Praying In Faith, Even When You’re Faith Is Small

Photo by Ed Yourdon

Photo by Ed Yourdon

Have you ever prayed about a very challenging situation, and then you had trouble believing God might actually answer that prayer? Guess you could consider this kind of prayer similar to a “Hail Mary,” those desperation football throws by the quarterback. So, you throw up these desperate prayers to the Lord, but because the situation seems so hopeless, you don’t have an incredible amount of faith that God may actually move in amazing ways, right now.

You know that you should pray for this particular person or problem, but the situation looks completely hopeless. You will go for it. You will pray consistently and fervently, but you’re not holding out a lot of hope that the situation is going to change much in the immediate future.

Sure, maybe later on. Maybe a few years down the road, this person may get right with the Lord or this issue may resolve itself. What happens, though, when God starts moving faster than you were even expecting?

For the last few months, I’ve prayed for two people in a challenging situation. Honestly, the whole thing is a big mess with not much hope in human terms. In fact, I was sensing that the situation was getting worse, not better. I’ve questioned my resolve as a leader and person of spiritual influence in their lives. Maybe, I’m the problem? Maybe, the supposed cure is worse than the disease?

I keep praying, though. I even started praying Scripture back to the Lord a few weeks ago. I’ve driven down the road on my way to work, praying and asking the Lord to remember his promise in Philippians 1:6 (NIV), ” being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Then, my prayer will end with, “God, you started a work in these people’s lives several years ago. I pray that you will complete that work.”

Now, to my surprise, I’ve suddenly seen a glimmer of hope in both of the people I’ve prayed for. I’m seeing a new interest in spiritual growth. I’m seeing them take baby steps in the right direction. Thank you, Lord, for your Holy Spirit’s moving in their lives!

But, should I really be this surprised that the Holy Spirit is at work in the situation?

Are any of us really any different from the early disciples whom Jesus chastised, “oh ye of little faith!?” Unfortunately, we’re not. Most of the time, I think we act in exactly the same way as they did. Our faith is small. We don’t exercise and expand our faith as much as we should.

Let me speak a word of encouragement in your life, today. Stay in faith. Keep praying. God is at work in your situation, too.

“ … The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b, NIV)

Get Out There And Find Yourself Some Wise, Rich Friends

Photo by MCFlainez

Photo by MCFlainez

Huh?

You’re joking, right Larry? The title on this post seems a little over the top.

Yes, I meant the title to be a bit of shocker, but I’m really only half-joking around about it. Check out the following quote:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

While there have been no scientific studies done to substantiate this quote (to my knowledge), I don’t think there can be much dispute on the influence of others on our life. We become like the people with whom we hang out and do life with.

If we spend a lot of time with rebellious, worldly, marginal “Christians” (I’m using this label, loosely), then there’s a good chance we’re going to end up worldly and rebellious.

If we hang out with people who are challenged with a poor work ethic and a poverty mindset, then we’re probably going to adopt that same attitude with our work and finances.

If we spend time with selfish, me-centered people, then there’s a great possibility we’re going to become toxic people and self-centered in our personalities.

But …

If we hang out with people who have a deep walk with the Lord and are engaged in a passionate pursuit of the Kingdom of God, then there’s a great possibility that we will become mature in our own walk with the Lord.

If we spend time with hard workers, abundance thinkers, and people who are rocking their career niche, then we’re probably going to start growing in our own area of expertise.

If we spend time with people who live debt free lives with attitudes of contentment and generosity, then there’s a great chance we’re going to pursue this type of financial mindset and lifestyle as well.

What Scripture Tells Us About Friendship

God’s Word is clear that the people we hang around with do have an influence on our lives, for good and for bad. Check out these verses from Scripture about the importance of our personal relationships:

  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20).
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare (Proverbs 22:24-25).
  • Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  • Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future (Proverbs 19:20).
  • Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

Our Friends Will Make Us Or Break Us

The people we hang around with will truly make us or break us. Our friends have the power, the ability to build us up or to tear us down. They can encourage us or discourage us to make great life choices or bad ones. They can give us wise, Biblical advice on how to manage God’s money, or they can advise us to live wealthy lifestyles with no consideration for God’s Kingdom work.

Does this mean we dump all of our current friends in favor of “better” friends?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I would simply do a friend audit. If you have a group of friends that impact you negatively, then yeah, it’s time to drop them in favor of more positive influences in your life. On the other hand, if your friends have perhaps a mostly neutral influence in your life, then you can hold on to them. Over time, though, seek out Godly, positive, wise, hard-working friends who can help you move up to that next level in your life.

Questions: Have you done a friend audit, lately? If you did one, what kind of grades would your current group of friends receive? Passing, failing, or excellent? Is it time for you to get out there and find some more positive, influential friends?

Stop Blaming Others And Take Ownership Of Every Aspect Of Your Life

Photo by Pushkar V

Photo by Pushkar V

Book Review

Have you ever read a book that was so good that you needed to share it with others? Well, last weekend, I happened to download a really good book on my Kindle app, and I blasted through it within a couple of days. It’s a really easy read with very short chapters. Each chapter gets straight to the point, which I really like! Anyway, the book is called QBQ! The Question Behind The Question.

The Question Behind the Question has to do with practicing personal accountability at work and in life. It’s so easy to blame others for when something goes wrong at work or within the family. Amazing, extraordinary people, though, are able to stop blaming others and simply embrace personal responsibility. Sure, all of our jobs “out in the real world” would be a lot easier if every employee within our companies shouldered their own personal responsibility in their positions. But, the unfortunate reality is that people don’t always approach their work in this way. Many of us end up picking up the slack of others.

According to the book, this is simply a great opportunity for you to be an exceptional employee, husband, father, team member, and so on.

Take Ownership

One of the primary keys to personal responsibility is taking ownership within the organization. According to QBQ!, “Ownership does not require having an equity stake in the organization or holding an official position of leadership. It simply means facing problems head-on instead of blaming, complaining, procrastinating, or making excuses. Ownership is personal accountability in its purest form.”

At work and at home, stuff will happen. Our fellow employees will drop the ball on a critical work project. Our spouse will forget to take care of an important family financial detail. Our kids will fail to do their chores around the house. As a result, we can blame everyone else around us, or we can assume the responsibility and attempt to correct the problem.

Does this mean that we chase everyone around at work and home with a giant “pooper scooper” and clean up everybody else’s messes? No, not necessarily. What it may mean for us, though, that we strive to set the bar a little higher at home and on the job.

We model personal responsibility to our co-workers and family, first. Then, we turn around and encourage a spirit of personal ownership to those around us.

The Foundation of QBQ: Ask Better Questions

The key concept behind QBQ! is asking ourselves questions.

But, instead of asking questions like:

“Why don’t others work harder?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why do they make it so difficult for me to do my job?”
“Why don’t I ever get a break?”
“Why don’t people care as much as I do?”

We need to ask ourselves better, more empowering questions. The formula for creating a quality QBQ is the following:

  1. Begin with “What” or “How” (not “Why,” “When,” or “Who”).
  2. Contain an “I” (not “they,” “we,” or “you”).
  3. Focus on action.

The question “What can I do?” follows this 3-step formula, perfectly.

Instead of focusing your time and energy on a bunch of ineffective questions that lead to stress and disappointment, decide today that you will pursue creating better questions that lead to way better results at work and in your life.

Questions: Do have a tendency to ask too many “Why me?” questions? What do you need to do to start asking yourself better quality questions? Have you ordered your copy of QBQ! yet?






Exclusive Bonus! Subscribe today and you’ll receive a link to download my brand new e-book, Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan To Change Your Life, Today!, FREE of charge.

New Graphic

We respect your email privacy

3 Ways We Leave A Legacy, So Make It A Great One!

Photo from City of Boston Archives

Photo from City of Boston Archives

Legacy Building

What do all second term U.S. Presidents and failed, former Presidents have in common? They are all on a quest to build a unique legacy for which they will be remembered in the history books after they have passed away.

The reason I know this? At the time of this writing, we still have alive with us the longest surviving/retired former President and perhaps greatest example of legacy rebuilding: Jimmy Carter. Since leaving office in January 1981, Mr. Carter has been working extremely hard on rebuilding a failed Presidential, personal legacy. He has been busy doing amazing charity work with Habitat For Humanity. He also founded The Carter Center whose mission is “guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.”

But, who can blame former President Carter for working so hard on building a better personal legacy post 1981? President Carter has been branded as one of the worst presidents, especially in recent history. Here’s how Wikipedia records his presidential legacy:

The Independent writes, “Carter is widely considered a better man than he was a president.” While he began his term with a 66 percent approval rating, his had dropped to 34 percent approval by the time he left office, with 55 percent disapproving …

… His administration suffered from his inexperience in politics. Carter paid too much attention to detail. He frequently backed down from confrontation and was quick to retreat when attacked by political rivals. He appeared to be indecisive and ineffective, and did not define his priorities clearly. He seemed to be distrustful and uninterested in working with other groups, or even with Congress when controlled by his own party, which he denounced for being controlled by special interest groups. Though he made efforts to address many of these issues in 1978, the approval he won from his reforms did not last long.

In the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan projected an easy self-confidence, in contrast to Carter’s serious and introspective temperament. Carter’s personal attention to detail, his pessimistic attitude, his seeming indecisiveness and weakness with people were accentuated in contrast to Reagan’s charismatic charm and delegation of tasks to subordinates. Reagan used the economic problems, Iran hostage crisis, and lack of Washington cooperation to portray Carter as a weak and ineffectual leader. Carter was the first elected president since Hoover in 1932 to lose a reelection bid.

Ouch! When Wikipedia writers write that about your Presidency, you would be busy rebuilding your legacy, too!

Good And Bad, We’re All Leaving A Legacy

Will President Carter really be able to ditch the legacy of his failed presidency? Unfortunately for him, no, he won’t. But, we will all be able to look back and see that he has done some amazing work after leaving office. He didn’t just roll over, give up, and go on vacation for the last 32+ years. He wanted to make a difference after leaving office, and he certainly has accomplished his mission.

All of us are leaving a legacy each day. Some days, I’m sure our legacy looks amazing. On other days, probably not so much. But, we all have a daily opportunity to leave a legacy to those around us through what we say, through what we do, and through what we give.

3 Ways To Leave An Amazing Legacy, Today

We leave a legacy by what we:

  1. SAY. Our words have an impact on those around us. Proverbs 15:1-2, 4 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” We have to be so careful with the words that come out of our mouths! Just remember that people will remember those words and attitudes behind your words. Maintain a positive, loving attitude with the words you choose! Also, related to this area, we live in an amazing time in history where we can leave our very own personal words to succeeding generations through written digital documents, as well as audio and video recordings. I don’t know about you, but I know little to nothing about my grandfathers and great-grandparents. I think it would be a really amazing to hear their voices and see them on a video recording. I would love it if they had compiled some Jones history in their personal journals. In today’s digital world, you have an amazing opportunity to leave a part of yourself to the next generation!
  2. DO. Our actions really do speak louder than our words. 1 John 3:17-18 tells us, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” It’s easy to tell people that we love them and that we’re praying for them. It’s hard, though, to take the time out of our busy schedules and help others. When we do, though, this is what people ultimately remember about us. Be proactive and take time today by loving others through your actions.
  3. GIVE. We will be remembered for what we gave while here on this earth: our time, our talents, and our treasure. Proverbs 13:22 states, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” If we claim to be a follower of Christ, then our lives should look like His. Our Lord was the ultimate giver; He gave His very life for us! Give of your time and energy to your spouse, kids, and friends. They will definitely recall the time you spent with them after you have gone on to be with the Lord. Give financially to your church and those in need. Also, be proactive in setting up your estate planning to give financially to both your earthly and spiritual families when you pass from this life to the next.

Questions: So, how’s your legacy building going? Like former President Jimmy Carter, have you been diligent in creating a better legacy?

The best legacy building happens proactively, on purpose. Don’t forget to both say AND do, today! Write stuff down regarding your family history. Compile all your writing journals, audio and video recordings and keep them in a secure location. Keep your legacy legal documents up to date. Leave an amazing legacy of love to those you leave behind.