MANAGE YOUR MIND (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #8)

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We dreamers and creators are always working toward a goal or dealing with a problem; waiting and hoping for answers and breakthroughs. Along the journey to realizing our hopes and aspirations we’ll encounter opposition and setbacks, and we’ll need to be able to endure delays and disappointments. Sadly, when “life happens,” it’s tempting to give up on our dreams and creative pursuits. If we want to stay the course and fulfill our destinies, we’ll need the backing, encouragement, comfort, strength, and reassurance that comes from One greater than ourselves. To get this Divine support, we’ll need some basic training … to follow several important spiritual steps.

8. Manage your Mind

Nutritionists remind us, “You are what you eat.” But just ask any of the leading motivational speakers and they’ll tell you, “No, you are what you THINK.” Of course, these highly-paid consultants are simply following in the footsteps of the Biblical King Solomon, who wrote that as a person “thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB)

If you think you’re a failure, then that’s probably all you’ll ever be. If you think your dreams will never come true, then there’s a good chance they won’t. Face facts, it’s impossible to have hope when your head is full of hopelessness; or to be positive about life and all the possibilities your future holds if you continually feed your mind with negative thoughts.

Researchers have discovered that the average person processes as many as 50,000 thoughts a day. And, unfortunately, many (if not most) of these thoughts are negative. Yech!  This unpleasant truth brings to memory a worn-out comedy sketch from an old TV show called Hee Haw! Four ragged-looking hillbillies sitting in a dirty barnyard look up at the sky with  piteous eyes, and croon woefully, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Deep dark depression, excessive misery! If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all — gloom, despair, and agony on me!”

If we had that outlook on life, we’d probably never get out of bed, let alone dabble in the rewarding pursuits of our God-given creativity, or follow all our hopes and dreams. (Instead, we’d groan, “Please go away! Wake me when the world’s over.”) And we warn you, dear reader, if you’re going to create something of lasting (eternal) value; if you’re serious about wanting to achieve your goals; if you simply want to live the “abundant life” the Lord promised (John 10:10), then you’d do well to properly manage your mind. Negative thoughts, such as fear, worry, pessimism, and a critical spirit, can kill hope and creativity.

Keeping your mind free of negative thoughts isn’t always easy: because we live in a “fallen” — and hence, imperfect — world; and also because we inherited from our ancestors Adam and Eve, a predisposition to do all the wrong things in life. It’s called the “sin nature,” but it’s just another way of saying that, when left to their own devices, people will always be selfish, self-centered, and self-serving. Collectively, such people have a tremendous negative impact on our world, helping to create a harsh, often cold environment that is hostile to dreamers and their dreams, and critical of just about any creative endeavor.

The best we can do to improve the world is to refuse to contribute to the cesspool of hostility and negativity. But in regards to our own hopes and dreams, we can take steps to keep this cesspool from poisoning our spirits … and our MINDS. The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Don’t become like the people of this world [cruel, pessimistic, critical, spiteful]. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants — what is good, pleasing, and perfect. (Romans 12:2 GOD’S WORD) Another way of putting it: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person….” (Romans 12:2 NLT)

Want to manage your mind? Then, to borrow an ad slogan from Apple Computers, “Think different.” Replace any negative thoughts (including spiritual doubts) with positive (faith-filled) thoughts. Be hopeful (optimistic), not cynical (pessimistic). Flush away the “stinking thinking” (thoughts of fear, failure, regrets, hurts, disappointments, and doubts); stop dwelling on the past; stop replaying unpleasant memories of painful events and disparaging words that were spoken to you (or about you). Stop rehearsing any worst-case scenarios regarding your future. And stop nursing any grudges you may be holding. Such stinking thinking creates toxic emotions that will eventually poison your mind and your creativity, as well as contaminate your relationships.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Join us tomorrow for THINK DIFFERENT. We’ll discuss how to flush out negative thoughts and replace stinking thinking.

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An Airtight Promise! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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There are many brands of resealable plastic storage containers sold in stores today. Most are designed to go from refrigerator to microwave and then, if necessary, back to the refrigerator. These containers come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them have very specific functions. Some are made of a durable plastic that can withstand repeated use in the microwave as well as countless trips through the dishwasher. Some are pricey, but there are a few brands that are made of a thinner plastic and intended to be semi-disposable, such as Gladware. These cheaper containers can be reused several times before repeated microwaving leaves them whimpering for mercy and — like a few friends we know — all bent out shape. Few people refer to these food-savers as “resealable plastic storage containers”; it’s a lot easier to refer to them collectively as Tupperware.

Tupperware, however, is a brand name. But since Tupperware were the first and most popular food storage containers, many people use the famous name to describe any similar product — in the same way most people call all gelatin Jello, and all tissues Kleenex. Perhaps wrong, but understandable. Tupperware paved the way and made work in the kitchen easier. These marvels of versatility also empowered women who were stuck in the kitchen. More on this later.

A Massachusetts chemist named Earl Silas Tupper (1907-83) had invented a soft but rugged plastic in 1938, but wasn’t too sure what would be its best use until he came up with the idea for Tupperware in 1946. Tupper initially developed his soon-to-be famous containers to store food and keep it fresh. His first design was a bell-shaped container called the Wonderlier Bowl. Not only did the Wonderlier keep food fresh, but it also could be used as a serving bowl.

Tupperware was also a pioneer of direct marketing. During WWII, thousands of women entered the workplace, filling jobs in factories and offices. By the 1950s most of them had returned to the kitchen, and many of them were feeling a bit shut in, underused, and forgotten. The Tupperware Party allowed these women an opportunity to once again be a part of the business world, to interact and to earn money. And all for a product they could get passionate about.

What made Tupperware so special? When the containers were sealed, they were airtight, so foods stayed fresher — for a much longer period. Tupperware boasted its containers were so airtight, that once you sealed one, you could crack open a small section of the lid and “burp” out the remaining air. Tupperware even went so far as to patent their “burping seal”! In their ads, Tupperware boasted the “airtight promise”! Freshness and flavors were locked in, and liquids weren’t able to seep out around the lid.

Why are we gushing so much over a plastic container? We’re not. When first introduced, Tupperware’s Airtight Promise was indeed innovative. Tupperware sealed tight as a drum. It locked in freshness. It preserved what was inside. But if you’re like us, and you’ve trusted Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, you’ve got something far better than Tupperware on your side. You’ve got God’s Holy Spirit!

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise….” (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)

“…Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 NIV)

“And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful who hath called you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Douay-Rheims Bible)

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh….” (Psalm 92:14 NIV)

Salvation is God’s Divine Tupperware!

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