Wednesday, 29 April 2020

How-to Have Self-Control

When Gloria and I first started in the ministry, I became more and more aware of God's  demand to spend all of my time in the Word—not part of the time, not the majority of it,  all of it. We carried a tape recorder   loaded   with  gospel   material   with  us everywhere we went. It played all the time.
At that time, we had two small children and were constantly traveling. We preached on the average 21 days each month, twice a day, seven days a week. I did this for the first five years without taking a vacation.

Gloria and I set up the meetings. I ran the tape recorder and the public address system. She helped with the meeting and took care of the kids. After the service, we both sold tapes. We did it all without any help.

After the last meeting, I would excuse myself, go change clothes and dismantle the equipment. It can be done with the Word of God going in and out your consciousness at all times.

After about two years of this, I became so Word oriented that I automatically judged everything I heard or experienced by comparing it to the Word. The Bible became my standard. I retrained myself until the Bible way became habitual.

Hebrews 5:12-14 describes it this way: For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use (habit or practice)  have  their   senses  exercised  (trained)  to discern both good and evil.
By staying in the Word, my senses learned to discern between good and evil. My body and mind became so trained that even my flesh rejected evil. People have the mistaken idea that we have to fight against carnality until Jesus comes to free us.

No, that is not so. We must simply walk in the spirit. The body has no nature of its own. It will do whatever it is told. People have said, "The nature of God is in your spirit, but the Adamic nature is in your body." That nature was not Adamic in origin, it was Satanic.

In the first place, sin was never Adam's nature. Adam had the nature of God. Adam's original nature was perfection. Satan's nature took root in him and caused the problem. Adam invited that nature through high treason, but it wasn't in his body. It was in his spirit. His body was trained to follow his spirit.

Your body will do whatever it is trained to do. If your reborn human spirit dominates your flesh, all of your actions will be godly ones. This can be proven. Let your body stand up or sit down right now without your command. It cannot. It is  trained to follow instructions. God created the body in such a way that it could be trained to follow instructions. Your physical body is trained to such a degree that it will function automatically without conscious direction.

A well-programmed machine without a nature of its own, your flesh operates totally at your command and for your benefit. You eat, walk, talk, drive and go through a thousand   other  daily  activities  with  little   or  no conscious thought. But you had to learn to do all of these things at one time or another. You have been trained   to   do  them,   and  your  body  responds automatically.
At the Fall, Satan took advantage of the fabulous way that God intended the human system to work. He introduced doubt, fear and every other evil thing imaginable until he had programmed man's carnal mind to sin and death.

Man can sin without even thinking about it. Most people have become so proficient at sinning they don't even need to try; it comes quite "naturally"! Their bodies have been trained to do it.
How then can we ever hope to overcome this situation? The answer is found in Romans 12:1,2, ...present  your  bodies  a  living   sacrifice,  holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Present your body as a sacrifice to God. Reprogram yourself to automatically act on the Word; your body will be retrained.
By continuing to put the Word of God into your mind and spirit and body, you will eventually come to the place where the Word controls all three. Then the Spirit becomes the dominant force in your life and everything else conforms to it. You will have become separated from the world and will have become Word controlled.

God will  exalt you as you exalt the Word. Everything will start "coming your way" because of that Word. And as it comes, give it away. Give, and it shall be given unto you (Luke 6:38). In this way, you will not only be blessed, you will become a channel of God's blessings to others. If you are to be a minister in the truest and fullest sense, you must look to the Word day and night.

Always Have A Plan B

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance. Because many things don’t go as well as we would like them to, it’s a great idea to have a “Plan B.” Having fallback plans can’t help but make you feel better about the  outcome  of  any  situation,  and  it  is  a  common denominator among very self-confident people.

Anyone  who  has  had  more  than  one  failure  in her  life  can  tell  you  that  having  another  path  to  take probably saved her bacon a time or two. I’m a big one for  contingency  plans.  If  you  are  an  entrepreneur,  in the  arts  or  media,  or  you  have  all  your  eggs  in  one basket, a Plan B is essential.

Knowing that if you lose the farm you have a condo you can go to makes you feel safer in the world. I know a number of people who have motor homes, and one of the reasons they do is, as they jokingly say, it’s their “in case” home. During the last big earthquake here in Los  Angeles,  many  people  who  had  them  were  very grateful—and those of us who didn’t were envious.

With the world economy in turmoil, creating some kind of additional income stream is also a good idea. The jeweler who is also a great designer or builder, the computer  geek  who  can  also  teach  school,  or  the  PR person  who  is  a  closet  novelist  can  all  find  a  way  to thrive even if their current position disappears.

Backup  plans  don’t  have  to  be  new  ideas—I continue  to  use  aspects  of  everything  I’ve  ever  done. My days on stage playing guitar have made me a better public speaker, which makes me a good radio host. The energy  I  put  into  songs  and  poems  has  helped  them become columns and books.
The years I spent running my  own  business  give  me  the  insight  to  help  others streamline theirs. 

And all of my experiences have made me  a  confident  and  successful  therapist.  Every  talent and  ability  you  have  can  be  built  upon  and  also  used again.  Not  that  I’d  ever  again  want  to  be  on  a  tour bus with six smelly guys for eight weeks, but if I had to I could still put food on the table by humming and strumming.

There’s  another  potential  upside  here:  Sometimes your  original  plan  and  your  backup  can  work  at  the same time. I still counsel, consult, write, and speak to groups all over the world. In years when the speaking business  got  very  slow  (such  as  after  9/11  and  then the  financial  crisis),  I  spent  more  time  writing  and counseling.

When  there  was  a  lull  between  books, I  put  more  energy  into  my  radio  show  and  business consulting, and did pro-bono events. Having multiple options gives you the sense that, if any one thing went away, you’d have other gigs that would more than fill the gap.

So get a little creative. Look at your past accomplishments and your current talents. A Plan B is only an idea away. By the way, this Plan B thing works in life, but not in relationships. Having a backup mate is only going to erode your current relationship and cause heartache for everyone involved. Enough said.


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