Calling Henley Constituents – October 04

The Boris Johnson mail bag is bursting at the seams for plenty more reasons than one lately. (not including the latest Have I Got News For You – how could they be so outrageous!)

Apart from the recent storm, Henley’s constituents are expressing serious concern for the new system of receiving State pension payments – a more streamlined and less flexible route will be the only option from next year. Many pensioners are incensed.

Tax credits, for all the government claims that they would help families, seem to have brought despair to many families who have suffered massive inconvenience from the mismanagement of claims and funds being re-claimed back to the State coffers. All increasing the burden of red tape.

Watlington Car Park – of all villages in South Oxfordshire, Watlington village doesn’t really need to have car park charges imposed in the face of local uproar and desperate pleas from local shopkeepers. Even in the current trial period, they find custom running dry and are in danger of going out of business.

The Mental Capacity Bill and Fox hunting issues are still on the agenda and bubbling along.

Here is Olly’s press release about the recent closure of sub-post offices in Henley. The large post office now cannot comfortably accommodate the demand and the queues are unacceptably long. (“Locals enjoy the opportunity of a chat in the queue” was the defence of the Post Office Chief!)

“Though we had a fantastic response from those people who have been inconvenienced by these closures, Postwatch decided to stick by its original decision not to re-open the investigation and review their decision. Despite Boris Johnson’s strong representations and their acknowledgement of the fact that the closure of Newtown and Northfield End Post Offices will cause ‘significant inconvenience’ to the Post Office’s customers in Henley, they decided that it was impossible for them to oppose every closure on the grounds that it remains important to position these closures within a wider context.

Many thanks once more to those who wrote in to express their dismay at these closures. It is unfortunate that, in the end, the Post Office and Postwatch opted to close these sub-post offices in the face of such strong local opposition.”

————————————————————————————-

So – now to you – Bloggers

Any issues that rankle? Burning rants? (Let’s rest awhile from the recent embroglio…and have a time of quiet…until you open up the new copy of The Spectator, that is! …How does the aphorism go: “a ‘week’, more like ‘day’, is a long time in politics”?)

How about South Oxfordshire constituents (please declare yourselves!) who would like to respond? We (including Ann – planning the diary to the election, and Wayne – local agent masterminding the campaign) would much value your input.

39 thoughts on “Calling Henley Constituents – October 04”

  1. I’m afraid I’m not a constituent here, so I can’t comment on those issues. I unfortunatley live in the type of place where I am quite possibly the only conservative voter in my whole postcode area… Maybe we could discuss how to get me a Conservative MP! [Webmaster: interesting and most challenging…]

  2. I’m afraid I’m not a constituent either, but it’s great to see such local specifics on the blog. I suppose Boris’ new e-democracy venture has had something of a baptism of fire…but it’s good to see an MP using his blog to discuss uncomfortable issues, rather than hiding somewhere in Westminster (even if most of his posts were published elsewhere). I can’t believe there are still so few blogging MPs.

    A suggestion…how about a post commenting on the newly released House of Commons Allowances expenditure? None of the six MP bloggers that I am aware of has yet posted on this topic (I wonder why?!), so Boris can make a first.

    It seems Boris has been pretty good – at £117,373 his total expenditure is about average. I think this new transparensy – or at least translucency – is great. It has however, raised some questions. Beyond concerns about individual MPs who stand out as big spenders, I am curious to know more detail about what money is spent on, within the nine categories of expenditure. It would be wonderful if people like Boris used their blogs to tell their constituents where the money goes, in more detail. What an example to set to other MPs, and what better way to discourage any wheeler-dealers?

    In no way do I suggest that Boris’ expenditure is improper, but those of us unfamiliar with how MPs’ offices work, naturally wonder how the money is spent. We needn’t know the minutiae, but why not tell us roughly how many letters were sent, or how you usually travel to the House?

    I can’t help wondering why MPs’ postage costs vary so much: do some MPs really send 27 times as many letters as others? At £26,361, Joan Ryan has sent the equivalent of 94,146 first class letters! That’s 1810 per week – hasn’t she heard of email? By comparison, at postage costs of £2213, Boris has sent the equivalent of a more believable 7904 letters, or 152 per week.

    Boris I think it’s fantastic that you use your environmentally friendly bicycle to travel to work. But I am curious, have you really biked 22,138 miles (at 7.2p per mile), or do you take the train/drive as well?

  3. Boris, not only do I recommend you become honorary MP for the British bloggers (if your Henley folk allow you), I’d also recommend you brush up on the seminal Cluetrain Manifesto (www.cluetrain.com)…

    There are two big ideas in The Cluetrain:

    1. Markets are conversations.

    2. Markets are now becoming smarter, faster than the companies that service said markets. A good example is what happend with the dear old Kryptonite lock earlier this month (As a bicycle rider, you must have heard about this scandal? Ask any clued-up blogger and (s)he’ll tell you).

    What is true for markets is also becoming true for Governments, as well.

    And the changes will be profound.

    To get a better idea, the person to read is a chap in New York, named Jeff Jarvis. His blog is http://www.buzzmachine.com.

  4. In the latest Spectator, Max Hastings makes alarming reading. (How that man ever came to have been editing a conservative newspaper I don’t know – but that’s another story.)

    Hasting’s prejudices aside, his article is worth reading. There’s an interesting story there and well done for finding it. You get some things right. {{{grin}}}

    One wonders how we have got here – here being a mentality in which surprisingly large numbers of us are hostile to our closest ally, and almost viscerally antagonistic to conservative parties and conservative values at home and abroad. You cover some of this ground in your very funny novel:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007195907/qid=1098525142/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/202-8188820-6712608

    … but, of course, its a serious matter, too.

    Is it the relentless diet of propaganda from the BBC perhaps? I don’t know, but I suppose that is part of it. Their latest venture is a new series in which it is claimed that Islamic terrorism is non-existent. (Presumably 9/11, Bali, Beslan, etc., etc. are Scotch mist.)

    Over at the SAU blog there is an interesting piece. the author, an academic at Aberystwyth University comments:

    “The BBC is … institutionally biased against conservatism and conservative values, the United States and its allies, and the West in general…”

    http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/000191.php

    Bias is OK, but not when we all fund it with no choice. He says Mr Thatcher was begged to do something about the BBC but wouldn’t. Now we reap the result of that.

  5. I am not a constituent, or even a conservative, but I just wanted to say that perhaps every mp should be as open and accountable as Boris is. Three cheers for Boris!

  6. Boris bloggin is Brilliant

    EDUCATION
    -the key to unlocking minds-
    must educate all to understand blogging

    Should start local community computer center care of BJ – ensure ?the corners are cleaned?

    lack of education=lack of understanding=resentment

    reduce resentment.open minds.educate

    BJ should do interview on blogging or do an article endeavouring to explain it…then watch the hits fly (not that you do need that)

    then we will move forward faster instead rambling and resenting one another
    Thank you

  7. I’m not one of Boris’ constituants; but Boris is one of the most accessible MP’s to me; I read what he’s writing all over the place, and hear his opinions on the TV loads, and I can reply easily too.

    A geographic constituancy is increasingly irrelevant. I have much more in common with the people who work in the same sector as me for example than who happen those who live in the same town. I think Boris should listen to us all equally, constituants or not, as we’re the people he’s having a conversation with, and its our opinions that he’s representing. Perhaps when it becomes technically possible we’ll be able to elect MPs to represent specific groups of people rather than arbitary areas.

    The comment above on MPs expenses has prompted me to reply, I recently e-mailed my MP Anne Campbell (Who lists £23 000 “other costs”, in her expenses ), and recieved two replies on heavy expensive paper in posh “House of Commons” branded envelopes, the first usefully informing me a reply was comming, presumably to ensure her statistics for replying rapidly were maintained.
    Why MPs reply to e-mails in this manner – I suppose one thing we could do to reduce their expenses bills is when we write to them note when we do not require a reply, and that a reply by e-mail will be appriciated just as much as a letter.

  8. Thanks for the enlightenment Richard. Now I begin to see how stationery and postage could get expensive.

    Yes, it seems a good idea to point out that an email reply is just as good as a letter – even better in my book, because it’s quicker, cheaper and greener. Perhaps some technologically challenged MPs are labouring under an outdated understanding that a letter is more formal and more polite. I’d rather have a polite, fast email, and an MP with a blog to encourage an electronic conversation with his/her constituents.

    Hugh Macleod makes good points above. Jeff Jarvis does indeed produce some thought-provoking ideas. He has championed Iraqi and Iranian blogs, which for me are some of the greatest illustrations of the power of blogging.

  9. Blogging Boris Johnson

    Hugh at gaping void discovers that my MP, Boris Johnson has a blog. However he seems to be impressed that it’s there, rather than it being useful.

  10. I’m not a constituent. Indeed, nor am I a Conservative but I do hold our Boris in a certain regard – shouldn’t have gone to Liverpool, Mr J, but maybe should have edited that leader comment a little more thoroughly.

    However, I do have to take up a cudgel , in the nicest possible way, with Damian and his comments regarding the BBC. I presume he’s referring to their series The Power Of Nightmares when he states the Beeb are claiming Islamic terrorism is a thing of fiction.

    Nothing could be further from the truth: the series points out that much – if not all – of the evidence connecting different terrorist cells across the world (a global terrorism network, if you will) was derived from the CIA’s own black propaganda and then taken for the literal truth by Neo-Conservatives in Washington who follow a certain political ideology that can be best expressed as white hat/black hat.

    At no point does the documentary claim that 9/11 and its ilk did not take place, nor does it state that Islamic terrorism is a fiction. What it does show is that the many claims made about Islamic fundamentalist terrorists (such as the suggestion they were being funded by Saddam Hussein) is very similar to the rhetoric used during the Cold War with regards particularly to the USSR.

    Indeed, it’s fascinating to hear Donald Rumsfeld’s speeches of 30 years ago regarding weapons that he just knew the Soviets had, even though they couldn’t be found, and comparing them with some of his recent pronouncements regarding Iraq.

    But this is the problem for the dear old Beeb, conservatives think its Buggers Broadcasting Communism, lefties think it’s Bastards Bowing to Conservatives. That perhaps is the sign of a truly independent broadcaster: everybody has a bitch about it. I imagine that you and I, Damien, could watch the same news broadcast or interview and both be up in arms about its perceived bias, with both of us coming from different ends of the political spectrum. That’s not the BBC’s bias: that’s our own.

    I haven’t read the website you cite but I consider it frankly laughable that anyone can claim the BBC is institutionally opposed to the West. To paraphrase you, my friend – and this is meant in the spirit of friendly debate – bias is OK, but not when we fund Welsh professors to spout it.

  11. So, Doug, “nothing could be further from the truth” but “it’s black propaganda”. You and the BBC seem to be going in two directions here.

    > What it does show is that the many claims made about Islamic fundamentalist terrorists (such as the suggestion they were being funded by Saddam Hussein)

    What the *BBC* claims, you mean. Saddam paid a bounty to every suicide bomber’s family. We know that.

    > I consider it frankly laughable that anyone can claim the BBC is institutionally opposed to the West

    I consider your post frankly laughable. Nothing could be more obvious than that the BBC is. And I don’t see why we should pay a compulsory poll tax for that.

  12. Several people mention the problem of MPs replying by letter to email. That has been my experience as well. My MP (anti-war but not very courageous Labour) has been most reluctant to reply by email.

    In fact, one of the biggest reasons for low productivity in Britain is precisely this early-20th-century ritual of exchanging letters in the post, instead of resolving issues in a series of rapid messages.

    Given that politicians often don’t want to answer awkward questions the letter writing business is doubtless a good way of kicking matters into the proverbial long grass.

    [Of course we assume that Boris is a exception to all this! Anyway he is a communicator. That’s the main thing.]

  13. May I request the many devotees of this site to refrain from referring to Mr Johnson as “BJ”. It brings a somewhat unwholesome image to mind. I prefer the sobriquet “Bozza”, which captures the essence of the man.

  14. Simon,

    I’ve emailed the man twice and had nice written replies both times.

    (I’m also the idiot who can’t read, and was complaining that there’s a lack of local matters on here. Poor melissa managed in the most polite way possible to point out I can’t read. So red faced apologies for anyone who followed the trackback to read my rant, which is now amended.)

  15. I’d be interested to know, Boris, where you stand in relation to Nigel Beard’s ‘Lighter Evenings’ bill – and your reasons for that position.

  16. I would also be interested to learn of your position on the ID card issue.

    I fail to see how carrying a card can seriously stop terrorism and organised crime – unless the cards become intrusive and all pervasive. To my eyes it all seems like a giant white elephant.

  17. Someone commented
    ‘”The BBC is … institutionally biased against conservatism and conservative values, the United States and its allies, and the West in general…”

    http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/000191.php

    Bias is OK, but not when we all fund it with no choice. He says Mr Thatcher was begged to do something about the BBC but wouldn’t. Now we reap the result of that.’

    Hmmm…. the BBC was in trouble recently with the current government.

    Any impartial institution will be in trouble with everyone at some point. That said, the BBC is run by people, and will make errors – however given the choice between BBC, ITN, CNN, Sky etc, I know who I trust the most. Up the BBC!

    That said, in the case of HIGNIFY, as with most other commenters on Boris’ little spot of bother, I did get the impression that people were commenting upon the comments, rather than reading what Boris actually said (or rather, authorised).

  18. Anyway, putting on the constituent hat (oh, that’s warm). Lets see.

    Whilst the impromptu fountain last week was an interesting addition to the town the relentless push for CCTV to replace the “bobby on the beat” is something someone needs kicked over. The expense on this white elephant is silly. “But it will stop crime” the council cries. No it won’t, it will just move it to somewhere the cameras don’t see. The use of CCTV as an excuse to not fund police properly is growing ever more wide spread.

    Next, being even more parochial, there’s the state of Henley’s parking and the woeful lack of residents only spaces in those areas that are marked as such.

    Going wider afield, towards technology (well this is a blog) there’s attitude by Labour over biometrics in passports. They’ve joyfully lept at an EU suggestion that fingerprints are used on passwords in addition to the mandatory facial biometrics (which have an error rate of 1-5%). Of course this has nothing to do with their plans for an identity card based on fingerprints is it? As a bonus, the rules on this are changing, from having the biometrics stored on the card. Now there’s a central database with all those nice identifying marks, shared between states via the Schengen Information System, and other interested parties (such as the US). This is despite the strong reservations expressed by various data protection group, and it’s against the spirit of Article 4 (3) of the draft regulations. Extra bonus points for the UK in their request to add a third biometric to passports, iris scanning.

  19. Melissa! I have to confess I was not aware that Tarzan was the former MP for Henley. Maybe some of the other constituents did not notice the change either. Here are some pointers to help the less politically aware distinguish between the two:
    1) one of them has an unruly thatch of blond hair, that is worn in an ostentatious manner.
    2) one of them fancies themselves as a man of the people, but is sadly out of touch with the views of the majority.
    3) one of them adopts rhetoric when speaking in public in a feeble attempt to disguise lack of substance in his speeches.
    I hope that helps.
    [Ed: You are brilliant! you win the trophy for ingenuity]

  20. Whooa, well you know sometimes…

    Sometimes I get wrapped up
    In what I want you to be
    I guess sometimes I forget
    Just how much you mean to me
    [You mean to me]

    Sometimes I get wrapped up
    In what I want us to be like
    Then I forget just how much
    I need you in this life

    And I know it’s not my place to judge
    [To judge]
    Oh whoa
    Who you are or what you’re gonna be
    I guess sometimes I forget
    Whoa
    Just how much you mean to me

    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Whoa
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na

    Sometimes I get wrapped up
    In always being right
    Then I forget I’m wrong most the time
    Sometimes I miss your tender kiss
    And being the man to understand

    Oh

    And I know it’s not my place to judge
    [To judge to judge whoa]
    Who you are or what you’re gonna be
    I guess sometimes I forget
    Whoa
    Just how much you mean to me

    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Whoa
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Oh whoa
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na

    I guess sometimes I just don’t know,
    Whoa
    How to say exactly how I feel inside
    I guess sometimes I just don’t know
    Whoa
    How to say that I love you

    Yeah

    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na
    Whoa
    Sha na na na na na na na na na na na

  21. Mr. Franchise, I believe that Ronnie J. Dio said it best when he penned this little number:

    “When there’s lightning – it always bring me down
    Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me
    Who’s lost and never found
    I cry for magic – I feel it dancing in the light
    But it was cold – I lost my hold
    To the shadows of the night

    There’s no sign of the morning coming
    You’ve been left on your own
    Like a Rainbow in the Dark

    Do your demons – do they ever let you go
    When you’ve tried – do they hide -deep inside
    Is it someone that you know
    You’re a picture – just an image caught in time
    We’re a lie – you and I
    We’re words without a rhyme

    There’s no sign of the morning coming
    You’ve been left on your own
    Like a Rainbow in the Dark

    When there’s lightning – it always brings me down
    Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me
    Who’s lost and never found
    Feel the magic -feel it dancing in the air
    But it’s fear – and you’ll hear
    It calling you beware

    There’s no sign of the morning coming
    There’s no sight of the day
    You’ve been left on your own
    Like a Rainbow in the Dark”

  22. I used to be a Henley constituent when it was Heseltine-Land.

    Back then it was one issue and one issue only – the Regal cinema, which was generally enough to send any resident screaming to the hills.

  23. Boris,
    Do you edit the postings that appear on this blog [Ed: yes we do have positive discrimination against unacceptable entries]

  24. Maybe, just maybe, his entry was being edited as you commented, and so to avoid you, ‘The Count’, from looking like a complete idiot, your comment was removed?
    Read through all the other comments. Do you really think that your comment would have been specifically censored?

  25. Rants? Concerns? OK here’s a few suggestions:

    * many PPC’s at the Tory conference made excellent speeches but I know I hear nothing of mine. What about all parties being more informative about funding, how everyone works in the party and a suggestion from the powers that be about PPC’s being more visable ALL THE TIME.

    * I live near what I believe is the second biggest mall in Europe. It was built on a steel works and a farm. Local planning permission was refused and then given by central government. Tax breaks and free parking has almost obliterated local businesses. Now the local authority is suggesting moving a bus station and a river to accomodate a 24hr Tesco. Sports facilities in three towns surrounding the mall are threatened to this end. So Boris, what about the issue of sports facilities, especially with the olympic bid for LONDON, planning permission generally and the interferance of central government in local issues, specifically the arts and leisure. A double edged sword?

    * People talk about creating jobs but not much is said about manufacturing, fishing and farming. These industries create wealth. Barn conversions are bad news arn’t they? Lots in Henley? They mean a declining industry surely? I paid

  26. Re: Amy’s comments on Boris’s allowances. We should also note that Boris claims 20,333 pounds Additional costs & Allowances, which the guidelines state are specifically for the “cost of staying overnight away on Parliamentary duty…”. That’s 55 pounds for every night of the year. I know Boris has a lot of jobs but even he must be at home sometime. But then, he has a home in London and in Henley. So how does he arrive at the maximum allowance of overnight stays on parliamentary duty? Just how much did they charge at that hotel in Liverpool? I suspect, of course, that we, the poor old British taxpayers, are subsidising the mortgage of this famously anti-tax, anti-state MP.

  27. Yea, the whole “stay in London” allowance is bogus right now. A commute from Henley isn’t hard, lots of us do it every day. 1.5 hours on the train @ around

  28. If the commenst are, in fact, edited, can we get rid of some of the retarded song lyrics? (ie. Dio) They’re not technically ‘comments’ and may represent some sort of copyright infringements.

  29. whats boris got to say regarding the new changes to gambling laws?
    [Ed: hope you received our email in response]

  30. Emotions

    In Pursuit of Happiness

    Joe and Jane Average enjoyed what most people would call a good start in life. They had each received excellent educations, and after they were married got jobs with promising futures. It wasn’t long until children were born, and Jane was able to stay home with the kids full time.

    If they had any complaint, it was that Joe’s job was very demanding at times. Overall, though, they didn’t mind and seemed to be able to squeeze in enough fun family activities to keep one step ahead of the stress. And as Joe’s position in the company advanced, their lifestyle kept pace with the growing income.

    Joe and Jane had each accepted Christ as their Savior as young people, and their commitment to Him had grown through the years. As parents, they did what they could to make sure their children enjoyed the same spiritual opportunities. Worship services and church activities were a priority, at least most of the time, and sometimes Joe taught a Sunday school class.

    Anyone who saw them would have said they were doing well in all areas, and the Average family would have agreed. However, what happened next would change their lives forever . . . at least that’s the expectation for a story like this one. But nothing spectacular or calamitous happened to the Averages. God did not allow them to go through any extreme time of suffering, though they had their share of frustrations and disappointments.

    If Joe and Jane were completely honest, they would each confess a secret boredom with their lives. They weren’t ungrateful, but even as believers, they found themselves quietly asking, “Is this all there is?” Life sometimes seemed mediocre, unfulfilling, and just plain average. Where was the bubbling joy and soaring ecstasy they were supposed to find in their relationships with Christ? They weren’t consumed with materialism or irresponsible or shallow, like so many around them. But somehow, the deeper feeling of satisfaction in the Lord seemed to elude them.

    Does this story sound familiar to you, plus or minus a few details? Do you have a silent heartache of longing for something more? What does “happiness” mean anyway, and is God interested in your emotional well-being? The answer is yes, He does, but the road to the kind of fulfillment the Lord wants you to have is contrary to ordinary, “common-sense” understanding. Happiness doesn’t just happen, and it isn’t the result of temporary emotions or momentarily pleasing circumstances.

    In his book Lifemapping, Christian marriage and family counselor Dr. John Trent explains a vital principle: “Have you ever felt that you were ‘spinning your wheels,’ that you were merely existing, nor contributing something positive to God’s kingdom? Or do you, in contrast, have a clear purpose that gets you up in the morning and inspires you to do your best all day long? . . .

    “Everyone needs a clear idea of where he or she is headed . . . It may seem that there’s no real cost to being aimless, but lack of purpose actually drains energy and life. Since that may sound like an exaggeration, let’s look at a dramatic example of what I mean.

    “In 1944-45, Dr. Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. While observing hundreds of fellow prisoners during those terrible years, he made a startling observation: People could live through even the most deplorable conditions as long as they had a clear purpose to hold onto . . .

    “Like it or not, how clearly we picture our future, both spiritually and physically, will directly affect our quality of life, and often its length as well!”

    That is why the mission and pursuit of your life is such a critical issue. Scripture makes it clear that for the believer, to pursue happiness is to pursue Christ; there is no other equation. Where the question comes in for most of us is what that means for daily life. Obviously, “just getting by” spiritually isn’t enough; a spiritually mediocre mindset leaves you flat and lifeless, without the passion for Him that Christ wants to build into your experience.

    In 1 Timothy 6:6-10, the apostle Paul explains what does not constitute a worthy life goal. “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment . . . But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

    You’ve certainly heard these verses before, and they are a hearty warning about chasing the wrong things. There is no doubting the endless pain caused by wrong priorities, and many have been trapped before they know what is happening.

    However, it is not enough to dwell on error and seek to avoid it. Asking God to help you not go down a certain path is only half the request. God created you with the need to achieve, to work, to aspire and dream and strive toward a God-given goal. His purpose is to replace your former drives with a Christ-centered vitality. The passage in 1 Timothy 6 doesn’t end with a no. It finishes with the resounding yes of your mission in the Lord:

    “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (vs. 11-12).

    The verbs here are ones of action. God does not intend for you to just sit around passively. That’s what leads to feelings of discontentment, worthlessness, burnout, purposelessness, and unfulfillment. God created you to experience the satisfaction of a deep and joyful relationship with Him through Christ. He has given you the Holy Spirit, who guides you into all truth and gives you His wisdom and discernment. It’s through His power that you are able to shift your focus away from the temporal and onto the eternal. (Colossians 3:1-4)

    Be careful, though, not to misunderstand what it means to pursue eternal things. You can never earn or achieve a relationship with God by working at it hard enough. Salvation is by faith alone. (Romans 5:1-2) Furthermore, the evidence of salvation is produced through the power of the Holy Spirit; thus, the resulting traits of character are called the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26) You cannot make yourself be more Christ-like through working hard at it; that growth happens naturally and is a reflection of your heart.

    What difference do you think it would make in your life if when you woke up in the morning you said to yourself, “I am Christ’s ambassador, ready to go out and be a part of His work for His kingdom. What do you want me to do today, God?” That’s a pretty powerful mission statement. It’s the highest one there can ever be, and no earthly motivation has any weight or merit in comparison.

    You don’t have to settle for less than the best. Do you understand that the riches of your inheritance in Christ aren’t just for heaven, they are for right now today? True happiness isn’t a myth or a condition reserved for the so-called spiritual elite – it’s for you. And finding it is not a mystery; it’s a matter of an adjustment in perspective.

    Ask the Lord to implant His mission in your heart and invigorate your spirit with the wonder of His love each day. You will see the love of God at work, and the satisfaction of this glorious task knows no equal this side of heaven.

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