MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG
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THIS WEEKEND WILL ONLY LAST 48 HOURS, AND THEN IT WILL BE PART OF YOUR PAST. Here are 5 things you can do this weekend to spare you from burnout and enrich your life:
I. EASE OFF THE GAS AND SPARE YOURSELF FROM “KAROSHI.” The Japanese have a word for burnout called “karoshi.” A recent study in Japan revealed that rest is vital to every area of life. It even revealed that “sleep is a life and death matter.” When we don’t rest, we don’t work well — and every area of life begins to suffer. When it comes to the weekend, work is over rated. If God rested on one day out of the week, you’d be wise to do the same. If you don’t have time to rest this weekend, it’s most likely because you didn’t plan the past week as well as you could.
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II. SPEND SOME TIME LISTENING, FEELING, REFLECTING. Art, music and literature are great ways to develop all your senses and connect with real life. Our virtual world has become over-rated, and people are more disconnected than ever. Is there a book you’ve wanted to read, an album you want to listen to, or art you could feast your eyes upon? Art, music and literature stir both the heart and mind, and are great ways to develop the inner you so that you become a better person all-around.
III. BE WISE: PUT DOWN YOUR SMART PHONE AND INTERACT WITH PEOPLE FACE-TO-FACE. Smart phones have dumbed many of us down. The virtual world is over-rated. This weekend, you’ll have a chance or two to encourage someone, to laugh, to listen or to share your heart. Life is happening — don’t miss it because you’re glued to a screen. Americans spend more time in front of smartphones, computers, televisions and tablets than they do sleep – and it’s negatively affecting us. The virtual world is no substitute for the real one — unless you’ve believed the lie. Be wise: put down your smartphone and engage with real people, face-to-face.
IV. SET YOUR WEEKEND PRIORITIES IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY. Come Monday morning, this weekend will take its place as a tile in the mosaic of your life. What kind of mosaic do you want to create? Come Monday morning, what do you want to have done over the weekend so that when it’s over you can say, “I did that this weekend, and am so glad I did!”? Take five minutes before you kick off your weekend, and determine what you can prioritize so that when it’s over, you’ll be glad you did what you did.
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IF YOU THINK YOUR MARRIAGE IS ABOUT BEING FAITHFUL TO YOUR SPOUSE, YOU’RE WRONG. The longer you’re married, the greater the chances are that you will drift from understanding what your marriage is really about. This is counter intuitive, because one would think that as time passes, the more we would realize the number one secret to having a solid, growing, healthy marriage. Having counseled a lot of couples through more than two decades of ministry, I have seen couple after couple get it wrong about their marriage as time passes. Can I be honest? I’ve even seen myself tempted to miss what it’s all about. I bet I’m not alone. Your marriage isn’t about what you think it is.
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“I PROMISE TO LOVE, HONOR, AND CHERISH YOU — in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health . . . ’til death do we part.” We all made some sort of similar vow when we stood at the altar and pledged our love and faithfulness to our mate on our wedding day. If we’re honest with ourselves (and honest to God), you didn’t understand all that was involved in our marriage vows on the day you made them. If you did, you might not have have gotten married in the first place! It takes a lifetime of commitment to even begin to understand what we are really promising to do through the covenant of marriage. But that shouldn’t deter you. It should inspire you to discover the secret to a great marriage as quickly as possible so you can get busy enjoying its fruit. Here is the secret: You’re marriage will soar when you understand it isn’t only about being faithful to your spouse, but about being faithful to God.
STRUGGLE LESS IN YOUR MARRIAGE
If you struggle with loving your spouse, your real problem isn’t with your spouse — it’s with God. This is because marriage is not primarily about loving your mate. It’s about loving God. If you love God, you’ll love your partner. Love your spouse and keep your part of the bargain. If you understand that your commitment to be faithful to your spouse is really a byproduct of your commitment to God, you will bring renewed passion to your marriage — courtesy of God Himself.
Your spouse isn’t perfect — and neither are you. Imagine being God. He IS perfect, yet He is patient with you. If you keep waiting to find your fulfillment in your partner — to find fulfillment through your partner that can only come from God, today is a great day to recognize that and begin to ask God to do what only He can. Your spouse can certainly provide some of the fulfillment that can only come through marriage, but your spouse is not Jesus Christ. If you’ve made the mistake of making your spouse your savior, today is a good day to cut them some slack, repent, and get back to worshiping God, not your mate.
Your mate is fallen, limited, imperfect and yet loved deeply by God. The cross of Christ proves it. When you said “I do,” you said you would be faithful to God — and in the process be faithful to your spouse. If you know someone who is about to take the marriage plunge, help them understand what it’s all about, so that they can get their relationship off on the right foot. You’ll help set them up for success from day one.
Love your spouse and keep your part of bargain. Marriage isn’t just about being faithful to your mate, but about being faithful to God.
HAVE YOU MADE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING MARRIAGE IS ONLY ABOUT LOVING ANOTHER PERSON? HOW HAS THIS POST HELPED YOU?
IF YOU WALK WITH GOD TODAY, YOU WON’T FIND YOURSELF RUNNING FROM HIM LATER. Never was a nail more squarely hit on the head than the one John Bunyan nailed when he said, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” He was speaking about the Bible. What we tend to forget is that to read the Bible is to have a personal encounter with God — every single time. How many of us would love to have just one clear word from God? The truth is that we can have repeated words from God — as often as we want, any time we want, simply by quieting ourselves down, opening our hearts and minds, and reading the Bible. This can be your reality throughout the entire journey of your life. You can have as much of God as you like, starting today.
Walking with God is not difficult, though it will seem strange at first. This is natural, as Romans 8:7 says: “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” I’ve found that the more I read the Bible, the more I want to read the Bible. The more I want to read the Bible, the more I want to follow God. The more I enjoy Him. I begin to think His thoughts, treasure the things that matter most to Him — and the way I live begins to change. It directly affects my attitudes toward people, and if you haven’t noticed, people are a huge part of life. Walking with God changes everything because it changes me.
“No one who truly surrenders to God will ever live to regret it . . .”
The same can be true for you, no matter who you are and what your past or your present. You can walk with God. Today will take its place as a tile in the mosaic of your life. Why not walk with God, today? If you make this your daily practice, you’ll find little time to run from God. Running from God only messes things up more. It’s worse than rubbing salt in the wound. At least, after rubbing salt, the chance of infection is diminished — but when we run from God we never make things better. Running from God always makes things worse — because when we run from Him we refuse to let the Miracle Worker do what He does best by straightening out what we’ve made crooked.
Yes, some things in life can take a while to straighten out once we’ve made them crooked. Walking with God doesn’t always mean there will be an instant fix (which is why it’s important to walk with God in the first place. It will reduce your need to start over, apologize, make amends, and get back on track). Walking with God is an ounce of prevention worth the pound of cure, and then some. But you shouldn’t let the thought that getting back on track (or getting on track in the first place) is not going to be worth the surrender.
Think of it this way: If you don’t walk with God now, what more painful problems will you be inviting into your life? Things always go better when we walk with God. Even if you made your path crooked, and that path may take a while to straighten out, the alternative of continuing to run from God will never lead you to the place of peace. Running from God always leads to more hardship, pain, difficulty, stress, loss and all kinds of negativity.
Ultimately, running from God costs us now and it can cost us forever. Consider these words of Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV), who knew a thing or two about encouraging people to walk with God while they still had time:
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved — even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
There are eternally significant consequences of walking with God. Those consequences begin today. No one who truly surrenders to God will ever live to regret it. That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way — and it helps me moment by moment, throughout each day, so that I remember the best choice I can possibly make is to walk with God. The other option always leads to loss.
Walking with God is a topic I love to address when I speak to groups. Maybe your church or group would benefit hearing me address this personally through a live message. If so, click here and we can explore some possibilities for your people.
HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING FROM GOD? TODAY IS A GREAT DAY TO REVERSE THAT TREND AND START WALKING WITH HIM. WHAT CAN YOU SHARE ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY THAT MAY INSPIRE SOMEONE READING THIS TO WALK WITH GOD? AND, DON’T FORGET TO SHARE IT . . .
ASH WEDNESDAY . . . “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” — Genesis 3:19 (NIV)
REMEMBER: TODAY WILL TAKE ITS PLACE AS A TILE IN THE MOSAIC OF YOUR LIFE. LIFE IS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT HOW LONG WE LIVE, BUT ABOUT HOW WELL WE LIVE WHILE WE’RE ALIVE. God formed man from the dust of the earth, and when we pass from this life, our bodies return to dust — at least for a little while. Ash Wednesday is a good reminder that death is inescapable. The real question, in the meantime, is are you really living the life God envisioned for you? Are you in any way:
- Limiting yourself?
- Living in the past?
- Settling for mediocrity?
- Allowing yourself to live a defeated life, when you could be walking in victory?
Today is the day to remember eternity — it’s where you’ll spend most of your time. What’s holding you back from living a life entirely surrendered to God? Why limit yourself, and God’s best? Why postpone living the kind of life Jesus envisioned for you when He hung on the cross? Too often, we allow the opinions of people to influence us, when all along the only opinion that matters is that of God. After all, we will not appear before the judgment seat of our mother and father. (We won’t even appear before the judgement seat of our mother-in-law. Isn’t that a relief?) 🙂
Each of us will appear before God and give an accounting of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10). Are you living in light of this eventuality? It’s the only one that really matters. You and I should be living amazing lives — lives that greatly glorify God, enrich the lives of other people, and are personally rewarding. When we live in light of eternity, daily, this becomes a growing reality with increasing momentum.
Sadly, many of us allow our lives to be influenced by forces and factors that do not matter in the eternal scheme of things. The good news is that you can stop allowing yourself to be influenced by the wrong things — if only you will let God change your thinking and your heart, courtesy of the Bible. It’s God’s remedy for what limits us.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”– before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim . . .” — Ecclesiastes 12:1-3 (NIV)
WHAT ABOUT YOU? YOU HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE, AND SOON IT WILL BE PAST. ONLY WHAT IS DONE IN THE POWER OF GOD WILL LAST. HAVE YOU BEEN INSPIRED BY ANYTHING YOU JUST READ? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU . . .
3 Tolerance Tips for Surviving
a Thick-Skinned Holiday Season
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- We’ve all seen the news stories – and the tweets that have prompted them. President-elect Donald Trump, a little more than a month from assuming the mantle of Leader of the Free World, taking a break from assembling a Cabinet and getting up to speed on the state of global affairs by calling out a critic as “terrible” and “dumb” or railing against Saturday Night Live for its parodies of him.
- The book on Trump in the wake of these Twitter rants is that he’s got a thin skin – hard to argue with when you consider SNL has been lampooning presidents since Nixon – and never before has once been goaded into publicly lambasting the series for it.
- But the president-elect’s troubles in holding his tongue – and his keyboard – when criticized can actually be instructive to all of us this holiday season. Alec Baldwin may not be launching into an unflattering impersonation of us at the dinner table, but the friends and relatives we will be sharing turkey and mistletoe with can give us a bad case of what I call “epidermis penetratus” – the ability to get underneath our skin.