I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.
Dudley Field Malone
To grow in wisdom we must first open ourselves to the wisdom of others.
You probably don’t wear the same clothes you wore 20 years ago. You changed a lot since then. Your opinions have probably changed a lot since then, also. 20 years ago you may have thought that you were right about many things only to find years later that you were wrong.
20 years from now the same will be true. It is better to go thru life with this understanding, than thinking that we are always right. We need to seek to understand and listen first, then respond.
Growth requires change and this means wise counsel will redirect you. Instead of fearing a punch to your pride, remember that you are growing.
Surrounding yourself with those on your level in every way is a recipe for complacency.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20 NIV
President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated in November of 1863.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. – Abraham Lincoln
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV
I remember watching a commercial many years ago advertising a book about quitting smoking. It was full of smoking facts and the negative effects smoking has on people’s health. The advertiser claimed that reading their book would help you quit smoking.
I never bought that book, but that moment did have a big impact on me. I realized that I could create and eliminate habits by reading books. I soon put this to the test.
I wanted to exercise more more so I read a book about exercising. Not only was the book educational, but it was also motivating. It was hard not to exercise when I was immersed in learning about it.
By reading a book I was forced to work on the habit. (at least until I was finished with the book)
The book would change my thinking and therefore the habit was easier to implement.
I have used this approach on just about everything I could think of. I even have to go back to certain habits and refresh with a new book.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
When opportunity knocks it’s too late to prepare. – John Wooden
You have to be ready now.
Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. – Bobby Unser
You have to put in the work before you can expect an opportunity to happen. Success doesn’t appear out of thin air.
Thomas Edison didn’t get the light bulb right on the first try.
I Have Not Failed. I Have Just Found 10,000 Things That Do Not Work. – Thomas Edison
Don’t wait around for good things to happen to you. Go out and make them happen.
Don’t wait for opportunity, create it.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. –Dwight D. Eisenhower
Privilege – A right or benefit that is given to some people and not others. (http://www.merriam-webster.com)
Examples: Great Schools, Big House, Luxury Cars, Nice Vacations, Tutors, Flexible Work Hours
Principle – A moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions. (http://www.merriam-webster.com)
Examples: Love the Lord your God with all your heart…, Love your neighbor as yourself,
Privilege that is a result of principles is something to be honored. Without principles you get privilege by any means necessary. Every man for himself.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 NIV
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
This reminds me of a lot of many political talk radio shows. Most of what is said is merely opinion and ranting about how the other side is “evil”. Instead of trying to find any solutions they only create a greater divide. The sad part about this is the listeners go on to rant word for word what they heard to others, without any understanding of the full issue at hand.
The same can be said of Christians with their views on the Bible. I hear so many opinions without any Biblical references.
Instead of giving an opinion, the wiser choice would be to focus on understanding. If we want an opinion, maybe we should check God’s before we give ours.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. ― Charles R. Swindoll
For most of my life I focused on the 10%. I thought the objective was to make life as comfortable as possible so that I could be as happy as possible. If you want a recipe for selfishness this is it. Life is messy and living in the 10% will only leave you feeling like a victim.
The real objective is to thrive in any situation. This is freedom. When the focus is on the character and attitude you never have to fear what life will bring. You will not be moved and swayed by the rough waters.
Focus on character not comfort.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
The enemy to the renewing of our minds is conformity to the world. Don’t think that the devil just wants people to be outright sinful: distracted and content will do just fine. The object, for him, is to keep us far away from any work of the Lord in our life. Bad times will send us right to the Lord asking for help. We have all heard of the death bed conversions. Distraction on the other hand is a silent, but effective tool. When we are completely happy and content in this world we close our eyes to the Lord.
Looking back at the verse it lays out the steps we should take.
- Do not conform to the world
- Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
- Test God’s will
- Approve God’s will
Paul is confident that we will approve that God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect. Can we say this about the world that we live in?
I remember bragging to some family members about how amazing I was at soccer.I even told them that I was going to be on a card.
Looking back I might have overstated this somewhat.
When these doubters asked how many goals I scored that year, I just scratched my head.
“Well, none yet, but…”
Oh, and did I say I was only in the first grade.
This reminds me of when the disciples were fighting over who would sit next to Jesus in heaven.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” Mark 10:37 NIV
They had no idea what they were asking. They wanted to be in a position of honor that they did not deserve. They were way out of there league just as I was in believing that I was as good as a professional soccer player.
Jesus then turned this back on them.
43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 NIV
We are not here to honor ourselves in our delusions. We are here on earth to serve.
I heard a great quote today: You don’t do what you want you do what you know.
At first this just confused me, but when I thought about it for a moment it really hit me.
Most of the time we live in default mode. We just do what we have always done. We have always done what we learned as children to do and so on. So much of our lives are just habits we have always had and we continue to do.
The question is “Is this getting you what you want?”
Are your habits bearing Godly fruit or are they toxic and tearing apart your life?
Quit living in what you know and focus on what you want.
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 NIV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 NIV
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46 NIV
At the beginnings of television, the shows were made for all ages so that the whole family could watch them together. Now with hundreds of channels there is unlimited choices good and bad. We went from something a family could watch together to something we watch separately in different rooms. The content can now get as mature as possible and the parents have no idea what there children are watching (since they are in front of another tv). This, of course, did not happen overnight. Slowly over time channels were added and the barriers pushed to more and more mature content. It is now common on prime time television to see gruesome deaths with disgustingly sick story lines. I couldn’t imagine what my thinking would become after sitting down every night and watching that.
If we would show what was on tv to the viewers long ago they would probably shut down most of what is on television.
If you put a frog in boiling water he will hop out. If you put him in room temp water and slowly turn up the temp he will stay in the water until his death. He does not react to the gradual change as he would the drastic change.
In the same way, television has turned up the heat more and more.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 NIV
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 NIV
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
Proverbs 10:9 NIV
Imagine you are a criminal, wanted by the police. You are driving down the road in your car and from the corner of your eye you see a cop. Your heart beats quick, you straighten up and panic. If the cop sees you and pulls you over you are going to be in big trouble. You are facing years in prison.
Again, imagine you lied on your taxes. You never gave to all the charities that you claimed to have given to. You never added the income that you made from an investment that did well last year. Worry now consumes you. What if they audit me?
On the other hand, imagine you live your life according to God’s word. When you drive down the street and see a police officer you will not think twice. You file your taxes and go on with your day. Fear and worry do not consume you. You have nothing to hide.
When we live by the word we have a clear conscience.
Our sins will always follow us and trip up our path. It is not a question of “if” you will be found out, but “when” you will be found out.
Many people view living by God’s word as some kind of jail cell. It appears to them as oppressive. In reality God’s word gives us freedom. He knows what is best for us.