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The season of

positive change
Afolabi Joshua
A positive person anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes he
or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty. Positive thinking is not
accepted by everyone. Some, consider it as nonsense, and scoff at people
who follow it, but there is a growing number of people, who accept positive
thinking as a fact, and believe in its effectiveness. It seems that this subject
is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses
about it. To use it in your life, you need more than just to be aware of its
existence. You need to adopt the attitude of positive thinking in everything
you do.

Contents
DEDICATION.......................................................................................................................................4
Introduction.......................................................................................................................................5
Chapter 1 ...........................................................................................................................................7
Attitude .............................................................................................................................................7
Chapter 2 .........................................................................................................................................18
The power of positive thinking ..........................................................................................................18
Chapter 3 .........................................................................................................................................49
Cultivate Good Character ..................................................................................................................49
Chapter 4 .........................................................................................................................................53
Cultivate positive mindset.................................................................................................................53
....................................................................................................................................................53
Chapter 5 .........................................................................................................................................57
Cultivate habit of giving ....................................................................................................................57
Chapter 6 .........................................................................................................................................82
Humility ...........................................................................................................................................82
Bible Verses about Humility...........................................................................................................87
Chapter 7 .........................................................................................................................................92
Faith, prayer and action ....................................................................................................................92
Faith ............................................................................................................................................92
Prayer ..........................................................................................................................................93
Action ..........................................................................................................................................95
Bringing It All Together ............................................................................................................95
Chapter 8 .........................................................................................................................................96
Total obedience................................................................................................................................96
Obedience The Key to Knowing God's Will ...................................................................................99
Obedience of Paul ................................................................................................................... 100

Life Application ...................................................................................................................... 101

Obedience of Anannias ............................................................................................................ 101

An Example of Insincere Obedience ......................................................................................... 102


Importance of our Christian Testimony ..................................................................................... 103
Attitude in Giving and Prayer................................................................................................... 103
Life Application ...................................................................................................................... 103
Chapter 9 ....................................................................................................................................... 105
Know God personally ...................................................................................................................... 105
Principle 1: ............................................................................................................................. 105
God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life................................................................. 105
Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because................................. 105
Principle 2: ............................................................................................................................. 105
All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God....................................................................... 105
The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf... ............................................................ 106
Principle 3: ............................................................................................................................. 106
Jesus Christ is God's only provision for our sin. Through Him we can know and experience God's love
and plan for our life. ................................................................................................................... 106
It is not enough just to know these three principles..................................................................... 107
Principle 4: ............................................................................................................................. 107
We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's
love and plan for our lives. .......................................................................................................... 107
The following explains how you can receive Christ: ....................................................................... 108
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer ........................................................... 108
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?........................................................................ 108
Yes, I just asked Jesus into my life ................................................................................................ 108
I may want to ask Jesus into my life, but I have a question I would like answered first .................... 108
Chapter 10 ..................................................................................................................................... 110
Find time for God ........................................................................................................................... 110
Matthew 6:33 .......................................................................................................................... 111
Colossians 3:17 ....................................................................................................................... 111
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ............................................................................................................... 111
Hosea 10:12 ............................................................................................................................ 111

Matthew 22:1-14 ..................................................................................................................... 112

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 .................................................................................................................. 111

2 Timothy 2:15........................................................................................................................ 112


2 Timothy 3:16........................................................................................................................ 112
Proverbs 1:20-33 ..................................................................................................................... 112
Psalm 62:5 .............................................................................................................................. 112
Colossians 4:5 ......................................................................................................................... 112
Philippians 4:13 ...................................................................................................................... 112
Deuteronomy 6:4-9.................................................................................................................. 112
Psalm 46:10 ............................................................................................................................ 113
Job 23:12 ................................................................................................................................ 113
Psalm 90:4 .............................................................................................................................. 113
James 1:19 .............................................................................................................................. 113
John 3:16-17 ........................................................................................................................... 113
Psalm 119:11 .......................................................................................................................... 113
Psalm 119:1-176 ..................................................................................................................... 113
Psalm 42:1 .............................................................................................................................. 113
Chapter 11 ..................................................................................................................................... 114
Learn how to appreciate God .......................................................................................................... 114
Chapter 12 ..................................................................................................................................... 116
See beyond others.......................................................................................................................... 116
Chapter 13 ..................................................................................................................................... 121
Be Diligent and Proficient................................................................................................................ 121
Chapter 14 ..................................................................................................................................... 123

Be what God wants to be ................................................................................................................ 126

DEDICATION
This book is dedicated to God Almighty who gave me the privileged and revelation of this book,

and also to all Christian Faithful, who still stand in the Faith as received from the beginning.

Introduction

There are mistakes people often make today in Christendom when they pray but do not get
answer to their prayers. They are swift in heaping blames on either God or their supposed
enemies. They make references to either what they have read in the bible, or what prophecy has
said in the time past concerning their lives. They claim Abrahamic blessings and they are not
ready do the work that Abraham did, neither are they ready to practice the faith Abraham
practiced.
Many fail to realize that there is a pace of man in Gods destiny; meaning that man has roles to
play before Gods destiny for ones life can be fulfilled. The absence of this knowledge has
brought about stagnancy into the lives of many Christians today. God is not a man who will
renege on what he has said concerning his people, but he wants people to have some
responsibilities they will carry out to fast track his purposes concerning our lives. The scripture
records that the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him. Yes it is only in his words; in
prayer and intimacy with him one can get his secrets. And this of course must couple with our
faith, so that studying in his word, and praying to him will not be an exercise in futility.
It takes a personal revelation to have a positive change in life. Prophet Micah was able to say
affirmatively that no one should rejoice over him, because when he fell, he would rise again, and
even if he sat in darkness, the Lord will show light unto him, because he has seen the revelation
that it was a temporary problem. (Micah 7:8). Therefore, it is very important to see better things
in ones undertakings.
Why it is that people are no more enjoying what is meant for them today? Why are people
working like elephants and eating like ants? Does that mean that Gods hands are shortened to
help or his ears heavy to hear? The answer is no. something is amiss somewhere.
Consequent upon the forgoing, this book intends to unravel the mystery of life changing attitude
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and the way out of penury and stagnancy both spiritual and physical.

May the spirit of God open your spiritual understanding as you read this book meditatively.

AMEN!

Chapter 1
Attitude

What is attitude?
What is attitude exactly? The definition of attitude is elusive. Without opening a dictionary, it's
difficult to articulate what attitude is. Yet we all know that a person's attitude is important and
has a significant bearing on the level of success they can achieve in life.
What Is Attitude? The Definition of Attitude
The definition of attitude according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is:
"A mental position with regard to a fact or state; a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state."
Another way to think of attitude is a mental habit that filters how you perceive the world around
you and also the actions and behaviors you take in response. Or
A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object,
person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual's choice of action, and responses to
challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli).
Four major components of attitude are (1) Affective: emotions or feelings. (2) Cognitive: belief
or opinions held consciously. (3) Conative: inclination for action. (4) Evaluative: positive or
negative response to stimuli.
An attitude is "a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies
towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols".
"..A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree
of favor or disfavor".
Structure of Attitudes
Attitudes structure can be described in terms of three components.
Affective component: this involves a persons feelings / emotions about the attitude object. For
example: I am scared of spiders.
Behavioral (or conative) component: the way the attitude we have influences how we act or

behave. For example: I will avoid spiders and scream if I see one.

Cognitive component: this involves a persons belief / knowledge about an attitude object. For
example: I believe spiders are dangerous.

This model is known as the ABC model of attitudes.


One of the underlying assumptions about the link betwee n attitudes and behavior is that of
consistency. This means that we often or usually expect the behavior of a person to be consistent
with the attitudes that they hold. This is called the principle of consistency.
The principle of consistency reflects the idea that people are rational and attempt to behave
rationally at all times and that a persons behavior should be consistent with their attitude(s).
Whilst this principle may be a sound one, it is clear that people do not always follow it,
sometimes behaving in seemingly quite illogical ways; for example, smoking cigarettes and
knowing that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease.
There is evidence that the cognitive and affective components of behavior do not always match
with behavior.
Attitude Strength

The strength with which an attitude is held is often a good predictor of behavior. The stronger the
attitude the more likely it should affect behavior. Attitude strength involves:
Importance / personal relevance refers to how significant the attitude is for the person and
relates to self- interest, social identification and value. If an attitude has high self- interest for a
person (i.e. it is held by a group the person is a member of or would like to be a member o f, and
is related to a person's values), it is going to be extremely important.
As a consequence, the attitude will have a very strong influence upon a person's behavior. By
contrast, an attitude will not be important to a person if it does not relate in some way to their
life.
The knowledge aspect of attitude strength covers how much a person knows about the attitude
object. People are generally more knowledgeable about topics that interest them and are likely to
hold strong attitudes (positive or negative) as a consequence.
Attitudes based on direct experience are more strongly held and influence behavior more than
attitudes formed indirectly (for example, through hear-say, reading or watching television).

The Function of Attitudes

Attitudes can serve functions for the individual. Daniel Katz (1960) outlines four functional
areas:
Knowledge. Attitudes provide meaning (knowledge) for life. The knowledge function refers to
our need for a world which is consistent and relatively stable. This allows us to predict what is
likely to happen, and so gives us a sense of control. Attitudes can help us organize and structure
our experience. Knowing a persons attitude helps us predict their behavior. For example,
knowing that a person is religious we can predict they will go to Church.
Self / Ego-expressive. The attitudes we express (1) help communicate who we are and (2)
may make us feel good because we have asserted our identity. Self-expression of attitudes can
be non-verbal too: think bumper sticker, cap, or T-shirt slogan. Therefore, our attitudes are part
of our identify, and help us to be aware through expression of our feelings, beliefs and values.
Adaptive. If a person holds and/or expresses socially acceptable attitudes, other people will
reward them with approval and social acceptance. For example, when people flatter their bosses
or instructors (and believe it) or keep silent if they think an attitude is unpopular. Again,
expression can be nonverbal [think politician k issing baby]. Attitudes then, are to do with being
apart of a social group and the adaptive functions helps us fit in with a social group. People seek
out others who share their attitudes, and develop similar attitudes to those they like.
The ego-defensive function refers to holding attitudes that protect our self-esteem or that
justify actions that make us feel guilty. For example, one way children might defend themselves
against the feelings of humiliation they have experienced in P.E. lessons is to adopt a strongly
negative attitude to all sport.
People whose pride has suffered following a defeat in sport might similarly adopt a defensive
attitude: Im not bothered, Im sick of rugby anyway. This function has psychiatric
overtones. Positive attitudes towards ourselves, for example, have a protective function (i.e. an
ego-defensive role) in helping us reserve our self- image.
The basic idea behind the functional approach is that attitudes help a person to mediate between
their own inner needs (expression, defense) and the outside world (adaptive and knowledge).
Functions of Attitudes Example

Imagine you are very patriotic about being British. This might cause you to have an ethnocentric

friends. You say:

attitude towards everything not British. Imagine further that you are with a group of like- minded

Of course theres no other country as good as Britain to live in. Other places are alright in their
own way but they cant compare with your mother county.
(There are nods of approval all round. You are fitting in - adaptive). The people in the group are
wearing England football shirts (This is the self-expression function).
Then imagine you go on to say:
The trouble with foreigners is that they dont speak English. I went to France last year and they
were ignorant. Even if they could speak our language they wouldnt do so. I call that unfriendly.
(Others agree with you and tell you of their similar experiences. You are making sense of things.
This is the knowledge function). Then someone who has never travelled takes things a stage
further
I dont mind foreigners coming here on holidaybut they shouldnt be allowed to live
here.taking our jobs and living off social security. Britain for the British is what I say.why is
it getting so you cant get a decent job in your own country.
(Now the others in the room join in scapegoating foreigners and demonstrating the ego defensive
function of attitudes).

For Example... Let's contemplate the attitude of optimism. If you decide to have an optimistic
and positive attitude in life, you'll be inclined to practice positive self-talk. Your dominant
mental habits will include always seeing the glass half full, always giving people the benefit of
the doubt, and always feeling a sense of hope and trust that things will turn out okay.
This attitude of optimism and the corresponding mindset of positivity, compassion, hope and
trust would then drive you to take certain actions. You'd be more relaxed giving and sharing with
others, you'd take more risks because you'd feel a healthy level of confidence that things would
work out for the best, and you would give your all because you would see the opportunity in
everything.
Can you imagine what kind of circumstances would occur for someone with an optimistic
attitude? As if by magic, they would attract positive, generous people, work opportunities that
were engaging and relationships that were fulfilling.

What Is Attitude? Where Does It Come From?

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Attitudes are initially thoughts, whether conscious or not. If you think about an area in your life
where you experience success, try and find where that success started. It no doubt first required a
decision as to how you were going to act and behave in the world. For example, I changed
careers when I was 27. I remember on the first day feeling so overwhelmed, and so far behind
my peers. At that moment I made a decision I would be the best in my job in a year or so. And
that eventuated. Now looking back I can see that I used positive self-talk to create a winning
attitude that served me... an example of the power of positive thinking in action. That attitude to
win literally came from the thought that I wanted to be the best on the job and it influenced all of
my actions and behaviors at work. When there was extra to do, I gladly did it. And I always
made sure my jobs were completed with thoroughness. This was all to serve my "winner"
positive attitude.
What Is Attitude? A Good Attitude Is the Mother of Success
Your attitude determines how you'll be in a future situation, independent of the circumstances
that present themselves. If you have a "go-getter," positive attitude at work, then you've decided
before circumstances present themselves that yo u're going to come out on top. This powerfully
shapes how you encounter different situations. The locus of control is within you, not your
environment. You've predetermined the outcome even before the game has begun.
To know going into a situation how you're going to respond is powerful. And that explains why
so many writers emphasize the importance of attitude in obtaining success.
What Is Attitude? You Choose Your Attitude
Now that you have a clearer understanding of the definition of attitude, can you see how you
always have a choice in what attitude you practice? We all have attitudes in operation. They are
the filters that shape how we interpret and respond to people and circumstances. Attitudes are
habits, and since we become our habits it's important to choose them wisely.
You can't build anything without a solid foundation. The "A" is for Attitude - the foundation
sustaining all successful people. Attitude is the "advance man" of our true selves.

The roots spread inward and are anchored in past experiences, and the fruit branch outward
exposed for all to see. Attitude is both our best friend and our worst enemy. It is more honest and

more consistent than our words.

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It is a manner which draws people to us, or repels them. It is never content unless it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past, the speaker of our present, and the prophet of our future. Yet, who
controls our attitude?
Your attitude is 100% within your control! There are plenty of things in life that we have no
control over. For example, there is absolutely nothing we could do about how people react to us,
or our products and services. All we can do is control the manner in which we react. Yet, so
many people let the reactions of others determine their outlook for the day. Think about it; are
you as positive, upbeat and driven on a day full of rejection or criticism as you would be on a
highly successful day?

How do you react to failure? Do you walk away discouraged and complain about it or do you
take control, stay focused, accept a lesson learned, and go on with your life? Success is based on
good judgment and good judgment is founded on experience. The only way one can gain
experience is through failure. We have to fail often to succeed once. This, and the way you react,
is a reflection of attitude.

How you react, how you think, what you say to yourself or what you believe about yourself are
all within your control and are portrayed by your attitude. You must first realize that your
attitude is 100% within your control and then, learn to reflect, confirm and take hold of that
attitude.

You must improve the attitude you hold towards yourself. Learn to overcome fear and to deal
with rejection and failure in order to increase your productivity while saving time and money.

What is your attitude towards your organization, the team players and the products and services?
Do you have an owner's mentality? If so, what would you do differently? Why are you not doing
it?

You must address these issues and possess a strong belief before you can move forward.

Otherwise, the negativity is reflected in your attitude and is portrayed in your body language.

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If you don't believe in yourself and the organization that you represent including the team, the
products and the services; then, it is time to find something you do believe in.

It is impossible to engage others to believe in your product or service, if your attitude projects the
opposite. Are you ready to improve?

Maintaining a positive attitude


A positive attitude can help you cope more easily with lifes challenges. But thats not all. A
positive attitude can help with stress management and may even improve your health and
wellbeing. While maintaining a positive attitude may seem to come more easily to some people,
anyone can learn to develop one.

What You Can Do

Practice your gratefuls.


Focus on the positive by listing some of the things youre grateful for such as friends, family,
shelter, and food.
Do this every day, if you can.

Be kind.
If there is something you dont like about yourself, embrace the change you want in a spirit of
kindness and compassion. Being kind to yourself can be a difficult skill to develop, but it goes
hand in hand with having a positive attitude.

Notice your thoughts.


Take note of exactly what youre thinking in different situations. Once youve identified your
negative attitudes, pay attention to how often they pop into your head. Becoming aware will help
you to make positive changes. For example, you might try thinking of something youre grateful

for when you have a negative thought.

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Schedules worry time.


Set aside a few minutes a day to think about or list your worries. If you find yourself feeling
negative at other times, jot down the thought for the next days worry time.

Question negative thoughts.


Does being negative make you feel safe, like you dont have to risk anything? Do you hide from
success by believing that you dont deserve it? Do you wonder if youll jinx yourself by thinking
positive thoughts? Check in with your attitude and
see whether or not its helping you or preventing you from getting what you want.

Become your own biggest fan.


Do you tell yourself, Youll never be able to do that? How could you do well with someone
constantly telling you that you cant do it...even if that someone is you? Tell yourself, I can do
it, and I will.

Remembe r the big picture.


Let go of the unimportant details. Stay positive by forgiving people, and by letting go of
unimportant things like a stranger being rude.

Make time for doing what you enjoy.


Like puppies? Enjoy playing basketball? Take a stroll by the pet sto re or arrange to meet a friend
to shoot some hoops. Having fun can lower your stress level and make you feel more positive.
Dont expect imme diate success.
You cant change your whole attitude in an instant, but you can change. Give yourself room to
grow, and dont be too critical of yourself if you slip into a negative attitude. Have patience and

remind yourself to shift back into a positive gear.

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Be present.
Learning meditation or other mindfulness skills often help people to feel more present and
involved in their lives, and to enjoy the ride. Worrywhich is often future- focusedtakes us
out of the present and may lead to more negative perceptions.

Focus on changing one negative attitude at a time.


If you try to do a major system overhaul, you may feel overwhelmed. Taking
Small steps and targeting each negative attitude can go a long way towards being more positive.

Scripture Verses about a Positive Attitude


One of the most amazing things to me about God is the fact that He created us with free will to
choose to accept Him. Now I know the huge theological discussion that exists between
Calvinists and Armenians over that first sentence but please dont get distracted by that thought
but rather I want you to think about how God allows you and me to live and choose to follow
Him or reject Him. That thought really is endearing to me. The Creator God did not need you
and me or any of mankind to make Him complete or because He was lonely or anything like that
but chose to create us and allow us to live freely in our thoughts and mind. I think this
characteristic of God shows how blessed we are and directly should make our attitude towards
Him be positive and always wanting to please Him. This of course is not the case as even wellintentioned believers will be distracted and fall into sin but the Scriptures talk about our attitude
in both positive and negative ways and also show when we need a change in attitude, which will
often result in a change of course (also called repentance). Consider the following

God loves you the way you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way

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Psalms 45:7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has
anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will
be added to you.
Acts 2:44 and all who believed were together and had all things in common.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in
which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spiritjust as you were called to the one hope that
belongs to your call one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over
all and through all and in all.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if
there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in mepractice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
The Creator God did not need you and me or any of mankind to make Him complete or
because He was lonely or anything like that but chose to create us and allow us to live freely in
our thoughts and mind. I think this characteristic of God shows how blessed we are and
directly should make our attitude towards Him be positive and always wanting to please Him.
Scripture Verses about a Bad Attitude
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Ephesians 4:23 An to be renewed in the spirit of your minds
Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the
image of its creator.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Bible Quotes That Show a Needed Attitude Change

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to
judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, You fool!
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will be liable to the hell of fire.

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Luke 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not
enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.
Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter
into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the
Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the
discipline and instruction of the Lord.
1 Peter 4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of
thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous
under punishment until the Day of Judgment.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient
toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1 John 2:4 whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the
truth is not in him,
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
What is your attitude today? Are you bitter and carrying around anger or jealousy or even rage
towards another person? Sometimes we even carry around those feelings towards God. Friends,
adjust your attitude where God (through His Holy Spirit) is showing you it needs to change. God
loves you the way you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way.

Seek the Lord your God today!

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Chapter 2
The power of positive thinking

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life
and expects positive results.
A positive person anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes he or she can overcome
any obstacle and difficulty.
Positive thinking is not accepted by everyone. Some, consider it as nonsense, and scoff at people
who follow it, but there is a growing number of people, who accept positive thinking as a fact,
and believe in its effectiveness.
It seems that this subject is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and
courses about it.
To use it in your life, you need more than just to be aware of its existence. You need to adopt the
attitude of positive thinking in everything you do.
How Positive Thinking Works
The following story illustrates how this powe r works:
Allan applied for a new job, but he didn't believe he will get it, since his self-esteem was low,

and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success.

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He had a negative attitude toward himself, and therefore, believed that the other applicants were
better and more qualified than him.
Allan's mind was occupied with negative thoughts and fears concerning the job, for the whole
week preceding the job interview. He actually, anticipated failure.
On the day of the interview, he got up late, and to his horror he discovered that the shirt he
planned to wear was dirty, and the other one needed ironing. As it was already too late, he went
out wearing a wrinkled shirt and without eating breakfast.
During the interview, he was tense, negative, hungry and worried about his shirt. All this,
distracted his mind and made it difficult for him to focus on the interview. His overall behavior
made a bad impression, and consequently, he materialized his fear and did not get the job.
Jim applied for the same job too, but approached the matter in a different way. He was sure that
he was going to get the job. During the week preceding the interview, he often visualized himself
making a good impression and getting the job.
In the evening before the interview, he prepared the clothes he was going to wear, and went to
sleep a little earlier. On day of the interview, he woke up earlier than usual, and had ample time
to eat breakfast, and then to arrive to the interview before the scheduled time.
Jim made a good impression and got the job.
What do we learn from these two stories? Was there any magic used? No, everything happened
in a natural way.
Positive Thinking Is a Way of Life

With a positive attitude we experience pleasant and happy feelings. This brings brightness to
the eyes, more energy, and happiness. Our whole being broadcasts good will, happiness and
success. Even our health is affected in a beneficial way. We walk tall, our voice is more
powerful, and our body language shows the way we feel.
Positive and negative thinking are contagious.
We affect, and are affected by the people we meet, in one way or another. This happens
instinctively and on a subconscious level, through words, thoughts and feelings, and through
body language.
Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people, and prefer to avoid negative ones?

broadcasting negativity.

People are more disposed to help us, if we are positive, and they dislike and avoid anyone

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Negative thoughts, words and attitude, create negative and unhappy feelings, moods and
behavior. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more
unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.

Positive Thinking Practical Instructions

In order to turn the mind toward the positive, some inner work is required, since attitude
and thoughts do not change overnight.
1. Read about this subject, think about its benefits, and persuade yourself to try it. The
power of your thoughts is a mighty power that is always shaping your life. This shaping
is usually done subconsciously, but it is possible to make the process a conscious one.
Even if the idea seems strange, give it a try. You have nothing to lose, but only to gain.
2. Ignore what other people say or think about you, if they discover that you are changing
the way you think.
3. Use your imagination to visualize only favorable and beneficial situations.
4. Use positive words in your inner dialogues, or when talking with others.
5. Smile a little more, as this helps to think positively.
6. Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it, and endeavor to
replace it with a constructive one. If the negative thought returns, replace it again with a
positive one. It is as if there are two pictures in front of you, and you have to choose to
look at one of them, and disregard the other. Persistence will eventually teach your mind
to think positively, and to ignore negative thoughts.
7. In case you experience inner resistance and difficulties when replacing negative thoughts
with positive ones, do not give up, but keep looking only at the beneficial, good and
happy thoughts in your mind.
8. It doesn't matter what your circumstances are at the present moment. Think positively,
expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly.
If you persevere, you will transform the way your mind thinks. It might take some time
for the changes to take place, but eventually they will.
9. Another useful technique is the repetition of affirmations. This technique is similar to

creative visualization, and can be used together with it.

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The Magic of Positive Thinking


The Power of the Subconscious Mind
The magic of positive thinking is real. Adopting behaviors like positive self-talk and daily
positive affirmations can change the brain's structure and ultimately influence the subconscious
mind.
So how does the power of positive thinking work its magic in your mind? Together, the
conscious and subconscious minds direct the show that is your life. So altering their function will
lead to new and different ways of being. Let's begin with a few definitions:
The Subconscious Mind: It's worth noting that the "subconscious mind" I'm speaking of, is
what Freud called the "unconscious mind". There is no subconscious mind in psychoanalysis. It
is more of a new age, self-development term.
So when referring to the subconscious mind, I'm talking about that part of the mind that stores
feelings, perceptions, complexes, beliefs and desires that are all outside of our conscious
awareness yet have a powerful influence over the actions and behaviors we take in every
moment.
The unconscious mind is associated with the dreaming, reflecting, meditating and sleeping state.
It is intuitive, easily making associations and connections between thoughts, ideas and feelings.
It does your perceiving and feeling.
The Conscious Mind: The conscious mind is the antithesis of the subconscious mind. It does all
of your intellectual thinking.
It's the part of your mind responsible for your self-talk, the endless stream of mind chatter that
can on occasion almost send you crazy. The conscious mind likes logical order and sequential
information. It likes things to make sense, to have reason. At any one time, the conscious mind
can manage awareness of about seven or eight bits of information.
The Magic of Positive Thinking: The Powe r of Your Subconscious Mind
While we like to think we have conscious control over what we attract, what we do in life, and
how we behave, the truth is, the subconscious has most of the control. So when you aren't
attracting what you want in life, it's an indication that unconsciously you have low expectations
for yourself. Even if on a conscious level you make every effort to achieve something, unless
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your unconscious carries synergistic expectations, then it will be difficult to achieve.

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The Magic of Positive Thinking: Programming the Subconscious Mind


Information is received by the subconscious mind from the conscious mind. Your conscious
mind perceives the world through your senses. It then attaches a judgment to these thoughts that
creates a feeling. The feeling is then lodged into your unconscious mind as a belie f.
Since all of your unconscious beliefs were first conscious thoughts, it stands to reason that you
can change or reprogram your subconscious mind by actively adopting new thinking. This is
where the magic of positive thinking comes into play!
Using the Magic of Positive Thinking to Impact Your Life
Follow these steps to help with unleashing your mind's power using the power of your thoughts:
1. Become aware of your negative programming and beliefs . For example, perhaps
growing up you were teased (as so many kids are) about a facial feature or your sports
ability. And now, no matter what you do, you cannot see yourself as anything but ugly or
anything but a klutz. In each of these cases, the negative beliefs you want to reprogram
are "I am ugly" and "I am a klutz".
2. Activate the power of positive thinking: start feeding your conscious mind with new
beliefs. At this stage, it's not important that you agree with your new belief, what's
important is that it's motivating to you and you'd like to believe it to be true. So in each
case, the new beliefs you would want to instill in yourself are "I am truly beautiful, inside
and out" and "I am good at sports/I am comfortable in my body".
3. Continue feeding your mind stimulus that aligns with these statements. Meditation
(especially binaural brain beat meditations and hypnosis is like super vitamins at this.)
They help you achieve a relaxed state where its much easier to accept and integrate
positive self-talk. You can also incorporate positive daily affirmations and vis ualization
exercises to help make change more rapid. Overtime, as you keep feeding yourself new
positive stimulus the negative thoughts you've become so used to hearing will become
quieter. Through repeated exposure to your new beliefs, you will start to c hange your
perception of yourself in these areas. At first you'll notice the change in small things.

Perhaps you'll decide to take up a sport or if you're belief was that you are ugly, perhaps

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you'll notice that you suddenly feel more sexy and confident and you might start to dress
differently to reflect this.
The main point to remember is that you can practice the magic of positive thinking in your life
by controlling what thoughts you focus on. It's not an over claim to say that positive thinking is
one of the best self- help solutions available. It can do wonders for your life.
Positive Thinking Activities
Three Ways to Realize the Powe r of Your Thoughts

These positive thinking activities are a great way to prove to yourself the power of your
thoughts. You will quickly see that these exercises complement each other. The more of them
you do, the more positive you can expect to be.
Some of these positive thinking activities are designed to challenge your habitual thought
processes and help you become more aware of how your thinking influences your behavior.
Others are more about giving you daily exposure to inspiration so your cup of positivity is
always full.

Positive Thinking Activities - #1: The Principle of Be-Do-Have


Most of us follow an illogical path to fulfillment. We spend our lives chasing external things to
make us happy. We imagine that if we could just have more time, money or love, for example,
then we'd finally be able to do the things we want to do, like cook more, relax more, and work in
a profession we enjoy or even go back to school. In our mind's eye, we think about how we'll feel
doing these activities and we tell ourselves that this is when we'll finally be who we want to be whether that's happy, loving, successful or peaceful. The truth is, "havingness" doesn't lead to
"beingness." It's the other way around! We must be who we want to be before we can have the
material manifestations that accompany that state.
An Example: Let's take the case of someone who is lonely and wants to find their soul mate. In
their mind, they may be saying "if I could meet the person of my dreams (have), I would then
dress sexy and go out more (do) because I'd be so happy and fulfilled (be). The truth is (as many

of us have experienced), it's not until you decide you're happy in your current state (be) and start

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dressing sexy, even if it's just for yourself (do) that you finally, as if my magic land the lo ve of
your life (have.)
Exercise: Go straight to being who you want to be. Do this by first contemplating what you
would be like if you had what you so badly desire. Then be it now! Fake it till you make it. This
is the process of creation and will help you manifest your desires much more quickly.
Positive Thinking Activities - #2: Facts versus Stories
Much of human suffering comes down to our habits of misinterpretation. We make many
uninformed judgments in life. And unfortunately, these judgments are usually disempowering.
In this exercise, take an event from the past or the present that is troubling you. Write down all of
your thoughts about the event. What happened, what each actor did, why they did what they did.
Now put all the thoughts that are facts into one box and all the thoughts that are just your
interpretation or your POV in another box.
What you have now is the facts and the story separated. You should see from this exercise just
how few the facts are, and how much of life we invent through story.
The lesson here is simple: be careful what story you invent to surround the facts in life. Make
your stories empowering not disempowering and you'll experience the power of positive thinking
for yourself.
Positive Thinking Activities - #3: Watch Inspiring Movies
I'm constantly surprised how easy it is to form negative habits. It's very easy to get stuck on
repeat! And when you're stuck, the joy of daily life seems to disappear.
That is why I give myself big daily doses of spiritually uplifting material to stay inspired. I really
recommend developing daily practices that keep you in motion, heading in the direction of your
dreams. So if you desire to be positive and peaceful, make sure this is reflected in how you spend
your time. For example, how do you spend your leisure time now? It's wise to put time aside for
inspiration and make it part of your life. You could, for example, subscribe to the Spiritual
Cinema Circle to receive regular access to positive thinking films.
Learning the Steps of Positive Thinking
How to Think Positive

a very dark period. When I started using them, I didn't really believe they'd work. But when

These steps of positive thinking outlined below are the tools I used to help heal my mind during

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you're desperate like I was, you'll try anything! The good news is, the power of positive thinking
is real and these steps work!
Experience has taught me that learning how to think positive and practicing positive self- talk are
critical if you want to access the power of the subconscious mind to change your negative
programming.
Steps of Positive Thinking, Step 1: Observe Your Dominant Negative Thoughts
Society puts such a premium on being happy and positive that we become afraid of listening to
our negative thoughts and feeling our negative feelings. But running away from what you're truly
thinking and feeling isn't the pathway to salvation.
Just stop, take some deep breaths and observe what you're thinking and face your emotions.
Rather than being threatened by these thoughts, be curious. Use them as guideposts. Wher e are
they coming from? Are they the truth or have you made them up? Are they fears of the future or
regrets of the past? Getting familiar with what goes on inside your mind is a critical step to selfacceptance and peace.
Tip: Think of your negative emotions as clues that you're engaging in negative self- talk in some
areas of life. Taking some time every day to meditate on your mind will help you find this
negative conversation and change it. Meditation has many benefits. Practice it overtime and you
will transform your brain's structure and function and literally acquire a new mind! I have found
binaural meditation helped me stick to meditating even when it seemed impossible. Beginning a
practice can seem difficult. Just stick with it and you'll find it gets easier over time.
Steps Of Positive Thinking, Step 2: Get Real About The Power Of Your Thoughts
The thoughts you are having are what have made your life the way it is. Thinking about your
own life, in what aspects is it good? You will no doubt find that in the areas where life is good,
you have positive thoughts and beliefs. What are the thoughts you're having in relation to
negative areas in your life? Can you see that your thinking here perpetuates these negative
events?
You may be thinking to yourself that it's the other way around in your life: that in fact, it's the
events in your life that are causing you to think negatively. Consider that it is your thinking that's
flawed here. It is a common misconception to think that your circumstances cause your
unhappiness. Unfortunately, most people fall victim to this misconception which leaves them
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disempowered to make meaningful changes in their thinking and behavior.

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The truth is, most of your life isn't something that happens outside of your control. Your
thoughts create your experience which means the way your life occurs depends on what is
happening inside you. Hence the saying "happiness is an inside job.".
Steps Of Positive Thinking, Step 3: Decide Who You Want To Be
One of my favorite positive thinking quotes is an astute observation by Albert Einstein:
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Having dreams and goals are easy ways to ensure you keep moving in life. When you have
nothing to aim for, you often resist change. And resistance to change manifests as negative self
talk, a focus on past hurts and a fear of how the future will unfold.
Tip: To help break your negative thinking habit, create a personal development plan that will
inspire you to become all that you are capable of being. Now observe how you feel when you
think about achieving your goals and dreams? If you fill your mind with thoughts of how to
achieve your goals, you won't have room for negative thinking in your life.
Steps of Positive Thinking, Step 4: Create Positive Thinking Support Structures
Develop a set of empowering daily positive affirmations and practice positive visualization to
keep you motivated and focused on achieving your dreams and goals. Surround yourself with
inspiring imagery that inspires, like vision boards and positive pictures.
Tip: When negative thinking tries to sabotage your efforts to change, just relax, breathe and
acknowledge you are facing resistance. A great way I find to disempower negative emotions is to
view them as nothing more than bad weather - they don't have to be any more significant than
heavy clouds in the sky. And just like clouds, negative emotions pass. Observe them rather than
becoming them.
Steps of Positive Thinking, Step 5: Repeat Repeat Repeat
Immerse yourself in the fulfillment of your goals and dreams. Rely on your support structures
every single day to strengthen your positivity and enable you to keep on persisting.
Tip: Overtime, when you are working towards the fulfillment of dreams and goals, new
challenges arise. As these times, you may become vulnerable to negative thinking again. This is
when it's even more critical than ever to rely on your positive thinking support structures.
If you follow these steps of positive thinking diligently there is no chance that you won't
eventually know the power of positive thinking in your own life. Overtime, by repeating positive
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self-talk and positive actions that align with your goals and dreams you will develop new habits.

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This is how your thinking and behaving can be used to harness the power of the subconscious
mind.

The Effects of Positive Thinking


Positive Self Talk
There is plenty of research into the effects of positive thinking. Some studies have found the
power of positive thinking to be a hoax, others conclude its power is very real and that practicing
it can lead to one or many of the following benefits:
Improved Health and Wellbeing
Dr. Richard J. Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin,
found that the effects of positive thinking extend to the cells in your body. His research showed
optimists have higher levels of disease-fighting cell activity with less of a decline under stress.
Optimists also have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Overtime, these biological
consequences may lead to:
longer life
psychological well being
levels of productivity
Improved Chances Of Success
Positive thinking can also lead to an increased likelihood of success. If you're able to reframe
failures and see them merely as feedback and temporary setbacks, chances are you will
eventually get to where you want to go.
Science concurs on positive thinking power in relation to success. Psychologist Suzanne
Segerstrom, of the University of Kentucky, who has made a career of studying the psychology of
optimism has this to say about its effect on your life:
"When optimists encounter a setback or slowed pro gress, they are less likely than pessimists to
just give up. They might keep trying or even redouble their efforts... In the short term, when you
run into trouble, it is easier on your body to give up than to keep trying. However, giving up is
not a good answer if you ever want to achieve your goals, so it's probably healthier in the long

run to pay the short-term cost associated with staying engaged with your goals."

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Greater Levels of Fulfillment


In her book The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the
University of California-Riverside, says practicing various positive thinking activities will
improve your overall mood and level of fulfillment. These activities include cultivating gratitude
and savoring everyday positive moments and experiences (like your morning coffee or a
conversation with a good friend.) Initially, getting into the practice of repeating these actions to
make them behaviors takes work. But as they become habitual, they require less and less
conscious effort but lead to greater sustained happiness.
Better Interactions with Others
Who would you rather get to know, a pessimist or an optimist? People who practice positive selftalk tend to be future-focused (not stuck in the past), they are more likely to take risks and are
less deterred by fail or poor outcomes. Negative thinkers, on the other hand, are focused on
avoiding negative outcomes. They continuously recreate the past in their minds as a protective
measure and a justification to avoid risk-taking. They are typically more upset and dejected by
failure. They often display many low self-esteem signs and see the world as an unfriendly place.
The Power Of Positive Thinking In Your Life
The jury may be out on the effects of positive thinking... but I say the magic of positive thinking
is as real as you decide to make it. When you practice positive thinking, you cultivate positive
emotions which has many good effects: improved health and well-being, better relationships and
higher levels of fulfillment in life.

Positive Attitude in the Workplace


5 Qualities to Embody For Success
To cultivate a positive attitude in the workplace first requires a good look at what attitude is. In
another article, I discussed at length the definition of attitude and how achieving success through
attitude is the easiest way to climb your career ladder.
By now you're hopefully sold on the value of having a positive attitude. But what exactly does

that mean in practice? It means getting into the habit of thinking and behaving in certain ways.

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Below you will find five habits of thinking and behaving you need to practice in order to
maximize

your

chances

of

achieving

success

through

attitude.

5 Steps to a Positive Attitude in the Workplace


1. Find out how you're contributing to proble ms in your workplace. Have you ever
noticed how people who are the problem never recognize they are? We all have blind
spots that inhibit our growth. People who are the most successful have learned the
importance of identifying where they're shunning responsibility. Look at areas in your
work life where you're always blaming or complaining. What are you failing to be
responsible for here?
2. Stop trying to change your workmates. Focus only on changing your own feelings,
thoughts and actions in order to change your attitude. In truth, most people don't invest
much time developing self-awareness so they remain unconscious of their behavior and
their impact on the people around them. You simply cannot change these people. Well,
you can. But the only proven way to see amazing changes in other people is to first
change yourself. To start, put more emphasis on practicing the power of positive thinking
in your workday.
3. Practice being grateful for your job and your workplace. It is said that the healthiest
of all human emotions is gratitude. Rather than looking for what's wrong at work, start to
focus on what's right. Zig Ziglar calls this shifting from being a fault finder to a good
finder. A great way to cultivate a positive attitude in the workplace is to keep a daily list
of 5-10 things you're grateful for at work. You'll be surprised how quickly this simple
positive self talk exercise will shift your perspective of work.
4. Look for the opportunity. In every bad situation the Law of Polarity dictates there is
also good. Napoleon Hill made a compelling observation about the Law of Polarity in his
book Think And Grow Rich. He said "Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of
misfortune, or temporary defeat." Whenever you perceive that something bad is
happening or has happened, get into the habit of practicing positive self talk by switching

your focus to see the hidden opportunity. There is always one there.

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5. Make a conscious effort to think before you act. If you have an attitude that needs
shifting, it requires shifting thoughts, feelings and actions that have become habit. This
requires greater mindfulness in each and every minute. Learn to practice more control in
how you respond to work challenges minute-by- minute. This can be as simple as
focusing on positive self- talk and filtering out negative messages.
The Power of Positive Thinking and Positive Attitude in the Workplace
We all want to feel good and enjoy our careers. But many of us have lost our way and no longer
know how to find the joy in the everyday mundane tasks our jobs require. By cultivating a
positive attitude in the workplace, you will slowly shift the energy and consciousness of the
people around you. Just like some people can really bring you down, your attitude and behavior
can elevate other people to great heights and new possibilities.
By focusing on improving your attitude in the workplace, you will assume a position of
leadership as you'll quickly become an influential source of strength and influence for those
around you. As James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner said in their book, The Leadership
Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations :
"What we've discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership isn't the private reserve of a few
charismatic men and women. It's a process ordinary people use when they're bringing forth the
best from themselves and others. Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things
happen."
TYPES OF POSITIVE THINKING
1. PICTURE THINKING/VISUAL THINKING
Visual thinking, also called vis ual/spatial learning or picture thinking is the phenomenon of
thinking through visual processing.
Visual thinking has been described as seeing words as a series of pictures. It is common in
approximately 60%65% of the general population.
"Real picture thinkers", those persons who use visual thinking almost to the exclusion of other
kinds of thinking, make up a smaller percentage of the population. Research by child
development theorist Linda Kreger Silverman suggests that less than 30% of the population
strongly uses visual/spatial thinking, another 45% uses both visual/spatial thinking and thinking

the 30% of the general population who use visual/spatial thinking, only a small percentage would

in the form of words, and 25% thinks exclusively in words. According to Kreger Silverman, of

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use this style over and above all other forms of thinking, and can be said to be 'true' "picture
thinkers"

5 Strategies for Big-Picture Thinking


I once had a conversation with a product manager who asked me an important question: "How
do I make sure Im thinking about the big picture, when Im always working on a lot of small
things that seem to take up all my time?"
Its easy to get lost in the weeds at work. While being heads down has its place, its equally
critical to look up: to reflect on how things are going, to consider alternative strategies, and to
ask yourself the hard, high- level questions.
But how can you empower yourself to step back and look at the big picture so you can lead your
team more effectively?
Here are five strategies Ive found helpful:
1. Allocate Time to Thinking

This might sound obvious, but its amazing how infrequently we actually do this. If you allow
yourself to just do whats next on your to-do list, youll never find the time to think about the big
picturethere will always be something that feels more urgent.
Block off time on your calendar based on when youre most creative (morning, afternoon,
evening). My mind feels most clear a couple hours after I wake up, so my big-picture thinking
time is always from 10 a.m to 12:30 p.m.
2. Get A Buddy

Once youve allocated time to thinking, youll likely come upon a stumbling block: its hard to
sit down and say to yourself, "Okay . . . think!" The best ideas ofte n bubble up through the
course of conversation, so its valuable to find another person to think with and bounce ideas
back and forth.
If youre in a management position, consider buddying with someone who reports to you:

teammates who dont often get the chance to strategize will be energized by the opportunity to

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do it with you. Through this exercise, your teammates will get a sense of ownership over the
conclusions you come to together, while youll gain focus and clarity.
Alternately, you can have a conversation with yourself by buddying up with a text editor or
journal: start asking yourself the big questions and write out your answers. I've had long,
strategic, and productive dialogues with my computer by simply writing out questions and
answering them in free- flow form.
3. Pick Specific Goals

Unpacking your big-picture thinking into a handful of specific goals will make it that much more
actionable. If you want to redesign your product, break down this ambition into more specific
actions that have a finite timeline: For example, I want to write a draft for the product roadmap
over the next two years, broken up into a hierarchy of themes.
Big questions are worth asking but they should be framed in a way that doesnt feel burdensome
or insurmountable. If they do, decompose them into smaller pieces until each one feels doable.
Identify a problem and several solutions. For example: How can I help the designers who report
to me be as effective as possible? Solutions: Establish a mentorship program or a proces s for
critique.
4. Identify Actionable First Steps

If I have big goal, I will generally procrastinate on tackling it unless I immediately choose the
first steps. If I want to create a new product roadmap, my first steps may include finding all the
various Google Docs and Asana projects where weve done roadmapping in the past. Next, I will
read them. Next, Ill make a list of potential features, then group those features into themes.
Then, Ill ensure theres a specific deliverable and audience for the proposals. Having a time and
a place when you know youll need to present your ideas (such as at a big meeting) to an
audience is a good way to force you to structure your approach.
5. Generate Ideas

I often start my thinking process by asking, "what is the mo st ambitious articulation of my goal?"
One of the most valuable outcomes of thinking big is being able to step outside your comfort
zone, away from the day-to-day routine.

Here are a few starter ideas for thinking big:

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Visioning: What will the world look like when your goal has fully manifested? The steps to get
there can sometimes become more obvious when you start vividly imagining the desired
outcome.
The "dumb answer": Sometimes when I look at a new (great) product, I find myself thinking,
"well, of course, thats so obvious, how else would you do it?" even though other people had
been trying to solve the problem for years with much more complex solutions. Think about how
someone would naively solve the problem you are trying to tackle; the answer may be more
obvious than you originally thought.
Counsel of heroes: Imagine sitting in a room with the people you most admire throughout
history. Ask each one: how would you approach the problem?
Removing assumptions: What assumptions are you and your team implicitly making about the
problem? For each assumption, ask yourself: what would happen if we removed it? Removing
assumptions can free up your mind to see the bigger picture.
Your unique perspective: Every team has some unique perspective that they bring to how they
solve problems. How can your teams lens shape the solution to this problem? For example,
when Paul Buccheit set out to build a new email service at Google, he considered: what is
Googles unique perspective? Applying the Google perspective (search) to an old problem
(email) created a new solution (Gmail). Ask: what are the relevant ways in which your team
thinks differently, is weird or insightful, that bear on this goal?
Once youve specified your goals, come up with a plan, identified first steps, and generated your
ideas, its time to be honest with yourself.
What are the big opportunities youre actually able to tackle? Thinking big occupies a divergent
brainstorming spacean alternate reality where there are no wrong answers. The last and most
important part of this exercise is to move from the divergent space to one that is solidly based in
reality. Be realistic about what options are actionable, and then take next steps. This is the
convergent phase.
When followed up with action, regularly scheduled divergent big-picture thinking can bring new,
better ideas to light, and give you confidence that the small tasks youre doing all day are steps
along the right path.
2. CREATIVE THINKING
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Short version

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Critical thinking is the active, persistent, and careful consideration of beliefs or knowledge in
light of evidence, and creative thinking is the generation of new ideas. Critical and creative
thinking are fundamental to human intellectual progress and artifacts thereof. Depending on
context and purpose, critical and creative thinking skills can be interdependent or separately
applied.

Full version
Critical thinking is the active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or form of
knowledge, the grounds that support it, and the conclusions that follow. It involves analyzing and
evaluating ones own thinking and that of others. In the context of college teaching and learning,
critical thinking deliberately and actively engages students in:

Raising vital questions and problems and formulating these clearly and precisely;
Gathering and assessing relevant information, and using abstract ideas to interpret it
effectively;

Reaching well-reasoned conclusions and solutions and testing them against relevant
criteria and standards;

Openly considering alternative systems of thought; and

Effectively communicating to others the analysis of and proposed solutions to complex


challenges.

Creative thinking is the generation of new ideas within or across domains of knowledge,
drawing upon or intentionally breaking with established symbolic rules and procedures. It
usually involves the behaviors of preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation, elaboration, and
communication. In the context of college teaching and learning, creative thinking deliberately

Bringing together existing ideas into new configurations;

Developing new properties or possibilities for something that already exists; and

Discovering or imagining something entirely new.


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and actively engages students in:

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How is it that some people always seem to be able to generate new ideas and think creatively,
and others seem to struggle to do so?
Regardless of whether you view yourself as a creative type or not, you can learn some useful
skills and techniques which will enable you to tap into that creative right brain thinking and
bring a new perspective to innovation, problem-solving and managing change.
Although at first glance, creative thinking techniques may sometimes look a bit ridiculous, there
are good principles behind most of them. However sceptical you may be about their potential,
its a good idea to approach them with an open mind. You may be surprised by the results.
This page gives information about a few of the many techniques available.

Brainstorming
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
Brainstorming is the often- maligned practice of getting a group of people together and
generating ideas.
Its generally agreed that the rules of brainstorming, at least in the initial stages, include:

Everyone having a say

All ideas being equally valued

No criticism of other people's ideas is allowed

There are at least a couple of diffe rent ways that brainstorming sessions can be run:
1. Everyone follows up an initial idea, feeding off it to generate new ones, until an end point
is reached on that idea, at which point the group turns to a new idea and does the same.
2. Participants are encouraged to come up with more free- flow generation of unconnected
ideas that can then be grouped and themed later.
It is also generally agreed that following an initial period of open brainstorming, there needs to
be a period of idea evaluation where questions are asked and criticisms are made. This allows for
initial ideas to be explored in more detail and accepted for further investigation or discarded.
Many people also use this opportunity to group ideas by theme to make exploration easier since,
often, a lot of the ideas will be linked.
The principle behind brainstorming is Linus Paulings point that most ideas are not very good.

inappropriate ideas. The trouble is that there is no scientific formula for the number of ideas you

So the best way to have a good idea is to generate lots of ideas, then discard the impractical and

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need to generate to find a good one, or even a guarantee that youll be able to find a good one at
all.
It is important to set aside plenty of time for brainstorming, and to keep exploring even when you
think youve found a good idea: the first idea is very seldom the best.
Creative thinking skills use very different approaches to critical thinking skills. They involve a
much more relaxed, open, playful approach. This can require some risk-taking. Creative thinking
skills involve such approaches as:

Looking for many possible answers rather than one.

Allowing yourself to make wild and crazy suggestions as well as those that seem
sensible.

Not judging ideas early in the process - treat all ideas as if they may contain the seeds of
something potentially useful.

Allowing yourself to doodle, daydream or play with a theory or suggestion.

Being aware that these approaches necessarily involve making lots of suggestions that are
unworkable and may sound silly.

Making mistakes.

Learning from what has not worked as well as what did.

In this section, you can learn more about the processes and what creative thinking really
involves:
A state of mind
Creative thinking skills are as much about attitude and self-confidence as about talent. Creativity
is often less ordered, structured and predictable. As you are not looking for 'one' answer, you are
likely to come up with lots of suggestions that are not 'right'. This can be difficult if you are more
used to analytical and logical approaches. It can also be experienced as 'risky' as the prospect of
making a mistake or not coming up with an answer is more likely.
Creativity and e motions
Strong emotional self- management is often needed in order to allow creative thinking states to
emerge. It is important to be able to cope with risk, confusion, disorder and feeling that you are
not progressing quickly.
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Creative thinking techniques

36

There is no limit to ways there are of thinking creatively. Some techniques you can begin with
are:

Brainstorm ideas on one topic onto a large piece of paper: don't edit these. Just write
them down.

Allowing yourself to play with an idea whilst you go for a walk.

Draw or paint a theory on paper.

Ask the same question at least twenty times and give a different answer each time.

Combine some of the features of two different objects or ideas to see if you can create
several more.

Change your routine. Do things a different way. Walk a different route to college.

Let your mind be influenced by new stimuli such as music you do not usually listen to.

Be open to ideas when they are still new: look for ways of making things work and
pushing the idea to its limits.

Ask questions such as 'what if.?' Or 'supposing.?'.

Combine analytical and creative thinking skills


Many important breakthroughs in science and innovation have resulted from:

Focusing on a subject in a logical, analytical way for some time, thinking through
possible solutions.

Daydreaming or distracting the mind, but holding the same problem lightly 'at the back of
the mind'.

The answer has often emerged on dreams or daydreams when the inno vator was not
trying so hard to find the answer. However, the daydream on its own did not achieve
anything.

3. FOCUS THINKING

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Focusing Thought
The thought process of most people can best be described as a chaotic jumble of ideas, decisions
and calculations governed mainly from external influences. That means people tend to think
about whatever immediate input is presented to them. This is normal and nothing to be
concerned about, but if you want to make improvements in your way of life and personal affairs,
you

need

to

learn

to

focus

your

thoughts

more.

That's not an easy thing to do right away for most people because it involves making some big
changes in the way we think. This article delves into the area of personal thought and how we
can work toward eliminating most of the unproductive though processes cause by extraneous
input and focus more on the things we need to think about that are impo rtant to us and to our
personal improvement and development.
Figuring Out What Is Important
The first step toward gaining better control of your thoughts is to first figure out what is
important to you and what will make your life better. Let's face it, most of the information that is
filling our heads is junk put there by what we are seeing, hearing and otherwise sensing all
around us. We can filter a lot of that unnecessary noise out if we choose to. It just takes a little
practice.

While we may not be able to do much about what is going on around us at any given time of the
day, we can control some of it. Media such as the television or radio are highly intrusive to our
thoughts because they utilize our two main senses, sight and hearing to push their messages into
our brains. Newspapers and magazines are less intrusive but still highly visual infiltrators.
Silencing Some of the Noise
The radio can be silenced simply by turning it off. Same goes for the TV set. But how strong
willed

are

you

to

be

able

to

do

either

of

those

things?

It may sound easy, but if you've grown habitually used to watching the news on TV at certain

38

times of the day, you are going to find it pretty tough to stop watching it, at least at first. Or if
you are busy doing a repetitive task and are used to listening to the radio while you do it, how are
you

going

to

manage

without

it?

Sometimes you don't even get the choice. If you work in a place where there are several other
workers who also like to listen to the radio while they work, you are going to meet with some
stiff opposition in getting it silenced. At home, the family will not be too happy to stop watching
their favorite mind numbing game show or soap opera just so you can quieten your mind for a
reason

they

will

not

understand.

But try you must. If it means sitting in another room to the family and their beloved TV set, then
you have to do it. At work, you could try using earplugs or get a personal stereo and listen to
neutral or white noise over personal earphones. Or listen to meditative music.
Using the Silence Wisely
Of course, being able to quieten your surroundings is of little use to you unless you then decide
to use that silence wisely. This is where you can teach yourself to focus your thoughts onto the
positive

things

that

you

want

to

be

in

your

life.

It takes some practice, but when you are not being bombarded with so much external
interference, you can choose your thoughts and then deliberately focus on them. The way to
maximize this time is to choose positive thoughts of the things that you want.

For instance, if you want to enjoy good health then you should think or yourself as being
perfectly healthy, happy and content. Get into the zone where you can see yourself in this state
and then get into the picture and really feel it. It can be very uplifting when you do it regularly
and get very good at slipping into this positive mode of visualization and experience.

He same goes if you want your finances to improve. Rather than thinking about any negative
aspects, such as the debt you may be in or the worry of any big bills you may have looming on
the horizon, eject those thoughts from your mind immediately. Then start to think only of
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prosperity and how you are enjoying the increased income flowing into your life.

39

Practice Makes Perfect


This kind of thinking takes time to perfect, but it can be done by anyone with the determination
and desire to make it happen. You need to practice often and regularly and when you do that,
you'll find it gets easier to slip into that thinking and feeling zone of positivity.

It all starts with the desire to make your life better on all levels. The desire to do something
positive will bring about the effort to get started and keep practicing, while building your
determination and persistence to keep going no matter what. Over time, you will begin to notice
a shift in your perception and in your life overall. Things will start to get better and it will be all
down to your learning to use your mind rather than have it use you.

4. REALISTIC THINKING

Realistic thinking is encapsulated thinking processes grounded in an honest appraisal of all


relevant data and conditions in different situations. Realistic thought allows a clear-headed
adaptation of thought and behavior and depends on the ability to interpret conditions and facts of
the situation in a consistent and accurate manner.

Depressive thoughts are unfair and unrealistic. They are distorted because they are inaccurate
reflections of how the world is or how you are. The tab le below describes some common forms
of distorted thinking in depression1 :
Filtering.

In this kind of depressive thinking, you only look at the bad, never the good. Because all you see
is the negative side, your whole life appears to be negative. But realistic thinking equally
considers positive and negative aspects of your life.
Overgeneralization.

In this kind of depressive thinking, one negative event seems like the start of a never-ending
pattern. If one friend leaves, they all will. If you fail the first time, youll fail every time. But

situations will turn out.

realistic thinking recognizes that one disappointing situation does not determine how other

40

All or Nothing Thinking.

You see the world in terms of extremes. You are either fat or thin, smart or stupid, tidy or a slob,
depressed or joyful, and so on. There is no in-between. Gradual progress is never enough
because only a complete change will do. Who cares that I did half of it? Its still not finished!
But realistic thinking sees people and events as falling somewhere between the extremes,
towards the middle, where most things are found.

Catastrophizing.

A small disappointment is seen as though it were a disaster. For example, you were slightly late
in completing a small project, so your entire month is ruined: you react to the imagined
catastrophe (a terrible month) rather than to the little event (a late project). But realistic thinking
sees events in their true importance, not overemphasizing negative events.
Labeling.

You talk to yourself in a harsh way, calling yourself names like idiot, loser, or whatever the
worst insults are for you. You talk to yourself in a way you would never talk to anyone else. But
realistic thinking doesnt use these kind of insults because they are not fair, you wouldnt talk to
anyone else that way, and they are unnecessarily discouraging.
Mind-reading.

You feel as though you know what others are thinking about you, and its always negative. So
you react to what you imagine they think, without bothering to ask. But realistic thinking
recognizes that guessing what others think about you is likely to be ina ccurate, especially when
you are depressed.
Fortune-telling.

You feel as though you know what the future will bring, and its negative. Nothing will work
out, so why bother trying? But realistic thinking recognizes that you dont know how things will
turn out: by staying open to the possibility of positive results, youll be more hopeful and more

likely to make things better.

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Perfectionism.

Its only good enough if its perfect. And because you cant make most things perfect, youre
rarely satisfied and can rarely take pride in anything. But realistic thinking gives credit for
accomplishments, even if the result is less than perfect. Few of us reach perfection in what we
do, but our achievements are meaningful.
Shoulds.

You think that you know how the world should be, and it isnt like that. You know what you
should be like, and you arent. Result: You are constantly disappointed and angry with
yourself and with everyone around you. But realistic thinking understands the limitations of
the world and of yourself trying for improvement but also accepting how things are.
There are other types of depressive thinking, but these are some of the most common ones. When
you catch yourself thinking depressively, it can be useful to look at this list to see if you are
using one of them.

5. STRATEGIC THINKING
Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the
context of achieving success in a game or other endeavor. As a cognitive activity, it produces
thought.
When applied in an organizational strategic management process, strategic thinking involves the
generation and application of unique business insights and opportunities intended to create
competitive advantage for a firm or organisation. It can be done individually, as well as
collaboratively among key people who can positively alter an organization's future. Group
strategic thinking may create more value by enabling a proactive and creative dialogue, where
individuals gain other people's perspectives on critical and comp lex issues. This is regarded as a
benefit in highly competitive and fast-changing business landscapes.

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers


You're the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here's how to become the

strategic leader your company needs.

42

In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met
with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to
do all that and it's time for you to "be strategic."
Whatever that means.
If you find yourself resisting being strategic, because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or
vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you're not alone. Every leader's temptation is to deal with
what's directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you
do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you'll
miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you're on is leading off a
cliff.
This is a tough job, make no mistake. "We need strategic leaders! is a pretty constant refrain at
every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: No one really understands what
it entails. It's hard to be a strategic leader if you don't know what strategic leaders are supposed
to do.
After two decades of advising organizations, large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a
clear idea of what's required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders--the kind who thrive
in todays uncertain environment--do six things well:
1. Anticipate

Most of the focus at most companies is on whats directly ahead. The leaders lack peripheral
vision. This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous
signals. To anticipate well, you must:

Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry

Search beyond the current boundaries of your business

Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

2. Think Critically

Conventional wisdom opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and less second- guessing. But if you
swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company
loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, you
must force yourself to:
Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
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43

Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own

Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

3. Interpret

Ambiguity is un settling. Faced with it, you are tempted to reach for a fast (potentially
wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from
many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:

Seek patterns in multiple sources of data

Encourage others to do the same

Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

4. Decide

Many leaders fall prey to analysis paralysis. You have to develop processes and enforce them,
so that you arrive at a good enough position. To do that well, you have to:

Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter

Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers

Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

5. Align

Consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key
stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to:

Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden

Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable

Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

6. Learn

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what
you can to keep it coming. This is crucial, because success and failure--especially failure--are

Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons

Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track

Celebrate both successes and (well- intentioned) failures that provide insight
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valuable sources of organizational learning. Here's what you need to do:

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6. REFLECTIVE THINKING
What is reflective thinking?

The description of reflective thinking:

Critical thinking and reflective thinking are often used synonymously. Critical thinking is used
to describe:
"... the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable
outcome...thinking that is purposeful, reasoned and goal directed - the kind of thinking involved
in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when
the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of
thinking task. Critical thinking is sometimes called directed thinking because it focuses on a
desired outcome." Halpern (1996).
Reflective thinking, on the other hand, is a part of the critical thinking process referring
specifically to the processes of analyzing and making judgments about what has happened.
Dewey (1933) suggests that reflective thinking is an active, persistent, and careful consideration
of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, of the grounds that support that knowledge, and the
further conclusions to which that knowledge leads. Learners are aware of and control their
learning by actively participating in reflective thinking assessing what they know, what they
need to know, and how they bridge that gap during learning situations.
In summary, critical thinking involves a wide range of thinking skills leading toward desirable
outcomes and reflective thinking focuses on the process of making judgments about what has
happened. However, reflective thinking is most important in prompting learning during complex
problem-solving situations because it provides students with an opportunity to step back and
think about how they actually solve problems and how a particular set of problem solving
strategies is appropriated for achieving their goal.
Characteristics of environments and activities that prompt and support reflective thinking:

Provide enough wait-time for students to reflect when responding to inquiries.

Provide emotionally supportive environments in the classroom encouraging reevaluation


of conclusions.
Prompt reviews of the learning situation, what is known, what is not yet known, and what
has been learned.
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45

Provide authentic tasks involving ill-structured data to encourage reflective thinking


during learning activities.

Prompt students' reflection by asking questions that seek reasons and evidence.

Provide some explanations to guide students' thought processes during explorations.

Provide a less-structured learning environment that prompts students to explore what they
think is important.

Provide social- learning environments such as those inherent in peer- group works and
small group activities to allow students to see other points of view.

Provide reflective journal to write down students' positions, give reasons to support what
they think, show awareness of opposing positions and the weaknesses of their own
positions.

Why is reflective thinking important?

Modern society is becoming more complex, information is becoming available and changing
more rapidly prompting users to constantly rethink, switch directions, and change problemsolving strategies. Thus, it is increasingly important to prompt reflective thinking during learning
to help learners develop strategies to apply new knowledge to the complex situations in their
day-to-day activities. Reflective thinking helps learners develop higher-order thinking skills by
prompting learners to a) relate new knowledge to prior understanding, b) think in both abstract
and conceptual terms, c) apply specific strategies in novel tasks, and d) understand their own
thinking and learning strategies.
Reflective thinking and middle school kids:

How to prompt reflection in middle school kids :

It is important to prompt reflective thinking in middle school children to support them in their
transition between childhood and adulthood. During this time period adolescents experience
major changes in intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. They begin to shape
their own thought processes and are at an ideal time to begin developing thinking, learning, and
metacognitive strategies. Therefore, reflective thinking provides middle level students with the

understanding based on new information and experiences, and transfer their learning to other

skills to mentally process learning experiences, identify what they learned, modify their

46

situations. Scaffolding strategies should be incorporated into the learning environment to help
students develop their ability to reflect on their own learning. For example,
o

Teachers should model metacognitive and self-explanation strategies on specific


problems to help students build an integrated understanding of the process of reflection.

Study guides or advance organizer should be integrated into classroom materials to


prompt students to reflect on their learning.

Questioning strategies should be used to prompt reflective thinking, specifically getting


students to respond to why, how, and what specific decisions are made.

Social learning environments should exist that prompt collaborative work with peers,
teachers, and experts.

Learning experiences should be designed to include advice from teachers and colearners.

Classroom activities should be relevant to real-world situations and provide integrated


experiences.

Classroom experiences should involve enjoyable, concrete, and physical learning


activities whenever possible to ensure proper attention to the unique cognitive, affective,
and psychomotor domain development of middle school students.

7. POPULAR THINKING
How to Question the Acceptance of Popular Thinking

1. Popular thinking is slow to e mbrace change.

Popular thinking loves the status quo. It puts its confidence in the idea of the moment, and holds
on to it with all its might. As a result, it resists change and dampens innovation. Donald M.
Nelson, former President of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers, criticized
popular thinking when he asserted, "We must discard the idea that past routine, past ways of
doing things, are probably the best ways. On the contrary, we must assume that there is probably
a better way to do almost everything. We must stop assuming that a thing which has never been

done before probably cannot be done at all."

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2. Popular thinking brings only average results.

The bottom line? Popular thinking brings mediocre results. Here is popular thinking in a
nutshell:

Popular = Normal = Average

It's the least of the best and the best of the least. We limit our success when we adopt popular
thinking. It represents putting in the least energy to just get by. You must reject common
thinking if you want to accomplish uncommon results.
3. Think before you follow.

Popular thinking has often proved to be wrong and limiting. Questioning is is not necessarily
hard, once you cultivate the habit of doing so. The difficulty is in getting started.

Many individuals follow others almost automatically. Sometimes they do so because they desire
to take the path of least resistance. Other times they fear rejection. Or they believe there's
wisdom in doing what everyone else does. But if you want to succeed, you need to think about
what's best, not what is popular.

Challenging popular thinking requires a willingness to be unpopular and go outside of the norm.
The next time you feel ready to conform to popular thinking on an issue, stop and think. You
may not want to create change for its own sake, but you certainly dont want to blindly follow just
because you havent thought about what's best.

*Unpopular thinking, even when resulting in success, is largely underrated, unrecognized, and
misunderstood.

*Unpopular thinking contains the seeds of vision and opportunity.

*Unpopular thinking is required for all progress.

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Chapter 3
Cultivate Good Character

Character is what defines you. Its what people see in you. Its what people will say about you
after you pass away. Character is one of the most important things you have. How are you
investing in yours? Do people see your faith in what you do? Is your character reflected in how
you serve the Kingdom? Remember that when you pass away, Jesus will either say, welcome
brother/sister; job well done or I never knew you; be gone! You have right now to decide
where your future is.

Character is something that you hold fast to inside, and that people see in you on the outside.
More importantly, it is something that God sees in you always.
Here are 10 verses about characte r and my thoughts for each.
Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we re joice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering
produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and characte r produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame, because Gods love has been poured into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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Jesus promised we would be hated (Mark 13:13). We will face trials and suffering on earth.
Romans 5:3-5 shows us that in suffering true character is formed which pushes us to hope
because we have Gods love poured into our hearts. Isnt that beautiful!
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
True character is shown in how you act in any situation. Actions do speak louder than words in
many circumstances and you and I have to be on guard against the devil so that when adversity
comes our way we can still exhibit the fruits of the spirit in word and deed. How can we shine
for Jesus if we are showing the world darkness through our actions?
Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as Gods chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate
hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one
has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you
also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in
perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you we re
called in one body. And be thankful.
Again, character is shown in how you deal with things. These verses are great to show us all
how to treat each other. I recommend memorizing these 4 verses. If you have them memorized
you will think about them often and they will guide your thoughts and actions.
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Your own character can be your judge. How do you treat those around you? Do you love them
or retaliate against them?
Proverbs 28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is
crooked in his ways.
This verse can lead you to think on different things. I would like to focus on eternity. The poor
man who walks with Jesus is going to rejoice in his passing. The rich man who is living the
life and boasting in his sins will die in his sins and face Gods wrath.
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to

gratify its desires.

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This verse proclaims character loudly! When you sin, you are actually making provision for
your flesh. Have you ever thought about that? You are providing the means necessary to carry
out the sins you want to commit.
Matthew 12:35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil
person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
This verse speaks for itself. Take some time and think about how you are living your life. Are
you making an effort daily to be a blessing to those around you or a stumbling block?
Matthew 23:25-26 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the
outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You
blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be
clean.
You can fool men many times with your character but you cant fool God. Hes sees your
heart. He knows your intentions. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?
(Adrian Rogers) Are you the blind Pharisee or a child of God?
Titus 1:15-16 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving,
nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to
know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for
any good work.
Once again, character is shown by actions. You can say you believe in God, but your works will
prove whether you really do or not.
Acts 20:36-38 And when he (Paul) had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with
the m all. And the re was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed
him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not
see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Pauls character is easily seen by how the people reacted to him having to leave. They were
extremely sad. This shows that Paul was a man of integrity and character. How would people
react if you told them you were leaving, never to return again? If you have an idea of their

response, then you have an idea of your own character and integrity.

51

Conclusion
Character is something that you hold fast to inside, and that people see in you on the outside.
More importantly, it is something that God sees in you always. Take some time and think about
how you are living your life. Are you a radical Christian on fire for God, or just blending into
the crowd trying to look like everyone else? God bless you all as you continue to live a life

worthy of the calling!

52

Chapter 4
Cultivate positive mindset

Create A Positive Mindset


A positive mindset what is a positive mindset? A positive mindset definition is argumentative
with most, but I believe most people can agree with the small definition that I bring forward in
this article. A positive mindset is when a mind produces 95% good thoughts and good feelings
that lead to the person speaking good worlds and taking good actions. A positive mindset
operates with an optimistic view instead of a pessimistic one. A positive mindset looks for
solutions to situations, issues, and problems, instead of focusing on the actual situation, issue, or
problem. A positive mindset promotes good thoughts instead of negative thoughts. The positive
mindset definition has spanned into detail books but I just wanted to give you a sample of what is
positive mindset.
Having a positive mindset is a giant benefit in everyones life, but creating one is the challenge.
We are all born with a positive mindset, but it is our placed environment and influential people
that determines whether we keep the positive mindset or not. What do I mean by that statement?
Well, a positive mindset is innate in our DNA, but our parents, families, and teachers mold our

inabilities to children through their thoughts, words, and actions. I know this is a pretty bold

younger generations into a not-so-positive mindset because many transfer their failures and

53

statement, but I did not say that many of these people do it intentionally. Ladies and gentlemen,
to have a positive mindset is one thing, to create and keep one is a whole other process that takes
strength and will power to overcome the daily pressures of life; basically people do not do it on
purpose, they do it for love and protection. For love and protection? Yes, from love and
protection people irresponsibly create not-so-positive and negative mindsets in their children and
younger generations. There are people who failed miserably in life, so they feel their children
will benefit from not suffering by not having them attempt to feel like they have a chance, so
why have them think they can. Some people believe if I could not do it then there is no way my
child, who is only part of me, can do it. Then you have people who just c hoose not to teach their
child to think positive all the time and go with the flow of their placed environment. I can feel
the temperature rising in most people reading this right now, but I can understand why. IF your
temperature is rising then it means you either do such things or it was done to you. As human
beings, we do not accept the stone cold truth well and we do not like it when it is brought
forward on public display. My intention in this article is to tell the truth about the truth, but this
is not the article to expose the truth. This is the article to begin a process to reinvent the way we
train our younger generation to think.
Getting back on track, creating a positive mindset is a process that takes time to build because
your not-so-positive or negative mindset took time to build too. So you have to un-think what
you think and start thinking a new way. Normally the average person finds this difficult to do on
a solo basis, so I suggest you find a personal development coach or mentor that can guide you
only the way, like me. Not someone who can just teach you but someone who has been through
the same process that you are attempting to go through. I did not say people who teach creating a
positive mindset cannot help you, I believe it is better when someone has went through the same
process you are enduring because there is a better understanding. A success coach or mentor is
great to have when you begin your journey of creating your positive mindset. If you do not have
the financial means, or access, to a success coach or mentor, then I suggest you start reading
personal development books from authors that appeal to your personality type. Joining a personal
development book club also helps because it keeps you on track with the books to read in
helping you create a positive mindset. The point is to find a vehicle to move you faster than you
would on your journey to a positive mindset. Once you have the courage to start on your journey,
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you must have the courage to continue your journey.

54

Operating a life with a positive mindset is a difficult task because we live in a world that dumps
more negativity into us through media, social media, and gossip. Unfortunately, negativity sells
in todays world, but it is also destroying our thinking ability in mak ing generations better than
before. Here are seven tips that I suggest you do to get yourself launched on your journey of
creating a positive mindset:
TIP #1: 3x5 CARDS

Write your SMART goals on 3x5 cards and keep them on you at ALL TIMES

Write positive affirmations (statements) reflecting how I desire to think and act; i.e., I
AM A GREAT PERSON, I AM HEALTHY, I AM HANDSOME, I AM BEAUTIFUL, I
AM SUCCESSFUL, I AM WEALTHY, etc.

Write in ALL CAPITALS to accent the serious and grandiose of your success journey

Cut out pictures of the 5 most things you desire to achieve and paste, glue, or tape them
to your 3x5 cards. Get as close and detail in the pictures as you can

Review your 3x5 cards at least 5x a day: once when you wake up, once at breakfast, once
at lunch, once at dinner, and once right before you go to sleep

TIP #2: HAVE A COMMERCIAL

Write your own 30-second to 1 minute commercial about you and what you will achieve;
not what you want but what YOU WILL achieve

TIP #3: WRITE DOWN ALL GOALS

One of the main reasons people fail is because they do not have a Definite Chief Aim in
their life (The most ULTIMATE goal of your life journey)

All written goals should form as steps to your Definite Chief Aim

Have goals for 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 1-years, 3-years, and 5-years
o

Having a 10- year goal is optional, but also good to have

TIP #4: HAVE A MISSION STATEMENT

This is close to you Definite Chief Aim, but more of how you will achieve than achieving

TIP #5: DREAM BOARD

Get a poster board, or two

Cut out pictures of objects that you desire to achieve then put them on your dream board

Place your dream board in your home where you can mediate for 10 minutes 2x a day
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(once when you awake up in the morning and once before you go to bed)

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TIP #6: PERSONAL VOICE RECORDING

Record yourself making positive statements about yourself

Record yourself repeating your goals, mission statement, and DEFINITE CHIEF AIM

If you can, listen to your voice recording while you sleep

Listen to your voice recording every chance you get

TIP #7: POST-IT NOTES

Place your goals, dream, vision, etc. on post- it notes and place them in strategic spots
around your home, in the car, at your desk at work, or wherever they will inspire you

These are seven tips that will help you create a positive mindset. You must make these tips a
habit in your daily routine in order for them to help you. So make sure you follow these tips for
at least 30 DAYS straight before you lose focus. These tips will help if you allow them to help
you. Having a positive mindset promotes great health, a stable well-being, and a well-rounded
lifestyle because you will think better on a daily basis. Having a better thinking philosophy
means that you will make sounder, clear decisions for, and in, your life. A positive mindset does
not prevent situations, issues, or problems from arising in your life, but it definitely can help
them pass along a little easier because you will focus on solutions. Disclaimer: This article does
not replace medical treatments or counseling prescribed to the reader by professional medical
personnel. These techniques and tips develop many positive mindsets, including mine.
Remember, it is not a one-time action to create and have a positive mindset; it is an everyday

process that will help you on your success and life journeys.

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Chapter 5
Cultivate habit of giving
Introduction
If we want to avoid becoming enmeshed in materialism, we not only need to cultivate a lifestyle
of spiritual growth and ministry; we also need to cultivate a godly manner of dealing with our
money and material possessions. The Bible describes this as a hab it of consistent, sacrificial
financial giving to God's work.
HERBERT KANE: "The last part of the person to convert is the wallet." How true we've seen
this to be! Therefore, we need to form deep biblical convictions about this area as soon as
possible in our Christian lives.
Remember the connection between our perspective on material things and spiritual things.
Matt. 6:21 "...for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The main text for tonight's study is 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. The historical setting had Paul taking
up a collection for the Jerusalem church (1 Cor. 16:1-3). It was most likely for famine relief.
(1 Cor. 16:1-3) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of
Galatia, so do you also. {2} On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and
save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. {3} And when I arrive,
whomever you may approve, I shall send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem;
The Corinthians had evidently pledged a certain amount to this (2 Cor 8:10). . .
(2 Cor. 8:10) And I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the
first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.
. . . but now they were not coming through on their commitment. This is one more symptom of
the carnality that had plagued the Corinthian church.
Therefore, Paul writes this reminder which is designed to motivate them to give. This passage
contains many important principles of giving for the Christian. The first, and perhaps most
important biblical principle is...
1. Giving is motivated by grace ( 2Cor. 8:1-4,9; 9:15)

given in the churches of Macedonia, {2} that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy

(2 Cor. 8:1-4) Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been

57

and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. {3} For I testify that
according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, {4} begging us
with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, {9}For you know
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor,
that you through His poverty might become rich.
(2 Cor. 9:15) Thanks be to God for His [emphasis ours] indescribable gift!
Paul holds up the Macedonian Christians as an example. They viewed giving as a privilege
which they begged to have even in the midst of great persecution and poverty--because their
motivation was "the grace of God." Why does grace motivate giving?
They were so thankful for Christ's sacrifice for them (8:9), and so vitally aware of
what they had received in Christ (forgiveness, eternal life, growth, new family,
etc.) that they were motivated out of gratitude to give as much as they could (e.g.
Scrooge - someone who eventually saw what he could be rescued from and
responded with generosity; Lk. 7:47). This is the foundational motivation for all
forms of Christian giving (e.g. O.T. Thank-Offering >> Rom. 12:1 >> Phil. 4:18).
This is probably why Paul "bookends" the imperitives of the section from 2 Cor.
8:1 through 9:15 with grace.
(Rom. 12:1) I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a
living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
(Phil. 4:18) But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied,
having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice,
well-pleasing to God.
Attitudes toward giving under grace vs. under law

Acceptance before God

Unde r law: "I give in order to be accepted by God." This motive is characteristic of other
religions. They usually make giving one of the good works by which we earn God's acceptance
(ISLAM: alms as one of 5 PILLARS; CATHOLIC INDULGENCES IN THE MEDIEVAL
CHURCH; MASSES FOR THE DEAD TODAY). In other words, we give in order to be

accepted by God.

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INDULGENCES in the medieval Catholic church...


Medieval people had a very real dread of the period of punishment they faced in purgatory... The
church taught that before they reached heaven they had to be cleansed of every sin committed in
mortal life and they feared purgatory's pains. Indulgences were a way of shortening the
punishment in purgatory.
Luther and others charged that indulgences turned men away from God's forgiveness.
John Hus and others (e.g. John of Wesel) were persecuted (in Hus' case, burnt at the stake) for
opposing the sale of indulgences and other unbiblical practices.
In other words, we give in order to be accepted by God.

Unde r grace: We give because we have been accepted by God.

Duty vs. Privilege

Unde r law: "My giving is a duty which I resent." This is the natural consequence of a worksrighteousness

mentality.

Unde r grace: "My giving is a privilege which I enjoy."

Amount Given

Unde r law: "I give the least I can to keep God and others off my back." Stinginess always flows
from law- living. Warning signs include hearing yourself ask AND focus on, "What's the right
amount to give?" "I don't want to be irresponsible toward my obligations to the family!" C.S.
Lewis gave about two-thirds of his income away. (introduction to Letters to an American Lady).

Unde r grace: "I give as much I can to express my gratitude to God for his love."
Qualification: Many Christians misinterpret or misapply 2 Cor. 9:7 (Let each one do just as he
has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.)
Misinterpretations include the following ideas:
It is wrong for us to call on or remind each other as Christians to make giving
commitments.
Response: This isn't Paul's point--he called on them to give in 1Cor. 16 and he reminds
them to give in this very passage!
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59

We

should

not

give

if

we

do

not

feel

generous.

Response: My sin- nature does not naturally desire generosity toward the things of God.
Paul's point is that God wants us to give with the right attitude . We should give
voluntarily and cheerfully because we are the recipients of God's lavish grace. If I find
that I am viewing giving as a distasteful duty which I do only grudgingly, the ans wer
isn't to stop giving. It is to change my pers pective and attitude by prayerfully
reflecting on how much God has blessed me and how much the world needs Him
(spiritually and materially). Then I can step out in faith (sometimes in spite of lingering
negative feelings) and give in response to His grace.
The second biblical principle of financial giving is...
2. Christians Are Stewards (2 Cor. 8:5)
Blue defines stewardship as "the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of Godgiven goals." (Ron Blue, Master Your Money (New York; Thomas Nelson), p. 23.)
(2 Cor 8:5) and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us
by the will of God.
Paul emphasizes that the Macedonians "first . . . gave themselves to the Lord . . . " They
recognized that their entire lives belonged to the Lord and then were generous with their money.
Often times the stingy person has not given himself completely to the Lord.
(Rev. 5:12) saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and
riches

and

wisdom

and

might

and

honor

and

glory

and

blessing."

The Lord is worthy of our commitment. Our stewardship should be our response to what he's
done on our behalf.
Paul

urges

this

type

of

commitment

in

Romans.

(Romans 12:1) I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a
living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Giving should be an expression of our identity as God's stewards. When the biblical affirmation
of private property is not tempered by this truth, the result is autonomous materialism (Acts 5:4;
2 Thess. 3:12-- both demonstrate recognition of private ownership in the NT).
Biblical implications of stewardship
Everything we have is God's and not ours.
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(Psa. 24:1) The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.
(1 Cor. 4:7) For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive?
But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had no t received it?
NOTE: The matter of stewardship extends to spiritual gifts, family, and all earthly possessions.

We should manage God's money to advance his kingdom. We are stewards of God's
money; everything we have is to be held in trust to advance his kingdom. We should be
ready to part with whatever is needed (Lk. 14:33), and we should find creative ways to
serve God financially (Lk. 16:9).
(Luke 14:33) So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his
own possessions.
(Luke 16:9-11) And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon
(money) of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal
dwellings. 10 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he
who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 "If therefore you
have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon (money), who will entrust the
true riches to you?

The context of this passage is the parable of the unrighteous steward. Jesus makes the
point that one can use temporal resources to advance God's kingdom.

We will give an account to God for how we spent his money.


(Mat. 25:19, 21) Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled
accounts with them...21 "His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful slave; you
were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy
of your master.'
(1 Cor. 3:13) ...each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it
is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work
(Rom. 14:12) So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Attitudes toward giving as an owne r vs. as a steward


As stewards, God has all the rights; we have all the responsibilities. There are key
distinctions to know and understand:
Owners ask "How much of my money will I give to God?"
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> Stewards ask "How much of God's money will I keep for myself?"
It is appropriate for the steward to have enough to live on and provide for his family--but never
to live luxuriously while the owner's affairs are neglected. Yet statistics reveal that as most
Christians' income goes up, their percentage of giving goes down.

Owners ask when purchasing "things" -- "Will I enjoy this?" and (sometimes) "Can I
afford it?" or "Can I make the monthly payment?"

This mentality often results in big debt with the availability of consumer credit. A substantial
debt burden often limits a Christian's ability to give and/or minister more. Married couples cite
money issues as one of the most common reasons for marital problems.
> Stewards ask "How will this purchase affect my ability to advance God's purposes?"
Certainly, being able to afford something is a necessary but not sufficient reason for
buying something.

There are the needs of other Christians to consider. (see 8:13-15)

The needs of those who don't know Christ (spiritual and physical; here and abroad).

We have the chance to lead by example.


We may give up an affordable purchase so that we would not tempt others who don't
have the financial means to live at the same level.
We should also consider the affect that our purchases have on shaping our children's
perspective on materialism.
We should consider our motivation in providing for our children. Our society tells us that
we are good parents if we give the "best" stuff to our children, but we must realize that
we are teaching them to derive their identity from what they own. They feel better about
themselves because they wear the right label. I don't want my kids to grow up thinking
that way. When we give all "the best" to our kids, rather than providing them freedom
and a good self image, we enslave them to the opinions of others.

This is why ste wards are committed to spending less than they make.

When we live with a grace- motivated attitude and a steward mentality, we are able to enjoy our
giving and the possessions and pleasures God grants us.
(1 Chr. 29:6-22) Then the rulers of the fathers' households, and the princes of the tribes of
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Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king's

62

work, offered willingly; (7) and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and
10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000
talents of iron. (8) And whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house
of the LORD, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite. (9) Then the people re joiced because they had
offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King
David also rejoiced greatly. (10) So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly;
and David said, "Blessed art Thou, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and
ever . . .(12) Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy
hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone . . .
(14) For all things come from Thee, and from Thy hand we have given Thee . . . (16) and all
is Thine . . . (20) And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed
low and did homage to the LORD and to the king. (21) And on the next day they made sacrifices
to the LORD and offered burnt offerings to the LORD, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams and 1,000 lambs,
with their libations and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. (22) So they ate and drank that
day before the LORD with great gladness . . .

Owners say "My finances and giving are my private business." They tend to resent
questions or challenges from others in this area as intrusive.

> Stewards say "I will seek wise counsel so I can be faithful with God's resources."
Instead of viewing our finances and giving as our private business, we will begin (as with all
important decisions) to see what God's Word says about it, and ask counsel from other more
mature Christians (light from Word; unforeseen implications).
Each of us is ultimately responsible for the use of our finances. Therefore we should approach
financial decisions with a spiritual perspective and with sobriety. If we find ourselves troubled in
this area, we may need to ask ourselves if we have truly given ourselves fully to God as in
Romans 12:1 and 2 Cor. 8:5.
The third biblical principle of financial giving is...
3. Our financial giving is an index of our spiritual vitality and maturity (2 Cor. 8:7).
How would you respond to someone who insists they are spiritually mature because they tithe
despite the fact that they don't know the Word, rarely pray, and aren't in fellowship? We
recognize that the absence of any one of these robs us of spiritual vitality. We need to recognize
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also, that the absence of a sacrificial giving ministry robs us of spiritual vitality.

63

(Luke 12:34) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Xenos Christian Fellowship has had the opposite problem historically: For example one might
say, "Since I know some scripture and I'm busy with God's work, I am spiritually mature even
though I don't give sacrificially." Paul's point in 2 Cor. 8:7 is that giving is just as much a part of
the profile of spiritual maturity as the other things they boasted about.
(Ron Blue) "Your checkbook reveals all that you really believe about stewardship . . . A person
who has been a Christian for even a short while can fake prayer, Bible study, evangelism, going
to church, but he can't fake what his checkbook reveals. Maybe that is why so many o f us are so
secretive about our personal finances.
(1 Tim. 3:3,8) [Elders must be] . . . free from the love of money . . . (8) Deacons
likewise must be men of dignity . . .

We should talk about this area with one another and in our discipleship work. It should
not be "off limits" like it is in the world The fourth biblical principle of financial giving is
...

4. Give according to what you have (8:12).


(2 Cor 8:12) For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not
according to what he does not have.
Because our financial situations vary widely according to many factors (earning power, family
size, previous money management, etc.), it is impossible and unscriptural to set a monetary
standard for what constitutes significant giving. God sets a different standard. 2 Cor. 8:12 says it
is our readiness to give, not the amount we give, that God prizes. It is our willingness to
sacrifice for him that pleases God more than the actual amount. This is what Ron Blue calls the
"could give" level. This is why Paul holds up the Macedonians as models, just as Jesus holds up
the widow in Mk. 12:41-44. We may give significantly no matter how little we may have.
(Mark 12:41-44) And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the
multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large
sums. (42) And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
(43) And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put
in more than all the contributors to the treasury; (44) for they all put in out of their surplus, but

she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

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(Os wald Sanders)"This is. . . the new mathematics, the arithmetic of heaven. God estimates our
gifts not so much by their financial value, as by the sacrifice involved, the love that accompanies
it, and the amount that is left. The supreme value of the widow's gift lay in the fact that she `out
of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on' - while the others gave `out of their
surplus' (Mk. 12:44). Here is a searching test of our giving, but that incident should greatly
encourage those who have only a little to give, but give it gladly." (Oswald Sanders, Enjoying
Intimacy With God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 155.)
Applications: What does this look like?
A. Start giving now.
Many Christians do not give because they think what they can afford to give right now is so
small it doesn't matter (e.g. students; adults digging out of debt: "I'll wait until I'm making more,
get out of debt, fund my retirement, etc., then I'll start giving.").
However, unless we take specific measures, we will tend to spend our disposable income on
ourselves, whatever it is. Those who do not start giving when they have little left never seem to
have anything but little left!
Even if the amount can only be very small initially, establishing this habit will begin to bring you
joy and motivate you to get in a position to be able to give more.
B. Choose an amount that affects your lifestyle.
If you can't feel it, it isn't sacrificial--and this is a reflection of our view of God. This is why God
rebuked Israel for only offering crippled animals (Mal. 1:6-14). They weren't really thanking
God; they were going through a tokenistic religious show. Remember too that in giving the
"best" of the flock that they exercised faith, trusting God to provide more.
(Mal. 1:6-14) "'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is
My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?' says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests
who despise My name. But you say, 'How have we despised Thy name?' (7) You are presenting
defiled food upon My altar. But you say, 'How have we defiled Thee?' In that you say, 'The table
of the LORD is to be despised.' (8) But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?
And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor?
Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts. (9)
"But now will you not entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering
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on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts. (10) "Oh that there

65

were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My
altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from
you. (11) For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name will be great among the
nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is
pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says the LORD of hosts. (12) "But you are
profaning it, in that you say, 'The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be
despised.' (13) You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it," says the
LORD of hosts, "and you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you
bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?" says the LORD. (14) "But cursed be
the swindler who has a male in his flock, and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the
Lord, for I am a great King," says the LORD of hosts, "and My name is feared among the
nations."
An excellent mindset to have is that you want to live NOW in such a way that if the Lord called
you to full-time ministry, you could do it.
Although the tithe is no longer in force, 10% is a good rule of thumb and feasible for many of us
as a starting point. We can give that off the top, and then if we prosper more at the end of the
month/year, we can give more. Certainly, since the tithe was given under the Law, grace should
out-produce the Law in its giving!
Make this a matter of family discussion. Parents shouldn't automatically answer kids' financial
requests with "We can't afford it." Rather, we should say, "We could do/buy that--but we have
chosen not to so we can serve the Lord and others . . . or because we would have to work so
much more that we couldn't spend enough time with you as a family."
C. Incorporate your giving as a definite part of your budget.
Give "off the top" (like our bills) at the beginning of the month, pay-period, etc. (Prov. 3:9;
1 Cor. 16:2). Do not view your giving commitment as disposable income, but rather like your
rent/mortgage, food and utility bills, etc. "Wants" should always wait until this commitment has
been honored.
(Prov. 3:9) Honor the LORD from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce . . .
(1 Cor. 16:2) On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may

prosper, that no collections be made when I come.

66

Giving sporadically according to dramatic needs is inadequate, because ministry needs are very
regular. Big needs require financial preparation. Church leaders need to plan financially, which
requires regular income. Our giving will also be lower than if we co mmit ourselves to a regular
amount. This is Paul's point in 9:5--good giving intentions are often sabotaged by covetousness.
Be faithful to this commitment even when unexpected needs arise (unless impossible). This
gives God the opportunity to show you his faithfulness (PERSONAL EXAMPLES).
Some may object to a pledge with the statement, "But it seems so impersonal." But the Bible
insists that we can and should give regularly and with the right heart attitude, just like we should
assemble with other Christians regularly and with the proper attitude (Heb. 10:24,25). If you
give regularly but heartlessly, the solution is not to cease giving, but to get before God and
change your heart! Those who wait until their heart attitude is right to start regular giving never
seem to get there.
"What about windfalls (bonuses; gifts; inhe ritances)?" Unless we plan in advance how we
will deal with unexpected income, our flesh just takes over and we will spend it selfishly. We
must remember that financial abundance is not necessarily a blessing and in fact, may lead to
one's spiritual demise. On the other hand we could bless others with our riches and receive a
blessing

from

God.

Shouldn't we expect to give more than 10% of windfalls?


"What about faith giving?" Individuals are free to give even "beyond their ability" if they
believe God wants them to and can trust him to meet their financial needs in extraordinary ways.
The Macedonians did this (8:3), and Paul holds them up as an example much like Jesus did the
widow. If you choose to do this, you should accept full responsibility for the outcome and look
to the Lord for your help, not expecting other Christians to make up the short- fall.
5. The needs of others should have a moral bearing on our finances (2 Cor. 8:13-15).
2CO 8:13-15 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality-14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that t heir abundance also
may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, "HE WHO
gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO

LACK."

67

"Equality" here means that every Christian has sufficient resources. God gives me an excess of
money (in part) so I can make up for the lack of another Christian (Eph. 4:28). The situation may
well be reversed at another time. God has a special concern for the poor (Prov. 14:31).
(Eph. 4:28) Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own
hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.
(Gal. 6:10) So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those
who are of the household of the faith.
(Prov. 14:31) He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who is gracious to the
needy honors Him.

This passage teaches that we have no right to hoard money or possessions when we
are aware of others in legitimate need. This is an implication and application of
stewardship. This principle applies to the Body of Christ, since we are the family of God
and brothers and sisters of each other--and also to the non-Christian poor.

What would you think of a father who spent all his paycheck on golfing when his wife and
children were going hungry and ill-clothed? His right to spend it on himself is limited by the
needs of his family.
Some Christian professionals believe that their witness to their peers would be damaged if t hey
lived a simple life-style. They fear that secular peers will think they are weird. Why not answer
that they have better things to do with their money, realizing the significant needs of others.
Qualification: We should not let lazy Christians take advantage of the generosity of others.
Instead, we should confront them about their irresponsibility, call on them to pull their share of
the load, and even excommunicate them if they persist.
(2 Thess. 3:6-12) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of o ur Lord Jesus Christ, that
you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition
which you received from us. (7) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example,
because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, (8) nor did we eat anyone's bread
without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we
might not be a burden to any of you; (9) not because we do not have the right to this, but in order
to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example. (10) For even when we
were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. (11)
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For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but

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acting like busybodies. (12) Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ
to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
(1 Tim. 5:8,16) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his
household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever . . . (16) If any woman who is
a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that
it may assist those who are widows indeed.
Acts 4:32-35 teaches charity on a local level. 2 Cor. 8:13-15 also applies it on an extra-local
level. Passages like Gal. 6:10 remind us that we also should help non-Christians who are poor
(although the Christian poor take priority).
Application:
A. Simple Lifestyle
Because of the obvious and ongoing need of other Christians locally and globally, this principle
of generosity argues for a simple lifestyle so that as God prospers us in our earning power, we
may give more and more (proportionately) to his purposes (RALPH WINTER'S "WARTIME
LIFESTYLE" from Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Chapter 84).
If you allow your spending habits to increase proportionately to your income, then
it will be very difficult for you to take advantage of ministry opportunities which
require a smaller income. But if you learn to live simply, you will be able to take
advantage of these opportunities. There are many examples of people who have
done this in the church.
This applies to DINKS (Duel Income, No Kids) as well. If you unnecessarily put
yourself in a position that requires both incomes, even when beginning to have
children, the integrity of your family and your walk with God may be
compromised.
Qualification: Some people due to their job situations are unable to hold the
family together financially without both spouses working. However, even they
should review their expenses and see possible unnecessary expenditures. Again,
the giver may help people in this situation.
B. Learn the plight of the poor.
Many of us never associate with the poor and therefore don't have any appreciation for their
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struggles. Here are a few ways we can learn how the other half lives:

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Volunteer for Urban Concern or the west side Youth For Christ ministry

Read books by Ron Sider, John Perkins and other authors who write about poverty

Go on a short term missions trip

Stay on top of the news

C. Xenos General Fund supports Urban Concern, missions and other ministries to the
poor.
You can also direct United Way funds to U.C. Your personal Xenos missions giving gets at this
to some degree. Other organizations like World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, and Compassion
International enable you to help support a child. Before you give to an organization, check it out
for integrity, amount of overhead, etc.
6. God abundantly blesses the gracious giver (2 Cor. 9:6,8-14).
(2 Cor. 9: 6ff, 8-14) Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who
sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully... {8}And God is able to make all grace abound to
you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good
deed; {9} as it is written, "HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS
RIGHTEOUSNESS ABIDES FOREVER." {10} Now He who supplies seed to the sower and
bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your
righteousness; {11} you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is
producing thanksgiving to God. {12} For the ministry of this service is not o nly fully supplying
the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. {13}
Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your
confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the libera lity of your contribution to them and to all,
{14} while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of
God in you.
This principle has been so abused by "Health and Wealth" preachers that many Christians have
"thrown the baby out with the bath water." Religious hucksters misapply vs 6 as an incentive to
give in order to get rich, thus violating 1 Tim. 6:5-10. But Paul undeniably teaches in this
passage that godly financial giving does result in blessing to the giver, and the more bountifully
we sow, the more bountifully we will reap. He clearly holds this out as an incentive to give.
What will we reap?
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A. We may reap increased financial resources to enable us to give more (vs 10a).

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God may bless us financially if we give bountifully. Other New Testament passages teach this
(Lk. 6:38; Mk. 10:28-30; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:18,19). Of course, this may not mean staggering
wealth. Neither are we to hoard this, but rather continue to be a "conduit" to bless others. Vs 8
and 11a seem to broaden this promise out to include every kind of needed resource
("everything").
B. We will reap increased effectiveness for God (vs 10b).
This phrase is difficult to interpret. It may mean we will reap the privilege of greater
involvement and results in God's work. Faithfulness in money matters allows God to entrust us
with greater ministry opportunities.
(Luke 16:9-11**) And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the
mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the
eternal dwellings. (10) He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in
much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
(11) If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon,
who will entrust the true riches to you?
Christ shows that we cannot "compensate" for poor giving by other forms of
ministry. Rather, he clearly states that money is a "very little thing" in his view. If
we don't handle it appropriately, what indication is there we'll be good stewards of
"true riches" -- like unsaved people, that he would like to place in our lives?
(Acts 4:32-34) And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and
soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own;
but all things were common property to them. (33) And with great power the
apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant
grace was upon them all. (34) For there was not a needy person among them, for
all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of
the sales,
If we want to have eternal impact on people's lives through evangelism and
discipleship, first look to this area.
C. We will reap the privilege of seeing others affected for Christ (vs 11b-13).
It is a wonderful thing to see that God has worked through you to bless other people (bringing
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friend to Christ; discipling those who are now solid workers for Christ; providing these classes;

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missions fruit; Urban Concern kids; Xenos baptisms. Because of salaries & facilities, many of
these ministries thrive and grow; Xenos' future growth because of increased new facilities (Main
Campus; Campus Bible Study; new Youth Building).
D. We will reap increased frie nds who love us and pray for us (vs 14).
Paul greatly valued this, and we should, too.
E. We will reap increased eternal re ward (1 Tim. 6:19).
God will point out the people reached (in part) through your giving to missions, etc.--and
praise/reward you for it!
(1 Tim. 6:17-19**) Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix
their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to
enjoy. (18) Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
(19) storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may
take hold of that which is life indeed.
Note: The Corinthians evidently responded to Paul's exhortation (see Rom. 15:26,27).

7. Our first responsibility is to support our local church.


There is a moral obligation to support those from whom you regularly benefit spiritually (contra
GIVING BOYCOTT if one doesn't agree with a particular leadership decision).
(Gal. 6:6) And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.
(1 Tim. 5:17,18) Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially
those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (18) For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT
MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
The Results of Generous Giving
Paul concludes his appeal by pointing to the benefits the Corinthians will reap as a result of
generous giving. Each generation takes delight in putting its practical wisdom in memorable
form. For us it is maxims like "A stitch in time saves nine," "Don't count your chickens before
they hatch" and "Look before you leap." In like fashion Paul sums up the benefits of liberality by
means of a maxim: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows
generously will also reap generously. From all appearances Paul is quoting a popular saying. It is

reaps what he sows"). There is no exact scriptural parallel. A similar thought is found in a

one that he finds useful, since it reappears in slightly truncated form in Galatians 6:7 ("A man

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number of Old Testament texts (such as Job 4:8; Prov 11:24-26; 22:8-9; Hos 10:12-13). But the
closest parallel actually appears in the teaching of Jesus: "Give, and it will be given to you. . . .
With the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Lk 6:38).
The principle is clear: we harvest in proportion to our planting--or, to use a contemporary
maxim, "we get as good as we give." This applies as well to charitable giving--so much so that
Paul takes eight verses to spell this out (9:8-15). But before doing so, in verse 7 he offers the
Corinthians three guidelines for giving beyond what he has already listed in 8:11-15.
First, giving is to be an individual matter that is settled in the privacy of one's own heart. Each,
Paul says, should give what he has decided in his heart to give. Each is placed first for emphasis.
"How much?" is a question that each person must answer for herself. And it is never to be
determined by how much "the Joneses" are contributing.
Second, giving requires resolve. The text reads what he has decided (literally, "as each has
purposed"). The verb proaireomai, found only here in the New Testament, means "to choose
deliberately" or "to make up one's own mind about something." It is a well-known fact that
telethons that play on people's emotions to solicit contributions often end up with donors who
pledge impulsively but not deliberately enough to follow through on their pledge. Paul says that
giving is to be based on a calculated decision. It is not a matter to be settled lightly or
impulsively.
Third, giving is to be a private, not a public, decision. It is to be decided in the heart. It is an
unfortunate reality that some Christians will give only if there is some form of public acclaim or
recognition involved. Endowed chairs, scholarship funds and building projects are rarely
underoritten anonymously. Usually much pomp and circumstance is attached to these donations,
with the contributor's name(s) prominently displayed and the donation itself frequently praised
and honored publicly. The real reason to give is because one cannot help but give--or, as William
Barclay puts it, because the "need wakens a desire that cannot be stilled" (1954:233). This desire
is in fact to give the way God gave; it was because he so loved the world that he gave his only
Son.
Paul identifies four beneficiaries of charitable giving in verses 8-14: the giver (vv. 8-11), the
recipients (v. 12), God (vv. 11-12) and the church (vv. 13-14). In the first place, the giver
benefits. God's response to generosity is to make all grace abound to the giver. The idea of grace
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abounding is a familiar one in these chapters. The verb "to abound" (perisseuo) is found six

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times. The noun grace (charis) is no stranger either, appearing ten times in all. Here it refers to
the giver's unmerited favor from God.
But what form does God's favor take? Is Paul thinking of spiritual benefits or material blessings?
The focus in the context is clearly on material blessings. Yet Paul could well be thinking of all
the benefits we receive from God. For inherent in the term grace is the idea that whatever we
possess, be it physical or spiritual, we possess by reason of God's goodwill toward us, not
because of personal merit.
We also possess it by reason of God's power. God is able is perhaps better rendered "God is
powerful" (dynatei ho theos; v. 8). It is God Almighty who provides the means to be generous.
This same thought is found in proverbial form in the teaching of Jesus: "Freely you have
received, freely give" (Mt 10:8). The order here is important. It is only as we ha ve freely
received that we can, in turn, freely give.
God's abounding grace extends beyond the mere replenishment of resources. He is powerful not
only to replace resources spent in Christian service but also to multiply them to the point that at
all times and in all things we have all that we need (v. 8). Autarkeia ("all that is needed") means
to be sufficient in oneself or self-supporting. Cynics and Stoics aimed at the kind of selfsufficiency that permitted indifference to other people and to circumstances. To a certain extent
Paul aligns himself with this sentiment. Like the Stoic, the Christian aspires to be free from
dependence on material possessions--or, as Paul puts it, "to be content whatever the
circumstances" (Phil 4:11). To learn to be content with very little requires that one want very
little: "If we have food and clothing, we will be content" (1 Tim 6:8). And the less one wants, the
greater the means for relieving the needs of others (Plummer 1915:260).
This is a very difficult notion for Westerners today, for the drive in our world too often is to getget-get and buy-buy-buy. An attitude of contentment like Paul's presupposes trust and confidence
in God to provide for our basic needs. If we are secure in his love and know that he undertakes to
watch over our lives, then all anxiety for the future will be gone (Siede 1978:728).
Furthermore, Paul parts company with his Stoic contemporaries. For while he aims to be free of
his circumstances, he does not aim to be free of people. The point of our resources' being
replenished is so that we, in turn, can abound in every good work (v. 8). Money is given not to be

hoarded but to promote good (Murphy-O'Connor 1991:91).

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To illustrate this point Paul quotes the psalmist's praise of those who give freely to the poor: He
has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever (v. 9; Ps 112:9 [LXX
111:9]). The person who dares to be generous toward those in need is compared to the farmer
who scatters his seed while sowing. To sow by scattering is the opposite of sowing sparingly.
The farmer who scatters seed is generous with it. His gifts to the poor is literally "he gives to the
poor." The term for poor denotes someone who works for a living (the day laborer; penhs), not
the destitute (ptochos). The Old Testament gleaning laws provided for the basic needs of those
without any personal means of support, such as the widow, the alien or the orphan (for example,
Lev 19:9-10; Deut 24:17-22). Beyond this, it fell to those with surplus income to meet other
kinds of needs (see Ps 112:5: "Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely").
"Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a
character; sow a character and you reap a destiny" (Samuel Smiles, Life and Labor). The destiny
of the person who gives liberally is a righteousness that endures forever (v. 9). The sense is not
immediately clear. Righteousness could refer to general moral uprightness (Barrett 1973:238) or
to specific acts of piety (Plummer 1915:261). Scattered abroad his gifts to the poor suggests the
latter, although generosity of the hand usually issues from generosity of the heart. Such
righteousness endures forever. How so? The phrase could mean "is never forgotten"--that is,
God will remember the givers' goodness and reward them with eternal life (Bratcher 1983:99)-or that their reputation for doing good will be recalled by subsequent generations (JB).
Alternatively, the phrase could mean "never stops"--that is, the effects of their generosity will
continue on from generation to generation (TEV, NEB). Personal renown seems to fit the context
the best. For not only will the Corinthian offering meet a real need, but it will also overflow in
many expressions of thanks to God (v. 12) and many heartfelt prayers for the Corinthians (v. 14).
Paul differed from the Stoic in one other significant respect. He pursued God-dependency rather
than self-sufficiency. The generous giver, like the farmer, is dependent from start to finish on
God: he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your
store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness (v. 10). The idea is an Old
Testament one. "Seed for the sower and bread for the eater" comes from Isaiah 55:10, while "the
harvest of your righteousness" is taken from Hosea 10:12 (LXX). It was widely believed that

material prosperity was the result of divine blessing. Paul to a certain extent reflects this belief. It

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is God "who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment," he tells Timothy (1 Tim
6:17).
Take the farmer. God provides not only for his immediate physical needs in the form of a harvest
of grain for his daily bread but also for his future needs in the form of seed for next year's
planting (supplies seed to the sower; 2 Cor 9:10). If God routinely does this for the farmer, he
surely is able to do it for us--provided that we have good intentions. God supplies our seed and
even increases it so that we can be generous on every occasion (vv. 10-11). The term haplotes
("generous") denotes singleness of character ("noble"), heart ("pure") or intent ("sincere,"
"openhearted"; Bauernfeind 1964). Here, as in verse 2, it signifies openheartedness with one's
possessions, or generosity.
The general principle is thus that the more we give, the more we will get from God. And the
more we get, the more we are expected to give. John Bunyan wrote, "A man there was and they
called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had." Of course Bunyan was writing of the
Christian. To the world such a principle of giving is nonsense. But to Paul it is a reality of the
Christian life.
The idea that God can and does multiply the generous giver's material resources is not well
received today. Experience seems to indicate otherwise. The rich, who often are stingy with their
wealth, seem to get richer, and the poor, who frequently are the most liberal givers, appear to get
poorer. As a result, it is sometimes suggested that the "supplier" in verse 10 is not God but other
Christians who come to the aid of those who put themselves at risk through generosity (MurphyO'Connor 1991:93). Or it is proposed that seed and harvest are spiritual, not material,
endowments (Martin 1986:292). But Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians that they will be made
rich in every way so that [they] can be generous on every occasion (v. 11). The primary act of
generosity that he has in mind is charitable giving, as supplying the needs of God's people in
verse 12 makes clear.
Nonetheless, we do well to observe what Paul does not say. He does not say that wealth or
surplus income is a sign of God's blessing. Nor is it giving per se that is applauded. It is, rather, a
lifestyle of generosity that Paul commends. For those who give cheerfully and willingly, the
promise is that God will provide all that they need to continue doing good.
Not only does the giver benefit from generosity, but the recipients benefit as well. This service
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that you perform, Paul says, supplies the needs of God's people (v. 12). The text is literally "the

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service [diakonia] of this service [leitourgia]." Diakonia, commonly translated "ministry" (3:79; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3) or "service" (8:4; 9:1), can refer more specifically to "aid" or "support,"
especially of the charitable variety (compare Acts 6:1; 11:29; Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich 1979).
The aid Paul has in mind is the Corinthians' contribution to the Jerusalem collection, which is
called a leitourgia. The word means "work for the people" (ergon + laos) and was used in
Hellenistic Greek for service to the community that certain persons were under obligation to do
because of the size of their income (Hess 1978:551).
How this applies to the Jerusalem collection is not immediately clear. Is the stress on performing
a public duty (promoting the welfare of the community)? Or is the focus on carrying out a
religious service (serving God through meeting the needs of his people)? Paul uses the term in
Philippians 2:25 and 30 more generally of the "help" he received from Epaphroditus when he
was in prison, and this may well be the sense here.
The specific help rendered by the offering is that of supplying the needs of the Judean Christians.
Hysterema ("needs") denotes a shortage or deficiency of basic necessities. In the first century this
amounted to food, clothing and shelter (2 Cor 11:27). So the help offered through the
Corinthians' contribution is by way of necessity, not luxury.
God is the third beneficiary of generous giving. This service, Paul states, is also overflowing in
many expressions of thanks to God (vv. 11-12). The grammar of verse 12 is ambiguous. Pollon
eucharistion could be "many people who give thanks" (as in Martin 1986:294) or "many
thanksgivings" (as in Plummer 1915:265). Many expressions of thanks catches the sense (NIV,
NEB, Phillips). In any event, it is not the Corinthians who receive the recipients' gratitude but
God, which is as it should be.
God is also the recipient of praise (v. 13). Because of this service, Paul remarks, men will praise
God. The subject of the Greek participle doxazontes is not immediately clear. The RSV and
NRSV take it to be the Corinthians themselves: "you will glorify God by your obedience." The
KJV, LB, JB and REB, on the other hand, assume that the praise comes from the recipients
("those you help"). Phillips, NEB, NIV and TEV, yet again, construe the referent more generally
as "many" (men will praise God).
On the whole, the second option seems preferable. Since the participle does not stand in strict
grammatical agreement with anything in the immediate context, the subject must be supplied
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from the logic of the argument. And unless Paul has completely lost track of the argument, the

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logical subject is eis autous ("to them," v. 13)--that is, the recipients of the offering. Paul's point
is that the church at large recognizes the collection for what it is : God's grace at work in the lives
of the contributors. As in all areas of life, "the chief end" of humankind is "to glorify God and to
enjoy him forever" (Westminster Catechism, question 1). So while the immediate aim of the
collection is to relieve want, the ultimate goal is to bring honor to God--the enabler and provider
of all that we possess.
The recipients' praise is grounded in too things. They will praise God, Paul says, first for the
obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ and, second, for your
generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else (v. 13). The first phrase is literally "for
the obedience of your confession." The genitive could be subjective ("the obedience that comes
from your Christian profession"), objective ("your obedience to your profession"; RSV, NIV, JB,
NEB, REB), adjectival ("your professed obedience"; KJV) or even epexegetic ("your obedience,
namely, your Christian profession"; as in Furnish 1984:445; Martin 1986:294). The first too
options best fit the meaning of the noun homologia, a term that in Hellenistic Greek denotes an
agreement or compact (a common [homo-] statement [logia]). The opposite of an uncritical
opinion, it implies assent to something felt to be valid and in such a way that it is followed by
definite resolve and action (Michel 1967:200). "Profession" (JB, Phillips), the act of publicly
declaring assent to commonly held beliefs, is perhaps a better translation than confession (NIV),
which is usually associated with acknowledgment of sin or guilt. The common belief that is
being professed is the gospel of Christ (or "the gospel about Christ"--objective genitive).
Paul's point is that to be vital and living, profession of faith must issue in works. The Corinthians'
willing contribution to the Jerusalem collection shows that they possess a faith that accepts the
claims of the gospel and obeys its dictates as well. Phillips's "that you practise the gospel . . . that
you profess to believe in" captures the sense exactly. Paul is not alone in closely linking
profession and practice. James similarly states that "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by
action, is dead" (2:17, 26) and "useless" (v. 20).
The Judean recipients will praise God, second, for the Corinthians' generosity in sharing with
them and with everyone else (v. 13). This is the last of three occurrences of haplotes
("generosity") in chapters 8--9. In all three cases the noun denotes simplicity of intent with
respect to one's finances ("openheartedness"; 8:2; 9:11, 13). It is generosity of the heart, not the
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pocketbook, that counts. The recipients will praise God not merely for a gift of money but also

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for the fellowship in Christ that the gift expresses (Dahl 1977:35). Koinwnia ("sharing"), found
four times in 2 Corinthians, refers to that which is held in common. In the New Testament it
comes to denote the close union and caring concern of the members of Christ's body, the church
(6:14; 8:4; 9:13; 13:13). It is a union that is forged by the Spirit (13:14) but that finds co ncrete
expression in the contributions of the Gentile churches to meet the physical needs of their fellow
believers in Judea.
Paul enlarges the scope of recipients to include not only the Judean believers but also everyone
else (v. 13). At face value the comment is obscure. The most reasonable construal is that with
them refers to the Jerusalem church, which, in turn, would distribute the funds to everyone else
in need. Alternatively, kai eis pantas may be Paul's way of pointing out to the Corinthians that
what benefits the Judean believers benefits the whole body of Christians (Plummer 1915:267).
Fourth and finally, the church as a whole benefits from generous giving. Here is the key to the
urgency of Paul's appeal. For the most part, the recipients were co nservative Jewish Christians
who still regarded the Gentiles with a certain amount of fear and suspicion. For them the
collection proves the Gentiles' profession of faith (v. 13). Dokimes (the noun behind the verb
proved here) connotes a test in order to verify someone's or something's genuineness or worth. In
this case the collection serves as the test by which the Gentiles' faith is shown to be genuine.
Paul anticipates that the offering will impact the church in too additional ways: prayers for the
Corinthians will be offered, and a closer relationship betoeen the Jewish recipients and the
Gentile donors will be forged (v. 14). Because of the surpassing grace God has given the
Corinthians, one expected result of the collection is that the recipients will pray for them (their
prayers for you). N. P. Willis once said, "Gratitude is not only the memory, but the homage of
the heart rendered to God for his goodness." It is not enough to feel grateful for what others do
for us. Heartfelt gratitude issues in prayer on the person's behalf. Prayer, in turn, has a way of
bringing us into a closer relationship with those for whom we intercede. This is the second
expected result that Paul anticipates. As the recipients pray, Paul says that their hearts will go out
to the contributing churches (v. 14). Epipothew ("go out to, yearn after") is another word that
turns up a number of times in chapters 7--9 (7:7, 11; 9:14). As the Jewish recipients pray for their
Gentile patrons, their hearts will be warmed toward them, and they will long to see and have a

closer relationship with them (M. J. Harris 1976:378).

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Paul caps off his appeal with what in form is a thanksgiving but in fact is a reminder of the
supreme example of giving: Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (v. 15). We can never
outgive God, for he gave beyond all human imagining. In fact, he gave what Paul calls an
indescribable gift. The term anekdihghtos, found only here in the Greek Bible (and only once
outside the New Testament), denotes something that is beyond human description ("ineffable"-Liddell, Scott and Jones 1978). What, then, is this indescribable gift? Some suppose that this is
Paul's final attempt to motivate generous giving by labeling the expected Corinthian gift as
beyond all imagining. Others believe that Paul is describing the miracle of Jew-Gentile unity (for
example, Plummer 1915:267-68) or the universal gospel (Martin 1986:295). Most, however,
identify God's indescribable gift with Jesus Christ. We can give without loving, but we cannot
love without giving. God so loved us that he gave the ultimate gift, whose cost can never be
matched: the gift of his only Son.
Was Paul's appeal successful? Acts 20:2-3 would suggest so. Luke tells us that Paul made his
announced third visit to Corinth and stayed three montes. The length of his visit suggests that he
received a ready welcome and that matters were in order regarding the Corinthians' contribution
to the relief fund. Paul admits as much in Romans 15:26-27, when he states that "Macedonia and
Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem." Yet
Luke lists no delegate(s) for the Achaian churches. It may be that there was not sufficient time to
arrange for a delegate to accompany the funds to Jerusalem. Or the Corinthians could have
decided to forgo representation as a way of demonstrating their belated trust in Paul's integrity.
Paul and the delegates arrived at Jerusalem and were received "warmly" (Acts 21:17). Not a
word is said, however, about the collection itself. Some conclude from Luke's silence that the
offering was not well received. But arguments from silence are precarious ones at best.
Moreover, the difficulty that captures Luke's attention is not the Jerusalem church's response to
the collection but the trouble that unbelieving Jews from Asia caused Paul: "Jews from the
province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him,
shouting, `Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our
people and our law and this place' " (Acts 21:27-36). Paul anticipated encountering problems in
Jerusalem and asked the Roman church to pray that he be rescued from unbelieving Jews in

Judea (Rom 15:31). But the collection was far too important to deter him, for it symbolized, as it

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were, the very nature of the church--a community called out from many backgrounds to be "in

Christ" (Craddock 1968:170).

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Chapter 6
Humility

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (KJV, Matthew 5:5-9)
People often wonder humility means or what is the definition of humility. In the Bible, humility
or humbleness is a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of
aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Rather than, "Me first," humility allows us
to say, "No, you first, my friend." Humility is the quality that lets us go more than halfway to
meet the needs and demands of others.
Friendships and marriages are dissolved over angry words. Resentments divide families and coworkers. Prejudice separates race from race and religion from religion. Reputations are destroyed
by malicious gossip. Greed puts enmity between rich and poor. Wars are fought over arrogant
assertions.
Humility as a virtue is a major theme of both the Old and New Testaments. Why do qualities
such as courtesy, patience and deference have such a prominent p lace in the Bible? It is because
a demeanor of humility is exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with all persons.
Humility dissipates anger and heals old wounds. Humility allows us to see the dignity and worth
of all God's people. Humility distinguishes the wise leader from the arrogant power-seeker.
Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth. Rather, it affirms the
inherent worth of all persons. Some would consider humility to be a psychological malady that
interferes with "success." However, wealth, power or status gained at the expense of others
brings only anxiety -- never peace and love.
Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it. (NAS, Proverbs
15:17)
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Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. (NIV, Proverbs 16:8)

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It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (NAS,
Proverbs 16:19)
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
(NIV, Proverbs 16:32)
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. (NIV, Proverbs
17:1)
The Humble Demeanor
We should maintain an attitude of deference toward both God and other persons. Wisdom cannot
be found or practiced through arrogance or anger. As servants of God, we must respect all of
God's creation, including our fellow human beings.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another
praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. (NIV, Proverbs 27:12)
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the
upright will guide them, but the falseness of the treacherous will destroy them. (NAS, Proverbs
11:2-3)
Humility means putting God and other persons ahead of our own selfish interests. Humility
comes with the knowledge that God's creation as a whole transcends our own narrow interests.
As with other aspects of wisdom, humility will gain us much more than we sacrifice.
Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. (NIV, Proverbs 22:4)
"But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "And whoever exalts himself shall be
humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (NAS, Matthew 23:11-12)
And [Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you,
unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
"Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (NAS,
Matthew 18:2-4)
The Golde n Rule
Do to others as you would have them do to you. "If you love those who love you, what credit is
that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if yo u do good to those who are good
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to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom

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you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be
repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get
anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because
he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (NIV, Luke 6:31-35)
The Golden Rule, spoken by Jesus, is possibly the best known quote from the Bible, and contains
a lot of wisdom in one short sentence. If we wish to be loved, we must first give love. If we wish
to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we despise. If we wish to be fulfilled in
our lives, we must share generously with others.
Talk and Gossip
Arrogant words inflame prejudice and hatred, but humble speech soothes. Words make or break
human relationships. Words can make war or make peace. The words we say or write have
tremendous power for good or evil. We should be as careful with our words as we would be with
any other "weapon."
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise
commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (NIV, Proverbs 15:1-2)
"The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his
evil treasure brings forth what is evil. "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall
speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. "For by your words you shall be
justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." (NAS, Matthew 12:35-37)
Gossip is an act of hostility intended to harm someone's reputation. We must avoid the
temptation to misrepresent someone's character or actions as an act of revenge or prejudice.
An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends. (TLB, Proverbs 16:28)
Judging Others
Self-righteousness is one of the hardest sins to avoid because it is so much easier to see other
peoples faults than to see our own faults. Rather than look for faults in others, we should look for
the good in others and try to correct the faults within ourselves. Jesus' comical parable of a
person with a board in his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another's eye reminds us that
we probably have bigger faults within ourselves (including self-righteousness) than the faults we

would criticize in others:

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"Don't criticize, and then you won't be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And
why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you
say, 'Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,' when you can't even see because of
the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your
brother. (TLB, Matthew 7:1-5)
Don't criticize and speak evil about each other, dear brothers. If you do, you will be fighting
against God's law of loving one another, declaring it is wrong. But your job is not to decide
whether this law is right or wrong, but to obey it. Only he who made the law can rightly judge
among us. He alone decides to save us or destroy. So what right do you have to judge or criticize
others? (TLB, James 4:11-12)
We should not infer that criminal activity should go unrestrained or unpunished: the laws of
Moses had strong sanctions for criminal acts, and the Bible strongly supports civil governments.
(See the section on Government.) However, we are reminded that judgment is reserved for God
and we should concentrate on correcting our own faults rather than criticizing others for their
faults.
Ange r and Revenge
No one makes us angry. Anger is our own emotional response to some action or event. More
often than not, our angry feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said or did.
Expressing anger tends to prolong and reinforce our anger rather than purge it. Angry words and
actions are much more likely to escalate hostilities and block communication than to solve a
problem. Whether between parent and child, spouses, friends, or nations, expressions of anger
divide us and drive us toward open hostility.
It is all too easy to react to life's annoyances and disappointments with anger. It is far more
challenging, but much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this way, we can
quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor incidents into major battles. The humble
demeanor is a perfect tool for avoiding disputes and hard feelings.
A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back. (NAS, Proverbs 29:11)
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to
become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (NIV,

James 1:19-20)

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Holding a grudge can consume us with hatred, blocking out all enjoyment of life. A grudge
clouds our judgment and may lead us to an act of revenge that can never be undone.
"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your ne ighbor as
yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV, Leviticus 19:18)
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. (NIV, Proverbs
29:22)
Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate responses to a perceived wrong. A
grudge destroys the grudge- holder with bitterness; revenge only escalates hostilities. Jesus told
us we must reconcile with our adversaries, forgive their transgressions, and let go of the anger
that may tempt us to commit an act of revenge:
"Under the laws of Moses the rule was, 'If you murder, you must die.' But I have added to that
rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of
judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court.
And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (TLB, Matthew 5:21-22)
Returning love for hatred can often cool the fires of anger. It is very difficult not to respond to
anger with even more anger. However, when we respond to anger with empathy and love, we
can often break the cycle of hatred and convert even our enemies into friends. Jesus gave us the
unique command to love even our enemies:
"There is a saying, 'Love your friends and hate your enemies.' But I say: Love your enemies!
Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in
heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on
the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that
much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the
heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (TLB,
Matthew 5:43-48)
By humility we acknowledge that God created us for his purposes and not for our selfglorification. By humility we acknowledge the dignity of all God's people. By humilit y we cool
the angry passions of others. By humility we can turn enemies into friends.
A humble demeanor is not a denial of our worth as individuals. Rather, it is the tool that allows

us, insofar as possible, to be on good terms with all persons.

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Bible Verses about Humility

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 | NIV |

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above
yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 | NIV |

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of
low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 12:16 | NIV |

When

pride

comes,

then

comes

disgrace,

but with humility comes wisdom.


Proverbs 11:2 | NIV |

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the
wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading
beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Gods sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4 | NIV |

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 | NIV |
Therefore, as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12 | NIV |

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Humility

is

the

fear

of

the

Lord;

its wages are riches and honor and life.


Proverbs 22:4 | NIV |

Pride

brings

person

low,

but the lowly in spirit gain honor.


Proverbs 29:23 | NIV

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done
in the humility that comes from wisdom.
James 3:13 | NIV |

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will
find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:29-30 | NIV |
Humble yourselves, therefore, under Gods mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6 | NIV |

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves a nd pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and
will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 | NIV |

Before

downfall

the

heart

is

haughty,

but humility comes before honor.


Proverbs 18:12 | NIV

Finally, all of you, be like- minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and
humble.
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1 Peter 3:8 | NIV |

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Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, Anyone who wants to be first must be the very
last, and the servant of all.
Mark 9:35 | NIV |

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsand the things that are notto
nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 | NIV |

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.


And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 | NIV |

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the
synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their
reward in full.
Matthew 6:2 | NIV |

Good and upright is the Lord;


therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
Psalm 25:8-9 | NIV |
Wisdoms instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 15:33 | NIV |

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Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands love your wives
and do not be harsh with them.
Colossians 3:18-19 | NIV |

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the
flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13 | NIV |
Then he said to them, Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and
whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you
all who is the greatest.
Luke 9:48 | NIV |

To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:20 | NIV |

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he
does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37 | NIV |

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his
power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 | NIV |

He must become greater; I must become less.


John 3:30 | NIV |

For the Lord takes delight in his people;


he crowns the humble with victory.
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Psalm 149:4 | NIV |

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It is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord,


every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.

Romans 14:11 | NIV |

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Chapter 7
Faith, prayer and action

Clearly Spirit, Great Mystery, the Creator is in all things, guiding us in understanding our
individual and collective journeys. As a community of dancers in search of healing and renewal,
we seek to learn how we can deepen our sense of the sacred through meaningful prayer.
The definitions many of us learned while growing up about Faith, Prayer, and Action may no
longer serve our current conditions, so perhaps the time is ripe to start anew. We encourage
your mind and heart to open to new possibilities, to explore new ways of looking at how we can
bridge the divide between the seen and the unseen.

Faith
Theres good reason why Spirit is often called Great Mystery. As humans, as two -leggeds
walking this earth, we quickly learn that our human reasoning is not enough to exist on this
planet. It becomes our responsibility to find what works and doesnt work on this earth,
and to find ways to integrate Spirit into our lives. How do we find balance between heaven

and earth?

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Sadly most of what weve learned about faith over the years may be faulty, wrong, dangerous, or
even self-serving hooey. Weve been burned so often weve lost faith in faith!
Faith requires a sense of trust in something that may be unknowable or elusive to our
rational way of human thinking. Sometimes our first tentative steps can begin by allowing the
heart to roam new terrain more freely. The biggest and best investment we can ever make is to
begin building our trust in Spirit; no small task.
While we ourselves may be trekking into unseen worlds for the first time, the path is well
trodden by thousands and millions before us. Our beliefs in what we think is real may be
challenged, stretched, and tested. We must relearn confidence in our own intuition and o ur
deep understanding of what is right and true for us.

Prayer
Prayer is our means of communication with Spirit. We need to recognize that a dialogue is
going on if only we have the ears to hear, the inner sight to see, the courage to speak and the
wisdom to act. Many dancers, their families and friends have discovered that prayer works,
even if they dont unde rstand why it works.
There are big prayers, little prayers, private prayers, shared prayers: all shapes and sizes. The
most powe rful are those heartfelt praye rs with intent and purpose behind the m. It is an
invitation to Great Mystery to step in and assist. Prayers are a striving to become whole again
amidst

the

stresses

and

struggles

of

daily

life.

The strongest of praye rs emanate from the deep recesses of ones heart. Prayers permit
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unexpected responses, perhaps in ways you least imagine. It takes courage, patience, gratitude,

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and a sense of humor to invite Great Mystery into ones life. As the Elders say, be careful what

you pray for, you just might get it!

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Action
As human beings one of our most sacred duties on this earth is right action in balance and
harmony with our prayers and the guidance we may receive from our ancestors and Great
Mystery. Its time to walk the talk.
Right action can come only after we have sat with our praye rs, listened to guidance, and
reached a state of clarity. Faith shouldnt drive any of your actions until you find clarity. Faith
without clarity is just ideology, the Crusades all over again. There is no benefit or wisdom by
acting on blind faith.
We can recognize our responsibility not only to ourselves and Spirit, but also to the various
families and communities to whom we are connected. Each Dance community goes through
many growing pains as it finds healthy and sustainable ways to be in relation with others.
Bringing It All Together
By deepening our understanding of prayer we recognize the interrelatedness it has with
our faith and how we act in the world. We look to our Medicine Bundles, to our ancestors, to
our guides, to Creator in an effort to continue the deepening for balance and harmony on Mother

Earth, for all our relations.

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Chapter 8
Total obedience

It was Gods plan to teach the Israelites to have total obedience to Him, even
thought they might not understand what He was doing.
Numbers 9: 15-23
And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the
tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of
fire, until the morning.
So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel
journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their
tents.
At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of
the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept
the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not.
And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the
commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the
Lord they journeyed.
And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken
up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was
taken up, they journeyed.
Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle,
remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was
taken up, they journeyed.
At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord
they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of
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Moses.

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The dictionary definition of obedience: 1. complying with or conforming to a command; being


dutiful 2. Deferring habitually to laws or superiors; being submissive
The above verses show that God expected the Israelites to be ready to move as soon as the cloud
moved, whether it was morning, noon, or night.
It is easy for most people to get into a rut of doing the same things each day without much
variation. In fact, we dont like a lot of change because it upsets our whole routine and makes us
feel uncomfortable.
God wanted the Israelites to put aside their own agendas and let Him be their guide. He had
something waiting for them that was far greater than they had ever known. He just wanted them
to learn obedience for every single thing in their life, and in return He would provide
handsomely for them.
The people were used to a certain lifestyle while they had been in Egypt. They had been made
slaves and it was a terrible existence, but it was all they knew and they had grown accustomed to
it. As terrible as it was, they came to a point that they preferred terrible over the places God
took them because it was such a different environment.
They could not see where they were going; they could only see where they were in the
present.
It was very hard for them to place their future in Gods hands and trust Him to give them the
very best.
Many Christians today prefer a dismal existence and terrible circumstances over making a
radical change of total obedience; the only reason is that they have just become accustomed to
everything the way it is.
Dont let yourself stay in a miserable place just because you are afraid to step out of the boat and
trust God to miraculously take you where He wants you to be. It will be the ride of your life!
God also expects us to make wise decisions and learn to have discernment in our finances and
everyday living. It is just another aspect of living in obedience. Here is a site that I think can
benefit you greatly:
The God I serve is faithful and has helped me in every way, in every need. It has not always been
the help I thought I wanted, but it was the correct help I needed.

The Importance Of Total Obedience -

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Saul was another man whom God chose to lead Israel. Saul never wanted to be a king. It was
God Who placed him on the throne of Israel. And when the Israelites came to make him king,
Saul hid himself, saying, "Who am I to be the king? My family is the least of all the families of
Israel" (1 Sam.10:21,22). What a humble man he was!
But it wasn't long before Saul became big in his own eyes and God had to take away the
anointing from him.
In 1 Samuel 15, we read that Saul modified God's commands and did not kill everything of
Amalek, as God had commanded him to. He followed his own reason, and did what pleased the
people. This is what happens when anyone becomes big in his own eyes. And here we see two of
the greatest snares that every servant of God faces - the opinion of his own reason and the
opinion of other people. Saul lost his anointing because he allowed himself to be influenced by
these two factors. We have no right to modify any of God's commands according to our own
wisdom. And if we seek to please men, we "cannot be servants of Christ" (Gal.1:10).
If Saul had remained small in his own eyes, he would have retained the anointing until the end of
his life. But he began to love his throne. And that is how many another servant of God has lost
his anointing too. Standing repeatedly before people, as God's spokesmen, has a way of going to
our heads, if we are not watchful.
But Saul did not only cling on to being king. When he saw an anointed younger brother (David)
coming up, and others having confidence in him, he schemed to suppress him. He was jealous of
David, because David had a faith that Saul did not have. And he wanted to kill David because the
people admired him.
But does God ignore the actions of such Sauls - who stick to their thrones, even after God has
rejected them? For a long time God may spare them. In Saul's case, God spared him for 13 years.
David was about 17 years old when he killed Goliath. But he became king only when he was 30.
For 13 years after David had been anointed by God, God allowed Saul to continue to rule as
Israel's king.
What lesson does all of this have for us?
God may allow us, even after we have become backsliders, to stay on in a ministry, long after we
have lost the anointing of the Spirit.
Others may not recognise that we have lost the anointing, because of their lack of discernment.
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So they may continue to accept us as servants of God, because they respect our age or Bible

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knowledge or experience. But we must not imagine that such acceptance by the people is
sufficient for us to remain as God's servants.
What is the use of man accepting us if God Himself has rejected us? It is a terrible tragedy when
a man continues to serve the Lord or to lead a church, even after the anointing has gone from his
life.

Obedience The Key to Knowing God's Will


Have you ever wondered what God's will is for your life? Have you needed to make a difficult
decision and wondered what God wanted you to do in that situation?
We all struggle with questions about our future. Questions like: How can I know God's plan for
my life? Which job should I take? Is this the person God wants me to marry? Is this a good
investment to make? Should I share the gospel with my boss? You probably have questions you
could add to that list.
The greatest discovery I have ever made concerning how to know the will of God involves the
following:

Fully surrendering my life to the Lordship of Christ

Living a life of obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit

Maintaining my first love for our Lord

Many Christians are trying so hard to discover the will of God that they lose the joy of the Lord

and leave their first love for Him.

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But all we need to do is abide in Christ, maintain our first love for Him, and walk in the power of
the Holy Spirit, and we will be in the will of God. So as you continue to walk in the Spirit, He
will guide you in making the most important decisions of life. He will also guide you in the
daily, moment-by- moment decisions and actions of your life.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, "When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you
into all truth...and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13). So the key to knowing
God's will is to be obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit of truth. If you are willing to trust
and obey God and live a holy life, God will reveal Himself to you and direct your steps as a way
of life.
Satan is the enemy of our soul. His mission is to keep us from being effective and fruitful in our
witness. But although he wields great power, Satan can never defeat us if we are completely
yielded and obedient to Christ
Some people are reluctant to trust God completely with their lives, fearing that He may want to
make a change in their plans. Yes, He will change our plans. His plans are infinitely better than
the very best we could ever conceive.
Is it not logical that the One who created us knows better than we the purpose for which we were
created? And since He loves us enough to die for us, is it not logical to believe that His way is
best (Romans 8:32)?
Obedience is the true test of our love for Christ and the secret to discovering God's will for our
life.

Obedience of Paul
Read Acts 9:1-22. What was God's command to Paul (here called Saul)?

How did he comply? Why was Paul's obedience so important at this particular time?

How do you think Paul's obedience illustrates the truth of the principle in I Samuel 15:22?

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Obedience of Anannias
Read Acts 9:10-22. What was God's command to Anannias?

What was Anannias' reaction? How did he finally respond?

Why was his obedience so essential at this time?

How does his obedience indirectly influence you?

Life Application
How would you have felt in Anannias' place?

What is the most important thing this lesson teaches you about obedience?

What specific area of weakness in your life do you need to bring into obedience to Christ? What
steps will you take to become obedient in this area?
Insincere obedie nce
At a high school graduation recently, one student was heard to make these remarks: "Yeah, I
finally made it. It's a good thing, too. If I had blown it, my parents would have killed me!"
In contrast, during the ceremony one of the student speakers, an oriental girl who was a foreign
exchange student declared through her tears, "I want to express my deepest appreciation to my
parents for loving me and for giving me the opportunity to get an education in this great land. I
want to do everything I can to show them how much I love them and to make them proud o f
me."

What a difference in motivation between these students. The first obviously lived in fear of his

parents, while the second understood and appreciated what her parents had done for her.

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The epitaph of Amaziah, a king of Israel, reads, "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord,
but not with a loyal heart" (2 Chronicles 25:2, NKJ). Obedience involves attitude, not merely
outward actions. What is your motivation when you obey Christ? Do you serve Christ out of fear
and self-serving ambition? Or from a loyal heart because you understand and appreciate God's
love and what He has done for you?

An Example of Insincere Obedience


Read Acts 4:32-5:11. At one time, Jerusalem Christians held goods as common property. Each
Christian put his funds into a common treasury, which then supplied the needs of the Christian
community. What made them willing to give up personal possessions (verse 32)?

One writer has said that many today view the local church as if it were a restaurant where all
kinds of people meet for a short time, sit down together in the same room, then part, not knowing
or caring anything about each other.
What is your estimation of the fellowship in our churches today compared with the fellowship of
the Jerusalem Christians? What kind of attitude did the early Christians display?
Do you think this is true in your church? What can you do to improve the fellowship in your

church?

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When Barnabas sold his land, which was probably valuable, and gave the money to the church,
no doubt other Christians praised his devotion. How do you think Barnabas' action might have
influenced Ananias and Sapphira?

What do you suppose motivated Ananias and Sapphira to sell their possessions and give money
to the church? How did their motive differ from Barnabas' motive?

Importance of our Christian Testimony


How can it be possible to study the Bible, share Christ with others, or attend Christian meetings,
and yet be committing sin when you think you are pleasing God?

What did Christ say was wrong with the people of His day (Mark 7:6)?

Why is your heart attitude just as important to God as your outward action?

Attitude in Giving and Prayer


Each of us has a tendency to do things for the approval of our friends. When this desire becomes
our sole motivation, our attitude is wrong. Think of a person you know who has a godly attitude
toward giving.
How do his actions differ from those described in Matthew 6?

List some ways you can help keep your giving sincere.

Public prayer is not wrong in itself. when you pray aloud with others, to whom are you talking?
How can you make your public prayers a testimony to how much you love God?

Life Application

Read I Corinthians 13:1-3. In terms meaningful to you, paraphrase these three verses.

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On the basis of this passage, what would you say is the relationship between love and sincere
obedience? What action or activity in your life needs a change in motivation?

How do you expect that change to affect other people with whom you come in contact? How do

you expect that change to affect your life?

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Chapter 9
Know God personally

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds?
Become a better person so that God will accept you?
You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the
Bible how we can know Him.
The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God,
right now, through Jesus Christ...

Principle 1:
God loves you and offers a wonde rful plan for your life.

God's Love
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall
not perish, but have eternal life." 1
God's Plan
[Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" [that it might
be full and meaningful]. 2
Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because...

Principle 2:
All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.

We Are Sinful
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 3
We were created to have fellowship with God; but, because of our stubborn self- will, we chose

to go our own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self- will,

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characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the


Bible calls sin.
We Are Separated
"The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation
from God]. 4
This diagram illustrates that God is holy and
people are sinful. A great gulf separates us. The
arrows illustrate that we are continually trying to
reach God and the abundant life through our own
efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or
religion -- but we inevitably fail.
The third law explains the only way to bridge
this gulf...

Principle 3:
Jesus Christ is God's only provision for our sin. Through Him we can know and experience
God's love and plan for our life.

He Died in Our Place


"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us." 5
He Rose From the Dead
"Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He
was raised on the third day, according to the
Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the
twelve. After that He appeared to more than five
hundred..." 6
He Is the Only Way to God
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth,
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and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'" 7

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This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf which separates us from Him by sending
His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
It is not enough just to know these three principles...

Principle 4:
We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and
experience God's love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ


"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those
who believe in His name." 8
We Receive Christ Through Faith
"By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not
as a result of works, that no one should boast." 9
When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth
We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him." 10
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into
our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough. Nor
is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the

will.

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These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

Which circle best describes your life?


Which circle would you like to have represent your life?
The following explains how you can receive Christ:
You can receive Christ right now by faith through praye r
Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is
with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:
"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my
life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me
eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to
be."
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and
Christ will come into your life, as He promised.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?
Yes, I just asked Jesus into my life
I

may

want

to

ask

Jesus

into

my

life,
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but I have a question I would like ans wered first

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(1) John 3:16 (NIV); (2) John 10:10; (3) Romans 3:23; (4) Romans 6:23; (5) Romans 5:8; (6) 1

Corinthians 15:3-6; (7) John 14:6; (8) John 1:12; (9) Ephesians 2:8,9; (10) Revelation 3:20

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Chapter 10
Find time for God

God desires to be a part of our everyday lives. He longs to show His love for us in special ways.
If we will take the time, He will surprise us with special gifts of His love throughout our day.
Recently, this happened to a friend of mine. She took the time to find God. No, she didn't just get
up early in the morning and go outside to sit under a large, budding oak tree. She didn't just stop
and smell the fresh spring breeze and listen to the birds singing their songs of praise to God. She
didn't meditate all day while the warmth of the sun caressed her smiling face. She began her day
as she always does -- she spent time in the Word and then allowed God to show up in any part of
her day that He chose. She went to work, and there were special surprises for her.

The Scripture she read that morning was from the Song of Solomon. It was a precious Scripture
that she took with her in her heart. As she entered the building where she works, she saw
something on the table in the lobby. She decided that she would pick up the small object and
throw it away. She took pride in the area where she works and simply wanted to keep things
looking nice. But to her surprise, it was a small flower. Now you say, "What's the big deal?"
Well, here is the Scripture that God gave her that morning:
"For the winter is past, and the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up, and the time
of

singing

birds

has

come,

even

the

cooing

of

turtledoves"

(Song of Solomon 2:11-12, The Book).


It meant so much to her. She giggled and said, "Thank you, Papa" (as she always did when
speaking to her heavenly Father) and kept right on walking. God was speaking to her heart about
His great love for her. He was sharing with her that just as it was beginning to be spring in the
natural realm, in the spiritual realm she was starting into her own springtime. And as we all
know, flowers are a sign of spring.
God had allowed someone to leave a special, little flower on that table so that as she entered the

building she would discover it and feel His great love for her. Her heart was greatly touched by

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this incident, and I felt so blessed to be a part of it. I had been right behind her when she walked
into the building that morning.
As I thought of how special that moment seemed to her (not knowing about the Script ure God
had given her), I knew something very wonderful was happening. As I stepped into the elevator,
God spoke to my heart and said, "She took the time to find ME." She had taken the time to find
God. She was continuing the day as we all have to do, work ing and taking care of family, yet this
moment did not escape her.
"Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as
surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring" (Hosea 6:3, The Book).
Needless to say, I took the rest of the day to look for God. I made sure I gave eye contact to
everyone I met and shared a kind word and a smile. I wanted to find God in my day, and I
wanted to be God's love to someone who might need to see Him in a tangible way.
We can find God. We can feel His love in wonderful ways. We don't need to think that He is
millions of miles away and too busy to care about our special needs each day.
Take time to find God.
What does the Bible say about making time for God
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to
you.
Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing,
Hosea 10:12
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the
time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-10
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and
a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to
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heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to

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mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones to gether; a
time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...
Matthew 22:1-14
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to
a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited
to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, Tell those
who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been
slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast. But they paid no attention and
went off, one to his farm, another to his business, ...
2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be
ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and
for training in righteousness,
Proverbs 1:20-33
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy
streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: How long, O simple ones, will
you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate
knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my
words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand
and no one has heeded, ...
Psalm 62:5
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Colossians 4:5
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all
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your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you

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today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of
them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and
when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between
your eyes. ...
Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the
earth!
Job 23:12
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth
more than my portion of food.
Psalm 90:4
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not
perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Psalm 119:11
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:1-176
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those
who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk
in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be
steadfast in keeping your statutes! ...
Psalm 42:1
To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants

my soul for you, O God.

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Chapter 11
Learn how to appreciate God

Appreciating God here means showing forth the goodness of God through your praises, thanks
giving and adoration. He or she who knows how to appreciate God knows how to receive from
him. In the first instance, we must learn how to appreciate God for creating us in his own image.
Thanking God is in three fold: for what he has done, for what is doing and for what he is still
going to do. For what he has done will reveal you as a person who appreciates. For what he is
going will explain the faith you have in his power. And for what he will still do serves as a
catalyst to spur God into action. This was evident in the ministry of Jesus Christ at the graveyard
of Lazarus. He first gave thanks before he called out Lazarus.
Then they took away the stone from the p lace where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his
eyes, and said, father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me
always: but because of the people which standby I said it, that they may believe that thou hast
sent me. John 11:40-41.

What some people know how to do is to give momentary thanks after which they forget it all.
Thanksgiving to God is easy when things are rosy but when the situation looks demanding,
people complain.
Paul and silas were in prison. They needed freedom, and all they could do was to sing song of
praises. Honestly, his may beat the imagination of people. Paul and silas might be accused of
doing the right thing at the wrong time, but that was what their situation needed at that time.
Somebody said sometimes that if prayer fails, try praises. Well, this could have been better said
thus: if prayer delays, try praises. Praises bring down the presence and the hand of God into the
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midst of his people. Enough of your grumbling and murmuring try praising God.

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A familiar spirit possessed woman once confessed. She admonished people to burst into praising
God than requesting from him. She narrated how a man of God was delivering a young woman
for more than 16 hours but to no avail. But all of a sudden, the man and his ministerial crew burst
into praise and worship. The atmosphere of the arena changed the power if God was evident and
the young lady received total deliverance.
Praising God is capable of lifting somebody from nowhere to somewhere. God himself wanted
his people to praise him, he made people realize that, he has power to commanded stones to
praise him should they refuse to.
Appreciate and Gods praise should be from the depth of ones heart. God commands thanking
him always for everything. Not only when we are delivered from any evil or wicked people, but
when we are facing any tribulation.
Praises brings down the presence of God and the presence of God proffers solution to any

problem. Learn how to praise and appreciate God always.

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Chapter 12
See beyond others

You are what you see and what you see works for you. The environment we belong to, the tribe
we belong to and the society that houses us does not, most of the time see anything good in us.
Do not forget what your eyes see is what your mouth speaks is what God hears. Twelve people
representing each tribe of Israel were sent to Canaan to spy the land, but only two people saw
victory, the remaining ten saw failure and disappointment. The fact is that your conception has
power to make or mar you. Of a truth, only the two people who brought good testimony got to
the Promised Land. What others saw killed them in the wilderness.
What you see in your business is the strength that your business will receive. Do not because
somebody fails in something and conclude that you too will fail. Many at times the general
perception of man is different from the idea, programme and plan of God for your life.
What I discover is that many people allow people to see for them because they are lazy in prayer.
Seeing does not come without hearing. This means that when you see, God will tell you
something about it. People accept the testimony of man at the detriment of God purpose and
desire.
Two sons of the same mother saw differently in the scripture. Esau did no t see anything about his
birth because of what he was passing through. What was obtainable in isreal was that the first
born as a male child in the family owned everything the family had. Also, he served as the priest
of the family in terms of family joint prayers, but Jacob saw the importance if that birth right. If
not, there were other things he could have demanded from his brother.
And Jacob said; sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, behold, I am at the point to die:

and what profit shall this birth right do to me? Gen 25:31-32.

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A number of people sold the purpose of God to little and momentary challenges. They fail to
learn from Paul in his letter to the romans.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are
called according to his purpose. Romans 8:14
Endurance is needed at times to achieve the purpose of God for our lives. If Esau had exercised
patience then, he would have been fed eventually and still maintained the purpose of God for his
life. Jacob saw a clearer picture of what his brother did not see, he insisted that he (Esau) should
swear to an oath.
And Jacob said, swear to me this day; and he swear unto him and he sold his birthright unto
Jacob Gen. 25:33.
What a costly agreement!
Joseph believed in what he saw that is brethren did not see. All efforts by his brother s to remove
his focus from what he saw proved abortive. They did this by erasing the possibility of his dream
coming true from his mind. His parents could not even see what God has revealed to him. Look,
nobody can see better than you see, therefore, see something good for yourself.
There is a fact that what ones sees may attract opposition and attacks because it may not be in
tune with what people want, yet ones persistence will bring out unprecedented desired result.
Joseph was sold, imprisoned and molested yet, he was unperturbed hence the realization of what
he saw from the beginning. If you see failure in your trade, success cannot be achieved, and if
you see success in your business failure cannot associate itself with it (business).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire but the king saw the appearance of
the fourth person as the son of God. What a revelation!
Therefore because the kings commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the
flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And the three
men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell down bound into the midst of burning fiery furnace.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished and rose up in haste and spake and said unto the

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counselors, did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said
unto the king. True, o king.
And he answered and said lo. I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have
no hurt and the form of the fourth is like the son of God Dan. 3:22-25.
The implication of the above is that what the king SAW was the reason behind the success of the
three Hebrews. It takes spiritual eyes to see differently. I can see you coming out of your
problem any movement from now and I can see your business surviving the trial of this time.
When you see aright in whatever position or situation you are, you will not allow anybody to pity
you unnecessarily.
Job in his trial did not see himself dead in his tribulation. He saw another opportunity ahead of
him irrespective of what the situation offered. He was unmoved by what his friend were saying.
His friends saw a road of coming out of his problem closed, but he saw a diversion as an escape
rout by God.
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch
thereof will not cease, though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in
the ground; yet, through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant job
14:7-9.
It is because you have not seen with spiritual eyes that is why your situation remains the same.
Even if the situation proves stubborn what you see and your faith will work together for your
way out.
Rachael at birth knew she was going to die and according to tradition in isreal that gave women
power to name children, she named her son Ben-oni. The meaning if this name has bearing on
what the mother was passing through at that moment the son of my sorrow. However, what
Isaac saw was different from what his wife saw. Immediately Rachael named the child, his father
responded No! he shall be called Benjamin, the son of my right hand.
And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name ben-

Oni: but his father called him Benjamin Gen. 35:18.

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Parents, what do you see about your children?


Jabesh was also a victim of this because his mother gave birth to him in sorrow. But he saw
success through the power of prayer, and he achieved it. (1 chronicle 4:9-10).
David saw what his brethren could not see, that was why they accused him of being too
inquisitive. They berated his presence with them at that time in the battle front, but he answered
them, is there not a reason? The advice of King Saul could not either help the matter because he
(King Saul) too did not see what David, the young boy saw. Note that it does not take a size,
position, age to overcome but the conviction within you.
And Saul said to David, thou art not able to go against this philistine to fight with him for thou
art but a youth- 1 Sam. 17:33.
A believer must see something unique in whom or what he /she believes. David was not bothered
by the threat of the philistines because he has God who gives victory to his people.
Thus said David to the philistine, thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear and with a
shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Host, the God of the armies of Isreal whom
thou hast defied 1 sam. 17:45.
I said earlier that, what you see is what your mouth speaks out. In addition, what you see also
gives you boldness in your action because you are being backed up by the power of revelation in
you. Let me quickly tell you that, the size of your problem is the measure of its collapse. The size
of Goliath helped his fall. David was bold to tell him (Goliath) that, that day would be his last
day on earth. This was so because he saw it ahead of the time.
So David prevailed over the philistine with a sting and with a stone, and smote the philistine, and
slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David verse 50.
There are lots of mistakes people make when it seems God delays his promises concerning them.
These mistakes have resulted in a lasting sorrow and a wound which may not be healed in time.
Such people do not see future in the promise of God. They forget in a hurry what god told

Habakkuk.

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And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may
run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and
not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry Habakkuk 2:23.
Abraham at a point could not see again the possibility of Gods fulfillment of his promise. He
then took law into his hand. Perhaps it is better said that, his wife saw for him. Hence, her action
in taking her maid to Abraham to fulfill Gods purpose. Beloved, I see you coming out of every

problem you are in Jesus name.

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Chapter 13
Be Diligent and Proficient
Seest that a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before
mean men- prov. 22:29.
God is his indignation against man after his (mans) fall in the Garden of Eden still blessed man.

In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground for out of it wast
thou taken: for dust art thou, and unto dust shall thou return Gen. 3:19.
God loves man and at creation, he created everything that man would eat before creating him. He
blessed all that he created for mans sake because, he knew that they would eventually be useful
for him. God did not command man to work without any fruit coming out of it, but even
promised to bless his handwork through his magnanimity. It is essential to note here that God
would not bless nothing but something. The theory of praying and receiving as revealed by Jesus
Christ is applicable here. Some pray they do not receive because they pray aloof.
Many believers capitalize on the efficacy of prayer without doing anything. However, there are
some who are half-baked in what learnt. Their technical know- how is against the popular saying
a trial will confuse you. They are not well informed in what they learnt neither are they
proficient in their handwork.
Being diligent includes adding value to knowledge in your study or area of specialization. It is
imperative for whosoever desires a better life to sit for professional examinations which will
qualify him to belong to professional bodies. This often makes a difference in the lives of people
who are conscious of this. I can say that, there is no profession that has no professional body
which serves as a plus to its members. Do you know that carpentry works, mechanical works in
various fields, and other craft works have gone beyond the old way of doing things? You need to
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improve yourself.

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Grade II teachers who were the best in the industry are no more relevant not even in primary
schools of today. Why then do you choose to remain that way when you have Gods given
wisdom that can better your lot? Paul the apostle admonished Timothy to study in order to show
himself approved.
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Pastors in some denominations lose their members because they fail to improve on what they
have. We are not talking about compromising the faith but improving on the acquired
knowledge. The generation of today needs minister of the word who can communicate with the
language to today. Imagine somebody who joined the ministry with primary six twenty years ago
and still capitalizing on the certificate he acquired without any improvement. Even a minister
who fails to improve on his spiritual talents will do no noticeable exploits.
Diligence required that you know your ability and capability and maximize them. Some have the
strength of doing up to three businesses at the same time and no one will affect the other. Some
dont have the power, but the only ability should be used judiciously because it is equally
rewarding. The master came from the journey he went; he then came accordingly their rewards.
This may be likened to the spiritual aspect of our lives, but it still has implications and bearing
on our physical lives. We must be keen enough to note that the diligence of the first man that
received talent paid off when his talents were multiplied. And the slothfulness of the latter was
also rewarded with condemnation. Diligence equally makes one to realize that saving for rainy
days is paramount instead of squandering all that comes at times. Gods wisdom and strength can

make you diligent, all you need to do is ask from him who gives freely and liberally.

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Chapter 14
Forget the Things Of The Past
This biblical injunction to the Israelites from God is highly important because of what God
decides to do in their lives.
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.- Isaiah 43:18
The reason for the idea of forgetting the things of the past is stipulated in verse 19 of the same
Isaiah 43.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a
way in the wilderness, and water in the desert.
The sour relationship between Israel and God in the past made them witnessed the wrath of God.
They were being punished because of their attitudes to their God. But here comes a God who
chastises and embraces his children. He declared that the day and time of their suffering were
over and explained what he had decided to do provided they can meet the condition. And the
condition is THEY MUST FORGET THE THINGS OF THE PAST.
God desires that the bad and ugly memories of the past be removed from their minds because; he
is ready to do a new thing. A brief allusion to the characteristics of the past will reveal how
important the injunction of God is to Israel.
ONE, it is capable of spoiling the present and future times. Somebody had earlier said it is not a
mistake to make a mistake, but it is the greatest mistake to repeat a mistake. The only key that
this requires is being focused. Abraham made a mistake by sleeping with Haggar despite all
promises God made to him, yet he was still expectant of the promise of God after he (God) had
told him that Ishmael was not child he promised. Determination can help to wipe away the bad

he fell does not mean it is over.

memory of past events. Prophet Micah made those who care to listen realize that for the fact that

123

Rejoice not against me o mine enemy, when I fall, I shall rise again, when I sit in darkness, the
Lord shall be a light unto me Micah 7:8
Your past mistakes have no power to pull you down if you do not allow the m to do so. For the
fact that you were once a prostitute does not mean that you cant get a good husband again, and it
does not indicate that you cant be useful for God. All that you need do is to confess your past
mistakes and start a new life. The prodigal son forgot his past mistakes and decided to start a life
afresh.
You have been disappointed in the past does not mean that you cant be appointed for success
again. Do you know that, despite the fact that your womb has been removed does not indicate
that you cant be pregnant again? At this juncture, your faith is needed.
TWO, your past mistakes have power to affect our spiritual and prayer life negatively. Note that
the devil has the sharp memories of peoples mistakes and presents it anytime they inte nd to
pray. The devil knows that god abhors misdeeds and they are major hindrances to prayers. But
the consciousness of Jesus on the cross of Calvary and the acceptability of the fact the death of
Jesus Christ has wiped away our precious sins and mistakes is enough for every believer to
overcome the antics of the devil.
The admonition of Paul the apostle to the church in Corinth has settled the matter of servitude in
ones old mistakes or previous precarious life.
Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold all
things are become new II Corinthians 5:17.
Prophet Jeremiah was swift in delivering the message of Yahweh to his people in contrast to
what they have been passing through since they creed.
Thus saith the lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel
weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus
says the lord; refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be
rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of their enemies. And there is

Jer. 31:15-17.

hope in thine end saith the Lord that thy children shall come again from the land of the enemy

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In fact, all you need is to acknowledge your past and dont dwell there anymore. Ezra teaches
that even when all hope seems lost, God is continually at work behind the scene of history, after
Ezra had prayed, fasted and confessed the sins of Israel, it took the revelation of shechaniah the
son of Jehiel to answer Ezra on Israels home that it was not over. Though after this revelation,
they took a necessary step.
And shechaniah the son of jehiel, one of the sons of Elam answered and said unto Ezra, we have
trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet there is
hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all
this wives and such as are bornEzra 10:2-3.
Those who live in their past may have the risk if selling their future glory to their past and no
better changes may be evident in their lives. God himself in the time past forgot the past and
started things afresh. God is of the view that, though children used to bear the curses of their
father but, a new dispensation came when God said, it is over for such. Whosoever sins shall
bear his or her punishment. Past mistakes will always surface to counter the present progress one
is making, but determination to live in the present will help to achieve Gods purpose for our

lives.

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Chapter 15
Be what God wants to be
1. Pray. What can this do? Many, many, many wonders. Whatever you ask in Jesus' name that
he will do. If you have faith and just believe, God can turn the impossible to possibility.

2. Fast. There are many different ways of fasting. Some people may not eat until a certain time.
(For example 6am-6pm). Some may drink water but not eat. But you just pray the whole day and

have full concentration and conversation. Just you and the Lord.

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3. Read the Bible. The bible has many stories, tests, and tribulations that might be similar to
what you are going through. No matter what you read, it's all there to encourage you and keep

you strong in the Lord.

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