Joy To The World

Posted in Attitude, Joy, Thankfulness, Victorious Living by PCraig on December 23, 2010

The announcement of the angels was that joy has come with the birth of Christ, yet there is an absence of joy in many lives.  How can this be, even for those who claim to know the Savior?  What can help us restore joy in our lives?  An attitude of gratitude and optimism toward the future leads to incredible joy. 

When Christ first came into the world, people were grateful for His appearing and the potential of what that means for future.  We become a gratitude magnet and experience ever deepening joy when we concentrate on the gifts in our lives.  What have you got to be thankful for?

You also believe that your best days are ahead of you, not behind you.  Your mindset is, “My best days are yet ahead of me, and God’s favor is all over me.”  When you change your heart and mind you change the direction of your life. 

So at the end of 2010 what are you thankful for?  What is right about your life?  Be grateful.  Then think about what your brighter and better future looks like.  What do you hope for?  I love the Christmas song that says, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”  Jesus came to bring hope and calm our fears.

When we get thrilled about life, we get a life that is thrilling.  Jesus didn’t come for you to just exist, He came that you might have life to the full.  “Joy to the world (that includes you!) the Lord HAS come!”

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Hit the Pause

Posted in Perspective, Rest & Refreshing, Time by PCraig on December 16, 2010

It’s okay to hit the pause button every once in a while.  At least that’s what I have to tell myself.  Each us need some time to take a break and clear our heads, but it’s easier said than done.  Most of us rush from one thing to the next and don’t stop long enough to see how we’re doing.  If you don’t know how you’re doing, then how do you know what you’re doing is good?

Decide right now to take an afternoon, a day, or even a week, to get away from the situation long enough to gain a fresh perspective.  Otherwise, you might say or do something you will later regret.  I’ve known people who quit their job because of an emotional decision – not a good idea. 

When I read the life of Jesus, I see a man who would often disappear from the crowd and take time to think, pray and reflect.  We all know what He was able to accomplish as a result, so how much better might we live if we did the same?  So, give yourself permission to go for a walk, leave the office early, pray, read or just sit in your car alone.  My best ideas have come from these moments and I imagine the same is true for you.  (Pause)

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End of the Year Questions

Posted in New Year, Questions by PCraig on December 9, 2010

It’s getting to be that time of the year when I go into review mode.  I think the end of the year is a perfect time to reflect upon your life and see how things are going.  Here’s some questions I like to ask:

  • Is my relationship with God in a growth swing? 
  • How do I feel about the condition of my marriage?
  • Am I content with my family time or does it need adjustment?
  • What measurements are revealing progress in my:  giving, evangelism, leadership?
  • Are there changes that I need to make to go to the next level in the coming year?

What questions do you ask yourself?  What other preparations do you make to ensure a successful New Year?  If you’re not planning and preparing for improvement in the New Year, then chances are it won’t just happen.

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Show Some Love

Posted in Attitude, Fruit of the Spirit, Love, Offense by PCraig on December 2, 2010

Because I had so much positive feedback about last night’s teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit at 1st Wednesday, I thought I would touch on it today.  One reason is that we need to be reminded of truths over and over again.  Another reason is a lot of you weren’t able to be there and didn’t hear it the first time.

In reference to living in love, the first fruit named in Galatians 5:22, we should seek to do two things.  First, we should do all we can to avoid being offensive to others.  What does that look like?  It means holding your tongue instead of lashing back at others.  You refuse to start sentences aimed at your spouse that begin with the words, “You always…”  Really, you are just trying to emulate Jesus’ behavior around those who hurt him and were so unlike him. 

Second, to walk in love, you must avoid being offended.  Most don’t think of this, but you really can’t BE offended by someone.  No one has the power to change your mood and make you get offended.  You have to TAKE offense.  That’s right, you make a conscious choice and decision to take the words or actions of someone else and be offended by them.  How do you know if you are mature in Christ?  You no longer get easily offended by others. 

So, are you a person who gets offended easily?  How can you begin to grow up and mature so you are no longer controlled by others?  Do you speak quickly and think slowly, and as a result cause offense?  Try thinking faster and speaking slower and see if your relationships start improving and lasting longer.  Bottom line is to stop making excuses and start making commitments.  Show some love to someone who doesn’t deserve it this week! 

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