benefit for small Christian groups, which play special and wonderful support to the larger congregations.

In the hierarchy, small Christian communities fall right after the family towards the larger church. A pastor may not know the individual families but may undoubtedly know about a Christian gathering whose purpose is to harness energies towards the build-up of the larger church.

There’s no church without talent, and all Christians are encouraged to self-search and decide where to plug in and make the entire worship best. According to Saint Paul the apostle, the church, being the body of Christ, has room for everybody, big or small. The spirit endows each person to individually but collectively intervene for Christ’s sake. Deliberately, everyone can chip in at whatever level, providing small and unburden-some inputs towards the benefit of the church.

Talents have the sole purpose of praising and worshipping God.[45] If we view the collective effort of small groups yielding into the success of a larger one, that’s where it begins. If we can sing well as three members from the same neighborhood, we have what it takes to do it excellently and make others admire the virtue.

There are, however, some instances where the individual effort has no probable replacements. A good case is a choir with men singing bass voices.[46] Sopranos (their feminine counterparts) cannot replace them. The amazing thing, however, is the point that singing solo is also more entertaining as is for the different voices in a choir.

When Paul wrote to Corinth, he was disputing the arrogant behavior of a few fellows who were missing the mark by utter disregard of the feelings of others. According to Paul, there was no need to wine and dine heavily, while a fellow believer had nothing for food at the same time. It calls for humility, for the rich to live as though they were poor for the sake of Christ. Along with the same breadth, having the inner wisdom and understanding to decipher things beyond the ordinary is also a talent. It’s the sole purpose that they become this or that in life.

Small Christian communities are best positioned to sense and guide on the individual needs of the constituent members. At best, diversity should be encouraged to allow for upward and downward learning.[47] Unfortunately, most small Christian formations are bent towards geographical boundaries, which tend to align with the general economic success or failure of those within them. While a wealthy neighborhood may tend to be more generous with material wealth, the non-blending with poor ones hides them from experiencing the naked truths of their poor counterparts.

What level of participation is optimal within the small Christian congregations? The ideal position is we are all equal, as it is in the eyes of God. Aside from our vast endowments in riches and lack of it, we all desire and can thrive on basic needs. The points of departure arise when we mistakenly realign to whatever benchmarks we feel are ideal, especially in the eyes of our peers.

The citing of Christ, “that where two or three are gathered[48] in his name, there he is,” seems to open up a loop without a finite description of the limits a congregation can have. Therefore, a community can have as little as two, and as many as leaders can manage. On the same line of thinking, there’s no limit regarding how far one can get when it comes to deploying our talents in favor of the work of God. It does not limit us, whether we belong to a small or large congregation, what matters is, accomplishing that purpose.

What now

  1. What kind of arrogance did Paul condone in the church in Corinth?
  2.  What minimum did Christ cite for his presence to be there?
  3. Who does Christ value between those financially rich and their inferior counterparts?

 

COMMANDMENT SEVEN: DELIBERATE PRAYERS ANSWERED

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. “

Anton Chekhov

Power Truth

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24 NRSV

When God sent Samuel to anoint David, he was a bit hesitant.[49] What would Saul do in the case he found out the plot to dethrone him was underway? However, Samuel inquired, and the Lord allowed him to go ahead to anoint David in the guise that he’d come to offer a sacrifice. Therefore, in a very deliberate way, God kept Samuel away from the wrath of King Saul. Over time, it seems Saul was able to read between the lines and accept that the will to dethrone him came from above, from where his power to anoint him had come from (God).

Drawing from God’s instructions to Samuel, He made him aware that He looked, not on physiques but the intrinsic factors, the heart of a being. David’s anointing was a resounding proof to that. God’s choice was not from among the eldest sons of Jesse, but his very youngest- who happened to be a shepherd- David.

Looking back at the time when Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego[50] were thrown into a fire, the king expected then to be destroyed according to ordinary expectations. To his amazement, and in God’s deliberate move, He appeared with them inside the very flames meant to destroy them. God is a God of deliberate actions, and such are directed to righteous hearts who have met criteria that fall beyond human comprehension.

It may be a gigantic task to sift prayer that is based on talent or from deliberate human moves. The bottom line is that God listens to the prayers of our hearts. When Hannah had taken so much scorn and shame, her only remedy was God. That aligns with the prayers in Psalms, “Where does my help come from? My help comes from God, who made heaven and the earth.”[51] Eli, being the high priest, deliberately mistook Hannah for having taken too much wine. Lucky for her, Eli also blessed her, and as a resounding answer to her plea, God blessed Hannah with her son, Samuel.[52]

Simeon,[53] a righteous soul, had God’s promise that he wouldn’t fall into sleep with his forefathers without seeing the Savior of the world- Christ. That fulfillment deliberately coincided with Christ’s presentation at the temple. Drawing from an earlier scene, John the Baptist[54] was deliberately set as the forerunner before Christ. John set out preaching in the wilderness, calling masses to penance, and that culminated with the baptism of Christ.

When human beings purpose prayer, it becomes a longing plea that invades the subconscious mind, taking an exterior form of our very actions. God does not answer every prayer but looks at the intentions of everything before granting the requested remedy.[55] Through prayer, we can deliberately avert unfortunate calamities, especially through penance. It can also be a gateway to the blessings we’ve for so long longed for. David’s utterance of accepting sin emanates as a form of penal move. From some angle, David did not protest before the Lord that he was powerful, being King. David fasted and prayed, and the Lord deliberately lessened his punishment for his sins- adultery and murder.

In earthly circles, you may have heard of the point that God answers every prayer. He says a yes, a no, or wait. These are among the signs that faithful’s must learn to read from God through the help of our comforter, the Holy Spirit.[56] The prayerful journey takes many proverbial hills and valleys. In them, God wants us to pray a little bit more frequently and devotedly. God wants us to be more unselfish, even with our time. He wants us to value others more, even when their physical appearances fail to meet our human merits of approvals. God wants us to be more perseverant and persistent. Prayer is not a thing you say occasionally; it has to be part of our lifestyles.

 

 

What now

  1. What had God promised Simeon?
  2. Who came first, Christ or John the Baptist?
  3. Where does help for believers come from in relation to the psalmist?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMANDMENT EIGHT: THE PORTION OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE IN CHRISTIANITY AND TALENTS

 

“Best practices are those practices that generally produce the best results or minimize risk.”

Chad White

 

Power Truth

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 NRSV

It’s the tradition of Christians to bless with a sign of open hands. It may also involve lying on the hands on the heads while the subjects kneel or bow their heads.[57] It’s a practice that gained root since  Christ’s time, and it had early accounts like the time the apostles visited Samaria to allow the Holy Spirit to take over the converts. According to the words of Paul, God enables different abilities to different souls for harmony in the congregations. Therefore, that can be construed to recognize the value and need for talents in Christ’s body – the church.

Converts do refer to their fellow believers as brothers and sisters.[58] That is regardless of whatever defines any of them, be they rich, poor, highly learned or not, among other numerous merits that we being human may ever connote to predefine others. The term brothers and sisters[59] draw from Christ’s promise that we are partakers with him in the kingdom of God, the father. Christ elevates us from the condemnation of sin to the veil of being able to serve God here on earth and in heaven.

If there is any talent that we should never lack before God and fellow humankind, it is love. Every being is infinitely endowed with the ability to love; in better words, give back to fellow beings[60]  to whom we owe our emancipation. Every generation fosters another, out of love. No generation owes the other the role to nurture it, and it stems from the immaculate wisdom of the highest. Utmost love calls for considerate comprehension of those ahead of us in age, without exclusion of biological parents.[61] In fact, in Ecclesiastes, the youth are warned against scorning their parents. It’s only a matter of time, and children find themselves grown up, just like their biological parents.

As a general note on deliberate actions, it may be reasonable to rethink our communities without exclusion of those with disabilities.[62] Some demand that they are referred to as people abled differently. Sure, physical disability is not mental, and the churches should take deliberate efforts to host any cohorts that lack in any physical category. Church management should be alive to the very critical needs of PWDS,[63] create ramps instead of staircases, as well as provide sanitary facilities befitting their unique needs.

 

We are aware that churches function on schedules. And what are the roles of programs in Christianity? In reality, they are just a tool to create order among the masses. A Christian should be connected to God at all times through prayer, praises, and worship to the highest. Ideally, the elements of schedules are just a leeway to create order when we are all gathered in masses.

When it comes to talents, there are no formal, laid guidelines on how a church can manage growth and maturation of it among the believers. However, the clergy should have a general approach to providing an opportunity for development.[64] There should be the deliberate nurturing of believers to ascend to higher levels for the sake of all others.

The incredible thing is that there’s no shortage of talent among believers. One of the best avenues to ensure that should be that nurturing of churches accommodating all age groups. It makes no sense to have a congregation composed of an aging population.  Who will take on the mantle after they are all gone? It, therefore, requires visionary leadership that can harmoniously[65] bring together young and aged to the sole purpose of worshipping God.

Over time things change. For instance, it’s now commonplace to have churches in Kenya worship under the watch of security personnel. That is a trend that gained traction over the past half-decade.[66] Terror attackers had spotted a soft spot by preying on unarmed worshippers. Both government and churches fixed that by liaising with both public and private security providers.

What now

  1. Why does God allow different believers to possess different gifts in the same church?
  2. What is the basis behind a Christian’s ability to give back to God and society?
  3. What is the role of a schedule in line with the worship of God among the masses?

 

 

 

 

 

COMMANDMENT NINE: DELIBERATE SETTING OF TARGETS AND SUB-TARGETS

 

“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”

Ann Voskamp

Power Truth

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32 NRSV

 

Believing or not is a deliberate move. When it comes to believing, that’s just a seedling. How do we tend it to fruits with corresponding rewards – eternal life?[67] One may not only rise in a day and get everything on their fingertips. That is why we have the church, a group of persons who have a commonality with what one believes in- Christ as the Savior. The growth curve of any Christian deliberately follows a cycle, starting with dark moments towards[68] levels of amazing faith. Ideally, there has to be some form of a learning curve that one mimics, growing comfortable with things that appeared rather daunting at the prior ages. As a bonus note, it may be of importance to cite that faith is laden with many mysteries, and it’s only the intervention of the Holy Spirit that can school us confidently at certain higher levels.

Faith calls for deliberate moves requiring solitude. In the seemingly lonely moments, one has to seek, instead meditate[69] and relate with the extra-terrestrials, to be specific- God and the angels. Solitude allows one to wade through dark thoughts and refine communication with God. It may boil down to a song, prayer, meditation, or a complex combination of all those above. Knowing Christ is a sole purpose; it may not be construed as a collective effort per se. That emanates from the mystery that each one of us will bow down before the seat of the utmost judge- God.

Without any doubt, repetition plays a crucial role in our faith. Reciting prayers, lyrics to hymns, and so forth creates the heart, and the subconscious mind to not only learn but decipher many things around.[70] One person once said that repetition is the mother of all learning.

Sincerely, our fundamental aspects of mastering languages, whether they are first or second, in that order take accounts to a considerable portion of success by repetition. Once past the basics, one raises to the level of rinse and repeat.  After mastering the basics, which are the foundations, a believer has now to be made aware of their targets- living a life where Christ is the Savior.

Lives in faith are an endless spree of war with the evil one. It’s complex. Sometimes, one may feel confident in faith, but that is not the end. The deliberate light may be a talent bestowed in one’s soul with a divine aim that one helps others decipher complex situations regarding faith. That is the same as the time when God sent prophets [71]who seemingly had a better understanding of God concerning other terrestrial happenings.

Every Christian must be motivated enough and be aware of the domain that our rewards are both earthly as well as a life that’s eternal-past life. Since believers come from different physical locations, as they are from their respective schools of thought, churches have a significant role. It’s to harmonize everything and ensure that all are moving in the right direction and eventual targets.

Paul uses the famous verse, 2 Timothy 4:7, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” There’s no clearer effigy of Christian life than that. It takes the form of a prize that many are itching for. Eventually, one’s accomplishments are bent towards the little goals, rather the sub-targets that build up to the solid life of a doubtless believer. What is the motivation? Christ, the highest of priests, who arose from hell and is seated to the right hand of God, made his promises clear. John 3: 16 says, “Whoever believes may have everlasting life.” Part of believing is confessing our iniquities before God. We hold ourselves guilty, and by it are let free by the honesty and acceptance of our weakness and resolve to soldier on in the way of Christ.

What now

  1.  What category of beings should one connect to while in meditation?
  2. What is the symbolic representation of war and race in Paul’s epistle to Timothy?
  3. How do prophets understand God compared to an ordinary soul?

 

COMMANDMENT TEN: HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT CHAMPIONS

 

“Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”

Rembrandt

Power Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways, acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NRSV

 

Champions arise within their forte and create incredible euphoria that lasts their moments. A keen look unearths champions as demigods; however, in reality, they too have their painful sides. In better words, they deliberately ride on the foundations of their talents to rise to levels never witnessed within many hallmarks.[72]

When one is declared a champion, they can prove beyond reasonable doubts that they deserve. Indeed, a hero is a champion among champions.[73] When it comes to the domains of Christian faith, each one of us can arise and clinch the award of eternal life.  When Christ said that his burden and yoke are light, he meant that his precepts are easy to follow. The basics of going into heaven do not require formal education to master. One only needs informal education and bits of intuition from the true churches for one to be in tandem with everything.

On most occasions, human efforts tend to concentrate on variables that are viable within the domain of human knowledge. But God works beyond our understanding.[74] Although champions are always amazing, we must not be tempted to fall for any of them as a role model. On a final note, churches must be very clear on whom they embrace as role models[75]. Are they the best in music, politics, medicine,[76] business, or whatever? Their actions may give guide lights as to whether they belong to the ways of Christ or otherwise.

Ordinary people are always awed by the few champions[77] among the populations. On that line of thought, champions should play their respective roles.  A great conversation that befits that can be picked from two heroes: Paul Tergat[78] and Haille Garbasselasie.[79] Both were epic runners at their time. Haile once intimated to Paul that he would retire from athletics, but Paul challenged him. In his challenge, Paul put it forthrightly: Champions do not withdraw; they remain around to nature’s younger talent and fade silently but gracefully from the scene.

Critically looking at champions, it’s hard to fall into every forte. Take, for instance, the Olympics games in 1936. Jesse Owens[80] won five gold medals in five events. Similar achievements have been made by other notable athletes like Marion Jones[81] and Usain Bolt.[82] However, many seem to select one thing and excel in it. We can take examples of Tiger woods in golfing and Warren Buffet in investments. On a different note, Christ achieved a forte never attained by any other living being, dying on the cross as an example of our ultimate way to live. On a synoptic note, Christ healed as a doctor,[83] comforted as a friend, rebuked as a teacher, and gave assurance regarding most of our worries.

Most champions do not make it just by talent. It requires focus and re-focus on the issues requiring improvement towards the best of everything. Practice with an aim is the winning formula. Aspiring champions soak in the pain and disbelief while aiming at contests. A good example is a Christian’s life. One has only one life to live and culminate with the gift of life that is everlasting.

According to the preacher in Ecclesiastes, there are times for everything under the sun.[84] In that order, there are times to suffer defeat, and others to give glory to God for success. Indeed, a humble champion recognizes God’s will for them to rein, and in return, accord every glory to Him. The preacher also takes note that we should shine during our youthful sprees. Why? Human glory, though unmerited amongst any other forms of creation, comes and goes. It’s like the lush green grass that wilts at the height of the hot sun in the noon. All glory from champions and their talents should arise to the God of heaven. He is the source of every fantastic perfection.

What now?

  1. How does the knowledge of God rank in comparison to that of humanity?
  2.  What season is omitted by God for everything under the sun?
  3.  How can champions best live with their talents?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Resources

Anders Ericson, K., Prietula, Michael J., and Cokely, Edward T.“The making of an expert.” Harvard Business Review, (July 2007), https://hbr.org/2007/07/the-making-of-an-expert (accessed March 29, 2020).

Alcorn, Randy, “Cumulative Daily Decisions, Courage in a Cause, and a Life of Endurance.” In Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008).

Atul, Gawande. “What is Deliberate Practice?” Farnam Street, (July 2012), https://fs.blog/2012/07/what-is-deliberate-practice/ (accessed March 29, 2020).

Colvin, Geoffrey. Talent Is Overrated. New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 2008.

Corbin, Reuschling Wyndy. Reviving Evangelical Ethics: The Promises and Pitfalls of Classic Models of Morality. (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2008).

Edmond, Hiebert, D.. Working with God through Prayer. (Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 1991).

Jacobsen, Eric O. The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Edited by William A. Dyrness and Robert K. Johnston. Cultural Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic

Jacobsen, Eric O. The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Edited by William A. Dyrness and Robert K. Johnston. Cultural Exegesis. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012

 

James, Clear, “The beginner’s guide to Deliberate Practice.” James Clear, https://jamesclear.com/beginners-guide-deliberate-practice (accessed March 29, 2020).

Kent Hughes R. The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Preaching the Word. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001).

Ken, Sande. “Transforming Your Church: Cultivating a Culture of Peace.” The Founders Journal: Confusing Times, Winter, no. 55 (2004).

Mike, Cosper. Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).

 

Sande, Ken. “Transforming Your Church: Cultivating a Culture of Peace.” The Founders Journal: Confusing Times, Winter, no. 55 (2004), p. 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES

 

CHAPTER 1

 

[1] The Pursuit Of Destiny: A History Of Prediction

https://www.amazon.com/Pursuit-Destiny-History-Prediction/dp/0738200956

[2] Psychology indicates consciousness as a function of human ability to assimilate knowledge. First there is awareness; when conscience enters the scene? https://www.researchgate.net/post/Psychology_indicates_consciousness_as_a_function_of_human_ability_to_assimilate_knowledge_First_there_is_awareness_when_conscience_enters_the_scene

[3] The Destiny Formula http://www.ayothewriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/The-Destiny-Formula.pdf

[4] Lewin’s Change Management Model Understanding the Three Stages of Change https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_94.htm

[5] Christopher Columbus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipa_Moniz_Perestrelo

[7] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christopher_Columbus_at_the_gates_of_the_monastery_of_Santa_Maria_de_la_Rabida_with_his_son_Diego.jpg

[8] Christopher Columbus- Italian Explorer https://www.britannica.com/biography/Christopher-Columbus

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_I_of_Castile

[10] Celebrity worship syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrity_worship_syndrome

[11] Whitney Houston https://www.whitneyhouston.com/awards/

[12] Genesis 37

 

CHAPTER 2

 

[13]  Habit vs. Addiction: 4 Questions To Determine The Differenceions To Determine The Difference

https://journeypureriver.com/habit-vs-addiction-4-questions-determine-difference/

[14] 1 Samuel 1:9-4:11

[15] https://www.ted.com/speakers/amy_cuddy

[16] Matthew 26:17-30

[17] Matthew 6:9-13

[18] Mark 12:41–12:44

[19] 17 Bible Verses about Freedom from the Law

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Freedom-From-The-Law

[20] LEADING YOUR CHILD TO CHRIST https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/leading-your-child-to-christ/

 

 

CHAPTER 3

 

[21] Warning that ‘peace remains elusive,’ UN chief outlines areas for action in 2018 https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2018/01/warning-peace-remains-elusive-un-chief-outlines-areas-action-2018/

[22] Man Eat Man Society  http://oyungapala.com/man-eat-man-society/

[23] What is The Cost of Forgiveness? https://www.myweaknesshisstrength.com/cost-forgiveness/

[24] Pandemics: Risks, Impacts, and Mitigationhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525302/

[25]Kofi Atta Annan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kofi_Annan

[26] March 16, 2008 Ballots to Bullets Organized Political Violence and Kenya’s Crisis of Governance https://www.hrw.org/report/2008/03/16/ballots-bullets/organized-political-violence-and-kenyas-crisis-governance

Jesse Jackson

[27]Jesse Jackson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Jackson

[28] https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/World_War_III

[29] Dissolution of the Soviet Union https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union

[30] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Adenauer_Foundation

[31] Conflict in Nigeria Is More Complicated Than “Christians vs. Muslims” https://www.cfr.org/blog/conflict-nigeria-more-complicated-christians-vs-muslims

[32] After independence, what next for South Sudan?https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/august-2011/after-independence-what-next-south-sudan

CHAPTER 4

 

[33] Why did God rest on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2:2)? https://www.gotquestions.org/God-rest-seventh-day.html

[34] 10 Signs Your Life is Too Busy https://nosidebar.com/busy/

[35] 15 Bible Verses about the Sabbath https://dailyverses.net/sabbath

[36]15 Bible Verses About Anger Will Help You Let Go of Your Negative Emotion https://www.womansday.com/life/inspirational-stories/g29328885/bible-verses-about-anger/

[37]Why Worship on Sunday? A Saturday vs Sunday Comparison  https://wake-up.org/sabbath/saturday-vs-sunday-comparison.html

CHAPTER 5

 

[38] Turning Away From God https://www.openbible.info/topics/turning_away_from_god

[39] The story of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel and King Ahab https://manchesterinklink.com/the-story-of-the-prophet-elijah-jezebel-and-king-ahab/

[40] Isaiah 38:1

[41] John 8:1-11

[42] Luke 5:32

[43] 1 Corinthians 2:2

 

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

[44] The Importance of Youth Ministry in Today’s Church https://www.gcu.edu/blog/theology-ministry/importance-youth-ministry-todays-church

[45] The Gifts of the Holy Spirit http://www.burningpointministries.com/the-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit

[46] Choir Singing Voice Types – Power of the Masses! http://your-personal-singing-guide.com/choir-singing.html

[47] Why Study Christian Formation and Ministry? https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/programs/christian-formation-and-ministry/

[48] Matthew 18:20

 

CHAPTER 7

 

[49] 1 Samuel 16:1-13

[50] Daniel 3:16-28

[51] Psalm 121:1-2

[52] 1 Samuel 1:9-28

[53]Meeting Simeon and Anna in the Temple (Luke 2:21-38) http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/2_21-38.htm

[54] Annunciation to Zacharias of the Birth of John the Baptist.https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/annunciation-to-zacharias-of-the-birth-of-john-the-baptist.html

[55] In The Eye Of God – The Supreme Judge – Inspirational Article https://jamestaiwo.com/blog/god-supreme-judge-inspirational-quotes/

[56] 10. Listening for the Holy Spirit’s Voice  http://www.jesuswalk.com/spirit/10_spirit_voice.htm

 

 

 

CHAPTER 8

 

[57] The Posture of Blessing https://jasonbybee.com/2013/01/10/the-posture-of-blessing/

[58] James 5:19

[59] Brothers And Sisters In Christ https://www.openbible.info/topics/brothers_and_sisters_in_christ

[60] Acts 20:35

[61] Ephesians 6:2

[62] Mark 10:46-52

[63] People With Disabilities-PWDs

[64] HOW PASTORAL CARE STUNTS THE GROWTH OF MOST CHURCHES https://careynieuwhof.com/how-pastoral-care-stunts-the-growth-of-most-churches/

[65]  Unity Bible Verses

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/unity-bible-verses/

[66] 2011–14 terrorist attacks in Kenya https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E2%80%9314_terrorist_attacks_in_Kenya

 

CHAPTER 9

 

 

[67] 41 Bible Verses about Eternal Life https://dailyverses.net/eternal-life

[68] 1 Peter 2:2

[69] Genesis 24:63

[70] Singing Prayers https://www.openbible.info/topics/singing_prayers

[71] Luke 16:29

 

CHAPTER 10

 

[72]Michael Jordan http://www.hoophall.com/hall-of-famers/michael-jordan

[73] Hollywood Walk of Fame https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame

[74] Job 11:7-12

[75] What Is Hillsong Church and Why Do So Many Celebrities Go There? https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/what-is-hillsong-church-and-why-do-so-many-celebrities-go-there.html/

[76]Ben Carson https://www.biography.com/political-figure/ben-carson

[77] 36 Famous Celebrities Who Go to Church https://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-go-to-church/celebrity-lists

[78] Paul Tergat  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tergat

[79] Haile Gebrselassie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haile_Gebrselassie

[80] Jesse Owens https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Owens

[81] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Jones#Sports_career

[82] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt

[83] Luke 4:38-40

[84] Ecclesiastes 3

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