Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#DailyProverbs 3/29/16

#DailyProverbs 29:1: "If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover."

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#DailyProverbs March 23, 2016

#DailyProverbs 23:21: "Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. If all you do is eat and sleep, you will soon be wearing rags."

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Negativity

Look, some people are just negative. They are hard-wired to see the fault and see if and how it affects them first. That will always be their first reaction and their default setting.

It doesn't mean they aren't kind people, or even good-hearted or fun-loving, but... BUT, that trait will always show up. They will always find the one note missed in a beautiful song of thousands of notes. They will always find a way to be stressed or unhappy, even in the best of circumstances that so many others would consider a dream. If they have food, it's the wrong kind... if they have water, it's not what they wanted, if they have a roof, it could be better. If they are dieting, it's the worst ever. If they have lost weight, it's not enough. They will always want more and more and more... whatever it is, it could be better or different. They are just never going to be satisfied.

So, stop trying.

Life your life. Do what you are going to do. Go where you are going to go. Let them come, or not. Let them join, or not. They will be confused and hurt when you retreat or don't always seek to include them. And rightly so, either love them or don't love them. But don't be their "sometimes" friend. But, under no circumstances are you required to cater to them or ensure their happiness is secured ahead of your own.

The world is a big, beautiful, fun place - and even with the horrors that hit us daily - it's still great to be alive and sentient and able to pursue your passions and life paths. Do not let someone else hinder and derail that. Invite them along, but don't stop for them.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

#DailyProverbs: Controlling Our Appetites

1 Corinthians 9:23-27: "All this I do for the gospel's sake, in order to share in its blessings. Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever. That is why I run straight for the finishing line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest."

You can't win a race, if you don't run it. You can't succeed in something if you never attempt it. You can't learn from mistakes, if you never take action and fail. What are you trying to win? What do you want to make happen and what does success at that look like? Are you making steps to achieve those goals? Why? Why not? Is your appetite ruining your diet? Is your diet causing you to fail at things?

What words would you use to describe our society? Materialistic, sure. We are. Our capitalistic sensibilities are good at making us want to work and see profit, but they also train us to focus on the end goal of making money - getting stuff. Everyone loves stuff. (Remember the Steve Martin movie, 'The Jerk?' When he lost his fortune and his wife left.. she said, "it's not about the money, it's a bout the stuff." We are sensual, sure. We know that sex sells everything. If you can get us to feel flushed and excited, we equate the product with that feeling of beauty and intimacy and we will spend money for it. We are impatient. We want it all and we do not want to wait for any of it. We don't want to build and see growth, we want the finished product. We are indulgent. We reward every step of a process and then wonder why we can't even finish the goal. We expect others to cater to our wants, and not realize that we breed entitlement, even in those that work hard and try hard... they become expectant that just normal, everyday, grown-up activities should get them some type of "extra credit." And people indulge that behavior. We are undisciplined. We create things like "cheat days" because we know that our mentality needs to feel like it's getting something it shouldn't. We do well, then we cheat???  We starve, then gorge. We are disciplined, then we take a break.

Those are just a few examples, but one of the worst is that w are also "have it right now" society and we have bred that expectation and culture since the industrial revolution. We do not want to strategically plan, lay the foundation, and then do the work to see results. We dont' see far, as in see past generations of work and planning to the future of the Earth. We want convenience and gratification today. The devil specializes in presenting us with opportunities for instant gratification while promising us that indulging our appetites will bring us the satisfaction we seek. But they don't. Over- and often-indulging will make you sick. It will make you fat. It will bloat your processes. It will cripple your speed. It will break your discipline. It will expand your materialism. It will twist your sensuality.

Appetites are not bad. Human appetites, in and of themselves, are not sinful, nor are the activities taht go with each a sin. In fact, they're God-given, God-ordained, and God-approved. However, because WE as humans tend to take one of a good thing and corrupt it by making it the sole focus, the greater purpose, and something we cannot control... we make sin out of them. Because of our fleshly weaknesses, they need to be controlled. Do you think sex is bad? No, of course not. Sex is great. But people get addicted. They begin to twist something very good into obsession. They being to have a harder time being pleased with something and they need to take it to a different level. Their boredom and complacency begins to make them want different partners, to do harmful things, and to want to make it something it was never intended to be. Food is the same way. Food is merely fuel... but when you make it a great focus of your life... when you make food a reward system for your behavior... you can eat "x," if you accomplish "y." That's crazy. Food is for your body. Not reward for your action. Food isn't your comforter. If you eat to negate negative feelings... you will create an emotional link between how you feel and the food you tasted and smelled when you were feeling that feeling. When you do that repeatedly... it becomes more and more ingrained in you. The examples can go on and on...

When our appetites rule us, we become something of a slave. We are not in control and we are not able to rationally do the tasks we need to do in front of us. We're in trouble. Paul equated and gave the analogy that likened the Christian life to that of athletes who are so focused on winning the race that they exercise self-control in every area of their lives. And that is exactly how we're called to live. We have purpose in our lives. We have so many reasons to be grateful, happy, and to be at work on various things... but we don't. We seem never satisfied.

And it's more than just lacking motivation and determination. It's that conditioned response and years of bad behavior that must be modified. It's generations of teachings that just... need to be excavated and demolished and rebuilt in a way that is healthy. If you are weak, you are not alone... we lack the power to do so in our own strength. For this reason, we need to rely on the Holy Ghost. If we yield our lives to Him and step out in obedience to His promptings, we'll have the strength to say no when unhealthy and detrimental appetites and behaviors feel overpowering (Gal. 5:16).

But the bottom line is super simple, and super easy: You can do it. You can actually begin to make small decisions and choices every day that begin to build up to larger changes over time. If you made them all in one day...you may not stick to them. You might feel overwhelmed. But take baby steps. Make one good choice a day. Then add to them.

Love y'all. You can do it.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

#DailyProverbs 16:7

#DailyProverbs 16:7: "When you please the Lord, you can make your enemies into friends."

You don't have to speak. You don't have to act. You don't have to lift even one finger. Hold your peace, let God fight your battles. All you have to do is love God, and love others. The rest will unfold.

It is when you get involved, involve your emotion, your self-righteousness, that you begin to alter the outcome that could have happened, had you left it alone and let God handle it. Sometimes, you just need to shut up, step back, and leave it alone.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Waiting Game

#DailyProverbs 16:9: "You may make your plans, but God directs your actions."

Have you ever *really* wondered what you would do if God spoke to you? Have you ever considered why you are kept in the dark on so many things? Can you be trusted with God's vision for the future and your part in that vision? Do you think you would be so compliant and trusting if you actually had discourse with the Lord and understood His way, timing, and plans? Would you be able to wait on the Lord for the plans and the years and time it takes to have them come to pass? Can you see in years and decades and scores of years (of which you are able to take part) and imagine the millennia that God has to oversee and wait for entire generations and peoples to come to terms with their place in the world?

The honest truth is that, likely not. You would likely want to skip steps. You would likely want to hurry the process up. No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? It's because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots, even God. And we can't stand that. We assign free-will to ourselves because it still gives us the comfort that WE are in control of the ultimate end of ourselves. (Another topic for another day, but we want that control, but we still blame God if the outcome isn't what we desired. Sigh. With that power, comes that responsibility. If you can't fathom God being true to His word and hell being real, and it being your own fault if you go there, then change your thoughts to predestination and set up a belief system in something other than free will.)

Waiting. Waiting on things beyond our control. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause--like a traffic light or the long checkout line--ultimately God is the one who controls all our delays. Our starts. Our stops. Since Jesus is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands. This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression "waiting upon the Lord" applies only to spiritual applications and beseeching answers in an altar, but that's such a limited view of God. That's such a tiny spectrum, that God would only be with you and meet you in a church, in an altar, or on days of your begging. Sure, God is there when you are seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations, too. Y'know, like a real relationship.

Do you want God to tell you things? Do you want Him to give you foresight and truth? In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you'll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. But you will also have to learn to be given data, do nothing with it, hold it, trust it, nurture it, and watch over it while it grows into a promise. We must learn to trust His judgment--about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we're sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson. Each period of waiting has a truth to be learned.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He loves and you and it isn't just about some random platitude concerning patience, or increasing something as trivial as YOU. It may be a something that sets world events in motion. It may be something as important as you not disrupting a soul coming into His presence. It may be something that keeps you and saves you. It may be so you don't ruin something.

Jesus, I've found in my walk and in my talks where He has shown me (more than I ever truly wanted) things... He's more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.