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Emotions

How to Murder Misery with Mind Magic

Are you miserable? Have you been? I caught myself saying “that sounds miserable” to someone the other day in response to a scenario they were describing. Upon walking away, the word “miserable” stayed in my head to play. You know how words do that? I gave it my attention for a minute and realized there was a way to murder misery with mind magic.

The root word of “miserable” is “miser”. I know a miser to be someone who does not share, who hoards resources, who purposefully cuts themselves off from anyone who might want access to what they have. I probably got this notion from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. I looked it up to be sure. I was close.


Definition of miser

From merriam-webster.com:
mi·ser | \ ˈmī-zər \

miser

: a mean grasping persona
especially : one who is extremely stingy with money


“Miser” is also the root word of “misery”. When we fail to connect and share what God has given us, we find misery. We become miserable.

Generosity is the mind magic that murders misery. Is it really this simple? Not always, but it can be.

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Generosity can chase away misery. Sharing adds warmth and color to life!

So what do you have to share? Encouragement? Love? Wisdom? Money? Food? Joy? Patience? Time? Talent? Good news? Give it out – use it up! You might find a magic mind shift that really isn’t so magic at all.

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35

God wants His kids to be joyful, not bogged down in misery. He wants us to give what He has given us. He has unlimited resources and we can refill our supply any time. We shouldn’t be misers with God’s abundant provisions. He will take care of us!

“Freely you have received; freely give.”

Matthew 10:8b

We have no reason to be miserly. Let’s murder misery with mind magic. Lets turn our thoughts toward generosity and find joy!

“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.”

Psalm 126:3

“But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.”

Psalm 68:3
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Devotions

How to Get Out of the Mud and Clear Our Heads about What God Requires

Have you ever wondered what God wants from you? Sometimes I get caught in that rut. As the saying goes, a rut is formed in the mud. I don’t want to be thinking in the mud. I want my mind and focus to be clear.

How to Get Out of the Mud and Clear Our Heads about What God Requires

Pigs with faces in the mud: How to Get Out of the Mud and Clear Our Heads about What God Requires
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If we’re going to clear our heads, we have to get out of the mud!

Overthinking is the enemy of simplicity, and the gospel is simple. God wants a relationship with you and me. He has done everything to make that possible. But once it is established, what then?

God spoke to His people in the Old Testament through the prophet, Micah. He clearly stated what He requires.

“He has told you, O man, what is good—

    and what does the Lord require of you,

but to do justice and to love mercy,

    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8 (emphasis mine)

Surely, He wants more than that. He wants mission work and tithing and sacrifice, right?

He wants our hearts to be willing to act when He prompts us, yes, but so much of what we feel we must do comes from our own imagination. If we read the above verse in context, we get a clearer picture.

“With what should I come before the Lord,

    and bow down before God on high?

Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,

    with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

    with ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

“He has told you, O man, what is good—

    and what does the Lord require of you,

but to do justice and to love mercy,

    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:6-8

Fast forward to the New Testament. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of that day. They were so obsessed with pleasing God, that they turned the Ten Commandments into over 600. I’m sure anyone who observed their lives was impressed with their fervency.

Everyone, that is, except Jesus. He had some harsh words for them. He was unimpressed with all that they had set themselves on doing, because they were neglecting the things they had been told to do.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone.”

Matthew 23:23 (emphasis mine)
Mud flying off a motorcycle tire: How to Get Out of the Mud and Clear Our Heads about What God Requires
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Muddy!

If I want to offer my service to God, out of the kindness of my heart – or even out of a misguided sense of duty, He will accept it. He will use it. But He will not take it in exchange for what He has already told me He requires. Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with Him by faith.

As the new year rolls around, I want to make sure I’m making the main things my main things. As I think about the goals I want to accomplish and the person I want to become, I will be keeping Micah 6:8 in focus. God has told me what is good and what He requires. He has made it clear.

Vehicle spinning its wheels to get out of a muddy rut: How to Get Out of the Mud and Clear Our Heads about What God Requires
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Stuck in a rut, wheels spinning to no avail

My friend, do you have a relationship with God? Are you stuck in a rut wondering what He requires of you? First and foremost, He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to get to know Him in a personal way.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Revelation 3:20

From there, He will show you the purpose for which you were created. He will guide you into doing justice, loving mercy, and walking with Him in humble faith.

We cannot expect that, in the end, our good will outweigh our bad and He will be pleased. He has given us His Word so we will know what He wants from us. He isn’t interested in accepting our offering in place of what He has said.

Are there things you need to get right with Him as we head into this New Year? Maybe some efforts to abandon and others to embrace? The time is now to get out of the mud and clear our heads about what God requires.

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother.”

Zechariah 7:9
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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Wisdom

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Wisdom:

Seeing and responding to life situations from God’s frame of reference.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing truthfulness. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise wisdom between now and next Superpower Sunday!

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Truthfulness

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Truthfulness:

Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

Ephesians 4:25

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing thoroughness. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise truthfulness between now and next Superpower Sunday!

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Thoroughness

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Thoroughness:

Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”

Proverbs 18:15

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing sincerity. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise thoroughness between now and next Superpower Sunday!

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Conversations Devotions

SuperPower Sunday: Sincerity

Welcome to Superpower Sunday!

This week’s Super-Character skill is Sincerity:

Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives.

Character Bookshelf Series, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

1 Peter 1:22

Please Share! In the comments section below, let us know what you learned and tell your success stories from the last week of practicing sensitivity. Also, we’d love to read your ideas of how we might exercise sincerity between now and next Superpower Sunday!