How NOT To Make A Decision

Adonijah thought he was the obvious heir to the throne so he stated what he believed, “I will be king” (1 Kings 1:5). 

On what evidence did Adonijah base his claim? 

  1. All of his friends said he would make a great king
  2. His father (the king) had always given him everything he wanted
  3. He was handsome and popular
  4. A couple members of the king’s court supported him
  5. No one had ever told him “no” 

While all of this sounded good, Adonijah overlooked some vital points. Like…

  1. …more men backed his brother Solomon to be king than backed him
  2. …his father had the decisive and definitive say in who would be king, and he chose Solomon
  3. …God had chosen Solomon to be king

It’s tempting for us to read the popular sentiment of the moment, or to listen to the cheering voices around us, or even to think that our plans are wise and well thought-out. But this is NOT the right way to make a decision.

Instead, we need to humbly consider three things that are external:

  1. The unbiased, wise counsel of others
  2. The buy-in of key stakeholders
  3. God’s clear “yes”

If these three things are in alignment, you cannot go wrong!

Thursdays With Oswald—Living In The Now

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Living In The Now

     Jesus did not use figurative language in talking about the Hereafter. He said: “Let not your heart be troubled”—“My Business is with the Hereafter.” Our business is to live a godly life in the present order of things, and not to push out beyond the durations God has placed as limits. … 

     I have no power to choose whether or not I will take the consequences of my choice; no power to say whether or not I will be born…but I have power to choose which way I will use the times as they come. … 

     Jesus Christ taught a reasonable life on the basis of faith in God—“Be carefully careless about everything saving your relationship to Me. Don’t be disturbed today by thoughts about tomorrow, leave tomorrow alone, and bank in confidence on God’s organization of what you do not see. Yesterday is past, there is no road back to it, tomorrow is not; live in the immediate present, and yours is the life of a child.” … 

     Jesus Christ deliberately chose “the long, long trail”; we choose “the short cut,” and continually go wrong until we understand the meaning of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd, He leads me in the right paths.” 

From Shade Of His Hand

In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers is taking an in-depth look at the book of Ecclesiastes. In chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says there is a time for everything.

Chambers reminds us that we don’t choose the time we will be born, and we don’t choose the time we will die—God alone chooses those. But everything between birth and death is our choice. Jesus taught us that our choices and our level of joy in the moment will be much better if we seek God’s wisdom for all of those choices we make.

10 Quotes On Emotional Health From “Brain Savvy-Leaders”

Brain-Savvy LeadersOur emotions start in our brain. Charles Stone wrote a very helpful book called Brain-Savvy Leaders, in which he covers a lot of ground inside our heads. One aspect is our emotional health. I encourage you to read my review of this book by clicking here. Below are some quotes Charles shared on our emotional health.

“Gratefulness is actually good for brain and body health.” 

“When the emotionality of leaders takes over, they compromise their ability to lead well in these ways:

  • impulse can overwhelm intention
  • imagination gets pushed aside by instinct
  • defensiveness stifles healthy positions
  • automatic behavior shuts down reflective thought
  • emotionality gets in the way of intentionality.”

“Fear, conscious and unconscious, is prompted by the amygdala. The brain naturally focuses on problems and the negative. It overestimates threats and underestimates opportunities. In fact, two-thirds of the brain cells in our amygdala are primed for negativity and fear. Negative networks in our brain outweigh positive ones by five to one. And negative emotions are more easily consolidated (made more permanent) into our long-term memory than positive emotions.”

“Fear can even be subconscious, especially if we’re surrounded by bad news, critical people, or if our self-talk is constantly negative.”

“Neuroscientists have found that stuffing, denying, or a ignoring our emotions reinforces them, affects short-term memory, increases blood pressure, and robs our brain’s prefrontal cortex of the mental energy it needs.”

“Although it may seem counterintuitive, tagging your emotions, through labeling and naming them by putting feelings into words, actually recruits our impulse break and dampens activity in our panic alarm.”

“Anger is the wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.” —Chinese Proverb

“Since our brains process and remember bad events more thoroughly than good ones…it’s vital that we develop the discipline of being aware of our thoughts. … Thinking about our thinking is called ‘metacognition.’”

“Emotions play a significant role in decision-making and influence how well your team will embrace change. Just presenting facts without engaging positive and hopeful emotions will seldom move your team forward. The brain can only handle so much change at once. Trying to create too much change too quickly can engage the brain’s fear center and cause an away response, thus hindering change.”

“In one research study in Israel, Dr. Tal Shafir looked at the impact of movement on the brain of twenty-two young male and female participants. They looked at video clips of actors performing various emotions that corresponded to sad, fearful, happy, or neutral. Happy movements included raising their arms in the air, skipping, and jumping. Sad movements included closing their chests and slumping forward. The participants then either mimicked the movements or imagined themselves doing them. The emotions they reported mirrored the corresponding movements. So, if you need a mood boost, keep a good posture or throw your arms up and out into the air.”

Previously I shared some other quotes from this book on how we learn, and on how to keep our brain healthy. Please check these out too.

Links & Quotes

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“People most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.” —Rick Warren

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” —Horace Greeley

“It’s natural enough in our species, as in others, that the young birds should show off their plumage—in the mating season. But the trouble in the modern world is that there’s a tendency to rush all the birds on to that age as soon as possible and then keep them there as late as possible, thus losing all the real value of the other parts of life in a senseless, pitiful attempt to prolong what, after all, is neither its wisest, its happiest, or most innocent period. I suspect merely commercial motives are behind it all: for it is at the showing-off age that birds of both sexes have least sales resistance!” —C.S. Lewis

“Don’t make a decision, large or small, without sitting before God with an open Bible, an open heart, and open ears. Philippians 2:13 says, ‘God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases Him.’” —Max Lucado

“Strange as it may seem, one of the primary purposes of being shaken by suffering is to make our faith more unshakable. Faith is like muscle tissue: if you stress it to the limit, it gets stronger, not weaker. That’s what James means here [James 1:2-3]. When your faith is threatened and tested and stretched to the breaking point, the result is greater capacity to endure. … If you think your suffering is pointless, or that God is not in control, or that He is whimsical or cruel, then your suffering will drive you from God, instead of driving you from everything but God—as it should. So it is crucial that faith in God’s grace includes the faith that He gives grace through suffering.” —John Piper

“The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.” —C.S. Lewis

“It’s the lives of the saints, not the arguments of the theologians and philosophers, that covert people.” — Pope Benedict XVI

Links & Quotes

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“Why did Saul obey the people instead of God? Because he feared the people instead of God. He feared the human consequences of obedience more than he feared the divine consequences of sin. He feared the displeasure of the people more than the displeasure of God. And that is a great insult to God. … To turn from Him out of fear of what man can do is to discount all that God promises to be for those who fear Him  It is a great insult. And in such an insult God can take no pleasure. On the other hand when we hear the promises and trust Him with courage, fearing the reproach brought upon God by our unbelief, then He is greatly honored. And in that He has pleasure.” —John Piper

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.” —Sir Isaac Newton

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. … We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.” —C.S. Lewis

“What, sirs, is your wisdom? Your wisdom dwells in denying what your eyes can see—a God; in denying what your consciences tell you—that you are guilty; in denying what should be your best hope, what your spirit really craves after—redemption in Christ Jesus. Your folly lies in following a perverted nature, instead of obeying the dictates of One Who points you to the right path. You are wise and you drink poison; we are fools and we take the antidote. You are wise and you hunt the shadow; we are fools and we grasp the substance. You are wise, and you labor and put your money into a bag which is full of holes, and spend it for that which is not bread, and which never gives you satisfaction; and we are fools enough to be satisfied, to be happy, to be perfectly content with heaven and God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Seth Godin says, “Those critical choices you made then, they were based on what you knew about the world as it was.” Now check out his post New Times Call For New Decisions.

J. Warner Wallace, a cold-case detective, wrote, “I’ve worked more cases involving witnesses than I can even count. A career in law enforcement will put you in direct contact with eyewitnesses on a daily basis, starting with your very first night on the job. After interviewing literally thousands of witnesses over the course of twenty five years, I think I’ve learned something about reliable eyewitness testimony.” Check out more in his post Why We Should Expect Witnesses To Disagree.

Such a sweet video from a boy with Down Syndrome to his Dad on Fathers Day. I love the ending tag line: “Love doesn’t count chromosomes”—

Links & Quotes

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“Only the mediocre are always at their best. If your standards are low, it is easy to meet those standards every single day, every single year. But if your standard is to be the best, there will be days when you fall short of that goal. It is okay to not win every game. The only problem would be if you allow a loss or a failure to change your standards. Keep your standards intact, keep the bar set high, and continue to try your very best every day to meet those standards. If you do that, you can always be proud of the work that you do.” —Mike Krzyzewski

“Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” —Roger Staubach

“Christians who serve in ‘secular’ vocations are the ones who do most of the ministry and kingdom-expansion work that happens in the world. It’s the job of vocational ministers [pastors] to equip these folks so they can do their various ministries effectively.” Read more from Jon Bloom in his post Christian, Your Job Is A Ministry Job.

“One of the most important decisions we make is almost always made without thought, without discussion: ‘How big do you want this to be?’ It’s a question that always gets in the way of, ‘How good do you want this to be?’” —Seth Godin

Scientism keeps trying to find evidence to fit their theories (like this latest one to explain the absence of global warming), but few seldom recognize the genius of Our Creator. Sad…

Dr. Tim Elmore always has amazing insights into the youth mindset. Check out this article: Does A Loaded Childhood Delay Healthy Adulthood? (If you haven’t read any of Dr. Elmore’s books, please type his name in the search box, and check out the book reviews I have posted.)

[VIDEO] Check out Frank Turek’s answer to the question, “Will God send me to hell for not believing in Jesus?”—

Links & Quotes

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“We must be much alone with God, if we would have a clear sense of His love! Let your cries cease, and your eyes will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress.” —Charles Spurgeon

“There is no doctrine [Hell] which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason. If a game is played, it must be possible to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one can make that surrender but himself (though many can help him to make it) and he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved.’ But my reason retorts, ‘Without their will, or with it?’ If I say ‘Without their will’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies ‘How if they will not give in?’” —C.S. Lewis

421chartrtaHere are 8 reasons why the Supreme Court should let the states decide their own marriage policy.

The Daily Signal has other good arguments for this marriage issue as well, including the infographic to the left.

“The nation that forgot God has never been allowed to endure.” —George Washington

“It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children, but it is our duty to leave liberty to them.” — John Dickinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence

Dr. Tim Elmore uses former NFL player Chris Borland as a case study for the benefits of long-term thinking. He writes, “When making a decision… (1) Choosing short-term benefits often leads to long-term consequences. (2) Choosing short-term consequences often leads to long-term benefits.”

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