Evaluate Your Relationships

As I prepare to end this year and begin a new one, I’m planning to strengthen the relationships that are helpful.  At the same time, I’m praying for wisdom to redefine the relationships I can and courage to eliminate the relationships I must.

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Stop Catastrophizing

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Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is.  Catastrophizing generally can take two forms—Present and Presumptive.

Present Catastrophizing is making a catastrophe out of a present situation by taking that situation and giving it a truly negative “spin”.

Presumptive Catastrophizing is closely linked to the first, but it is more mental and more future oriented. This kind of Catastrophizing occurs when we look to the future and anticipate or assume all the things that are going to go wrong. We then create a reality around those thoughts (e.g. “It’s bound to all go wrong for me…”).

Far to often, we exaggerate or tell ourselves that the situation is unbearable.  We also talk ourselves into anticipating the worst.  Some people make even the smallest incidents into catastrophes. One thing happens and we think that nothing ever turns out right for us.  We must stop magnifying the disappointments.

So how can we conquer catastrophizing?  David helps us in Psalm 34.

Psalm 34:1-3, 8, 19, 22

1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Start with these…

  1. Bless the Lord at all times.
  2. Praise Him continually.
  3. Boast in the Lord.
  4. Magnify the Lord.
  5. Exalt His Name.
  6. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
  7. Trust in Him.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  Wayne Dyer

Measuring Our Hearts’s Humility

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Proverbs 15:33 (KJV)

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

Proverbs 15:33 (The Message)

Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—first you learn humility, then you experience glory.

The Hebrew word for “Humility” is “Anavah”.   As is often the case with Hebrew words, “Anavah” is packed with much more meaning than it initially lets on.  Studying it from the root word “Anah”, along with its many variations, I submit the following as a description for “Humility”.

Humility” is about Acknowledging our submission to and dependence upon God, Recognizing the worth and abilities of others, and Embracing a proper estimation of who we are, where we are, what we have and why we’re here.

This kind of Humility in our hearts will function as a life-guiding GPS that directs our spiritual journey while at the same time revealing our spiritual curriculum—God’s change agenda for our lives.  When it comes to life change (cultivating virtues & eliminating vices), know that it is neither a self-help project or a shortcut process.  We must cooperate with God and put in the work required for lasting change.

Measuring the Humility of our hearts reveals our willingness and readiness to change.

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Because we must “first learn humility”, I’ve accepted Jesus’ invitation.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 

30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lord, help me to learn how to continually…

1)  Acknowledge my submission to and dependence upon God

2) Recognize the worth and abilities of others

3) Embrace a proper estimation of who I am, where I am, what I have and why I’m here.

Peace,

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Leading By Example

Jesus led by example.  Whoever wants to become great among you must first be your servant!  Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an example of how they were to live.

John 13:15

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

When you lead by example, there’s nothing those who follow you will not do for you and with you.  I believe this applies to every area of life (Family Life, Work Life, Community Life, Church Life).  Don’t just tell people what to do, show them how it’s done.  Then you can delegate.

As a World-Class Leader:

People who follow you need to see your dedication to become dedicated.

People who follow you need to see your enthusiasm to become enthusiastic.

People who follow you need to see your hard work to maximize their hard work.

-Adapted from Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Book of Leadership”

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What kind of example do you set on a daily basis?

Peace,

 

How Well Do You Handle Correction?

correction_-_Google_SearchWe usually like to associate ourselves with people who praise us or celebrate us.  We generally do not like anyone pointing their finger at our mistakes, and if anyone does call attention to our mistakes we can tend to not like that person very much.  John wrote to Gaius concerning the behavior of Diotrephes.  He was “Defiant”— Openly Resistant and Boldly Disobedient.  His defiance is seen in his Thoughts, Words, and Actions.  John made known his intention to bring “Correction” to the behavior Diotrephes continually displayed.

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember {call attention to and talk with him about} his deeds…  3 John 10

We all need correction, therefore we must be open to it (Jeremiah 10:23-24).  God will use His Word and genuine others to confront us and bring correction to our lives (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 141:5Galatians 2:11-14).

Before we look at how to handle correction, allow me to show you why we need correction.  We need corrections because…

 Correction keeps us in God’s Will. (Proverbs 10:17)

Correction keeps us on an honorable path.  (Proverbs 13:18)

Correction keeps us out of ignorance.  (Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 15:32)

What was your response the last time someone pointed out an area in your life that needed correcting?  How did you handle it?  Here are three helpful hints for handling correction.

  1. Resolve To Focus On The “Essence” Of What Is Said, Not The “Emotions” In Which It Is Said.                                                                
  2. Resist Pointing Out The Faults Of The Person That Is Correcting You.
  3. Refuse To Hold  Resentment Or Bitterness In Your Heart Towards The People Who Correct You.

Let us ask God to correct us through His Word or send us people in our lives who will guide & correct us.  If you have been bitter with anyone for pointing out your mistakes, forgive them right now.  Ask God for a clean heart and a corrective spirit because correction will keep us “In God’s will”, correction will keep us “On an Honorable Path”, and correction will keep us “Out of Ignorance”.

Know This… A life free of correction is a life free of restraint, responsibility, and reward.

Peace,

Spiritual Maturity. A “Ladder” to Climb or A “Winding Path” to Take?

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I believe viewing “Spiritual Maturity” as a “Ladder” to be climbed has definite drawbacks.  One of the primary drawbacks is that this view can encourage comparisons with other people.  We can be tempted to view ourselves on one rung of the ladder, while seeing others on a lower or higher rung.  “Spiritual Maturity” is more like a “Winding Path” to take that may not look the same for everyone.  The life-lessons that contribute to our maturity are not always as simple as taking one step up on the ladder.  Nor is it always as simple as learning something all at once and then you’re done.  Actually, some life-lesson that lead to maturity are a matter of degrees, and some take decades to learn.  The real issue isn’t what rung of the ladder I’m on, but am I making progress on my journey to spiritual maturity.

2 Peter 1:5-8 mentions seven different graces that are to be developed in us as part of our spiritual maturity.  Know that our growth and development doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  We grow and develop through our life situations, circumstances and events (even trials and troubles).  Here are the seven…

1) Virtue: the proper and excellent fulfillment of something; the determination to do right; fulfilling what you are supposed to do which is glorify God by your life by becoming like Christ and following Him.

2) Knowledge: truth properly comprehended, properly understood, and properly applied; correct insight that comes form the Wisdom of God’s Word and life experience.

3) Temperance (Self-control): application of that mentioned above knowledge so that it affects your reason (thinking), emotion (feeling) and will (doing); it is holding oneself in, self-restrained, self-disciplined; controlling the flesh, the passions, and the bodily desires rather than allowing yourself to be controlled by them.

4) Patience (Perseverance): remaining steadfast to the Lord and His cause regardless of the situations, circumstances and events of life; endurance in doing what is right, never giving up to temptation, never giving up to trial, never giving up to difficulty, never giving up to sin.

5) Godliness: being like God, as He would have you to be and live completely for God and be joyful about it;  the practical awareness of God in every area of life—the idea of God-consciousness.

6) Kindness: showing brotherly affection, friendship and mutual sacrifice for others because of our mutual relationship to Christ.

7) Charity (Love):  This is the love of the will, the love of choice, the love of volition, not the love of  emotion; it is doing what needs to be done in a spirit of self-sacrifice even in spite of your differences with other.

Along my “Winding Path” towards “Spiritual Maturity”, I’m keeping my eyes open for God to use the situations, circumstances and events of my life to grow and develop me.  I want to make progress.  How about you?

Peace,

He’s A Great God!