The thoughts that fill your head will affect how you live your life. How you think will determine not only how you act, but also how you see the world. What you think will define your outlook and who you will be.
You may not even be aware of the thoughts that you meditate on. They may come into your head and you may not even realize what is in your mind. But what takes residence in your mind will affect who you are and what you do.
The Scripture says you should take every thought captive and compare it to what Scripture says (2 Corinthians 10:5). So it’s important that you think about what you think about.
Using Philippians 4:8 as a template, here is an eight-point checklist for considering what you consider.
When you think of the attributes of successful people, what do you think of? Do you think of someone who is a winner-take-all negotiator? Or someone who ruthlessly pursues what will enhance their life? Or someone who desires to win at all costs?
While those characteristics may be the world’s standards for success, God has a very different standard. God doesn’t value a kind of success where you are the only one to win. God values a kind of success where you help others win. Because when others win, you win as well.
Psalm 41:1 (ESV) says
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him.
To be truly successful, here are three characteristics from Psalm 112:4 and Psalm 116:5 you need to develop in yourself.
About 20 years ago I tried starting a business. It didn’t work out. I thought I was doing all the right things, but ultimately it just didn’t take off. But in analyzing why it didn’t work out, I discovered something about myself. At the time, I had a short-term outlook instead of a long-term outlook.
Most business do not thrive right away. It usually takes at least three years for an ultimately successful business to go from nothing to profitable. But it depends on your threshold for risk: Are you in it for the long haul, or will you get out if it doesn’t seem to work out? Do you have a short-term outlook or a long-term outlook?
You will need to have three things settled in your mind in order to have a long-term outlook instead of a short-term outlook.
On Saturdays this summer I have been trying to get rid of milk thistles in our yard. If you have ever had to deal with thistles, you will understand exactly why I hate thistles so much. If you’ve never dealt with thistles, then you will probably think I’m a little off for having such a visceral hatred of these plants. At the risk of sounding extreme, my thistle battle is a metaphor for the spiritual battle that everyone faces.
Scripture employs thistles as a symbol of the effects of sin in our lives. In Genesis 3, as a result of the Fall, God tells Adam and Eve that the ground will be cursed and thorns and thistles will grow as a result (Genesis 3:18).
I see five similarities between my thistle battle and the spiritual fight that every person has to deal with in their lives.
In 1 Samuel 30, David and his crew came back to his home base at Ziklag, only to find that the Amalekites burned the city with fire, stole their goods, and took all their families captive. David’s men were inconsolable, and David was greatly concerned when his men talked about stoning him. But he worked to encourage himself in the Lord his God.
There will be times that you will need to do the same thing as David: you will need to encourage yourself in the Lord. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you do it?
Different translations say it in different ways.
ESV: “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
NIV: “David found strength in the Lord his God.”
MSG: “David strengthened himself with trust in his God.”
But regardless of what the phrase means, these translations don’t help you understand how to do it. Using Psalm 13 as a model, here is a three-step process you can use to encourage yourself in the Lord.
I recently came across a Bible study I had done more than 20 years into character traits of elders and deacons. My study showed what the Lord would require of those who aspired to those offices. At the time I did this study, I had not yet become an elder in my church. But I sure aspired to be one. And Scripture said that was a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1). So I took these Scriptures as an assignment: to develop the character traits these offices would require. I sought to know what I needed to be—and what I shouldn’t be. And I also wanted to know what I should do—and what I shouldn’t do. So I compiled a list.
Mind you, these were aspirational affirmations. They were not necessarily all true statements about myself. But I wanted them all to be true about me.
I hope you find this list useful for developing the right character traits and weeding out the wrong ones in your own life.
The Scripture has a lot to say about today’s workplace. Even though it may use words that may seem strange in today’s parlance, it applies directly to the modern day.
Here are five words taken from Colossians 3:22 and Ephesians 6:5-6 that provide a guide for how to function in today’s workplace.
In today’s culture, you don’t often see people give a real apology. They don’t even acknowledge that they have done anything wrong. They make excuses for their behavior, and they try to skirt around the issue. As a result, they say nothing of any importance, and their relationship with the offended party worsens.
Today nobody expects anyone to apologize anymore. People want to save face and pretend that they haven’t done anything wrong. Politicians say they are “sorry IF they have offended anyone.” But that doesn’t deal with anything and it doesn’t help their credibility improve.
So what does a real apology look like? Here are three steps to making a real apology and what you can expect to happen as a result.
When is it important to have integrity? Some of the time or all of the time? My friend Ben Case, President of Case Consulting Services, has been a hallmark of integrity as long as I have known him. And he tells a powerful story to explain to importance of integrity.
Before I started Transformational Impact LLC, I worked with Ben. He is reputedly one of the best major gift fundraisers in the world, having helped nonprofits raise more than $4.3 billion in his 40 years of fundraising. And he shares his expertise six days a week in the Tip o’ the Morning, a one-minute read covering the basic principles of fundraising (and sometimes life) that we need to know and practice to be successful.
Even though I no longer work with Ben, I still occasionally write a Tip o’ the Morning. And I am pleased to post an occasional Tip from Ben on my blog. Here’s Ben’s Most Valuable Tip (MVT) #44 entitled, “When Are You Going to Have Integrity—Some of the Time or All of the Time? Integrity Means All the Time.
When reading the scriptural accounts of the heroes of the faith, it’s easy to lose the most important lessons. I know I have read all of the biblical narratives at least ten or twelve times. But there are many things that I missed because I wasn’t looking for them. And neither was I clued in to appreciate them.
The Scriptures teach a lot without directly saying it. Much of the stuff worth picking up from the biblical accounts is implied. Readers have to be willing to go a little deeper, using information and experiences that everyone can relate to, in order to process the lessons of Scripture.
Here are three important points for looking at the people in these historical accounts.