Think it … Act it … Believe it

Have you ever been through a major life change? Well – maybe not even major, but some change that prompt friends to ask, “How did it go?” I’ve been asked that by many of my friends. When a major change takes place in life, friends you’ve confided in want to know “How did it go?” and what else can we say except, “It’s different.” That’s a good place to start. I saw a book once titled, Change is Good.  You Go First. That about describes it.  Sometimes change is forced on us and in those times, change doesn’t seem all that great. Right? Other times we make a decision that changes the landscape of our lives and we think this change is good, we hope this change is good, then we wonder … it’s different.  No matter which description fits the situation, the one thing we can control is our attitude. Chuck Swindoll has a famous quote about attitude and in it he says, ´I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  So how did it go? It’s different, but it’s good, the possibilities are ahead, as are the consequences. So right now our best choice is to have joy and remember – we are never on the path alone.  – God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5  

When change comes, we have to accept it, because it’s our new normal. It’s reality. We could fret over what we no longer have or we can begin the rebuilding process and start the remanufacture of our life from a different vantage point. When I was in my early twenties, someone wisely convinced me that change is neither good nor bad, it’s only different. It took awhile for that to sink in, but it’s become my survival mechanism. Here’s a little free advice. “Focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost. Capitalize on what you can do, not on what you can’t.” I know it works.Psalm 30 11-12

Are you going through changes now that are exciting and you anticipate better days ahead? Or do you approach each day, tenuously out of dread or even fear for what lies ahead? Either way, when change comes, it means adjustment … day-by-day, moment-by-moment.  Ask yourself how can I get through these moments and come out the victor instead of the victim? You might not want t to hear this, but it starts with Attitude.  You might come to the starting line kicking and screaming, toting a long list of disadvantages and (gasp) even grievances. Acknowledgement is good. Bring that list along because this is where making adjustments begins. First in attitude, then in thoughts, then in actions, and finally in acceptance. Change is neither good nor bad, it’s only different.  ´I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

We might not be happy, but we can have joy. Happiness comes from the external; those situations that we perceive as good give us happiness. But happiness can be shattered in an instant, or it can fade when circumstances are less than optimistic. Joy on the other hand comes from the inside and is unaffected by the beating we take by those things that cause us despair.  I was having a bad spell in my life a while ago and on one of my ‘least optimistic days’  someone said to me that I was the happiest person she knew. Well huh! Mission accomplished then, because at that moment, I was anything but happy.  It must work then . . . We can fake happiness by choosing to be joyful. In that moment, when she said I was the happiest person, I prayed right then and thanked God for masking the unhappiness I was feeling at that time, so that happiness looked real.

What can we all do today, regardless of our circumstances, to make a big production of our joy? Think it, act it, believe it!

Psalm 30:5 [God’s] favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:11-12 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Ecclesiastes 8:15  So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions – Book Summary

As I sat down to write about this book, From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff, an online article in the Huff Post grabbed my attention proclaiming Afghan Refugee Crisis Worsens. It seems the news is dominated by more and more crises related to refugees who are suffering greatly in violence–torn regions. This book would have been much more uncomfortable to read had it not been for the authors’ presentation of the storyline through the moral compass of each person involved in the refugee evacuation. In the second half of the book, the five principles of moral decision making are conveyed through stories about corporate heroes of today.

Here are the 5-steps to moral decision making which are in the book called The Five Principles – building blocks to making moral decisions.

  1. Be prepared
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Confront yourself
  4. Know yourself
  5. Take courage

The subject of this book, From Crisis to Calling is about developing authentic leaders who make decisions based on deep personal values that positively affect their lives and the lives of their organizations. Leaders of this deep moral character will build cultures of trust, fairness, equitability, and ethical leadership. One final thought from the authors, “Empathy is the essential need of great leaders who are intentional about building their organizations and communities.” Whether leaders or lay people, life’s tough choices need to be infused with moral sense – empathy, compassion, altruism.

CSLews - Book Cover - From Crisis to Calling

 

 

Read the full book summary published on the BizCatalyst360 network.

http://bizcatalyst360.com/from-crisis-to-calling-finding-your-moral-center-in-the-toughest-decisions/

Trading Desperation for Peace and Contentment

Have you ever glanced at something, and in a flash had a creeping feeling of dread? How can a split second of visual make such a powerful connection with your brain that, in a snap, alters your mood? This morning, I bounced down the stairs to my office – not in a falling down the stairs bounce, but in true Tigger fashion, a joyful bounce. As I turned on the light my eyes were drawn to an open magazine article with a huge elegantly printed title “Desperate for more” – an instant, a connection, an altered thought. Desperate for more …. Am I desperate? I don’t think so, but what if I am and just don’t admit it? Temperature check – desperate. Desperate. Desperate for more …. what?

Walking further into my office, God spoke to me about how quickly I felt a demoralizing effect from one tiny title on a page. Coffee in hand, I picked up my ‘Thankful’ journal and pen to write the daily entry. Thankful for – where do I start? My journal has an entry for every day and my Joy jar has a note for each day too. Desperate for more – of what? Here’s what I arrived at when I spent some quiet time with the Supreme Controller and Provider of all things.  empty_platform

Love – Psalm 90:14&17 “Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love! Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days!” I’m not desperate for love. I have all I need and am satisfied with that.

Wisdom – Ephesians 1:17 “I pray that God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” The best way to avoid feelings of desperation is pray that you will know God better.

Peace – These comforting words come from Luke 1:78-79 “Because of the tender mercy of our God, there is light in darkness and He guides our feet into the path of peace.” We have the perfect instruction manual for peace. The Bible speaks extensively about peace what it is, how to get it, how to keep it, why you never need to be desperate for it. Philippians 4:8-9 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Hope – Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Contentment – I know what you’re going to say already. “You sound like a broken record.” But I have to remind myself and maybe you won’t mind a little reinforcement. Comparison is the opposite of contentment. When I think of contentment, I remember the 6th chapter of 1 Timothy.  I could copy the whole thing right here for you, but let’s start here with 1 Timothy 6:6 “godliness with contentment is great gain. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. “  If you want to read the remainder, just remember 1 Timothy 6.

Sometimes I need a little wake-up call  and allow God to warn me to stop being so vulnerable to suggestion and start fully trusting Him to meet my desperate needs.

God knows we are a desperate people. Our emotions are ripped apart and pieced back together. The happy face of one moment becomes the frown of defeat the next. The optimist can teeter on the edge of pessimism when the burden is too heavy to carry. Desperate for more ….

The magazine article’s complete title which I didn’t see at first was Desperate For More Time. The article said we are slaves to time and our schedules are fused so tightly there is no time for leisure. It’s a common problem, feeling desperate but I learned something today. I’m not desperate for anything.

Philippians 4:19 “God will provide everything you need according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

How about you? Are you ready to turn in your desperate wants for peace and contentment?  I’ll meet you out there.

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd. That’s all I want.”

enJOY this day

It’s the weekend and for some reason that changes the dynamics around the house. If you’re a mom or a dad, a kid, or even a (mostly) retired grandparent, Saturdays are different and Sundays are different still. Let’s try a weekend challenge. Not THAT kind of tough challenge, a 3-step challenge. It will be fun.

  1. Say Good morning, Lord! (you can do better than that. Our music minister, Scott Steiner would make us try it again.) Good morning, Lord!

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

  1. Think of something you are thankful for – and write it down, in ink, on any piece of paper you have available. Nothing fancy.

1 Thessalonians 3:9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

  1. Decide right now that nothing is going to get in your way of having a positive day. If you don’t feel like it, pray right now and ask the Lover of your Soul to change your thoughts so they are all about joy. Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your joy.

Psalm 27:6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 21:6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

And if you feel some irritations coming on – after all, our dynamics are going crazy with all that weekend warriors stuff going on. Right?

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

enJOY this day! It’s a gift. Unwrap it and use it up. It’s non-renewable.

Nehemiah 8:10 “Go and enjoy food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

 

Why does it have to be so hard?

Today was going to be a non-post day – – – but then I realized it’s Friday. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t wake you up with a happygram for your Friday. Right? So . . .

OK! Everybody up! Rise and shine!

I’ve been thinking a lot about James. You know James. The one who said “consider it all joy” when we feel like we weren’t called to consider it all joy, we were instead dragged through it kicking and screaming.  But James insists, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” After I consider for a while, I think, Are you kidding me? Really? This isn’t really my first choice.

Have you been there? Are you there now? It can be hard to keep our faith alive while we get through the rough times.  But James assures us that there are benefits if we stay firm and not let our faith get weak.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because:heart-shaped-fluffy-cloud

a) the testing of your faith produces perseverance

b) perseverance produces maturity

c) maturity makes you complete and not lacking anything

Then as a bonus, James says –  if you lack wisdom, ask God and he will generously give it to you.

There’s a pattern here. Do you see it? In our humanness we wonder, why does it have to be so hard? If it were up to us, wouldn’t we choose easy – a lot easier? But God has a different plan. In Isaiah 55:9 He says, “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God has the ultimate benefit package for perseverance and it covers more than what James  promised.  Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:5-7 “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 

That, my friends, is the whole package.  Drive a stake in the sand and say – I am going to build my faith right here on this spot and I’m believing God for rewarding my perseverance.  “the one who calls you is faithful and will do it” 1Thessalonians 5:24

Lord, it’s hard to thank you for the thorns, but I know they are there for my benefit, even if I don’t see it. Thank you for promising to grow me up to maturity in my faith and for adding goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, mutual affection with others, and love. I want all those things to be evident in my life. I need the wisdom you promised to give me if I ask. I’m asking. And God? Give me a heart like yours. Make me godly. If I have to be broken, empty me out and fill me up with all that pleases you. Help me to remember that you are the power source and you hold the keys to everything I could ever need. Help me see my moments through your eyes and be filled with joy knowing that each one is a gift.

Ready to practice perseverance? Our mission field waits …. Let’s get out there!

 

He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli

Plan A … B … or Plan H – Life is about how you handle the setbacks

I recently read this inscription on a card created by Blue Mountain Arts.  “Life is all about how you handle Plan B”  How many times in a week do we say “Well that didn’t work!” and have to move on to the next idea – Plan B or maybe Plan C or H.  I’m thinking the fact that there are so many versions of a plan is biblical.  Psalm 94:11 “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.” So what do you think?

How do we handle things that get in our way of ‘the plan’.  Remember Job?  He was a wealthy man.  He must have had a Plan A, then that didn’t work out so he moved on. Who knows how many letters he passed B, C, D.  Notice his voice in Job 17: 11-12. He was deep in his loss and still he says “My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.” Do you think Job had a positive attitude?

If you read Psalms you will notice the many laments of David over choices he made – Plan A, Plan B, Plan C … but still he was called a man after God’s own heart.  1Chronicles 29:19-20 is a comforting passage about how David acknowledged God’s leading. ““All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”Breathe it all in Love It all out

How many plans did it take for David to realize the “Lord’s hand”? A lifetime. During a time of battle, David comes through with his prayer for his people in Psalm 20.  Psalm 20:1-5 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress… May he give you the desire of your heart and allow you to fulfill your purpose. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.” Do you think David needed to be flexible and refuse to become defeated? In fact, David had to be the leader and the cheerleader.

There are days when attitude is everything.  It makes a difference in how we progress through our day.  Do you ever wonder why the Bible covers so many topics and do you ever wonder how we get so many practical snippets of wisdom from a few passages strung together? I’m going to take a wild guess that part of that answer is found in Romans 15:4-6 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What do you think?  Could today be your day to find that extra incentive, a slice of encouragement to move on? You might find that sliver of hope in Plan H?  Here’s a beautiful passage I came across this morning.  I comes from my heart, and wraps around yours. Romans 5:5 “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The verses prior to that talk about suffering and perseverance. Perseverance produces character and character produces hope.
Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Out of the Question: How Curious Leaders Win – book summary

This book, Out of the Question: How Curious Leaders Win seemed tailor made for me. I’m a question asker, note taker, contemplative listener, and a life-long learner. The authors Guy Parsons and Allan Milham wrote this book for leaders who need to engage with their teams and improve results through optimal interactions. From leadership styles to productive conversations, it’s all here in this one volume. These authors expertly portray with clarity the differences between Knowers and Learners. They basically focus on Leaders who are called Knower Leaders or Learner Leaders, but they also bring into the picture unique ways to be a leader of Knowers and Learners.Out_of_question_book cover

The authors also talk about the power of the pause. “Ask yourself how often, when things don’t go according to plan, you pause to reflect and learn before charging forward.” If you want to have a productive conversation turn off the reactionary noise, and pause.

“Asking questions is a way to take a trip through uncharted territory as opposed to be trapped on a prescribed route.” The idea of a journey rather than a trip is enticing. As long as the destination is known, the trip becomes more of an adventure when the specific course is undefined. This is, in essence, the advantage of always learning and being grounded in a learning mindset.

The key for the leader is to be a Learner Leader and cultivate a learning culture in their organization.  If you are a leader, being a Learner Leader will keep you on track to engage, inspire, innovate, and win.

To read more about this book, the full summary is posted at bizcatalyst360.comhttp://bizcatalyst360.com/out-of-the-question-how-curious-leaders-win/