Do You Make This Common Mistake In Your Prayer Life?

Photo by Will Foster

Photo by Will Foster

Praying For Lots Of Stuff

Do you have the tendency to pray for more and more stuff?

I’m talking about all of the prayers we offer up for our own individual needs and the needs of other people.

You know, like praying for a new bass boat for yourself, or praying for a special blessing on Aunt Martha’s hangnail. Ok, those are extreme examples, but I think you probably know what I’m talking about.

I fear that the modern day Christian prays for many things, but doesn’t really stop and praise the Lord for all the amazing things He has already accomplished in their life.

This is a common mistake that many of us make in our prayer lives.

Praising God For What He Has Done

Psalm 103 is an excellent reminder to all of us to not forget to praise God for all that He has done for us.

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Don’t Forget The Benefits Of God

My favorite phrase in the first few verses of Psalm 103 is in verse 2, “And forget not all His benefits.”

The word benefit carries with it the idea of a “reward.”

King David is reminding us in this psalm to not forget about the rewards that God gives us. We are to praise the Lord for all the awesome blessings He pours into our lives. David goes on to list these rewards, things such as:

  • the forgiveness of sin
  • healing from disease
  • redemption from Hell
  • physical protection
  • an abundance of provision
  • renewed youth

Yes, God desires for us to pray for our needs and the needs of others, but He also wants us to praise His holy name for all the amazing blessings He pours into our lives each day.

Don’t make this common mistake in your prayer life by focusing your prayer life on just needs. Spend more time praising Him for all the good things in life as well.

Questions: So, are you making this common mistake? Are you spending the majority of your prayer time asking God for stuff? Or, do you need to make a shift in taking more time to praise Him for those special “benefits” He brings into your life? What amazing rewards has God given to you, today?






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If You Don’t Get Out Of Debt Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Photo by Dave Lawler

Photo by Dave Lawler

Waiting For Perfect Timing

Perfect timing.

I suspect I’m the king of this elusive time issue. I tend to wait around for the timing to be just about right on most everything such as writing an important article, scheduling the doctor’s appointment, working on a speech, having an important conversation, or making that critical phone call.

The reality of perfect timing is that it is merely a socially acceptable way to procrastinate.

And, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, either. I would guess that most of us like to wait around for the “perfect timing” on almost anything in life.

Yeah, we’re just procrastinating.

So, why do we procrastinate? What are we waiting around for?

Perhaps, taking action will take us out of our comfort zone? It will make us uncomfortable, and we human beings are funny that way. We live for comfort. We don’t like stress. But, we also don’t accomplish what we need to do, either.

If we would just embrace our discomfort and take one small step of action, then we would find that it’s really not as bad as we made it out to be in our mind.

The Perfect Time To Pay Off Debt

Paying off debt is one of these areas that people like to wait around for the right timing.

Perfect timing is a myth. It’s pure hokum.

Yeah, we think we’ll start paying down our debt when we get a higher paying job, when we get our website built that is going to make us a million dollars, when we can finally get moved into our dream house, or when we’re done having kids and the wife goes back to work.

The reality is that there is no such thing as perfect timing. We’re just procrastinating taking action on something that will cause us discomfort. We know that we shouldn’t be carrying the debt load we’re currently carrying, but it’s this big scary monster that we don’t want to deal with.

So, we put it off until tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. If you’re not working on getting out of debt now, then it’s probably not going to happen later.

But, I can tell you from personal experience that if you face your fear and look at this ugly debt monster in the face, it’s probably not as bad as you think. We always make things bigger in our mind than they are.

Now Is The Time

I don’t care where you’re at, today.

Maybe you’re still in college. You started a new business a few months ago. You just got married. Your wife is about to give birth to your firstborn child.

Wherever you are in life, right now IS, without a doubt, the very best time to embark on your debt-free journey. Your life will not be any easier one year from now. It’s just going to get more complicated and more expensive at some level. Plus, in these uncertain economic times we now find ourselves, you are better off to just deal with your current state than wait on better financial times that may be several years away.

Take action today on moving toward a debt-free life. Don’t procrastinate any longer. The clock is ticking. If you don’t get out of debt now, you’ll hate yourself later.

Questions: Are you waiting around to become debt-free? What are you waiting around for? What one action could you take today to break your cycle of procrastination and move toward financial freedom?






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Who Else Wants To Raise Children, Successfully?

Photo by Jose Roco

Photo by Jose Roco

My Daughter’s Essay Was An Important Reminder

“Well, Daddy, I wrote about you.”

My oldest daughter and I were having a quick phone conversation right after school about how her day went. I asked her my usual questions, “How was your day? Anything special happen at school?”

She probably told me that not much exciting happened. Then, I probably asked her a few more questions about some specific subjects. These questions led us into a conversation about an essay she had to write in one of her classes. The assignment was to write about a person you know who has set goals and accomplished them.

She chose to write about me!

Actually, I was somewhat taken back when she said this. A tear showed up in the corner of one eye. We’ve never had any kind of “official” conversation about goals or goal-setting that I can recall. I’ve never shared with her any of my life goals.

I have been a goal-setter pretty much my entire life, though. Somehow, my daughter picked this up from me without words. Over the last 13 years, she’s been observing my actions.

She then went on to tell me my list of goals that I had accomplished from her viewpoint as my daughter. I was totally blown away.

At the same time, I was also reminded that what we do in front of our children has a bigger impact than we truly realize.

Actions Speak Louder

We’ve probably heard this statement a million times, “actions speak louder than words” or “more is caught than taught.” I am still amazed, though, at the number of parents who don’t seem to understand that what they do in front of their kids each day makes a HUGE impression on them, way more than words do.

Your words either support your actions, or they contradict them. Unfortunately, I suspect that many parents have words and actions that are complete polar opposites.

Children are a lot smarter than we give them credit. They listen to what we say, but more importantly, they watch everything we do.

Get Into Alignment

If you struggle in this area of right words but wrong actions in front of your children, then there is no better time to change this aspect of your parenting than today.

The best time to make any kind of parenting change is now; not tomorrow, or when the sun, moon, and stars line up.

Start with a change in just one area. Begin by making just one single positive action in front of your children. Then when that takes hold as a habit over a few weeks, then add another positive action and follow the pattern.

Small changes over time have a greater success rate than trying to change everything about your parenting all at once.

Be sure your actions support the words you speak to your kids. Actions really do speak louder than words.

Questions: Do you struggle in this area of alignment between your words and actions with your children? If so, what small change could you begin with today that would make a huge impact on their development over time?






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4 Proven Actions To Avoid Spiritual Danger Zones In Your Life

Photo by Deanna

Photo by Deanna

Mountain Road Guardrails Save Lives

Mountain roads are the most dangerous roads.

There’s not a lot of margin when you’re driving on a mountain road. It’s either stay on the road and live, or drive off the side of the mountain and die. That’s it.

And, believe it or not, many of the mountain roads around the world have very few safety features such as guardrails to keep people from driving off the side of a mountain.

I recently read a story from November 2005, when a missionary was driving the dangerous mountain roads of Northern Bosnia–Herzegovina with a couple of pastors. The weather was terrible, but they were driving cautiously as they navigated their way to a conference. The majority of these Bosnian roads have no guardrails.

As they came around a curve, they unexpectedly hit a slick spot and started sliding toward the edge of the mountain. A river with jagged rocks was waiting for this missionary and pastors some 40-feet below.

As their car was sliding out of control, the men all cried out “Jesus!” Fortunately, this was one of a few curves on the mountain road that actually had a guardrail. The front bumper of the car hit the guardrail and pushed the car back on the road.

Once the missionary found a safe place to pull over, the all jumped out of the car to take a look. First, they were amazed that there was even a guardrail on this particular curve. Second, they were surprised that the guardrail appeared to be brand new.

The Purpose of Guardrails

Guardrails are designed to keep motor vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas, just like in the above story. They are normally found on bridges, in medians, and around curves.

Guardrails are a safety design feature that is an almost invisible part of our driving experience. We really don’t even pay attention to them until we need them.

In driving, there needs to be some margin of error. Mistakes will be made. Accidents will happen. The theory behind the guardrail is that your physical body and your vehicle will incur less damage striking the guardrail then if you were to experience whatever is on the other side of that guardrail (such as a drop off or an oncoming car).

So, yes, if you hit a guardrail, there is going to be damage, but it probably won’t be as bad as if you didn’t have that guardrail in the first place.

We Need Guardrails

We as a society need guardrails on the road. They are an important safety feature for all of us.

You and I need “guardrails” in our personal lives, too.

We’ve all had horrible, damaging experiences in our own lives or in the lives of family members. These damaging events may have included a financial bankruptcy, a moral failure, a divorce, bad business practices, or an addiction.

But, if we had included the safety feature of personal guardrails in our lives, these catastrophic events could have been prevented. Yes, some damage may have occurred, but maybe not at the level of the final, destructive outcome we experienced.

4 Actions To Protect Our Spiritual Lives

When I speak of personal guardrails, I’m speaking of taking the following actions to protect us from our own danger zones:

First, you must be honest with yourself and others regarding the areas in which you struggle and are most tempted.

Second, you need to seek out professional help, especially if you really struggle in the area of addictions, to get you back on the road to sobriety.

Third, you must put appropriate rules into place to act as your “guardrails” for your specific area of struggle. For example, if you have a spending problem that led you into bankruptcy in the past, then you must live on a budget and spend only cash; no credit cards or other debt for you. If you are a workaholic and this has damaged your relationship with your family, then you need to establish a strict schedule for work hours and family time. If you struggle with alcoholism, then you can never take even one drink ever again.

Fourth, you need to be accountable to those around you. You need to be accountable to your spouse. You need to be accountable to a trusted friend. You need to be accountable to a group of men or women. You need to check in with them on a regularly basis. Once a week is ideal. Every few weeks is okay. Being accountable to these people means they understand the areas in which you personally struggle and you are completely honest with them with how you are doing in those areas.

Questions: Do you need guardrails to protect you from specific danger zones in your life? Have you constructed these guardrails already? Have you been honest with yourself? Have you sought out professional help? Have you setup some rules? Do you have accountability partners to guide you back to where you really want to go?






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