Tag Archives: resolution

Retraining Your Thoughts

This is the time of year when a lot of people are making changes in their life. It’s a new year, so why not create a new you? We all know that New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. There are scheduling conflicts, your body is not used to getting up early, gyms are crowded, and a whole other plethora of reasons why it’s difficult to keep your resolution. While most resolutions focus on your outward body, there’s one that focuses internally that I hope you’ll keep.

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we are what we think. Your mind is very powerful. It tells you what to believe about yourself and others, and we always act according to our beliefs. If you are constantly telling yourself that you’re a nobody, that you’re fat, that you’re ugly, that you’re stupid, that no one cares for you, or any other negative thing, your body will respond accordingly. My hope for you this year, is that you’ll begin to change how you think so you can become who God sees you as.

To change how you think, you need to begin changing what you think about. Watch what you put into your mind, and also be vigilant about what you allow your mind to dwell on. Challenge the thoughts that aren’t true. Stop the thoughts that take you down the rabbit hole. This is tough, but it can be done. You can retrain your mind what to think by challenging what it already thinks. Hold it to the Philippians 4:8 standard.

That verse says, “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”(MSG). Ask your mind, “Is that true?” If not, tell your mind what is true. You can change your life and it starts with how you think. You can do this! Tell yourself that and begin to believe it because it’s true. 

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Do What Matters

I heard the story of a Christian who died and went to Heaven. When he got there, Peter met him at the pearly gates. Peter greeted him and welcomed him to Heaven. He then said, “I’ll have Gabriel take you to your home in glory now.” As Gabriel and the man walked down the streets of gold, he was in awe of all the mansions. There were some enormous ones and the man asked who lived in those. Gabriel said, “Well that one belongs to Mother Teresa, that one belongs to Jonathan Edwards and that one is being built for Billy Graham.

As the continued to walk through the city, the man noticed the mansions were getting smaller. They walked and they walked for what seemed like hours. They started getting the point where houses were not only smaller, but they were few and far between. They walked up to what appeared to be a shack in comparison to earlier mansions. Gabriel said, “Welcome home.” The man was upset and confused. He asked, “Why does my mansion look like this and others look so amazing.” Gabriel simply replied, “This is all you sent us to work with.”

I’m not one who believes that we are saved by our works. I believe we are saved by the grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. I also believe that James says that faith without works is dead. We are to live our lives in a way that reflects what God has done for us. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. We are to help the weak, take care of widows and orphans, clothe and feed the poor and to defend those without a voice.

I Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “On judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” The above story to me is a reflection of this scripture. We can be busy “doing things for God” and not be doing the right things that are of value.

Many of us live our lives as Christians having only accepted what Christ has done and then have never done anything with that grace. As I mentioned on my previous post about my theme for 2013, I want to do things this year that will matter. I want to make sure that what I do increases Him and decreases me. Not all of us can be a Mother Teresa, a Jonathan Edwards or a Billy Graham, but each of us can do things that matter just as much for the Kingdom.

When I was seven, I painted a poem in Sunday School. I remember being so proud of it. I painted it brown and then painted the letters in gold. It was perfect, at least in my seven year old mind it was! It said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Each of us has one life. Each of us have opportunities to do lots of things, but only certain things will survive that fire on judgement day. My prayer is that you and I find and do the things that matter.


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My 2013 Theme

Great organizations and companies have vision and mission statements. They also have themes each year that are reflective of their goals. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a church or any other organization, it’s important that everyone on the team knows what the goals are so they can work together. As a reminder, they put out a theme for the year and keep repeating it so that others can run with them to accomplish their goals.

In January of this year, God spoke to me out of Ephesians 4:1. The scripture says, “Lead a life worthy of your calling.” He said that this was to be my theme this year. All year long I have tried to make changes in my life that were reflective of that theme. When an opportunity showed up, I would ask myself if that would help or hurt my theme of living a life worthy of the call. By making better decisions based on my theme, I saw incredible growth in my spiritual life this year.

Was I able to live a life worthy of that call 100% of the time? No. Am I closer to being who God wants me to be because I have tried harder than ever to live a life worthy of that call? Yes. I believe having that theme has helped me in many ways. It kept me on track where I would have usually failed, it helped me turn my daily commute into prayer time, it helped me to be obedient in starting this blog and it helped me share with others the calling that I have.

Since tomorrow is the start of the new year, I have a new theme. My theme for 2013 is found in John 3:30. It says, “I must decrease and He must increase.” Everything I do in the coming year will be reflected and measured by that verse. The question I will ask in each situation is, “Will this be for my glory or for His?” If it’s for mine, it will go against the theme and be detrimental to my overall goals.

“I must decrease and He must increase” means that I am to put God’s needs above my own. I need to see that His ways are more important than mine. I must recognize that His message and will are more important than my own. This is not an easy theme to follow. It will go against my very human nature. It will take crucifying my flesh and desires daily. Honestly, I’ll need help from others to keep me on track. It’s not something I can do on my own.

Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it.” Quite simply, this is why companies and organizations write out their themes and keep mentioning them. It is so others who read it can run with it. I’m writing mine out so that anyone who reads this can run with me and help me to accomplish what God wants me to this year. I know a few of the things God has in store for me this year and they will require me to decrease my desires and put His first. I’ll be writing about them for sure.

What is your theme this year? I’d love to know so that I can run along side of you to help you accomplish what God has for you this year.


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If 99.9% Were Good Enough

I was cleaning out old stuff in my cubicle yesterday to get prepared for the new year when I came across an attention getter I used to use. You may or may not have seen it, but I’ll share some of it anyway. It’s called “If 99.9% Were Good Enough”. I used it in class to help front line employees know that even small margins of errors can have huge impacts on the business. Here are a few of the more notable ones:

If 99.9% were good enough
– 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents each day
– 268,500 defective tires would be shipped this year
– 14,208 defective computers would be shipped this year
– 2,488,200 books would be shipped with the wrong cover
– 5,517,200 cases of soft drinks would be flat
– 18,323 pieces of mail would be mishandled in the next hour
– 107 incorrect medical procedures would be performed today

What if you could live right 99.9% of the time. Would that be good enough to get to Heaven? Romans 3:10 says that there is no one who is righteous, no, not one. Later on in verse 23, it says that all have sinned and fallen short. Apparently 99.9% isn’t good enough. We all fall short of righteous living. Does that mean that we shouldn’t try? Of course not. Titus 2:12 says that “we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God.”

Just because we are unable to live right doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I was talking to a friend yesterday about an old group of friends I used to have. We called ourselves “Heathens Anonymous”. The concept was simple, but fun. Each of us are born with a sinful nature in us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior it doesn’t mean that we all of a sudden live perfectly. That sinful (heathenistic) nature still lives in us. Just like an alcoholic becomes a recovering alcoholic, we become recovering heathen.

We still fall prey to our fleshly desires from time to time. We should try to refrain from our old way of living as much as possible. According to James our faith without works is dead. In Romans 4:5 it tells us to be careful though. We are not counted as righteous because of our works, but because of God who forgives us. It is His grace that covers our sins especially when our old sinful nature rears its head. Ephesians 2:8,9 says that we are saved by grace and not works so that no one can boast.

Wherever you find yourself from 99.9% down to 0.1% in living right, when you accept Jesus, His grace makes up the difference to get us to 100%! The older I get, the more appreciative I am of His grace. I rely on it, need it and trust in it. I’m not perfect. I’ll still be a recovering heathen as long as I live. There’s one thing I know though, His grace is sufficient to cover my mistakes and short comings. It’s sufficient enough for yours too.

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