Posts Tagged ‘Positive Attitude’

We are what we believe we are.” C.S Lewis

 William James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century. He was an American philosopher, psychologist and trained physician.

Born in New York City on January 11, 1842, James was the oldest of five children. His father was a Swedenborg theologian and his brother, Henry James Jr., became a prominent fiction novelist.

A prolific author himself, William James gained widespread recognition for writing The Principles of Psychology (1890), a two volume work of over twelve hundred pages. It took more than 10 years to complete and it was considered a seminal work on the subject.  He is often called the “Father of American psychology”.

James became more interested in philosophical issues as his life progressed. He seemed to fluctuate between a scientific approach to the study of faith and the belief that religious experience encompasses the supernatural domain, making it accessible to the individual human spirit but somehow inaccessible to science.

Honestly, I resonate with very little of his philosophical leanings. But I did make note of one particular William James quote, “The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

In other words, we are what we believe!

The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing is what makes it happen.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Some practitioners of modern Psychology are beginning to embrace the understanding that what we believe determines who we become. This construct is nothing new, of course. In fact, there is no such thing as “new” if you believe the words of the ancient book of Ecclesiastes which says,

9-11 History merely repeats itself. Nothing is truly new; it has all been done or said before. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t exist long ages ago? We don’t remember what happened in those former times, and in the future generations no one will remember what we have done back here. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11)

Since the book of Ecclesiastes is a part of Scripture, and I count myself among the multiplied millions who believe the Bible to contain the truth, I agree with what the writer said. History merely repeats itself.

Now to the point: prophets, priests and assorted writers of scripture have all pointed to this timeless truth – we are what we believe – long before it dawned on modern psychology that there just might be something to it. Consider this quote from the ancient biblical book of Proverbs:

“As a man thinks in his heart – so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7)

This providential truism was penned nearly 3 millennia ago. It affirms that our life is a manifestation of what we believe. (i.e. –REALLY believe – not random thoughts, fleeting emotional confusion or nightmares brought on by eating peperoni and anchovy pizza before going to bed).

If this is true – we are what we believe – I am in effect everything that I have consistently believed that I am. But why?

Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right” Henry Ford

The human spirit expresses itself through words. Whatever is inside of you – your core beliefs – will come out in the things you say. Our speech patterns reflect our belief patterns. In one of His great discourses, Jesus put it this way in the New Testament,

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:37).

Simply put, malevolent people speak malevolent words. Happy people speak happy words. Sad people speak sad words. Victorious people speak words of victory.

Now consider this, if you believe that you are a loser, your speech will reflect it. You will consistently reinforce through your words, I am a failure. And fail you will.

Some of you may be wondering, “are words really that important?” Yes, they are. Again, turning to the teaching of Jesus, listen carefully to what he said about inner belief and the power of your words:

“Have faith in God,” replied Jesus to them. “I tell you that if anyone should say to this hill, ‘Get up and throw yourself into the sea’, and without any doubt in his heart believes that what he says will happen, then it will happen! That is why I tell you, whatever you pray about and ask for, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-25

Jesus begins by telling his followers to trust in God. He then delivers the crux of his illustrative teaching; when you speak what you believe in your heart with absolute doubtless conviction, those things that you SAY will happen. We are what we believe because we speak what we believe. Over time, what we say is what we get. Get it?

Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks”. – Davy Crockett

Inner convictions (what we believe) train our lips. Trained lips shape our lives. Quoting from the Book of Proverbs once again,

“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth”. (Proverbs 16:23)

I am what I believe because I keep speaking what I believe over and over and over again. Eventually it manifests as my life. And, of course, I act accordingly.

When your heart is right with God and you fill your spirit with the truth, your spirit will teach your lips and your words will change your world.

Now some may misunderstand my purpose in this discourse. So let me be perfectly clear; you cannot go around speaking whatever your little heart desires and expect every selfish craving to materialize. God is not a genie or your personal leprechaun. I fully believe what the Psalmist wrote,

4”Be happy in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

But I also believe in the tempering Wisdom of Solomon,

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. (Proverbs 16:3 Amp)

When my thoughts are in agreement with God’s will for my life, I will be filled with His truth and I will speak in line with His purpose. As a result, I expect my plans to succeed.

Guard Your Heart

Once we understand how important our spirit is to human development, we must learn to guard what we let into our heart. Turning one last time to the book of Proverbs, listen carefully to this admonition,

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Wow. Our spirit charts the course of life. Every word we speak with conviction – over time –molds and shapes our existence. FAITH is born in our spirit. FAITH (trust, reliance, conviction, assurance, confidence, belief), is released with every word that we speak. Faith filled words can move mountains. Not by magic. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s not a positive mental attitude. It’s THE SPIRIT OVER MATTER THRU WORDS. Or as Jesus explained it: Whosoever says… and does not doubt… but absolutely believes what he says… will have what he says.

We are what we believe we are… 14“May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

#1 Get in the Game

It is our responsibility to discover and develop our unique aptitudes and apply ourselves in developing our full potential.

10 “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither you go.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10

God expects us to use our talents in profitable and productive ways here on earth.

22 “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22

  • POINT: Be a DO what the word says person, not someone who sits on the sidelines of life. This is NOT a spectator sport.

13 I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength.”  – Philippians 4:13

  • POINT: I can do all things. All things? That is what he said – ALL THINGS!

Why? Because, my strength comes from God; it isn’t up to me to be strong on my own.

#2 Maintain a Positive Focus

Negative emotions often result from focusing on mistakes of the past. If God has forgiven our sins, then why should we not forgive ourselves? Dwelling on past blunders perpetuates negative thought patterns and emotions. We must live for the day and focus on the future, not the past.

13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  – Phil. 3:13-14

Paul made some mistakes in his past. He said that he chose to forget what is in the past and focus instead on the future. The goal of fulfilling our calling is in THE PRESENT and THE FUTURE, not the past.

#3 Ask God for His Assistance

If you find yourself spiraling downward into depression, ASK God to help you.

First: Remember:

  • God is the source of our strength.
  • He knows the proper responses for our particular situation.
  • He has given us His Spirit to overcome negative forces impacting our lives.

Since God is the source of all good things, we must ask for His aid.

7 “Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look and what you are looking for you will find. Knock and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you. 8 Everyone who asks receives what he asks for. Everyone who looks finds what he is looking for. Everyone who knocks has the door opened to him. 9 What man among you would give his son a stone if he should ask for bread? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, would he give him a snake? 11 You are bad and you know how to give good things to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”  – Matt. 7:7-11

#4 Get Your Thinking Straight

What are your mental debates like? What contemplations fill your mind?

  • The worries of daily life?
  • The emotional pain you are suffering?
  • Hurt feelings?
  • Physical pains?
  • Your economic circumstances?

If so, your’ thinking stinks!

  • Instead, set your mind on THE truth!
  • Focus on the kingdom of God above everything else!
  • Live as a man or woman who is true and transparent before God

Jesus put it this way…

33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”.  – Matt. 6:33

Everything we need comes to us when we fix our mind on things above and focus on God’s kingdom while we live within a right (i.e. righteous) relationship with Him.

Paul told the Christians at Colossi…

1 “If then you have been raised with Christ, keep looking for the good things of heaven. This is where Christ is seated on the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds thinking about things in heaven. Do not think about things on the earth.” – Col. 3:1-2

Paul’s instruction to God’s people makes it crystal clear that we must refocus our thinking to a different level, to have an optimistic view in this mundane evil world.

8 “and now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you”. – Phil. 4:8-9

Truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good reports, virtue and praise are not views upon which the world commonly focuses. The news media, business community, governments and educational institutions do not generally bring about this type of thought pattern. Therefore, to remain positive in a negative world, we must sidestep this world’s agenda and reflect on God’s point of view.

#5 Obedience Promotes a Positive Outlook

God’s Word tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice (I Sam. 15:22). Obedience to God’s Way brings many blessings, not the least of which is an optimistic view of our life. Being in harmony with God’s laws brings confident assurance that our lives have value and that God will guide us. Notice the tangible blessings that bring contentment into our lives when we obey God:

  • Peace: “Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
  • Vision: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18).
  • Favor: “My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of your heart: So shall your find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:1-4).
  • Requests Granted: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21-22).

As we walk with God, we will recognize our need to claim more of His promises. Our faith will increase as we see God actively helping us each day. We can overcome the blues; deal with bad attitudes, solve unresolved problems, settle disputes, and calm our anxiety and fear.

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

“For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

Have you ever experienced a failure that left you afraid to try again?  I have.  We all have.  Somehow the old get up and go just gets up and goes.  Deep inside we remember how badly it hurt.  Why chance a repeat performance?  Isn’t it easier (or is that safer?) to say “I almost made it”, than to face anew life’s more difficult challenges?  Apprehension can paralyze our potential.

One day,  I was teaching my son the fine art of catching a baseball in our back yard.  He greeted each successful catch with a broad smile.  His delight brought me great joy.  Of course, he missed a lot too and those near catches evoked his whimsical frown – more like a puckered pout.  My son did not like missing as much as he liked catching.  Who does?  Then it happened.  A high fly bounced off the tip of his glove striking him on the cheekbone.  The impact wasn’t life threatening, but it shook his confidence a bit.  Disappointments seem to have a way of doing that.  I still remember that startled look as he hid his face in the glove and stood motionless on the grass.

“Are you OK?” I yelled, my voice cracking with fatherly concern.  “Yes”, came the weak, unconvincing reply.  And then, with his face still buried in the glove, little Joe began to cry.  So I ran toward him, touched with the feelings of his pain and I held him in my arms.  “It’s all right Joe”, I said, “you tried.”  Mistakes are bad enough, but this one hurt.  He cried for a few moments and drying his tears I said, “Let’s get back to the game.”  Without hesitation he replied, “No thanks”, as he ran off to take up a new, less threatening activity.

Sometimes, in the face of distress, it’s hard to try again.

I’ve been thinking about the Apostle Peter. He tried very hard to be a disciple.  I’m sure he really wanted to please Jesus.  Quite often he would do what he thought was right only to be rebuked.  His overabundance of self-confidence often manifest in the form of foot in mouth disease.

Ever had that?

Hey, it’s OK.  I love you!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
and the founder of Living faith Christian Fellowship, Inc.
The intellectual property published above is © 1990 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.
For additional information write to: Coastal Junkie, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656.
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I have always liked gadgets. Machine age contraptions for example, were often an amazing collection of unique parts working together for a single purpose. In this age of technology, we seldom appreciate the inner workings of the devices that we see and use every day. As a result, we fail to understand them for what they really are. Old machines and your favorite smart phone have something in common. They are all a collection of individual components that interact with precision to perform a useful (sometimes even vital) function.

When was the last time you described a device of yours that way? “Say Bill, have you seen my new collection of individual components that interact with precision to perform a useful function?” I don’t think so. It’s more like “have you seen my new smart phone?”

Old machines and modern gadgets remind me of the greatness of Teamwork.

In many sectors of our society, collaboration is all but dead. Hi-tech tools are making it possible for everyone to be an almost expert at just about anything. I suppose it’s an interesting trend from a few perspectives. It’s empowering to be able to do so many things yourself. If you look at it from the management standpoint, well, it’s the best thing since the introduction of the PC. Business owners now reason, “We don’t need all those extra people. One person does the job of three, four or five!”

But, let’s take a good look at that reasoning. I believe that we are all really good at something. Yea, we’re pretty good at a lot of things, but we each have one or two gifts that really shine.

In the last three decades or so, I have worn a lot of hats. I have been a businessman, an author, a Bible teacher, a Pastor, and a school administrator. I have also been a professional broadcaster, audio editor and mix engineer, producer, program and newscast director, and more. As a commentator, I interviewed paupers, kings and everyone in-between. Once, I broadcast live from on top of Masada and the Temple Mount in Israel.

But it seems that no matter how many “roles” I’ve played, I was never truly all alone. There were always other team members there to help me with the job. Even when I stood alone in the spotlight, it was “my team” that made better collectively what I might have hobbled through on my own.

I have been blessed to work with some of the most creative and talented people in the world. In some cases, I knew that I could do their job too. With few exceptions I also knew I couldn’t do it as well. If I had a dime for every time someone made a suggestion that resulted in my own personal growth and improved upon my project, I’d be retired and living in the Caribbean (yes, I’m a closet “Beach Bum”).

When practiced at its highest level, life is a team sport. Every day our society functions because we are a collection of individuals that interact to perform useful (and sometimes vital) functions for the greater good. When the process is right, when collaboration, mutual respect and enthusiasm are in the mix, the results are so much better (and fulfilling) than they can ever be when one person slogs away all alone.

And what about the Church? Is it a coincidence that the Father, Son & Holy Spirit are unique and yet referred to as one? I think not. The New Testament writer Paul (a follower of Jesus) hit the nail on the head when he compared the Christian community to the human body. Listen to what he said:

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.  – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27  New Living Translation –

What could I possibly add to that? Except maybe, Hooray for the team!

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.