The Second Biggest Decision You’ll Make

Posted in Choice, Decisions, Marriage, Mistakes, Relationships, Wisdom by PCraig on February 4, 2016

We all make choices each day.  Someone has said that our lives really are the sum of our decisions that we make along the way.  What is so crazy is that in the moment, we often don’t know what ways in the balance.  How many times have you looked back to see that had you chosen differently at the time, your life would have gone in a different direction.  If you had gone ahead and married him, if you had moved and taken that job, if you had attended that party, or if you had spent your money on that instead of saving it.

All of us have had moments like these; therefore, it’s supremely important that we weigh every decision.  Outside of choosing to follow Christ, I believe the second most important choice is whom we will marry.  This person will have 24-hour access to our lives and bring joy or pain like no one else is able.

So, how do we choose wisely?  Are there things to look for in a future spouse?  Do warning signs appear that we can see and pay attention?  What are the big things to make sure they possess before going any further?

This weekend starts a series called Lasting Love, which pulls from the story of Ruth found in the Scriptures.  Over these next four weeks we’ll discover what to look for in a potential mate.  As a result, we can be equipped to make wise choices and live with fewer regrets.

I hope you can join us!  (Sundays @ 9 & 10:45 a.m.)

Here’s a video invite:  https://youtu.be/eliCsF6ZyHE

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Dealing With Disappointment

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Mistakes, Perspective by PCraig on February 5, 2015

I like much of the nation, was so disappointed in the loss suffered last weekend by the Seattle Seahawks.  As you know, Seattle appeared to have the game won in the final seconds, but do to a controversial play call, the ball was intercepted and New England was crowned the champs (and the universe grieved).

What do you do when life hands you a disappointment?  Here are some reasons for setbacks:

  • Our own dumb choices and decisions
  • Other people’s dumb choices and decisions that affect us
  • What some people call “dumb luck” or the effects of living in a sinful world where things don’t always go our way.

So, how can we turn our setbacks into set-ups for greater success in the future?   What can you do to turn your disappointments into desired results?  Here are some lessons to apply:

  • Failure is a great teacher on what not to do next.
  • Failure is never final, unless you fail to get back up.
  • People will do dumb, hurtful and heartbreaking things, but God is still faithful and there are plenty of people that will encourage you if you’ll get around them.  If you don’t know any, then you need to get out and find them.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, so just because you made one doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human.
  • God specializes in turning failure to triumph, loss into victory and hurt into healing.

If you have recently suffered a setback, failure or disappointment, don’t give up, give in or quit.  Instead, be more determined than the devil and get back up, shake yourself off, pray to God for strength and go out and face the world again.  You can do it!

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Why Famous People Mess Up

Posted in Character, Decisions, Integrity, Mistakes by PCraig on March 20, 2014

Have you every heard the announcement of someone famous messing up and thinking, “How do you do that?  How do you have that much money, fame or whatever you want and mess up like that?”

The problem is that fame and fortune don’t provide character; they only reveal it.  If you have trouble staying out of trouble when you’re poor, getting ahold of more money will only add to the problem.  This is the explanation for why famous people wind up on the news for dumb choices and poor decisions.

A lot of people think that poverty is a great test of character, but the stronger test is that of prosperity.  That’s why Daniel is such an incredible story in the Old Testament.  He had fame and fortune and yet when they snuck around and thoroughly investigated his life they could find no corruption (Daniel 6:4).  The only thing they discovered was he really loved God.

I feel bad for those who get caught up in bad decisions that negatively affect themselves and those around them, but I’m not shocked by it.

Let’s be people who, like Daniel, are trustworthy, free of corruption and negligence; because our character is anchored in our commitment to God, not our money.

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Distorted

Posted in Attitude, Mind, Mistakes, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 3, 2013

Ever go through a Fun House with those distorted, curved mirrors?  I used to love looking in them when I was a kid.  Something about seeing my head look elongated by several feet or my body looking like it had been squished was really amusing.  All of that is imaginary fun, but some of us carry distorted images of ourselves on the inside.  “I’m stupid”, “I’m ugly”, or “I’m unlovable.”  Perhaps it started with comments from others, past bad choices, or current tough conditions.  Whatever the case, distorted messages inside and lead us to false conclusions.  Therefore, we might tailor our lives around the distortion.

Jesus said, “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to our self-image.  We  each want to be accepted.  We work hard at it by buying things, wearing certain things, and joining or doing things.

I want to help you to be free of the distortions of past mistakes, words of others, and your own opinions.  Here’s some good news: God has accepted you, according to Romans 15:7.  Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say that it’s based upon you.  Instead, He emphatically declares that we are accepted unconditionally.

God accepts you, so begin a process today of accepting yourself.  Your Heavenly Father loves you right where you are and just as you are.  That gives me a lot of confidence, how about you?

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Avoid A Bad Ending

Posted in Faithfulness, Mistakes, One Year Bible by PCraig on May 11, 2010

Have you ever known someone who got off to a great start but ended bad?  Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?  Same thing happened in the Bible to King Saul, as he started off great, but ended badly. 

I’ve seen preachers, politicians, and about everything in between do this same thing.  Why does it happen?  I think there are various villains that we can point fingers to, but the bottom line is getting off target. 

For King Saul, he started out feeling small in his own eyes, but after a lot of success, began to get the big head and scared of losing his position.  Yet, as you read his story, that’s exactly what did happen.  Instead of staying close to God and thankful for what God had done, he gets side-tracked by an inferiority complex and allows jealousy to eat him alive. 

Today, I’m looking at my life and asking, “Is there anything in me that could get me side-tracked?”  What is it for you that could destroy a marriage that once was good, a job that you once loved, a ministry you were made for, or a friendship that you’ve always counted on?  Better look now and avoid ending up with a bad “hare” day.

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Self-Deception

Posted in Mistakes by PCraig on April 17, 2010

Why is it so difficult for many of us to admit we have problems, habits, hang-ups and inconsistencies.  Too many people would rather try to live like a fake and never admit they have or caused a problem.  For leadership, that’s a sure recipe for disaster.  Let me let you in on a secret: people know way more about your failings than you give them credit.  That may sound like bad news, but it’s an opportunity to quit living in a fog.

All of Europe is paralyzed right now by a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland.  What’s worse is when people are paralyzed from growing because they live in a fog of self-deception instead of facing their failings head on. 

The first step toward an overcoming life and great leadership is being honest with where you are.  Pretending to know the answers when you don’t know them will not solve the problem.  Acting as though you don’t have an issue when it is obvious you do, doesn’t fool anyone. 

May God help us all to live more real, transparent and authentic lives rather than wasting our days on self-deception.  Are you being deceived?

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Mistakes Cost

Posted in Mistakes by PCraig on April 8, 2010

Many would like to think that they can just screw up on the job, or in relationships and everyone should be okay with that.  In other words, “Let’s just forgive and forget because everyone messes up now and then.”  Well, even though that may be true, there is a penalty to be paid for mistakes.

Make a mistake in the operating room and someone can die.  Make a mistake in marriage and it usually ends in divorce.  Make a mistake while driving and you can wreck your car or worse.  You see, even though mistakes are forgivable – it doesn’t mean they don’t cost you something. 

Same can be said in relationships.  You may slip up and say something to your spouse that was mean and hurtful.  Yes it can be forgiven, but it cost you deeper intimacy.  Or, perhaps you decided to share what you really think about that fellow employee in the break room.  Sure they can forgive you, but who’s going to trust turning their back to you now? 

Moses disobeyed the Lord and therefore dishonored Him in front of the children of Israel.  Sure God forgave him, but it cost him.  Moses didn’t get to lead the people into the Promised Land. 

Do we sometimes get too careless with our lives thinking we can always pull out the “forgive me” card?  I have no doubt that God will forgive me of whatever mistake I make, but I’m not just looking to be forgiven, I want to achieve all that I have the potential of achieving.  Make no mistake – mistakes will always cost you something.

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