‘Poignant’ Reminders [v206]

NOTE: Get FREE daily ‘reminders’ of the “FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” sent to your e-mail (just two simple ‘phrases’). Click here to get them:
E-MAIL: Fruits Of The Beatitudes-Daily Email Reminders
[ If you would like more details, they are below ].

 

APRIL 2016

‘Poignant’ Reminders

We are creatures of habit—those repetitive, involuntary response patterns that we do automatically or without thinking.

Although we live much of our lives according to our habits, we are still ‘responsible’ for what we do and what we do not do. Some habits emerge without any thought and through mindless actions, while others—mostly the ‘good’ ones—are formed only through deliberate effort. We are more than our habits, but certainly not less.

Ted Pollock, an expert in behavior psychology, states: “Deliberately training yourself into good habits requires stern self discipline at first. But since those habits become second nature, the payoff is considerable. Good habits save effort, ease routine, increase efficiency and release power.” See, what you need to grasp is that you are today the ‘total’ of your good habits and your bad habits. Who you will become—the person you will be 5, 10, or 20 years from now—by and large, will be because of your habits. What you repeatedly do—what you spend time thinking about and doing each day—ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.

Benjamin Franklin made an ‘equation’ about all of this. He said, “If you take all your good habits in your life, subtract them from all your bad habits, it equals your contribution to society.” Hmmmm…an interesting thought!

 

The thing is, your brain can’t tell the difference between good and bad habits—so if you have a bad one, it is always ‘lurking’, waiting for the right cues and rewards to ‘show up’. Both virtue and vice can be ‘packaged’ within habits so that, to some degree, both positive and negative actions can be done on a near-subconscious level. Habits can be ‘tricky’ things.

When a habit ‘emerges’, the brain stops participating fully in the decision making process, and then diverts its focus to other tasks. So, unless you deliberately ‘fight’ a habit, or find new routines, the habit pattern will ‘blossom’ automatically.

Most of us tend to continue acting as we have acted in the past. Like a river flowing through a canyon, the longer a habit continues, the more deeply ‘ingrained’ it becomes, and the harder it is to change. This is true of all habits, good or bad. The thing is, regardless of the type of habit it has become, it can always be changed. It’s all up to your choice and commitment!

 

So, what if you want to form a new habit to ‘IMPROVE’ YOURSELF? How would you go about doing it?

Well, it turns out that there’s a ‘framework’ that can help you develop new habits to improve everything in your life—emotions, health, career, finances, personality, relationships, and spirituality.

Every habit you have—good or bad—follows the same 3-step ‘pattern’, or what has been called the “habit loop.” The following is a specific pattern I found called the “3R’s of Habit Change” (Source: “Transform Your Habits” by James Clear):

– Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
– Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
– Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)

 

An example might be that your phone rings (reminder). This is the prompt or ‘trigger’ that starts the behavior. You answer your phone (routine). This is the actual behavior. Then, you find out who is calling (reward). The reward is the benefit gained from doing the behavior. (You want to find out why the person is calling you—discovering that some ‘information’ was the reward for completing the habit). If the reward is positive, then you’ll want to repeat the routine again the next time the reminder happens.

There’s a lot of science behind this process of habit formation, proven over and over again by behavioral psychology researchers. So, you can be relatively confident that your habits will follow this same ‘cycle’.

So then, how can you use this ‘pattern’ to create new habits that actually ‘stick’?

Well, since memory will fail you, that’s why the ‘REMINDER’ is such a critical part of forming new habits. A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to call to mind to do your new habit.

A good reminder makes it easy to start by ‘encoding’ your new behavior in something that you already do. (Setting up a visible reminder and linking your new habit with a current behavior makes it much easier to change).

If you want to start a new habit, it’s best to start ‘small’, then build up to the level of performance that you want once the behavior becomes consistent.

It is also strongly advised that you do things that make you “feel good”—because an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit. We learn to ride a bicycle by forcing ourselves to practice, even when it feels unnatural and uncomfortable. But repetition produces a habit that then feels natural and enjoyable. Also, only try to change habits that are important to you. It’s tough to follow through when you’re simply doing things because other people say they are important.

Experts say that ‘easy’ habits take six to eight weeks to develop—though some behaviorists say three months will make it become pretty automatic. Some ‘very difficult’ things can take months and sometimes years to change.

 

Well, the Bible also has a bit to say about changing bad habits—with a little different ‘focus’ on why.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul mentions some of the ‘major’ bad habits that I think most of us can ‘identify’ with at least one of them: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” [ Galatians 5:19-21 ]. Wow…very encompassing and to-the-point—with a pretty ‘shocking’ outcome!

But, there’s ‘hope’! The thing is, God WANTS VERY MUCH to help us change: “If you commit yourself to the Lord and trust Him, He will accomplish His will for you. No matter how strong a temptation you face, no matter how long you have practiced a sin, if God says to change, you can change” [ Psalm 37:5 ]. We just have to ‘surrender’ our will to Him, and allow Him to change out ‘HEARTS’—which are those ‘hidden intentions’ which will eventually serve as the basis for our actions (“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7). In reality, only you and God really know the thoughts of your heart. Consequently, attitude is something that only you and God can ‘work out’—a change which must take place ‘inwardly’.

 

God has been very ‘serious’ about helping people change their ‘hearts’ for many, many years! About 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus, King Solomon, purported to be the “wisest man that has ever lived,” said: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23), and “I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

About 400 years after Solomon, God ‘instructed’ Jeremiah to remind His people that He really wanted to restore their ‘hearts’: “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” [ Jeremiah 24:7 ].

In Jesus’ time, the apostle Matthew was ‘prompted’ by the Holy Spirit to write: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21) and “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Luke poignantly reminded us that “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” [ Luke 6:45 ].

After Jesus returned to Heaven, the apostle Paul again encouraged all Christians that God was REALLY SERIOUS about helping people change their ‘heart’: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love” (Romans 5:5). God did something REALLY SPECIAL by ‘giving’ Christians the Holy Spirit and to have Him ‘indwell’ us!

 

So, how does God go about changing your ‘heart’? Well, first off, He focuses on His ‘children’—someone who has ‘surrendered’ their life to His Son, Jesus, thus making peace with Him. [ More about this in a previous Life’s Deep Thoughts post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/know-peace-v201/ ].

Right when one becomes a child of God, they have “become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” [ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ]. Moreover, God says He will “give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” [ Ezekiel 36:26 ]. God also ‘sends’ the Holy Spirit to ‘live inside’ you, to be your helper, comforter, and advocate—teaching you everything you need to know about how to live a godly life (John 14:26).

[ NOTE: If you, at this time, would like to become a child of God, a suggested “reconciliation” prayer is below ].

 

Just as psychologist Ted Pollock stated previously, discipline is also crucial to the Holy Spirit in developing the “habits of holiness” or spiritual disciplines in you—habits that reflect the godly virtues found in Jesus Himself. They are not, however, the mere ‘product’ of human strength and desire. Godly habits are initiated, carried out, and matured through the ‘sanctifying’ work of the Holy Spirit. They are the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit, and are ‘worked out’ in our lives—not as erratic psychological and sudden impulses, but growing, settled dispositions and attitudes, showing forth and leading to the transformation of one’s character.

Therefore, we are to ‘cooperate’ with the Spirit in striving to see these traits developed in us, since we are all a bit ‘obstinate’: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” [ Jeremiah 17:9-10 ]. If we allow Him to, the Holy Spirit will train us to reject godless ways and worldly desires, and to live loving, self-controlled, and ‘fruitful’ lives.

 

So then, how does one develop these characteristics?

Well, all the good attitudes in the world will not get the job done until we follow through with action. God does not promise change will be easy, but He promises it is possible if we work diligently, according to His Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Also, knowing ‘what’ changes to make is not enough—we also need to know ‘how’ to make them. This is because of our “old nature.” Therefore, the apostle Paul instructs us to: “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, to be made new in the attitude of your minds” [ Ephesians 4:22-24 ].

The apostle Paul also counsels us that the “renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2) will transform our thoughts, and, in turn, transform our habits. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well like this: “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” The ‘destiny’ for a Christian is Heaven, but God is preparing us for that by ‘refining’ our character—to be one that is like Jesus’—changing our ‘bad’ habits to ‘good’ ones.

 

Change does not come easily, and that’s why the apostle Paul was so adamant about what it will take to change ourselves: “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. For bodily discipline is of little profit but godliness is profitable for all things since it holds a promise, not only for the present life, but also for the life to come” [ 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ]. Paul is saying that, just like an athlete goes into training to develop the habit of running or getting stronger, you will also need to develop the habits of becoming a godly person.

Christ-like character is the ultimate goal of a Christian. To settle for anything less is to miss the whole ‘point’ of life. We are to “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:1). The reason it is life’s most important ‘task’ is because it is the only thing we will ‘take’ with us into eternity! Jesus made it quite clear in His Sermon on the Mount—specifically in the “Beatitudes”—that eternal rewards in Heaven will be based on the character we develop and demonstrate here on Earth (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:3).

 

As has been mentioned in the previous three posts, if you want to know what Christ-like character looks like, the “bread and butter” is through the heartfelt, sincere, and ongoing practice of certain God-centered disciplines—and the best place to start is the list of nine character qualities Paul enumerates in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The “fruit of the Spirit” is a perfect ‘picture’ of Jesus—He ‘embodied’ all nine qualities—and if you’re going to develop His character, you too must strive to have these qualities in your life.

All this might sound like it’s going to be a tremendous ‘effort’ to attain. Well, in addition to the ‘internal’ help of the Holy Spirit, God has ‘provided’ an ‘external’ help—the Church—‘commanding’ us to meet together regularly to actively support and encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The poet John Donne said it succinctly: “No man is an island.” He was trying to say that humans can not get along with their lives alone and succeed—we are all dependent on other people and we need them. We can’t thrive by being alone.

 

The importance of community in helping overcome negative habits is highlighted in the book, “The Power of Habit.” Author Charles Duhigg states: “The evidence is clear: If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group. Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people.” That’s also the reason that many recovery programs include group meetings and individual ‘sponsors’ to help people successfully change.

This is completely consistent with a Christian ‘ethic’ which calls upon Christians to confess their sin to one another, to pray for one another, and to bear one another’s burdens. This is never more important than when trying to overcome sinful patterns of behavior.

In addition to this, the Bible ‘reinforces’ the communal experience: “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” [ Hebrews 10:24-25 ].

 

So, get yourself a ‘buddy’. By both giving and receiving support, you keep your goal in focus. Being accountable to a friend (in person or virtual) is a powerful incentive to keep you ‘on track’.

[ NOTE: If you want, I can be your ‘virtual’ buddy—e-mail me. Also, if there is a bit of interest, I can create a blog and/or Facebook Page so everyone can share their successes ].

 

So, if you DESIRE TO HAVE the attitudes and character of Jesus, you may want to consider using the “FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” PLACARD that I offered last month:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/Fruits_Of_The_Beatitudes-Mark_Besh.pdf

In addition to that, you may also want to do what the ‘experts’ say is the best way to change a habit—a ‘reminder’ and deliberate effort. So, to help you with that, I can send a VISIBLE ‘REMINDER’ to your e-mail on a daily basis.

[ NOTE: Get FREE daily ‘reminders’ of the “FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES.” You will receive three Beatitude/fruit of the Spirit ‘pairings’ each day (just two simple ‘phrases’)—one at 8 am, one at 12:00 noon, one at 4 pm (EST)—to give you that ‘REMINDER’ that is essential to making a ‘positive’ change in your life. Click here to get them:

EMAIL: Fruits Of The Beatitudes-Daily EMAIL Reminders
(Tell me if you would rather receive a text message).

FYI: They start on the 1st of the month and end on the 10th of the month. Since habits usually take at least 21 days to ‘stick’ (and sometimes longer), the reminders will then ‘restart’ from the beginning on the 11th through the 20th—and then from the 21st to the 30th. (You will get a ‘special’ message on those months with 31 days). Also, I will not send you anything else (not related to the “F.O.T.B.”), I will not ‘share’ your e-mail address with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time ].

 

As was said in the beginning of this post, an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit—from six weeks to three months to make a habit become ‘automatic’—and it has to be ‘positive’, so you’ll want to repeat the routine again the next time the reminder happens. So, try taping the ‘placard’ on to your bathroom mirror, and get the e-mail reminders. For those who ‘belong’ to Jesus and being ‘controlled’ by the Holy Spirit, forming new ‘good’ habits then becomes a way of life.

 

Yes, doing these ‘actions’ will ‘improve’ yourself, but God has a more ‘significant’ reason—to help you to be ‘CONFORMED’ INTO THE LIKENESS OF JESUS—in your character, conversations, and conduct—such that, when you meet someone, they sense that they have ‘experienced’ the love of Jesus ‘through’ you!

 

Now, let me be clear that all this IS NOT ABOUT ‘WORKS’—that if you ‘do’ all these things that God will allow you into His Heaven. That’s what Jesus did on the cross for you—a substitutionary ‘payment’ for all of your sins, past present and future. That’s what Easter is all about!

But, the Bible does say that a Christian should DESIRE TO BECOME LIKE JESUS—and the “fruit of the Spirit” is a representation of His character, and the “Beatitudes” are a representation of His attitudes.

 

So, let’s BECOME CHRIST-LIKE TOGETHER—and share this with someone that you think might want to ‘buddy up’ and do this with you!

 

[ Excerpts from: James Clear; John Callahan; David E. Pratte; Tim Challies; Greg Herrick; Chip Ingram; Dr. Dale A. Robbins; Rick Warren ]

 

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DAILY “F.O.T.B.” ‘REMINDERS’
The following is what you will receive in your e-mail. One ‘pairing’ (“Beatitude” and “fruit of the Spirit”) each day, for nine days (just two simple ‘phrases’). The first two ‘actions’ at 8 am, the second two at 12:00 noon, and the last two at 4 pm (EDT). The ‘summary’ will be sent on the tenth day. Since habits usually take at least 21 days to ‘stick’, the reminders will then ‘restart’ with the first ‘pairing’.

(Note: The first ‘set’ of reminders start on the 1st of the month and end on the 10th of the month. They ‘restart’ from the beginning on the 11th through the 20th, and then ‘restart’ again from the 21st to the 30th. You can discontinue them anytime you want).

EXAMPLE:

E-mail Subject Line:
POOR IN SPIRIT > > > LOVE

E-mail ‘Body’ Text:
POOR IN SPIRIT: Be humble
LOVE: Does not ‘harm’ anyone

 

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES”
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

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POOR IN SPIRIT > > > LOVE

POOR IN SPIRIT:
– Be humble
– Be devoid of pride
– Be aware of my inadequacies

LOVE:
– Does not ‘harm’ anyone
– Love your ‘neighbor’ as yourself
– Highest ‘goal’ to have for your life

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MOURNING > > > JOY

MOURNING:
– Grieve over my sins
– Pain may be about my ‘issues’
– Crying releases emotional burdens

JOY:
– See God ‘work’ in struggles and hardships
– From God; Not favorable circumstances
– Assured possession of a future good

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MEEKNESS > > > PEACE

MEEKNESS:
– Give preference to others; Quick to listen
– Be gracious; Free of malice; Defuse conflict
– Righteous anger; Tender without surrender

PEACE:
– Be content with what you have
– Desire unity; God will take revenge
– Don’t be anxious, fearful; God will provide

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RIGHTEOUSNESS > > > PATIENCE

RIGHTEOUSNESS:
– Being ‘right’ with God
– Having a ‘hunger’ to know God
– Desire to please God

PATIENCE:
– Don’t act hastily; Have controlled restraint
– May not understand; Shown at proper time
– God was patient with you; Do so to others

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MERCIFUL > > > KINDNESS

MERCIFUL:
– Be genuinely compassionate to others
– Don’t think of yourself to be superior
– Do good to those in need; Stoop to help

KINDNESS:
– Be generous, pleasant, and friendly
– Soften the ‘harshness’ around you
– Do good to your ‘enemies’; Forgive

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PURE IN HEART > > > GOODNESS

PURE IN HEART:
– Free of selfish intentions; Double-minded
– Have integrity; Keep your promises
– Be ‘real’; Don’t pretend; Don’t gossip

GOODNESS:
– Develop a pure and virtuous character
– Alleviate suffering and mitigate wrongs
– Give sacrificially (time; talent; treasure)

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PEACEMAKER > > > FAITHFULNESS

PEACEMAKER:
– Resolve conflicts; Reconcile adversaries
– Listen to the ‘hurt’ behind the words
– Get people ‘right’ with God; Be an Ambassador

FAITHFULNESS:
– Be conscientious, loyal, and dependable
– Have a strong sense of ‘duty’
– Imitate Jesus’ faithfulness (the Cross)

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PERSECUTED > > > GENTLENESS

PERSECUTED:
– Godliness generates antagonism, ‘reaction’
– Be bold for Jesus; Don’t be ashamed
– Don’t compromise Biblical principles

GENTLENESS:
– Not ‘weak’; Strength under control
– Don’t be divisive; Accept correction
– Show grace; Non-threatening demeanor

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INSULTED > > > SELF-CONTROL

INSULTED:
– Don’t be shocked; It develops our character
– Refuse to retaliate; Don’t avenge yourself
– Focus on ‘Heaven’ and eternal blessings

SELF-CONTROL:
– Master your feelings and ‘appetites’
– Stop trying to ‘control’ things; Restraint
– Relinquish your will to the Holy Spirit

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SUMMARY:
– The key to the fruitful life is to remain in the “true vine” ( John 15:5). Stay ‘connected’ to Jesus (being diligent in studying your Bible) and be ‘aware’ of the Spirit working in your life. Those who abide will “produce much fruit”—a life that will ‘glorify’ God, and one that He will be ‘happy’ with and bless you for.

– God’s goal for the Christian is to conform us into the ‘likeness’ of Jesus—in our character, conversations, and conduct—such that when we meet someone they sense that they have ‘experienced’ the love of Jesus!

– “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” [2 Corinthians 9:6]. It’s been said that if you “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” That would be eternity in Heaven with God!

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If you are interested in how I came up with the “FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES,” read the past three months of “Life’s Deep Thoughts”:

“THE BEATITUDES”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-blessed-life-v203/

“FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-fruitful-life-v204/

“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/causal-associations-v205/

 

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RECONCILIATION PRAYER TO GOD:
If you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus, you can do it right now—right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,
I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You. Amen.

 

RESOURCES:

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You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
By: James K. A. Smith

You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.

In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. He explains that worship is the “imagination station” that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavors are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

Following the publication of his influential work Desiring the Kingdom, Smith received numerous requests from pastors and leaders for a more accessible version of that book’s content. No mere abridgment, this new book draws on years of Smith’s popular presentations on the ideas in Desiring the Kingdom to offer a fresh, bottom-up rearticulation. The author creatively uses film, literature, and music illustrations to engage readers and includes new material on marriage, family, youth ministry, and faith and work. He also suggests individual and communal practices for shaping the Christian life.

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-What-Love-Spiritual/dp/158743380X/

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
By: Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/081298160X/

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Transform Your Habits: the Science of How to Stick to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
By: James Clear

Here’s a quick rundown of 10 things you’ll learn in this guide:

– How to reverse your bad habits and stick to good ones.
– The science of how your brain processes habits.
– The common mistakes most people make (and how to avoid them).
– How to overcome a lack of motivation and willpower.
– How to develop a stronger identity and believe in yourself.
– How to make time for new habits (even when your life gets crazy).
– How to design your environment to make success easier.
– How to make big changes in your life without overwhelming yourself.
– How to get back on track when you get off course with your goals.
– And most importantly, how to put these ideas into practice in real life.

Get a FREE 45-page guide here:
http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/habits-v2.pdf

More info and free weekly e-mail:
http://jamesclear.com/

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Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By: Marshall Goldsmith

In his powerful new book, bestselling author and world-renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith examines the environmental and psychological triggers that can derail us at work and in life.

Do you ever find that you are not the patient, compassionate problem solver you believe yourself to be? Are you surprised at how irritated or flustered the normally unflappable you becomes in the presence of a specific colleague at work? Have you ever felt your temper accelerate from zero to sixty when another driver cuts you off in traffic?

As Marshall Goldsmith points out, our reactions don’t occur in a vacuum. They are usually the result of unappreciated triggers in our environment—the people and situations that lure us into behaving in a manner diametrically opposed to the colleague, partner, parent, or friend we imagine ourselves to be. These triggers are constant and relentless and omnipresent. The smell of bacon wafts up from the kitchen, and we forget our doctor’s advice on lowering our cholesterol. Our phone chirps, and we glance instinctively at the glaring screen instead of looking into the eyes of the person we are with. So often the environment seems to be outside our control. Even if that is true, as Goldsmith points out, we have a choice in how we respond.

In Triggers, his most powerful and insightful book yet, Goldsmith shows how we can overcome the trigger points in our lives, and enact meaningful and lasting change.

Change, no matter how urgent and clear the need, is hard. Knowing what to do does not ensure that we will actually do it. We are superior planners, says Goldsmith, but become inferior doers as our environment exerts its influence through the course of our day. We forget our intentions. We become tired, even depleted, and allow our discipline to drain down like water in a leaky bucket. In Triggers, Goldsmith offers a simple “magic bullet” solution in the form of daily self-monitoring, hinging around what he calls “active” questions. These are questions that measure our effort, not our results. There’s a difference between achieving and trying; we can’t always achieve a desired result, but anyone can try. In the course of Triggers, Goldsmith details the six “engaging questions” that can help us take responsibility for our efforts to improve and help us recognize when we fall short.

Filled with revealing and illuminating stories from his work with some of the most successful chief executives and power brokers in the business world, Goldsmith offers a personal playbook on how to achieve change in our lives, make it stick, and become the person we want to be.

http://www.amazon.com/Triggers-Creating-Behavior-Lasts–Becoming-Person/dp/0804141231/

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Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
By: Bryant McGill and Jenni Young

Read the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling writings that have struck a chord in the hearts of millions of people around the world, becoming a new media publishing phenomenon among the most shared content in Facebook history. As a prolific author published in hundreds of books by the world’s major publishers, Bryant McGill delivers an impassioned voice of spiritual teachings in Simple Reminders, a book of real-talk and action for recovery, healing, transformation, and thriving! Enjoy beautiful original art, photography, and written contributions by Jenni Young. With over 60 million readers, discover why people around the world are proclaiming that these simple writings have positively changed their lives forever. Learn the tools and patterns of thinking to cultivate more beauty in your life, build confidence, escape from toxic relationships, move through pain and conflict, forgive people who have hurt you, and uncover your highest purpose in life.

http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Reminders-Inspiration-Living-Your-ebook/dp/B00LG3R0G2/

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Book of Revs: 100 Simple Reminders for Improving Your Life
By: Brad Anastasia

Improving your life doesn’t have to be complicated. Brad Anastasia’s Book of Revs provides 100 simple, easy-to-implement reminders that will help enrich your relationships, decision making, and life in general.

Ideal for anyone looking to better their day-to-day existence, Book of Revs couples valuable wisdom with practical suggestions, and serves as an important resource for self-improvement at any stage of life.

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Revs-Simple-Reminders-Improving-ebook/dp/B00QSE25RS/

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Living the Love Dare: A Year of Daily Reminders to Lead Your Heart
By: Stephen Kendrick

Insights from New York Times bestseller The Love Dare are now arranged into a 365-day, padded hardcover flipbook, daily inspiring husbands and wives toward unconditional love—a great tool for Day 41.

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Love-Dare-Daily-Reminders/dp/B0036UK7VI/

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Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations, and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life
By: H. Jackson Brown Jr.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. originally wrote Life’s Little Instruction Book™ as a gift for his son who was leaving home to begin his freshman year in college. Brown says, “I read years ago that it was not the responsibility of parents to pave the road for their children but to provide a road map, and I wanted to provide him with what I had learned about living a happy and rewarding life.” Life’s Little Instruction Book™ is a guidebook that gently points the way to happiness and fulfillment. The observations are direct, simple, and as practical as an umbrella.

“But it’s not just for young people,” says Brown. “Most of us already know how to live a successful and purposeful life. We know we should be more understanding and thoughtful, more responsible, courageous and appreciative. It’s just that we sometimes need reminding.” Life’s Little Instruction Book™ is that reminder, as well as the perfect gift for a relative or a friend who needs encouragement at any time of the year.

– Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
– Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
– Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.
– Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks softly.
– Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
– Be kinder than necessary.
– Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
– Commit yourself to constant self-improvement.
– Don’t major in minor things.
– Never cut what can be untied.

Since its debut in 1991, Life’s Little Instruction Book™ has revolutionized the publishing industry. This little plaid book, which has been embraced the world over, has sold more than nine million copies, spent more than two years atop the New York Times bestseller list, and has been translated into 33 languages. Though originally written as a gift from a father to a son, its simple message has been enjoyed by men and women of all ages around the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Little-Instruction-Book-Observations/dp/1558531211/

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Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More
By: Rachel Macy Stafford

We all yearn to look back to find we lived a life of significance. But is it even possible anymore? Considering the amount of distraction and pressure that exists in society today, living a fulfilling life may seem like an unachievable dream. But it is not—not with the nine habits outlined in this book.

New York Times bestselling author and widely known blogger, Rachel Macy Stafford, reveals nine habits that help you focus on investing in the most significant parts of your life. As your hands, heart, and eyes become open, you will experience a new sense of urgency—an urgency to live, love, dream, connect, create, forgive, and flourish despite the distractions of our culture. By following each daily Hands Free Declaration, you will be inspired to adopt mindful daily practices and new thought-processes that will help you:

– Make meaningful, lasting human connections despite the busyness of everyday life.
– Live in the now despite that inner nudge pushing you out of the moment toward perfection and productivity.
– Protect your most sacred relationships, as well as your values, beliefs, health, and happiness, despite the latent dangers of technology and social media.
– Pursue the passions of your heart without sacrificing your job or your daily responsibilities.
– Evaluate your daily choices to insure you are investing in a life that matters to you.

With a Hands Free Life perspective, you will have the power to look back and see you didn’t just manage life, you actually lived it—and lived it well.

http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Free-Life-Overcoming-Distraction/dp/0310338158/

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about producing certain traits in our lives, visit the following link:
http://TheSearchForMeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q11_d5_1of10.html ].

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v206) for APRIL 2016
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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‘PHYSICAL’ “F.O.T.B.” REMINDER
If you think it would be helpful to do something ‘physically’ to remind yourself during the day that you want to focus on the particular “Fruit Of The Beatitudes” you are doing that day, I could get the 9 ‘pairings’ printed onto some SILICONE BRACELETS pretty inexpensively. Tell me if you are interested. [ I will be wearing a ‘converted’ Xiaomi Mi band, that will ‘force’ me to physically change the pairing each day—to make me read the ‘pairing’ and ‘emphasize’ the reminder before I start my day ].

 

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” ‘PLACARD’

Fruits Of The Beatitudes (By Mark Besh)

[ NOTE: CLICK ON THE LINK to download a nicely formatted ‘PLACARD’ that has the Beatitudes on one side and the corresponding fruit of the Spirit on the other. Each ‘pairing’ also has a few suggested ‘action’ items to help you ‘develop’ them in your life. (Maybe tape it to your bathroom mirror to give you a reminder of what ‘paring’ you want to focus on that day):

http://www.spiritedesign.com/Fruits_Of_The_Beatitudes-Mark_Besh.pdf

[ Mark Besh ]

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THE HABIT CHANGE CHEATSHEET: 29 WAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY INGRAIN A BEHAVIOR

1. Do just one habit at a time.
2. Start small.
3. Do a 30-day Challenge.
4. Write it down.
5. Make a plan.
6. Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong.
7. Don’t start right away.
8. Write down all your obstacles.
9. Identify your triggers.
10. For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead.
11. Plan a support system.
12. Ask for help.
13. Become aware of self-talk.
14. Stay positive.
15. Have strategies to defeat the urge.
16. Prepare for the sabotagers.
17. Talk to yourself.
18. Have a mantra.
19. Use visualization.
20. Have rewards.
21. Take it one urge at a time.
22. No exceptions, or you’ll have a backslide.
23. Get rest.
24. Drink lots of water.
25. Renew your commitment often.
26. Set up public accountability.
27. Engineer it so it’s hard to fail.
28. Avoid some situations where you normally do your old habit, at least for awhile, to make it a bit easier on yourself.
29. If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again..

[ Leo Babauta ]

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TEN STEPS TO A NEW ATTITUDE

Step One: Identify Your current attitude.
Step Two: Is it the one you want? If not, how is it making you feel?
Step Three: Pick a new attitude. How would that one make you feel?
Step Four: Identify the block that is making it hard to shift to the new attitude
Step Five: Take time for quiet reflection- emotional outburst-and/or journaling
Step Six: Look for your hidden rules. Is there a “Rule” you are living by that isn’t working for you anymore?
Step Seven: Is it in your power to change the situation? If so, create your first action step to fix the problem
Step Eight: If there is nothing you can do, can you let it go?
Step Nine: Write out three affirmations of your new attitude.
Step Ten: Take one new action step that propels you in the direction of your new attitude.

[ Wendi Kelly ]

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
[ Albert Einstein ]

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
[ Aristotle ]

“Our daily lives are often a series of habits played out through the day, a trammeled existence fettered by the slow accretion of our previous actions.”
[ Leo Babauta ]

“Change will last when they are done in tiny, almost infinitesimal steps.”
[ Leo Babauta ]

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
[ Mark Twain ]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.”
[ 2 Peter 1:12-15 ].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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