Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label The Principle of the Path

“Knowing doesn’t make the difference. Doing does.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-03-31). From his book,The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 178). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.

Now knowing that I have another 20+ lbs. to lose doesn’t make the difference. Walking that extra mile, not eating the maple scone and drinking that water does.
Knowing the path I need to take to get where I want to go doesn't make a difference.  Taking it does.

Knowing from this friend that a certain guy will take care of a certain task and having his phone number doesn’t make the difference.Picking up the phone and getting an appointment with him does.
Knowing that the place to start in finding out about what Christ is like is the Gospels in the New Testament is great information but doesn’t make the difference.  Reading the first verse in the first chapter of Matthew does.
Knowing that my car is close to running out of gas is important but doesn’t make a difference.Stopping at the nearest gas station and…

“Perhaps with unlimited time we could make more of our dreams come true.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 158). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.

Right at this time as a retired minister there are three churches in three different areas of LA that I would love to give the rest of my life to be a part of.Not as a minister but as a committed laymen.Two of them when I took a weekend off from the church I pastored in Las Vegas I would make it a point to visit at least once a year.The other I visited once.They are all great churches with great pastors who I have listened to their sermons and read all their books for years.But life is getting shorter each day.
Now as a consumer Christian I could just float from one to the other.Just drinking in all the good stuff but I don’t believe that is the way one truly makes a difference and fulfills a dream. There must be a commitment involved to one dream.And that can be difficult sometimes to stop and decide which o…

“You look a bit silly now because you are taking steps to avoid something later. To the wise, later is now.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 49). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I live by the principle of time that you are either late or on time, that being early just means being on time so I usually am early.  That way, I am always assured of being on time and not late.
I wish I could say the same thing about doing things that I’d rather not do.  All my term papers in school were usually put off to the last minute.  I always said that I worked best under pressure but as I’ve gotten older I don’t think that was true.  I just think I was avoiding what I didn’t want to do and waiting till the last minute meant I couldn’t avoid it any longer so I did it.  But it would have been the wise thing to have started it earlier without all the stress, all the pressure.
It’s like the person who files an extension for his income tax and finds it doesn’t get any better later so why not do it now.   Or th…

“When someone is where he doesn’t want to be, he already knows the solution; what he needs is direction.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 11). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.  We sometimes get into situations that we know are wrong.  We know the solution - quit the relationship, lose 50 lbs., change jobs, move away, go to church, get counseling.  We know what needs to be done but we don’t know what to do.
The problem is not the solution but the direction.  When a person is lost they need to change their direction but we too many times keep going in the same direction thinking we will get to a different location. 
Now we know why we are overweight – lack of exercise and eating the wrong food – but we keep doing the same thing and believe that the result will be different.  It never will be until we change what we eat and getting up from the couch and exercising.
We may be having major financial problems but we keep doing the same thing with the same result.  We really believ…

“Seeing danger and doing nothing doesn’t accomplish anything.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 48). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.
If you have spent any time with me here on JCTT you know that I have been following a fairly successful path of losing weight.  I started at 260 lbs. and I got down to 211 but I have hit a danger zone.  My path to weighing less than 200 lbs. has hit a detour and I know it but to see the problem is only a part of the solution.  I must now do something.
We have gone through a change in location and with that some changes in routine.  Now my path for success had walking a hour and a half six days a week and eating right in it.  But with the move both of those had stopped.  The walking has come back but without the success.  In order to get back on the right path then I need to make adjustments also in my eating habits.  I cannot live off of past successes but keep focused on the future goals by continuing my walki…

“We can never be free as long as we’re in the habit of lying to ourselves about the reasons behind the choices we make and the paths we take.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 73). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
So much of the dishonesty is that we play the blame game which is to be lame.  It is so easy to say it’s my parent’s fault, the way they raised me.  Or it’s my spouses fault, they made me do this.  I didn’t really want to do it.  But somewhere we have to be honest as to why we are on the path. 
The Bible says, “the truth will set you free”.  And that is where you start?
Just be honest. Why do I choose the wrong people to have a relationship with, people who will hurt me, people who are totally selfish, and people who have a track record of no commitment?  Why have I continually chosen that path of failure? 
You start with a question?  That is the first step in being honest.  Why did you choose this path?  And for many that is a difficult thing to do because it puts the results back on you not someone else. You quit bl…

“You make decisions today as if today is isolated from tomorrow.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Kindle Location 658). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.
There are principles in life that need to be learned at an early age that will make a difference in the effectiveness of our lives.  One principle that is sabotaged by many parents with their children is the principle of cause and effect.  Their child gets in trouble at school and the parent blames the school.  Of course it is not their kids fault.  But that attitude will have far reaching consequences on the child at facing responsibilities for their actions.
You see we all need to understand that each action does not stand alone but that it has consequences both positive or negative that go with it.  Let me give you an example. 
I am 64 years of age.  I will turn 65 in three months.  Now a few years back I realized that I was slowly because of inactivity turning into an invalid so I started walk…

“Sometimes it is the destinations that are out of our reach that create the circumstances God uses to remind us that we are never out of his reach.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 159). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.   I would have believed three years ago that Margaret and I owning our own home was way out of our reach.  I mean it took everything we had to move from Las Vegas to Long Island and property is way too expensive here and we didn’t have enough for a down payment so I had accepted the fact that we would rent and then eventually move in with our kids.  I had retired and owning our own home was way out of our reach but it wasn’t out of God’s reach.
Margaret and I next month will be putting our furniture in our own condo in Seminole, Florida.  It is all because of God’s love and power and graciousness that it has happened.  We again realize that we are never out of His reach. 
He has been working this all out for us starting 18 years ago when we moved to Las Vegas to plant a church when we had nothing…

“Knowing doesn’t make the difference. Doing does.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 178). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now I may memorize the Bible from cover to cover and it may help me in winning some arguments but if I don’t see it as God’s personal living plan for my life and do what it says then it will not make a vital, everlasting difference in my life.
Now I may know how important it is for an overweight 64 year old man who wants to live a productive, long, active, healthy life to exercise and eat right and I may propagate what I know but if I don’t do what I know then I will not reap the benefit from what I know.
Now I may know that people don’t want to be around someone who is argumentative, self-focused and disingenuous but if I don’t do the changes in my character to make a difference in how I act then I will be a very lonely and probably angry individual who has no meaningful, close relationships.
Now I may know that …

“The truth is, about the only thing most of us learn from experience is what to expect when we repeat the same bad decisions.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 41). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now we always hope that the result will be different but it isn’t.   We may even pray that it will be different but it isn’t.  We believe that it will be different but it isn’t. 
Now God is amazing.  To realize that He created each and every one of us and He created every part of us should show us that He has a plan.   Now He gave us a mouth so we could speak; He gave us eyes so we could see; He gave us feet so we could walk; He gave us hands so we could do; and He gave us a brain so we could think and He wants us to use each and every one of them, even our brain.
Many times we do the same thing that didn’t end right the first time and before we do it we ask God to make it come out differently.  Now God has that ability but God has also given us the ability to evaluate, to contemplate, in other words to think and tha…

“To get from where we don’t want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction. There isn’t a quick fix.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 11). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Two years ago I realized I needed to change the direction of my life physically.  I knew I was in trouble.  Now I wish that I could have decided and then it happened but it didn’t work that way for me.  I have been overweight all my life and I would at different times try to change direction.  It would work for a while and then I would fall back.  For me it had to be a total change in direction and I did it and things physically are changing for the better.  I am now headed in the right direction.
Yesterday was my wife, Margaret’s birthday and after church she and I with our daughter, Stefanie and her husband, Andrew went out to a great restaurant to celebrate.  Now they had Blue Bell ice cream.  That is the best ice cream you could ever have and I had some and it showed up on my scales this morning.  I mean I gained…

“Christians start talking about forgiveness as if somehow forgiveness serves as an escape hatch from the outcome of bad decisions.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 42). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now what does forgiveness do?  It absolves me of the guilt of my action but it doesn’t necessarily absolve me of the consequences of the action. 
For example, let’s say that I haven’t paid my income taxes for 10 years.  That can be a very dangerous thing to do.  But let’s say I go to God and I ask Him to forgive me.  I repent of my breaking the law and I am then absolved on my guilt to God but that doesn’t absolve me of my guilt to the government.  I still am going to have to pay my back taxes and probably some penalties and interest.  That is the way it works.  But let’s say, I expect God to take care of all that.  I asked Him to forgive me.  Shouldn’t He take care of at least the penalty and the interest?   
The answer is no.  You are responsible for the consequences of your actions even if you have asked God for fo…

“Passion clouds the ability to accurately evaluate the circumstance in order to choose the right path.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 104). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
If I really want it then it must be the right thing to get it.  Have you ever had that go through your mind?   I know, all the time. 
I’m sitting in a Starbucks close to Louisville, Kentucky seeing all these people outside with their 32 flavors cups of ice cream and I want so much to go get some.  I want it so bad so it must mean that it is God’s will for me to have it?  Right?  Wrong.  I got up early this morning to walk my 4+ miles and I’m not going to blow it. 
But so many times what we really, really want tempts us to get off the path that we have chosen.  For me I was in the car yesterday for nearly 15 hours and it seems that I should be rewarded but that reward would set me back from the daily task that I have chosen to get below 200 lbs. by 2012.  Yes possibly the circumstance of yesterday could be rewarded b…

“Once we get fixated on the happiness option, we assign our brains the task of coming up with a list of very convincing reasons to support our choice.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 61). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Have you noticed that?  You set your heart on getting something that you know will make you happy but it really isn’t a good thing to have; maybe it is a girl or a guy that doesn’t hold your same values.  But you want it or you have fallen for them so your mind sets into gear to come up with a set of reasons why it is a good thing when it really isn’t.
Your will, your heart is a powerful thing so it is very important to have it set in the right direction.  Oh your mind is also important but most of the time it just goes along for the ride.
For example:  In today’s USA Today there was a survey that said that the number one reason people divorce is growing apart and the number two is unable to talk together.  Now when your heart says there needs to be a change in your life, you’re not happy anymore being married, then …

“The best counsel in the world is wasted counsel if our minds are already made up.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 129). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We all realize how true that is, don’t we?  My dad said, “Advice not asked for stinks.” It doesn’t matter if you have the right answer if the person in need is not seeking advice it won’t make a difference.
I used to have wives come up and ask me if I would talk to their husbands or parents would come and want me to talk to their kids and I would always say, “Have them call me.”  If they’re not seeking they’re not listening. 
Of course you know some people who have advice for everything and they want to give it all the time to everyone they meet.  It seems to be a self-worth thing.  They may be right some of the time but they are not usually the ones you will go to for advice.  There are others who you see their life and you know their life view is built on wisdom and maturity but you have to seek them out.  Everyone…

“You and I will win or lose in life by the paths we choose.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get fromWhere You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 15). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Life is filled with choices.  It really is.

üI can choose to be angry or I can choose to understand and forgive.  üI can live with regrets because of what life has thrown at me or I can live with excitement for the opportunity of each new day. 
üI can choose to spend or I can choose to save.  
üI can cower in fear of the unknown or risk and move into unchartered waters. 
üI can eat donuts or eat salads.
üI can serve God or I can serve myself.
üI can live with self-pity or I can live with joy.
üI can listen and join in to negativity or I can turn it off, walk away and live positively.  
üI can be hurt or I can be healed.
üI can yell or I can listen.
üI can grow cold or I can tell you where you hurt me.
üI can act like a child or I can act like an adult.
üI can strive to tell my side or I can listen to your side. üI can do what…

“You make decisions today as if today is isolated from tomorrow.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his bookThe Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 41). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Over this weekend Irene came to visit us here on Long Island.  We knew she was coming.  All week we had followed her on TV.  I became close friends with the people on The Weather Channel and NBC Channel 4 New York City.

Now we had some decisions to make on Saturday that affected us on Sunday when Irene was on the Island.  Sunday was not the time to go to the grocery store because they were all boarded up and closed.  We were almost too late on Saturday for some things and we never did find extra flashlights. 

I find this fact also true in my task of trying to lose weight.  I may really want those vanilla cream filled donuts from Dunkin Donuts and I may convince myself that eating them won’t affect me but when I get on the scale the next morning I know the truth.  What I eat today will affect my weight tomorrow.

So much o…

“God can be trusted but not manipulated.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get fromWhere You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 168). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
There was a game show back in the late 50’s emceed by Johnny Carson before he went on to Tonight Show fame called Who Do You Trust?    Let me ask you that question, who do you trust more, you or God?

I know what the answer we give is but I don’t think it is the answer we live.  In some things we may be afraid to trust God so we try to manipulate Him through all this good stuff we do hoping He will reward us and give us what we want.

Have you ever had someone act sooo nice to you and compliment you and you know they have an ulterior motive?  They want something from you.  Kids sometimes do that with parents.  Does it work? 

It doesn’t work with God either.  He knows our heart.  He knows our motives.  He also knows what’s best.   He can be trusted and He won’t allow us to manipulate Him.

Solomon wrote something on this i…

“Forgiveness and consequences are two different things. One does not override the other.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book,The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 43). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
There are times we do something to someone and then ask them to forgive us and expect there to be no consequences in what we have done.  We still need to ask forgiveness but we cannot expect that it does away with the consequences.

For an example, let’s say we smoked in front of our kids for 20 years and they started smoking but after they grew up we stopped.  We now have deep remorse about the influence we had in this area and we ask them to forgive us and they do.  But they still have the habit and they still have the potential for cancer.  The forgiveness is important but the consequences of our action are not done away with by our asking for forgiveness.  They may forgive you but they can’t do away with the consequences.

Now the key is not to use forgiveness to supersede responsibility or self-control.  For example…

“When the inevitable becomes the unavoidable, it is not unusual for us to start pointing our fingers at God.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 43). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
This is so true. 
…We own a car.  We never change the oil; we never maintain it as the manual tells us to and then blame God when it breaks down.
…We forget to put gas in the car and then blame God when we run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
…We never pay our bills and then blame God when the collection agency starts calling.
…We spend all the money we make, we have a bigger house than we can afford, we have our credit cards to the limit, we have no savings, and then blame God when our company doesn’t give bonuses this year and we have already spent it.
…We work all the time, we’re never at home and when we are we’re always in a bad mood and then blame God when our mate asks for a divorce.
…We never take care of ourselves physically or emotionally.  We eat the wrong things, we never sleep, and we live under a heavy …