What Business teaches us about reputation

Sometimes all I can do is shrug and shake my head when I watch people being rude and selfish.  They are unafraid to be offensive to others because they don’t care what anyone thinks.  “Me First” seems to be their motto and they operate under the false notion that there is no downside to behaving this way.

How long do you think a company would last acting that way?  Companies work long and hard, spending millions of dollars, all to build the best reputation possible.  Why?  Because people do business with people they know, like and trust.  Businesses work diligently to build the perception of likability and trustworthiness.  Businesses with good reputations can attract higher caliber employees, as well as more loyal customers. My Sales & Marketing teacher called it corporate Goodwill.

Robert Eccles, Scott Newquist and Roland Schatz published an article in the Harvard Business Review called Reputation and it’s Risks, where they stated that “In an economy where 70% to 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill, organizations are especially vulnerable to anything that damages their reputations”.

70 to 80% of market value comes from the perception of goodwill associated with a company brand?  That’s a remarkable truth.  What is one of the first things you think of when you think about Toyota and Honda? If I spent some time, I might remember the first time I saw a little Toyota.  It was the mid 70’s and it was about the size of a cereal box, but it’s not the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, the first thing that comes to mind is reliability.

Ford, GM & Chrysler have had a tough time convincing the public that their cars are as reliable, even though they have mostly closed the quality gap between the Japanese car companies since about 2001*.  Their problem comes from the way they used to handle quality problems.  If a quality issue raised its head, they would just fix it on recall.  The problem with this solution is that even though they did ultimately fix it, they first allowed it to get in front of the customer.

A couple of years ago my daughter was looking to replace the laptop we bought her for graduation.  She had been saving for this and didn’t want just any laptop, she wanted a fast laptop.

I had been watching for deals and found one online.  We bought it through a company called Woot in Texas but it was shipping refurbished from Hewlett Packard, somewhere in New England.  When this laptop arrived, it looked like it had been dragged behind a car.  No joke.  It was severely scratched and dented.  I started it up and it seemed to work find, but it had been abused.  So I called Hewlett Packard customer service.

Aside from the poor cosmetic condition that the computer housing was in, it also had a core I5 processor but was advertised as a core I7, which was the main reason we bought it.  Once the customer service guy heard that, he wouldn’t speak to me about it anymore.  He said that the company in Texas had falsely advertised it and it was their responsibility to correct this problem. I brought up the condition two more times, but he would not talk to me about it at all.  He had found his “out” and all he would say was that I needed to contact the company in Texas because they falsely advertised the processor.

To make a long story short, Woot.com made quick work of the return and refund.  Because of their excellent customer service, I still check Woot daily and have bought from them on several occasions.  In contrast, I have not since, nor do I plan to buy another Hewlett Packard product.  There are too many options that have better customer service.

I said all that to say this. Even on a personal level, whether or not you realize it, you’re selling.  You’re selling yourself.  We all do it.  We do it in the way we dress, the teams we root for and the causes we support.  We’re trying to fit in somewhere because on some level, we all realize that we NEED others.  We need love, help and acceptance.  While some people may try on the surface to convince us that they don’t care what we think, if you watch them long enough, you’ll see the truth.

It helps me to keep in mind, when building and influencing my own reputation, how companies think.  I can easily find guidelines for my personal life from observing them because I want the same things.

  • I want people to know, like and trust me.
  • I want all their experiences with me to be positive and memorable.
  • I want everyone to walk away from every interaction with me feeling like it was a Win-Win, that neither of us won at the other’s expense.
  • I want my words to rock solid and unshakable.  I want people to be able to count on what I say every time without fear.  I often ask myself the question How many lies do I have to tell to be a liar?

Unfortunately, I can also remember times when my actions didn’t line up with any of this.  In hindsight I can see times when my weak character actually worked against these aspirations.  The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 10:1 that an act of foolishness can destroy a good and well built reputation.

I want you to have a better understanding of how connected our reputation is to the quality of our life.  We should do our all to build the best reputation we possibly can.

I don’t want people to look at me and see a fool. I want people to see Christ in me, and be drawn closer to God because of His love in me. I want a reputation for walking in love, standing in faith, Living in honor, integrity, humility and faithfulness.  These are things that we run the risk of losing if we don’t act intentionally.  The world will not help us to be this way.  We’ve got to look to God and His word.  The Bible says in Romans 12 that we transform when we renew our minds with His word, and we prove His will.
*Reputation and its Risks.  Robert G. Eccles, Scott C. Newquist and Roland Schatz. Harvard Business Review. Feb 2007.

Do you need a good reputation?

It would seem that reputation is not a big consideration for most people these days. Still, the only way to avoid actually having one is to remain a stranger. As soon as any of us begins interacting with others, we begin revealing details about ourselves that will influence how others see us, interact with us and ultimately trust us.

Reputation is a long term concept that we build with each interaction. Unless you’re famous and have the media to contend with, there are really only two areas that influence your reputation. The first is personal experience. Your actual interactions and contact with people. The second is by communication, either word of mouth or social media. This is mainly what is being said about you. I read a great quote the other day by Michael Enzi, where he said “When you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”. This is an unfortunate fact of life. People talk. I remember my dad saying, “If people will talk about other people to you, they will talk about you to other people”.

 

Abraham Lincoln said “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” We can’t completely control our reputation because it is based totally on the perception of us held by others. Each person we have anything to do with is likely to have a somewhat different perception of us and they may not line up with who we actually are.

I’ve shared this before, but, a long time ago there was a man in our church who commented that he had never known a Mills that had ever had anything. While I wasn’t the Mills that gave him that impression, I was a Mills that had been saddled with that reputation.

I decided that I would not allow his sentence on my last name define or limit me. I decided to live a life that would make his words false. The thing to consider when people think negatively about you is, are they people who’s opinion will hold you back or hinder your progress? In my case, this man’s opinion didn’t matter to me, but might have affected some of my relatives.

There are many benefits to having a good reputation. When you have a good reputation:

  1. People will prefer interacting with you.
  2. People will give you favor.
  3. People will be more willing to forgive.
  4. People will give you the benefit of the doubt in times of trouble.
  5. People will be more willing to help you.
  6. People will value you.

I think it’s vitally important for each of us to be intentional about our reputation. While we can’t control our reputation, we should care and we should be using all the tools we have available to influence what others think and say about us. We do this by taking a hard look at who we really are. It’s important here to judge yourself by your outcomes and not your intentions. What you intended to do but didn’t, is still not doing.

We need to take some time to look at what’s important to us. What are our core values? We then need to establish a strategy of consistently acting in line with our core values. Benjamin Franklin said “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

We need to build into our lives practices that help us live consistently, in order to make sure the reputation matches the real.

What steps can you take this week to begin building the reputation you really want? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment.

If this has been helpful to you, please share it. I appreciate your help in spreading the message.

Your buddy

Art

ProForm – What are the Proverbs for?

The book of Proverbs was written to a son.  The Proverbs are geared toward the instruction of men, young men in particular.

This week’s video looks at three things we as young men need to do regarding wisdom.

 

Know – Perceive – Receive.

My prayer is that you found this helpful.  I want to challenge you to recognize, perceive and receive wisdom this week.  I pray that the Lord open your eyes to it and make it readily apparent to you as you live each day.

If this helped you, please like and share this post.

 

Getting past a big mistake

Jacob had twelve sons.  Two of his sons, Simeon and Levi, were full brothers, meaning they had the same mother.  Their full sister, Dinah, went out into the local city to see all the local girls.  If she was anything like the some of the girls I know, she wanted to see what they were wearing.  While she was out surveying the fashions and styles of the region, One of the princes of the land saw her and was smitten.  She was “taken” by the prince of the country.  His name was Shechem.  The scripture gives the inference that she might have been raped by him.  The sons of Jacob heard about it and blew a gasket.  So they made a deceitful deal with Shechem’s father.  They said the prince could marry Dinah, and that Jacob’s sons would be open to inter-marry the locals.  The locals wanted this for economic reasons.  The only hitch was that all the local men in their city would need to be circumcised.  The men of the city agreed because Jacob had wealth and they wanted access to it.  Three days after the mass circumcision, while all the men were painfully incapacitated and unable to move, Simeon and Levi went in, killed every single man, and spoiled the city.  You can read it in Gen 34.

When Jacob found out about it he said (Gen 34:30)  “You have troubled me, to make me stink among those living in the land, among the Canaanites, and among the Perizzites. And I being few in number, and they gathering against me, they will strike me, and I and my house shall be wasted”. But Simeon and Levi were unrepentant.  They said “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?”

I think the Lord’s response in chapter 35 illustrates how serious this became.  The Lord immediately told Jacob to move to Bethel and build an altar to God there. The Bible says that as Jacob moved his family, the terror of God came on the cities all around them so that the men of the cities didn’t pursue them as they went.

I’m not trying to minimize what happened to the Dinah, but any action to be taken should have come from Jacob.  It was not the place of Simeon or Levi to decide how this situation should have been handled.  The entire family was affected by the result. They were all put in jeopardy.

That brings us to Gen 49:1, where Jacob is calling his sons to his bedside to bless them, here he begins to tell them of their future.  When he gets to Simeon and Levi, he declares “Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.  O my soul, come not into their secret; unto their assembly, my spirit, be not united: for in their anger they slew a man and in their self-will they dug down a wall.  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel”.

In the very first post I wrote on this blog, I wrote about the beginning of honor.  You can read the post here.  The point of that post is that to truly honor your mom, dad and family, you must first determine to not cause them shame.  It seems that the older we get, the greater the cost becomes to remain a fool.  A teen boy can can get himself into so much trouble that the consequences could last for years.  I can think of at least three occasions where my stupid actions brought the police to our house.  Remembering my days as a young man, when I think back on the times I got into real trouble, it seemed like each time, things just “suddenly” went wrong.  While my friends and I were always goofing off and pushing the boundaries, each time we got into real trouble, it seemed like a “suddenly”.  We just suddenly knew that we had gone too far.

Unfortunately, these “suddenly” episodes didn’t have a “suddenly” resolution.  We couldn’t get out of trouble as quickly as we got into it.  The consequences in my case were hard, but could have been so much worse and took quite a long time to get through.  In some cases, it took years to pay the price for being stupid.  Some people will pay for the rest of their lives for mistakes made when they were young.  Some are no longer with us because their consequences were immediate and final.

My brother and I were talking about these things the other day and the thing that kept coming up in my heart was that God can turn things around.  These things don’t have to become a life sentence.  Even with Simeon and Levi, later we see Balak trying to get Balaam to curse Israel, but all he can do is bless them.  This includes Simeon and Levi.  Balaam says I can’t curse what God has blessed.  Later we find that Simeon received his inheritance out of the inheritance of Judah, because Judah’s inheritance was too great for just him.  We also see that the Lord made Himself the inheritance of Levi and commanded the other tribes to give Levi cities in each of their inheritances.

The point I’m making is that, the mistake they made was a big deal.  It cost the family and the Lord had to step in and give Jacob specific direction to deal with it, but it wasn’t the end.  They still had a future filled with hope.

There are a couple of points here worth noticing.

First – What the sons of Jacob did cost them down the road.  We can see from Jacob’s declaration over them that they were scattered in Jacob.

Second – It wasn’t over for them just because they blew it.  While what they did cost them, they were still blessed, and they still received a part in the inheritance, and the promises God made them.

Third – Almighty God cared enough to get involved.  He led and protected Jacob while He brought him to a safe place.  This included Simeon and Levi.

Sometimes people can get themselves into messes so bad, that it takes all the faith they have to get out of it.  This is the reason God gives us standards to live by.  It’s when people harden themselves against God that they get into trouble.  We know from the story of Job that God puts a hedge of protection around His people.  The problem is that when we harden our heart against obeying God, we take ourselves out from under His protection.

The first piece of advice I would give you is this – Don’t disobey.  It’s through obedience that things go the best possible way they CAN go. The second piece of advice is – I’ve you’ve messed up, repent!  Repent means turn around.  Stop going down that path.  If you will humble yourself before God and turn away from your rebellion and hardness, His grace will begin to flow into your situation.  His grace includes His power, His favor, His equipping, and His calling.  God will get involved in your situation and lead you.  Then, keep doing what you know to do.  Don’t stray from the path you know, and keep the switch of faith turned on. Don’t stop believing.  When it comes to trouble – If you follow Him, submit to Him, allow Him to lead you, and obey every time, the promise is that “a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come nigh you.  Only with your eyes will you behold the reward of the wicked” (Ps 91:7-8).

 

 

Where to start when it comes to Honor.

New Year’s Eve 2009, my family and I were on our way home from my wife’s parents’ house.  We had spent the evening eating junk food & playing games but everyone was getting pretty tired so we decided to go home.  It was right about midnight (I remember because of the fireworks) when a small Mazda coming toward us spun out of control. It hit the big pickup truck in front of us, turning the truck in the road about 120 degrees & then tail whipped right into the front of our car.  It hit us so hard that it slapped the front of our car clear off into the ditch. The Mazda was wrecked in both the front and the rear.

We were all okay, escaping with just a little seat belt rash and some muscle stress from the accident, but our car was totaled.  The 19 year old young man driving the Mazda was okay too.  He kept apologizing and it became pretty clear that he was under the influence of alcohol.

A lot happened that night.  The Highway Patrol & the Fire Department showed up, made sure everyone was okay & took our information. Then I realized that the young man’s father had also arrived. He made sure his son was okay and was now talking to the state trooper. The father had a weary look on his face.  It seemed by his actions that he was very embarrassed by his son’s behavior that night.  When he was also informed that his son had refused towing service because “his dad had a guy” the father sighed and his head just dropped into his hand.  He was ashamed.  I remember thinking as I watched it “This is the exact opposite of honor”.  Accidents sometimes can’t be avoided, but that night there were some very bad choices made that led up to this one.

Proverbs 17:2 says “A servant who does wisely will have rule over a son causing shame, and will have his part in the heritage among brothers” (BBE).

It’s so important to understand that the first part of honoring your mother and father is to NOT cause shame.  I know there are plenty of times when I was a fool and embarrassed my parents.  I am personally responsible for many of the gray hairs on their heads.  It took me a long time to understand what it really means to honor them. I wish that someone would have helped me understand honor and why it’s important when I was a much younger man.  I will share more about honor in upcoming posts but the simplest way to define it for me is “to heavily value”. As we grow up we sometimes forget that we’re still sons & daughters and that what we do directly reflects on how we were raised.  God holds us strictly accountable to honor our Father and Mother (Ex. 20:12).  We do that with our life, by being quality people, and it doesn’t end when our parents are gone. We honor them for the rest of OUR lives.

I would love to hear your thoughts on honoring your parents. Please add your comments.

Your Word, Your Reputation.

I used to have a Jeep truck that developed an electrical problem.  While I would be driving down the road, it would just suddenly die.  The tach needle would fall to zero and I would be coasting.  Many times it would fire back up just as suddenly as it stopped, and I would complete my trip.  A few times I spent some time at the side of the road before I could get it to start again.  I took it to a mechanic who replaced a part.  I drove it home with no problems but the very next day it did it again.

I called the mechanic, who told me that he was just guessing because he couldn’t get it to fail while he had it.  It was an intermittent problem.  It was an unpredictable and random fault.  I finally found the problem on my own.  It took me a few difficult weeks.  It was a part that cost $12.50.

The real issue here was that my truck had become seriously unreliable.  I couldn’t count on it to get me anywhere without possible failure.  Had I had a better choice at the time, I probably would have replaced the truck and moved on.  It cost me time and money to track and finally solve that problem.  What I remember most about the whole experience was the dread I felt each time it failed, and the tremendous relief I felt when I finally solved it.

We as people can be just as unreliable.  Unlike in Bible times, we don’t seem to take our word too seriously anymore.  This is sad because when a person’s word is not good, whether they realize it or not, that person is destroying everyone’s trust in them.

Proverbs 25:19 says “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”

Like my old truck, we all may have people in our lives that, while we may like them quite a bit, we know that we can’t fully trust them to keep their word.  They are unfaithful. How do you know they are unfaithful?  You counted on them once & they left you twisting in the breeze.  Maybe more than once.  Sometimes they will be there for you, but sometimes they just don’t show up.  The truth is though, that when someone is put to the test and lets you down more than once, you tend to hold back on trusting them.  No matter how much you like them, deep down you know you can’t rely on them.

Their intentions may be honorable, but they are not consistent in keeping their word.  Because of this, if you’re like me, when I need help, I go out of my way to work around these people.  I would rather not use them at all.

It also speaks to value.  If you value someone, you keep your word to them.  If you care about someone else, you will demonstrate your care by being there when you said you would, or not doing what you said you wouldn’t do.  When we care for others, we make our word stand up – every time.

A foot can still be used when it’s sprained, but you will suffer for it.  An unfaithful person can still be trusted, but at least some of the time, you’re going to suffer for it. The problem is that you never know when they will flake out on you.

Where do you stand?  Is your word good?  This week, take some time to think about it.  Decide to make your word so true that people can trust in you every time and be safe.

Love you guys.  Don’t forget to share this if it’s been helpful to you.

You’re buddy,

Art

Where do I go from here?

Look at me!

Here I am, standing alone in the dark.

How did I get here?

What went wrong?

My whole life…Poof!

When we met I was young. We dated…fell in love. We had a real commitment. We were both in it for the long haul. We didn’t see eye to eye on everything but that’s okay. We weren’t perfect but who is? The important thing was that we loved each other. At times over the last few years that love and our marriage were tested. Every marriage is. Some days we didn’t like each other at all – but we knew that if we didn’t give up, we’d make it through. So, why am I now standing here alone? Past my prime, no longer as pretty as I once was. Who’s going to want me now? How did it come to this?

I have been praying for someone for some time but don’t know much in the way of details. All I know was that they have been on my heart a lot. They’ve recently been divorced. While thinking about them one day, I saw this scene in my mind.

They were standing there in the dark. The landscape was totally undefined – just dark. When they looked behind them, they could see their footprints leading up to where they stood. The path was visible where they had walked. The path lead up to their feet, but that’s where it stopped. Behind them were plans, purposes, intentions and all the things they were working toward.

They couldn’t see any path in front of them. They couldn’t see anything. It was like there was nothing there. There was no vision for the future. The only thing that could be perceived in front of them was a faint line of the horizon much like it would look at the very last light of sunset. The horizon appeared to be completely flat. No hills, no mountains, no trees, just a flat, empty horizon.

I began to think of how long they had been married. I couldn’t help but put myself in their shoes. Maybe you’ve been in their shoes too. Decades of hard work with the confidence that it would last. All the compromises about money. All the times when you gave up your way and in some cases, your right. All to make it work. To make it last. But it didn’t.

Being alone was thrust on them and now they stand there staring at an empty horizon. What will the future hold?

As I think about this now, Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind.  I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope (God’s Word Translation).

The truth is that God is not done with them. He’s not done with me or you. If we are still drawing breath, there’s still hope. His message to us is clear. God loves us and He doesn’t want us to suffer this kind of torment. He calls it treacherous (Mal 2:14}. The suffering that comes from betrayal does not come from Him. It’s not His will and it’s not His fault.

He also says in Jeremiah that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3). He really does love you and wants to help you. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is that friend.

As I share this, I am confronted with a very stout truth. I’m not qualified to talk about this. Not really. While my parents divorced when I was a boy, I have not personally been divorced, and while the Lord helps me see certain things, I have never known the pain that comes from this kind of betrayal. I don’t have credibility in this area.

So I look to you my dear readers. Many of you have faced this and lived to tell.  There are those who will read this that have made it through. By the grace and mercy of God, you’ve gotten up off the floor day after day and moved forward.

YOU have the qualified voice. You know things I don’t know. You can give insight that I can’t. If you will, you can draw from your experience to help those who are suffering now.

I ask you for your help. What am I not seeing? How would you help this person? How would you advise me and others who want to help?

Please help us by sharing in the comments.  I look forward to your advice and guidance.

I love you guys.

Your buddy,

Art

What Are You Looking At?

If you’re like me, you’ve got dreams.  You’ve got stuff that you’re passionate about and goals you’re hungry to reach.  But it’s so easy to get caught up in the details of life that, before we know it, we’ve lost focus.  This is a constant battle for me.  The many “Urgent” things start to crowd out the few really important things.

The reasons for this are pretty straight forward.  – You’re sitting, minding your own business, focusing on something specific that’s important to you, but little do you know you’re being watched!  You look up, almost feeling the gaze of something predatory lurking just out of sight. You shake it off as nothing, double down on your focus and just when you’re making good headway – it pounces!  Someone else’s agenda!  Aaarrgghh!

The sad truth is that if you don’t have plans for your time, someone else does.  And their plans are almost never for your benefit.
#1 – You lose focus on what’s important to you when you allow other people’s agendas to steal your time.

Maybe you’re one of those chronic people pleasers.  You love people and see things you can do to help them.  You commit to do more and more because you want to make them happy.  It’s not necessarily that they are asking, you’re just offering.  You find yourself severely over committed and you just have too much on your plate.
#2 – You can’t get your important stuff done, because you’re too busy and over extended in the service of your fellow man.

Maybe you’re like me.  If I were a dog, I would be a sight hound.  Some dogs track by scent and some by sight.  I track movement.  I am a visual learner.  This doesn’t work in my favor when I’m trying to focus though.  Pop-up distractions are everywhere.  I may start off a Saturday morning with a pretty specific schedule of things I want to get done.  The next thing I know, I drove past a store that reminded me of something I wanted to get, or investigate, and pop-up by pop-up, my schedule gets blown.
#3 – You can’t get your important stuff done because of you yield to pop-up distractions.

Michael Hyatt often quotes his wife Gail Hyatt concerning purpose.  She says “People lose their way when they lose their why”.

The Why is super important with it comes to having the discipline to stay on track.  Our why is directly coupled with our vision.   2 Corinthians 3:18 in the Bible tells us that we are changed by what we see.  You may have heard the phrase If you can see it, you can be it.  This is true.   It’s also true that if you can’t see, you can’t become.  We see from both 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Romans 12:1-2 that what we see changes us.  Romans says that if we’re not intentional about renewing our mind with God’s word, we will default to being conformed to this world.

The word Conform here comes from the root meaning Union, and from an alternate word meaning A figure.  A figure is something you see.  United with what we see.  Changed by the image that strikes the eye – that’s what it means to conform.  When we renew our minds intentionally, we replace that figure with a new vision painted by God’s Word.  Keith Moore says it this way – We become what we behold.  This vision gives us guidance.

“People lose their way when they lose their why.”  – Gail Hyatt

The Bible says that Where there is no vision, the people perish. – Pro 29:18.
The literal version of that verse says that where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.  when I think of unrestrained, I think of a horse’s bridle.  A trained horse can do remarkable things when it’s bridled.  The restraint of the bridle keeps the horse focused and it’s energy moving in a specific way.

When I was a little boy, we had a Shetland pony.  At night when it began to get dark, my job was to get a halter and go bring her in from the pasture.  It seemed like every night, as I would draw close to her, she would trot away from me about 20 yards and start grazing again.  This would happen over and over.  I eventually learned that once I got close, I would run up and jump “shot cowboy” style across her back, working the halter on from there. Once the halter was on, I could lead her and keep her on track.  After a few nights of that, as soon as I got that halter on her, she immediately started walking toward the house.  She eventually became so trained to it, that all I needed to do was get on her back and she would start in from the pasture.  The halter eventually became a trigger for her that it was time to do something else.

Like the halter, or the bridle, vision provides guidelines.

Vision gives us purpose

In Genesis, God invited Abram to look up into the night sky. Gen 15:5 – And He (Jehovah) brought him (Abram) outside and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them. And He said to him, So shall your seed be. (15:6) And he believed in Jehovah. And He counted it to him for righteousness.

God had just told an old man that the child coming from his own body would be his heir.  When Abram asked how these things would be, God used the sky to give Abram vision. Can you imagine how compelling that was for Abram?  God later used the sand in the desert to bolster Abraham’s faith, reminding him of the promise of the covenant – so shall your seed be.

This changed the way Abram thought.  It gave him faith to become what God had called him to become.  Vision gave him purpose.

Vision gives us priorities

It keeps us reminded of what really matters.  All of us get the same number of hours per week, and there are a lot of things we could be spending our time on. The truth is that for every thing you say yes to, you are automatically saying no to something else.  Our Vision helps us weigh out opportunity cost of saying yes to the wrong thing.  It helps us make decisions in line with our priorities, and by doing that, helps us alleviate the regret that comes from making a bad choice and wasting our time. Vision gives us priorities.

Vision gives us passion

It becomes clear that one of our most important things we can do is to find ways to keep what’s important in the front of our mind.   There are several ways we can do this.

  • One way I do this is my Vision Wall.  I have a cork-board in my home office that has things on it that I need to be continually reminded about.  I have pictures of ministers and charities that we pray for, and often support. The main thing is to have pictures, or some visual representation of your goals.  These need to be compelling.  They need to have some pull on you, so when you see them, they have a motivating affect on you.
  • I have a written out prayer on my bathroom mirror for my children.  I mumble through it while I’m brushing my teeth.  I also have Psalm 112, and 1 Corinthians 13:45-8 (Amp) on my mirror to read to myself while I’m getting ready in the morning.
  • I also keep a folder called Vision Images on my computer desktop.  This folder has images that I’ve gleaned from social media of all my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and various relatives and friends.  It’s sole purpose is to bring them to mind so I can pray for them.

By keeping vision before our eyes, it gives us the passion we need to move forward.  I once heard it said that there is no such thing as a lazy person, there are just people who have not been properly motivated.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that when my vision is in my face, and compelling, I don’t have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, I wake up with my engine revving, anticipating the day.

Dig deep this week.  When it comes to your vision, where do you stand?  Does your vision motivate you?  Are you passionate about where you’re heading?  I encourage you to press the pause button on your life for a minute and reconnect with your WHY.

If this helps you at all, please share.  Also, if you’re not already getting these posts in your email, consider subscribing.

I appreciate you.

Art

 

Proverbs for Men

When I think of Pride, one of the first things I think of is “Pride goes before a fall”.  It’s a phrase I’ve heard most of my life.  This phrase is actually a shortening of a scripture found in Proverbs.

Pro 16:18  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (MKJV)

I’ve started a video series that I’m calling Proverbs for Men.  I’ve also made a weird contraction out of it, and refer to it as ProForM.  All of the videos will be short.  If a topic needs a longer run time, I will break it into smaller short videos.  I want each one to be less than 5 minutes.

I will continue to write posts but also wanted to add these as supplemental content.

Everybody can benefit from the book of Proverbs.  It’s the book of wisdom, written by the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon.  While everyone can benefit from Proverbs, it’s first use was specifically to instruct sons.  It deals with some substantial topics. Topics like, what to do about the strange woman, or the forward woman, and how to think properly about relationships.

I am looking forward to digging in to it all with you.  So, without further ado – here’s the first of many.

 

I hope this video has helped you.  If so, please consider sharing.

Thank you – You guys mean a lot to me.

Art

Move Forward With Confidence! Here’s How.

We know that Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Rom 10:17).  When Jesus said we would know the Truth, and the Truth would make us free, the implication of the verse is that it’s the TRUTH YOU KNOW that makes you free.

About a week ago, while I was having stuff done to my house, there was something that I wanted done, and I was pretty sure it was supposed to be done, but it kept getting passed over by the contractors.  I watched day after day as they worked around the area I was looking at, but day after day, they didn’t do anything.  I started getting anxious.  I even went and found the quote, just to look and see if it had been overlooked in the pricing.  Nope!  It was there!  So why do they keep working around it?  I began to create a  picture in my head of a big confrontation with the contractor in my front yard – out there in front of God and everybody.

It suddenly hit me.  This is not faith.  This is fear!  Fear is perverted faith, and I know better than this.  God gives me favor with people.  Then I thought….wait a minute, where is that in the Bible?  I couldn’t think of a specific scripture that promised that God has given me favor with everybody.  But what does the Bible say?

I remembered Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Then right on the heels of that,  Rom 8:31 & 32  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

To me, knowing where that truth was located was very important.  Many times we get ideas about what God is like or how He will act, but without actually having a scripture to back that up, you can’t really have faith.

Why?  Because as soon as your good thoughts about God get challenged, and they will be challenged, you will realize that what you believe about God is not based on a firm foundation.  Faith must be based on a firm foundation.  In order for something to be scriptural, we have to actually have scripture.

I began to think about it.  He will cause this to work out for my good.  He loves me.  He’s working in this situation on my behalf.  I made the shift on the inside.  I prayed about it, basing my prayer and my faith on the scriptures that the Holy Spirit brought to my memory.  I was now in a place of confidence.  I had faith that God was involved, and that it was going to be alright.  The next day, I had a passing conversation with the contractor, who all on his own, pointed out the part I had been wondering about and indicated that he wasn’t finished, and that it would all be done. Thank God!

Faith calls for the manifestation of itself.  It’s where we learn from God’s own example that we are to call those things that be not, as though they were (Rom 4:17).  We see from Job’s example that Fear also has a voice (Job 3:25).   It calls for the manifestation of itself too, because it’s perverted faith. Fear is having confidence in the circumstance and it’s ability to hurt you.

How do you move forward in your life?  When you navigate through your day, how do you know that the choices you make are the right ones?  Do you often see potential issues before they happen and successfully avoid them, or do you often find yourself knee deep in drama and wonder how you got there?

Recently I was having a conversation with someone at work.  They pointed out that they thought I was well suited for my work.  They commented that I am so confident in what I and my team do, that I am not easily pushed around.

The truth is that I do my job like I live my life.  I live by standards. A standard is defined as “an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations”.  One way to look at standards is that they are the rule by which everything else is measured.  They are the ideal.  It’s helpful if these are also unchanging.

In Metrology (The Science of Measurement), Primary standards are the highest order of standard.  They were at one time based on artifacts.  Items that were assigned final authority concerning a set measurement.  The problem with this is that artifacts are objects that are subject to change.  In recent years, science has been working to move the standards from artifact basis to a basis of fundamental physical constants.  That way, if anything happened to the standard bar for a meter, we could still measure a true meter.

A Standard is true.  It’s always the right answer.  When I’m at work, I operate according to the standards set forth by our executives regarding production speeds, processes and costs.  To me, these standards are like the company constitution.  When I operate in accordance with them, I am always in a defensible position.  I can have confidence that I operated according to the will of the executives.

The same is true with my life.  I can live in confidence to the extent that I am living according to the standard of God’s Word.  It is my final authority above all else.

In recent years, the world has become more vocal in its resistance to all things Christian.  It seems to have become popular to make fun of Christians for believing that the Bible is the truth.  There are even people who grew up in church that now take verbal “cheap shots” at Christians for believing what the Bible says. The Bible is the truth though, and it is the standard by which all things will be measured in the end.

It’s important not only to know about the standard but to actually know it.  Jesus said in John 8:31 & 32  If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It’s important to know God loves you, but it’s more important to know specifically where the promise is that tells you that God loves you.

When it comes to knowing what to do, it’s so important to know what the standards are, and to submit yourself to them.  Only then can you stand firm when the world is telling you something different.

Today, you can move forward with confidence.  The very next step you take can be the first step toward the things you so desperately need.  What it takes…what it always takes, is a commitment.  Without a solid decision on your part, you will still be pushed around.  You must be as committed to the truth as the truth is to you.

I want to remind you of the choice Joshua required Israel to make in Joshua 24:15.  “Choose you this day whom you will serve”, and then he adds “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

The choice is yours.

Your buddy Art.

For more info about your standing with God, Click Here.