The Power of Retreating

We often under-estimate the power of silence. Silence is often even used as a strategy in marketing. When the sales person has done his pitch, he would often just keep silent on purpose. Maybe he’ll ask a question, but after that…….silence.

Without being rude or ‘pushy’, he is actually putting the prospect under pressure. The silence becomes uncomfortable, and the potential customer would rather break the silence, often with a positive response (if the sales person knows what he is doing).

We also refer to the ‘silence before the storm’. During times of war, there would often be a time of such silence that it’s actually scary, and then….the next moment….it’s all chaos.

‘Recharge’ Yourself.take-a-brake-1573434-639x426

That brings us to nugget #40 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average. It says “retreat to advance”.

Yes, there is another side to silence as well. We often get so caught up in the ‘rat race’ and we don’t allow ourselves enough time for rest and recovery. We think we are on the go and while we have the momentum we should just keep going.

But often we can do better by taking a break. When writing, I would hardly ever publish an article immediately after I’ve written it. Sometimes you work against deadlines and you don’t have an option, but as a rule, I don’t do it. It’s amazing how many changes I would make to an article after leaving it for a day. Yet, when I completed it the day before, it seemed to be in order.

When you need to be focused, silence can be powerful. You might be working on an important project and you need the silence to concentrate.

Taking time to retreat will be the best decision you have made in a long time. By taking a week to just isolate yourself from all the ‘busyness’ around you, you might even be able to finish that project faster as you remove all the distractions around you.

Retreat and Be Victorioushuts-in-jungle-1-1217350-639x636

While you find yourself surrounded with activity, it will often take courage and will power to step away and take some time to retreat. Being ‘busy’, gives you the feeling of being productive, but it is not always the case.

All the activity and noises also often prevents us from hearing from God.

Build up that courage and take some time to retreat. Just allow yourself some space – some quiet time. Retreat and be victorious.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to What You Say

We are quick to complain about the chaos the world is in. Everybody is talking about the corruption, the fact that you can trust nobody anymore, the crime, the violence, the lying, the cheating and how rude people are.

We blame politicians and corrupt businessmen, and we even go to the extent to ask why God allows all this. But have you ever paid Don't Say That jar, collecting coins for bad wordsattention to your words? Yes, the words you speak every day have a far greater effect than what you might realize.

Nugget #37 in John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average is about “ten truisms that aren’t true”. A few weeks ago I’ve discussed 20 attributes of a leader and I repeated them as they are in his book. I mentioned that there is not much to discuss about facts, as they are what they are.

Today I want to stay with the norm which I have followed from the beginning of this series though. John Mason is highlighting ten specific truisms, but you will have to read about those in his book.

As I have done every week so far, I will refer to his nugget, but then do a discussion which is completely my own opinion. So for today’s discussion I will choose other sayings and focus on those. These are things we tend to say before we think about what we are saying.

Words Have Power.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. Yet, we still don’t pay attention to what we say.

What I fail to understand (and I hear this often) is when people say “I love working with John. We can have a huge argument about work and I can even swear at him, but it’s only business. An hour later we can have coffee together and there are no hard feelings”.

What am I missing here? What you are saying is that you can treat me like a piece of dirt the one moment, and the very next moment I must be your buddy. That’s like expecting of me to have some kind of ‘switch’ somewhere that I just flip over depending on your mood or opinion. When you want to be rude to me, I must just accept it and when you want to be buddies again the next moment; I should be grateful and smile.

Forgive me, but I fail to understand the logic in that reasoning. I do not say that we should always agree about everything. But then we can have a civilized conversation, showing mutual respect until we can come to some form of an agreement. There is no need to insult one another. As an example; how could you tell someone to his face that he is plain stupid and that he doesn’t know what he is doing; and an hour later you want to have a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee and expect that same person to act as though he thinks you respect his intelligence?

And then we wonder why so many people battle today with low self-esteem. Why do people battle with an identity crisis? At the same time people can’t understand why no-one takes them seriously. Yet, they would tell someone they don’t want anything to do with them, but tomorrow morning they sit down and have coffee together as if nothing has happened.

According to Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 we shouldn’t need to make promises or oaths to convince somebody when we say something. What we say should be so trustworthy that we simply need to say “yes” or “no”.

The study notes in the Life Application Bible (KJV) for James 5:12 say the following: “A person with a reputation for exaggeration or lying often can’t get anyone to believe him on his word alone. Christians should never become like that. Always be honest so that others will believe your simple yes or no. By avoiding lies, half-truths and omissions of the truth, you will become known as a trustworthy person.

This does not mean that you need to become a “sour grape” and you are never allowed to joke with someone. But when you are known for your “yes” meaning “yes” and your “no” meaning “no”, people will take you serious when you say something. That also means that when you have a difference of opinion with someone else about some business or work matter, you are not going to say something without thinking. You do not have to get involved in a screaming session or an argument. You can voice your opinion, and that settles it. Both parties can still respect one another for their opinions, and that cup of coffee afterwards can be enjoyed by both parties.

Six Examples of What We Say Without Thinking:

  1. “If it was me I would have punched him” or sometimes people really get into it and it becomes “If I was there I would have shot him” or “If that happens to me I’ll shoot him”.
    • No you wouldn’t. Firstly, you weren’t there, how can you say for a fact what you would have done?
    • Secondly, nine times out ten, people who are quick to make these kind of statements, respond totally to the opposite when they do find themselves in that situation.
    • Thirdly, it’s not as simple as just drawing a firearm and shooting someone. Have you ever thought about the consequences? Do you even know what it feels like to point a firearm at someone?
  2. “Everything in life comes at a price”.
    • No, if you work hard and you achieve success, that work was an investment. I wouldn’t exactly call that a price. (Unless you didn’t maintain the balance and you lost your family in the process. That is paying a price.)
  3. “It’s either win or lose”.
    • I have recently heard a nice one to replace that statement with: “It’s either win or learn”.
  4. We often hear parents calling their children stupid. “Why did you do that, are your stupid?”……Or they take some task away from the child while making the comment “I’ll rather do it myself, you’ll never be able to do it”.
    • These remarks are causing so much damage. That child eventually starts believing that he / she is useless and can’t do anything right.
  5. “That will never work”.
    • You can only say that once you have stopped trying.
  6. “This is just my luck”, or “I always have bad luck”, or “with my luck I’ll always end up with a problem which can’t be solved”.
    • That’s because you have decided before-hand that you cannot solve the problem. Your mind responds to what you are saying continually, so you start believing what you are saying. By this time, it doesn’t matter what problem ends up on your desk, it will look difficult to you, because that is what you expect. You’ve already made up your mind about how bad it’s going to be. It’s got nothing to do with ‘luck’. Once again, it’s not about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.

There are many more of these, but maybe it’s time to start paying more attention to what we say.

Earlier this month there was a discussion on the Believers Voice of Victory Broadcast between Kenneth Copeland and Keith Moore. The discussion was on the topic of how God can clearly be seen. But during this discussion Keith Moore also mentioned some great examples of how our words have an influence on our thinking. He also illustrates an excellent example of how it affects our children through the way we respond to them and what we say to them.

There is one other saying that we also often use, and while we might think it’s just an expression, this one holds more truth than what you may think. We would sometimes refer to someone by saying that person “is sharp with the tongue”, or “wow, she has a sharp tongue”. That is normally referring to someone who seems to be good at saying something hurtful (often sarcastically), and those words really penetrate and hurts deeply.

This alone should already be ample proof of the power of the tongue and of the effect of the words you speak.

Create By Speaking

Have you ever had the experience of being in a room where everybody is relaxed and just having a good time? Until one other individual enters the room. This person is really stressed out and angry. He starts barking out orders and is rude to everybody in the room. Have you ever experienced that? To the extent where you use the expression “the whole atmosphere in the room changed. The atmosphere got so thick and tense that you could feel it”.

For that same reason, why don’t we start creating a pleasant atmosphere wordswherever we go? Create an atmosphere that everybody wants to be in. We can do that by paying attention to what we say and how we say it.

What is your experience with words? Do you think before you speak, or do you sometimes find yourself thinking that you shouldn’t have said that? Are people taking you serious when you speak? Have you ever realized the effect that your words have on how you feel? Have you ever been hurt by someone else’s words?

Let’s talk about it in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Do You Have The Guts To Put God First?

put God FirstHave you ever been excited about something you want to do, but you never saw it through because you couldn’t handle the remarks from other people? Would you like to put God first in your life, but you get confused with all the different opinions you get from different people?

I’ve written a guest post on Empowerment Moments Blog about people who have the guts to put God first, no matter what other people say. It is about the fact that you don’t need to back-off and hide away.

Here is a short excerpt from the post:

I’ve decided to do some research on people (from ordinary people to preachers; from little-known to well-known) who have the guts to put God first, no matter what other people say, and to see where they are in life today…… You can read the full post here.

People Are Born Originals, But Most Die Copies

A common topic of discussion today is that of “peer pressure”. Especially among the youth of today we often hear about scary statistics about emotional problems, stress and even suicide. Yet, it all comes back to the choices we make. The groups we associate with, will to a large extent determine whether the peer pressure we experience is positive or negative.

This brings us to this week’s nugget #36 from An Enemy Called Average by John L. Mason. This week’s nugget saysfingerprint-1427210-639x883 “people are born originals, but most die copies”.

Don’t Compare Yourself.      

One of the biggest problems we face today is that of people with a low self-esteem. But where did it all start? How can we solve this problem? The place to start is; stop comparing yourself to other people.

A crucial point which I want to emphasize is to never compare yourself – and especially if you are a parent, never, never ever compare your child – to anybody else. That is often the starting point of developing a low self-esteem.

It might seem so harmless at the time. Stevie might not be doing so well in a certain project at school, and you say to him “Look how well Jimmy is doing in his project”. Eventually it might lead to “Can you imagine Jimmy coming home with these kinds of results?”

You might think you do it to motivate or encourage the child, but it has the exact opposite effect. It does more harm than good. Jimmy might have a natural talent for this particular project. Instead of being encouraged by Jimmy’s wonderful achievements, it becomes a burden and a threat to Stevie. His thoughts are going in the direction of… “I can never be that good…..Jimmy is the main man….I’m just a loser….a real nobody”.

We are not always equally strong in everything we do, but somewhere you’ll find something you are good at. If you were Stevie’s parent, instead of focusing on Jimmy’s strong point and pointing that out, why don’t you rather find Stevie’s strong point which might be in some other area, and point that out to him. If he does feel intimidated by Jimmy, explain to him that this is Jimmy’s strong area, but point out to him that he is the stronger one in some other area, but that he still needs to do his best in this particular area too due to whatever reason….eg. exams for school.

The same goes for us in adulthood. Maybe you grew up with this feeling of always being second best. Maybe you feel you are doing fine but you know you can do better. Whatever the reason for this attitude or feelings, whether you feel you grew up in the shadow of a brother or a sister, or if you were constantly compared to someone else, you do not have to accept that because it is not true.

I want to urge you to find your strong point/s, start believing in yourself and develop it. But don’t try to do it all alone. Accept the encouragement of people who would support you. That makes the journey so much easier and enjoyable.

We often hear that we should keep the company of successful people if we want to become successful ourselves. Find a successful person and use him or her as a role model, by imitating their actions to become successful.

That is true, and I strongly recommend you to follow that advice. But, remain yourself in the process.

You Are Not A Copy.

The whole idea is to first find what your natural interests are. What do you enjoy doing? What is of interest to you? If you have already been paying attention to this, you might already be good at it, but still want to improve and become even better.

Find someone who is an expert or a champion in what you do and use that person as a role model.

The secret is this; study his or her actions. If it involves business, what strategies are being used? How does he communicate with people? What methods are being used for planning and productivity?

If it is in some sports activity, what training programs is this person following? How does he or she execute certain moves?

It’s all about activities and how certain things get done and then for you to learn how to do the same to become better in what you do. It is not studying his or her personality and to become a second Donald Trump or Michael Schumacher.

Be the best you that you can be. Be the person God has made you to be. You are not a copy. You have a purpose. Find it and fulfill it.

The One Thing You Need To Do

Let’s think about some successful people for a moment and look at only one thing that contributed to their success. One thing that I think often gets overlooked because nobody ever thought it’s important. Yet, I think it’s of cardinal importance even if it came so natural for these people that they never even gave a conscious thought to it themselves.

What is that one thing? Besides their natural talent, the hard work and the dedication: They remained themselves. They never tried to be someone else.

Call it self-confidence or call it whatever you want, but that is what makes them stand out.

You won’t see Donald Trump trying to act like Bill Gates. Why should you do it?

The average person compares himself with others, but we as Christians should always compare ourselves with the person God has called us to be. – John L. Mason.

Keep The Right Company.

Once you know what you want to do and you have a good role model who you can follow to see how to do it (and preferably have someone like a coach for personal advice); you now need to keep the right company as well.

There is no sense for you to be as positive as can be, just to get de-motivated and run down by negative people, giving you a million and one reasons why you will fail and why you just need to accept it. That’s plain silly.

Someone once said “show me the company you keep and I’ll tell you where you’ll be in five years’ time.”

There Is Still Time

If you are still breathing, there is still time. Your job is not done. It’s up to you now.LABEL 5

Did you have some set-backs? Do you feel you that grew up in the shadow of someone else? Do you have the courage to come out now, and become the best you that you can be. Are you willing to become the best you that God created you to be?

What advice can you give to people who do have this problem?

I look forward to hearing from you?

20 Attributes of a Leader

The nugget for this week from John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average is based upon 20 facts about leadership. It uses the theme of an old Arab proverb:

  • An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by  sheep. – Old Arab Proverb

There is not much to discuss about facts, as they are what they are. Therefore I post them as they are in his book.

He starts by asking “what are the actions and attributes of a leader? What is it that makes him different from others?”

Then he continues by giving 20 attributes of a leader:

  1. A leader is always full of praiseIMG_2629
  2. A leader learns to use the phrases “thank you” and “please” on his way to the top.
  3. A leader is always growing.
  4. A leader is possessed with his dreams.
  5. A leader launches forth before success is certain
  6. A leader is not afraid of confrontation.
  7. A leader talks about his own mistakes before talking about someone else’s.
  8. A leader is a person of honesty and integrity.
  9. A leader has a good name.
  10. A leader makes others better.
  11. A leader is quick to praise and encourage the smallest amount of improvement.
  12. A leader is genuinely interested in others.
  13. A leader looks for opportunities to find someone doing something right.
  14. A leader takes others up with him.
  15. A leader responds to his own failures and acknowledges them before others have to discover and reveal them.
  16. A leader never allows murmuring – from himself or others.
  17. A leader is specific in what he expects.
  18. A leader holds accountable those who work with him.
  19. A leader does what is right rather than what is popular.
  20. A leader is a servant.

A leader is a lion, not a sheep.

Warning: If In Doubt; Don’t.

There is no doubt about the importance of today’s nugget as we get to nugget #33. The nugget for today from John L. Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average is: “If in doubt; don’t”. I’ve heard another version of this as well….”When in doubt; stay out”. But in essence I believe it says the same thing. The fact is that doubt and uncertainty is something we have to deal with on a daily basis.

If In Doubt; Don’t.

Whether it is a tempting business deal where huge promises are being made to you, or whether it is a decision which involves some moral issues for you: if in doubt; don’t.

In his book An Enemy Called Average John Mason refers to the following fable:

One day a hunter came across a bear in the woods. The bear said to the hunter, “I want a full stomach.”

The hunter responded, “I want a fur coat.”

“Let’s compromise,” the bear suggested – and promptly ate the man. As a result they both got what they wanted. The bear went away with a full stomach and the man went away rapped in fur.

Yet, the hunter learned the lesson of compromise: when having to choose between the lesser of two evils, choose neither.

We are faced with making choices every single day. Many people have the attitude of “whatever will be, will be”, thinking that we don’t really have any say in the outcome. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This way of thinking is derived from the fact that we should pray according to the will of God. But that does not exempt us from any responsibility. That doesn’t mean that we should say (or even pray) what we would like to happen, and then just helplessly sit back and see what is going to happen. We shouldn’t pray, and then wait to see what the will of God is. We should not only be praying according to – or in line with – the will of God; we should be praying the will of God. This is where it is often missed when people say “but I don’t know what the will of God is in any given situation”. Yes, you do know what the will of God is. It is written in the Bible.

Choose Excellence.

In Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) He clearly says “19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that INever settle for mediocrity;go for excellence have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.

God’s will for us is to have life, so that we and our children may live. Jesus came (and paid the price), that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). But the responsibility is ours to make the choice.

In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us how to pray by teaching what we know today as the Lord’s Prayer. In verses 9-10 (NIV) it says ““This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven”.

There you have it; God wants His will to be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.

On more than one occasion in Matthew it is stated that the Kingdom of Heaven has come near:

  • Matthew 3:2 ….. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
  • Matthew 4:17 “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
  • Matthew 10:7 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
  • Matthew 13:47 [The Parable of the Net] “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish”.
  • Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

If you want to know what the will of God is; look it up in the Bible. If you want to know what the will of God is concerning you; look it up in the Bible. Romans 10:4-13 NIV says “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”[a] But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b] (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

If Romans 10:4-13 is applicable to you, all promises in the Bible are applicable to you, and when you pray by faith according to the will of God, whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).

God is the Creator of all things. He is the King of kings. Everything about God speaks of excellence. So when you choose, never compromise. Go for excellence. God’s call is never a call to mediocrity; God’s call is always a call to excellence.

Today is The First Day of Your Future.

It is time to leave the past behind. Nothing that is in the past can be made undone. But today is the first day of your future. The choices you make today will have an impact on your future.

If you have made wise choices in the past and you are enjoying its fruit today, well done. Why don’t you share with us? But if that is not you, it’s not too late; what choices are you going to make today? Tell me about the choices you are committing too today.

I look forward to hear from you.

Progress Update

On September 18, 2015 I’ve made an announcement here on the Victory Lifestyle blog that the weekly publishing of the nugget discussions will move to Mondays for at least three weeks. For the time being I’ve decided to continue publishing the discussions of these nuggets on Mondays.

Your Mind Renewed launched on schedule on 12 October 2015, which is great news for those of us who want to apply biblicalrenewing of your mind principles in a practical way, to our daily lives.

Join Me on This Journey.

Head over there to subscribe, comment and join me in the journey. It’s all about the renewing of your mind.

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