Episode 10: A Life of Gratitude- Happy Thanksgiving

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The holiday season is fast approaching. Thanksgiving is today. Christmas is only 31 short days away. A week after that we celebrate New Years. This is a time of year when many people focus on all of the reasons they have to be thankful. This got me thinking about how many people live their lives for the big events and ignore the day to day. So is this it? Do we focus on gratitude for a couple of days out of the year and then go back to our selfish lives? It doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose to live a life of gratitude. All year- 365 days, 52 weeks. And yes, it is a choice.

If you have ever been in touch with someone who is really in need and had that need met then you have seen the face of gratitude. In fact, I used to volunteer for an organization named Operation Christmas Child. It is an organization that packs shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts for kids and sends them all over the world. I have met several adults who actually received these boxes years earlier as kids. Their reaction was always the same: “those boxes changed my life.”

So how do you live a life of gratitude? It’s really very simple.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That’s it. Give thanks! In all circumstances!

Let’s look a little closer. A measure of your spiritual and emotional maturity is the amount of gratitude you show in your life. If you are unsure of where you stand, take a look at the people you choose to spend your time with. Are your friends and acquaintances ungrateful? If so, then chances are that you are too.  Ever hear the saying “birds of a feather flock together?” It’s a popular saying because it is accurate. Look at who you surround yourself with.

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When you make the simple decision to “give thanks in all circumstances,” your life changes. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to other people. Gratitude will allow you to grow closer to God. 

So, how can you learn to be more grateful?

Focus on life’s blessings. Life is challenging. You will face difficulties. If you don’t then I would recommend checking your pulse to make sure you are alive. In fact, in John 16:33, Jesus tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Think about the good in your life. The words “think” and “thank” come from the same root. Being thankful is directly related to how much time you spend focusing on the good in your life. So what is good in your life?

  • Positive relationships- You have at least one. His name is God.
  • Material blessing- You do have stuff- look around.
  • Positive world events- Negative news sells but try to find the positive stories in the news.
  • Health- Eating Right and exercising will change your life. If you’re not doing them, then start.
  • Success- What are you successful at? There’s something.

Avoid focusing on the bad. Bad things happen… It’s just part of life. Deal with the situation and move on; don’t dwell on the situation and become bitter. 

  • Negative relationships- Some relationships are just a part of life but that doesn’t mean you need to be part of the negativity; be the light instead.
  • People who don’t like you- Not everyone likes you. It’s none of your business what someone else thinks of you.
  • People you don’t like- Let’s be real. These people will always exist. You don’t need to focus on them.
  • Material lack- You’re always going to want something. It’s human nature. Focus on what you do have instead.
  • Sickness- We live in a world where people get sick, including you, choose to be positive anyway.
  • Failures- Everyone has failures. Learn from them and apply the lessons to the future.

We can’t be grateful unless we realize how blessed we really are. Grateful people take time to experience joy. Learn to tune out the world and praise God. Accept His free gift and share it with others. Learn to be still and listen for Him as you take quiet time each day.

Grateful people live for today. Put down the phone and focus on now. Destination disease causes a person to search for happiness somewhere in the future. It’s an excuse for not living today. It makes you believe that you will be happy and grateful at some point in the future. The prime cause of destination disease is being unhappy/ungrateful. People who suffer from it put off joy until some distant time or event in the future that may never happen. There is no one place to arrive at once and for all. Life is a journey. Live for today. Do the things you love. Be grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have found this episode helpful, please follow, like, rate and share with your friends on social media.

Thanks for joining me at renewed2win. Remember, maybe everything you have ever believed doesn’t actually matter to what is truly real.

Michael at R2W

Episode 9: Define Your Success

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Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV) Many people take this to mean that if you ask God, he will supply everything you ask Him for. That is why there are so many disappointed and disillusioned Christians.They have learned to ask for things based on their own selfishness and greed. What the verse actually means is that if you seek after Him first then He will change the things you want and ask for to align with His will for you.

Episode 8: Out of Comfort

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Neale Donald Walsch said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” That statement seems to be more true today than at any other time in human history. With our faces buried in our phones, consuming a mental diet of electronic brainwashing and manipulation, we can get quite comfortable with our little spot in the world. After all, there isn’t much thinking needed to live a comfortable life. We are told what to think, what to watch, what’s “trending”, even what to eat. …

Episode 7:What Exactly Is This?

The simple answer is: I don’t know! And just as importantly, I don’t need to know!

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First things first… a little background about me. Not too long ago, I had a job that I loved more than anything. I think that was part of the reason I stood there four and a half years ago confused and baffled… devastated. It was more than a job. It was a calling; a mission. I was good at it! People loved me! I was a kids and youth pastor for 12 years. I didn’t know then but I do know now, I put that ministry before everything, even God himself! All in an attempt to feed my ego.

Episode 6: The Screwdriver

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As I glance at the clock in front of me, I see the seconds ticking by. It seems insignificant in the moment. What’s a few seconds? And in the grand plan of life, a few seconds will not change the course of a life. But string together a few seconds and then a few more and then a few more. If you expand this out and follow it logically, you will see that the seconds become minutes; the minutes become hours; hours become days… well I think you get where I’m going with this. If wasting seconds is a constant practice in your life then what eventually happens is that years of life get wasted. Time doesn’t stop. It continues to creep forward no matter what you do or fail to do. It is an impersonal reality that you can either master or serve. Remember this though: The choice is yours!

Are you moving with time or are you stuck? Are you stuck in the past with regrets of mistakes or things left undone? Maybe you’re stuck in the future, paralyzed by the “what ifs.’ Is the time that you should be working consumed with fear? Are you stuck in the present without clear direction?  Are you afraid to make a mistake because that biting criticism from the past is still lurking under the surface, waiting to take you down again?.

Make a choice: GET UNSTUCK!. Now! Stop allowing the time to aimlessly drift by while your goals and dreams fade into the sunset of this beautiful life you have been given. You were created to do and be more. Take hold of that truth. Embrace it and learn to recognize the wasted time. And most importantly, Do something about it.

A life of self-sufficient living requires you to become the master of your time. Sometimes it’s good to let the seconds drift by. In fact you should have a time every day where you do absolutely nothing. That is good… and healthy. Remember though what your objective is. You are trying to break free from the chains of a lost and dying world. You are learning to set yourself apart from the masses… those who aimlessly move through life, seeking comfort and pleasure. You are seeking to dismiss society as your source of dependence and turn towards God. The only way to do that is to become an efficient user of the hours in front of you. Get unstuck: Do something now!

Don’t let the next hour pass without you doing something to move you closer to your objective of freedom and independence. Do something no matter how small or unimportant it may seem in the moment. It will help you move in the right direction. I recently had a great experience with this concept and I want to share it with you. I have had trouble in the last few years keeping my garage organized.  I always intend to get it picked up and in order but I never did. I watched the clock tick by, unwilling to take action. I carried this seemingly unimportant burden with me, not realizing what It was doing to my God given destiny. I was very frustrated with my inability to take action.

Then, after listening to a podcast about a relevant topic, I decided to go out to the garage and put a screwdriver away. It felt good. I began to pick two things that I could do in the garage each day to move me closer to the objective. I began to develop momentum and over the course of about two weeks, the garage was organized. That momentum carried over to every single area of my life. All because I decided to stop watching the moments tic by and do something. You can do the same thing.

What will you commit to right now?

Now will be gone before you know it. Your chance to do something will fade into the past: What’s your something? What’s your screwdriver?

Time will continue to creep forward no matter what you do or fail to do. It is an impersonal reality that you can either master or serve. Remember this though: The Choice Is Yours!

Don’t let time pass without you doing something to move you closer to your objective of freedom and independence.

Thanks for joining me at renewed2win. Remember, maybe everything you have ever believed doesn’t actually matter to what is truly real.

Michael at R2W

Episode 5: Success

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We learn to walk by the time we are one; we learn to ride a bike by the time we’re six, about the same time, we are starting school. We learn to drive by the time we are sixteen.  We get married, have kids and then retire.  We do this, most of us anyway, without learning about success.  I’m talking about real success. Most of us have learned society’s version of success and that is precisely why we are unhappy and unfulfilled.  Of true success, we know very little or even nothing at all.  Many of us never learn what success is and what it isn’t.  We don’t understand what failure is or what it isn’t. 

Episode 3: Random Thoughts on Health

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I was out early this morning walking the dog. While out, I was thinking of what the next episode was going to be about. I came up with four random thoughts on health which if applied in your life will help to lift your life to a new level of success. So here they are:

Some of these ideas may seem like common sense to you, some of them you may not have thought of.  I throw them out to you now, as ideas you can use and work on, to help you in your pursuit of physical health and success.     

The first one is to avoid drugs and alcohol.  At their worst they cause broken families, broken lives and much pain.  At their best they cause drowsiness and lack of ambition.  “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints?  Who has needless bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.  Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind will imagine confusing things.  You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.  ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt!  They beat me, but I don’t feel it!  When will I wake up so I can find another drink?'”xcii 

Episode 1:Transformed and Renewed

Romans 12:1-2: …offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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How’s life? Really, take off the mask for a minute. Look in the mirror and ask yourself how your life is going. Are you all you hoped to be? Remember when you were a kid, sitting under an oak tree dreaming about all that you would be and do? I do. It was fascinating.