Positive Thinking

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Hope, Perspective by PCraig on September 14, 2017

I remember growing up and watching Dr. Robert Schuller preach from the Crystal Cathedral. For those who knew him, Schuller was huge on possibility thinking. Each week he would encourage his listeners that they could rise above their circumstances by focusing on the possibilities rather than the difficulties. I know he had his critics, but I think most people could use a good dose of Schuller’s message.  Some a double dose!

How many people do you know that give into the power of negative thinking? They can moan, groan, gripe and complain for endless hours. No matter what your problem is, they have it worse.

What would happen if we began to practice possibility thinking? Not that we can just think good thoughts and everything will be okay. But, what if we stopped thinking of how bad we have it, what more could go wrong, and why isn’t God doing something about it? Instead, we could spend the same amount of time thinking of how well off we really are (especially compared to most of the world), what could go right, and where is God currently trying to direct us if we would just pay attention?

People all around us are looking for hope. What if you became a source of it? Would there be a promotion in your future, better relationships, or greater influence? I think so. Take some time today to think of the possibilities.

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4 Helps To Fight Depression

Posted in Attitude, Counsel, Encouragement, Perspective by PCraig on September 1, 2017

We’re just a matter of weeks before the leaves begin falling from the trees. For me, that can be depressing. I much rather watch the leaves sprout in spring, rather than tumble to the ground in fall. But, there is a time and season for everything, the Bible says, so I can choose to accept what I cannot change.  If we’re not careful, some of us can get depressed over things we can’t change. What good is that? There are countless reasons to get depressed, but can you avoid it? Or, at least minimalize it?

Here are the some things to consider:

  • Stop Hiding It. Until you admit you’re depressed no one can help you.
  • Ask For Help. This may mean joining a Life Group, go to counseling, or visit a doctor.
  • Take Action Today. Delay keeps us down. Quit postponing & procrastinating. You know what you need to do, now go do it! Make the phone call or set up the appointment.
  • Seek The Healer. Jesus wants to help you more than you know. Don’t doubt Him, attempt to hide from Him or run from Him. Instead, we need to run to Him. (Ps. 147:3; Isaiah 61:1-3)

The enemy will try to get you to focus on what’s wrong with your life, on things you don’t have, and the hardships of life that often can’t be avoided. Instead of biting his bait, fix your eyes, mind and senses on what you do have and the promise of God to never leave you or abandon you. It may look dark at the moment, but hope and help is on the way and God can turn things around for you. Don’t give up, instead take action and I believe you’ll begin to come out from under the dark clouds of despair into a new day full of God’s sunshine.

One of the very practical things that lifts me is positive, uplifting music. What helps you? Whatever it is, take time to activate it in your life today.

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Why Your Words Are Important

Posted in Choice, Criticism, Encouragement, Marriage, Relationships, Words by PCraig on August 24, 2017

Some of us are external processors, some of us are internal processors, but we all talk a lot. One-fifth of your life will be spent with your mouth open. Is that insane to consider? Even more, that’s a lot of opportunity to bless and that’s a lot of opportunity to curse, according to James chapter three. And some of us are really over achievers when it comes to spoken, text, tweet, post and emailed communication.

It’s not surprising that God has something to help us with this area that consumes a fifth of our lives. James tells us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” I wonder how many marriages would be better today or even together today, if they put that one principle into practice? Proverbs 18:21 goes so far as to say that the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” But, before you discount that as extreme, think of recent bullying that has resulted in suicides and depression.

You and I weld a lot more power in our mouths than we give credit. The challenge is to direct that force in a good, positive and beneficial way for others and us. When a spouse gets all puffed up and raises their voice to set the record straight, all that may have been accomplished is lowering the quality of their relationship and complicating things further. Being loudest, most boisterous or cutting may win an argument, but it can lose the relationship. You may get someone to walk away, wave a flag of surrender or cower down, but you didn’t build anything along the way.

How do we get control of our tongue? James says it isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, he says it’s easier to tame an animal, bird or fish than it is to tame the tongue. Ever been to Sea World?

Here’s what James says can help:

Be slow to speak. Don’t speak first and think later, that’s a recipe for regret.

Be wise. Ask yourself: Is this is wise to say? Will this be beneficial?

So peace. If you can’t something positive, don’t say anything at all. Mom said that too!

Your words will steer your life in one direction or another. The cause for some not having a better marriage is in their mouth. Some don’t have the job you would like because you sabotage your self by gossiping at work.

We need more peacemakers in the world, and that requires being more in control of what comes out of our mouths. Let’s all start today!

*If you liked this post, join us this weekend for part 4 of Functional Faith as we discuss James 3 in more detail. You can also catch the podcast from our website next week: www.crossroadsavon.com

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Dreamweaver

Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Events, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on April 20, 2017

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God Will Provide

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Miracle, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on February 2, 2017

In today’s Old Testament reading of the One Year Bible plan, I was struck by the way God provides for His people. In Exodus 15 He turns “bitter” water into drinkable H2O by a miracle. He also declares, “I am the Lord, who heals you.” I love that!

Then, in Exodus 16 God makes bread to appear each day. He warns them not to hoard it, for they must trust Him for “daily bread,” just as Jesus would one day teach us to pray. Quail even came in the evening, as God sent dinner long before drones were ever created. God can airlift provision to His people no matter where they may be located. Don’t even think that you are unnoticed or unable to receive from God. He knows your address and can get what you need faster than Amazon Prime can deliver it.

In Exodus 17 we find that God can even bring water from a rock for His people. We learn later that this is a foreshadowing of Jesus. That just like water came from the rock to quench the thirst of the Israelites; God would send the solid Rock, Christ Jesus, to satisfy the thirsting of every person’s soul. What drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, money and things cannot satisfy, we find filled in Christ alone.

I don’t know what you may be going through today. You may feel like you are in a desert place that is dry, desolate and discouraging. But, just as God proved Himself faithful and took care of the Israelites, He still cares for His people today. Stop trying to find satisfaction in things that cannot bring lasting contentment. Instead, trust the One who can bring water from a rock, airlift provision or drop it in overnight. God knows what you really need and is able to provide.

 

 

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God Is With Us

Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on January 19, 2017

Some of us think that if God is with us, then life will go smooth, when the Bible actually paints a different picture. For instance, over and over in Genesis 39 we find this phrase concerning Joseph, “the Lord was with him.” Yet, in that same chapter Joseph is falsely accused and thrown into prison. I guess the good news is that the Lord was still with him in jail.

Remember this today as you may be going through a struggle, just because your going through something doesn’t mean God’s not with you. Also, just because God is with you, doesn’t mean you won’t go through some stuff.

The main thing to focus on is God’s promise for your life. Joseph hung onto the dream that God had given him that would one day be fulfilled. Don’t let your current detour or distract you from the dream God has yet to deliver.

Joseph’s life is a witness to a God who will bring you through! Never lose hope or give up, for God is with you.

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Reeling

Sometimes life comes at you fast someone said.  I agree.  There are times in our lives when it appears that everything is coming unglued, when bad news follows bad news and we’re uncertain about way too many things.

What you and I choose to do in those moments is crucial in whether we bounce back, decline or waste a bunch of time (that thing we can’t get back).  So, I would like to offer a few suggestions that help me when these moments come.

  • Get alone with God.  I can’t keep myself encircled with chaos and confusion and expect to think clearly.
  • Step away.  I’ve got to disconnect from the situation and catch a break.
  • Take in inspiration.  Whatever feeds your soul – get around it.  It may be music, exercise, prayer, meditation, preaching, worship, reading, but whatever it is – do it.
  • Talk with others.  Not just any others, but the ones who not only have your best interest at heart and are willing to speak truth in love.  You need it.
  • Get outside.  I can’t help but feel how big God is when I step into the glory of His creation. The heavens declare God’s glory and I need that reminder.
  • Sleep & rest.  When I’m tired and worn out, that is not the time to make decisions. I need to rest my body to refresh my soul and mind. Everything feels darker when I’m tired.

Maybe try some or all of these things if you’re in a season of loss and one thing keeps piling on another.  One thing you never do – quit!

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It’s The Simple Things

It seems like so much of life is about the simple things.  I heard recently that if a person gets seven or more hours of sleep per night they will be more productive and positive in life.  Yet, the average American only gets somewhere around six hours of sleep per night.

We know that when a family takes time to share meals together that it builds connection and communion within the home.  But, many schedule their lives so that meals consist of grabbing something on the way to the next event.

Many of us are aware that reading God’s Word can feed our soul, encourage our hearts and allow for God to speak.  We recognize that attending church services fills our spirits, touches our lives and inspires us for the week.  Yet, many of us get busy with other things and leave off the ones that matter for eternity.

So, allow me to challenge you to get to bed more regularly, eat meals with your family more consistently, read your Bible each day and attend church services every week.  You’ll be more productive, positive, better connected, encouraged and inspired, so, who doesn’t want that?  Here’s to a sweet ’16!

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There Is Hope This Christmas

Posted in Culture, Encouragement, holiday, Hope by PCraig on December 23, 2015

I don’t think any of us can fully imagine the raw violent culture that depicted the world into which the Christ child came.  The Bible tells us that King Herod was so terrorized by the thought of a child being born as “king of the Jews” that he had every boy in Bethlehem murdered who were two or under.  (See Matt. 2)

We continue to live in a violent culture.  Videos are released showing the beheading of Christians by terrorists.  A couple walks into a Christmas party and begins to shoot everyone they can.  Bomb threats close schools and shopping centers.

Yet, still today, there is hope through the one born to Joseph and Mary over 2000 years ago.  His birth gave hope by fulfilling promises that were made centuries before.

Into a violent culture came a victorious Savior.

Into a rein of terror came God’s terrific plan.

Into an age of uncertainty came a certain promise.

For unto us is born, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  There is hope this Christmas, wrapped up as God’s finest gift to the world.

To as many as receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.  John  1:12

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The God of Comfort

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Isn’t this a question that goes against the grain of our lives?  I mean, for those of us with a strong sense of justice, we believe that it’s fair for someone who harms others to suffer.  But, people filled with kindness, generosity and love should be given a pass on pain right?

The problem is that this is not how reality works.  And an even greater problem is that we think it should be that way.  As we discussed last weekend in our services, when we believe that God exists to make me happy and I’m not happy, then God messed up.

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul refers to God as “the God of all comfort.”  What makes this significant is that you don’t need a comforting God if you’re always comfortable.  They time you really appreciate “the God of all comfort” is when you are uncomfortable, in pain, hurt, and even agony.

So, if you are currently in a situation of discomfort, it doesn’t mean God has let you down, it means He wants to lift you up.  If we never had a problem, we would never know how God could solve them.  Your pain is an opportunity to know the depth of comfort that only God can provide.  Invite Him into your pain today.

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