We talk about the weather a lot don’t we? When it’s nice out we feel compelled to comment on it and when it’s bad weather outside we often complain about it. In Ohio this is an everyday occurrence. We watch the weather forecasters and watch the weather channel to find out all we can about the weather. Weather does affect our lives in small ways. Sometimes it causes us to change plans or change our moods.
How is your weather? As I was outside today, I started thinking about the weather and how each person has their own weather everyday. Are you party sunny, partly cloudy, mostly sunny, chance of rain, chance of severe thunderstorms? Each day we have a forecast for our weather. The thing about this weather is that we have some control over the weather in our lives.
Our personal weather is affected by what and how we think. Our weather follows our thoughts, so if you are thinking negative, bad thoughts your weather will most likely be mostly cloudy. Now I understand that we can’t always be sunny or happy. There will be those days that are darker than the others. There will be some storms in our life, but how long we stay there depends a lot on our thoughts.
When we dwell on thoughts that are negative, we tend to spiral downward and stay in the storm. We actually increase the strength of the storm the more we stay with those negative thoughts.
So how do you train yourself to think in the right way? Philippians 4:4-8 describes this process well in the Message version.
“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
So if your weather has been mostly cloudy or if you’ve been experiencing severe weather in your life examine what you have been thinking about. We become what we think about. Our hearts are fed by our thoughts. The Bible says to guard our hearts, and the best way to do that is to be careful what we think about and where we focus our minds. You have the ability to drastically improve your weather, starting today.
With Thanksgiving day tomorrow I’ve been thinking about giving thanks. Being thankful means to express gratitude or appreciation. I found the word thankful, thankfulness, thanks and thanksgiving 18 times in Scripture.
The first is in 1 Chronicles 16:8 – “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” Verses 7-36 describe how David gave thanks. Go ahead and read it for yourself.
There are four elements of true thanksgiving found in these verses:
The emphasis is to remember, tell, show and offer. If you are truly thankful, your life will reflect it. This Thanksgiving take some time to do those four things. Choose to express gratitude and show appreciation to everyone around you. When you carry that thankful attitude around with you, your relationships will all improve and people will want to be around you.
Have a great Thanksgiving
We all are pursuing something. We were created to be and do. What we pursue is what we think most about. Our energy goes in that direction, our thoughts lead to actions to help us pursue that something.
I remember when I was pursuing my wife. We were in High School, she was two years older, a cheerleader, popular and somewhat interested in me. I found myself pursuing her, thinking about her all the time. I wanted to spend all my time with her. Whenever I had a chance to be with her, I chose that path. I pursued her even when she was not interested in me. That persistence paid off and we started going steady. I gave things up for her, I spent less time with my friends to be with her. I wanted her and so I pursued her.
I continued to pursue her through High School and through my first two years of college. I pursued her for 5 years. We got married on May 27th 1989. I have continued to pursue her over the past 20 years. I continue to think about her, spend time with her, have conflict with her, resolve conflict with her, serve her, learn about her and be with her.
When we pursue something with persistence we can achieve some amazing things. For me it has been 20 years of marriage. When you pursue your career and that is your main focus you can make lots of money. If you pursue physical fitness you can achieve amazing results like running marathons. If you pursue close friendships you can have amazing community, accountability and unconditional love. When you pursue knowledge/education you can become a expert on nearly anything you study.
What if you would pursue God like that? What if you pursued truth like that? What if you pursued wisdom like that? The results could be amazing as well. What would happen if you actually read through the entire Bible over the next three months? What would happen if you spent time daily praying, meditating on truth and thinking about God? What if you pursued God like you pursue your job or your marriage or your girlfriend or your education? What if He was the main thing you thought about no matter what was going on in your life?
We all pursue something, when we are not in pursuit of something we are stagnate, bored and often depressed. Pursuing something with passion has great power. What are you pursuing? A year from now how much closer will you be to what you are pursuing?
I went to a workshop over the weekend on Sexual Integrity. Four Mentors from NewPointe Community Church joined me. The speaker was Jason Martinkus from Redemptive Living and Every Mans Battle. Here are some of the notes I took:
Sexual additions are affecting everyone, whether famous, unknown, young or old. Here are some statistics that are eye opening:
Jason then went on to share his personal story of sexual addiction and how it nearly destroyed his life. To read his story go to redemptive living.
Here are some more notes I took from his talk:
Countermeasures against those lies is how we prepare ourselves. Fasting & Prayer are keys. Are you connecting with God on a regular basis, growing deeper in your relationship with Him?
Notes from his talk about the flesh:
Holes in the heart:
Help for Hurting Souls:
I hope some of my notes were helpful to you. If you struggle with any kind of sexual sin, there is hope for you to overcome it. You can’t do it alone though, so get some help. Ask some people close to you to walk with you through this journey to sexual integrity.
What is distracting you from doing what is most important? What have you said no to lately? Here is a simple exercise I would highly recommend you trying.
Take a piece of paper and write goals at the top. Then list your top 10 goals for the next 12 months. It could be work related, health related, money related, spiritual or relational.
Once you have at least 10 goals listed ask yourself this question: If I could only accomplish one goal, but it would happen within the next 24 hours, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on my life.
Circle that one goal that would have the biggest impact on you if it happened. Then flip the page over and start brainstorming how you can make that one goal a reality. List out several things that you could do immediately to start getting closer to that goal. Start saying no to other things that would distract you from achieving that goal, within reason. I don’t think it is wise to say no to your family, your marriage, your faith.
When we narrow the focus it helps us work on things that are really most important. Those important things that will impact our work. Those important things that would transform our marriage. Those important things that would impact our faith. Those important things that would impact our finances.
I know for me I need to start setting aside more time for the important stuff and limit the distractions. That takes some self-discipline and maybe learning some new habits. To make that happen you may need someone to coach you or mentor you or maybe even hold you accountable. That may sound like hard work, but that’s the only way to have lasting change happen in your life.
Don’t wait for the new year to start making changes in your life, start today.
Physical fitness and spiritual fitness go hand in hand. Both are highly beneficial, but difficult to achieve. Most everyone wants to eat right and exercise to have a healthy, strong body. Most everyone wants a close intimate relationship with God and the inner peace that comes from that. Why don’t we do it?
This is what God has laid on my heart lately. I need to develop some better physical fitness routines and spiritual fitness routines. I have some people that are going to hold me accountable over the next 90 days to work at improving the health of my physical heart and my spiritual heart.
How does this happen? Well for me it was a decision I made. I basically said. “OK God I’m ready”. This is the journey He is taking me on. I know that for me to go to a new level of spiritual leadership I need to develop some new habits and eliminate some old habits. Anytime I feel stuck it is usually because I have gotten comfortable in a routine or rut.
To get unstuck physically, emotionally or spiritually you first need to make a decision to change.
Then you need to find your motivation. Why do you want to lose weight, exercise, read your Bible or pray? Is it because other people want you to do that or because it is something you should do, or is because you desire to change and grow and be a better example to everyone around you. Finding your motivation is critical to the long term success of improved fitness.
Once you find your motivation to make the change then you need to find some people to hold you accountable and to go on the journey with you. Developing new routines and habits is hard work and it really helps to have people asking how you are doing. It also helps to have someone to encourage you when you don’t want to go exercise or read or eat healthy.
Once you have your accountability in place, you need to develop a strategy and some practical goals. That is the stage I am in right now. The next step is to start, don’t wait until everything feels right. You need to start making changes today – Are you ready?
“Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.” That is from Proverbs 20:5 in The Message.
How do you get deep water in the heart? How do you gain wisdom to know what is right? Those are tough questions to answer. To gain wisdom we need to listen well. Mainly listening to God, through reading Scripture. There is incredible wisdom in the Bible, yet most people choose not to go there and dig deep.
Life experience can also bring wisdom if you listen well. If you are learning from your experience and make changes accordingly you gain wisdom. I have found that when I do the hard thing instead of the easy thing I gain wisdom and insight from that experience. Sometimes doing the right thing can be hard. When you know the right thing to do and then follow through and do it, you mature, grow and gain wisdom. Your waters get deeper and you have more to draw from.
When you know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, you go backwards, you get stuck in muddy waters. I believe courage and wisdom go together. When you have the courage to do the right thing you gain new wisdom from that experience.
Deepen the waters in your heart by digging into God’s word, learning from your experiences and having the courage to do what you know is right.
Are you an encourager or a discourager? I believe that one of our purposes in life is to be an encouragement to the people in our lives. All of our relationships are improved when we encourage. The Bible talks a lot about encouraging one another. Here is a checklist for encourager’s:
Look for opportunities this week to encourage the people you work with, live with and bump into. Every conversation, every encounter with another person is a chance to encourage them.