What Are You Talking About?

February 27, 2013

Does it really matter what comes out of your mouth? Seriously, do words make any difference at all? I am learning more and more that words definitely make a difference.

There are several Bible verses that back this up. I was recently reminded of my favorite one recently…do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it would benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).

What should we say? To me it’s very simple. Don’t waste your words! Also, avoid saying anything that would bring someone down. I understand that sometimes we need to tell someone things they don’t want to hear. However, there are ways of doing it that will not tear them down. The verse says specifically to use words that will build others up. Compliments and thanks come to mind (please be careful to avoid false flattery though). Also according to the verse, carefully thought out words that would be helpful to anyone who hears them would be considered the right ones to use.

In addition to using the right words towards others, I have been reminded often lately that we must also use the right words for ourselves. We should not be tearing ourselves down with negative self talk, but instead should be using positive words to build ourselves up. I will end with the words a guest speaker at our church left with us a few weeks ago…my mouth makes me miracles or my mouth makes me miserable. From my experience, it is far better to take the first option and follow the advice from the Ephesians verse. You and those around you will be much better for it. Enjoy the blessings : )


What Do You Want Me To Do For You?

February 24, 2013

I very much enjoy reading the miracle stories in the Bible. There are plenty of them from cover to cover. However, certain ones stand out.

One such story jumped off the page at me the other day. It’s in all of the gospels, but I pariticularly like the version from Mark 10:46-52. It’s the story of a blind man who was begging on the side of the road in town. He was just living his life, doing what he normally does and accepting his lot in life.

Things change when Jesus arrives in town. Somehow, this man already knew about Jesus because as soon as he finds out Jesus is there, he starts shouting out, asking that Jesus have mercy on him. The people around him tell him to be quiet and to stop shouting. However, he continues to shout out until Jesus acknowledges him. Jesus asks, “what do you want me to do for you”? The man says he wants his sight. Jesus says, “your faith has made you well”. It then says the man immediately received his sight.

I love this story and its happy ending. However, I see it as more than that. I see it as the exact recipe that, if you want miracles in your life, you can follow and receive them. Here’s why:

1. This man refused to accept no for an answer. As soon as he was aware of Jesus’s presence he did not stop until he had his attention.

2. He did not listen to other people. They tried to quiet him and get him to stop, but he refused to let them get in his way.

3. My favorite part of the story is when Jesus asks “what do you want me to do for you?” Jesus knew darn well what the man wanted. So why did He ask? I believe He wanted to hear it directly from the individual. He wanted the man to present the need to Him personally.

4. He had faith. He immediately perked up when he heard Jesus was there because he had 100% faith that He was the one that could heal him.

5. He let Jesus do His work.

There you have it. A 5 step recipe that I believe anyone could use to see miracles in their life. Are you looking for a miracle? Then I challenge you. Start seeking it now and don’t stop until you are fully convinced that you have God’s attention. Don’t listen to other people that try to stop you or say it can’t be done. Pray and let your request be known. God already knows what you want before you ask Him, but He still wants to hear it from your lips of prayer. Have faith and KNOW that He can and will answer. Remember, even if it’s not exactly what you are looking for, it will be something better. Then let God do His work.

The great thing about the miracle stories is that I never saw any where Jesus said no. People asked in faith and were given what they asked for. He will do the same for you if you follow this way of thinking. Please share here when they happen for you because I would love to hear about it. Enjoy the blessings : )


How Did The Miracle Happen?

February 23, 2013

I am one who very much appreciates the sport of ice hockey. I am also very interested in history. Hence the reason I paid attention today when I was reminded of a particular anniversary.

It was on this date in 1980 that the Miracle On Ice occured. In case you don’t know or haven’t seen the movie (Miracle) that was made about it, it was a big event, not only in the sports world, but the political world as well. The United States hockey team beat the Soviet Union in a semi-final Olympic game. This was major because the Cold War was still strong at this time, so it was more than just a hockey victory. It certainly had patriotic and political implications, besides the stakes of a big hockey game.

On the ice, this was a stunning victory. The Soviet team consisted of their most skilled professionals, while the United States team was a group of amateurs who had only played together during the Olympics and the preparation games before. The two teams had played an exhibition shortly before the Olympics, and the Soviets won something like 10-2. Much of the same was expected in this game. However, somehow, some way, the U.S. team that was given no chance to win (even by fellow Americans) pulled off the victory.

How did this victory happen? It can only come down to one word..Belief. No one else believed they even had a chance. The Soviets were bigger, better, and more experienced. They had beaten them badly a few weeks ago. For all of these reasons, the Americans didn’t stand a chance. Yet these players and coaches ignored all of the obstacles. They ignored all of the people who were convinced it could never be done. They didn’t even consider that they were amateurs going against experienced and skilled professionals. Instead, they set a goal, made a plan, envisioned success, and didn’t even think about losing this game. Instead, they believed 100% that they were good enough and fully capable of winning. That’s how the miracle happened.

As I reflect on this event 33 years later, I realize how those same lessons can be applied in any area of my life, and I share them with you. How do miracles happen in your life? First, you ignore all of the obstacles and people who try to convince you it can’t be done. Then you set a goal, make a plan, envision success, and don’t even think about failure. Instead, believe 100% that you are worthy, and fully capable of success and miracles in your life. Believe that there are no other options! That’s how miracles happen in your life.

If you’re like me, the mere mention of this hockey game brings back the wonderful memories and flood of emotions every time. I challenge you to use the lessons from this improbable victory to create success and miracles in your life. Remember, with faith all things are possible. Enjoy the blessings : )


The Gratitude Chain

February 21, 2013

I am a firm believer in the snowball effect. For example, a person does a good deed for someone, then the recipient does something for someone else, and so on. The result is that the lives of many are blessed in a major way.

During the past few weeks, I have felt the desire to spend my life in constant gratitude for the blessings in my life. I have always been thankful, but I am really focusing on being thankful for even the smallest things, like the air that I breath, the clean water I drink, the heated home that keeps me warm, etc. It has really helped me appreciate my life more, and has brought me even closer to God. Also, many little things that would bother me (someone driving way under the speed limit in front of me) barely even come to mind.

I am trying to spread this attitide of gratitude as far as I can. On a daily basis, my family and I write down the things we are most grateful for and reflect on them. I have shared this with other people close to me as well. However, I want to take it further. I asked God how I could do it, and this idea came to mind..

I would like to start a gratitude chain. I will start by sharing 5 things I am very thankful for. I will also ask for your input. If you have a few extra seconds, please share your top 5 thankful list here, and I will pray for you that each one continues and multiplies. I also challenge you to start your own list and get as many people as you can to share their gratitude list. Let’s see how far we can take this : )

Here’s my top 5 list:

1. I am thankful for God for His love, protection, blessing, grace, and everything!
2. I am thankful for the great parents and siblings I have, my wife and kids, and my extended family.
3. I am thankful for great health.
4. I am thankful for my job…the one I have and the dream job He is providing.
5. I am thankful for my house, cars, and all of my material possessions.

When people pay good deeds forward, many are blessed, and if people did it consistently, it can literally change the world. I have read in several places that, even when one person changes from a negative to postiive state of mind, it has a major ripple effect, and can change the world around them. The same is true for feeling gratitude. Not only will people feel better about themselves, but it will have a snowball effect on the world around them, and make a major turn to the positive. My sincere prayer is that God makes it happen today. I appreciate your participation and pray for major blessings for you as result. I look forward to seeing what you are thankful for!


Who Sets The Limits?

February 21, 2013

Can you imagine if there was no such thing as a speed limit? Although it may be a bit crazy at times, it would be nice to have the freedom to drive without limits, especially if you need to be sompeplace quickly. Who sets these limits anyway? In many cases, we are critical of people who put limits on our lives. Nobody likes to be restrained.

I will add a part two to the above question. Who sets the limits in your life? How many limits do you have? I will say that I don’t like to be limited. However, as I have asked myself the question about limits and figure out who to direct my anger at for putting limits in my life, I quickly realize who is to blame. I’ll give you a hint. He shares the same name and body space as me. It is me! When I experience limits and lack of progress, I have no one to blame but myself. Other people can try to limit me, but they only succeed if I let them.

I serve a God of unlimited power. That power is part of me. I wonder how He must feel when He offers this power freely, and I reject it, only to put my own limits on it. Of course I don’t do it deliberately. Regardless, there is no need to focus on any limitations, especially when God’s unlimited power is readily available.

It’s amazing the ideas I receive when I am about to write a post. Just before I was ready to write this, I received an e-mail from Dr. Robert Anthony. It expalains that if you took a goldfish who was confined to a small bowl and put it in the ocean, it would still swim in a limited area as long as it was alive. It’s because it doesn’t understand that it can now go beyond its limits. He thinks that going any further is impossible.

Please don’t be like the goldfish. It’s a simple fact that if you don’t set limits on your success you won’t have them. You’re only as limited as you think you are. I have learned to stop confining myself to the fishbowl and instead have learned to throw myself into the ocean. I challenge you to do the same. You can slow yourself down or go as fast as you would like.

So why not go all out? Success is yours if you believe it. Let God carry you. If He doesn’t want to carry you somewhere He won’t. He’ll take you someplace even better. As long as something you desire is in His will, He won’t stop you from getting there. So don’t you be the reason your success is limited. Go fo it, full speed ahead. Enjoy the blessings : )


An Easy Way To Increase Your Talents

February 19, 2013

There are certain Bible verses that I have read numerous times and still have difficulty understanding. One such story is the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). It always bothered me a bit because it says whoever has much will have more, and whoever has little will have less.

Why did this verse bother me so much? Because there were plenty of things I had little of, and only few that I had much of. My question was…I have little money. You’re telling me that my only chance is to have less? I’m not very confident. You’re telling me my confidence will only weaken?

Not too long ago, I had a chance to look at this story again. It’s amazing how, when we persist on learning Scripture God eventually sheds light on things and they make total sense. If you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll provide the basic version. A rich, shrewd man is going on a journey, and leaves his wealth in the hands of three people. To one he gives 10 money units (these units are called Talents. Funny how it fits right in with this story. More on that later). To one he provides 5, and to the other, 1. The ones with the 10 and 5 talents invest wisely and double the amount, while the one with 1 is scared off and just buries the 1, getting nothing in return. When the manager returns, he praises the first two, but punishes the third for not trying to gain more. He takes the one talent and gives it to the man with 10. That’s when Jesus says that whoever has will have more, and whoever doesn’t will have less.

As I studied this story I found three commentaries which clarified the meaning of this for me. Before I share, I will say that I did not go looking for these explanations, but just found them all around the same time. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Anyway, here are the three commentaries:

1. According to the Life Application Bible, the story means we need to use the resources God provides us to the best of our ability. Whether we have many or few, we need to use them responsibly and according to His will.

2. One book I read said that it had to do with the thoughts we think and our overall attitude. The more positive frame of mind and attitude we maintain, the more positive results we see in our lives.

3. In her book “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne, she uses this quote throughout, saying that the more gratitude we show and feel, even towards the smallest of things, the more reasons we will have to be grateful for bigger things.

I must say that I agree with all three of these conclusions. At this point, this previously unclear story is now as clear as the day. You have received many gifts from God. He expects you to use them wisely and responsibly, and will bless you as you do. The more you fill your mind with positives thoughts and outcomes, the more you will see greater positive results play out in your life. And the more grateful you are, the more reasons you will have to be grateful. It’s a simple, but true fact that your talents and whatever else you have will be increased proportionally.

Now that I am fully aware of the true meaning of that story, I do my best to act it out every day. I must say that my walk with God is closer than it’s ever been, and I am being blessed on a continual basis. Even if you feel like you don’t have many talents, God will increase them if you are resourceful, positive, and thankful. Enjoy the blessings : )


Did You Do Your Brain Workout Today?

February 18, 2013

During these fast moving days, it is often difficult to find time for a workout. With all of the crazy things going on, usually the workout ends up getting pushed further down the list, until time runs out and it doesn’t get done.

This scene has played out far too many times in my life. However, I have learned that the ones who do get their workouts done are the ones who deliberately schedule time to do so, and stick to that plan regardless. Those are the ones that are in the best shape and get the most from their body.

I will say that there is another workout that is in your best interest to stick to on a regular basis. Besides working out the body, it is extremely important to work out its most important function of all…the brain. Just like the body, the brain needs to be worked out on a regular basis to remain effective. I have realized the importance of putting aside specific, “no matter what” time to exercise the brain.

One may ask, how exactly do I exercise my brain for maximum efficiency? One answer I would provide is to keep using it. Remaining active instead of wasting away countelss hours of nothing is definitely recommended.

Besides the quantity of thought, I believe it is very important to pay attention to the quality of your thoughts. When you focus on positive outcomes, gratitude, and faithful, optimistic thoughts, you are exercising your brain to get the most out of it.

The important thing is to not take no for an answer when it comes to scheduling time to do this. It doesn’t need to be a huge chunk of time. Many mind experts say the best time to do this is right before going to bed.

I have followed this advice and spend 15 minutes or so immediately before going to sleep focusing on the highlights of the day, and filling my mind with scenes of success, victory, beauty, peace, and whatever great thoughts I can think. The result is I go to sleep with a smile on my face thanking God. I sleep more peacefully, and wake up ready to take on the next day.

Please be sure to do all you can to get some physical exercise. I challenge you to be even more sure to complete your brain workout. Keep it active with the most beautiful, positive thoughts you can think, and you will be in better shape than you can ever imagine. Enjoy the blessings : )