Monthly Archives: January 2016

4 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE TODAY GREAT!

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Great Make today great

We typically define a good day based on how life is going or how we feel. So if circumstances are tough, we say our day is bad. If the kids drove us crazy, the day was hard. If the dog ate the couch or the car bit the dust, it was horrible.

What’s more, whether our mood is good or bad also determines the goodness or badness of our day.

Life is tough sometimes. For some, life is difficult all the time.

Here’s the question: is it possible to have a good day despite not-so-good experiences and circumstances?

Great DOG Pin

Here are some ways to make a bad day great:

  • Focus on the Who more than the what. Keep your eyes on God no matter what and he’ll give you perspective. No problem we face is eternal, only God is. No situation is without end. God is forever. Nothing you face is beyond him, a surprise to him, or bigger than him. Fix your heart on Jesus. It’s amazing how this simple step brings clarity and peace.

  • Choose to believe that something bigger and better can happen in you despite the challenges around you. Do you believe that God is at work in your life? Do you believe that he is good even when life is bad? Will you choose to believe that he is able to redeem, restore, and renew anything surrendered to him?

  • Make up your mind to be thankful in all things even when you aren’t thankful for all things. Don’t underestimate the power of thankfulness. Not only am I suggesting we choose to believe God is always at work in our lives, but I’m advocating thankfulness as a way of life.

  • Make the choice to affect your environment, not just reflect it. Don’t get moody, blue, grumpy and ugly when your world gets cold; instead, do or say something that brings godly and positive change.

#3 Affect dont reflect

May I pray for you?

God, may we meditate on you and focus our minds and hearts on what is pure, faultless and right. Even when our circumstances threaten to crush us, we know we can trust you to work for our benefit. Thank you for taking care of us, for teaching us, and for loving us. Amen.

“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies”

Philippians 4:8-9

{Note: This post is an excerpt from my devotional book, Perfectly Imperfect – A Devotional for Grace-filled Living.}

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

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6 Responses to 4 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE TODAY GREAT!

  1. Perspective is easy to lose on a moment to moment basis, every day I have to wake up and rememer God is king and I’m just a servant!

  2. Needed this today. I can’t really affect my circumstances when many of the things that affect me (and admittedly my mood and attitude) are other people and what they do or are going through. My God is sovereign and able.

    Thanks, Kurt.

  3. I’ve found that having a gratitude attitude each and every day, no matter what is going on around me, always brings my focus back to God. Blessings, Kurt, for this inspiration today!

How to Raise a Narcissist (or 4 Things You Don’t Want to Do!)

How to Raise a Narcissist (or 4 Things You Don’t Want to Do!)

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The term “narcissism” is thrown around quite a bit nowadays. It is often applied to someone who is very self-centered.

Actually, narcissism is a rather rare mental disorder. A narcissist has an inflated sense of importance, lacks interest in other people, and is unable to feel sympathy or empathy.

However, narcissistic behavior is relatively common. For use in this blog, I’m describing a narcissist or narcissist-in-training as someone who acts like the world revolves around them and their needs.

The disorder and behavior tend to be trans-generational. So a narcissist is often the child of a narcissistic parent. To use a Bible concept, the “sins of the parent” are sometimes passed on to the generations that follow.

 So how does a parent raise a narcissist?

  1. Make your family and marriage child-centered.

Child-centered parenting happens when Mom and Dad plan, prepare, and do everything around the demands and desires of the child. Notice here I said “demands and desires.” Of course, it’s the parent’s responsibility to care for the needs of a child. But when the family unit suffers, or worse yet, a marriage suffers because Mom and Dad are running themselves ragged trying to keep little Johnny happy, that’s unbalanced and unhealthy.

It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to set boundaries and not do everything your child wants to do. Johnny doesn’t need to be in Karate, basketball, and CYT all at the same time.

When it comes to adult time with your spouse, it’s okay to tell him, “Mommy and Daddy are going to have some time alone together; you need to play by yourself or with your siblings for a bit.” Your child’s demands do not need to be your mandates.

  1. Tell your child how amazing they are, even when they aren’t.

Encouraging and building others up is good and godly. However, telling a child that they are gifted when they are quite average is not only a lie but potentially a set-up for an inflated ego.

Although narcissists are “in love with themselves,” it is more often the case that they are only in love with the idyllic image of themselves they wish was true.

Deep down within the child, they know they are not perfect, and they can’t measure up to the false praise. So the result is actually crippling self-doubt coupled with extremely low self-esteem.

If you are truly going to build up your kid’s self-esteem by telling the child how special, amazing and gifted they are, then offer some solid foundations (i.e. facts) from which the child can function in truth.

When Johnny’s basketball team loses, and we say, “It’s okay, everybody is a winner!” we are actually building up his ego in a false way. Additionally, Johnny will never learn how to deal with disappointment and failure in a healthy and godly way if he isn’t encouraged to own failure.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12, “Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought.”  Humility is holy. Arrogance and pride are not. It’s okay to be normal.

  1. Be so wrapped up in yourself that you only pay attention to your child when it suits your needs.

As mentioned, a narcissist is often the child of narcissistic parents. And narcissistic parents are often so wrapped up in themselves that they only pay attention to the child when it’s of personal benefit to do so. As a result, the child swings from very limited love and attention to the opposite, receiving love and attentiveness in abundance.

Remember, when it comes to parenting, more is caught than taught. For good or evil, we model for our children the behavior they will develop.

So, what does this feast and famine of parental attention teach a child? It teaches Johnny to manipulate others for his personal satisfaction.

The narcissist personality type often has a very big personality due to their superior (and often false) belief about themselves, and they can be very charismatic and charming at times. They use these traits to captivate others with the endgame of manipulating people for their own needs.

If your children have learned this behavior from you, it’s never too late to change and model repentance and growth.

  1. Ignore self-centered behavior in your child and blow it off as no big deal.

When Johnny fails, and he will, it’s your responsibility to discipline him in a consistent and constructive way. God put your children in your family because it’s supposed to be the best place for your children to grow in godliness.

At the core of our being is a sinful nature that is selfish rather than selfless. We don’t naturally drift to selflessness or sacrificial love. We must develop this behavior over time.

When Johnny puts himself at the center of his world, and it damages his relationship with you, his siblings, or others, it is your role to mold and shape his character.

We must consistently correct self-centeredness and affirm selflessness. And this is best learned by your children as they see this way of life modeled by you.

I have no idea how or when someone crosses the line from narcissistic behavior to full blown narcissism. But I do know narcissistic behavior is not chronic or unavoidable.

We can grow. We can change. No child is beyond hope, and neither are you.

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

The devotional is a perfect book for the New Year!

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4 Responses to How to Raise a Narcissist (or 4 Things You Don’t Want to Do!)

10 REASONS WHY WE FAIL! (The Anatomy of Personal Failure)

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Failure #1

I sin.

I fail.

Occasionally, I do stupid things. (I heard that.)

Of course, so do you, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about my personal failure.

At the risk of sounding negative and fatalistic, let’s just own it: We all fail. Sin is in our DNA. We are fallen human beings who have a bent toward the dark side of our nature. And, sadly, our sin affects our relationship with God and others.

The Apostle Paul describes this human condition in Romans:

15 Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise.

19 I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do.

Romans 7:15, 19  (VOICE)

Yes, I know. We are new creatures in Christ.

Of course, we are redeemed and have a new identity in Jesus.

And Paul also makes it clear in Romans 7 that we are delivered from our wretchedness, and we are no longer slaves to sin.

But . . .

Failure #4

Though you and I are new, redeemed, and perfect in our position in Christ, it’s our practice of godliness that is still a work in progress.

That being said, perhaps it might be helpful to consider why we fail.

Here are ten reasons:

  1. We want to. The pleasure of sin is hard to resist.

  2. We’ve developed bad habits that need to be unlearned.

  3. We fail to have accountability partners who will ask us the hard questions.

  4. Even though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

  5. We fail to recognize that we are in the middle of spiritual warfare.

  6. We have not learned to recognize the triggers that trip us.

  7. We do not practice daily walking in the fullness and power of the Spirit.

  8. We are not practicing spiritual disciplines that help us to put off the old person and put on the new.

  9. We typically react out of our pain from past or present experiences rather than respond to God.

  10. We are still imperfect and in the process of being made whole and sanctified by God.

Failure #3

Knowing why we fail and being honest about the reasons is the only way I know to grow and to keep moving forward when we do fall. Failure does not need to be fatal. And understanding why you do what you do is the first step to a godlier you and healthier relationships.

So drop the arrogance and pride. Own your humanness. Embrace grace, and just keep going and growing.

You are a work in progress, and progress is what matters.

Failure #4 really

“I am confident that the Creator, who has begun

such a great work among you,

will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting

you until the day Jesus the Anointed,

our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.”

Philippians 1:6

 

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

The devotional is a perfect book for the New Year!

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WHAT IF? (How to prepare for what you can’t see coming.)

WHAT IF? (How to prepare for what you can’t see coming.)

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1Back in April, I blew my back out, and, as a result, I’ve lived in pain for months. It’s affected my sleep, my ability to exercise, my weight, and my attitude in more ways than I like to admit. Of course, lots of people live with far worse than a bad back, but enduring chronic pain is new for me.

Recently, after months of acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment, my insurance finally approved a cortisone shot into my spine, and it’s helped. I’m very grateful for a measure of relief.

My back issue, however, was just one of the unexpected trials in my life during 2015. I won’t bore you with the list, but there were quite a few things I didn’t foresee and would rather have avoided.

What about you?

Was this past year everything you had hoped for and dreamed about?

Did you lose a good friend or a precious family member?

Perhaps your marriage ended or a child rebelled?

Maybe you were forced to deal with poor health or devastated finances?

2

I’m not trying to be negative or heartlessly attempting to drag you into a dark emotional place. However, at midnight on New Year’s Eve, millions of people thought, “Good riddance, 2015; I just hope 2016 doesn’t suck too!”

Certainly, there are lots of things you and I should be thankful for despite the anguish we suffered this past year. However, there’s probably a bit of fear about the unknowns in the future.

A thousand times in my life I’ve said, “Man, I didn’t see that coming!” Which, of course, makes me often wonder What else is about to shock and dismay me?

Part of my Bible reading this past week was in Genesis 50. It’s the tail end of the story of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by a woman scorned, thrown into prison, and then forgotten by a friend, Joseph eventually ends up the second most powerful man on the planet.

During his years of suffering, I wonder how often Joe sat in the dark on New Year’s Eve perplexed by his past and deeply concerned about his future.

Years later, as reported at the end of Genesis, his brothers come face-to-face with Joseph, and they’re terrified. If I’m Joe, I’m eating this up and can hardly wait to dish out some sweet revenge.

But in the last chapter, here’s what Joseph said:

“Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21

Are you kidding me?

“Don’t be afraid . . . you meant to harm me, but God had another plan.”

I’m sure a brother or two peed himself just a little upon hearing those words.

But what if God is bigger than our past and our pain?

3

What if He has the desire, power and plan to turn something meant for evil into something good? (I’m thinking about a cross right now.)

What if it’s not just about us? What if the things we’re going through can help others?

Is it possible for God to use the very things or people that broke us to make us into the men and women He has destined us to become?

No matter what, can God take any surrendered life and redeem, restore and renew it?

Here’s the thing; I don’t know what’s coming this year, and neither do you. I hope there’s more good than bad. I’m praying for God’s favor and blessing in your life and mine.

But . . .

The best way we can prepare for the unknown—for what we can’t see coming—is to entrust our lives to the Father now.

4

He is good.

His plan is good.

He can bring something enormously good out of something terribly bad.

The fact is, on this side of eternity, you and I typically will live with many more questions than answers. We can plan and make all sorts of assumptions about our future, but we have very little control over the world around us.

So it’s best to decide in advance how to handle the unexpected—the pain and the disappointments in life.

I choose to believe in a good Father who has my best interest in mind and at heart.

What will you choose?

5

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

The devotional is a perfect book for the New Year!

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12 Responses to WHAT IF? (How to prepare for what you can’t see coming.)

  1. Kurt, your blog is a perfect “piggyback” upon my most recent blog about my word for the year: Whatever. For whatever may happen, we can be assured that God is in control, knowing our ins and outs, and never forsaking His promises to us. You are so right when you said the best way to prepare for the unknown is to entrust our lives to the Father. He will set all things to right!
    Blessings!

  2. “Upon The Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…”

    This line from this song is a great reminder to God’s unshakable love for us when the rest of the world seems to me crumbling around us.

  3. Very well and anointedly communicated. Also….I know you might think of revenge, but I know you. You hear God and obey. Thanks for all you do for all of us. You’re a good pastor and a good man. We love ya friend!

  4. It seems one of the blessings of growing available to us as we grow older in the Lord, is the ability to rest in the Lord and know not everything will go as we plan. We still plan but recognize how little we control. When I graduated from college I had many plans and idea of how my life should go, now, more than 45 years later, I would be hard pressed to think of even one that turned out as I thought. I have had a good life even with challenges, just the details God chose to use weren’t like I had planned.

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