★ Thought for the Day – Consistency Compounds Check-In ★

On January 18, 2020 I posted my Word for 2020 in the post ★ Thought for the Day – Consistency Compounds ★.  As a reminder, my prayer for this year was that I would be CONSISTENT in all areas of my life – Spiritually (that my walk with Christ would be strong), Physically (that my health would be the best that it ever has been), and Emotionally (that my relationships with my wife, daughters, friends and co-workers would be better than ever and life-affirming.). Well today is the 4 month anniversary of that post and I thought it would be good to pause for a post from our “GOD IS…” series and give an update on where I am at.

Today is Day 66 of quarantine and my 10th week of working at home as the result of COVID-19.  I must say that the days and weeks are all running together but I have been blessed to be able work out of my dining room and receive a pay check every 2 weeks, something many people are not as fortunate to be able to.  Though it’s been hard watching the news casts of all those suffering, I have been looking for the silver lining and have see that there are definitely benefits that have resulted.  I can honestly say the quarantine has helped me to stay consistent with my goals for 2020, so like in the first post, I will break this up in 3 parts:

SPIRITUAL CHECK-IN:

Through Facebook Messenger and other video chat Apps, I have been able to stay connected with all the guys that I met with previously each morning at my house and now I am hosting Bible Studies virtually and reaching more men then I was before if you can believe that?!  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do this and technology we have been making the best out of a bad situation.  Also you may have noticed an increase in posts as I have been exploring the attributes of God in our “GOD IS…” series.  In the past month, we have looked at (22) different aspects of our Heavenly Father which is far greater frequency then ever before!

PHYSICAL CHECK-IN:

Now if you have followed this blog for awhile, you know full well that exercise has always been a struggle for me.  Whether it was a lack of motivation or just trying to fit it in my day, I always had an excuse for why I did not workout.  Over the past 5 months I am happy to say that the excuses have been kicked to the curb, and especially over the past 65 days I have been more consistent then ever!  I hope you will not think me to be bragging, but I wanted to share this with you from my Fitbit app exercise tracker that shows I have consistently exercised for an entire month straight!!  First time ever in my life doing this!!

EMOTIONAL CHECK-IN:

As a part of the workouts, I have been going on walks with my wife and oldest daughter which has helped also strengthen the emotional connections simultaneously.  My youngest daughter and I have been working on and off together building a bed to look like a Chevy pickup truck (which is her favorite vehicle!)  Many people have been asking me if I am looking forward to going back to the office but honestly, I have been enjoying getting (2) additional hours back in my day since I don’t have to drive to and from work (and also eliminating the stress of the commute).  I do miss my friends at work, but MS TEAMS has helped to keep that community connection.  And one final benefit has been having breakfast and lunch with the family every day which in the past was only possible on the weekend.  Oh, and probably the highlight of the past 65 days was this past Saturday when my oldest daughter cleared out her bedroom so we could have a “Family Dance Night Surprise!”  Yesterday I felt so sore from all the dancing…hahaha!

I share all of this to say, regardless of circumstances we can always improve things if we will consistently look to make the environment better.  I shared this in the post ★ Thought for the Day – What’s On The Inside? ★, but it bears repeating as I am a firm believe of what Marvin J. Ashton once said:

“Be the one who nurtures and builds.  Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people.  Leave people better than you found them.”

A bad attitude can spread like a wild-fire within the home or at work and when you compound that with 65 days of captivity, I man self-quarantine you have all the conditions for a “five alarm fire!”  So regardless of how we feel, we must push through and not allow the media to tear down our spirits or boredom to stop us from getting into the Word everyday or laziness to stop us from going on a walk or riding a bike.  I heard this great sermon called…“New Found Life” by Mondoe Davis who preached on the importance of physical training and how it ties into the spiritual.  He read 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NLT) which says…

“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”

And drew this powerful parallel:

“You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a physical body.  What you feed each one of these aspects of who you are, determines how you will grow.” 

That is what I desire to be “holy in every way” and that my “whole SPIRIT and SOUL and BODY [will] be kept blameless!”  But that is up to you and me, “what we feed each one of these aspects” of who we are, “WILL DETERMINE HOW WE WILL GROW!”  Unlike what the 1977 rock song “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf said…2 OUT OF 3 IS BAD!  We need to be 3 for 3 in our CONSISTENCY!  MIND (SOUL), BODY and SPIRIT running on all cylinders.

Over the past five months, I have been compiling a list of men and women from the Bible who I believe are great examples of what that looks like to be CONSISTENT!  It is far from complete but as I read and study, I will be adding to it.

I am thinking about doing a series on what we can learn which would be the opposite of the Temptation Series which is all about learning what not to.  But this opposing list will help us to see that you it is possible.  When you are consistently chasing after God, and working for the building of His kingdom, the gracious hand of the Lord will be upon you!  That happens when like these men and women, you are determined to make a difference to see lives changed, healed, restored and transformed here on earth!  But the choice is up to you.

 

  DIG DEEPER

★ Thought for the Day – Be Strong and Courageous ★

★ Thought for the Day – Leaving It All On The Field ★

★ Thought for the Day – What’s On The Inside? ★

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★ Thought for the Day – Consistency Compounds ★

Well we are 18 days into 2020, any revelations?  Do you have a Word for the New Year?  Or maybe I should say, have you asked God for one?  For those of you who may not have done this in the past, let me just pause a moment and explain.  Since 2015, as the year draws to an end, and a new page of the calendar is about to be flipped, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me a Word for the year.  Sometimes it has been a phrase and other times a single word.  Here are the past “Words/Phrases” so you can get an idea of what I mean:

If you are interested, just click on the link and you can read the associated post.  There have even been times that it comes before I even ask, as was the case this year.  It was December 29, 2019, and we were at my in-laws’ church in South Carolina that I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon me the word “CONSISTENCY” as my Word for the new year.  I heard John Maxwell at the Gateway Church Legacy Conference talk about consistency in a way I never heard before.  He said that it is the most underrated word in the dictionary which is not sexy or even something that you would love to be called but, in the end, CONSISTENCY COMPOUNDS.

When I think of “compounding,” my 401k comes to mind, and how the interest on the money over time gains momentum and produces a good return on my investment.  Well the same is true when you consistently apply yourself in an area of your life, whether that is committing to a daily quiet time with God, scheduling time at the gym to stay healthy or being intentional with cultivating genuine community with the people in your life.  It all comes down to discipline!  Something that I struggled with for most of my life, but I have come to realize that it is absolutely necessary in order to be consistent.  As Hebrews 12:11 (HCSB) reminds us:

“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time but painful.  Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

As I was looking into my Word for 2020, I came across this Minute With Maxwell called “A Non-Sexy Word That Leads to Greatness,” in which John Maxwell made this powerful point:

“Consistency is the ability to continually do the right thing every day regardless of whether the odds are for you, or the circumstances are favorable.  If you want to go to greatness, don’t go to greatness, go to consistency.  Practice it, that’s the path that will lead you to greatness.”

“Consistency is the ability to continually do the right thing every day!”  I love that!  And just like the verse in Hebrews, we must “practice it!”  No meaningful change happens without work and unfortunately it never happens overnight!  I read somewhere this quote that puts it perfectly…

Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”  John Maxwell

2020 is going to be the year that this will be true of me!  I want to be known as a man who is CONSISTENT in ALL areas of my life:

  • SPIRITUALLY…that my walk with Christ would be stronger than ever as I grow in my daily dependence on the Holy Spirit.
  • PHYSICALLY…that my health would be the best that it ever has been.
  • AND EMOTIONALLY…that my relationships with my wife, two daughters, friends and co-workers would be better than ever and life-affirming.

I am not going to grow in my relationship with Jesus and exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25) unless I connect daily to follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of my life.  I wish after my workouts I would instantly see a difference in the mirror, but I don’t.  My target weight will only be achieved after months of effort.  The same is true for my relationships.  Unless I reach out and put in the effort to show the people in my life that I care and am invested in what matters to them, the connection will be surface level at best.

Over the past 20 days since I received my Word, I have been ruminating over this and looking for an example of someone who has modeled this in their life.  So here goes…

SPIRITUAL MODEL: DAVID.

Now you may be thinking, why would he not choose Jesus?  After all He is the only perfect person who ever lived!  While that is certainly true, I landed on David because he is the only human who is described as “a man after god’s own heart” in the Bible (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22).  David is a complex person and you may remember in our “Temptation Series,” that I used him as the example of what not to (see the post ★ Thought for the Day – Avoiding the Consequences of Lust (Part 3b) ★,) but even so, the scriptures are clear that David consistently chased after God with his whole heart!  As a main contributor to the Book of Psalms, you see the love, trust and devotion he had for the Father.  David said in Psalms 119:5 (NLT):

“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!”

I want that to be true in my life!  That everything that I think, say or do would reflect God’s Word.  I read a commentary from David Guzik on Psalm 119:5 in which he said:

“This is not only a pious wish; it is also a prayer for the ability to obey God’s Word.  We received God’s commands understanding our lack of ability to keep those commands, apart from His work in us.”

To achieve this I know, I must have a consistent quiet time with God where I daily pray, read the bible and seek the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life.  I have also found that Bible Studies with other believers have strengthen me as Proverbs 27:17 says.

PHYSICAL MODEL: MY WIFE.

Now before you start groaning and judging me that this is some self-serving sucking up, there is no one I know who has consistently made her health a priority in her life.  If you have been on this blog before, you no doubt have seen me post pictures from her Facebook page Fit Family in which she integrates her 3 loves – Faith, Family, and Fitness.  I have been married to her for over 20 years, and she has shown me day after day what it means to live a healthy life, one which is balanced with exercise and proper diet.  Not dieting, BUT good choices with correct portions.  My wife, who is very healthy and loves to workout, made this point to me in the past that the Holy Spirit just brought back to me remembrance, she said:

“You are so disciplined in your quiet time with God, why can’t you be disciplined in your health as well?”

Great question huh?  Now you may think this was rude, but it honestly said in love because she wants to keep me around for as long as possible!  Hahaha!   When she met me, working out and watching what I ate was NOT me at all.  I never exercised and I was a “biggie” size consumer, that the larger the portions, the better.  Through her example I have learned what a balanced life looks like, and over the years I have improved but I am far from consistent.  It is funny that what my wife challenged me with, is actually found in scripture!  I was just reading 3 John 1:2 (NLT) last week in which John offered this greeting to his friend Gaius:

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”

So, though I desire first and foremost, to be consistent in my spiritual walk, I realized that I need to be consistent in EVERY part of my life so part of my prayer for 2020 is that I am “as healthy in body as [I am] strong in spirit!”  Last year I hit 45, and with my mom dying from a stroke in 2016, it’s time that I commit to a consistently work at improving my health!

EMOTIONAL MODEL: FRED ROGERS.

Some may be thinking, who is Fred Rogers?!  Others may only know him only as Mr. Rogers, the much-loved host of the TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which was a permanent fixture on TV sets across the country, airing on PBS from 1968 to 2001.  Last Saturday we went to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” for the second time, and as I watched again Tom Hanks brilliantly portray the caring man who was so invested in helping kids understand the world, I was mesmerized all over again and thought this would be the perfect example of emotional consistency!  Interestingly enough, it was not until the credits that I discovered that the movie was based on the 1998 Esquire article called “CAN YOU SAY…“HERO”? by Tom Junod.

I looked up the article and was amazed to see the tag line under the title:

“Fred Rogers has been doing the same small good thing for a very long time.”

That is perfect!!  Both in the movie and in real life, Fred Rogers reached out to everyone and worked to connect on an emotional level that made you feel so special.  The author of the article was jaded by the world and in need of someone to care for him.  As I read the Esquire article, I was moved to tears to read story after story of how profoundly affected people were by this meek man of God who made a simple offer every time “Will you be my neighbor?”  One part that hit me really hard was this:   

“The connections we make in the course of a life—maybe that’s what heaven is!”  Amen?  Jesus made this clear in Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT) when answering the question from one of the experts in religious law who asked him which is the most important commandment?

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The third part of my pray for 2020 is that I will consistently pursue a deeper connection with those in my life as modeled by Fred Rogers and to love my neighbor as much as I love myself!

So, I close with my original question…What’s your Word for 2020?  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit for one, it is a great way to center your year as you delve into the Bible in 2020.

 

  DIG DEEPER

If you want to read more about the importance of Developing a Daily Quiet Time with God check out this post called:

★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★

If you want to read more about Discipline, check out this post called:

★ Thought for the Day – The Benefit of Discipline ★

If you want to read more about developing impactful relationships, check out this post called:

★ Thought for the Day – Community That Matters ★

 

 

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