Smartphone Side Effects

If you like dumping Cortisol into your system (which elevates blood sugar, suppresses your immune system, and keeps you on “high alert”), keep on using your smartphone like an addict.

Otherwise, it might be time to curtail your usage a little bit. Or a lot bit.

You can learn more from this interesting article I read yesterday.

Stop relying on your feelings

If you’re always letting your feelings run the show in your decision making, it’s time to stop. Especially if you think the right thing to do always feels good, or that if it feels good it must be right.

Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t pleasant. Sometimes you know it’s the right thing to do, and expect it to feel good, and then it doesn’t.

Recently I’ve wrapped up two different way-past-due projects. Neither were accompanied with so much as a “weight off your shoulders” sense of relief.

Project 1 was nearly three years overdue. When I satisfied that project, it didn’t occur to me immediately I had done so. No warm, fuzzy feelings about that one.

Project 2 wasn’t three years overdue, only 18 months or so. This time I was very aware I was finishing. I was making myself finish. I anticipated it feeling great.

My expectation was not reality. There were no good feelings. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

It isn’t just overdue projects, either. Earlier this week I finished something way ahead of schedule. I expected a huge feeling of accomplishment.

Guess how that turned out.

We need to be willing to let our knowledge of right and wrong override our feelings. Otherwise we might chase things that are wrong but feel good, or stop doing things that are right but don’t feel good. Neither of those results would be proper.

Give it some thought,

John

When you “boil up” faster than your tea kettle

News out of London confirms patience is increasingly rare.

Among other findings, a study–commissioned by BIC–found that Brits became angry if their tea kettle took more than 28 seconds to boil.

Unless there’s some tea kettle technology I’m unaware of, that means these folks would routinely be boiling well before their kettle.

If you think patience is only a problem “across the pond” you’re kidding yourself. Americans might not get angry about tea kettles, but we have plenty of impatience with other things.

It’s easy to blame our becoming accustomed to “convenience” and getting things quickly. And there’s no doubt being able to have things “on demand” affect how long you like to wait on something without getting agitated.

At the same time, it seems too easy to just blame our smart devices and fast food restaurants. Surely we bear responsibility for our own lack of patience, don’t we?

On the plus side of this bad news: if you train yourself to develop patience you’ll be skilled in a valuable virtue most people seriously lack. That means the opportunity exists for Christians to shine light for Jesus merely by cultivating and using the patience we’re already supposed to have.

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” -1 Timothy 6:11 (NKJV)

If you struggle with your own patience, now’s a good time to start practicing. Even a minute’s patience (literally one minute) will put you ahead of the pack.

Give it some thought,

John

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Anti-Grumbling Device

In Philippians 2:14-16 Paul instructed Christians:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (NKJV)

I posted all three verses because I hate posting incomplete sentences. But I really want us to focus on the first part of that passage: “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”

Parents might find this to be a helpful verse as they teach their children obedience, but this verse isn’t just child’s play. Paul wrote this to adults.

And so, it’s something we grownups also need to heed. That got me to thinking…how can a Christian follow Paul’s command and do things without complaining and disputing? After all, nobody likes everything they have to do in life. There’s no sugarcoating the fact that some things we have to do aren’t fun or pleasant.

It seems to me we can employ one or more of the following tactics to help us…

1. Improve your attitude. Usually we are as happy as we make up our minds to be. If you decide to approach a task with a positive attitude, you’ll usually be successful.

2. Speak up–respectfully–when something bothers you. Instead of being bothered by something and keeping it to yourself or muttering under your breath, you can talk to the person who requested something of you and let them know what the issue is.

3. Respect authority. Sometimes in your work you’ll be asked to do something by a superior that you’d rather not do, but it’s your job and they have the right to request and expect it. Instead of murmuring or backbiting, respect their authority and carry on.

If Jesus urged the Jews to go two miles when a Roman compelled them to go one, we can find it in ourselves to respect authority and honor Paul’s instruction.

Side note: Nothing in the above point is meant to suggest that Christians are ever obligated to do what their boss says if the boss is compelling them to violate Scripture. We’re talking of things that a superior has the right to expect from us, but it’s not something we love doing.

4. Be selective. Sometimes we stretch ourselves thin because we aren’t careful about how we use our time, and end up committing to too much. This is a recipe for exhaustion and a foul mood.

If you can’t do the thing you’re doing without grumbling about it, is it possible it’s a self-inflicted wound? Something you chose to do, even though you knew it would be hard to fit it in? If so, choose more carefully about what you commit to.

We all have limited resources, and you’re not doing much good if you grumble and complain the whole time you’re doing something anyway.

5. Stop being dramatic. Some people grumble and complain because they get some degree of enjoyment out of their misery. If you catch yourself grumbling simply because it feels good to grumble, remind yourself that it’s more important to honor God’s word than indulge in drama.

By embracing the things we have to do, and performing them without disputing and complaining, we can glorify God and “shine as lights in the world.”

Give it some thought,

John

The Johnny Cash School of Biblical Studies

Johnny Cash sang a song about a man who built his own custom Cadillac. He took a job work on the General Motors assembly line and sneaked out parts bit by bit until he had all he needed to build a car.

I got it one piece at a time, and it didn’t cost me a dime. You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town.

He never considered himself a thief, but truth be told: if he’d actually done what he sang about, it would definitely be stealing. And I’m not going to endorse that.

What I will endorse is using the same kind of determination–think of the discipline involved in sticking with his plan day after day for years so he could accomplish his goal–and using it to build your own Bible education.

Learn a little bit today.

Learn a little more tomorrow.

Keep going day after day, week after week, year after year.

Get it one piece at a time. Won’t cost you a dime. And that Bible knowledge can come with you whatever town you’re passing through.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. -Acts 17:11

Give it some thought,

John

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