whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
THINK about these things. — Philippians 4:8
I find the admonition to think about “these” things to be an interesting one. The reason may be that the call to engage our minds in the deepening of our faith is unique in the world of religious expression. Meditation, another way of describing what Paul says here, is common in many different religions around the world. What makes the Christian understanding of meditation unique is in what we are called to meditate on. The focus of our meditation is external to our being. We are not encouraged to look inward to find something there. Rather, we are pointed to an external source to find clarity.
The process of transformation within the Christian faith is found in our displacing our ego as the central object of focus, and replacing it with something greater than ourselves. When we come to Christ, repent of our sins, and trust in Him for our redemption we are righting the error of the human condition. That error is the delusion that peace and joy and truth will be found within us. Our limitations makes this effort fruitless, and yet, there are many who would orient their lives around this flawed principle.
The power of the Gospel is who it sheds divine illumination on our problem. We are broken spirits. Our identity is the summation of our achievements or giftedness. Who we are can only be discovered when the architect of our being realigns perception, bringing it into proper alignment with his character. What this means is that without Jesus clarifying who he is–the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15)–we are lost in our search of who we are.
There is a quote attributed to C. S. Lewis that I find appropriate here. The reason I find it so compelling is in the way Lewis clearly and succinctly states why Jesus is so important to our spiritual growth.
When we move out of the way so that God can rule and reign in our lives we will be in proper relationship with God. I believe these are the things that we should be thinking on. I hope that you do.
I hope the word “study” did not conjure up terrible childhood memories. If I am honest, there are memories I cherish and then there are memories I would rather never bring back to mind. However, studying is not supposed to be a chore. As a matter of fact, I think study should be a blessing and an opportunity to grow wider and deeper.
Continue reading Lent Day #11 | Study
Become a Conversationalist: Six Ideas That Will Make You A More Interesting Person to Talk To is a book designed to help those of us who have a difficult time engaging in conversation. Being involved and engaging in a conversation is not easy. It may even feel like a terrible challenge. This new book will help any person become a better communicator in any number of conversational situations.
Get your copy today: Kindle | Paperback
This simple guide will provide the reader with examples of each of the ideas covered. There is also some discussion about why each of these ideas, when taken together, will help you develop greater confidence in your ability to have and hold a conversation with just about anyone.
From the Introduction:
“Verbal communication is one of the most difficult forms of communication because of its fluid and ever-changing nature. Having a plan will make all of your conversations more interesting and rewarding.”
The six ideas contained in this book will help improve your conversations with others. These principles will give you an edge in every conversation and the confidence you need in every situation. Since verbal communication cannot be avoided, it vitally important to do as much as possible to become proficient and increasingly more competent in this skill.
Six Ideas for EVERY Conversation
- Idea #1: Words Have Meaning
- Idea #2: The Right Words Have Power
- Idea #3: Timing is Everything
- Idea #4: Watching the Tone OF and IN your Voice
- Idea #5: How to Use Questions Correctly
- Idea #6: The Lost Center of Communication
What happens when we make life decisions that make a change in the way that we live our lives? It is hard to change the way that we do things. How much more difficult can those changes be for our families and friends? If we have Christian family we should consider ourselves blessed. But, there are many who make a decision for Christ and are pushed out by the those that they love. It is not an easy thing to chose Christ. The way may appear to be simple, but the journey can cost us in areas that we could not imagine.
To live the Christian life, to live it as it is meant to be lived will require difficult choices. And these choices are difficult because some of the choices may require us to change the circle, or circles, of influence in our lives. A circle of influence consists of those individuals that we listen to and trust. The reason that a change may need to be made is not because the person is bad, but because our values have changed. The reasons and motivations of our lives have changed and if someone does not share these things with us then something will give. Something must give. Having said this, it does not mean that you must let go forever or even at all. What changing circles means is that the ear that at one time was ready to hear must now filter words and intentions that do not agree with the Word of God.
…Must Be Made…
It begins with hearing the truth of the Gospel and all of a sudden the conviction of the Holy Spirit moves us to make a profession. We confess our sins, accept Jesus as Lord and are baptized, joining a local body of believers. Then we go and share what has happened because this was such a wonderful thing that has just happened, but we do not get the reaction that we wanted or expected. We are left to wonder whether or not the decision that we made was the right one because the ones that have helped and counseled do not seem to agree with us. It is here that the we reach a crossroads where the difficult decision is made.
A choice must be made because we cannot continue in our old ways of doing things. It must be made because we have been changed and have become new creations in and through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It must be made because if there is to be any chance to be what God would have us to be we must be willing to make the decision and be confident that it is the right thing to do.
…In Order To Grow.
Ultimately the most important relationship that is nurtured in our lives is the one with our Heavenly Father. Because of this it is important to surround ourselves with those individuals that will provide for us the environment, structure, education and encouragement that we need to make our faith a reality. It is possible to have a faith that is not real to us. If faith is mere theory, an idea what we wish we had, it will not be real to us. If what we want is to have a real and living faith we need to do what needs to be done-we need to change circles.
It’s not about hurt feelings, missed friends or a popularity contest. We are talking about our hearts. We are talking about the condition of our souls and the direction of our lives and the lives of our families. It is time to live the choice-you already made it.