Can We Really Live a Life of Peace and Tranquility?

This is a question on the lips of many people around the world. And many people have lost hope of ever enjoying any peace or tranquility in this life. “Not in this life” many would say.  Not in a world full of violence, hate and envy. But that is exactly what I am talking about – the here and now – and it is possible.

Psalm 23:5 (NIV) says “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me Peacebeside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”.

That means here and now, in this life. You won’t have any enemies when you are in heaven.

In John 14:27 (NIV), Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. Then in Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) it says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

Yet, nothing will happen automatically. We have our part to play. We must make a decision. Who will have the final say in your life? Who has final authority? Colossians 3:15 (NIV) says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” That little word “let”, indicates that we need to make the decision for the peace of Christ to rule in our lives. God is not forcing himself on anyone. You have to make the decision.

By giving the Word of God final authority in your life, also means that you need to trust His Word. If God says that He will protect you (Psalm 91), you should resist the devil, by refusing to fear (John14:27) and refuse being anxious about your future (Philippians 4:6).

There is one more crucial ingredient that you need to experience total freedom and peace in your life, and that is to forgive. Living in un-forgiveness will steal your peace from you and it will even rob you from your health. And through un-forgiveness, you are robbing yourself from getting your prayers answered. Many people love to quote Mark 11:23-24 about having faith and you will have what you say. But it is important to read the rest of that scripture too. Verse 25-26 (KJV) goes on to say “25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”.

We cannot manipulate God by thinking that we can just “name it and claim it”. God always knows what’s best, and we also have responsibilities that goes beyond ourselves.

You might think it is impossible to forgive that person after what he/she has done to you. What you think and what you feel is not important, and that is actually good news. If you want to forgive based on how you feel, that means you want to do it in your own power and it becomes impossible. But if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13; Colossians 3:17).

A Chip on the Shoulder Weighs a Ton

This brings us to the nugget for this week. In John L. Mason’s Book An Enemy Called Average, nugget #30 says “a chip on the shoulder weighs a ton”.

The weight of un-forgiveness is a terrible weight to carry and will only drag you down. “But no one knows what that person did to me!” yet, as John Mason says in his book; “That may be true, but the question is do you know what un-forgiveness will do to you?”

What really matters is what happens in us not to us – John Mason.

Un-forgiveness leads to great bitterness and that is a deadly misuse of the creative flow from above. Great amounts of mental energy and brain power are used up in pondering over a negative situation and plotting how to “get even”.

“That’s easy to say, but you don’t know my situation”, you might say. Yes, maybe I don’t know your situation, but I do know what it’s like. People who know me personally will know what I am talking about, and I also have to fight the temptation of un-forgiveness. But by the grace of God, I have learned to forgive and I refuse to meditate on what happened. When those thoughts come, I take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Peace and Tranquility is Within Your Reach

Yes, we do live in a world full of violence and hate. The question is; how do you perceive all this in your own mind. The good news is that you can learn how to respond to things by taking control of your mind.

In Matthew 24 Jesus gave a description of the end times to His disciples, and he told them not to be troubled as these things must come.

What we are facing today is the results of mankind, but God is not caught by surprise, and He is still in control.

How do you perceive what is happening around you? Are you able to remain positive about your future? Tell me about your expectations in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

On 12 October 2015 I am launching a new site – yourmindrenewed.com – where I will discuss the impact of your thinking and the effect it has on your life. Join me on this exciting journey and tell me about your experiences and how you deal with your thought life.

Advertisements

How to Take Charge of Your Dreams

Yes, it would be nice to be the CEO of your company, live in a mansion and enjoy your annual holiday on some exotic file000524945737island, wouldn’t it? There is nothing wrong with having big dreams.

But that is exactly what brings us to this week’s nugget. It is nugget # 29 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. It says “everything big starts with something little”.

Everything Big Starts with Something Little

Everybody wants the best job, the biggest house and the fastest or most luxurious car. But it seems that many people just want everything to come easy and instantly too.

I’ve witnessed many times when people cry out and seem to be desperate for employment. Yet when someone offers them a position, they decline because it doesn’t pay well enough, or the position is not on a high enough level in the company.

Even when starting a business, it almost seems like many people think you start a business, cross your feet on the desk and the money starts marching in the door.

Reality is; everything big starts with something little. Whether you ask a successful business person, musician, writer or anybody who made it to the top, they will give you the same answer: they started at the bottom and worked hard to get where they are. As a matter of fact, they will tell you that they are still working hard.

Working hard doesn’t have to be a burden though. I know of very wealthy people who will tell you that they aren’t really working that hard, because they enjoy what they are doing. But they are extremely busy. When you are passionate about what you’re doing, it won’t always feel like work.

That also doesn’t mean it has to be all work and no play. The first ingredient for success is to be passionate about what you do. That will add some fun to your working day. Secondly it’s about maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

But everybody needs to start at the bottom. Even all the great people referred to in the Bible were faithful in the small things. In Matthew 25 Jesus told the parable of the talents. The servant who took his master’s money and multiplied it was told “….. Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)

Start Small, But Take Action

Even if you feel that you have a certain call on your life, don’t sit around waiting for someone to call you with an invitation. It is good to dream big and aim high, but don’t be so pre-occupied with the dream that you miss out on the opportunities that pass you by. It is often by giving that small step that looks so irrelevant at the time, that you open the door to more and more opportunities.

Be on the lookout for those small opportunities to get started, and take action. It is true that God can do anything for you, but He will never do it without you. Take action.

Don’t be afraid to take those small steps. It’s the small steps which are easier to take and achieve success, one small step at a time. It will also reduce your stress levels as they are easier to manage.

Although it is good to keep the bigger picture in mind, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed when focusing on the bigger picture alone. That is when even some of the smaller steps don’t always make sense to me…..until I start doing them. The minute I start taking action on those smaller steps, things just start falling into place and they start making sense.

The impossible, many times, is just simply the untried – John L. Mason

By rushing in and trying to avoid the small steps, you can easily end up being completely overwhelmed. This can eventually cause you to become negative and quit altogether.

We should all learn to grow wherever we’re planted – John L. Mason

Don’t Fear

Don’t give in to the emotion of fear. One of the first things Jesus always said to people was “don’t fear”.

Your dream might look impossible to you today. So what? A century or so ago, you wouldn’t have even thought of directly communicating with someone on another continent….then came the telephone. Today I have daily face-to face conversations with people in other countries via SKYPE.

They also said it is impossible to fly. It was considered as being ridiculous to think that man can go to the moon. Shall I continue?

You might ask….”but what if I don’t make it”? Well, what if you do? You’ll never know if you don’t at least try.

Fear of becoming a has-been keeps some people from becoming anything – Eric Hoffer

Little Goals Add Up

Little goals add up, and they add up rapidly. Many people never succeed, because they never try.

That final goal seems so unreachable, and that is why many people give up even before they have started.

By starting with those smaller goals and achieving them, you not only develop a habit of goal setting, you also develop a habit of success.

Success is a very strong motivating force. But you have to do something before you can experience it. Before you know it, you will start achieving bigger goals without fearing them.

Have you ever been intimidated by your big dreams and goals? Have you ever been concerned about what the people are going to say? What do you do to overcome these obstacles? What do you do to make sure you see those small opportunities and not miss them? Or have you missed some and what was the conequences?

Share your experiences, dreams and how you overcome obstacles in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.

What to Expect Over the Next Few Weeks

If you have been visiting this site frequently, you would have noticed that I am discussing weekly nuggets as they appear in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average.

The idea was to post about one nugget per week over 52 weeks. This will still continue, but instead of publishing on a Friday, it will now be done on a Monday for at least the following three weeks.

Coming Soon

Although this blog will still be continuing, I am excited to announce the launch of my new site – yourmindrenewed.com – on 2013-09-09 10.23.3312 October 2015.

Over the past year I became part of various groups on the internet which started giving me exposure to writing. Although I have been dreaming about writing for a long time, I never thought it would actually become a reality so soon.

It is no secret that we get bombarded with “doom and gloom” news from all over the world every day. Questions are being asked on a daily basis about how a loving God could allow the pain and suffering as we see it in the world.

Instead of just asking these questions, maybe it’s time for us to start asking what we can do to change our world. What is our responsibility in this world? Do we just have to accept what comes our way? Do we have to be content with second best? How does our thinking affect our future? What about the economy? Are we being materialistic when we work hard to become successful? How do we find and maintain the right balance?

There definitely is a demand for people who can help us remain focused and motivated, and fortunes are spent on life coaches and motivational speakers. There are also lots of empty promises out there; a lot of hype about how positive thinking will change your life. Yet, if you don’t add substance to your thinking, and develop faith, you might end up with day-dreaming and never see the results you were hoping for.

There is a time and a place for everything, and while there surely is a time for a good life coach or motivational speaker, we often overlook the wisdom that we have access to every single day of our lives. The Bible is full of principles that we can physically apply in our everyday lives. We are not supposed to live in fear. We are not supposed to fall victim to negative stress. We can be excited about a bright future.

These are the kind of topics that will be discussed on Your Mind Renewed.

Be Practical and Realistic.

The focus of yourmindrenewed.com will be to remain practical and realistic. It’s not about “the pie in the sky” attitude, or just saying things people like to hear. It is about facing the facts. It will show you how to practically apply biblical principles in everyday life.

References will be made to acknowledged case studies and people who successfully live according to these principles.

Many Christian people are battling with the idea of how to give expression to their faith, while they find themselves in secular occupations. That is one of the most important issues that will be addressed. To be a Christian doesn’t mean you have to be a preacher. God also needs business people, engineers, doctors, artists, writers, musicians and people in every thinkable (legal) occupation.

Join Me on This Journey

The “coming soon” page is live. Head over to the page now, and subscribe to stay informed about the coming launch. When you register you will also receive a free copy of the book; Rise To New Heights – With No Fear.

If you have any specific topics you would like to be discussed or read about, tell me about it in the comments section below. If you don’t want to discuss it here, but you would like to read about it on the blog, you can also contact me at jacoalberts5@gmail.com

I look forward to hear from you.

When You Refuse To Change, You End Up In Chains.

Nobody can argue the fact that we are living in a constantly changing world. Some people thrive on change. They see it as parade-in-south-beach-miamia challenge, an opportunity for growth. For others the idea of change is less exciting. They fear change. It brings an element of uncertainty. And then we find a third group of people that are set in their ways, believing “this is how it always has been done”, and they see no reason to change it.

This week’s nugget is about change. John L. Mason shares his nugget #28 in his book An Enemy Called Average as: “When you refuse to change, you end up in chains”.

The Challenges of Change

For many people, change goes hand-in-hand with uncertainty. And that uncertainty often causes fear. Granted, change will always have an element of uncertainty that goes with it. That is unavoidable. But does that mean we have to live in fear?

Let’s have a look at some practical examples. Back in the era of the late 1700’s nobody knew if a person could withstand the rigors of being up in the air. But man started dreaming about flying and on October 15, 1783, the Montgolfiers brothers launched a balloon, with Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier as the passenger. In 1852 followed Henri Giffard’s steam-powered airship flight, and in 1890 the Wright brothers made history with their “first manned, powered, heavier-than-air and (to some degree) controlled” flight.

These people were scoffed at and made out to be crazy, but today air travel is part of life. You can’t imagine the world without it. Many people still avoid flying due to fear. But when looking at statistics, it might be safer to fly than driving to the shopping mall. Yet, we hardly even give it a second thought when getting into the car.

Then it went further and people started talking about going to outer space. This was considered to be ridiculous by many and there were even people saying “that’s from the devil”. Yet, in 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to journey into outer space. The rest is history. Many people have been in space since, and various projects in outer space are playing a major part in our everyday living today.

When You Refuse To Change, You End Up In Chains

Change is an unavoidable part of life today. There is no doubt about it, when you refuse to change, you end up in chains. It would be impossible to keep up with the rest of the world if we refuse to accept positive change.

“But how do we have to cope with change on a personal level?” you ask. Ecclesiastes 8:1 (NIV) says “Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance”. In Matthew 18:3 (NIV) Jesus says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Isaiah 42:9 (NIV) says “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

John Mason says it very well when he says that “we should choose not allow “the way we’ve always done it” to cause us to miss opportunities God is providing for us today”

He further says “even the most precious of all gems needs to be chiseled and faceted to achieve its best luster. There is nothing that remains so constant as change. Don’t end up like concrete, all mixed up and permanently set”.

Allow Change to Allow Growth

So there’s no need to live in fear of change. But there are many reasons why we should welcome change and embrace it. Change allows for growth.

Do you welcome change? Do you enjoy the challenges that come with change? Do you resist change?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section. I am looking forward to hear from you.

Do You Fall for the Free Food on a Fish Hook?

It is no secret that we live in a fast paced world today and it is very easy to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done.file0001844591585

That is exactly why it is so easy to get caught in the trap of looking for the easy way out, or trying to take shortcuts.  John L. Mason says it this way; “Did you know that the best shortcut you can ever take is to do what God says, in His timing? Shortcuts outside the will of God invite compromise and create strife and confusion”.

The nugget for discussion today is nugget #27 in John Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average that says “there is always free food on a fish hook”.

 There is Always Free Food on a Fish Hook

We need to approach life like marathon runners. We are not in a sprint race.

Not so long ago it would be nothing strange to set aside a whole day if you had to travel 100km to attend a business meeting. But as technology developed and our vehicles became faster, we started thinking of maybe fitting in two or even three meetings while at our destination because of the reduced travelling time.

Being able to go even faster, we now fit in some more activities even before leaving for those meetings, and then maybe some more on the way back as well.

It becomes a vicious cycle. Instead of becoming more relaxed because we can do more in less time, everybody tends to get more stressed , because the faster we move, the more we want to do.

But that is not the only challenge we are facing. Everybody wants results, and they want it fast. And not only do they want it fast, it should be easy to. They try taking short cuts and they start falling for get-rich-quick schemes. They start million-and-one projects and finish none.

At this point I would like to quote a story from John Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average:

“There is a story told of a beautiful bird that was known for its great singing. It would sit at the top of a tree and make all kinds of lovely melodies. One day a man was walking through the woods. He passed by the tree and heard this beautiful bird singing. The bird saw the man and perceived that he was holding a box.

‘What do you have in the box?’ he asked the man.

The man replied that he had large, juicy earthworms in the box. ‘I will sell you a worm for one of your beautiful feathers,’ he offered.

The bird reached down, pulled out a feather, and gave it in exchange for a worm. Then he took the worm and ate it. He reflected to himself, ‘Why should I have to work so hard to get a worm when it’s so easy to get one this way?’

Well, the affair continued over a period of many days and soon the bird no longer had any beautiful feathers to use to pay for worms. Furthermore, he could no longer fly, nor was he pretty any longer. So he didn’t feel like singing beautiful songs any more. He was very unwise and unhappy bird”.

We are always looking for ways to get ahead and obtain things we want and the results we desire, but we are always subject to the temptation to look for shortcuts, just like this foolish bird.

Find Your True Identity

A big tragedy of today is the fact that people start comparing themselves to other people, and the moment they feel they can’t live up to someone else’s standards they feel like failures.

You need to realize that you are a unique individual. “Yes…I know, the boring old story about the fact that I’m the only one with my unique thumb print”, you say. No, that is not what I’m referring to. You are the only one with your unique viewpoint, your own unique talents and personality. Looking at the whole package, you are the only you that will ever walk this earth. So don’t try to become the best Sylvester Stallone, or the best Adele. Become the best you that you can be. Nobody can do that better than you.

Once you find your identity in Christ (Romans 8:1 and Romans 8:17), you won’t find the need to compare yourself to anyone else.

There is nothing wrong with having a role model. Once you have found your passion and you want to become good at it, it is good to find a role model. Study the way that person manages his/her business. See how he manages his time or anything else that is relevant to what you need to learn about. Then follow those actions, by being just as disciplined. But don’t try to become that person.

Find Your Passion

Find your passion. What gives you joy in life? If you love what you do, you won’t have to work another day in your life. Your diary may be fully booked for the next year, but if you enjoy what you do, and you are contributing to society, it won’t feel like work.

You will sometimes hear the idea that you shouldn’t be too concerned about what your passion is when you start out; eventually your passion will find you. That is true in a sense, but I don’t fully agree. You need to at least determine what you are interested in. What do you enjoy doing? If you enjoy writing and want to become a writer, it is fine to start writing about any topic in the beginning. And I fully agree, your passion will soon find you because you will soon discover what topics you are passionate about and you would start seeking work in that area. But at first you felt the need to be writing, and you did.

In the same way I know about people who are mechanically minded. They love engines and how they work. Yet, once they became more involved they found their passion and became pilots.

Even if it’s not very focused, start by paying attention to what is of interest to you. Then get involved and soon your passion will find you.

All Good Things Take Time

Once you have found your passion and you are ready, start setting goals and create a realistic action plan. Don’t expect to become a millionaire within 6 months. Dream big, but be realistic. Determine what your goals are and why you want to achieve them. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Then start breaking those goals into smaller goals to form achievable action steps, but be prepared to take action.

For every action, there is a reaction. All actions have consequences, either positive or negative. So avoid those shortcuts and start working towards worthwhile goals.

Have you ever been caught with that free food at the end of a fish hook? What are you looking out for to determine whether something is worth your while or not?

Share your experiences in the comments section. I look forward to hear from you.