Settlers vs. Settling

Posted in Attitude, Character, Choice, energy, Faith, Personal Growth, Relationships by PCraig on February 18, 2016

I can remember learning about the people who picked up and moved their lives to the western part of the United States.  They did this in order to explore new territory and built a settlement for themselves and those who would come behind.

All of that is proactive, energetic, risk-taking and exciting.  Settling is totally different.  The person who settles is someone that is lazy, compromising, has low self-esteem, and small goals.

Nowhere is settling admired.  We don’t look up to people who could have achieved more but chose not to.  Nor do we applaud people who quit simply because it got to be too tough.

If settling is not a virtue to aspire to, then why do so many choose it?  For followers of Jesus, I think one thing it comes down to a lack of faith in you and even more in God.  If we really believed in ourselves and God, then we wouldn’t dream of settling.  We would know that we were made for more, formed for a destiny that is greater than us, and unable to allow ourselves to stoop.

If you are single, don’t allow yourself to settle for less than what God has for you, wait for God’s best.  If you are married, don’t accept a mediocre marriage; inspire your partner to greater days.  Whatever you current situation, don’t settle for anything less that what God has destined for you.  Settlers are adventurous, brave and bold to lay claim on their future.  It’s okay to be a settler, just never settle for less than God’s best.

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Resting In Him

Posted in energy, Humility, Margin, Rest & Refreshing, Strengths, Time by PCraig on November 19, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I just am not as good of a person when I’m tired.  Some people act like they need very little sleep and they can perform fantastic – I don’t like those people.  Then, I wonder, are they only fooling themselves and really don’t understand how much better they could be with more rest?

It’s interesting that the Bible has a lot to say about rest.  God even through in an extra day in every week for that very purpose.  Jesus, God in the flesh, intentionally pulled away from the crowds, went off on retreats (40 days in a desert), prayer times in a garden.  So, who am I to think I don’t need to do similar?

My problem is that a strength of mine (according to StrengthsFinder) is achiever.  Therefore, I want do it all.  I want to work really hard, see progress, exercise to be as healthy as possible and be a great husband and super dad.  Unfortunately, there isn’t always time to feel accomplished in all of those areas at the same time (and those aren’t all the areas).  Do you ever feel that way?  Strung out, pushed to the limit, going 100 miles an hour in many directions, everyone needing a piece of you.

Let this be a reminder to all the achievers and people who tend to push it as fast as possible that our Savior calls us to rest.  Take your foot off the accelerator, find a quiet place to meditate and pray, get to bed a little earlier tonight, leave work a little early and hug your kids, and enjoy the earth that God put you on.  I think we’ll find that He will honor our act of wisdom and bless our humility in acknowledging that He is God and we are not.  Plus, we’ll probably be more pleasant to be around, I know I am.

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Get Away

Posted in energy, Perspective, Rest & Refreshing, Stress, Time by PCraig on October 15, 2014

Since my wife is a travel agent in her spare time (besides all the other things she does), we try to get away when we are able.  The strain of ministry can pull on you physically, mentally and spiritually.  Jesus Himself would get away from the crowds and encourage His disciples to do the same.

My problem is this: “I’m too busy to get away!” Ever find yourself saying this?  So, how can you make it happen?

I think you have to decide to make it happen first of all.  Nothing will change until you decide.

You have to plan ahead. If you intend to take time off at spring, then you better start working toward it now.  If I wait until close to the date I want to leave to work ahead, then it won’t happen.

Let everyone know that you will be gone and unreachable.  If you allow urgency to press in, then there will never be a “good time” to go. You have to make this the priority in your life.

Then, unplug, unwind, disengage and relax. Many people tell me that I am on fire when I come back from a break. I think you’ll be amazed at how much more you can get accomplished by taking off quality time to restore, refresh and recharge your internal batteries.

 

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Finding Hope

Posted in Encouragement, energy, Happiness, Hope, Involvement, Joy, Ministry, Purpose by PCraig on August 1, 2013

Someone said that a person can live without food for about 40 days, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.

What gives life hope is purpose.  If there’s no purpose to our lives, then what’s the point, right?  How do discover the meaning and purpose of our lives?

Here’s some questions to ask:

What are my strengths?

What do I have a passion to do?

What do others say I’m good at?

When do I feel the pleasure of God the most?

What hurt have I come through that could help others?

Looking at these questions can give an indication of what God might have designed for you to do with your life.  Our hearts, talents, gifts, abilities, experiences and feedback from others can help guide us to our purpose.  Once you discover it, then you’ve got something to live for each and every day.

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The Importance Of Getting Off To A Good Start

I loved watching the recent Summer Olympics.  Like many Americans, and perhaps many outside the U.S., I was intrigued with Michael Phelp’s march to Olympic history.  In every race, the announcers seemed to make comment about the importance of getting off the block quick to obtain a good start.  The feeling was that the team or individual who got off to a good start had a better chance in the race.

Perhaps the most important part of anyone’s day is the start?  The first moments of each day can set the tone for how we perceive the rest of it.  For example, if you get up thinking this day is going to be lousy, you’ll probably be right.  If you get up and read emails from work, read the bad news in the paper, and think about what’s not right in your life, then you’re getting off to a bad start.

What are some ways to get off to a good start?

  • Don’t check your email first thing.  If something’s that important, they’ll actually call you.
  • Be grateful.  You’re alive, there’s possibilities, hope and promise for today.
  • Read the Bible.  Start off with some good news.  Underline the promises you discover and claim them for yourself.
  • Meditate on things that are good.  Surrender your day to God in prayer.  Gain peace as you sit in silence before Him.  (Phil. 4:8; Ps. 46:10)
  • Exercise.  Get your blood pumping, your heart rate up and science confirms that you’ll feel better about yourself.
  • Don’t eat junk.  Garbage in garbage out – no brainer.
  • Try to do something for others as early in the day as possible.  Nothing makes you feel more confident and good about yourself than serving others.

There’s nothing like getting off to a good start.  So, what do you do to start your day?  Tell about it in the comments below.

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Party God

Posted in energy, Happiness, Joy, Victorious Living by PCraig on March 1, 2012

There’s no doubt about it, God is a partier!  Most of us good, religious, church-going people probably don’t look at God that way – but the evidence is there.

Let me give you some examples:

In the Old Testament, God invented festivals for the people to commemorate.  He plainly stated that they were to take off work, have a feast and rejoice in things He had done for them.

Moses and his sister Miriam led the people in song after crossing the Red Sea to make merry over God’s delivering power.

King David got so excited over the symbol of God’s presence, the Ark of the Covenant, being returned to Israel that he began dancing in the streets.

It says in Zephaniah that God will rejoice over you with singing.  How cool is that?

Jesus attended weddings and feasts on a regular basis and even turned water into wine at one of them as His first miracle.

I not only believe that God is into partying, but I also believe He’s against dried up, pruned up, sour-puss religion that causes people to look depressed.  Jesus said He came to give us life to the full, so that means rich, abundant, joy-filled experience in life.

Last night we took time to come together for a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and it was a blast.  We had whistles, clappers, foam fingers, funny videos, along with prizes and it was a hoot!  Sometimes we can get so busy serving God that we fail to take time to celebrate with His people all of the good things he has done.

What could you take time to celebrate today?  How has God moved in your life in the past?  Take some time to rejoice in the Lord – it will do your heart a world of good!

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Get Fired Up

Posted in Attitude, energy, Victorious Living by PCraig on September 1, 2011

I’ve been getting impressions lately about the need to be fired up every day that I live.  Why live a life of mere existence?  Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, life to the full” (John 10:10).  God’s desire is that we live fired up each day and moving forward in a growth pattern of our faith while accomplishing great things for His glory.   So, what are some additional benefits of living a “fired up” life?  Here are a few I thought of:

  • Your attitude is better when you act fired up
  • You aren’t nearly as bothered by petty things around you
  • A sense of accomplishment fills you each day
  • People around you tend to get fired up as well (it rubs off!)
  • God likes it when we are “stirred up” (2 Tim 1:6)
  • People are drawn to those who are fired up
  • You live the day with more energy because of a better mindset

Put a postcard by your nightstand, mirror where you get ready in the morning or a sticky note in your car that reads “Live Fired Up!”  Maybe that’s all you need to shake off the shackles of a wimpy existence some call living.  Perhaps it would get you going in the morning and you wouldn’t stop until you have squeezed every powerful moment out of the day.  Try it for a week.  It beats getting up and saying, “Good Lord, it’s morning…again!”

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What Drains You

Posted in energy, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 18, 2010

You need emotional energy to be kind to someone who is not kind to you.  To really live life with maximum impact you must be careful to observe things that drain you.  If you’re not cautious you will drained down to empty and wonder why you got nothing accomplished today. 

There are certain things that pull from you and it is vital to identify them.  When you don’t know what they are, then your oblivious to the fact that energy and vitality is being sucked right out of you.  What happens is that after about 3, 4, or 5 months, you will find that you are really running on empty.  Before you know it, you are on the edge and you are living a margin-less life.  You are still going to work, church and school, but it’s not enough because of the constant drain on you. 

A marriage going bad, struggles with your kids, finances in a mess, or relationship issues can cause a major drain.  Even though you may not have an immediate answer for these, you must make sure you are replenishing from positive sources. 

What drains me?  Excessive counseling.  When I have to sit and do a lot of counseling, back-to-back, it just drains me.  Some of it is because I feel I take my time to give advice and then people leave my office and do what they want to do anyway.  Also, negative people drain me.  The constant complaining, griping and meandering through life with no desire to succeed.  I get away from these people as fast as I can.  

If God is saying that those are some drains on your life and you are not able to get rid of them right now, then you must be sure that you are having things that fill your tank.  Work it into you schedule so that you keep margins in your life. 

Do you know what your drains are?

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Energy Creators

Posted in energy, Victorious Living by PCraig on August 17, 2010

What gives you energy?  Another way of stating it is, what causes you to feel juiced about life and ready to go?  Each of us have things that empower us and things that drain us.  There are certain things that drain me, not that they are wrong, but they just drain me.  There are certain activities that pull your emotional energy.  If you have none left, you will not be kind, patient, and understanding. 

So, What are the things that fill you up?  For me, I love worshiping God and engaging with worship music.  I also love my quiet time to pray, meditate and saturate in God’s Word. 

You need to know what fills you up.  It could be fellowship, reading, bike riding, riding your motorcycle, sitting on a park bench, or eating outside (my wife loves that one).  So, what is it for you?  Figure it out, then do it!

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