How Do You Deal With Bad Experiences?

If you don’t deal with your experiences, your experiences will deal with you.

So, how do you deal with your bad life experiences. You can (1) pretend like they didn’t happen, you can (2) alter what you consider truth to fit the narrative of your life experience, or you can (3) allow the truth to explain your experience and then learn from it.

If you want a rich life, don’t take the first two options. Pretending that nothing happened is just your stuffing something bad in some corner room of your heart. Whatever you store there just rots and gives off a bad stench in your life over time.

Altering what you consider truth to fit the narrative of your experience is just as bad. It makes you feel better and makes you ‘feel’ like you are learning, but in reality what you have done is make the truth a slave to your experiences. Once you do that, the ‘truth’ you have adapted to fit your narrative only succeeds in creating a lie that promises much but delivers little. Simple example: All the men I have dated cheated on me, therefore I believe all men are cheats….do you see anything wrong with that?

What has happened to you that you now have made your ‘truth’?

You are much better off filtering your experiences through the lens of truth (infallible and unshakable time tested principles) and then sifting out the lessons that you can take forward in life. Anything other than this strategy proves over the long run to be…foolishness.

If there is one thing I want you to remember, it is this: Don’t make up your own ‘truth’. If will only succeed in slapping you upside the head.

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How To Respond To COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Have you noticed how many COVID-19 conspiracy theories are out there on social media? I have been sent numerous videos by well-meaning people concerning these theories.

There are people saying this pandemic is about a vaccine conspiracy; its about a new world order; it’s about China trying to take over the world; its a ploy by the Democrats; its the beginning of the end of the world, so on and so forth.

So what should you do with all these conspiracy theories? Should you pay attention to them?

I suggest you do what God told Isaiah to do when it comes to conspiracy theories

The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.
– Isaiah 8:11-14

See, every time there is danger and uncertainty, there are people who come out with conspiracy theories. Judging from Isaiah 8:11-14, it is clear that God does not want us to pay attention to them. Why? It is because most conspiracy theories are born out of fear…and fear is not of God. Let me clarify…any fear outside of the fear (respect and awe) of God is NOT of God.

So, rather than respect and live in awe of conspiracy theories; rather than allow them to keep you up at night, the best thing to do is focus your attention on God and understand that no matter what happens in this world; no matter how this virus came to be, He will keep you safe and sound.

Don’t be a worrier concerning your future, become a warrior concerning your faith.

Look to God and see what He has to speak to you. Those who have done this find out that God speaks something to them that doesn’t have to do with the virus. Why? God is saying to them “Don’t worry about this virus, I got it…instead think about the areas of your life I am working in”.

Instead of the thinking about conspiracy theories, think about future God is cooking up for you

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How to Handle Those That Don’t Like You

There are three kinds of people in the world when it comes your success. There are supporters, haters, and those in the middle who will either become your future supporters or haters.

Haters are people that will find one reason or the other to dislike you. They may dislike you for what you did when you were two years old. It may be that they don’t like your hair, your smile, the color of your skin, the size of your nose…it could be anything. Haters neglect the 99% you do great and instead take a magnifying glass to the 1% you don’t do well.

The worst thing you can do is spend time trying to appease the haters OR try to perfect that 1% you are not doing well in hopes that they will come to your side. I say it is the worst thing you can do because it just won’t happen. The hate they have for you is not really about you, it is about them. They need to change…you don’t need to change!

Did you know that Jesus also had haters though He was sinless, meaning he did nothing wrong. In fact, he did a whole lot of great things and did them fantastically well. Yet, one story tells us that his haters wanted to throw him off a cliff. Another story said that his haters wanted to plot to kill him because he had healed somebody! The accusation was that he picked the wrong day! Now, how laughable is that! I can’t imagine someone who is ill and writhing in pain saying ‘No, I don’t want to be healed today…it is the wrong day. Why don’t you let me suffer today and then come back tomorrow to heal me‘.

To be successful, you have to do as Jesus did. He simply left the haters alone! It is not that He did not love them. He did! He just knew they had hardened their hearts towards Him and would not accept His love. Instead He focused His energy on those who supported Him and those who were open to Him.

So how should you handle the haters: Stop focusing on what the haters are saying, doing, and plotting…and keep your eyes on the purpose to which God has called you.

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Customize Your Life

Jesus is arguably the most successful man to have ever lived and is undoubtedly the most influential person to have ever graced this earth. This is one of the many reasons why I like to study his life.

As I was reading about his life, I came to a passage that said “And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” – Luke 4:16

That started to get me thinking about my life. I started asking myself questions like, what customs do I have? And are those customs lifting me up or pulling me down?

Luke 4:16 not only suggests that Jesus had a customs around his spiritual life (going to the Synagogue on the Sabbath), he also have a custom around volunteering and taking the lead (standing up to read).

As I took an inventory, I realized that I was letting some good customs slip away and letting so silly customs creep in. Here are the customs that I decided that I will bolster: (1) Spending time in communion with God daily through bible reading and prayer (2) Practicing gratitude (3) Meditating

Now, I know some of you are going…did you just say practicing gratitude and meditating? Yes, I did.

Note: On gratitude, the bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Moreover, we are told to concentrate on what is positive in our lives (Philippians 4:8).

Note: On meditation, God tells us to meditate on His word day and night so that we might prosper and have good success (Joshua 1:8).

Here is my question to you: What customs do you need to start today? And what customs do you need to eradicate?

If you have a custom of drinking a six pack each night or chain smoking all day, it may be time to reconsider those customs. The choice is your on how to customize your life. I hope choose a custom that leads to an awesome future.

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I Have Decided…Have You?

I have decided that I am going to be successful. That’s right! Success is not an outcome, success is a decision. Success or failure are just two outward expressions of the person you have chosen to become.

You will be successful if you decide to have these 7 traits: Sacrifice, Unconditional Commitment, Consistent Focus, Concentrated Effort, Empathy, Selflessness, and Service.

You might have noticed that these 7 traits spell the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S.S

Now, you can try to cultivate these traits through sheer will, or you can take the shortcut. Here is a secret – these 7 traits emanate naturally from you when you care about people and discover something you are passionate about that adds value to people.

So, here is how you decide to be successful:

(1) Genuinely Care About People: This means you have to get your mind off yourself and consider other people. Another word for genuinely caring about people is LOVE. If you have a heart of love towards people, then you are already on your way to success. No wonder God calls us to love each other. It is not just for the other person…it is also for you. Why? When you genuinely care about people, people will know it and they will be willing to support you.

(2) Be Passionate About Something: If you truly care about something, you will find that you can commit to it, consistently focus on it, and apply concentrated effort towards it. And here is the thing about passion…it is infectious. The more passionate you become, the more passionate people around you who support you and are a part of your team will become.

(3) Make Sure Your Something Adds Value: If you want your passion to have staying power, then you need to make sure that your passion adds value to people. In other words, your passion must take someone from a place they do not want to be to a place they would rather be. If you passion does this, you will develop a fan club of people that want to lift you higher because you would have changed their life.

So go on, decide to be a success. Just like I have.

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Don’t Miss the Opportunity Of A Lifetime During This Crisis

You have two choices during this crisis. You can either fall apart or you can fall in place. What you choose will depend on your perspective.

Hopefully, this post will help shift your perspective in a way that allows things to fall into place.

If you are familiar with the gospels, then you know that Jesus (arguably the most successful man that ever lived) was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when he was baptized in river Jordan (see Luke 3:21 & Luke 4:1)

The interesting thing I want you to consider is that the power he had within him was not unleashed UNTIL he went through a period of 40-days in a harsh desert environment called the wilderness (see Luke 4:14).

This tells me one thing: The wilderness is a place where you and I get to activate the superpower (God given ability) within us.

After Jesus emerged from the wilderness, we was off like a rocket – doing incredible, amazing things that had never been done before. This explains why the Holy Spirit actually led him into the wilderness in the first place!

Though you may not like the wilderness, the wilderness is necessary if you want to fulfill your potential

When I think of the wilderness, I think of a lonely place, disconnected from the world, where people live in an unforgiving environment.

We can parlay this to what is happening today. People are separated from their loved ones. People feel somewhat disconnected from each other. And what is going on seems cruel. Moreover, just like the real wilderness, a lot of people feel helpless during this crisis. In other words, this crisis period represents a wilderness experience.

This means there is an opportunity awaiting us not just to survive this experience BUT to thrive (just like Jesus did) after this experience.

But if we want to survive and thrive, then we must do what Jesus did.

The bible says that Jesus fasted during his wilderness experience. To ‘fast’ is simply to abstain. While the usual practice is to abstain from food (something that we need), in the broader sense, it can be to abstain from something we are used to having or something that we think we can’t do without.

When you are without something you are used to having or something you think you can’t do without, it does two things: (1) It changes your perception of what is important or needed (2) It changes your perception of your own capabilities.

This is the time to really consider what is important to you and to start thinking of ways to achieve it

When Jesus was in the wilderness, he grew his ability to persevere (he did not turn stone into bread), developed his ability to be resolute (he did not listen to crazy suggestions), and decided he was not going to take a shortcut to achieving his goals.

This is an opportunity for us to practice the same and develop the same ideals for our lives.

If we do this now, we will find out by the end of this crisis that we are must better placed to fulfill our highest potential.

Don’t concentrate on what you think you have lost; focus on what you have to gain

If you do this, you will find yourself ready to unleash your superpower when your wilderness experience is over. You will be ready to crush it!

I forgot to mention: Jesus spend 40-days in the wilderness before coming of the place. It looks as if we would have been looked down for ~ 40 days (March 23 – May 1) before we start to come out of it. Make sure you don’t waste the remaining days.

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Unleash Your Superpower

Super refers to ‘God’ while power refers to ‘ability’. Therefore, you superpower is your God-given ability. It is that gift that you have. It is something you have an natural affinity to do. It is effortless and it comes naturally to you.

The bible says that a mans gift makes room for him and brings him before great men (Proverbs 18:16). This means that if you want to become a person of influence, then you must not neglect your natural talent.

Today, too many people bury their natural talent and simply use their training. In fact, this is encouraged in many places around the world especially if the society does not have a market or an infrastructure that supports the gift.

While location was a limiting factor a number of years ago, it no longer is. With the advent of social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc), all that is required is a phone that has internet connectivity and access to an app store. With this, anyone can showcase their talent to anyone in the world.

So, if is not access to local markets, there must be something else that stops people from unleashing their superpower. What is it? It is nothing other than fear – fear of failing, fear of the unknown, fear of disappointing, fear of rejection.

Fear is the ultimate dream killer…and it is not of God. Indeed, the bible tells us that God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Therefore, an effective way to get rid of fear is to silence every other voice other than that of the Spirit of God. It is to realize that the power does not belong to us but it belongs to the Spirit of God living in us. Our job is to obey (go forth) and it is the Spirit’s job to accomplish.

We need to get out of the way and let the Spirit of God operate within us. When we do this, the Spirit of God is released and our superpower is unleased.

So, what is your superpower? Don’t listen to any voices that tell you that it is silly and no one will care. Remember, that even the gift of laughter have changed the hearts of men and saved lives before. It is your job to love others by making it available in the market place. And it is the God’s job to accomplish more than what you could ever have imagined through it.

So stir up that gift and let the world see your superpower.

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Where Are You: At the cross or in the throne room?

I have seem some T-shirts that say ‘Stand for the flag and kneel for the cross‘. The picture on the T-shirt shows the American flag and then a picture of three crosses with a guy kneeling in front of them.

When I saw this, I wondered if people actually understand what we actually have to do at the cross.

The cross is a symbol of what Jesus did for us, but it is also a symbol of what we should do daily. Let me explain

Jesus said to pick up our cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). In saying this, he is telling us that we need to crucify our flesh (that part of us that contrary to God) daily. Why? Because only by crucifying our flesh will we end up where he ended up…raised up and in the throne room of God. In other words, we are to crucify our flesh daily so that we can experience the riches of the presence of God in our lives.

The cross is the gateway to the throne room of God

Thus we are not meant to kneel at the cross but we are meant to nail ourselves to the cross.

In his letter to the church in Galatia, Apostle Paul says, ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me…” In other words, because he has also crucified his flesh, the life of Christ is able to be manifested outwardly through him.

To crucify our flesh means that life is no longer about us. It is about loving God and loving others. It means we have humbled ourselves to God’s purpose for our lives (what he desire of our lives).

What kind of life do we end up with after we crucify our flesh? It is the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10). It is the life filled with love, joy, peace, patience etc. It is the life of nothing missing and nothing broken. It is the life of solid relationships and healed marriages.

This is the kind of life that God has in store for us today. It is the kind of life we have access to so long as we determine to crucify our flesh on the cross.

So here is what I say. Don’t just kneel at the cross. Make sure you nail yourself to the cross. God is honored more when we nail ourselves on the cross rather than kneel at it. It’s going to cost you your pride and ego, but it is the best life available.

The cross is a reminder for us to die to humble ourselves and be obedient. It is call for us to crucify our pride, ego, selfishness and all those yucky parts of our flesh daily.

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Are You A Listener Or A Learner?

Jesus preached to huge crowds when he walked this earth (remember the feeding of the 5000 and 4000). The bible also tells us that his fame grew and that multitudes followed him. Yet, after about 3 years of hitting the road, speaking to people, and performing unbelievable miracles, we are only aware of him having 500 disciples (of which he chose 12 as his Apostles).

Thus, while there were many who heard the truth and knew the truth, there were only a handful of them that became his disciples. (The word disciple means learner or follower of Jesus).

Note: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Hence, I am using Jesus and truth interchangeably.

A listener knows the truth but a learner follows the truth

If you don’t choose the way, you can’t follow the truth. And if you don’t follow the truth, you won’t live the life

If you are a listener and not a learner, then know that you probably won’t live the best life. Here is how Jesus puts it: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples. Another way of saying this is that only disciples bear fruit, and that a fruit-bearing (productive) life is what honors God.

It’s not what you know that counts, it is what you do with what you know that counts

This is why it does little good to memorize the whole bible and be able to quote it backwards without applying it. This is like having a weapon that you never use. If you do not use your weapon, don’t be surprised if enemies overrun your territory and steal the life you were meant to live.

It’s time to live your best life. It’s time to stop being someone that can tell other people about God. It is time to be that person that can tell people all of the awesome things God is doing in your life. Do it by resolving to be a learner today.

My challenge: Don’t just listen to hear…listen to learn.

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Is God A Republican Or A Democrat?

Here in America, it seems as if everything is analyzed through the lens of political affiliation. Not even God escapes the labeling. Here in the South, I have heard people refer to the Republican Party as the God party, mainly based on the politics of abortion and same-sex marriage. The rebuttal I have heard from those who lean towards the Democratic party is that essence of Christianity is love and acceptance.

So who is right? Does God lean towards Republicans or Democrats?

According to Jesus, all the law and prophets boil down to two great commands. The first is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). What cannot be argued is that both these commands involve LOVE – love for God and love for mankind.

This love – both for God and for mankind – is clearly displayed on the cross. The vertical section of the cross is for vertical relationship between man and God, while the horizontal section of the cross represents the horizontal relationship between man and man. Jesus was able to love both God and man…not one or the other.

Today, its seems that those who have politicized God believe you have to choose between one or the other. Generally, those who believe the Republican party to be the God party emphasize the vertical relationship while those on the Democratic party emphasize the horizontal relationship. The only problem with this is that Jesus emphasized BOTH.

Without putting both the vertical and horizontal together (love for God and man), what you have are just two individual columns (a vertical one or a horizontal one). To truly have a cross and reflect the heart of God requires that you bring both together.

This is why when people ask me the question, are you a Democrat or Republican, my answer is simple: I am neither. My identity is not wrapped up in the political left or right. Why? God is so beyond our human political constructs and God existed before man dreamed of political labels.

I am governed by a King called Jesus. So I guess you can say I live under a government authority, where He is my Lord. So if you ask me whether which way I lean (Democrat or Republican), my answer is super simple…it depends on the topic.

I am not a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or whatever other label. I am a Christ follower whose goal is to love both God and people. Both are not mutually exclusive but complimentary. The more I love God, the more I love people. After all, God’s heart in coming to the world is for people (even those that crucified Him on the cross).

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