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Listening To Others

I was recently a part of a think tank at work. We were in a room and had to solve a problem that the business is facing. After we redefined what the real problem was, it was time to find the solution. Our group let people speak and when there were good ideas, we write them down. After we decided on a solution we came up with what that would look like. The room beside us didn’t get anywhere on their problem because two guys wouldn’t listen to any ideas but their own. People offered compromises, but neither budged. The rest of their group suffered because of their inability to listen to what the other was saying.

As Christians, we can’t let pride stand in our way. It blinds us from correction God sends and becomes a roadblock in our walk with God. Listening to God is important, and so is listening to the people He puts into our lives that speak His words to us. It may not always be what we want to hear, but if we are wise, we’ll put our pride away to listen. All of my life, God has used people to speak to me. Life would have been much harder if I hadn’t learned to listen a long time ago. Consider who God has put in your life to speak to you. Have you been listening or pushing them away?

Here are some Bible verses on listening.

1. Listen to what is wise and try to understand it.

Proverbs 2:2 GNT

2. If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

Proverbs 15:31 NLT

3. Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19 GNT

4. For those who listen with open hearts will receive more revelation. But those who don’t listen with open hearts will lose what little they think they have!

Mark 4:25 TPT

5. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield (listen) to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

James 3:17 NLT

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Finding Contentment

One of the dangers of social media is that it can create internal discontentment. What I mean by that is you can spend time looking at what other people are doing, eating or where they’re going and think your life is boring by comparison. You can look at the happy pictures they post and think that they’re always happy and never have trouble. The problem is what people are putting on social media is the life they want to show you. It’s not their whole life. What we end up doing is comparing our whole life to these snippets of their life and that creates discontentment in us and in who God made us to be.

God created you and uses life to sheep you more and more into a person who can have a greater impact on others. When we remove the lens of social media, and look at our life through God’s lens, we can see He has given us a unique ability to reach people who can’t be reached by others. I don’t think social media is bad, but we can’t use it as the lens through which we view our lives. We have to be content with how God created us, the personality He’s given us and where He’s placed us. That kind of contentment is truly trusting in His plan for you, and when we trust Him that much anything is possible.

Here are some Bible verses on being content.

1. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Matthew 5:5 MSG

2. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10 GNT

3. Don’t be obsessed with money but live content with what you have, for you always have God’s presence. For hasn’t he promised you, “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!”

Hebrews 13:5 TPT

4. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

Philippians 4:11 NLT

5. But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].

1 TIMOTHY 6:6 AMP

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Encourage Someone

I was sharing my story with someone and they made a remark about the encouragement I received from the people around me during that time. I agreed and told him I wouldn’t be around if it hadn’t been for those people who showed up and helped me through those times. We never know how important it is to someone when we show up in their time of need or say the right words when they need to hear them most. Those things provide the fuel people need to keep going when they’re ready to give up.

If you Google The word “encourage”, it means, “to give support, confidence or hope to someone.” You and I are told many times to encourage other believers and people around us. God knows that each one of us need words of encouragement to help us get through life. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time to give encouragement to someone, and it can make a world of difference. Look around you today and offer encouragement to someone even if you’re not sure they need it. Doing it will brighten someone’s day and show them God’s love.

Here are some Bible verses on encouraging others.

1. A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life.

PROVERBS 15:4 AMP

2. And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 GNT

3. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

Proverbs 10:21 NLT

4. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

1 Thessalonians 5:13-15 MSG

5. Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.

Hebrews 10:24 TPT

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Good Habits

Habits are behaviors in our lives that have developed over time. We get them from repeating a behavior, and many times we we do them effortlessly. Habits can be good or bad, and we all have them. We usually know what habits we have, but some of them are in our blind spot and are very obvious to others. The great news for you and I is that if it can be learned, it can be unlearned. We don’t have to keep the habits we have, and we can create new habits in our lives over time.

As Christians, there are certain habits that we should avoid, and there are others that we need to adopt. It’s never easy to create or break ourselves of a habit. I believe that when we invite Jesus to be Lord of our life, He helps us to make those changes in our lives. Even though He lives in us, our flesh is still alive and wants us to do things its way instead. It’s a constant struggle for us to break old habits and to develop new godly ones, but it’s something each of us must work on and do.

Here are some Bible verses regarding habits.

1. For God sees everything you do and his eyes are wide open as he observes every single habit you have.

Proverbs 5:21 TPT

2. So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.

James 1:21 GNT

3. Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

I Corinthians 15:33 NKJV

4. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

Hebrews 10:25 GNT

5. Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to GOD! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.

Psalm 64:9-10 MSG

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Looking Within

A couple of years ago I went to become a certified John Maxwell trainer, speaker and coach. During the coaching certification, one of the exercises was to coach someone to be able to juggle. As many of us were failing at helping someone juggle (because we didn’t know the first thing about juggling), the certified got up and said, “It is within you, but you have to learn to draw it out.” Before you knew it, people were juggling all over the room. All of us had to put aside our self limiting thoughts, and believe that God had placed everything we need within us.

I’ll never forget that moment because it taught me that God has put so much inside of me, but it was up to me to draw it out. Our mind functions on knowledge, but our spirit has a connection to the all knowing creator. He has given each of us all we need, but we as individuals must learn to draw it out like water from a deep well. We must trust that our creator has equipped us for every good work. We just have to look inside to find it.

Here are some Bible verses about things God has put in us.

1. Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.

Proverbs 20:5 NLT

2. “No one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’; because the Kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17:21 GNT

3. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My ordinances and do them.

EZEKIEL 36:27 AMP

4. What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13 MSG

5. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, [that special endowment] which was intentionally bestowed on you [by the Holy Spirit] through prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands on you [at your ordination].

1 TIMOTHY 4:14 AMP

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A Living Example

When we were kids, one of my dad’s favorite sayings to us was, “Do as I say. Don’t do as I do!” Of course as kids, we did what we saw rather than what we heard. We followed the example that we saw. Now that I’m a parent, I see the same thing in my child. His actions follow my example. If I get onto him for it, his reply is, “But you just did it.” It’s in our human nature to follow the example set by those who have led us. Actions teach better than words.

As Christians, the same rules apply. You don’t have to be a pastor, or a church leader, to have people see the example of how you live as a Christian. None of us have the luxury of saying, “Do as I say. Don’t do as I do.” Each of us are an example to someone whether we know it or not. Our lives should reflect what we say we believe – not just on Sundays. You are an example of what a Christian is to someone in your life. Live it as an example of a life not of perfection, but one that trusts God.

Here are some Bible verses on being an example.

1. And in all things show yourself to be an example of good works, with purity in doctrine [having the strictest regard for integrity and truth], dignified, sound and beyond reproach in instruction, so that the opponent [of the faith] will be shamed, having nothing bad to say about us.

TITUS 2:7-8 AMP

2. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.

1 Peter 5:3 NLT

3. Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility].

PHILIPPIANS 2:5 AMP

4. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

1 Timothy 4:12 NLT

5. Pay close attention, son, and let my life be your example.

Proverbs 23:26 GNT

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A Lasting Foundation

When I look back on the time in my life where I hit rock bottom and lost just about everything, I see a picture of me laying down in the rain. There is wood and other things thrown about the yard from what used to be the life I had built. As I was talking to God about it one day, I was lamenting on how I had lost everything. That’s when God pointed out what I was laying on. It was the foundation of my life. Everything else may have been stripped away, but I could always rebuild on a firm foundation, especially one that had weathered the storm.

Every one of us build our life out of things and on a foundation. Every one of us will face storms in life. What we’ve built our life out of and on will determine how well we weather those storms. Jesus told us to be wise by building our lives on the rock so that we would have a good foundation for those times. That rock He told us to build on was the truth of God’s Word. All of Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will remain. Be wise and build your life on what will last.

Here are some verses on having a good foundation.

1. “If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.”

Luke 6:48-49 MSG

2. In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.

Isaiah 33:6 NLT

3. Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation].

PROVERBS 24:3 AMP

4. But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.”

2 Timothy 2:19 GNT

5. When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.

Proverbs 10:25 NLT

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