If You Don’t Want to Feel Stupid for Eternity…Don’t Waste Your Life

There’s a Limited Amount of Time in This Life, So Spend it Wisely

Knowing the future is less about knowing and more about doing. None of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. We can only control what we’re doing right now.

Things we do now, affect the future, either for good or bad…it’s up to us.

There was a man that lived in Hawaii that loved major league sports. The problem he had was the time difference from the mainland to Hawaii. The games would be delayed and broadcast on TV in the evening. He would listen to them on the radio during the day and then watch the delayed broadcast in the evening.

This meant that he already knew what was going to happen. This affected his feelings and involvement when he watched. We need to be engaged and involve in life.

In Mark 13:1-8 Jesus tells His Disciples to, “Be careful and not let anyone fool you.” He gives them a list of things that will happen before the end. “There will be fighting and times of no food. There will be earthquakes and all sort of troubles.”

Things that have already happened multiple times throughout the history of the world.

Jesus continues to list all the terrible things that will happen before He comes back. Throughout history there have been people predicting the end. Their record isn’t very good.  Whether the end is our dying or Jesus’ second coming is not the point.

The thing to focus on is how we live this life.

In the 32nd verse of Mark 13 He says, “No one will know when that day or the time will be.”

So, if these things are going to happen before the end…and they’ve already happened, then why haven’t things ended already? Good question.

Things we do know are

  • We don’t know the future – We can plan, but we need to be willing and able to change. We need to be flexibly rigid. Fear of the future gives us something to blame. It gives us an out for being responsible. We need to learn from the past, look to the future and live in the present.
  • We need to make the most of the present – If we know and trust God things will work out. This doesn’t mean sitting around waiting on God to do things. It means knowing God and following His directions. We are His hands and feet here in the world.
  • God does know the future – If we know God’s character…we know His intentions. We get to know His character by reading His Word and talking with Him. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28

Too much of the time we float through life with no clear plan or direction. This is not how God wants us to live this life. He wants us to actively participate every minute of every day.

We can choose how we will live this life…how we will use this gift we’ve been given.

Preparing for the end times is simple. Trusting in God and having faith is what it takes. If we don’t waste this life, we will have a much better eternity.

You Can Choose to Manage Your Time Better or Not…it’s Up to You

Be Intentional About the Actions You Take to Fight Against the Time Monster

Last week I wrote about how we tend to make time management more complicated than it needs to be. Making things more difficult than needed is just human nature. Those of us that are self-employed seem to take this to a whole different level. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Like everything in life, we have choices. Time management is no different.

The three things that I said need to be used to successfully manage time were…

  • Intentionality
  • Prioritization
  • Spending time wisely

Today’s focus is INTENTIONALITY

Being intentional is a conscious design or purpose about your choices and actions. It is deciding what you’re going to do and doing it.

Why is it that we will be on time to meetings with other people, but not with ourselves?

If I have a day full of meetings and appointments, I will be on time to all of them. But if I fill my day with tasks and projects that don’t involve anyone but me, I’ll be running late shortly after getting started?

Think about it like this…Why is it that we can make it to the airport in plenty of time for our flight or not dare be late to our child’s wedding, but won’t set down and get to work on that project that needs to be worked on?

How we choose to spend our time is going to vary for each of us. What we spend it on is not the issue. Being intentional about it is.

The problem is not a lack of time, it’s a lack of control

This does not mean that it’s easy. There is a time monster that will eat up all your time if you let it. He will gobble it up as soon as it’s available and not leave anything but crumbs.

We have to intentionally confront this monster. Closing your eyes and putting your hands over your ears doesn’t make him any less real. He’s out there and he likes the taste of time.

The intentional, continuous, focus of small actions over time will bring the monster down. The process, known as the “snowball effect”, is the accumulation of small things added to small things until they become a big thing, like a snowball rolling down a hill.

An intentional snowball is the best weapon when dealing with a big hairy time monster.

It feels like there’s not enough time to do everything. I would argue that we’ve been given enough time to do everything we should. The problem is that we’re trying to do too much.

We’ve been given enough time to do everything we are supposed to. God built the world and everything in it in six days. We’ve been given those same six days to build our lives. Granted, building the world is a lot…we just need to remember that we’re not God.

God was intentional about what He was making. We need to treat our mission the same way.

You can do anything you want. You just can’t do everything you want.

Being aware of time and watching the clock also requires intentionality. Time is the most valuable commodity we have. You’ve heard the saying “time is money”. I would argue that time is MORE than money.

Money is a form of exchange for a service or product. We have some control over how fast our money goes…not so with time.

There is a limited amount of time.

Time is continually moving. There is no stopping or slowing it to get more done. If we spend a dollar, we can go make more. Once time is spent…there’s no getting any more.

Managing time requires intentionality. You can’t just wish it to happen. You have to decide to fight the monster and pick up the snowball.

Life is One Continuous Choice After Another…Choose Wisely

Somethings In Life Are Out of Our Control, But We Choose How We React

Everything we do comes down to a choice. Every choice we make leads to another choice and another and so on.

Just like I chose what to write about today. This choice came from a series of other choices that started days ago, that will lead to future choices days from now.

Life is choices.

Choices are something that, too often are left to others to make for us. This might seem easier in the moment, but leads to living a life controlled by others. We have the power to make choices. This power was given to us by our Creator…use it and use it wisely

This most recent series of choices led to me writing this post.

As always, I had more things on my “to do” list yesterday than I could get done. This is also a choice. I know myself well enough to know that I get more done when I over-schedule than when I don’t.

The things that get done first are the things that I’ve chosen to give the highest priority to at that moment.

Here’s an example of how continuous choices can affect us.

Back to my schedule yesterday. A great nephew was having a birthday party at 6:30. I was working in my office when my floor installer came by around 5:00. Our work discussion led to him sharing about some bigger life issues.

I could have cut him off and got back to work or I could listen. I choose to listen. I could have stayed at the office and worked, or I could go to the birthday part. I choose the party.

After getting home from the birthday party I was watching some TV before going to bed. I kept falling asleep and it wasn’t like it was late (10:00). I’ve been a little tired lately, so I decided to sleep in this morning. (It’s been a long time sense I did this.) Another choice.

This choice meant less time today.

And there’s a niece having a wedding this evening. These darn nieces and nephews are playing havoc with my schedule. 😊

Some of you know that I’m a NASCAR fan and today is a two-race day. More choices.

I can work from home or go to the office. I’m more productive at the office, but going to the office means an hour on the road.

There’s work to be done. Am I going to write a post or do some proposals? Am I going to watch races or follow up with production schedules? Am I going to work on next week’s schedule or do paperwork?

Choices…life is choices.

Every second of everyday is a choice. The key is awareness of this amazing power and the importance of using it wisely.

Now I choose to go watch a race. 😉

Look for the Blessings in All Things

We Get to Choose How We Look at Things

Another year has come and gone. Many are happy about this, considering this past year. There is no doubt that it had it’s share of difficulties.

Why does God allow suffering?

Who knows? What we do know is that can’t always understand God’s plans.

Suffering is nothing new, ask Joseph. His brothers sold him to slave traders who sold him to Potiphar. Then Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, and he was sent to prison. Gen. 37:18-36 Years later the king had Joseph interpret the dreams. He then was put in charge of everything the king owned. Gen. 39:1-47:57

Joseph wasn’t around to witness some of the long-term outcomes made possible by his actions. Each and every action we take or don’t take effects the future.

Regardless of the difficulties Joseph continued to focus on the positive.

History is full of examples of people who choose to look at things from a ‘blessing perspective’. In Andy Andrews book, The Traveler’s Gift, he shares about the Joyful Decision and how Anne Frank, even in the situation she found herself in…choose to look at the blessings.

“Complaining is an activity just like jumping rope or listening to the radio is an activity. One may choose to turn on the radio, and one may choose not to turn on the radio. One may choose to complain, and one may choose not to complain. I choose not to complain.”

“Our very lives are fashioned by choice. First, we make choices. Then our choices make us.”

Life is better when we look at things from a positive perspective. God gives us hope…it’s up to us to accept it. Will you accept the gift of hope or not?

Look for the blessings!

Happiness is Contagious, Much Like a Virus

Our Subconscious Can Have a Huge Impact on Either

I am a big believer in the power of our mind and the effect the choices we make have on our reality. There is a lot of evidence to this power for either positive or negative thinking. Countless placebo study results have shown the effect the mind can have.

Your mind is a powerful tool…use it wisely.

There are realities that we can’t to ignore, like gravity. But, given the facts of gravity, before there were airplanes people would have said human flight was impossible. I still wouldn’t advise jumping off a cliff, I don’t care how much you believe you won’t hit the ground.

Happiness is a choice. We can choose to be happy even in difficult situations. 

Isolation hurts happiness and mental wellness. I’m thankful for the technology that we have available to allow us to stay connected virtually, but it is not the same as physical connection. The lack of physical connection is a greater detriment to physical health than obesity, smoking or high blood pressure.

Happiness is contagious and is spread through physical interaction.

Happiness comes from within, not from things. It is a superpower available to all of us, but it doesn’t work if we don’t use it. People spend a lot of time and energy looking for happiness from the accumulation of stuff. This kind of happiness will never work for the long term.

Our internal happiness comes from God. In John 14:1-14 Jesus is reassuring his followers. They have been going through some pretty rough times up to this point and things are going to get worse for them before they get better. Jesus tells them in verse 1, to “not be troubled”. He goes on, in verse 6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. The way to the Father is through me.” Philip responds, “show us the Father. That is all we need.” Jesus then tells them, “whoever believes in me knows the Father and will do the same things that I do. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.”

We can have a Jesus size happiness if we ask and believe.

Get Out of the Way and Watch These Dry Bones Come to Life

God Can Breathe Life into Even the Worst of Situations

In just a moment, things changed. This is life. Every minute of every day things are changing. It has always been this way and always will be. The important thing is to be aware of it and be willing and able to adapt.

You can set the GPS to give you directions from point A to B. Pick an option it gives you and start your journey. What it won’t do is tell you every possible roadblock or flat tire you will encounter.

When you find yourself stranded with a flat tire…you can pound the steering wheel and complain. You can just sit in your car and wait for the tire to magically change itself. Or, you can get out of the car and do something about it.

How you handle flat tires is crucial to your outcome.

If we are constantly looking at our problems, we will never move beyond them. In the Book of Ezekiel, Israel is feeling depressed and hopeless in their situation. (Not unlike what we’re currently experiencing.) In Chapter 37:1-14 Ezekiel finds himself standing in a valley surrounded by human bones. God asks Ezekiel if the bones can live? Ezekiel answers, “God, only You know.”

God tells Ezekiel, “Say to the bones…you will come to life.” The bones came together, muscles, flesh and skin covered them. God says to Ezekiel, “Say to the wind…breathe on these people…” and breath came into them and they came to life.

God’s Spirt inside of us gives us life and hope.

We choose how we will act and react to situations we find ourselves in. No matter how bad things seem, what we read, what the news is saying, what politicians are saying, in every situation God has our back.

God’s got this. He can even bring dry bones to life.

Knowing the End of One Story in the Beginning Is A Good Thing

How You Read Other Stories Is A Personal Preference

There are two differing opinions of how to read a book. Some people start by reading the last chapter first to see how the story ends. Others will start at the beginning and not read the end until…well the end. Whichever way you want to read is fine except for one specific story.

There is one story that you should know how it ends when it begins.

Knowing how the story in the Bible ends is critical to our own story and how it will end. We are all living our own stories surrounded by other stories in the middle of a bigger story. These stories are being written continuously every minute of every day.

We can write our story however we want, it’s up to us.

The important thing to remember is the importance of choosing to write it rather than letting someone else write it for us. Pastor Lee referred to two different stories in his message Sunday.

The first you are probably familiar with; it’s the story of Rip Van Winkle. In this story, written by Washington Irving and published in 1819, Rip Van Winkle falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains. When he wakes up 20 years later, he has slept through the American Revolution.

After he goes back to town everything has changed. His wife is dead, his kids are grown, the country now has a President rather than a King. Nothing is as it was when he went to sleep.

Too much of the time we sleep through life and let it happen to us.

The other story that he told was less popular. It’s a story about a Mexican priest, Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, who supported an orphanage for 23 years as the masked professional wrestler, “Friar Storm”. The La Casa Hogar orphanage became home to 270 children. Father Benitez chose to write his story, taking an active role and changing other people’s stories at the same time.

We can let life happen to us, or we can choose the life we want to happen.

Too often when we choose to write our own story, we forget to check with the Author of all stories to see if we are following His outline. Too often we don’t listen before we think or speak. We assume we have everything figured out and just start blabbering. This isn’t the best way to write a story.

Just like Peter, in Matthew 17:1-5 when he was on the mountain with Jesus. While he, James, and John were standing there Jesus became white as light and Moses and Elijah appeared. Then Peter began talking and making suggestions to Jesus without listening. While he was talking, God spoke and said, “This is my Son…Listen to Him!”

We need to be quiet and listen.

We have control over how our story is going to be written. Listen to God, study your life’s outline and right a good story.

Happiness Is…A Choice

"Choose Happiness"

 

 

 

Choose to Be Happy

 

As the new year begins, we start filling up our already busy lives with more things to do. I think reviewing the past and looking to the future is a great plan and the new year is a fitting time for this. What we need to be clear about is what we’re going to spend our time doing and what makes us happiest.


We can choose to be happy or not.


“…happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities, which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in euphoria, which, while elusive to some, is totally under my control.” Andy Andrews, The Traveler’s Gift.

 

 

“This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!” Psalms 118:24. Everyday is a day that we’ve been given, we have the power to choose if we’re going to be happy or not.


Happy is a much better way to spend our time and energy.


Not only is being happy a benefit to us, it also spreads to those around us. It’s contagious. Surrounding ourselves with happy people is much more enjoyable and productive.

 


Make choosing to be happy one of your goals for this new year and spread it around.

 

Being Thankful Is A State of Mind

 

 

 

 

We Have So Much to Be Thankful For

 

Over the last several weeks our Sunday School discussion has continued to find its way back to a statement made by a journalist, that we don’t really have much to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is just a commercial excuse to eat too much and watch football.


I think eating and football are a couple of pretty good things to be thankful for.


This is like Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip when she’s whining about her life. Linus tells her that she should count her blessings. She goes on to say that she could count all her blessings on one finger. What does she have to be thankful for? Linus tells her, “…for one thing. You have a little brother who loves you…”

 


We don’t have to wallow, it’s a choice.


Negative things are a part of life, but we control how we are going to respond to them. We can choose to be thankful for the positive or we can wallow in the negative.


It’s sad that some people’s default perspective is feeling sorry for themselves. Sure, we all have times of feeling down and depressed. When feeling that way, we need to list the things that we have to be thankful for. Even if, like Lucy, it’s only one thing.


Earlier this week while listening to Andy Andrew’s weekly Professional Noticer episode, he read a Thanksgiving story, from his book, Return to Sawyerton Springs. Wade was feeling sorry for himself, until he listed ten things in his life that he had to be thankful for. The list consisted of everyday things that we take for granted too many times. Read or listen to the story and see the list here

 


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and

CHOOSE to be THANKFUL.

 

 

Every Minute of Every Day We Make One Decision After Another

 

It’s Like Playing A Non-Stop Game of Would You Rather

Most everyone is familiar with the game “Would You Rather.” This is a game in which the players are asked questions that compare two different scenarios and are asked to choose which of the two they would rather do. These questions can vary from simple to the complicated.


Would you rather…

  • Spend a day in the Sahara Desert or Spend a day at the North Pole

 

  • Have the ability to fly or Be invisible
  • End hunger or End hatred

 

This game isn’t any different than everyday life. We are faced with choices every minute of every day. Some of these choices are small and simple, some are important and carry major consequences.


Would I rather…

  • Eat this or Eat that
  • Wear this or Wear that
  • Drive this route or Drive that route
  • Go in debt to buy a new car or Save my money and drive something older
  • Take this job that pays well but requires me to sacrifice my morals or Take that job that pays considerably less but allows me to be true to my principles


This past week an either-or situation was in the forefront of my decision making and was a part of multiple conversations.


I was faced with a situation of needing to keep a construction project moving forward or doing proposals that customers were eagerly waiting for. Not to mention all the other everyday business responsibilities of running a company.


The construction project was behind schedule due to weather delays and next week’s forecast showed the possibility of more rain. The subcontractor was behind on other projects of his own due to the weather. The sub said he could get there but was going to be shorthanded.

 

The “would you rather” question arose for me when he jokingly suggested I come on site and help. I could dust off my tool belt and go spend a couple of days swinging a hammer or I could work on the things I had already scheduled to do.


The sub was surprised when I showed up with my tool belt on.


Was it the right decision? I think so, other than being a little sore after framing for a couple of days, we moved the project forward and this was important.

 

Every day we are confronted with hundreds of these choices some big and some small. It’s easy for some of us to spend more time than we should when making decisions, we want to make the best ones. Sometimes when spending too much time trying to make the right one, we have inadvertently made the wrong one.


Little decisions shouldn’t require too much contemplation. Bigger more important ones are a different story. The important thing is to know yourself. Know what you need to make the best decision possible and have those tools in place when you make that next big decision.


One of the best toolboxes I have found for being prepared to make decisions is Andy Andrews’ book “The Traveler’s Gift. In this book Andy gives seven life principles that successful people throughout history implemented at times when they were making crucial decisions.


Would you rather…
Know how to make better decisions? or Guess at making decisions and take a chance?