This is the time of year for Christmas lists…from the youngest family member to the oldest.
As our family members grew in age. . .so do the price of their toys.
Roy L. Smith, a renowned Methodist writer of Sunday School literature, once said:
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”
Our greatest joy this Christmas is having most of our family with us. . .including our two youngest Grand Sugars, Sophia Lee and Symphony Joy PreJean. That makes for a very happy Mimi and Papi.
During this season. . .we want to share with you seven things better than the new drones, a talking hamster, VR (Virtual Reality Glasses and all sorts of other iToys produced by competing companies.
Here’s my list of the Seven Things Better Than Any iToy.
“You’d better think what you’re trying to do to me” is the popular refrain from the classic Aretha Franklin song “Think.”
We need to think about what we’re doing to and for others. . .but we must also think about what we’re doing to ourselves in the process.
And, more exciting than all of this is to know what God is thinking about us.
Jeremiah 29:11in the King James Version says:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
According to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word for think is H2803 and it means:
“to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, count”
Here are seven keys to thinking.
First, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8 in the Message Bible says:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.”
Second, think before you speak.
Napoleon Hill, the speechwriter for President Franklin Roosevelt and the author of Think And Grow Rich, once said:
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Thinking before we speak. . .even in the heat of an argument. . .will avoid confusion and offense. Once words are spoken you can’t take them back. . .and apologies only soothe the wound. . .it doesn’t heal it completely.
What we speak determines our destiny.
When President John F. Kennedy said: “We will place a man on the moon in this decade” . . .he set the stage for the event to take place.
Whenever a person in authority speaks the desired results into being, a spiritual dynamic is unloosed even by those who may not realize what they’re doing.
In John 18:14, Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Jews, prophetically speaks the God-ordained reason for Jesus death without realizing it:
“Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”
Third, think before you act.
Proverbs 13:16 in the New Living Translation says:
“Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.”
President Theodore Roosevelt said:
“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”
One other quote. . .William Arthur Ward once said:
“Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.”
Fourth, think about possibilities instead of impossibilities.
Mark 9:23 in God’s WORD Translation says:
“Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.’”
What someone else sees as impossible. . .you may see as possible.
Never let anyone else steal the dream God has placed in your heart.
Remember, everything is possible to the person who believes. . .who walks by faith.
What kind of faith do you have? That’s right, if you are a born again Child of God then I read about you in Philippians 4:13 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”
Fifth, think about your future. . .your destiny.
Do you think long range or is your idea of long-range planning whether you’re going to eat at IHOP, Denny’s or Cracker Barrel on your way out Christmas shopping.
Success in life is determined in large part by whether or not we involve God in our planning for the future. He’s the One with perfect advice about our destiny.
Psalm 32:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
What does the Word say about God’s plans for our future?
John 10:10 in the New Living Translation says:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
There are things you may doubt in life. . .but there is one thing you should never ever doubt.
Psalm 138:8 in the New Living Translation says:
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
God will instruct and teach you the way to a rich and satisfying life and the fulfillment of his plans for your future. . .your destiny.
Sixth, think before saying yes or no
Here are seven questions to think about before you answer yes or no.
First, Why are you saying yes or no?
Second, Explain why you are really saying yes or no.
Third, What are the benefits or drawbacks of your saying yes?
Fourth, What are the benefits or drawbacks of your saying no?
Fifth, Does saying yes or no affect the fulfillment of your goals?
Sixth, If you say yes or no. . .who will be impacted by your response and does it matter?
Seventh, Will your saying yes or no matter in a week, month or year?
Matthew 5:37 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.”
One more verse. James 5:12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.”
Seventh, think about who you’re hanging with.
Psalm 1:1 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.”
There are three stages in this passage of scripture.
First, not walking and living in the counsel of the ungodly. . .following their advice, plans and purposes.
When we walk by. . .we hear something that interests us. Idle talk and gossip can be interesting in a negative way.
Second, not stopping to stand in the way of sinners. By being intrigued enough to stop and stand, we are really becoming submissive to their advice, plans and purposes. . . we become inactive in the things we know to be true from the Word of God.
When we stand. . .we stop walking by so we can participate in what we’ve heard.
Third, refusing to sit down to relax and rest with the scornful and the mockers by embracing their ideas and conversations.
When we sit down we settle in to embrace or entertain what we’ve heard.
Notice the progression in walk, stand and sit.
We should always prefer that small still voice over that of all others.
1 Kings 19:12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.”
When I was very young my Mom taught me that every day is Thanksgiving. I took her words to heart.
I make every effort to keep a heart of Thanksgiving through every trial and triumph.
Colossians 4:2 in the New International Version says:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
In times past I’ve asked you. . .our partners and friends to write down what you have to be thankful for. . .how God has blessed you in the past 24 hours. . .in every area of your life. Then, I want you to praise Him for it.
However, since God stirred me to write “7 Things To Do Before You Go To Sleep” I’ve encouraged you to make it a part of your daily doings.
Colossians 2:7 in the New International Version says:
“. . . rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
One of the best ways to strengthen our faith is to continually thank God for His abiding presence in our lives.
Colossians 3:15 in the Message Bible says:
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
Having an iThank God kind of attitude will create a life of blessings beyond our expectation.
Thankfulness multiples joys.
Once we develop an insatiable iLearn attitude. . .God and His Word can keep us on the right path. . .directing us where we should go and what we should do.
Proverbs 1:5 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly].”
Wow….I was just stirred to pray this verse over our partners. I strongly encourage you to personalize Proverbs 1:5.
“<<YourName>> also will hear and increase in learning, and <<YourName> as a person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that <<he/she>> may be able to steer <<his/her>> course rightly].”
If you need to increase your skill in the marketplace or your value as an employee I would begin confessing Proverbs 1:5 putting your name in the scripture.
If you are interested in learning how to increase in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. . .you will be blessed as it says in Proverbs 8:35 but it not, you will end up as it says in Proverbs 8:36 (Classic Amplified Bible):
35 “For whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord.
36 “But he who misses me or sins against me wrongs and injures himself; all who hate me love and court death.”
As you increase in learning and understanding you will be recognized as a problem solver. . .the kind of person who makes things happen.
Matthew 7:16 in the New Living Translation says:
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”
The fruit remains and is evident in iLearners.
When it comes to spiritual growth. . .it’s important that we remember John 15:5 in the New Living Translation:
“`Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.’”
Our growth. . .spiritual and otherwise is dependent upon our relationship with Jesus. Our spiritual growth also determines the kind of fruit we bear.
John 15:2 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.”
John 15:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.”
In these three verses from John 15. . .Jesus points out that a vine should bear fruit and then He lists four variations. He talked about vines that produce: no fruit; some fruit; more fruit; and much fruit.
The question is two-fold what kind of fruit producer are we and how can we produce more fruit.
Colossians 1:10 in the Amplified Bible says:
“That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].”
If we want to grow. . .in the Kingdom of God to be an effective and productive fruit producer. . .it happens by our knowledge of God with fuller, deeper and clear insight, acquaintance and recognition of His purpose..
Many believers feel they have this iLove thing down. But I feel led to do a little provoking to good works.
There are three people you need to love. Some people have even created an acronym for these three. JOY. Simply put. . .they suggest we should love Jesus first, others second and yourself third. J-O-Y
I must admit that logic sounds very sweet but it’s not scriptural. Follow me on this.
John 14:15 in the Amplified Bible says:
“If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.”
John 14:23 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.”
No question. . .we’re to love Jesus first. We’re to love Him with our whole hearts. . .which will determine whether or not He comes to live with us..
Second, love yourself.
Here’s where I differ with the JOY acronym. We must love ourselves before we can love anybody else.
Loving ourselves ties in with the third person we should love.
Third, everybody else.
Seven times in the scripture. . .the Word tells us to love others AS we love ourselves. In other words, we must love ourselves in order to love others.
Matthew 19:19 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.”
Matthew 22:39 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.”
Mark 12:31in the Amplified Bible says:
“The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Luke 10:27 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.”
“James 2:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“If indeed you [really] fulfill the royal Law in accordance with the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, you do well.”
So we must iLove. . .Jesus, ourselves and others.
Psalm 34:1 in The Living Bible says:
“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.”
When are you to bless the Lord? The scripture doesn’t say. . .
. . .when things are going our way.
. . .when we feel like it.
. . .when we’re being promoted on the job.
. . .when we’re debt free.
. . .when everybody is healthy.
. . .when all our friends and family are saved.
The scripture is very clear. . .we need to praise God at ALL times and especially when things are tough and getting rougher.
Now, let’s go a little further.
Psalm 34:2 in the New Living Translation says:
“I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.”
We need to brag on the Lord and not anyone else.
Psalm 35:28 says:
“And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
Both Psalm 34 verses 1 and 2 say iPraise.
Praying for one another isn’t just a good idea. . .it’s a God idea.
2 Timothy 1:3 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I thank God Whom I worship with a pure conscience, in the spirit of my fathers, when without ceasing I remember you night and day in my prayers.”
When we pray for one another on a continual basis there is a powerful scriptural dynamic loosed into our lives.
James 5:16 says:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
The Amplified Bible translation of James 5:16 says:
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
When iPray tremendous power dynamic in its working is loosed in my life.
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