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.

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How to Turn Your Failures into Successes

We constantly hear people complaining about what they are going through. Sometimes when I listen to some people, it almost sounds as if they are competing to see whose circumstances are the worst. Can it really be so exciting to have problems? Or did it become a status symbol to brag about the fact that your stress levels are higher than someone else’s?

I cannot help to come to these conclusions, because people will paint this “doom and gloom” picture about their lives, yet when you start pointing them towards the solution to their problem they go quiet. And next time when you meet with the same person, it’s the same story all over. My first question is….”What have you done in the mean time to change the situation?”

This reminds me of a story I’ve heard about a pastor. A member from his congregation came to visit him and started complaining about the testing time he’s going through. While this man was ranting on about what he was going through, the pastor’s response was…”praise the Lord for that”. The man stopped for a second in amazement…..and carried on again. A second time the pastor responded with “praise the Lord for that”.

The man was totally confused by the pastor’s response and asked what the pastor meant by responding in such a manner. He felt offended. He asked whether the pastor couldn’t understand what he was going through. This time the pastor responded with; “listen to what you are saying……you are going through it, you are not stuck in it. Praise the Lord for that”.

John L. Mason describes nugget #25 in his book An Enemy Called Average as “today is the day to decide to go through what you’ve been going through.”

Today Is the Day to Decide To Go Through What You Are Going Through

What are you focusing on? Are you focusing on the problem, or the solution?

John Mason says it well when he says “don’t accept your present, temporary situation as your future, permanent situation. Despite your present circumstances, make up your mind to get on with your life and fulfil your divine purpose and calling”.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”.

What are you speaking into your life? If you have constantly been talking about what you’ve been going through over the past years, it is time for you to change what you are saying. Yes, I’m not telling you to keep quiet; I’m saying you need to change what you are saying. In fact, that is not what I am saying, that is what the Bible is saying. In Mark 11:22-26 it says that you should speak unto the mountain……and you will have what you say. The “mountain” referred to in this scripture is referring to your situation – whatever it might be. We often refer to our problem as “laying like a mountain in front us”. Well……now you know what to do about it. Talk to that mountain….not just about it.

How to Put Power behind Your Words

By now you might be saying that you’ve tried this positive thinking stuff and repeating positive affirmations, and it just doesn’t work. You know what? I agree. Because it starts with what you believe. You can repeat positive affirmations all day long, if you don’t believe what you are saying, those are idle words. That is why the same verses in Mark 11 tell you that when you pray you need to believe. Another crucial part that is often missed is pointed out in verse 25 which says “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

So how do you get power behind your words?

Follow this process:

  1. Everything starts with a decision. You need to decide that you want to find out what God says about your situation.
  2. Then you need to decide that God’s word has final authority in your life. Yes, you have to make that decision (Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Deuteronomy 30:19). God will never force you.
  3. Thirdly you have to develop your faith. This is done by spending time in the Word of God on a daily basis (Romans 10:17). Read the Word of God and meditate on it (Joshua 1:8). “I’m to busy, I just don’t have time for that”, you might say. If you are facing difficulties and you are sick and tired of failing in life, I would say you don’t have time not to do this.
  4. Don’t hold any grudges; practice forgiving (Mark 11:25). You’ll be amazed how this step can reduce your stress levels, giving you peace and calmness to focus on taking positive action.

By doing this, you will gain knowledge about what God is saying about your situation and life in general. Seeing it (by reading), hearing it (by speaking), and then meditating on it (thinking about how to apply it in your life), it will get rooted in your heart (sub-conscious). This is where positive affirmations comes in (and work). It is when you actually believe what you say, because it is based on a firm foundation (the Word of God). When you now get confronted with a difficult situation, this knowledge automatically comes up in your mind and you start speaking and acting accordingly.

Now you can see which words have impact on your life. If you repeat your daily positive affirmations just because your life coach told you to, yet at the first opportunity you start complaining about your problem again, those positive affirmations become useless. Because what do you really believe? What matters is what comes out of your mouth spontaneously (Luke 6:45), because that is what you believe, and those words have the power to affect your life. What you focus your attention on, tend to manifest in your life. Even Job said…..” For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25 KJV).

The Bible is full of promises which can deliver you. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

If you have faith in God and you trust Him completely, giving Him final authority in your life, start appropriating those promises, speak them out loud, and you will begin to see your circumstances line up with the Word and will of God. It might not happen overnight, but eventually it will. We cannot manipulate God to become our “genie” though. He expects our involvement as well, and the first thing we need to do, is to believe, and then to develop our faith.

It’s not going To Happen like “Magic”

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t say we will never have to face any problems. It is a fact that the devil will come against us.  In John 10:10 it is written that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. But the same text continues to tell us that Jesus came that we “might have life, and have it more abundantly”. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have God’s grace which is enough to resist any attack from the devil, and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

The devil will always try to convince us that we are not going to make it. He will try to tempt us to just give up and quit. But in 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says “No temptation[c]has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”.

It is also very interesting to note that this scripture is often misquoted by saying that God will prevent anything from happening that we cannot handle. That is not what this scripture is saying. It says that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. We often have to face situations which are impossible for us to handle. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”.

Today Is the First Day of Your Future

Make a quality decision today by deciding to turn your life around. Start focusing on the solution instead of the problem. Stop walking around the mountain, talking about it. Speak to the mountain and move it out of your way with the authority that has been given to you. Start walking in victory.

I know I have a mountain I’m speaking to. It might not be removed overnight, but I will keep working at it until I see the manifestation of God’s promises.

Do you have a mountain that needs to move? What are you doing about it? Are you telling everybody about it, or are you speaking to it? I look forward to hearing from you.

How to Take Control of Your Life

One of the biggest problems we are facing in today’s society is the fact that people don’t want to take responsibility. Whatever goes wrong, it is always someone else’s fault.

Parents get blamed for all kinds of addictions. When people have problems with alcohol addiction, it is “because my dad was a heavy drinker, that’s just how I grew up”. Battling with violence, it is because they grew up in a violent home, or the neighbourhood was to blame.

When turning to crime, it is because of the bad economy, and they just can’t afford to make an honest living. I’ve even heard the devil getting credit for this when people say things like…”I don’t know why I’ve done it, the devil made me do it”.

I think they are giving the devil more credit than he deserves. The devil can’t force you to do anything, unless you are willing to do it.

This brings me to nugget #18 from John L. Mason’s book, An Enemy Called Average. The nugget as he gives it to us is: Found_855293808_2036549“The best helping hand you will ever find is at the end of your own arm”.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions

If you grew up in a bad neighbourhood or with violence in your home or with parents who had some addictions, it is still no excuse for not taking responsibility for your own actions. It should actually serve as additional motivation not to repeat their mistakes, or to make the world a better place for everybody to live in. The well-known John D. Rockefeller was a classical example of this. He didn’t exactly have an easy life as a child, with his father only being marginally employed and his mother struggling to keep them going, despite the lack of finances. Yet, he turned out to become the wealthiest man in the world.

In Deuteronomy 28, God sets before us all the blessings and curses. Then in Deuteronomy 30:19, we are given the responsibility to make our own choice.

Each one of us has a choice. There is not one single person in this world that has been created without the ability to make choices. Granted, we sometimes make the wrong choices, but that doesn’t mean we have to stick to them. Once you realise that you have made the wrong choice, take responsibility, change your course and make it right.

Nobody said that taking responsibility is going to be easy either. You most probably will get much resistance for making the right decisions. But pray about it and ask for wisdom and guidance from God (James 1:5). Once you have peace about your decision and you are convinced that you are on the right track, don’t back down, persevere and press on. Don’t give up at the first sign of failure.

Then, once your course has been set, keep on keeping on. Never lose momentum.

Success is not final, and failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Who or What Do You Put Your Trust In?

It is amazing how many people are desperately seeking for help from other people, while – between them and God – they have everything they need.

People tend to always look horizontally, and end up seeking help only from other people, such as business people, financial institutions, life coaches, motivational speakers, etc.

There is nothing wrong in itself with any of the abovementioned people or institutions. Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”. It is wise to seek knowledge from people who are well informed where it concerns the situations you need to make decisions about.

The danger is when you are not careful about:

  1. Who you approach.
  2. Putting your trust in these people instead of God.
  3. When you become willing to give up control of your vision in exchange for money or sometimes even companionship.

Proverbs 16:1-3 (NIV) says “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”, and Psalm 118:8 (NIV) says “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes”.

The Best Helping Hand You Will Ever Find Is At The End Of Your Own Arm.

So, it is wise to get the counsel of the appropriate people and to get constructive advice. But your trust should be in the Lord.

Dare to dream your own dreams, receive your own vision from the Lord. Then take the responsibility of taking control of your own vision. You will need to apply faith (and lots of it), but when your priorities are straightened out, you will succeed.

We all have been blessed with the ability to choose. So you choose. Do not allow someone else to choose for you. Then put your hand to it, and do what you need to do. If you want to take control of your life, accept responsibility for your actions.

How do you overcome obstacles in your life? How do you cope with the challenges coming your way? I would love to hear from you.

One Factor That Can Affect Your Peace of Mind

My previous blog post was about “How to Get Peace of Mind”. Fridays have become my “discussing the nugget’s” day, but it so happened that the nugget up for discussion today is a perfect fit to further discuss my previous topic. It leads me into the discussion today about “being busy” versus “having peace of mind”. Or is it plainly being in “the rat race” versus “having peace of mind”? Whatever you want to call it, today’s nugget from John Mason’s book An Enemy Called Average (Updated and Expanded), is plainly “versus”. Was that co-incidence? I don’t know. I’m not really a big believer in co-incidence. I tend to believe everything happens for a reason.

Decisions

We are all confronted with options every day, and we need to make decisions on a daily basis. We have to choose the one or the other. We cannot do everything and we cannot choose more than one option at a time.

As already mentioned, the nugget for discussion today from the book An Enemy Called Average (Updated and Expanded), is “versus”. John Mason goes on to give various examples of one choice versus another, but I would like to take only a few of these choices today and show how indecision can rob you from having peace of mind.

Indecisiveness cannot bring any harmony into your life. It can only bring doubt, fear, regret or chaos. The choice here is between indifference versus decisiveness. Coming to a final decision, can bring finality and enables you to carry on with life.

Choosing between being bitter versus being better sounds like an easy choice to make. Yet, if that was such an easy choice, why are conditions such as stress and depression taking its toll on society today? Suffering from bitterness is destroying people all over the world today. Many people get caught up in the rat race today, in an attempt to escape their feelings of bitterness, to stop them from thinking. If that is you, when are you going to stop? When you collapse due to a nervous breakdown? Healing is a decision away. I can hear your thoughts…”you don’t know what has happened to me”, or “you don’t know what this or that person has done to me”. Yes perhaps you are right. I don’t know what has happened to you. But I do know what has happened to me and my family. I do know, that when these things happen, we have to deal with it, make peace with it (forgive and forget), and move on. If you don’t, it will eat you up alive. Nobody said it is going to be easy, but if you want peace of mind, you have to. Get counselling or do whatever it takes, but make that decision and do it.

Deciding between how much we do versus how much we get done, is another critical decision that can steal you peace of mind. Do you have an endless to do list? Every day you tackle that list and see how much you can do. At the end of the day you are exhausted, but looking back you cannot show what you have done. Many people feel “successful” when they are busy. The question is, you might be busy, but how productive are you? If you want to get peace of mind, get productive instead of busy. This can be done by proper planning, time management and using a calendar.

Choice versus chance is another challenge. You would often hear people talking about successful people who “just were at the right place at the right time”, or referring to them as being lucky. I’m sorry to pop that bubble. It’s got nothing to do with luck. And what about being at the right place at the right time? Hey, they made the decision to be there, and they were there, weren’t they. Talking to any really successful person, you will find that they are working in order to be successful. Yes, work is not a swear word. When I’m talking about getting peace of mind, I’m not indicating that you will never have to work. But by proper planning and becoming productive, you can avoid the “busyness”. By simplifying your life, you can eliminate much of the “busyness”, and get more done by doing less (meaning less activities), leaving you with quality time for family and relaxation. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by other people’s opinions of how busy you are. You know what actions you need to take to get certain results, just do them.

Too many people (and I am sorry to say, but often our own Christian people) has the attitude of “whatever must be will be”. Yes, we do not have any control about what can happen tomorrow, but we do have control over what actions we take today.

It’s Your Choice

We all have the same amount of hours in a day. We all have to make choices. What effect does it have in your life? Are you in the “driver’s seat”, or are you being “driven”?

How to Get Peace of Mind

In today’s modern lifestyle, it is considered one of the most natural things to be stressed and always rushing around. Many canoe_01claim to even get a “kick” out of it. “I feel productive when I’m always busy, rushing around and working under pressure”, they say.

Statistics Tell A Different Story.

I sometimes get the impression that the busier people appear to be, and the more stress they take, the more successful they feel. It’s almost like the “latest trend”. We need to be stressed to be “in”. Everybody wants to be busier than the next person, and everybody must take note and see how busy they are.

I am sorry to say this, but many employers welcome this trend. They are all to eager to increase the workload, and the more you are willing to do, the more eager they get to add some more.

And this is all for the sake of “success”. Is this really true success? Can money alone really buy your health and happiness?

Statistics tell a different story. Lately we cannot imagine the workplace without stress. In Great Britain, “work-related stress depression and anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work”. In the U.S., anxiety disorders are said to be the most common mental illness, affecting 40 million adults age 18 years and older. Why on earth would we want to use that as a status symbol?

The funny part is the fact that being “busy” doesn’t always mean that you are being productive. You might just be “spinning your wheels” so to speak, looking important while ruining your health. That may sound a bit harsh, but those are the facts.

Calm Down If You Don’t Want To Pay the Price

“So how on earth do I calm down in this rat race?” you may ask.

It all starts with your thinking. Here are a few points to ponder:

  • Stop being overly concerned about other people’s opinions. People are going to make remarks about you, whether you like that or not. You will never be able to please everybody and not everybody is going to like you – make peace with that. When they start making those remarks, you can choose to start meditating on what they say, feel embarrassed and just get depressed. The irony of this is that the same person who has made the remark, has already forgotten what you have done (and what he /she has said) and he is carrying on with life as normal while you are still beating yourself up.
  • When you really did mess up, take stock of what you have done. Learn from it, and don’t do it again. See what you can do to make things right. If you have offended someone, be the bigger person and apologize. Once you have done everything that is within your power, put it behind you and get on with your life.
  • Plan your life. I think going through the day in chaos must be one of the most stressful things you can experience, not knowing where to start and what to do next.
  • Stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself. Negative thoughts lead to you speaking negative words. Your sub-conscious mind cannot differentiate positive from negative and believes whatever it hears. That is why you eventually start believing negative things about yourself and you start acting accordingly, thus getting negative results.

Achieve Calmness and Sanity – You Would Love Yourself for It

In the book The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You, John Ortberg describes a simple but powerful way that you can use to monitor your mind. It is called the experience sampling method. Program a watch or iPhone to beep at random intervals through the day. When it does, write down (or make a mental note) where you were, what you were doing and what you were thinking.

Let’s say you want to be more connected to God and experience peace. Then, when you make these notes, monitor your thoughts on a scale from 1-5 like this.

VERY GOOD NOT AT ALL
PEACE 5 4 3 2 1
CONNECTED TO GOD 5 4 3 2 1

Do this for a week, and look for those activities and people that had the best influence on your thoughts. Start focusing on spending more time with these people and activities. Also take note of what activities prevented you from achieving your desired mindset. Find ways how you can avoid it or change it.

Another simple experiment you can do to prove that you cannot think negative thoughts while thinking positive thoughts, is the following. Ask someone to silently count to ten. Then interrupt them by asking them to say their name out loud. Note that as the person says his name, he has to stop counting. That proves that you can only focus on one thought at a time. You cannot think negative thoughts while focusing on positive thoughts.

Do You Still Want To Rush Around, or Does Some Peace Sound Like A Good Idea?

So calm down and improve the quality of your life. You have nothing to lose, but much to gain.

What do you do to remain calm and enjoy some peace of mind?