Tag Archives: enemy

The door to opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition. Caleb Colton said, "Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is the one elicited from the darkest storm." Problems are the price of progress. The obstacles of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.
Obstacles are merely a call to strengthen your resolve to achieve worthwhile goals. Bob Harrison says,"Between you and anything significant will be giants in your path." Oral Roberts reflects, "You cannot bring about renewal or change without confrontation." The truth is, if you like things easy, you will have difficulties. If you like problems, you will succeed.
If you have a dream without aggravations, you don't really have a dream. Have the attitude of Louisa May Alcott: "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." Samuel Lover said, "Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise." The Chinese have a proverb that says, "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." It seems that great trials are the necessary preparation for greatness.
For every obstacle you face, God provides a scripture for your answer. Mike Murdock says, "If God 'cushioned' your every blow, you would never learn to grow." Instead, don't let your problems take the lead. You take the lead. The problem you face is simply an opportunity for you to do your best. Conflict is good when you know how to move with God.
What attitude do we need to have toward difficulties? William Boetcker said, "The difficulties and struggles of today are but the best price we must pay for the accomplishment and victory of tomorrow." Lou Holtz advised, "Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn't make me stronger."
When you encounter obstacles you will discover things about yourself that you never really knew. Challenges make you stretch; they make you go beyond the norm. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Turning an obstacle to your advantage is the first necessary step towards victory.
God promises a safe landing, but not a calm voyage. Life is as uncertain as a grapefruit's squirt. Consider what Sydney Harris said, "When I hear somebody say that 'Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?' We might as well face our problems. We can't run fast or far enough to get away from them all. Rather, we should have the attitude of Stan Musial, the famous Hall of Fame baseball player. Commenting on how to handle a spit ball, he said, "I'll just hit the dry side of the ball."
Charles Kettering said, "No one would have crossed the ocean if he could of gotten off the ship in the storm." The breakfast of champions is not cereal; it's obstacles.

Misery wants your company. But, you don't have to let it in the door. In Proverbs 27:19 (TLB) we read, "A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses." Proverbs 13:20 tells us, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." We become like those with whom we associate.
We need to be careful of the kind of insulation we use in our lives. We need to insulate ourselves from negative people and ideas. But we should never insulate ourselves from Godly counsel and wisdom.
A number of years ago I found myself at a stagnation point in my life. I was unproductive and unable to see God's direction clearly. One day I noticed that almost all of my friends were in the same situation. When we got together, our problems were all we talked about. As I prayed about this matter, God showed me that I needed "foundational-level" people in my life. Such people bring out the best in us and influence us to become better people. They cause us to have greater faith and confidence and to see things from God's perspective. After being with them, our spirits and our sights are raised.
I have found that it is better to be alone than in the wrong company. A single conversation with the right person can be more valuable than years of study.
The Lord showed me that I needed to change my closest associations, and that I needed to have contact with the right people on a regular basis. These were men of strong faith, people who made me a better person when I was around them. They were the ones who saw the gifts in me and could correct me in a constructive, loving way. My choice to change my closest was a turning point in my life.
When you surround yourself with the right kind of people, you enter into the God-ordained power of agreement. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 (TLB) states:

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he is in trouble. And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

You need to steer clear of negative-thinking experts. Remember: in the eyes of average people, average is always considered outstanding. Look carefully at your closest association, because it's an indication of the direction you're heading.
Your best friends are those who brings out the best in you!
(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average")
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How we respond to failures and mistakes is one of the most important decisions we make every day. How do you respond to failure? Failure does not mean that nothing has been accomplished. There is always the opportunity to learn something.
We all experience failure and make mistakes. In fact, successful people always have more failure in their lives than average people do. Great people throughout history have all failed at some point in their lives. Those who do not expect anything are never disappointed, those who never try, never fail. Anyone who is currently achieving anything in life is simultaneously risking failure. It is always better to fail in doing something risking failure. It is always better to fail in doing something than to excel at doing nothing. A flawed diamond is more valuable than a perfect brick. People who have no failures also have few victories.
People get knocked down; it is how fast they get up that counts. There is a positive correlation between spiritual maturity and how quickly a person responds to failures and mistakes. Individuals who are spiritually mature have a greater ability to get up and go on than people who are spiritually immature. The less mature the person, the longer he or she holds onto past failures. God never sees any of us as failures; He only sees us as learners.
We truly fail only when we do not learn from an experience. The decision is up to us. We can choose to turn a failure into a hitching post or guidepost. 
Here is the key to being free from the stranglehold of past failures and mistakes: Learn the lesson and forget the details. Have you ever noticed that the devil never reminds you of the lesson? He only wants you to remember the details. Gain from the experience, but do not roll the minute details of it over and over in your mind. Build on the experience, and get on with your life.
Remember that the call is higher than the fall.

(From John L. Mason's "Enemy Called Average")

Oftentimes, we have been so concerned at our ego's dictates of frustrations and disappointment that we fail to realize the lesson. But this article here tells us to just shrug off the idea of failure's details, instead focus on the lesson and move on. 
You can always complain or argue that it's not that easy, and yes, nobody said it is. But if you want to succeed, you have to keep going. When the going gets tough, the tough keeps going. Listen to your winning instinct, not to the devil's cunning and deceptive whispers of failure. 
To  all those who did fail, currently in the state of failure, depressed and frustrated about a venture, an advocacy, a plan, or a project, this is for you. 
May this enlighten you somehow. And I pray that you continue to believe in yourself. Only then can people too, continue... to believe in you!
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In Habakkuk 2:2 the Lord tells the prophet, "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, the he may run that readeth it." This scripture reveals the key to successful goal setting.
The vision must be written. When you keep a vision in your mind, it is not really a goal; it is nothing more than a dream. There is power in putting that dream on paper. When you commit something to writing, commitment to achievement naturally follows.
God wrote His vision for us in the form of the Bible. He does not rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us; He put His directions in writing. We are told to make the Word of the Lord plain upon "tables" (tablets) so that the vision is clear and "so that he may run that readeth it."
The key word is "run". God desires that we run with the vision in our lives. As long as we are running with the vision, we will not turn around. When you walk with a vision, it's easy to change directions and go the wrong way. You cannot stroll a goal.
In Proverbs 24:3-4 (TLB) we read: "Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts." Simply stated; effective goal setting provides an opportunity to bring the future to the present so that you can deal with it today. You will find that achievement is easy when your outer goals become inner commitment.
Even though we have the Holy Spirit, we still need to prepare; He just makes us better equipped to do so. God does not desire for us to disorderly or to waste funds. That's why proper planning is so important. Plan for potential. Believe for God's biggest dream. When you plan, look to the future - not to the past. You cannot drive forward effectively when  you are looking out the rear window.
Always involve yourself with something that's bigger than you are because that's where God is. In the beginning every great success seems impossible. We all have opportunity for success. Having a bad life requires as much energy as having a good life, yet most people live meaningless lives because they never decide to write their vision down and then follow through. If you cannot see the mark, you cannot press toward it.
"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." (Proverbs 4:26). You will find that what you learn on the path to your goals is actually more valuable than achieving the goal itself. Columbus discovered America while searching for a route to India. Be on the lookout for the "Americas" in your path. Put God's vision for your life on paper and begin to run with His plan. 

We make decisions every day. We are confronted daily with options. We must choose one or the other. We cannot have both. These options may include many of the following:

  • Being better versus bitter
  • Decisiveness versus indifference
  • Enthusiasm versus being lukewarm
  • "How we can" versus "if we can" statements
  • Saying "Get up" versus saying "give up"
  • Security versus risk
  • Overcoming evil versus coping with evil
  • Standing out versus blending in
  • How much we get done versus how much we attempt to do
  • Opposing darkness versus coexisting with darkness
  • Development versus destruction
  • Obtaining versus complaining
  • Committing versus trying
  • Peace versus strife
  • Choice versus chance
  • Determination versus discouragement
  • Growing versus dying
  • Demanding more of ourselves versus excusing ourselves
  • Doing for others versus doing for ourselves
  • Progress versus drifting
  • Priorities versus aimlessness
  • Accountability versus irresponsibility
  • Action versus activity
  • Solutions versus problems
  • More of God versus more of everything else
  • Being in Who's Who versus asking "Why Me?"

What we say is important. The Bible states that out of the abundance of the heart the mount speaks. (Matthew 12:34). We need to change our vocabulary; we need to speak words of life and light. Our talk should always line up with the Word of God.
Christians should be known as those who speak positively - those who speak the Word of God into situations, those who speak forth words of life. When we speak wrongly, it diminishes our ability to see and hear the will of God.
We should not be like the man who joined a monastery in which the monks were allowed to speak only two words every seven years. After the first seven years had passed, the new initiate met with the abbot, who asked him, "Well, what are your two words?"
"Food's bad," replied the man, who then went back to his silence. 
Seven years later the clergyman askd, "What are your two words now?"
"Bed's hard," the man responded.
Seven years later - twenty-one years after his initial entry into the monastery - the man met with the abbot for the third and final time. "And what are your two words this time?" the abbot asked.
"I quit."
"Well, I'm not surprised," the cleric answered disgustedly. 
"All you've done since you got here is complain!"
Don't be like that man; don't be known as a person whose only words are negative.
If you are a member of the "murmuring grapevine," you need to resign. In John 6:43 our Lord instructed His disciples, "Murmur not among yourselves." In Philippians 2:14-15 the Apostle Paul exhorted the believers of his day:

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

Contrary to what you may have heard, talk is not cheap. Talk is expensive! Our words are powerful. What we say affects what we get from others and what others get from us.
(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average")
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In the beginning, God created the world with an infinite amount of diversity. Consider the many different animals, insects, plants and minerals on this planet. Even after so many centuries, we're still making discoveries about God's creation. Then add to that the billions of people who have lived over the course of time - each unique and different from one another.
God pulled out all the stops! He used the big box of Crayolas to create the world with endless diversity. No repetition. No duplicates. God made everyone and everything unique.
All too often, though, we fail to celebrate the blessing of diversity. Differences challenge us. So, we cluster ourselves in social (and religious) circles of sameness.
All of us feel much more at ease when we cloister around people just like us. But how much clearer would people see God's love if we boldly broke out of our clusters and crossed our uncomfortable boundary lines in order to love people not like us?
All of us have been more than firsthand witnesses of God's love; we've been recipients of His mercy - receiving undeserved.loving-kindness and saving grace. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). He loves us despite ourselves.
Could we not do likewise?
God may have placed a person in your life who isn't anything like you. In fact, you may not even like that person. But God's desire for you transcend your craving for ease or personal pleasure. He may want this man or woman to experience an undeniable truth - we are all people to love, even when we act unlovely and behave in unlovable ways. You may be the person's first-ever taste of unconditional love.
You may feel like saying, "I can't. I'm not capable. I need easier challenges."
I know how you feel.
A former boss once lied about me when I was in my late teens. He defamed my character and, I thought, I ruined my future. However, God led me to His Word, requiring me not t return evil, but to love this guy and pray for him. Despite the challenge, I obeyed God. And as a result, God unleashed a new sense of freedom and effectiveness He's used to impact lives over many years. But it was unbelievably tough love assignment.
Without hesitation, God issues love assignments that stretch us. He gave us His Son a big one, didn't He?

(From Dwight Robertson's "You are God's Plan A [and there's no plan b]")

Fear is a poor chisel for carving out tomorrow. Today, if you are viewing your future from a position of fear or worry, I want to let you know that view is not accurate or correct. Instead, view your future from a position of faith. That's the truth. Worry is simply the triumph of fear over faith.
There is a story about a woman crying profusely and standing on a street corner. A man came up to her and asked why she was weeping. The lady shook her head and replied: "I was just thinking that maybe someday I would get married. We would later have a beautiful baby girl. then one day this child and I would go for a walk along this street, and my darling daughter would run into the street, get hit by a car, and die."
It sounds like a pretty ridiculous situation - weeping because of something that will probably never happen. Yet we act this way when we worry. We blow a situation out of proportion that might not ever come to pass.
An old Swedish proverb says: "Worry gives a small thing a big shadow." Worry is simply the misuse of the creative imagination that God has placed within each of us. When fear rises in our minds, we should learn to expect the opposite in our lives. The opposite of fear is faith.
The worry is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning to strangle or to choke off. There is no question that worry and fear do choke off the creative flow from God. The less you worry, the more ideas, insight, and revelation you will have.
Things are seldom as they seem. "Skim milk masquerades as cream," said W.S. Gilbert. As we dwell on and worry about matters beyond our control, a negative effect begins to set in. Too much analysis always leads to paralysis. Worry is a route that leads from somewhere to nowhere. Never let it direct your life.
In Psalm 55:22 the Bible says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Never respond out of fear, and never fear to respond. Action attacks fear; inaction reinforces it.
Don't worry and don't fear. Instead, take your fear and worry to the Lord, "casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average")

Seize the moment! Oral Roberts once said, "Miracles are coming by you or to you every day." Today was once the future from which you expected so much in the past. Horatio Dresser said, "The ideal never comes. Today is ideal for him who makes it so." Live for today. Don't let what you have within your grasp today be missed entirely because only the future intrigued you, and the past disheartened you.
Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. When can you live if not now? All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today. Seneca said, "Begin at once to live." Ellen Metcalf remarked, "There are many people who are at the right place at the right time but don't know it." It is okay to take time to plan, but when the time of action has arrived, stop thinking and go for it!
The Bible says, "Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). Marie Edgeworth said, "There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh on him can have no hope from them afterwards; for they will be dissipated, lost, and perished in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence."
John Burroughs said, "The lesson which life repeats and constantly reinforces is, 'Look under foot'. You are always nearer than you think. . . . The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour." The most important thing in our lives is what we are doing now.
Know the real value of today, I agree with Jonathan Swift when he said, "May you live all the days of your life." The future that you long and dream for begins today. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
The regrets that most people experience in life come from failing to act when they have an opportunity. Albert Dunning said, "Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know that they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is. . . to watch what each day brings." Heed 2 Corinthians 6:2 "Now is the accepted time." I agree with Martial when he said, "Tomorrow life is too late; live today." Wayne Dyer observed, "Now is all we have. Everything that has ever happened, anything that is ever going to happen to you, is just a thought." Today we'll lived, will prepare you for both the opportunities and the obstacles of tomorrow.
Few know when to rise to the occasion. Most only know when to sit down. Many spend too much time dreaming of the future, never realizing that little of it arrives every day. I agree with Ruth Schabacker when she said, "Every day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons."
(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average")
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Character is something you either have or are. Some people try to make something for themselves. Others try to make something for themselves. Tyron Edwards said, "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny." The Bible asserts in Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success. A good question to ask yourself is, "What kind of world would this be if everybody were just like me?" You are simply a book telling the world about its author. John Morely remarked, "No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character."
Never be ashamed of doing right. Marcus Aurelius exhorted, "Never esteem as of advantage to thee that which shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect." W. J. Dawson counseled, "You need not choose evil; but only to fail to choose good, and you drift fast enough towards evil. You do not need to say, 'I will be bad.' You only have to say, 'I will not choose God's choice.' and the choice of evil is already settled. There is no such thing as necessary evil. Phillip Brooks said, "A man who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by his words."
Many a man's reputation would not recognize his character if they met in the dark. To change your character, you must begin at the control center - the heart. Spiritual bankruptcy is inevitable when a man is no longer able to keep the interest paid on his moral obligations.
Henry Ward Beecher said, "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has." Live so that your friends can defend you, but never have to do so. Consider what Woodrow Wilson said: "If you think about what you ought to do for people, your character will take care of itself." Excellence in character is shown by doing unwitnessed what we would be doing with the whole world watching.
Let me pose this question for you: Would the boy you were proud of the man you are? You're called to grow like a tree, not like a mushroom. It's hard to climb high when your character is low. The world's shortest sermon is preached by the traffic sign: Keep Right.

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(From John L. Mason's "An Enemy Called Average" I encourage you to buy his book.)