Do you know what October 31st is besides Halloween? Hint: it’s one of the most important days in the history of the Christian church and it affects everything about your life today. Everything!
It was on the 31st of October 1517 that a Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. By God’s grace, Luther’s courageous act of challenging corruption and unbiblical heresies launched the Great Reformation. But why is this legacy worth recalling and how does it affect us today?
On Reformation Days – October 31st – most American Christians seem more conscious of Halloween than of the Reformation. It appears that more of the children in our churches are celebrating pagan and dark, grotesque symbols for Halloween than the great spiritual Revival that led to the birth of the Protestant Reformation.
Halloween is celebrated by millions on October 31st each year with costumes and candy. Despite its Christianized name, Halloween stems from an ancient pagan Celtic religion that started nearly two centuries before the birth of Christ. The tribal Druids of Ireland and Europe offered end-of-harvest sacrifices at this beginning of winter to appease a Celtic demon they called Samhain (SOW-in), the lord of death, and of evil spirits. The early Gaelic Celts apparently believed that Samhain sent evil spirits into the world to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. Catholic Christians tried to form an alternative tradition by moving the celebration of “All Hallows’ Day” that celebrated the lives of Christian martyred saints from May to November 1st. So November 1st is referred to as “All Saints’ Day.” In medieval England that Catholic festival was known as All Hallows. The evening before (October 31st) was thus named “All Hallows’ eve” which became Hallow-een.
Reformation Day (October 31) commemorates Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This one act triggered the Protestant Reformation because Luther’s challenges to the church’s practices were immediately translated and distributed all across Germany in a matter of weeks. The Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification—that is, salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, like we read in Ephesians 2:8 and 9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one should boast.” It was also the protest against the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church. The century before the Reformation was marked by widespread dissatisfaction with the corruption of the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church and with its false doctrines, biblical illiteracy, and superstition. Monks, priests, bishops, and popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like the selling of indulgences, the treasury of merit, purgatory, and salvation through good works.
All Souls’ Day
All Souls’ Day or the Day of the Dead is normally celebrated, primarily by Roman Catholics, on November 2. This is a day dedicated to prayer and almsgiving in memory of ancestors who have died. People pray for the souls of the dead, in their hopeful belief to hasten their release from purgatory to heaven by being purged and cleansed from their sins.
Treasury of Merit
Spiritually sincere people were taught to redeem themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious rituals. They were persuaded to acquire this “merit,” which was at the disposal of the church, by purchasing “certificates of indulgence.” This left them wondering if they ever did enough or paid enough to appease God’s righteous anger and escape his judgment. That was the popular mindset that prompted Luther’s desire to refocus the church on salvation by grace through faith on account of Christ by imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.
Think of it. Almost 98% of medieval people couldn’t read. They were spiritually oppressed by indulgences. They had no assurance of God’s grace. Doctor Luther proclaimed the grace of God’s acceptance for true saints.
Instead of the treasury of merit that was for sale, Luther protested, “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God”
Life in Europe and England (not to mention the rest of the world) has changed drastically since 500 years ago. For both Christians and unbelievers, the time of the early 16th Century when Martin Luther lived was radically different and desperate. It’s obvious that modern technology’s conveniences were absent, but even common things we take for granted like clean water and comfortable housing were unknown.
Think of Productive Prosperity
Western civilization has been blessed with the greatest freedoms, productivity and prosperity ever known in history. The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilization are direct results of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century. Don’t miss why these amazing results occurred.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught: “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Think of Peace with God.
Martin Luther was passionate about finding peace with God. He studied the Bible so intently that it led him to challenge the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy. That’s what ignited the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire.
Can we imagine a society without Freedom of Conscience?
Sometimes I think we miss the huge gravity of some things. Luther’s courage to stand against the political and religious might of Europe was one of the most incredible acts of conscientious defiance in the history of the world. He argued for freedom of conscience based upon the authority of Scripture. Until then the fear of man was preeminent. Luther feared God. All religions and cultures on earth bowed to a monarchy, aristocracy and authoritarianism. The formal Roman Catholic institution was corrupt. Luther and the Reformers were convinced that man without God is hopelessly depraved and no human authority could be trusted as absolute. He rejected ecclesiastical totalitarianism and championed the principle of Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone is our ultimate authority.
Education for All
Luther translated the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into the common tongue. Everybody could now have access to it; both nobles and peasants. Luther championed education and literacy for everyone. He defended the Priesthood of all Believers. And what Revolutionary concept did that one biblical principle lead to?
Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Everyone is under God’s Law. The reformer’s principle of Sola Scriptura broke down ecclesiastical and political totalitarianism. The Protestant emphasis on the Priesthood of all Believers led to the concept of representative government and constitutional authority as the supreme law of the land.
What results from convincing society of the truth of Religious Liberty?
By emphasizing the Biblical doctrine of Faith as a gift of God, Luther undermined the Catholic Inquisition and provided the theological foundations for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Religious liberty and freedom of conscience led to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and all the other out-workings of political and social freedom.
The Reformation gave us the Bible – available in our own languages.
Few people today realize that the first Bibles printed in English had to be printed in Germany and smuggled into England in bales of cotton from Holland. The first Bible translator, William Tyndale, was executed by strangulation and his body burned at the stake for the crime of translating the Bible into English. Seven mothers and fathers were burned alive at Coventry for teaching their own children The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles Creed – in English.
Courage and Sacrifice for Believers today?
The sacrifices made by the Reformers and the far-reaching impact of their courageous application of the Word of God to every area of life, needs to be rediscovered. The Christian Church has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or cause in History.
Blessing the Nations
Most of the languages of the world were developed into a written system by Christian missionaries. More schools and universities have been started by Christians than any other religion, nation or group. Christian Reformers and missionaries have succeeded in bringing about the abolition of slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice and widow burning. Those countries that enjoy the most civil liberties, are those lands where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the most.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life-changing, history making and nation transforming. If it doesn’t change your life and the lives of those around you, then it’s not the Biblical Gospel.
Checks and Balances
The Reformers understood God’s Sovereignty. They courageously proclaimed that Scripture alone is our final authority. Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Justification is by God’s Grace alone, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, received by Faith alone. The Reformers’ teaching on the depravity of man, the New Covenant in Christ, and church government, have influenced positive political and social developments in liberty throughout the Western world and beyond, establishing checks and balances, the separation of powers and constitutional authority.
Faith and Freedom
All of us are beneficiaries of this tremendous movement for Faith and Freedom. If you love liberty, you need to re-examine the history and principles of the Reformation.
The Reformation took the Church out of gross ignorance and spiritual darkness.
Before the Reformation the church had no Bible. And a church without a Bible is as useless as a lighthouse without light, or a car without an engine. The priests and people knew scarcely anything about God’s Word or the way of salvation in Christ.
Now think of this: Our current generation of believers… not to mention the world learning corrupted revisionist history … is in danger of losing the profound legacy of courage that preserved Bible truths that are much forgotten.
The 16th Century was the pivotal generation of martyrs who willingly laid down their lives to preserve the scripture for us. That was providential! Why? Because the truths in the Bible are eternal and essential for communicating the heart of God and regenerating lost souls to gain eternal life.
Deuteronomy 7:9 says: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
The second commandment contains both a severe threat and a most incredibly gracious promise.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in Heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to thousands who love Me and keep My commandments.”
A Solemn Responsibility
Parents have an awesome responsibility. We are to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) We are to “train a child in the way he should go …” (Proverbs 22:6) According to 1 Timothy 3:4, we are to manage our own family well and see that our children learn to obey with proper respect.
Psalm 78:4-8 tells us to…
“tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done … so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds, but would keep His commands. They would not be … stubborn and rebellious … (like previous generations) whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him.”
The Bible tells us to not just raise God-fearing sons, but sons who will become God-fearing fathers, who in turn will raise God-fearing sons to become fathers who will love, honor, trust and obey God. We are to raise disciples who raise disciples so that God’s generational blessing is passed down and the chain unbroken.
I invite you to visit our website www.ReclaimYourLegacy.com and share our resources with your family and friends. And if your church or group would like to have us minister in person, just contact me. I truly trust we can help you and your friends strengthen your life’s purpose and reclaim your legacy.
Martin Luther said:
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God’s Word, except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, then I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefront besides is mere flight and disgrace – if he flinches at that point.
Compromise and cowardice hurts everyone It’s short-sighted. The Word of God commands us not to be afraid of any man (Deuteronomy 1:17). We are warned that the fear of man will prove to be a snare (Proverbs 29:25). It is cowardice for us to remain silent when we should speak up. To be passive and inactive when we should fight for what is right. Isaiah 51:12-13 says:
“Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of a son of man, who will be made like grass? You forget the Lord your maker, who stretched out the Heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…”
The Bible tells us that God seeks “Godly offspring…” Malachi 2:15. It is the first priority of parents and teachers to ensure that children are taught to love God and His Word. Secular humanist education is attempting to kill God by eradicating Him from the classroom and from the minds of the next generation. By eliminating the Bible as the basis for all knowledge, humanists are removing the very foundation of truth. They are prohibiting the only objective standard by which reality can be evaluated.
Today’s world is filled with all sorts of deception. Sharp discernment is required for those who really want to discover the things that are true. If we don’t want truth we won’t search for it. That’s why we need to be discerning. That takes a special level of heart and acuity to be able to do that in an honest way.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…”
How far does that spread? It’s in every sector of society, isn’t it? It’s in education. It’s in religion. It’s in the business world. It’s in politics. They will find teachers according to their own desires. It’s natural to the human condition, isn’t it? We want to hear what we want to hear and we don’t want to hear anything that we don’t want to hear. So Paul goes on to forecast in the letter to Timothy what to expect: “…and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
You may wonder: “Why would people believe in a myth?” Yet, it is so common today that many people will treat you as sort of an outcast if you don’t believe in their popular myths.
What are some myths that dominate the landscape of our world today?
Evolution, Universalism, Socialism…
What could be more of a myth than the idea of evolutionism – that everything ultimately came from nothing with no designer? Yet people believe it. It’s a commonly held myth. And, of course, very intellectual scientists get behind it, those whose hearts are darkened. They do not desire to have discernment to know what is true.
I make no apology about this. Think. It goes for other areas of human thinking and understanding.
Think about universalism. That’s the idea that everyone will eventually get to heaven no matter how evil and hateful to God they are. They wrongly think that God certainly can’t be unforgiving to everyone so all must be acceptable to God. Think. God is forgiving to those who humbly acknowledge their utter lost condition and their need for His mercy. God does forgive them. He’s just not going to force them to turn to Him in their need.
Socialism – there’s another myth – the idea that we can all have everything, even if none of us do anything. Let’s face it. That doesn’t work, does it?
So here we have these dominant myths in our society today.
First is Mother Nature – that’s the primary icon for evolution. It just happened by itself.
Next is Universalism – God is too loving to send good people to hell.
And the inevitable outcome of the first two is the promotion of socialism. The socialistic state will take care of you.
They are all frauds.
The basic Biblical Principle Needing our attention?
God created man to thrive in the world that God made by working to make it into something – using his God-given creativity, ingenuity and initiative to make it more than it started out.
God is the one who orchestrates the entire universe from the very beginning. He is the one who created it all. He is the one who created man. He is the One who gave man initiative, creativity, abilities and skills. God is the awesome genius Who gives us all that is needed to achieve the purpose He has designed. And we do it by work.
Work isn’t a curse. God gave man work to do in the garden before the curse.
When people come into our Bible-believing churches with compromised views, how should we encourage them to evaluate the truths of the Bible?
Do you really believe that we should prove all things? That’s a good way to start a conversation with anyone. It’s a simple way to get them thinking about God and His purposes for all of us. And use the basic qualifying question if you find they are open. (more…)
by Dennis Petersen
Imagine you just got a direct message from God that your efforts in a critical area will soon be rewarded! You’re excited… Are you ready for your marching orders now? Imagine that his next download to your brain is this: “Take action today on that excellent thought you just had.” That’s a pretty straight forward simple command. Are you ready to take his command to heart?
Listen to the complete program here.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Within the providence of our Creator, the only way you can truly prosper in life is to bring benefits, advantages, profits or blessings into the lives of others. Once we grow up enough to realize that in order to harvest a crop you have to plant and cultivate a seed, we can be free to focus on others and not be so worried about ourselves and our self interests all the time. But that takes some extraordinary self control and openness to adjust our natural tendencies to fear everything around us that appears to threaten our personal prosperity and peace of mind.
Think about it. Do you want to get off the vicious cycle of self-centered anxiety that tends to make us think we have to dominate others or trick them into giving us what we want? There are reasons why more than 90% of the people around our society are anxious about temporal things continually and lacking the abundant life that we were designed by our Creator to experience.
Have you heard the basic principle of the law of the harvest? The Golden Rule? If you want to make a change in your destination you have to make a change in your direction. As you take the high road of developing yourself and becoming more of what you were created to be, you are then able to help others do the same and experience more of the abundant life that is available to them.
And because we were put into a tangible world filled with stuff to be developed and expanded with the touch of our own creativity and resourcefulness, we inevitably have to get mature about the use and management of the stuff that is on loan to us for this fleeting ‘vapor’ we call our life.
I believe that these suggestions will help you accomplish more, discover more, profit more and add more to whatever your business is about… even inviting more people to your cause, your project, your business and your community. (more…)
I heard about how Jim Rohn, the well-known business trainer, taught about a very simple yet powerful concept – the ant philosophy.
The Bible teaches the wisdom of observing the humble ant and learning her ways. Maybe we should all talk with each other from time to time about the characteristics of ants that should apply to our own lives as humans.
Do we value success? Survival? Community? Progress? Accomplishment? Overcoming obstacles? Endurance? Resourcefulness?
What other values can you think of and why everybody should study ants?
Consider the simplicity of Four Basic Principles seen in the behavior of ants.
Principle Number One: ants never quit.
Can you think of some advantages of this kind of attitude?
If ants are going somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll find another way, won’t they? Working together or all alone, have you noticed that ants are determined to do whatever it takes to get where they want to go? They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, and they’ll climb around. Nothing seems to stand in their way of finding the solution to every barricade you can throw at them. They will find another way. Count on it.
Not a bad core value if you’re an ant or a person with a passion for living… is it? Do you reckon this kind of persistence is worth brushing off and determining for yourself? Never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.
Principle Number Two: ants think winter all summer.
Now here’s a pretty energizing perspective.
You can’t be so naive to think summer will last forever.
Comfortable climate is no time to relax. You know winter is coming. The question is, “are you committed to do what it takes?” Are you committed to the discipline of preparation? Working hard in the summers of life will keep you from starving in the slow going winters when resources are sparse and conditions are more challenging.
Resist the temptation to join the partiers in their carefree summer flings. Take some time for refreshment and pleasure but be careful not to overdo it. Summer is no time to kick back. The ants are showing us the way if we’ll only pay attention.
Be reminded that summertime can fool you. If you’re not thinking ahead you’ll forget that “this doesn’t last.” Be careful where and how you build your house, your business or your project in the summer when life is going fine. Think how the landscape around you will look when the storms are upon you. Be realistic. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun. Think ahead.
Principle Number Three: ants think summer all winter.
That too is so important.
During the winter, when it’s cold and windy and wet, when you can hardly leave your cozy corner, you’ve got to remind yourself, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” Do you think this attitude just might keep us hopeful?
And look what happens when the storm and cold lifts. When things start warming up on an early day in springtime, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down,
but then they come out as soon as the sun rises on a nice warm new day. They can’t wait to get out.
And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy:
Principle Number Four – the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.
— How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter?
All he possibly can. What a wonderfully ambitious perspective,
the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.
Can you seriously take that mindset and make it your own?
In just about anything you undertake, why not have the attitude that you’re going to DO all you possibly can, ACCOMPLISH all you possibly can, PRODUCE all you possibly can, EARN all you possibly can, SELL all you possibly can, INFLUENCE all you possibly can… in short… whatever opportunities life hands you you’re going to do like scripture says and make the most of every opportunity because the daylight is briefer than you think. Before you know it, the night time comes when you can’t do much work.
Wow, maybe that is the makings for a great seminar to put on and invite everyone to attend – the ant seminar. Think of it: Never give up; Look ahead; Stay positive and Do all you can.
Did you notice how suddenly our lives can take a different direction?
It was a life changing discovery for me to realize that the purposes, directions and specialized career focuses of our lives are subject to change as we interact with people and circumstances that providentially come into our experience.
Now don’t miss this.
Since “change” in our world is so inevitable and adjusting ourselves to change is so challenging, could it be that the realization of your own dreams will be accomplished when you make it your goal to help some other people reach for their own dreams? Why not discover the tools, the systems and the methods that can help you to help those you’re privileged to team up with?
Can you believe that there are people willing to be helped? Can you believe that there are others who have the solutions and the systems to help you if you’re willing to open a new chapter of your life and see what you didn’t see before?
For some who hear me, this is just a generality… but for others it will lead to a specific and providential turning point. Only those who are willing to test it will discover it for themselves.
Well, what if I told you that there are better solutions than you have known to accomplish the goals that you really want to reach? What if I told you that there are relatively simple answers, but as yet undiscovered to many people… answers that can make significant differences in their lives. Those who make the discovery for themselves with your help will even thank you that you took the time to think about them.
One way or another, you’re about to enter a new chapter of your life that may make only modest improvements for you… or you could find new solutions that are so life-changing that you’ll one day look back with gratitude that something so simple could finally dawn on you in such a way that you are now able to even multiply your discovery by helping many others who follow your steps.
Would you like to be part of a team that is passionate about making a difference and leaving a lasting legacy? Do you have what it takes to help others improve themselves and be well rewarded for it?
Call me at 866-867-9943 to leave me a message and let me know when we can see if our Legacy Team might have a place for you. I promise this won’t be a waste of your time. Call 866-867-9943. I’ll give you some web links to look at when we talk and you can discover for yourself if what I’m saying makes sense to you.
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You MUST have MULTIPLE Streams of Income
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When you think about taking a proactive change of direction to reclaim your legacy, what do you think is the most important thing that you have personally learned in your lifetime so far? With your focus on making a positive influence on your children and grandchildren – your next generation – what truth or idea have you discovered that is such a powerful influence on your own life that you would have to include it among the very top dozen or so important things that you have ever learned in your life?
Who is the one man to influence generations for God’s kingdom?
I recently read a sermon delivered by a gospel preacher who lived over 250 years ago before America became a nation. He was born in Gloucester, England, in 1714 and is often referred to as the greatest English preacher who ever lived. In both England and the American Colonies, he passionately gave himself to proclaiming Christ mostly in open air outdoor meetings heard by thousands of people at a time. One historian estimated that he preached a thousand sermons a year for 30 years. He was perhaps the most influential single person God used to create the society-transforming phenomenon of the middle 1700s called “the Great Awakening.” He became an early example of modern evangelists acquainted with the notable English pastor, John Wesley, who became best friends with one of the most influential men in the founding of America – Benjamin Franklin. Who was this unique man? (more…)
Much has been researched and written lately about the proven personal benefits of expressing genuine gratitude. It turns out that thankfulness is not typically a result of being happy, but rather the opposite is true. People who deliberately and openly confess their thankfulness to others are the happiest of people. And isn’t it interesting that those who recognize that their lives have a purpose are the ones who are prone to give thanks to their Creator and to those around them.
Have you discovered your purpose? Do you have a clear reason why you’re excited to get up in the morning? If you have a mission to drive your daily goals, you’re a much happier person than those who are just being driven by survival mode.
We’re a nation of people that has a centuries-old tradition of celebrating annual solemn days of Thanksgiving. Yet, it seems that our current generation has almost no concept of the deeply personal conviction of the importance of gratitude. And it’s pretty obvious that that gratitude should most deservedly be directed to the Almighty Giver of every blessing and perfect gift in our lives.
It seems like everybody is scrambling frantically to demand that their comforts and material desires be accommodated. How often we see people so ungrateful that complaints and cynical dissatisfaction has become society’s normal? Things haven’t changed much in 2,000 years have they?
Remember The Sin of Ingratitude in Luke 17:7-19?
Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. One of them was a Samaritan man. He was the only one of the ten who came back to Jesus and humbly thanked Him for healing him. Jesus asked him: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Sadly, my missionary friend in Africa reports that barely 10% of those they help will bother to express their gratitude with even a word of thanks or a note card. Gratitude may be rare, but those who express it discover the most enriching lives on earth. Instead of loneliness, poverty and depression, they are the ones most inclined to be enriched, energized, inspired and transformed
Gratitude goes counter to the ‘victim mentality’ that has deceived so many who think they are entitled to everything at the expense of others in our culture. When we give thanks sincerely, we acknowledge that we have received a benefit that is unearned. We can’t help but look beyond ourselves.
When you are stunned with the reality that you survived what could have been a fatal event, how does that make you feel?
After the victory of the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, November 1, 1777. How did they express their feeling? Here’s what they wrote in the proclamation:
“The grateful feeling of their hearts… join the penitent confession of their manifold sins… that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance… and… under the providence of Almighty God… secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace.”
If we want to reclaim our true history, we are going to have to work at telling our children about our real history. It isn’t being taught in most schools and colleges today. Thomas Jefferson was the governor of Virginia in 1779. What did he chose to proclaim for his State after Admiral John Paul Jones captured the British ship HMS Serapis? The Continental Congress declared a Day of Thanksgiving, which
“Congress… hath thought proper… to recommend to the several States… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for his mercies, and of Prayer, for the continuance of his favour… That He would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; That He would grant to His church, the plentiful effusions of Divine Grace, and pour out His Holy Spirit on all Ministers of the Gospel; That He would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth… I do therefore… issue this proclamation… appointing… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God… Given under my hand… this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779… Thomas Jefferson.”
Hear what that same Continental Congress proclaimed after Benedict Arnold’s traitorous plot to betray West Point was thwarted. It was a Day of Thanksgiving, October 18, 1780:
“In the late remarkable interposition of His watchful providence, in the rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution… it is therefore recommended… a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer… to confess our unworthiness… and to offer fervent supplications to the God of all grace… to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”
After British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Congress proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, October 11, 1782:
“It being the indispensable duty of all nations… to offer up their supplications to Almighty God… the United States in Congress assembled… do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe… the last Thursday… of November next, as a Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies.”
After the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, Congress recommended that the States declare a Day of Thanksgiving. Massachusetts Governor John Hancock, the former President of the Continental Congress, proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, November 8, 1783:
“The Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and Gratitude to the God of their salvation… I do… appoint… the 11th day of December next (the day recommended by the Congress to all the States) to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, that all the people may then assemble to celebrate… that he hath been pleased to continue to us the Light of the Blessed Gospel… That we also offer up fervent supplications… to cause pure Religion and Virtue to flourish… and to fill the world with His glory.”
After the U.S. Congress passed the First Amendment, it requested President George Washington issue a National Day of Thanksgiving, which he did, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness; ‘Now, therefore, I do recommend… Thursday, the 26TH DAY of NOVEMBER … to be devoted by the People of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be… That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble Thanks… for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government… particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
On January 1, 1795, President George Washington proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving:
“When we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations… the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed – the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it – the happy course of public affairs in general – the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; our circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us. In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience… I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart…a Day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of Nations.”
After hearing those inspiring proclamations from national leaders – which, by the way, were entirely inspired by the attitude of profoundly committed preachers in the churches of the American colonies – doesn’t it seem about time that the pastors of our Bible-believing congregations lead the way for reclaiming our lost legacy for the current generation? Should they not humbly call for days of contrition, repentance and sober thanksgiving? We have such excellent Biblical and historic precedents to guide our way.
Taking God’s Blessings for Granted
Dr. Martin Luther observed: “The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.” It seems that the blessings of life, health, freedom and food are not really appreciated unless they are lost, or threatened. Sunrises and sunsets occur daily so they are taken for granted aren’t they?
Consider the Stars
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that “If the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But because they are there every night, we barely give them a look.”
The Blessings of Being Hungry and Lonely
Have you noticed that the blessings of rain are barely appreciated unless one has been through a drought? A hungry man is more thankful for a tiny morsel than most affluent Americans for their table full of choice foods. A lonely woman in a nursing home will appreciate a visit more than a rock star with a crowd of fans. A Christian who has suffered under persecution for decades and receives his first copy of the Holy Scriptures is more thankful for one book than we are for all the Christian books, Bible translations and magazines that overflow our shelves.
You Should Experience Blindness for a Few Days
Helen Keller said: “I have often thought that it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days for some time during his early adult life. It would make him more appreciative of sight and of the joys of sound.”
A Biblical Command
There are at least 138 passages of Scripture that deal with the subject of thanksgiving. We are commanded: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name.” Psalm 100:4.
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8.
“Give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:12.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Plainly it is God’s will for us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.
A Sacrifice of Praise
“Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.” Hebrews 13:15.
What makes praise a sacrifice? Could it be that when the blessings we are thankful for have not yet manifested themselves in God’s providence?
A Good Habit
“It ought to be as habitual for us to thank as to ask.” C. H. Spurgeon
The Parent of All Virtues
It has been said that a thankful heart is the parent of all virtues.
What is the Root of Sin?
“The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness… for although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:18-21. Look! The failure to give thanks to God is the root sin that leads to futile thinking and foolish, darkened hearts. Think about that.
One of the Worst Sins
In 1 Timothy 3:1-5 the apostle Paul gives a list of some of the most terrible sins including: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, traitorous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Did you see that ungratefulness is listed in the middle of a list of horrible sins?
A Fruit of Character
What’s one of the first lessons good parents teach their children is to say? “Thank You”. It takes character and courage to admit being in debt to others. It is humbling. However, those who cannot admit their indebtedness to others cannot learn, nor can they seek forgiveness.
Failure to express gratitude is more than immaturity and rudeness, it is ungodly. We are commanded to honour our parents, our elders and our leaders. It is a sign of maturity to acknowledge indebtedness. Have you learned anything? Then you’re in debt to somebody else, aren’t you? We are all in debt, first, and mostly, to God Himself, for our life, health, food, talents, family, friends, opportunities and for our salvation itself. We are also in debt to past generations who have sacrificed for the freedoms we now enjoy: Reformers, martyrs, pioneers, missionaries, soldiers, parents, teachers, pastors and so many others have sacrificed for our benefit.
An Attitude of Entitlement
Instead of the Christian character of gratitude, our present culture prefers to promote an attitude of entitlement. This is the very opposite of gratitude. It builds on pride and covetousness. It is fuelled by bitterness, greed and envy. All too many in the present humanistic society take things for granted, demand to get, rather than seeking to give. It is sheer wickedness, and is a sure road to being led astray by all sorts of empty promises and destructive ideas.
An Attitude of Gratitude
A grateful mind is a great mind. “Be thankful, therefore, for the least benefit and thou shalt be worthy to receive greater.” Thomas a Kempis. Start giving thanks to God and the humblest of servants like your garbage man for the little blessings in life. Start today to write notes of sincere gratitude to people who have blessed you in any small way. Ask God to guide your thoughts. Partner with a friend to hold one another accountable in your new habit of expressing gratitude.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2.
Pride, Ingratitude and Unteachability
Those who do not take advice do not think they have anything to learn. They are often the same people who have a problem expressing a genuine heartfelt gratitude to others. It is a sign of pride to be ungrateful. It reveals an unwillingness to acknowledge a debt to others. By God’s grace, when we are humble enough to admit our wrong, He is powerful enough to enable us to change. We can be a thankful person.
Let’s Make this season a Turning Point for expressing Thanks-giving.
List 7 things you are thankful for in your personal life today.
Call 2 people who you can honestly thank for something they contributed to your life.
Privately talk to God about the gratitude you have for His saving grace.
Take 2 minutes to begin pondering the incredible blessings you have to live now.
Promise yourself you will thank the next 10 people you encounter for something they did for you, even if it’s just a common courtesy.
The results of gratitude?
You will become healthier. Recent studies suggest that gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep quality, and reduces inflammation in the body. Grateful people are also more inclined to eat better and exercise which obviously increases your wellness.
You will become a more compassionate person. When you make a routine of expressing gratitude to God and to others for tiny courtesies, you are looking beyond yourself. You will be kinder. You will be more forgiving. You will find joy in serving others and be willing to bear others’ burdens without expecting anything in return.
When you appreciate what you have, it’s impossible not to share it with others. On the other hand, you can’t give something away when you’re empty yourself. When you don’t know how rich you really are, you can’t take delight in sharing little insights with others. The more aware and thankful we are of the good things in our lives, the more we are able to give to others.
Your relationships will deepen. When you relate more gratefully to others you will draw closer and bond more deeply to the people in your life. When you express gratitude to the people you love, you become more satisfied with your relationships. You will reach out to others more easily. You’ll be more generous. You’ll be more forgiving and less judgmental.
A grateful heart is more content, more happy no matter what his circumstances are like. And a happy heart focuses more on the really important joys of peace and little blessings that make life worthwhile. That’s like a healing ointment to restore your health even when modern medicine can’t do it.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done… Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:8,34.
Satisfying your own desire ultimately comes down to helping others reach their goals.
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will *pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38
The ‘golden rule’ preached by Jesus is commonly known as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Right? So what is the ‘platinum rule?’
Well, what if the other person isn’t interested in what would make you happy? Doing what you like for them might be a complete waste of time. How are you going to find out about how to treat them?
Whose goals govern your actions?
When you decide what you want – what your goal is – your next step is to find out who you can help in reaching their goals. Their goals might compliment your goals or they might not do a thing for your goals. All that matters is that you selflessly grasp the eternal principle that is built by design into this universe: the key to accomplishing your desire is to find others to help in reaching their desires.
Remember the universal law of sowing and reaping?
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Imagine sowing helpful and empowering insights and strengths into the lives of others without primarily thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Yes, I know, we are all wired to think about ourselves all the time. Just watch a child for awhile. Listen to ‘em whine about getting their way. How many full grown adults live in a constant state of thinking about themselves, about their needs, their worries, their priorities… without much thought about others at all?
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Imagine how refreshing it would be to be surrounded by people who really think like that and live that way.
How would you like to work for a company where that is the resounding mission that resonates from every coworker? How would you like to have a church family where that is the conviction of every leader and every parishioner? How would you like a community where that is the code of ethics practiced by all your neighbors? How would you like a family where that is the lifestyle from morning until bedtime? How would you like to be the embodiment of that concept and begin a complete reformation of your culture? Imagine… thoughtfully and intentionally helping people reach their goals. What a relationship-building concept. And it all starts with you.
“And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
Sounds like a pretty good result doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want that for themselves? So, how does this manifest? Check out the verse immediately preceding that promise. Like most promises from God, there is a condition… it starts with the little word “if.”
“And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.” Isaiah 58:10
But a charitable attitude is something you can have toward not only destitute people. Why not have that attitude toward those we interact with on a daily basis?
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building.” Romans 14:19
Sowing and reaping
It’s as obvious as any law of nature that serves to guide our own actions in almost every area of life we can think about. As we sow, so then shall we also reap. That’s something you can truly have faith in because the Creator built it into the fabric of our experience. It’s an unchangeable law decreed in heaven. It guarantees that for every deliberate human effort we will receive a multiple reward. For each handful of seeds planted, a bushel is reaped. For every good idea shared with another, many more ideas will be given to us in return. For every loving act of helpfulness, a life of love is harvested in return, and that translates into a life full of legacy.
Giving to the poor has certain results.
“You shall generously give to him (the poor), and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.” Deuteronomy 15:10
Have you seen God’s promises to bless the “work of your hands?”
The work of your hands is the substance from which the Lord generates his blessing of increase. And it’s not just about what you produce mechanically with your manual labor. It is the promise for your productivity, your creativity, your profitability, your increase in wealth, your increase in the ability to provide for your needs and the needs of others.
“The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 28:8
The outcome of tending to YOUR business?
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
“In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23
We all face a major challenge today.
Will we commit our ambition to grow up and stand up to learn how to positively overcome the challenges of a changing world or will we allow ourselves to be beaten and depressed into a state of complaining and bitterness as a victim of circumstances? (more…)
Have you ever gotten ‘fed up’ with the way things are going for you to the point where you finally just said you’ve had it?
Why not take stock today of some things that need to change?
Why not decide today to intentionally work on some personal habits that are guaranteed to make you a happier and more influential person?
Are you willing to Stop the self-destructive things to regain your joy?
- Stop making excuses: If you are really serious about reclaiming your legacy then you have to realize that you’re entering the realm where you know good and well that NO EXCUSES ever fly! Why do we come up with excuses? Because they deceive us into thinking they are easier than actually achieving our goals. But excuses are just a waste of time, and we know it.What draws us into a negative path? Rather than growing and working on improving ourselves, we get stuck, lying to ourselves. We use all kind of excuses. And 99.9% of those excuses are not even real.2. Stop the blame game: When you blame others for what you don’t have or for what happens to you, you actually give your power away. Life should never be only about what happens to you. How are you going to handle the situations in your life? Only you can make the choice to take right actions.
3. Stop your resistance to change: Change is good. Change will help you make improvements in your life. Working with change you can also help lives of those around you. Embrace change – don’t resist it. There is a great book:Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson – read it!
4. Stop complaining: You are the only person responsible for your attitude and your reactions to things! So stop complaining about people – You can’t change them. Stop complaining about events – they happen to everyone. Situations can only make you sad, angry and bitter when YOU allow them to. No one wants to be around someone who constantly complains.
5. Stop trying to impress others: Stop trying so hard to be something or somebody that you’re not… especially if you’re doing it just to make others like you. It doesn’t work anyway. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly. Not all people… of course. Just the people who you really want to connect with anyway.
6. Stop being a control freak: Yeah, sure… I know this is hard, but when you are willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, miracles seem to happen. Situations, events, and people – Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – all these things are out of your control. Admit it. Just allow them to be. Your stress level decreases tremendously.
7. Stop the criticism: For some of us who tend to be perfectionists this is hard… but there’s wisdom in the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. Everybody wants to be happy. We all want to love and be loved… and we all want to be understood. So why not practice the habit of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about in his book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
8: Stop Judging: Stop judging people, things and events just because you don’t understand them. Just because something seems “weird” or different does not mean it is bad or wrong. If you need to help your kids understand good judgment in a discussion that’s fine, but you don’t need to get into a personal ‘issue’ over what you disagree about. Let God judge them. Let go of it and let God handle it.
9: Stop with the need to always be right: There are too many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right. We do this even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”
10. Stop trying to live your life up to other people’s expectations: Way too many of us are living a life that is not true to our own personal calling and purpose. When we try to live our life according to what others think is best for us, we develop all sorts of inner tension and frustration. Some people spend their whole life trying to live according to what their parents think is best for them. What a shame to allow what your friends, or even your enemies think is best for you to control your decisions! For way too many men and women, the popular media has projected a false reality that they try to live out.
Don’t ignore the inner voice of conscience and the inspiration of your Creator to guide you.
Remember “Desire” and “inspire.” Remember your inner calling. We are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that we lose control over our lives and forget what makes us happy, what we really want, what we really need. We all have just one life to live. Own it. Don’t let other people’s opinions mislead you.
I can honestly share with you, since I have made a conscious effort to stop all of the behaviors above, I have never been happier. And when I see myself slip – I acknowledge that behavior and work on adjusting my thought process.
Remember we cannot change, fix and improve on what we have not yet acknowledged.
So if you need it (and who doesn’t?), find an accountability partner who has your permission to call you out when you slip. This way you can reflect on what made you say or act in a certain way. The more aware you are of your actions, the easier and faster you can improve them.
What are you passionate about?
What drives you to put your feet on the floor before dawn every morning? Some pious person might say: “just doing God’s will” or “living for Jesus” or some trite saying that is so vague and evasive that it really doesn’t give anybody a clear picture or roadmap of what is truly the passion that guides your agenda.
Some might say that “I just aim to please my boss” … or “serve my customers” … or “be faithful in doing my job” … but what are you passionate about?
May I tell you what I’m passionate about? I’m passionate about changing lives… about helping others discover the best ways of reaching their goals, accomplishing their purpose, fulfilling the purposes they were created for and enjoying every day life. And that encompasses a lot of things… things like: discovering insights, finding better ways of doing things, and applying practical solutions to life’s challenges.
In the hectic pace of modern living today, it’s common for us to be so busy doing all the things that we have to do that we don’t have the time to search out the best solutions to many of our deepest challenges. Unless I’m a fatalist, when I stop to realize what’s going on, it hits me that nearly all the problems, heartaches and difficulties common to mankind are explained by one ageless principal. Once I discovered it tucked away in the writing of a well known ancient Hebrew king, I began to see that everything in life is part of our Creator’s blueprint for us to fulfill our purpose.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”
You don’t need to stumble and fall into confusion about choices. Why not just do something?
1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
It’s vitally important for the believer to have confidence that what he is doing is blessed or at least sanctioned by the overarching truth of God’s providential will.
Deuteronomy 8:18 “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
What is the key to truly influencing people? And who can you really help?
Have you heard what Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, said about this?
“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”
He’s right. If we want to make a difference in people’s lives we have to get their attention enough so that they will really want to ‘buy into’ what we have to share. You have to find out what arouses their curiosity.
Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein—they were all curious. They were all genius. And if we’re honest we eventually realize that every human has some element of genius in their makeup, begging to be activated. What is the curiosity ‘ticket’ that will cause another human to engage with you on whatever it is you would like to influence them about? What will make them actually want to draw out from you the discoveries that you have made?
“The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.”
Why is Curiosity Important and How can we Develop It?
Let’s look at four reasons.
1.. It makes your mind active instead of passive.
Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger. Curiosity really does require some energy. You have to put yourself into it.
2.. It makes your mind observant of new ideas.
When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right by you and you’ll miss them entirely because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas you may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
3.. It opens up new worlds and possibilities.
By being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities. There are possibilities just waiting to make a huge difference in your life TODAY. Just think. You’re one person, one greeting, one meeting away from having a totally different life. If you’ll be curious enough in your daily coming and going, you’ll anticipate an exciting new adventure every day. Who is the Lord going to bring across your path today? What new bit of information you discover today is going to revolutionize your life forever?
4.. It brings excitement into your life.
The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention. There are always new ‘toys’ to play with. Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.
There’s a lot going for being curious, isn’t there?
Who Can You Truly Help?
Whose lives can you influence with positive benefits? Who are the people you want to talk to? Who are the ones most open minded to what you have to share with them?
To everyone who absolutely loves to help other people – unless you love ‘beating your head against the wall’ and constantly feeling like you are in the business of ‘convincing’ people against their will – you must finally come to grips with the fact that there are really only a minority of the people out there who are even interested in hearing what you have to say. Who are they? You can find them easily because their mind is actually working— and working in their favor. It kind of reminds you of a parachute… It only works when it’s open! It’s the open-minded people who are actually willing to discover something that they don’t know and are willing to really admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.
Open minded people are curious people. They are the ones who discover new things that are life-changing. Do you want to know how to spot those who are open-minded?
Open-minded people are constantly excited about their personal discovery of new things. But more importantly, they’re eager for developing their life. They’re serious about improving their health. And they truly want to be better stewards of their resources. They’re not afraid to be ACTIVE receivers of the blessing of the Apostle John’s wish where he said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2). That’s a ‘multi-dimensional’ objective. It includes your soul, your body, your physical situation… it’s our life.
How can a person honestly say they want to receive the goal of that prayer IF they’re unwilling to do their part to adjust their attitudes and behaviors that will enable the desired result to manifest in their own life?
Have you noticed that our society has unfortunately promoted a rather negative and cynical attitude that easily rubs off on many people who are inclined to be more pessimistic than optimistic?
Now I realize that you have to try your best to get along with everybody. But does that mean you have to ‘spin your wheels’ wasting much of your energy and time with people who really don’t want to better themselves?
Identify the humble-hearted
There’s an important lesson we need to learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, who said that you need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on. Imagine that. Even when you’ve got the most life-changing and positive message to give someone, if they don’t receive what you have to say, pack up and find someone who is OPEN. There’s a reason it says “the humble shall inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity” – the humble one is the one who knows he doesn’t know it all and is open to hear what you have to say – explore undiscovered realms of life-building insights. That’s what the humble person wants to do. I hope that is YOU. Are you willing to discover new things? Things that you don’t know that you don’t know?
It isn’t a bad idea to start out a conversation with someone and ‘take their temperature’ to see if you’re going to have a short conversation or if they’re someone who you might want to dive a little deeper with. Try something like: “Hey, I thought of you and wondered if you’re open to see what I’ve been discovering lately.” If they respond with cynicism, sarcasm or condescension, just tell them, “Oh, that’s okay, did you hear the weather forecast for next week?” and move on to other topics. Don’t even try to engage their mind. It’s not working anyway! Remember the parachute?
Questions that Naturally open their minds
On the bright side, don’t let their pessimism wear you down. Be encouraged with the hope that there really are a lot of people out there who are plenty happy to hear what you have to share with them. Start asking questions that reflect your honest care for people. Ask them what would make them happier than they are right now. Ask them if they’re open to a new idea. Ask them if they’d like to make a difference in the lives of those they themselves care about. Ask them if they have taken the course you just learned about on how to …be healthier, …save more of their hard earned money, or …leverage their time to get more done and have more time to do the things they like to do. Ask people if they would be open to talk with you about your new discovery.
With some people, if you’re brave, you might even be able to ask them, “You wanna know what I learned about people that are open? … Turns out that they are the same people who like to better themselves, improve their health and make more money so they can do more good in the world!” Then you could follow up with another question like, “Can you think of anybody who thinks like that?” … and laugh with them if they seem to be good natured enough to engage with you. Just dialog. Help them get intrigued and curious about your new ideas that you’d like to influence them about.
You might think that everybody wants to solve their problems and find solutions for the things that cause them pain in their life. But think about that. If they really did want that – solutions for their problems – then why aren’t they actively pursuing it? How often do you find even yourself in the same old ‘rut,’ doing the same old actions, and getting the same old results? Doesn’t that seem like what Albert Einstein defined as ‘insanity?’ Unfortunately, that is where all too many of us are today.
A major lesson of life
Sometimes we have to rekindle the hope, inspire the optimism and rebuild the curiosity that makes people want to discover new things. Just be careful not to ‘cast your pearls before swine’ if you know what I mean. For an energetic young optimist, that’s one of life’s hardest lessons to learn. The only ones you can help… really help… are those who really want to be helped. You ‘gotta wanna’ have the results bad enough to exercise some initiative to get what you want. And if a person doesn’t respond to you with some energy …some interest …some sincere curiosity, you must not let them drag you into an argument that goes nowhere. Your time is to valuable for that.
So, don’t forget this one. It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy. Test the waters. Ask some good questions to see if they’re open. Don’t be afraid to taunt them a little bit if you have a good rapport with them. But don’t ‘show your hand’ too soon. See if they’re ready to activate their mind. And when you’re confident that they are ready, just give them a few nibbles to see if they really want more. Make a plan with them to talk again later and see if you have something that really can help them. Let the curiosity factor ‘work’ on their subconscious. That way they’ll be ready to hear you with both ears when you’re with them again.
Be sure you have some good reasons for the person you’re wanting to influence to continue their interaction with you. Don’t give them the whole ‘truckload’ of information that’s on your mind in your first dialog. Help them establish curiosity to hear more from you at another time.
Now, knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some tips to develop it.
Keep an open mind
This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, relearn, and unlearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind. Some of the opinion and ideas we grew up thinking and believing are just simply wrong, inaccurate or downright untrue. That’s why the Bible urges us to “test all things.” Hold fast what is true.
Don’t take things for granted
If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things for granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.
Ask questions relentlessly
A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way? When was it made? Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.
Don’t label something as boring
Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.
See learning as something fun
If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, exciting and adventuresome, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process. Who knows what discoveries lie ahead that you never thought of before?
Read diverse kinds of reading
Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another world. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world. As a believer and follower of Christ, why not ask God, “guide me into good, wholesome and productive things that will make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others whom I touch.
When you do that there’s no telling all the benefits, the development and the character enrichment that will go on in your life, not to mention the ability to influence others in positive ways. You’re going to make a difference to see some changes in your life in the very near future, as you wait on God to bring experiences into your life. But make sure you actively pursue them. Don’t just sit there. Take action. Take the course. Read the book. Step out of your comfort zone. Talk to somebody. Go to a meeting. Attend a new special event. When you do, your life will change.