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Walking In Your Purpose: Remembering Dr. Myles Munroe

I’m so saddened by the recent death of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Lady Ruth. I just thought I’d take a quick trip down memory lane.

I had the good fortune of interacting with Dr. Munroe at our church (Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier). My pastor, Ed Smith, was a good friend of the Munroes. I also had the pleasure of connecting with him and Lady Ruth in Hawaii at Bob Harrison’s Increase Conference in 2007 where I was also one of the guest speakers the following year. In our one-on-one conversation, Lady Ruth was very adamant in asserting that it is wise for a wife to travel with her husband in ministry. We had a lighthearted conversation about how lightly she (and the team) had to pack (also meant no extra shopping) because of the limited cargo space on the private plane. She was a beautiful lady inside and out.

Pastor Myles was gracious enough to endorse one of my books. And yes, I know that we’ll meet again in Glory, but the human side of me does not want to quickly embrace this loss. On an up note, I will embrace his challenge to “die empty”–to totally use every gift God has given me. Dr. Myles’ work lives on; his death re-motivates me to leave a legacy. I’m going to “step up my game”; gotta do more mentoring, go to a place of more miracles in ministry, better follow up on the awesome contacts I’ve made, do a better job of marketing the books I’ve written (sold over 1.7 million but I realize that, while that might sound impressive to some, I could do a lot better if I invested in a stronger organizational structure and hired GOOD, STABLE people, etc.). All of this is motivated by Dr. Myles’ emphasis on fulfilling your PURPOSE.

Pray for me and I’ll pray that all of you are walking in your PURPOSE. My purpose is to model and teach the practical application of God’s Word to every aspect of life (relationally, financially, etc.). I’m making every effort to do that, but I want to do it BETTER.

In honor of Dr. Myles, I’ll challenge you with this question: ARE YOU WALKING IN YOUR PURPOSE? Don’t know what it is yet? HERE’S A HINT:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).” GET IT? SERVICE TO OTHERS!

Raising Polite, Polished, & Powerful Communicators: Article 1–“Thank You”

“Why Teach Kids to Say Thank You”

(excerpted from my book:  “30 Days to Taming Your Kid’s Tongue”)

“Ingratitude to man is ingratitude to God.” So said Samuel ibn Naghrela , Jewish scholar & poet.

Story has it that when Uncle Bill offered Little Johnny an orange, he accepted it without a word.

“Little Johnny”, his mother asked, “What are you going to say?”

“Peel it!” he exclaimed.

Parents, teachers, and most individuals who regularly work with or around children would readily agree that there is an ingratitude epidemic among today’s young people. It seems that most parents have forgotten that teaching children to express appreciation for the gifts or kindnesses others extend to them is basic to good manners. It pays to begin early on so that being thankful becomes a habit that follows your children throughout their entire lives.  Here are just a few of the reasons why children must learn to say “Thank you”:

  • It subconsciously teaches them that they are not entitled to the things they are given.
  • It teaches them to acknowledge another person’s generosity or sacrifice on their behalf.
  • It makes them more conscious of being mannerly in other ways.

It makes the giver feel good to be appreciated.

While you need to train your children to get into the habit of  expressing appreciation to others, it is more important to teach them to develop a heart of gratitude. To this end, some parents proactively expose their children to the lifestyle of the less fortunate by taking them on a trip to the disadvantaged side of town or the other side of the world to see how the less fortunate live. They know how easy it is for their kids to get comfortable in their little bubble of abundance and develop an erroneous view of the real world. Once Jesus healed ten men suffering from leprosy—one of the most isolating and dreaded diseases of the day. He expressed dismay when only one of them, who happened to be foreigner, returned to say thank you.

He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:16-18 NLT

 Good parents remind their children that every gift comes from God (James 1:17); thus, when they are ungrateful to others, they are actually ungrateful to God.

When you fail to teach your children to say “Thank you”, the consequences are always negative:

  • It gives them the false impression that the world revolves around their needs, their desires, and their whims.
  • It leaves a vacuum in their character where respect should be.
  • It lessens their chances of making positive and influential first impressions.
  • It makes them selfish and thoughtless when it comes to the rights and desires of others.
  • It puts them at a greater risk for failed marriages and poor parent/child relationships.
  • It lessens their chances for job advancement as an adult because they are unable or unwilling to express appreciation.

Manners matter and there is no time like the present to make instilling them a priority in your child’s life. Here are a few practical ways you can teach your children to make saying

“Thank you” part of their normal behavior:

Be consistent in saying “Thank you” to your children, your spouse, and everyone else in your circle of interaction.

  • Be consistent in expecting and requiring your children to say “Thank you” to you and any one who compliments them or extends a kind deed to them. You may even have to prep small children before their birthday parties or special times to say “Thank you” for every gift received. Even if they don’t like the gift or already own a similar item, “Thank you” is the only appropriate response.Teach them that they are not only thanking the person for the gift but for the effort in selecting it, buying it, and getting it to them.
  • Affirm their use of “Thank you” with “You’re welcome”.
  • Explain that being appreciated motivates people to continue their generosity.

A RANT AGAINST CELL PHONE ADDICTION

 I try to keep rants to a minimum. However, I have a great burden to see people behave properly (i.e., considerately) towards others because it makes for higher quality relationships and works to their advantage in the long run. So to “cut to the chase”, here is a gentle reminder that the following behaviors are simply unacceptable:1) Texting/Talking while socializing with others. Ever thought about what it says to the person you are with? “You are not that significant to me. You are secondary to whomever I’m texting.” HEY FOLKS, PEOPLE LIKE TO BE WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM FEEL SPECIAL.2) Texting while sharing ANY activity with another person who is TREATING you or PLANNED the activity sends this message: “I’m not that interested in this. I’m not that appreciative or respectful of the time or effort you are taking to spend with me.” JUST STOP THE SELFISHNESS, OKAY?Yes, there are times when an emergency requires an immediate response. But, every call is NOT an emergency. This addiction is real folks and it’s time to address it. Here are a couple of suggestions that may help:

1) Silence your phone during your time with others and don’t answer it unless it’s an emergency. 2) Try muting the phone in general and only checking it once an hour or so (unless you have dependent kids or you are a doc on call). 3) phone textingAdmit that your phone has become an idol in your life and ask God to deliver you from this addiction. Here’s how the psalmist prayed against things becoming a stronghold in his life:

“Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.”
Psalms 119:133 NKJV {NOTE: “iniquity” means any injustice or inequality”}. I’M PRAYING THIS BIG TIME IN EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE.

Overcoming an Impatient Attitude

“So what’s the bottom line?” Jill wanted to shout at the woman who was giving the support group the long version of her current dilemma. It was getting late and five members were still waiting for their turn to share the issues they had faced during the week. Of course as a trained counselor, Jill knew she had to resist the urge to show her impatience. Sure she was high strung and impatient in general, however, she’d recently had an “aha” moment during a bible study at church. She had finally gotten it: patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t something that she could achieve by counting to ten or making a New Year’s resolution; it could only be produced in her by the Spirit of God—with her cooperation. Perhaps you, along with me, share Jill’s challenge in this area.

I’m on a mission to understand and overcome the root cause of my tendency to become impatient with others. I often reminded myself that we are all victims of a fast paced, instant gratification society where we have become accustomed to instant communication (phone, texting, instant messenger), instant food, instant credit, instant news, Hi-speed internet, and a host of other “now” conveniences that cause us to become annoyed at waiting for anything. Clearly this is a self-imposed problem with far reaching consequences since impatience not only affects us physically but emotionally and relationally. What we need is a major shift in our expectations regarding how fast we should move or the pace at which we expect others—including God– to do so.

Impatience affects us emotionally since we feel angry and exasperated when things do not go the way we think they “should”. Jesus warned, “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19 KJV). Bible scholars and psychologist all tell us that our soul is the seat of our emotions. Developing the habit of enduring delays without emotional interference will preserve our joy and keep us at peace. Just try it… for the next 24 hours, refuse to express impatience with any situation.
Impatience hurts our relationships in that it causes us to relate to others in a non-beneficial, non-compassionate manner. Think about how you feel when even a stranger is short-tempered with you. Depending on your spiritual maturity, you either want to retaliate, rebel, or run from his presence. If the impatient person is significant to you and you value his input or perception of you, his impatience can rob you of your confidence and make you feel devalued. Remember this when you are tempted to express your impatience even in the simple form of a deep sigh.
Overcoming impatience begins with an awareness of its presence, a commitment to allow the Holy Spirit to produce patience in you, and a decision to stay in the present moment rather than obsessing about what must happen next or later.

How Faith Works

It’s no secret that flying is NOT my favorite pastime; however, I do it a lot because it’s part of God’s plan for fulfilling my purpose. One of the areas of the USA that I LEAST like to fly “to” or fly “over” is Denver, Colorado. The high winds in the mountain range cause significant turbulence.

As God would have it, one of the most significant media appearances of my life, being a guest on the “Today with Marilyn and Sarah” TV program, just happens to be taped in Denver. I’ve been there three times now to record various shows. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart prior to the first visit and informed me: “The place you fear is where your opportunity lies.” So off I went—in obedience but with some trepidation.

Well, yesterday, my husband Darnell and I were en route to Los Angeles from Toronto, Canada and I found myself dreading the return flight which would take us over Denver. The flight out to Toronto had been pretty rocky when we had flown over the area. At the Toronto airport, I felt faith rise up in me and I said, “Darnell, stand with me in believing that we will not experience any turbulence when we reach the Denver mountain range.” Being a man of faith, he readily agreed.

The Airbus 321 aircraft we were on had individual seat monitors and featured a flight map. I kept checking it to determine when we’d be approaching the Denver area. Suddenly, I realized that I was operating in faith and anxiety at the same time. A part of me said, “Get ready for turbulence just in case…” The other part of me fought to believe that our prayers would be answered. It was at this point that the Holy Spirit literally invaded by thoughts and said, “That’s not how faith works. It doesn’t focus on the ‘seen’! Turn off the map and just expect NOT to have the turbulence.” That’s exactly what I did. And guess what? The turbulence NEVER occurred! I had NEVER flown over Denver before without turbulence. So here are my lesson learned:
• Faith relaxes.
• Peace comes when we focus on God’s ability to intervene and away from the circumstances.
• We must not let phrases like, “normally”, “usually”, “traditional requirements”, etc. sabotage our faith. We are the “righteous” (in right standing with God thru the blood of Jesus); we can expect the FAVOR of God. FAVOR implies that we get benefits beyond what “usually” occurs.

Use your faith today! Let Psalms 5:12 be your anchor when you are facing uncertainty: “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield “(NKJV).

Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life: Avoid Sarcasm–Part 2*

Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life: Strategies for a Better Outlook on Life (B880)Please Read Part 1 for background info and Strategy #1 on how to avoid sarcasm: Strategies 2-4 appear below:

2) Practice a more direct approach to expressing your displeasure. Posing a simple question designed to gain a better understanding will go a long way. For example, rather than asking “What in the world were you thinking?” try, “What strategy or goal did you have in mind when you made that move?” This latter statement expresses confidence that surely some forethought was applied. God will give you the right words to say if you ask him to do so. “…those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything…) (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 NLT).

3) Consider the implications and consequences of what you are about to say before you say it. Ask yourself, “Will my words imply that the hearer is stupid or has poor judgment? Do they tear down or do they build? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). Make sure every word passes the “benefit” test.

4) Consider how you would feel if someone were to say to you, what you are about to say to another. Let the Golden Rule be your guide!

Prayer

Father, I need wisdom in becoming more sensitive to what I say to others. Teach me how to be more accepting of other people’s shortcomings just as you are accepting of mine. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

*Adapted from Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life by Deborah Smith Pegues (available April 1, 2014) (Harvest House Publishers)

Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life: Avoid Sarcasm–Part 1*

Do you regularly respond to a person or a group’s actions or decisions in a way that is opposite of what you really feel—as evidenced by your tone or body language (smirking, raising eyebrows, cocking your head to the side, or sighing)? Sarcasm can ruin your relationships as its goal is usually to scorn, belittle, insult, or express irritation or disapproval. You can find it in all social interactions–at home, in sports, romantic relationships, and at church to name a few. Consider these examples:

At home: Junior brings in his report card which reflects low grades in all subjects. Dad says, “Way to go, Einstein!” Dad is expressing his frustration by saying the opposite of what he’s really feeling.

Romantic relationship: John buys his wife Sue a pair of very small diamond earrings. Sue, who had hoped for larger gems, says, “Boy, these are really going to blind people!”

How has your sarcastic attitude affected your life? How do you typically respond to your recurring frustrations or irritations with others? Perhaps you have convinced yourself that you are not sarcastic at all, but rather witty or humorous. Perhaps you are not aware that your sarcasm most likely leaves the hearer feeling diminished or devalued. If you want to begin to address this poor communication style, consider these strategies:

1) Admit your motive for being sarcastic. You may be attempting to control other people or to shame them out of behavior that you disapprove. Face it, the only person you can control is yourself. Or, maybe you are trying to display your great intellect by calling attention to the deficiency of another.

Stay tuned for strategies #3-4… in Part II

*Adapted from Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life
by Deborah Smith Pegues (available April 1, 2014)

A Prayer for Yourself

“Lord, I thank you for the privilege of coming into your presence and casting ALL my cares upon You. I resist the temptation to carry them; I lay them down NOW. I rest from trying to figure out the solutions to the problems in my life. I submit to every circumstance that YOU have ordained and I receive YOUR strength to go thru each one. Further, I bind the works of the “enemy” and I decree that no weapon formed against me will succeed. By YOUR GRACE, I will exercise the courage to do whatever YOU tell me to do in my situation. YOUR joy is my strength. Therefore, I rejoice… out loud… RIGHT NOW! By faith, I decree that VICTORY is mine!”

I’m Laying Aside a “Weight” Today

I’m Laying Aside a “Weight” Today

Today I decided to cut up my deceased mother’s handicap placard. From time to time I have used it as “backup insurance” when parking. I would put the money in the meter but post the placard on the rear view mirror just in case I didn’t make it back before the meter expired–and thus avoid a parking violation as the placard absolves you from having to pay parking fees. If the meter had indeed expired when I returned to the car, I would “usually”–if I had quarters– put the money in the meter and go my merry way. That was violating the law which requires the handicapped person to be present when the placard is used. Well, no more!

The Bible says:”…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). I want God’s best. I don’t want anything to hinder my prayers or my blessings. Now, I know I run the risk of ruining my “reputation” (what you think I am) by being so candid, but I am more concerned about developing my “character” (what I really am) and showing others how I overcome my weaknesses or shortcomings–and, of course challenging them to follow me as I follow Christ. So, will you commit to laying aside a weight today? If so, don’t delay. Just do it. Then get ready to experience Supernatural peace–and to be blessed!

5 Ways to Triumph Over Envy

5 Ways to Triumph Over Envy

Photo courtesy of bubblews.com

I have to confess that I’m GREEEEEN with Envy about Fawn Weaver’s book “Happy Wives Club” making the #3 spot on the New York Time’s bestsellers list. It’s been prophesied that one of my books will soon, but it hasn’t happened yet (drats!). Nevertheless, I know how to triumph over ENVY and I want to help those of you who often get attacked by this green-eyed monster. Here’s how to slay ENVY and make it work FOR you:

1) USE IT AS A MOTIVATOR. Envy is rooted in DISCONTENTMENT. {It is distinguished from Jealousy which is rooted in FEAR, the fear of being displaced.} Envy reminds you of what you “should” or “could” do or be. So, when it first attacks you, ask God, “What is your plan for ME?” “What should I be doing right now to get on track to fulfilling MY purpose?” Thank God for the motivation.

2) SPEAK WELL OF THE PERSON YOU ENVY TO EVERYONE YOU MEET. I’m bragging to the world about how proud I am of Fawn. She’s young, creative, and smart! A marketing genius! She’s helped me in the past with her marketing tips. I’m old enough to be her mother; in fact, her mom Bunny Wilson is a dear friend.

3) PRAY FOR EVEN GREATER SUCCESS FOR THOSE YOU ENVY. Don’t be a hater who tries to “level the playing field” by being critical. You will surely reap what you sow! Believe it or not, SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IS ENVYING SOMETHING ABOUT YOU! How would you like for them to handle their envy?

4) DON’T ALIENATE, INVESTIGATE! Many withdraw from the relationship when they start feeling “disadvantaged” or inferior. Instead, I say find out the key to that person’s success. You can believe that I’m gonna be interviewing Fawn big time. She’s going to be my new “best friend” (lol). Why, I’ve sold over 1.5 million books but not a SINGLE ONE has been on the NYT list! Of course, I have NOT put forth the promotional effort that Fawn has. Crazy, how we can envy folks and not want to pay the price they pay for their success. Are you envying somebody who’s skinny, happily married, easy to get along with, etc.? Don’t be too proud to interview ‘em about their habits and strategies. Humble yourself and be vulnerable. Just ask ‘em, “What’s your secret?”

5) SUBMIT TO GOD’S SOVEREIGN PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE. Decide to say “Yes” to whatever God is saying. FATHER KNOWS BEST. Believe this or stop claiming you trust Him. Don’t let envy steal your joy. Be Happy Every Day. Whew, I feel better already. Hope you do too!

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