April 11, 2016

On the day I originally wrote this article, I took note of the various themes represented on the National Post website for the day. What was reflected there was also being broadcast on the television news.  I wonder whether there is any significance to the recurring events and attitudes being expressed and what the overall influence and impact these reports have on those who take it all in. Is this about the reporting of news, or is it about the development of attitudes and emotions that are conditioning the minds, responses and future actions of large numbers of people around the world? We are bombarded with information related to civil unrest and human tragedy in various parts of the world. On top of that we hear of world economic difficulties, murder, hatred among world peoples, political corruption and mismanagement, and many other areas designed to give you an unhealthy dose of negativity. You can take the time yourself to find the multiple instances recorded in each of these areas if you so desire.  What is your overall response? Are you allowing yourself to be conditioned to feel powerless and hopeless? Are you developing a greater sense of fear, worry and discouragement? Are you becoming more frustrated and angry, noticing less contentment and peace in your life?  Have your attitudes towards moral issues been affected and moulded towards greater political correctness and universal acceptance of “what is”?

Events and circumstances in your life, when they are being repeated over and over again, as reported in the media, will influence and impact how you think, feel, respond, speak and act until you acknowledge you alone are responsible for how you think and what you do. For example, no one can make you angry unless you allow them to. It is up to you to make the conscious choice to be aware of both the external and internal influences impacting your life at any given moment and then to decide what you will do and how you will respond or proceed.

It really would be a good idea to think about and assess how you are feeling about yourself, your relationship with others, and your relationship with God. To what degree are you operating out of fear, worry, frustration, anger, overload, tiredness or any other of the negative emotions of life? Then, it would also be worthwhile to ask about your levels of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and the other positive emotions of life.  Having done that, are there things that may need to change in your life to bring you to the place where you become consciously aware of how you want to live out your life, thereby empowering you to follow through successfully?

It is time to stop living your life on autopilot with no thought to what is ready going on around you. My goal for this article is to help you become consciously aware of influences and powers affecting your life on a daily ongoing basis and to start you thinking and moving towards taking positive action to compensate against the negativity flowing your way.  Only then will you be able to unleash your God given potential and fulfil His destiny for your life. I trust you can see the obvious – you will need God’s help to do this – right?

April 10, 2016

In Matthew 7:7-8 it is recorded Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. {8}  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Why do we not ask when Jesus tells us to? Could it be fear, or lack of belief we would actually get it?

Hebrews 11:6 records, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” AND we do know Jesus spoke of the importance of faith to the process of receiving, right?

We read in Matthew 9:27-30, “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ {28}  When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied. {29}  Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith will it be done to you’; {30}  and their sight was restored.” So, what do we believe about the words of Jesus in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you”? In the original Greek, Jesus actually used the word, “wish” in the context of remaining in Him and His words remaining in us. Our wishes, desires, goals, dreams and intentions need to align with His will for our lives, but what is His will?

His Word provides some indication, His character provides some more help. Also to be taken into account are the specific gifts, talents and graces He has provided for us. Holy excellence and holy love, would be words which would describe His intentions for our lives, right?

In Jeremiah 29:11 we read, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” We do know Jesus declared, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). So we know Jesus wants us to pray, He wants to provide abundant life, not like the enemy of our souls who seeks to steal and destroy, right?

That being the case, how are we to pray? In Matthew 6:7-8 it records Jesus saying, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. {8}  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” How often have you prayed for something or someone and then prayed and asked again, maybe many more times? Have you done that? What is important for us to understand is, if we have asked and have faith to believe, do we need to keep asking?

In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus said, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? {10}  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? {11}  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” When you ask, thank God for the answer and keep thanking Him as if it has already happened, because if we truly believe, in fact it has, in God’s timing.

If you received an envelop and when you opened it there was an unexpected cheque or money order for $500.00 would you consider yourself $500.00 richer than you were before you opened the envelop even though you haven’t cashed it yet? The cheque of money order was in effect a promise of the money, right? Faith in the Word and promises of God are a promissory note. When we keep asking over and over we are declaring our doubt rather than our faith AND doubt blocks the fulfilment of God’s promises. Faith and belief regarding prayer is all about immediately moving to the place of gratitude, appreciation and thanksgiving. It is about the confident expectation of God answering prayer and being flexible enough to be grateful for an answer that may be better for us than that for which we asked.

Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Some people approach prayer with a hope God will answer, but the place we want to be is a place of knowingness. We know because of who God is, what He says and the principles He has put in place with the creation of our world.  “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

April 9, 2016

What Do You Believe? This question is really important to everything you do because you live out your life based on your beliefs.

Imagine that I have laid a plank down on the floor. This plank is 12 inches across, 4 inches thick and 20 feet long. Can you see it? I don’t want you to trip over it and fall.

I am standing at one end of the plank holding in my hand a $100.00 bill. Do you believe you could walk down this plank, get the $100.00 bill and walk back without falling off? If I said, “Do this successfully and the $100.00 would be yours to keep,” would you try to walk the plank?

Now, think about this same plank, 12 inches across, 4 inches thick and 20 feet long, but it has been lifted 20 stories high and goes between the roofs of two buildings? The $100.00 is still available. Do believe you could walk this same plank, receive the $100.00 and walk back to where you started? Would you even attempt this feat now?

Beyond the factor of the location of the plank, what changed in this imaginary illustration? When you thought about the plank being at the 20 story level did you picture yourself falling and going splat on the ground in your attempt to get across? Were you at least concerned about the possibility of going splat? What actually changed was your belief and that came about because your focus changed. Remember the Apostle Peter out in the boat with the other disciples? Jesus came walking on the water and Peter thought, Lord let me come to you, and Jesus gave him the open invitation to come. Then Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on water, but when he began to look around and saw the waves, and felt the wind, what plummeted into the water, just before he did? It was his belief and faith. His belief and faith that with Jesus this was really possible.

It is important you not only understand, but also remember a very important principle: whatever you do, you will always manifest what you really believe, not what you say you believe. There are different levels of belief and we will make choices and decisions that influence and affect our lives based on what we believe at the core of our being.

What do you believe about your life for today? What you believe, at the 20 story plank level, about who you are, what you van be, do or have in life? Your faith and belief will impact your decisions about whether you can or can’t in every area of your life, including the spiritual.

Stop to reflect on what the Bible says about Jesus. If you do not know, you need to find out for yourself and not accept the opinions of others built on second hand mis-information. What do you believe? It is time to become honest and real about what you believe. If you believe, live it on a daily basis. If you don’t believe it, stop faking it. You are accountable for your choices; you will reap what you sow in life. So, what DO you believe?

April 8, 2016

Earl Nightingale in his book, “The Strangest Secret” wrote about principles that were not new to me. At that time I realized there were things I had not acted upon with any great consistency. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? It would have been easy to come up with a variety of excuses as to why I never followed through, but the bottom line is, I had not been as teachable as I should have been in these areas. I was in fact 100% responsible for the choices I made and I will continue to be 100% responsible for the choices I will make in the future.

When you take the time to think about it, you do realize don’t you, life is all about choices. From the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed, you are constantly making choices relating to things like, what will I wear, what types of food will I eat, what will I do with my time, how will I respond to situations and circumstances that arise throughout the day, what attitudes will I express, and the list goes on and on. Remember, every choice you make has some form of consequence attached to it. The consequences may or may not be immediate, and they may even be accumulative in affect and not show up for a period of time, even years, but every choice does have a consequence. Dr. Shad Helmstetter declared, “The end result of your life here on earth will always be the sum total of the choices you made while you were here.” Albert Camus wrote, “Life is the sum of all your choices,” which means, “there are a thousand little choices in a day and all of them count.” When you think about choices you make in life, there are some that matter a lot, because they are life changers that dramatically influence the direction of your life and the lives of those around you. Joshua, chosen by God to lead the people of Israel into the promised land after the death of Moses in Joshua 24: 1-15 calls the nation to make a choice, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. {15} But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

The choice to live your life in faith and obedience to God is one of those “biggies” that will impact and influence many other choices you make in your life. Anso Coetzer has said, “Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.” While your choice about who you will follow in this life is of supreme importance it is not the only major choice you must make in your lifetime. Earl Nightingale says, another one of the “biggy” choices relates to what we believe about success and how we define it, not only for others, but especially for our self. This is because the choices we make regarding what we will focus our time and attention on relate to what we believe is really important in life. Therefore, Earl Nightingale says, the result of your choices lead to:
1. You get what you think about most of the time
2. You become what you think about most of the time

Take a moment and reflect back on the last few weeks of your life. What have you thought about most of the time? Have your attitudes been positive or negative? Have you been expressing faith or doubt? Has there been any specific area that has engaged a noticeable chunk of your time or has your life just kind of drifted along? What do you believe?

In the 9th chapter of the Gospel of Mark there was a father who had a demon possessed son. Everything he tried to do to help his son had not worked and no one could help him, including the disciples of Jesus. In sharing the history of the child, the father said to Jesus in Mark 9:22, “if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus turned the table on the father, calling for a choice to be made when He responded, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” In other words, Jesus was saying to the father, he held the key to the miracle of his son’s well being and the key was in his thoughts, in what he believed. The father responded to Jesus openly and honestly and made a choice as he declared, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

What do you believe about your life? What do you believe about your ability to be successful? What do you think about most of the time? No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life. You are 100% responsible for them. You cannot blame anyone else for them. So, what will it be in your life today? What choices will you make today. Will you obey God’s Word or will you do your own thing? Remember,
1. You get what you think about most of the time
2. You become what you think about most of the time