Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to think…

What you say can make you happy or sad.  It can make you healthy or unhealthy.  It can make you wise or foolish.  It can build people up or tear people down.  It can get you hired, it can get you fired.  You've got to learn to think before you speak. 
          T – Truthful.  Is it Truthful?
          H – Helpful.  Is it Helpful?
          I –   Inspiring.  Is it Inspiring?
          N – Necessary.  Is it Necessary?
          K – Kind.  Is it Kind?

That's how you think:  Is it truthful, helpful, inspirational, necessary and kind? 

Proverbs 20:25 (NIV), "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later consider his vows."  Choose your commitments carefully.  Don't make promises you don't intend to keep.  Consider the costs of your commitments and think before you speak. 

It's always easier to get in than it is to get out.  Is it easier to get in to debt than out of debt?  Is it easier to get into a relationship than out of a relationship?  it easier to fill your schedule than it is to fulfill your schedule? 

Don't make rash vows, promises that you don't intend to keep.  Have you ever said "yes" to a salesman and later regretted it?  Have you ever made a promise to your kids that they wouldn't let you forget?  Have you ever accepted an invitation and then wished you hadn't?  Think before you speak.

Just a thought from the front porch…

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The greatest destroyer of relationships…

We all know what a lack of self-control can do to us.  But it also affects our relationships.  It affects those that we come in contact with.  As Proverbs 25:28 (LB) says, "A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls."  When I don't have self-control in my life, I'm vulnerable to all kinds of problems.  Anything out of control in your life can harm other people.  Anything out of control in your life can cause damage to relationships.

Uncontrolled anger
Uncontrolled lust
Uncontrolled spending – the number one cause of divorce in America is financial crisis, problems, stress.
Uncontrolled drinking
Uncontrolled ambition – the workaholic says "I don't have time for my family because I'm too busy building my career, achieving the impossible."

Now the greatest destroyer of relationships is an uncontrolled tongue.

Proverbs 13:3 (LB) says, "Self control means controlling the tongue!"  If you don't know how to manage your mouth, you don't know how to manage your life.

So to manage your tongue, first of all think before you speak.

Proverbs 16:23 (TEV), "Intelligent people think before they speak.  What they say is then more persuasive."  Think first.  Don't assume anything, think before you speak. 

Proverbs 18:20 (TEV), "You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say."  A closed mouth gathers no foot.  People have died for saying the wrong things.  You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say because words set off a chain reaction. 

Dad comes home, tired and frustrated, and yells at mom.  Mom yells at the older brother.  The older brother yells at younger sister.  The younger sister kicks the dog.  The dog bites the cat.  The cat scratches the baby.  The baby bites the head off the Barbie doll.  Wouldn't it be easier if Dad just bit the head off the Barbie doll and saved all of that in-between stuff?  There's always a chain reaction.

Just a thought from the front porch…

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It will revolutionize your relationships…

One thing to do to become proactive instead of reactive in a relationship which is more natural is to seek first to understand then to be understood.  Seek first to understand the problem, to make a proper diagnosis before you make the prescription. 

When someone says something that hurts you, take a second and step back and think "What is going on in that person's life right now that is causing them to respond or react to me like that?"  This doesn't mean that we all have to become junior therapists.  I'm not asking you to psychoanalyze everybody.  What I am asking you to do, what I'm challenging myself to do, is to empathize.  Not psychoanalyze, but to empathize.

Proverbs 15:2 (NIV) "The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly." 

Empathy is listening to understand, to gain the knowledge of the situation, to gain the understanding of where that other person is coming from before you start reading your own home movies into that situation.  It's making a proper diagnosis before the prescription. Empathetic listening is powerful because it gives you accurate information from which to go from.

Dr. Stephen Covey wrote a book called 7 habits of Highly Effective People.  I want to recommend it as well as Principle Centered Leadership, because it talks a lot about integrity and character. 

He said, "Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated."  This one thing will revolutionize every relationship you have.  Remember when you listen, you learn. 

The time you invest to deeply understand the people that you love and the people that you work with, interact with on a daily basis, reaps huge dividends in open communication.  Gentle people are proactive not reactive.

Gentleness is the power of your potential under God's control.  Gentle people are far from wimps.  They're tapped in to the source of the creator of the universe.  Gentle people have been surprised by the mercy of God.  They are willing to give that mercy to other people. 

It's true that gentleness probably won't win any football games.  But it will score high points in each of your relationships.  I am convinced if you will take these five things and honestly apply them to your lives, it will make a difference. if you want to change somebody else, change yourself first. 

How do you do that?  Just bring yourself under God's control and that will radically transform your relationships for the better. 

Just a thought from the front porch…

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our response – proactive not reactive…

We need to be in control of our response, not to react.  Gentle people are proactive not reactive. 

A proactive person is someone who is responsible.  They are response-able – able to control their response.  Their response is a function of their decision, not their conditions.  A reactive person is controlled by other people.  They build their emotional lives on the behavior of others and they let the weaknesses in others control them. 

Reactive people are driven by feelings and circumstances, conditions and their environments.  But a proactive person, although they are influenced by all of these things controls their response to other people.

The term "You make me so angry", is that true?  No.  You choose and I choose to react.  We can do so many great things in our lives, have great successful careers, be doing great things for GOD, be liked by lots of people, but we can't even control our own response. That just doesn't make sense!

Proverbs 16:32 (NASB), "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his own spirit, than he who captures a city."

I want to challenge you, especially you men, are you in control of your response?  Are you in control of the anger that comes out?

Just a thought from the front porch…