How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 4

 

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I’ve decided that life is not that complicated. It can be boiled down to some simple principles, that when applied, optimize your chances for joy, peace, and health in every relationship in your life.

The next key is so simple it is almost laughable, but it is so simple that it is often completely overlooked or disregarded.  The problem is, what we think about shows up in our words and actions. The ripple effect is what started as a thought in our head ends up effecting the lives of others, especially those closest to us.

4.  Everything Starts with a Thought

Every great and noble thing and every lowly evil thing started with just one thought.  When that thought was held for more than a moment, it led to another, and another, until it became an attitude that expressed itself in words and actions. The good news is, we really do have the power to choose our thoughts.  So how do we choose our thoughts on a practical level?  Again, this is going to sound ridiculously simple.

Simple Keys to Change Your Thinking

  1. Use your own words, attitudes, and feelings as a red flag that it’s time to check your thoughts.
  2. Stop and think about what you’re thinking about.
  3. Ask, “How do my thoughts line up with the Word?” Then, if needed . . .
  4. Chose to think thoughts that line up with the Word.
  5. Do it again, and again, and again . . .

When we apply these simple principles we will see remarkable changes both in ourselves and those around us.  I heard an amazing story the other day that illustrates the negative power of our thoughts as it relates to parenting.

There was a father who for no apparent reason did not trust his teenage son.  When his son asked to borrow the car, the father thought he’d make it hard on the boy by giving him an early curfew thinking he’d get out of lending him the car.  He said “Okay, you can use the car, but you have to have it home by 10:30 p.m.”   To the father’s surprise, the boy agreed.  All that evening the father thought about how he was sure the boy would be late and what he was going to say to him.  The closer it got to the curfew the angrier the father got imaging his son out there doing all sorts of evil things.  By 10:15 p.m. he was fuming. At 10:29 p.m., the boy came rushing through the door announcing proudly that he had made it.  Instead of being happy that his son was obedient.  He mumbled, ” You cut it pretty close didn’t you?”  Then, went on to ask if he put gas in the car.  In all this, the boy had done nothing wrong, Yet the father by his thoughts had decided his son was disobedient at best.  The boy was sent the message that he didn’t measure up.  The father missed an opportunity to encourage and build confidence in his son, all because he didn’t control his own thoughts.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 msg

How do you choose your thoughts?

#parenting

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

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We live in a world where things happen that honestly on this side of heaven we just don’t understand. I can’t tell you the number of funerals I’ve attended where the speakers eloquently pontificates on how God took the deceased because He needed him to tend His garden.  However, this directly contradicts Scripture.  If you follow this line of logic, you’d have to reach the conclusion that God kills people.  In John 10:10, we are reminded that,  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  James 1:17 continues this thought when it says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The truth is, we live in a fallen world and bad things do happen even to good people, but God is a good God and does not send bad things our way.

This idea that everything that happens is caused by God, is known in the church as the Sovereignty Doctrine. The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. When it is used in other translations, it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.

4 Simple Steps To Lose Your Joy

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Don’t you hate it when you lose something important? If you’re like me, you’re always losing things – keys, money, notes, glasses, your Bible, umbrella, and how about the most frustrating thing we lose…the TV remote control! Then, there are other less tangible things that we lose – our temper; our patience; our memory; and possibly most importantly, our joy.

And losing things can really mess up your day. So, if joy is a fruit of the Spirit, how in the world do we lose it?

Here are 4 simple steps to losing your joy – guaranteed.

  1. Refuse to forgive.  In the words of Goob from Meet the Robinsons, “Don’t let it go!”  Hold onto the bitterness until it turns into a venom that eats away at the very core of your soul. Just keep blaming the other guy, you’re the victim here!

2. Think negative thoughts.  Forget all that Philippians 4:8 stuff, you’re a realist after all.  Just let any thought that floats through your mind rattle around and snowball into a torrent of negativism.

3. Let your circumstances dictate your feelings. Grab onto the bar of that emotional roller coaster and ride baby ride.  And maybe the best way of all . . .

4.  Allow the busyness of life to cause you to chose the good over the best.  Say yes, to every activity that comes your way and fill your calendar up every minute of every 

day. With all this busyness, who has time to read the Bible much less pray?

I promise, you will have the opportunity to fall into all these traps, and if you take the bait, you’ll find your spiritual tank empty and your joy dried up.

Remember the words of Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  May you find your joy and strength in Him.

#joy