Sunday, January 27, 2008
I have been mulling over 11-12, now 13-14 the last 3 weeks.
In 11, it talks about differences, seek good counsel and be the person God meant you to be. 12 speaks to the enemy's target being the arena of your thoughts, instead we are to focus on the positive, transforming our lives, not allowing anyone else on the playground to mess with God's plan.
I sold Home Interiors for a while, and just loved it, the positive training and outlook have been a large part of my life. Mary Crowley wrote a book, "God didn't take time to make a Nobody" that has just meant so much to me. Her attitude is the same: Look at the bright side, don't focus on the darker, move on, focus, focus, focus. A few years ago I worked close by a co-worker who could not do anything but focus on the negative. After a very short time, I realized that constant battering on my positive thinking was affecting my life at work, at home, everywhere. Life for this co-worker began by their having to get out of bed in the morning, and drag to work. From the moment of arrival, it was negative this, and negative that. I began to feel so oppressed that I dreaded going to work. I was able to move away to a different work section, but lunch times and break times were the same. I began to find ways to go to another building, another area, etc, to remove myself from the side-effects of the constant battle to stay positive in the darkness of their continual battle. I thought that God had allowed me to sit close to the person to help them look at the positive side of life, but in thinking back, the continual negativity wore away at my positive side. I think we all have to work at staying positive, and sometimes having to be in such close relationship with one who doesn't have a positive outlook can really have long lasting consequences. I look at that time, and wonder if there was something I could have done differently to keep from being dragged down, or to reach out differently.
It is said that you should never jump into the water with a drowning person, because they will drag you down. You should instead throw them a life line. If I had known about Joel's book then, I would have been able to recommend it, and possibly gotten some light in a dark tunnel. I really like what he has to say about focusing on the positive. The last sentences of Chpt. 12: ...start thinking God's thoughts. God's thoughts will fill you with faith and hope and victory. God's thoughts will build you up and encourage you. They will give you the strength you need to keep on keeping on. God's thoughts will give you that can-do mentality.
In Chapter 13, "God made you, and He has programmed you for victory." Recently, I talked to a friend who said "I grew up in such dire circumstances, but God lifted me out of that mire, and I no longer have to drag it around with me, rolling it every once in a while, to remind myself." He has put his past behind him. It doesn't mean it still doesn't show up as a nail hole everyonce in a while, but he has moved on, made of himself a Godly man, with God's help. If he had focused on his negative, he wouldn't be where he is today, a respected pastor, with a wonderful Godly family, friends who respect him, a job where he can minister to others. As mentioned in "Your Best Life," this man asked God to work in him, and through him, with an attitude of faith. As Frank mentions, he didn't look at the mountain, and say, "Oh, woe is me." He asked God to look at the mountain and help him with it, either move it, or allow him to climb it.
I want that attitude to stay with me... to not see the mountain as too big to move, but how best to get it to move, with God's help and direction. FROG is a term another friend uses a lot, he once kept miniature frogs on his desk, swimming in a water filled planter. Fully Relying On God.
I want that to be real in my own life.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as we start the study of chapter 14, The Power of Words. How appropriate! I remember many years ago reading that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told his mother that someday he was going to get himself some big words. He did get some big words and changed the lives of a lot of people. He said, "We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." And, who can forget his "I Have a Dream" speech? King knew the power of words. We need to know the power of our words. Joel says, "Our words become self-fulfilling prophecies. If you allow your thoughts to defeat you and then give birth to negative ideas through your words, your actions will follow suit.....If we speak positive words, our lives will move in that direction." James 3:4 compares the tongue to the rudder of a huge ship because although it is small, it controls the direction of the entire ship, just like our small tongue will control the direction of our lives. Joel suggests using positive self-talk and saying, "I am valuable. I am loved. God has a great plan for my life. I have favor wherever I go. God's blessings are chasing me down and overtaking me. Everything I touch prospers and succeeds. I'm excited about my future!" He reminds us that there is truly power in our words.
Monday, January 14, 2008
"When things don't work out as you planned, rather than complaining, look for something good in your circumstances. Fill your mind with good thoughts. Your mind is similar to a computer. What you program into it dictates how it will function.....too often we allow negative thoughts, words, and other devious viruses to access our minds...corrupting our information and values. We were created in the image of God. He programmed us to live abundant lives, to be happy, healthy, and whole," Joel says in chapter 13. Man, it can be hard to look for the good in everything! Jampolsky says, "I can look upon everything I experience today as a positive lesson, without exception." This is so powerful because often life does not turn out the way I think it should. Now, though, when something happens that I term as a "bad" thing, I look for some good to come out of it. My daughter Tori's accident and her ensuing health issues devastated me, but she survived!!! Not only that, but she defied her "supposed" physical conditions by having a baby, even though the doctors said she wouldn't be able to have any more children. I probably wrote about this before, but it was such a huge turning point in my life that it really influenced how I think. I know that I must keep positive thoughts so that I can have peace of mind.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Hebrews 13: Let your conversation be without love of money, satisfied with your present circumstances; for he has said, I will not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee.
This is hard to do isn't it? Hard for me anyway. I sometimes look at what the other guy has and I envy them and sometimes have bad feelings toward that person. What a negative way to look at things! I need to concentrate on what I do have and be thankful for it! Living an attitude of gratitude also means being grateful for what others have as well and being happy for them. Novel concept, heh?
Patty and I recently went down to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to spend a little time with Tori, Caleb and Kaya (Sierra was in Colorado with her Dad). Tori, who is notoriously not an early riser, insisted that we all get up to view the sunrise on the winter solstice. This meant getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning. Now I am typically an early riser and this is my regular time but on Saturdays I try to sleep in. I got up a bit unenthusiastically but I did get up and we made our way to the top of the Crescent Hotel in the wee dark moments right before sunrise. I was so glad to have done so. The photo for this blog came from that morning and I wrote a poem to show my gratitude for the sun! Here it is....
Winter Solstice 2007
Eureka Springs, Arkansas via the top of the Crescent Hotel
Oh Man Sol, we love you so!
You bring us life, joy and fun
And we are eternally grateful to you,
The all life inspiring Sun.
We sometimes take you for granted
And that is indeed shamed,
But without you we would be nothing
But ice, stone and animals untamed.
Thank you Lord, for the gift of your Sun
Because you speak through it every morn
To each, to all, to every one.