TV or Not TV, That is the Question

Distractions are Everywhere 

Television, Social Media, Junk mail, junk email.

​What do these all have in common?

They can take you away from what is important to you. That is, if you know what is important to you.

We recently tried an experiment where we had no TV for one week. I was amazed at how addicted to TV I had become. We made it through the week, but my body craved its TV time.

Try it yourself this week. Notices if you get fidgety around the blank TV screen.  Maybe you will surprise yourself.  No TV means no news, no weather, no reality shows, no sports, no sitcoms, no late night talk shows. Nada. Zero. Zip.

No Judgement, Just Experiment

The operative word here is "Notice". Just be a non-judgmental observer. There is therefore no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.

You may discover that you have much more time with the TV silent. You may find that you are Moore connected to the people around you. Or you may notice nothing. That's OK. This is just an experiment. 

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The Power of Love

I am wondering how love would respond to the U.S. election.  One candidate won by a substantial majority. Supporters of the losing candidate rioted in the streets, they called in too sick to work, and even wept openly on TV.

It is great that people show such passion for their candidates.  I’m currently involved in another project, and as part of that, I am to refrain from having negative opinions. Notice, I said “having,” not “expressing.” It is one thing to bite your tongue when tempted to criticize; it is another thing to squelch the temptation itself.

Here’s what the Bible says about love (Common English Bible):

Love from the Bible

The source of love

Love: the universal spiritual gift

13 If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. We know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. 12 Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. 13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.

Common English Bible (CEB)Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

As part of our readings for the other project, we are in Chapter 9 of The Greatest Salesman in the World. In that Scroll, the reader is urged to “greet this day with love in my heart.”

And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again… I will encourage my friends and they will become brothers… Always will I dig for reasons to applaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip..… I love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden.

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill advocates the following:

“I eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity because I know that a negative attitude towards others can never bring me success.”

Love_heart

Making a Difference

Can Movies Make a Difference?

The difference in people is amazing. One person lives out his convictions and another wonders how they did it. Mel Gibson made a difference with The Passion of the Christ, and then his rants, one seeming to cancel another. Now he seeks to provide a moral uplift again.

In his latest film, Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson portrays the true story of a World War II Medal of Honor winner who never fired a shot. In fact, he didn't carry a gun.

Maybe the true story will make a difference.

Why Your Affirmations Aren’t Working

Affirmations

affirmations on a board

Can affirmations work?

Affirmations, as taught by many people, are things you say that you want to be true.  You just “name it and claim it”, or more crudely, “blab it and grab it”. They teach you to pick a reality that you desire and then state that as a present fact.  Now, real affirmations are very effective, but these pseudo affirmations are not.  Let’s be clear about what I mean by “affirmations”.  Here’s the dictionary definition of affirmation:
noun

  1. . the act or an instance of affirming; the state of being affirmed.
  2. . the assertion that something exists or is true.
  3. . something that is affirmed; a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.
  4. . confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc.
  5. . Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath.

Notice that it stems from the verb “affirm”. Here’s what the dictionary has to say about that word:
verb (used with object)

  1. . to state or assert positively; maintain as true:
    to affirm one’s loyalty to one’s country; He affirmed that all was well.
  2. . to confirm or ratify:
    The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the lower court.
  3. . to assert solemnly:
    He affirmed his innocence.
  4. . to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; support:
    to affirm human rights.

verb (used without object)

  1. to state something solemnly before a court or magistrate, but without an oath.
  2. to ratify and accept a voidable transaction.
  3. (of an appellate court) to determine that the action of the lower court shall stand.

The key idea here is the truth. The Carpenter from Galilee had something to say about this (Mark 11:22-24):

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Look closely at verse 23.  You can have whatever you say IF you do not doubt that what you say will come to pass.  Imagine speaking to a mountain when your inner voice is saying “are you nuts?”.  Too often, that is what is happening when people are trying to create a new reality. They don’t believe that what they are saying is the truth. They have no confidence in their own words.

I can hear you thinking “Okay Mr. smarty Pants, so it doesn’t work unless I believe.  How do I make myself believe?”

I’m glad you asked.

Here are five steps that are simple to describe, and simple to do, but very difficult at the same time. Commit to these steps and you can design a wonderful life for yourself.

Have Faith in God

The fool has said in his heart “There is no God.” I am assuming you are no fool. If the concept of “God” is too theological for you, then have faith in an orderly universe.  We live in a Cosmos, not chaos. There is a principle of cause and effect, another of action and reaction.

Guard Your Words

Avoid sarcasm and irony. Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Begin to develop trust that your words are not the opposite of your intentions.

Practice Acting on Your Word

Make no commitments that you don’t intend to keep. Learn to say no at the appropriate times. Make no promises that you don’t have the ability to keep.

Find Reasons for Believing Your Affirmations

Is the Universe conspiring against you or working on your behalf? Should you expect good to follow you? Progress is difficult when you secretly believe that you don’t deserve what you are affirming. Here are some starters:

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. (John 3:16-18 in the Message)

11-15 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. (Colossians 2:13-15 in The Message)

Only Declare What You Can Believe

Let’s say you want to have more income. Let’s say you have found an income opportunity that you believe will make you wealthy. If you are broke and you declare to your mirror “I have a million dollars in the banK”, you know that you are lying.  “Fake it ’til you make it” sounds good, and might fool others, but deep down you know the truth.. Instead of lying to yourself, you could say “I am on my way to having wealth.”  or “If I work my business, I will get customers and partners and together we will succeed.” The key is to make declarations you can actually believe.

What about what Jesus said about believing when you pray? Fine, if you believe that you receive, then say that. The guideline is to only say what you can believe in your heart. Once you have confidence that what you say comes to pass, you can have whatever you say.

 

 

Bible talks about money

Bible Facts About Money

Money is NOT the Root of All Evil

money

Money is a Tool

In a previous post, I challenged some limiting beliefs about money. This post will explore those in more depth. Don’t take my word for any of this; look it up yourself and convince yourself.

Let’s examine the life of Jesus in more detail. Did you realize that He spent more time discussing money than He did Heaven and Hell?

Jesus Had a Treasurer to Handle Money

There is a common misconception that Jesus was a poor vagabond with no material goods.  Some of this comes from His own quotes, such as “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58) and “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25).

Imagine for a moment that the disciples and Jesus were, in fact, poor.  How would they have responded to the saying about a rich man? Maybe something like “Right On! Filthy rich people.” Okay, maybe not so extreme, but would they have been in general agreement with it? Notice what they actually said.  Jesus had counseled a rich man to sell all that he had (a business transaction), and give to the poor, and follow Jesus. The rich man was sorrowful because his riches had him. Jesus gave to the poor at such an astonishing rate that the disciples assumed that was what Judas was going to do the night he betrayed Jesus. But notice that they were astounded and asked: “Who then can be saved?”

Bag of Money

Judas held the bag

Judas was a member of Jesus’ staff, traveling with Him and the other eleven. On a separate occasion, Judas had criticized people for pouring ointment on Jesus, but it wasn’t because of the poor. Instead of pouring it out, they could have sold it and put the money into Judas’s hands. Hear what the Bible says about his hypocrisy.

Notice there was enough for him to be stealing from the bag.

And here is the false assumption of the group on the night that Judas betrayed Jesus.

 

Improve Your Relationship to Money

What Do You Believe?

  1. Money is the root of all evil.
  2. Money is essential for life
  3. Money is not at all important
  4. Money is a wonderful tool

Money is the root of all evil

Most people who feel this way base their feelings on what they believe the Bible says. The actual quote is here. Some of the greatest persons of the Bible were actually quite rich:

So, then, ask yourself what is the love of money? Seeking money for its own sake. What would you do with the money?

Money is essential for life

You must have money to purchase food, clothing, shelter, transportation.

Money is not at all important

Money is not the end of the pursuit, but the means to the end. Money is like oxygen. As long as there is enough, it is not even noticed. Only the lack of oxygen makes it important. Only the lack of money makes it important. Poor people can honestly believe that money will solve their problems. Rich people know better.

Money is a wonderful tool

Money enables a person to do things that are important. feed their family, feed a village, feed the world. Provide shelter for as many as you can afford. Money only makes a person capable of doing more of what they would have done anyway. Money flows in a channel as you give. There is a law of giving AND receiving. Decide that you will be better at both.

Stay tuned for practical ways to improve your money quotient.

 

Celebrate Resurrection

1 Kings 17
17 Later on, the woman’s son became sick. The sickness took a turn for the worse—and then he stopped breathing.

18 The woman said to Elijah, “Why did you ever show up here in the first place—a holy man barging in, exposing my sins, and killing my son?”

19-20 Elijah said, “Hand me your son.”

He then took him from her bosom, carried him up to the loft where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he prayed, “O God, my God, why have you brought this terrible thing on this widow who has opened her home to me? Why have you killed her son?”

21-23 Three times he stretched himself out full-length on the boy, praying with all his might, “God, my God, put breath back into this boy’s body!” God listened to Elijah’s prayer and put breath back into his body—he was alive! Elijah picked the boy up, carried him downstairs from the loft, and gave him to his mother. “Here’s your son,” said Elijah, “alive!”

John 11
The Death of Lazarus
11 1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”

4 When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.”

5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

8 They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”

9-10 Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”

11 He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.”

12-13 The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.

14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”

16 That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”

17-20 When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.

21-22 Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”

23 Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”

24 Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”

25-26 “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.”

28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”

29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?”

34-35 “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.

36 The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”

37 Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”

38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!”

40 Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”

They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”

43-44 Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.

Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

Purpose

Purpose is what gives our lives direction.

When we realize that we are spirits who have souls who live in bodies, we know we can accomplish great things.

We can become what we will to become because God is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. His plans for us are good and not evil. We can love because He first loved us.We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. Our thoughts will become things. What we say frames our reality. The Bible tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth everything was formless and void and God said “light be” and light was.the Bible says God created man in His image, meaning that we are also creators.

Unfortunately, most people are creating things they don’t want. They prophesy calamity and are excited that they were correct in their prophecy.We have the glorious privilege of creating good for us and for those around us. We are light set on the hill, a beacon of goodness if we choose to be. We are co-laborers with God. We can pray for good things to happen to people. We can have what we say as long as it is good for us and for the greater good and does not harm anyone else. We can make the world a better place by improving one life at a time.

We can embark on the hero’s journey. That is my choice.