A Formula for Fulfilling Your Dreams (Diet for Dreamers)

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What did the successful Chick-fil-A entrepreneur S. Truett Cathy have in common with David, the Biblical King of Israel?

King David was a warrior, a diplomat, a musician and a poet. He was a model of brilliant leadership, both on and off the battlefield. He led the Israelites to numerous victories, and strengthened the kingdom of God’s people. Today, he is considered the greatest King Israel ever had.

S. Cathy Truett (March 14, 1921-September 8, 2014) founded the phenomenally successful fast food company Chick-fil-A in 1948. Today, the company is the leading fast food chicken chain in  America, with more than 1800 restaurants operating throughout the southeastern United States, and over 5 billion in annual revenues. Cathy accomplished this feat using an unusual business model grounded by his deep Southern Baptist beliefs: he promoted people over product, and he put God first in everything. Cathy’s decision to close his restaurants on Sundays drew criticism from some diners, and even pressure from other businesses, but the entrepreneur frequently stated he wanted his employees to be able to enjoy their Sundays, spending time with their families and attending church if they chose to do so. The entrepreneur’s beliefs often came under attack as well, because he was outspoken and refused to compromise the basic principles taught in the Bible.

Although he missed sales opportunities by being closed on Sundays, and lost a few customers by standing up for God’s Word, Cathy nevertheless prospered … tremendously. When he passed away, the entrepreneur had an estimated net worth of roughly $1.2 billion. But again, he never put money before God and people: he funded countless charities, and he took good care of his employees, who benefitted from a college scholarship program and several other perks.

Cathy had his priorities straight: God came first in his life — in every area; he stayed tuned in to God’s truths; and he never strayed from doing what’s right according to God’s Word. These are qualities he shared with King David, “a man after God’s own heart,” and they provide us with the perfect formula for success:

1. Stay plugged in to God and His truths; and refuse to compromise His principles or take an easy out by siding with those who choose to disagree with God’s Word. The Bible teaches, “Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree … that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.” (Psalm 1:1-3 GOD’S WORD) Part of staying plugged in is:

2. Renew your mind. We need to flush out the negative, selfish, fearful, faithless thoughts we collect each day by “washing” our overtaxed brains with the Word of God. This means reading the Bible and meditating on (thinking about) what it teaches. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT) After all, we ARE what we think we are. Are we down-and-out losers or I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ winners? “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

3. Talk to God. Thank Him for what He’s done for you; praise Him for who He is; then share your hopes and dreams, your problems and fears. “Commit your way to the LORD; Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5 NASB) King David met with God the first thing every morning, demonstrating that although he had a busy schedule, he was putting God first. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee….” {A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness…} (Psalm 63:1 King James Bible)

Reaching new heights with God.

4. Keep God as your first love — not your success, money or fame; not your goals or unfulfilled dreams. These things will fall into place, once your priorities are straight. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 ESV)

Want to achieve your goals and realize your dreams? Then put God first in all things. Seek to be pleasing in His sight and to do His will. That’s God’s formula for success! “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

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The Secret Ingredient (Angel in the Kitchen)

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To quote the Pillsbury Doughboy, “Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven”! That’s the idea behind the recipe for Amish Friendship Bread, a sweet, stirred quick-bread with a cake-like texture and a mild cinnamon flavor. The reason it’s called friendship bread is because the recipe calls for a cup of sourdough starter (a mixture of yeast, flour, sugar and milk) which is shared among friends in much the same way as a chain letter — only with tastier results. Here’s how it works:

Someone first adds a package of dry yeast (dissolved in a little warm water) to one cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. The yeast mixture begins to ferment, but for the yeast to remain active, the mixture must be “fed” every 5 days by adding another cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. On the tenth day, the starter is ready for use, but there’s FIVE cups of the stuff! Solution: use one cup of starter to bake a loaf of delicious bread, give away three cups of starter to friends (who then begin their own 10-day cycle), and save the last cup of starter to begin the next cycle. So, every tenth day, a person either has to bake 4 loaves of friendship bread, or connect with 3 new friends who don’t already have starter. Obviously, the process can continue forever, and eventually the starter spreads through entire communities. A sweet idea!

No one’s absolutely sure who started this tradition. Elizabeth Coblentz, a member of the Old Order Amish and the author of The Amish Cook, writes that true Amish friendship bread is “just sourdough bread that is passed around to the sick and needy.” That’s still pretty sweet. Tuesday we shared God’s recipe for Keeping Your Priorities Straight. It boiled down to Love the LORD … with all your heart, soul, and mind (which is the first and greatest commandment) and then love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-38) Clearly the secret ingredient in God’s favorite recipe is LOVE. And as we mentioned in a previous post, love makes everything in life taste better.

Love is the “starter” for God’s special brand of “friendship bread.” He commands us to share it until it’s spread throughout our world. In the verse above, specifically the second half of Keeping our Priorities Straight, God commands us to love others to the same degree we love ourselves. That’s some pretty intense affection, folks. It reminds us of what we traditionally refer to as The Golden Rule — which is a distillation of Matthew 7:12 (GOD’S WORD): “Always do for other people everything you want them to do for you. That is [the meaning of] Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets.”

In other words, if you want people to be kind to you, show you respect, and be sensitive to your needs, then you must also do these same things for others — be they black, white, red, or polka-dotted; male, female, young, old, rich, poor, or what have you. We are never closer to God or more like Him than when we love others: “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16 NLT)

It’s not always easy. We can all be a little unloveable at times. So we need to try to understand what other people are going through. We need to try to see things from their perspective. And when we honestly disagree with someone, we need to do so lovingly and without disrespecting the person. “Speak the truth in love….” (Ephesians 4:15 NLT) Your homework for today is to read 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter”; then go out and share some starter — LOVE!

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