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This year to live out the things that God has planned for us we are going to need courage and faith. God is calling us to stretch out our tent pegs and to step out of the boat.
We have to have courage to embrace change. To believe in the impossible. To have the converstations with people about Jesus. To pray and believe for healing. To apply for the new job. To put your hand up for new opportunities.
Moses had to have courage to go up Mt Sinai.
He was one man out of a whole nation and he said I am not afraid I will go up on the mountain and meet God because he knew the heart of God, he had a personal relationship. The reward of his courage was he met with God face to face, he met with God like no one else has in history. We have to have courage to go hard after God, to make that decision to carve out time to spend with Him, to pursue His presence and to want more, even if those around us hold back.
Jonathan Edwards, 18th Century theologian and preacher wrote 70 resolutions when he was 19, which he read once a week to remind himself for 35 years, more than 1,800 times before his death in 1758. All of his resolutions have been summed up in these two statements:
Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.- Jonathan Edwards
Your marriage will tell a story. This is not optional. The great thing about writing a story with your marriage is that you get to be around for the beginning. It wasn’t so with your life. Or at least that wasn’t the case for mine. I have no recollection of my birth. I cried, I think. If not for pictures, you would have a hard time convincing me that I was there. Actually, I really have little recall of the first five or six years of my life.
I do remember this: I used to stand in the shower as a kid imagining that my life was a movie. I envisioned an audience eating their popcorn and sipping their drinks. I could hear the straws sucking up air and what was left of the Coke at the bottom of the ice. No one would move toward the door for a refill, though, because my life was so riveting. People would see through my eyes, agonize with me every time an episode of Full House ended. The audience would go wild each time I turned in my homework. This is a good movie, they would say, definitely worth the price of admission into Luke’s head, they would say. Then the shower water would get cold, and my movie would end. It was not until a few years later that I awoke to this deeper truth: By very nature of existence, our lives are telling a story. We have characters. There is a setting. And even if we don’t understand it all, the plot of this narrative seems to be moving somewhere.
Because you get to be cognizant and aware when you start the story of your marriage, you get to answer some questions that will determine the characters, setting, and plot of your marital story.
MISTAKE #1: IDOLIZE MARRIAGE Those who idolize marriage have a far more romantic than realistic picture of it. The distance between the fantasy of marriage and the reality of marriage is great.
MISTAKE #2: DEMONIZE MARRIAGE Those who demonize marriage have a far more miserable than hopeful picture of it. The distance between their horror stories of marriage and the hope of marriage is great.
Do you want to be a successful leader in 2014? It is a rhetorical question isn’t it? Of course you do. A better question may be do you have a strategy or system for success?
If not, I want to point you to the December 30th edition of Sports Illustrated. The incomparable Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was profiled along with additional mentions of some the greatest receivers of all-time.
As I read the article, I gleaned the following 13 Practices Of Successful Leaders In 2014:
- Successful Leaders Decide Early To Pay The Price Needed For Success – As a freshman wideout at Georgia Tech, Johnson was outplayed by then-Miami Hurricane All-American Antrel Rolle. Johnson confessed, “It made me understand that I was going to have to work harder, get stronger, and improve my technique a lot if I wanted to play with the big boys.”
- Successful Leaders Are Recognized Publicly For What They Do Privately – Johnson does much of his training alone.
- Successful Leaders Are Diligent – Johnson quotes one of his trainers as he strives to ”be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
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If there is one man who is more qualified than anyone else to speak on “resolutions,” that would be Johnathan Edwards. Heralded as America’s greatest theologian, I came across his amazing story on resolutions.
At the age of 19, Edwards penned the famous 70 resolutions. This young man became dutifully focused on his life’s purpose before his 20th birthday, and thus penned 70 commitment statements. His initial 34 Resolutions were written in only 2 sittings, some time before December 18, 1722. His other 36 Resolutions were each written on brief occasions, through the summer of 1723.
It is known that Jonathan Edwards went on to read these 70 Resolutions once each week, for 35 years, more than 1,800 times before his death in 1758. In the spirit of the new year, I encourage you to regularly read these resolutions, that you may also declare your dependence upon God, for Christ’s sake.
Overall Life Mission
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
1) EAGERLY, HUMBLY SUBMIT TO THE WORD OF GOD.
2) DON’T PIGEONHOLE YOUR CHILDREN.
3) DISCIPLINE BIBLICALLY.
4) SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.
5) RECOGNIZE OBEDIENCE.
6) LISTEN TO THE WHOLE STORY FIRST.
7) HONOR YOUR SPOUSE IN FRONT OF THEM.
8) DON’T CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR TOWARD YOUR CHILDREN IN PUBLIC.
9) DON’T TAKE YOUR CHILDREN’S SINS AS A PERSONAL INSULT.
10) FORGIVE. FOR REAL.
Here are 5 things I’m trying to do when I feel like I’m about to lose my temper:
- Walk away for a couple of minutes. Take deep breaths. Think about this post
- Ask God for self control often. It’s a gift of the spirit and He loves to give gifts.
- Pick my battles. A lot of the time, I’m irritated over messes and things that really don’t matter.
- Remember I’m the role model. My kids take cues from me.
- Wait to discipline until my anger passes.