MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG
We welcome your comments, knowing that your words could very well inspire others.
Life of Christ
Vision of Life
Book of Acts
subscribe to our mailing list and receive a free download of our featured product
MOST OF THE LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN LIFE I’VE LEARNED THROUGH FAILURE. The profound truth is that we postpone our own success until we learn from our mistakes, sins and shortfalls. In fact, when you develop the habit of examining your failures, you accelerate and enhance your odds of succeeding. In order to do this, you have to learn to think counter-culturally – because our culture worships success without understanding the importance of failure.
Success requires that we learn to think deeply. This can be painful work when it comes to examining our own pitfalls. And, it’s exactly why so many don’t want to do it. In a culture where thinking deeply is a lost art (we are more often told what to think rather than how), you have to make a decision to swim up-stream if you really want to change. In the final analysis, change is exactly what success is about. It requires re-tooling, improving, refining . . . metamorphosis.
Eternal attentiveness is the price paid for real success. Deep thinking, introspection and personal evaluation have to be the new way of life – unless you don’t want to succeed. This is why embracing our failures, rather than running from them, ignoring them and pretending they didn’t happen in the first place, is one of the most foolish things you can do to undermine your own success.
“The unexamined life is not worth living,” said famous philosopher Socrates.[i] Another philosopher put it this way:
These words, penned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5, help us understand the importance of constantly reflecting on our walks with God. Specifically, it’s not possible to walk with God until and unless we are walking with Jesus Christ. To have Jesus Christ within us, says Paul, is to have Jesus Christ leading us. In other words, true faith is lived from the inside-out.
The person who gets himself/herself into the perpetual practice of self-examination and testing, specifically in regard to obedience to Christ, is living an examined life. It’s the only life worth living. This is where all change begins – and it’s where all change deepens, broadens and becomes contagious.
There is nothing more contagious than a person who is truly walking with God. There are a lot of posers these days. You don’t want to be a poser. You want to be the genuine article. Remember that Scripture memorization does not mean a person is walking with Christ. Nor does the amount of time one spends in prayer or how one serves in church. If these were the measuring rods of walking with God, the Pharisees and Sadducees would have been prime candidates to pick up the mantle of Jesus. Alarmingly, Jesus did not choose one such man as an Apostle. We would do well to learn a lesson in Jesus’ selection: one can know the Bible – really know the Bible – and miss Jesus nonetheless. The Bible, without self-examination, will not change us. It is only when we do the hard work of self-examination and testing that we bring the Bible to bear against our sinful nature, bad habits, resistance to God and . . . failure.
Get into the practice of bringing the Bible to bear on all your failures. Ask yourself – often – if Christ is in you to such a degree that it’s not possible for others to miss Him when they find themselves in your presence. To be in the presence of a Christ-follower is to be in the presence of Christ. At least this is God’s intention. Is it ours?
I struggle with failure and I bet you do, too. HAVE YOU MADE THE MISTAKE OF VIEWING YOUR “FAILURES” AS ENEMIES RATHER ALLIES? HOW CAN SELF-EXAMINATION AND DEEP THINKING HELP YOU SUCCEED?
[i] This quote is attributed to Socrates, but not with absolute certainty.
Life is happening. Are you here while it’s unfolding? When you’re home, are you really home, or still at work? While at work, are you at home? When your children are talking to you, looking for attention and guidance, are you attentive, guiding? Is your spouse nurtured or neglected? Are you so adept at “multi-tasking” that you’ve lost the ability to be present in the present?
Many of us mistake distraction for living. We’ve developed the illusion of living, and lost the art of being there. I’m being honest – because this is one of my own struggles. I bet you can identify. When did we start thinking doing more meant living life better? I’m not sure it really matters if we understand when it all began. What matters is that we took the bait – and we’re missing out on life.
Recapture the lost are of being there. Here are some things I’m working on that may be helpful for you, too:
- Pay attention when people talk to you. Use eye contact. Stop what you are doing and pay attention.
- If you can’t give someone your full attention at the moment, simply explain you don’t have time at the moment, but you will next time.
- If you find that you have to resort to #2 repeatedly, you may be too busy, too distracted, too focused on things rather than people.
- Listen to, prioritize, spend time with and really be there with your spouse, making it obvious that nothing else on earth matters. Do this often, because your spouse is the most important person God has given you.
- Listen to, prioritize, spend time with and really be there with your children, making it obvious that nothing else on earth matters. Do this often, because your children are the most important people God has given you.
- Forgive people and move on. Stop being a fault-finder. If you don’t forgive, you won’t be able to be “here” in the present – because you’ll be stuck in the past. Forgive people the way you need to be forgiven and get on to the important things of life, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Plan down time, or it will escape you. You have seven days in a week. One day should be a day of rest. Schedule it, guard it. Love it. If you do, it will even help the other six days be more productive. Try it for four weeks and see for yourself.
- Start and end your days in prayer, reading the Bible and making it your objective to put it into action each day. Ask God to help you. He will. Not sure where to begin? Start with the Gospels, observing how Jesus dealt with people, and follow in His footsteps.
I struggle with “being there” and I bet you do, too. I’m sure I will until my last breath. I need to be committed to recapturing the lost art of being there. Until our final moment, let’s do all we can to become the best version of ourselves possible. It think that’s a worthy endeavor, don’t you?
FEATURED BLOG ON PATHEOS.COM – SO MANY OF US HAVE IT WRONG TODAY. We think we are worthless heaps of rubbish and that God can only use perfect people. But Jesus would not die for junk – and there are no perfect people to use. The cross of Christ reminds us that while we are not worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are worth a great, great deal to the Father. The cross reminds us that a perfect God deeply loves imperfect people.
Every single one of us is a sinner in the hands of a loving God. This discovery will spark a modern Great Awakening. And, brother, do we ever need it. What are we waiting for? Let the revival begin.
America faces many similarities to Nazi Germany – and we need to start making choices that, while difficult, should be obvious. Are we at the tipping point in the United States of America? Are we Christians demonstrating humble courage at this time in American history, when it is so desperately needed? WHAT IF WE DON’T?
Deitrich Bonhoeffer made a deliberate decision to return to Germany, face the Nazis and help the oppressed when many Christians, sadly, fled. He died in a concentration camp at the hands of the Nazis, just two weeks before his camp was liberated – but not before he did a tremendous amount of good. He said “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” He also said “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
WHAT THIS MESSAGE IS ABOUT
This past Friday the 13th, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, speaking on behalf of President Obama and his Administration, issued a directive requiring that every public school in the nation – from kindergarten through college – to accommodate transgender students in unheard of, unprecedented ways or be subject to federal prosecution and the loss of financial aid. This message is a loving, passionate and practical response to the President’s directive. It’s also a call for all Christians to demonstrate love and compassion for those who struggle with their sexual identity. And, it’s filled with SUGGESTED ACTION STEPS.
President Obama’s directive requires that boys and girls in public schools (Kindergarten through College) must be allowed to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and shower stalls of their choosing, according to how they “self-identify.” They must also be allowed to play on the sports teams according to how they “self-identify” sexually.
In other words, if someone in elementary school with the body of a male says they identify as a girl, he must be allowed to use the girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. Likewise, if someone in any public school with the body of a female says they identify as a male, she must be allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
Attorney General Lynch warned that school districts that do not comply with the President could face lawsuits and forfeit millions of dollars in federal funding. In other words, public schools are being forced to follow a presidential directive that is unprecedented.
It’s been said that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
What should Christians do if an elected official violates the written law of the nation? Has the President of the United States overreached his authority and power, as written in the U.S. Constitution? Is simply recognizing the problems our nation faces enough for a Christian to do, or will evil triumph because while it marched we did nothing?
BULLET BLOG . . .
IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO IMPROVE EVERY RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE, LOOK NO FURTHER. IF YOU REALLY WANT YOUR LIFE TO CHANGE, HERE’S THE GAME-CHANGER. It’s a bit of ancient philosophy that’s timeless and potent for twenty-first century living. If you pour every conversation through this filter – before it begins – your entire life will turn around. God will use you to turn the lives of others around, too. USE THIS FILTER FOR SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT AND IT WILL SPARK A REVOLUTION. I’m not kidding. Here is the great relationship “funnel” courtesy of Ephesians 4:29:
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ”
WHY NOT SHARE THIS “BULLET BLOG” ON YOUR FB WALL?
Can you think of another “filter” through which to pour your words? Our words are powerful – but let your words be used for good, not evil. In fact, don’t even let them be used for neutrality. Life is too short to live in neutral.
STOP SETTLING. Don’t merely avoid negative, toxic conversations – start using every word like an artist painting deliberately on a palette. Create beautiful things with your words. Our words can bring people together or driver them apart. They can glorify God – or Satan. What are your words doing? Who are they glorifying?
If you are a Christ-follower, follow Him. Ephesians 4:29 says our words reveal how closely we are following. Consider Ephesians 4:17:
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.”
Stop living like you used to. Let the power of God take you further today in your walk with Him and people.
SUGGESTED PRAYER: Lord, help me follow You. Help me to consciously use my words to fulfill what Ephesians 4:29 says. Help my words build others up, fit the occasion and give grace to every single listener, for your glory.
I’D LOVE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS. ARE YOU REALLY FOLLOWING THE JESUS YOU WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO FOLLOW? Are your words corrupting or encouraging? Do they build people up or tear others down? Are people genuinely closer to God after having a conversation with you? If the aren’t, you’re USING THE WRONG FUNNEL . . .
“BULLET BLOG” is the name I came up with for my fast reads, designed to give you one solid truth that can powerfully change your life. I typically publish them on Friday mornings. You can catch my other blogs throughout the week, along with my podcast and videos. Your comments are always appreciated. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking your group, click here.
“UNOFFENDABLE” MAY NOT BE AN ACTUAL WORD – BUT IT SHOULD BE. WE IGNORE PEOPLE. WE LEAVE CHURCHES. WE BECOME BITTER – ALL BECAUSE WE WON’T FORGIVE AND WE BECOME . . . OFFENDED.
Janet Paolicelli, Godfactor co-founder and wife of Michael Anthony, is passionate about what the Bible teaches on forgiveness. She delivered this two-part message at Grace Fellowship in York, Pennsylvania’s “Revive” gathering for women, but it will ignite your life for God and challenge you to ask and answer these vital questions:
1. Can forgiveness happen without a sacrifice?
2. Can relationships happen without forgiveness?
3. Is it a sign of weakness or courage to forgive someone?
4. What are the real reasons why we won’t forgive?
5. How can we move from being offended to becoming unoffendable?
What about you? Are you unoffendable? You just may be after listening to this life-igniting, two-part message.
What about you? Are you unoffendable? You just may be after listening to this life-igniting, two-part message.
This podcast, like all Godfactor resources, is made possible through generous listener and viewer support. You can donate by texting the word “Godfactor” to 50155, visiting Godfactor.com, or by hitting the “Connect” tab on the Godfactor app.