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First Step Towards An Improved Version of You In 2017—Attitude

Once I got mad and I stayed mad a long time. I figured I was right to be furious but it
didn’t do me much good. When I think about that period of my life, I recall a lot of misery, me walking around fuming inside.

At night I tried to sleep with a chip on my shoulder. It didn’t work very well. Angry, angry.

And then there was the time I went through a stretch of feeling sorry for myself and comparing myself to others. Or do you want to hear about the time … no? Me, neither.

That was a tough patch.

I’ve been a lot of unhealthy things in my heart and in my head for a slice of my life. But, I’ve learned something: if I find a stray cat in the kitchen, I’ve got to kick him out, or he’ll make himself at home. If I keep my anger, or self-pity or any other sick attitude for too long, I become that thing. I’ve got to do something about the “stray cat.”

Otherwise, I’m not just angry for a moment. Everyone gets mad. But, when I hold onto that anger too long, I become an angry man. Some folks, if you separate them from their self-pity, their anger, their critical spirit, or a host of other “stray cat” attitudes, they almost cease to exist.

There is a story about a lady whose constant request at the prayer meeting was, “Pray for my terrible husband.” The people prayed and God saved him; changed his life.

And she left him for another man.

I suppose she felt a need to be pitied. She was defined by her misery. “Poor Sis So and So.” I imagine that her new man made her miserable, so her itch to be pitied was scratched.

Watch/develop/decide… your Attitude

What is your attitude in life? What do people think about when they think of you?

There is a Syrian immigrant somewhere, shivering under a tent who has more hope than some of us. He’s in miserable conditions, but he’s hoping for something better and that keeps him going. And many of us whose lives are better than 90% of the people in the world are wretched and depressed.

Remind me again why that is.

Hope is an incredible factor in healthy, happy lives. It’s a foundational stone for a good attitude.

Our feelings ebb and flow during life—physical battles, trials, difficult people, emotional changes, life-stage changes, so many things influence our attitude. Good things shape us, too.

 

We have to take charge of our attitude. We have to be intentional about it.

Seth Godin says, “”Attitude is the most important choice any of us will make. We made it yesterday and we get another choice to make it today. And then again tomorrow.

“The choice to participate. To be optimistic. To intentionally bring out the best in other people… they are a choice. No one does these things to us. We choose them and do the work (and find the benefits) that come with them.”

So How Do You Do It?

 I suspect that some babies show up in the delivery room, pop open their wonder-struck eyes and say, “Hello, doctor. You’re really looking good. This is going to be a great day.” They seem to be born with a great attitude.

Maybe that happens, but for the vast majority of us, it doesn’t come naturally. As a matter of fact, I think the only ones who were ever like that were Adam and Eve. And they weren’t exactly born. A rotten attitude seems to be a result of man allowing sin to enter the world.

Since then we’ve had to work to get our attitude right. Here’s how to get started.

1.      Be thankful. If you’re convinced that the world owes you life, liberty and happiness you’ll always be mad when life isn’t like that. Stop and genuinely give thanks to God for His blessings. If you can’t think of any, you’ve got a serious blindness problem. Really. Do it! Stop and thank Him. Make it a habit. (Romans 1:21; Colossians 3:15)

2.      Become the master of your thoughts. You decide what stays in. Your heart decides what’s important and if anger and frustration prevail it might be that you’ve got a heart problem. Look and see why you’ve got heart disease and deal with that.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

“A good man produces good things from the good stored up in his heart, and a bad man produces evil things from his own stores of evil. For a man’s words will always express what has been treasured in his heart.” (Luke 6:44 J.B. Phillips)

Sometimes a thought gets hold of us and we can’t get loose. We need supernatural deliverance—either once and for all or once a day.

‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Rom. 12:2, J.B. Phillips)

But, it’s more than a choice. God has to do a work in our attitude, so that we can have his attitude. Positive thinking isn’t enough.     « To be made new in the attitude of your minds » Eph. 4:23

3.      There is a powerful connection between your mouth and your heart—one influences the other, one reveals the other. Wives, how do you talk about your husband to others? To him? Husbands? And how do you talk about your life? All that reveals your heart AND influences your heart.

We all talk to ourselves. This is our narrative about ourselves, our story as we relate it. Do you want people to pity you or pay attention to you? Sometimes if we feel incapable of exciting admiration we settle for provoking pity. Proclaim your praise for the Lord—and others. Proclaim your confidence in Jesus and His promises. Let your story be the story He tells about you and the dream He put in your heart.

4.      Choose those that you hang with, as much as possible. When you can’t stay away from grouches, gripers, criticizers, complainers and “the-world-is-coming-to-an-end-ers,” be a positive influence in the life of these negative people.

And if positive people are constantly encouraging you by interjecting something positive into your self-pity, it might be a sign that you’re the grouch in the situation. Quit it!

5.      And …

Don’t just resist a nasty attitude. Fill your mind and heart with good stuff, so there is no room for junk. Read and pray the Psalms; fill up every spare corner of your mind with the great promises of God’s Word. Get excited about God’s promises. Remember His answers to prayer.

Keep your relationship with God up-to-date: love His presence, admit your sin when you fail, and pay close attention to difficult relationships with those close to you. Here’s something to think about–if we’re constantly clashing with others that might indicate a problem with us. We all clash at times but when it happens often, it may well be our attitude—the world owes us, we feel disrespected, angry about something, or we might be disobeying God in an area of our life and we want to misdirect attention.

Get some exciting God-given goals. Learn to pray and walk in God’s presence.

Getting your mind « renewed » is a process. We must work at it each day. But, it sure beats the alternative which is stinking-thinking, stinking-speaking and stinking-acting.. All that leads to a stinking life. (Rom. 12:1, 2)

“A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.” (Proverbs 18:20, NKJV)

Putting It into practice:

 

What is the one word that best describes your daily attitude?

Ask three people who know you well to describe your attitude in one word. Then ask the same people to describe you biggest negative attitude in one word.

Pray seriously about this: what am I going to do to change the negative part of my attitude?

This article might interest you: FOUR SURE-FIRE WAYS TO FIX THOSE PROBLEMS BETWEEN YOUR EARS http://davidscoffeestains.com/four-sure-fire-ways-to-fix-those-problems-between-your-ears/)

Here’s a book that will help you in your journey towards an attitude that leads to God’s abundant life—“40 Days to a Joy-filled Life” by Tommy Newberry

Images: pixabay.com, johnhain; fr_golay, petelinfort; keijj44

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Seven Keys To Help You Do a Little Bit Better In 2017 Than You Did In 2016

 How did you like my headline? It more truthful than most, huh?

I get a bit cynical at this time of the year as I read eye-catching article headlines like, “Five Sure-fire Ways To Grow Hair,” “33 Proven Tricks To Shed 350 Pounds Quickly,” or “Here’s Three Secrets To Go From Really Ugly to Really Beautiful In the Blink Of An Eye.”

Or some such drivel.

I could headline this article, « Seven Keys to Total Victory This Year. » Or how about, « Here’s Seven Steps To the Life You Want In 2017. » I’m sure I’ve probably used something similar because that’s part of the formula. Promise the world.

Come on now. Raise your hand if you believe you’re going to get there this year.

Hang onto your seat for the revelation of your life. Here’s one revelation that will shake you to the core. You’ll never be the same if you understand this. Actually, this may be true if you can grasp what comes next:

Arriving isn’t always the best part of the trip. Sometimes the process of getting there is more fun—AND MORE IMPORTANT– than actually arriving at the destination.

It’s crazy but a lot of people are empty and unfullfilled when they reach their goal. They don’t know it, but they love the process. And that’s not bad.

So these seven things probably won’t make you perfect by the end of the year. The Lord isn’t making perfect men anymore. My wife got the last one. Hmmm … maybe not.

But, if at the end of the year you’re further up the road and more like the Lord Jesus, closer to your goals, then you’re successful.

The next few weeks we’re going to talk about some things that will get you nearer to your objective.

1–Watch/develop/decide … your attitude

What is your attitude? “Poor me. No one values my contribution. Others are privileged, but not me. The world is going to pot. I’m angry. It the fault of …” Continue reading

Get Ready for a War In 2017

(If you’d rather read this Coffee Stain online: www.davidscoffeestains.com)

If you could see your skin under a microscope you might never sleep again. Just looking at a picture of this stuff makes me itch.

I saw a presentation on You Tube of things you never see in your body, magnified many times. It was beautiful and scary. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYKM_iGY9K8 )

There is a lot that goes on in the universe that we can’t see. And some scientists, or is it physicists? Or maybe it was George Lucas. Whatever, they tell us that there may be other dimensions of existence that we can’t see, super-imposed on our own reality.

Sound crazy? Well, to some extent, I believe that. Listen.

“For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.” (Ephesians 6:12, J.B. Phillips)

It’s a world superimposed over our world, acting in both worlds. Paul takes about “heavenly” or “spiritual” places and gives us a head-slap to wake us up to our need to fight. Continue reading

The Fellow Who Started Fast and Fell On His Nose

When I was a little tyke I heard a story that I loved—the race between the tortoise and the hare (that’s a turtle and a rabbit if you’re not too literary).

I think they even did a Bugs Bunny cartoon about it.

The rabbit explodes off the starting line leaving the poor old turtle struggling along in a dust cloud.

Old Bugs gets so far ahead that he knows he’s got plenty of time to finish so he decides a little siesta is in order.While he’s putting up zzzzzzzzzzzz’s the turtle rumbles slowly by and wins the race. The rabbit awakes just in time to realize his mistake, but even though he streaks to the finish line, the steady turtle still beats him.

I never liked turtles.

My favorite football team played a game like that recently. Way ahead at the half, they must have decided to take the second half off, because the other team played like my team wasn’t there and eked out a win. My heart was broken.

Speedy King

I even saw a speedy king in the Bible who won his race but was staggering at the end.

Few other kings in the Bible started out like Hezekiah. He also finished with a report card that few others could match. Continue reading

Cows All Around? Maybe You’re Lost

Have you ever got where you wanted to go accidentally?

You drove around and around the town, then suddenly you found yourself exactly where you wanted to be.

It happens—but not often. More often we end up in a pasture, being contemplated by curious cows.

Usually we get where we want to go by planning the route. Sure there are unexpected detours and we get confused, but I’ve found that between Google on my computer and Google on my IPhone, I can generally get where I want to go.

Now I’ve got a question for you. If we work so hard to get to a physical destination, why do we think it’s any different for the other, more important goals of our life?

You’ve Got To Plan It

To have a great relationship with your spouse or your kids, do you just muddle through, hoping for the best? Careful, you may end up in a cow pasture with an enraged bull.

How about work? You want to advance, to do excellent work, and get paid more don’t you? Do you think that merely showing up and piddling around will get you where you want to go?

Do you want to grow in intimacy and effectiveness in your relationship with God? Are you waiting for the Lord to knock you over with a lightning bolt, after which you will be the Twenty-first century equivalent of the Apostle Paul?

Hope on sweetheart. Those things usually don’t happen accidentally.

Sure God’s hand has to be on us in grace and blessing but we’ve got to treat those things as important, even vital for our life if we want to see them happen. We win life’s lottery by accident sometimes, but it’s rare. Very rare.

And usually when we get something so easily we haven’t developed the skills or the patience to keep it. How many professional sports millionaires are broke a few years after their career finishes?

Intentional

I’ve learned a word the last couple of years that I love. The word is “intentional.” It means you do it on purpose. You make up your mind to go after something.

When we were kids we loved to bop one of our friends and say, “Oh, I’m sorry. It was an accident.” He knew very well it wasn’t. We did it on purpose. Most positive things we accomplish in life are done on purpose. They are intentional.

So how do we go about this? You need to make a plan in all the major areas of your life and work towards that.  Your blueprint isn’t set in concrete and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go forward, but very few people are happy if they don’t feel they have a mission in life.

Decide what God has for you and start working towards that.

What kind of marriage does you want ? What would you have to do to get there? Do you really want to get there? Maybe if you’d do some of the things you did to get her (or him), you’d have a much better relationship with them now.

Why are you on this earth? Come on now. Way down deep you know. What will it take to accomplish your life’s mission? Make a plan and start in that direction.

Here Is How

How can you know God better? How can you move into that place of intimacy with Him? How can you appropriate the gifts and strength that He has promised?

-Stop.

-Think prayerfully about your life.

-See where you want to go in all major areas.

-Make a plan to get there (count on God’s help. Make your goal big enough that it  take faith to get there. Don’t just do what you can do. When you do it big you get to see what God can do).

-Adjust your plan and even your goals when necessary. Its rare that we see the end perfectly when we begin.

-Keep at it. Don’t quit.

-Rejoice when you get there, but kick up your heels in celebration when you win little victories on the way to achieving the big goal. Let yourself enjoy the process as much as the ultimate achievement.

The places you get to accidentally may not be the places you want to be in life. If you’re hearing a lot of “mooos” and see yourself surrounded by cows, you better back up and make a plan.

“It won’t be long before this generous God who has great pans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” (1 Peter 5, The Message)

Hmmm ….

“Even failure can be redemptive if you learn something from it. It doesn’t have to be career-ending. In fact, it can be career-building—if you take the time to wring all the juice out of the lemon.” Michael Hyatt

Image:Janbaby, pixabay.com, efeutatum

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