Monday, April 25, 2011

Quitting is more about WHO you are than WHERE you are.

Back in December, I wrote about the importance of starting well. In the comments, many people agreed with me, but they also pointed out the critical nature of continuing after you start. They were right. Like I said at the time, starting and finishing are the two covers of the book. The main part – the pages – represents the day-to-day labor needed to achieve your goal.

Unfortunately, in many ways starting is the easy part. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings.”

What about you? Are you merely a starter? When the enthusiasm for a new idea fades, when the passion cools, when the odds against you increase and the results diminish, when it looks as if success is impossible, will you maintain your intensity and keep going? Are you tenacious?

Consider the fact that Admiral Robert Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he succeeded. Oscar Hammerstein produced five shows that were flops on Broadway before staging Oklahoma, which had a record-breaking run of 2,212 performances. Thomas Edison failed in his attempt to create a workable lightbulb 10,000 times before creating one that finally worked. To achieve your dream, you need to be able to keep going when others quit.

To develop tenacity, keep in mind that…
Quitting is more about who you are than where you are.

Everyone faces difficulty when working toward a dream. And if someone fails, he can make excuses for what went wrong, how the unexpected happened, how someone let him down, how circumstances worked against him.

But the reality is that the external things do not stop people. Those who achieve their dreams don’t have an easier path than those who do not. They just have a different internal attitude about the journey. The great artist Leonardo da Vinci once declared, “Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed on a star does not change his mind.”

The one who achieves the dream sees the journey differently.

Instead of thinking, “Not enough people believe in me. I’ll never make it,” he says,
“My belief in myself is enough; I can make it.”

Instead of, “It’s taking too long to realize my dream,” she reminds herself,
“Dreams are realized one day at a time.”

Rather than, “Enough is enough! I’ve taken enough hits!” she declares,
“I’ve come too far to give up now.”

Instead of, “I don’t have the strength to hold onto my dream,” he tells himself,
“Hold on a little longer. The darkest hour comes just before the dawn.”

Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
And I love how H.E. Jensen expressed an achiever’s way of thinking: “The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn’t hear the referee.” The only real guarantee for failure is to stop trying.

So when things go wrong, when the obstacles seem too great, when the difficulties get to be too much, when your dream seems to be impossibly far away, your job is to simply keep going. If you stop, it won’t be because of what happens around you. It will be because of what happens in you. Choose to see things differently. Success is probably closer than you think. Just keep moving forward.

Thanksgiving: The Power of a Thankful Heart

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

It is not always easy to give thanks, but this is the very thing we must do in order to see God's will accomplished in our lives. This is how we move into higher realms of faith for ourselves, for our city, and for our nation. Thanksgiving breaks the power of the enemy. Whenever you give thanks to God, despite the most difficult circumstances, the enemy loses a big battle in your life. When you give thanks in the midst of difficulty, you bring pleasure to God's heart. He is looking for Christians who live in a realm of praise and thanksgiving where the enemy no longer has an ability to hold or manipulate that person. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart because thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice pleasing to God. Are you thankful? Are you thankful for your present circumstances?  Are you thankful for your salvation, your friendships, and your job? Thankfulness is a key to your life. It is the key that turns your situation around because it changes you, your outlook, and your attitude. There is power in a thankful heart.

Thanksgiving Brings Contentment

Begin to thank God for all the blessings he has given you instead of dwelling on the negative. Discontent dries up the soul. Look at what Elizabeth Elliott, who lost her husband on the mission field and has faced multitudes of hardships, says about loving God's will and being content. "To love God is to love His will. It is to wait quietly for life to be measured by one who knows us through and through. It is to be content with His timing and His wise apportionment. It is to follow in the steps of the Master, as did Paul, who was able to say that he had learned contentment no matter what the circumstances. His circumstances when he wrote that? Prison. No easy lesson, but great gain which is the sum of godliness plus contentment (I Timothy 6:6)."

Look at the example of Jesus. He followed the will of His Father to the very end. He obeyed without complaint. In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul says that we should have the same attitude. Jesus made himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death. We also are to have this same attitude with a humble and thankful acceptance of God's will for our lives.

"Jesus loved the will of His Father. He embraced the limitations, the necessities, the conditions, the very chains of His humanity as He walked and worked here on earth, fulfilling moment by moment His divine commission and the stern demands of His incarnation. Never was there a word or even a look of complaint."  ~Elizabeth Elliott

Offer God a Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving

The Duke of Wellington was the great British military leader who regretted that he had not learned the secret of praise during his lifetime. He had many great accomplishments and even defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. He was a brilliant and demanding man and when he was older, he realized that there were areas in his life that needed to change. In his old age a women asked him this question, "What would you do differently if you had your life to live over again?" He thought carefully and said, "I would give more praise." This is a lesson for all of us; if we would learn to be people of praise and thanksgiving all the days of our lives it would be a great accomplishment.

David said in Psalm 116:17, "I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord." Let each of us seek to have an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving, rising to a new level of holiness in our lives. Here are some ways to practice this attitude in everyday life:
  • Thank and praise God for everything in your life. Thank Him for even the difficulties. It is a sacrifice to do this. But He can turn troubles to triumph. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name" (Hebrews 13:15).
  • Don't allow yourself to complain about anything. During the difficult times, be very careful to watch your tongue.  Instead of complaining, think of ways you can verbally offer God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. 
  • Don't compare yourself with others. Don't wish that your life was different. God knows what is best. The Bible says having a thankful heart is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. When we begin to thank God for what we have rather than comparing ourselves with others, it opens the door for God's blessings.  
"God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually.  Few things feel better than receiving heartfelt praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too… An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God.  When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy"  ~Rick Warren

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When God Ran

Almighty God, the great I am
Immovable rock, omnipotent, powerful, awesome Lord
Victorious warrior, commanding King of Kings
Mighty conqueror, and the only time
the only time I ever saw Him run

Was when He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise when God ran

The day I left home I knew I’d broken His heart
And I wondered then if things could ever be the same
Then one night I remembered His love for me
And down that dusty road ahead I could see
It was the only time – it was the only time I ever saw Him run

And then He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise as He brought me to my knees
When God ran – I saw Him run to me

I was so ashamed, all alone and so far away
But now I know He’s been waiting for this day

I saw Him run to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice I felt His love for me again

He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said, “Son”, He called me Son
He said, “Son do you know I still love you?”
He ran to me and then I ran to Him
When God ran

God Sees The Heart

1 samuel 16:7, “the lord does not look at the things man looks at. man looks at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.”
God Sees The Heart by Jamie Turner

Our God measures man by His standard divine,
For He sees underneath every outward design.
He looks past possessions and costly attire;
He studies the heart, every thought and desire.

Our God does not judge by how tall we may stand,
Or how much we possess, or the rank we command.
His gaze goes far deeper to things that endure;
He honors the man (interjection: or woman) who keeps his heart pure.

For the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro,
We have no secrets that our God does not know.
Our Father knows our thoughts, He understands every part.
Man sees the outside, but God sees the heart.

This is another one of my favorites.  I love songs that have strong lyrics, songs that could be a sermon in themselves.  Basically is what this song says is that we cannot impress God. (The good and most pure things we can do are filthy rags compared to God’s righteousness and holiness.) We can’t be pretty enough to go to heaven, rich enough, powerful enough, popular enough, nothing that we can do will ever make us worthy of heaven, only by accepting Jesus as our Saviour and getting His forgiveness on our sins can we go to heaven when we die.

This song also says that “We have no secrets that our God does not know”  God knows our thoughts, and he knows our motives.  This goes both ways, God knows when we do things to bring glory to Him.  He knows when we do something anonymously to be a blessing to someone else, but He also knows our secret sins, He knows if we do something out of pride or arrogance. 

I’ve learned to be transparent with God.  He knows it all anyway, don’t try to hide from God or hide things from God.  He knows about it anyway, so you might as well tell Him and get it over with, and keep a pure heart.  That’s tough sometimes.  People do and say things that upset or offend us and we have a hard time forgiving them, sometimes we become bitter.  We become prideful in our appearance or with how good we are at things.  People do things intentionally to hurt us and we become angry.  We think bad things about other people, and worse, sometimes we SAY bad things about other people.  As pure as we try to be, our hearts are wicked. 

I think that as a Christian, sometimes it’s really easy to “look the right way” “say the right things” and “do the right things” so that we look like the perfect person outwardly to people.  I’ve known many people over the years who outwardly look like they are the model Christian, and inwardly, they are bitter, angry, filled with hate, pride, unforgiveness, wicked thoughts, and the list goes on. 

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, there are no sins that are “better” or “worse” in His eyes.  When I tell a lie to someone, my sin is no better to God than a person who committed murder.  Sin is sin, but I firmly believe that inward sins are more dangerous to us as Christians than outward sins. Inward sins can be “hidden” for many MANY years, people can take ugly inward sins with them to their grave and no one will ever know about them.  Harboring inward sins can cause us to take our focus off of God, they can harbor for years, they can cause us not to serve God the way we should.   I constantly try to search my heart to make sure that I’m not holding grudges, not being unforgiving, not being unkind, not being prideful, and keeping my thoughts pure.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. 

I would much rather have a pure heart and a close relationship with God, only read my Bible 4 days a week and be criticized for not doing things that other people think the “perfect Christian” should do than be someone who falls into the trap of doing all the right “motions” and has bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness in their heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


 “Air minum pun bagimu akan ditentukan, seperenam hin banyaknya; minumlah itu pada waktu waktu tertentu” (Yehezkiel 4:11)

Untuk memiliki kesehatan, selain berdoa mohon kemurahan hati Tuhan kita pun harus memahami pola hidup sehat, antara lain mengerti manfaat air dan buah-buahan. Manusia butuh air sebanyak 1/6 hin. Menurut kamus Alkitab itu setara dengan 2 liter atau 8 gelas per hari. Tepat waktu minum air putih akan memaksimalkan efektifitas tubuh manusia. Dua gelas air setelah bangun tidur akan membantu mengaktifkan organ-organ internal. Satu gelas air 30 menit sebelum makan membantu fungsi pencernaan dan ginjal. 

Satu gelas air sebelum mandi membantu menurunkan tekanan darah. Satu gelas air sebelum tidur untuk menghindari stroke atau serangan jantung. Bila Anda minum dari botol air kemasan, botol ini hanya aman untuk dipakai 1-2 kali saja, jangan diisi ulang berkali kali. Di samping itu, taruhlah di tempat yang jauh dari matahari. Bila Anda suka minum air dingin (air es) setelah makan berhati-hatilah. Air dingin akan membuat minyak yang baru dikonsumsi menjadi beku. Hal ini akan memperlambat pencernaan.

Makan buah-buahan harus dimakan saat perut kosong, sebelum makan! Bila Anda makan buah setelah makan maka buah akan bercampur dengan makanan lain dan membusuk serta menghasilkan gas dan dengan itu perut akan kembung. Makan buah utuh memang lebih baik daripada minum jus buah, tapi jika Anda minum jus buah, minumlah seteguk demi seteguk secara perlahan, karena Anda harus membiarkannya bercampur dengan air liur Anda sebelum menelannya. Menurut Dr. Herbert Shelton, bila waktu makan buah benar, yaitu sebelum makan, maka Anda akan memiliki umur panjang, kesehatan, energi, kebahagiaan dan berat badan normal. [RA]!/pages/Renungan-Harian-Nilai-Kehidupan/144079890030

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zona Asing

Yesaya 42:16
“Aku mau memimpin orang-orang buta di jalan yang tidak mereka kenal, dan mau membawa mereka berjalan di jalan-jalan yang tidak mereka kenal. Aku mau membuat kegelapan yang di depan mereka menjadi terang dan tanah yang berkeluk-keluk menjadi tanah yang rata. Itulah hal-hal yang hendak Kulakukan kepada mereka, yang pasti akan Kulaksanakan.”

Ketidakpastian adalah suatu kondisi yang tidak mengenakkan bagi seseorang karena ia tidak bisa menduga apa yang akan ia alami. Bisa saja di hari itu, ia ternyata mendapatkan seribu peristiwa yang menyedihkan hatinya, tetapi di keesokkan harinya, ia malah menerima seribu peristiwa kegembiraan. Dan inilah dunia dimana Anda dan saya hidup saat ini.

Salah seorang penulis Kristiani asal Amerika Serikat Byron Bohnert pernah menulis sebuah kalimat yang indah mengenai ketidakpastian. Kira-kira bila diterjemahkan berbunyi seperti ini “Seringkali mengikuti Allah bukan berarti membuat hidup Anda enak karena segala sesuatunya menjadi serba pasti. Justru sebaliknya, ketidakpastian akan kerap Anda temui. Namun, jika Anda tetap mengikuti-Nya maka perjalanan Anda akan menjadi sangat bernilai."

Ketidakpastian inilah yang saya sebut zona asing. Suatu hari ketika duduk di depan komputer, saya berbicara kepada Tuhan dalam hati, "Tuhan, sekarang saya seperti berlayar di perairan yang begitu luas. Saya tidak tahu harus mengarahkan hidup ini ke mana. Beritahukan apa yang harus saya lakukan." Tiba-tiba, Dia berkata kepada saya, “Ikutlah tuntunan-KU”.

Walaupun kita adalah orang-orang beriman, Tuhan Yesus tetap akan membiarkan kita berada dalam zona asing. Ini bukanlah karena Dia tidak mengasihi kita, tetapi karena kasih-Nya yang begitu besar kepada kita maka Dia mengizinkan kita mengalami ketidakpastian. Dia tahu ketika kita berada dalam zona yang aman maka kita akan melepaskan-Nya. Kita tidak lagi bergantung kepada-Nya, tetapi menggunakan kekuatan diri sendiri.

Bila hari-hari ini Anda merasa seperti berada dalam zona asing dan karenanya Anda takut menjalani hidup, ingatlah perkataan Allah melalui perantaraan Nabi Yesaya kepada bangsa Israel, “Aku mau memimpin orang-orang buta di jalan yang tidak mereka kenal, dan mau membawa mereka berjalan di jalan-jalan yang tidak mereka kenal. Aku mau membuat kegelapan yang di depan mereka menjadi terang dan tanah yang berkeluk-keluk menjadi tanah yang rata. Itulah hal-hal yang hendak Kulakukan kepada mereka, yang pasti akan Kulaksanakan.”

Orang yang bergantung kepada Allah tidak akan pernah dikecewakan-Nya.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Redeeming the Time: A Christian Perspective on Time Management

You know the feeling. You have a thousand and one things to do and you just don’t have the time. This is when most of us start thinking about time management, when we are up to our ears in over commitments.

But strictly speaking, time is not something human beings can really “manage.” When God stopped the sun in the middle of the sky to allow Joshua to win an important battle. That was time management!

(Joshua 10:12-13). We can’t stop the sun. We can’t even slow it down. God can make it go backwards!

(See 2 Kings 20:9-11).
So let’s begin by recognizing that time belongs to God. He made it and He sustains it. All we can do is manage ourselves in the way we use the time God has so graciously given us. It is not time, it is our purposes and goals and plans and actions that we are able to manage. These four key things are not only within our power to effect, God commands us to do so. They are the proper focus of any effort to use our time well.

Be Careful How You Use Your Time
Perhaps the best-known verse in the Bible concerning the proper use of time is found in Ephesians 5:15-17
“Therefore, be careful how you walk not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what will of the Lord is.” 

It is our responsibility to be careful with regard to our use of time because it is an issue of our foolishness or wisdom. In order to make the most of our time, we must have a clear understanding of what God’s will really is. Just as “whatever is not of faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23) so anything that is other than the will of God is a waste of time.

Paul’s statement that “the days are evil” is especially important. We live in a world where everyone has an agenda. Our time, our money and our very lives are all viewed as resources to be tapped and exploited by others. If we do not begin each day with a clear understanding of what God wants us to accomplish for Him with our time, we will become the recruits or casualties of one evil scheme or another.

Our purpose must always be to please our Father in heaven. Our goals must be the goals given to us by Christ in the Great Commission. Our plans must be made in the light of His word and with the qualification “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.” Our actions must be done with full conviction and forcefulness in the power of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we will miss the mark. We will fall short of the glory of God. We will squander precious time.

The Greatest Commandment

God has not left us without direction in this challenge. In fact, the most well-known and central passages in the Bible speak directly to the issue of walking wisely in the use of our time. The Greatest Commandment is one such passage.

An expert in the Jewish law once asked Jesus which of all the commandments of God was the greatest. The Lord responded by quoting a passage from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 with one important addition. Whereas the original passage mentioned only heart, soul and strength, in Luke 10:27 and Mark 12:30 Jesus adds the word mind.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” 
On closer examination we find that Christ was not adding to, but rather rearranging, the content in Deuteronomy 6. Moses had gone on to say in verses 8 and 9, “Tie [Gods commandments] as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” In other words, do whatever it takes to remind yourselves of what you know to be the will of God.

If we are going to love God, as we should, from our hearts and with our souls so that our love commands our strength, we will have to continuously “remind ourselves” of what He has said. The technique God has chosen for this process is simple literacy, the God given ability we humans have to read and write.

The principle of using literacy as a reminder is key. The challenge is to write what we know to be the will of God in a place where we will be sure to see it in time to take obedient action. Whether it is a to-do list, an appointment, or an idea for later consideration, writing things down in the right place is often what separates our effective use of time from our ineffective waste of time.

Earlier I mentioned that we can’t manage time itself, but we can manage our use of time by effecting changes in our purposes, goals, plans and actions. In the Greatest Commandment God commands us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. There is a correlation.

Purpose is our response to what we believe to be true in our hearts. It is based on our assumptions about what is real and what is true. If we believe that God exists, it will affect our purpose in life. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God raised from the dead, it will transport us out of darkness and into the light. As Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). So, believing is an issue of the heart.

Goals are expressions of what we yearn for in our very souls. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) A truly great goal must always be an outgrowth of our life’s purpose, which is to know God and enjoy Him forever. Great goals stir our emotions, focus our will and tap into our deepest longings. In order to know God intimately we are invited to work with Him in whatever He is doing including suffering hardship for His sake.

True goals spring from a desire and an inspiration to create or acquire or accomplish something new. Much of what people think are goals are actually maintenance. They arise from the need to take care of what they already have, to solve problems in existing situations and to keep things going just as they are, to feed the baby, to manage the business, etc. These activities, though very important, are not really goals.

The distinction may be subtle, but it is very important in how we use our time. Life involves both goals and maintenance. Every successfully accomplished goal will normally create an on going maintenance responsibility. Starting something new is exciting. Finishing it may be very difficult. But taking care of what we have finished may be never ending. That is why we must be so careful to invest our time in doing only what is truly pleasing to God. Accomplishing the right goals leads to a life of providing the right maintenance. We reap what we sow. If you want to have less regret in middle age and old age and in eternity, set your goals carefully today.

Plans are the strategies we formulate in our minds. When we are committed to accomplishing a passionate goal, our minds can’t stop thinking about it. We study. We seek out the counsel of others. We lie awake at night, solving problems, calculating costs and figuring out how we will overcome the inevitable obstacles. Such planning is best done on paper so that we can keep track of what we are learning and then put it into practice at the proper time.

Actions are what we actually do with our strength. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). Strong words, but true. James tells us that faith without works is dead. Purposes, goals and plans are all worthless if we are unwilling to take action. This is the purpose for carrying around a Calendar, a Schedule of Daily Appointments and an Action List. Together these tools allow us to always know what to do now or next. With them, our strength allows us to overcome the obstacles of confusion. Strength patiently, persistently and eventually conquers all kinds of opposition.

In the Greatest Commandment we have a crucial key to using our time wisely. When we love God by embracing His purpose for our lives, it requires us to set passionate goals that accomplish the various aspects of His purpose. That in turn requires us to make informed plans to fulfill each goal, and then to follow through with forceful and disciplined actions. No matter who you are, or what your circumstances, the Great Commandment is where the proper use of time begins.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Time To Use Your Authority

Exodus 14:15-16
15 And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it...
The problem with the body of Christ today is not that we are not praying. We are praying. But many of us are praying desperate prayers. We are praying, "God, help... God, please... God, do something about my problem!"

If you are smiling a little by now, most likely, you know about such prayers and might have prayed a couple yourself. My friend, God does not want you to pray pleading prayers all the time. He wants you to use the authority He has given you to pray powerful prayers, to boldly command and to "stretch out your hand" and see miracles happen.

When Moses stood before the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, the Bible tells us that he cried out to God. But God told him, "Why do you cry to Me?"

There is a time for you to cry out to God and there is a time for you to use your authority. God told Moses, "Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it."

The “rod” you have today is the name of Jesus. As you command in Jesus' name, your "sea" will open and you will go on dry ground through the midst of your problem.

Do you realize that Jesus did not say, "Go and pray for the sick"? He said, "Go and heal the sick." (Matthew 10:8) So stop pleading and asking all the time, and start using the authority you have in Christ.

Jesus told the church, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore..." (Matthew 28:18–19) My friend, God wants you to go and use the authority that He has given you. And as you go, miracles will flow!!/notes/joseph-prince/time-to-use-your-authority/164963960224105