Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective

Malankara World Journal
Penta Centum Souvenir Edition
Volume 8 No. 500 October 14, 2018


Chapter - 25: Personal Improvement

Napoleon's Principle of Success by Wes Hopper

Comparing yourself to others and trying to copy what they do is a waste of time. You can learn from them, but you can't copy them. ...

Fail First by John O'Leary

My friend, a great paradox of life is that in letting go of the desire to not lose, you win; that in releasing the need to never be wrong, you're right; ...

How to Fix Work Stress By Leo Babauta

When we hold on to the idea that we can do everything, and that we have to deal with everything at once, we become stressed because obviously we cannot do it all. ...

Imagination by Napoleon Hill

It has been said that men can create anything which he can imagine....It is worth repeating many times that ideas within the mind are limited only by those limits placed on the mind by the individual. ...

Focusing on Your Strengths By Julie Clinton

Most of us spend far more time focused on what we're not good at rather than what we are good at. But human resource professionals tell us that the greatest opportunity for personal growth and development come from focusing on our strengths, not our weaknesses. ...

How to Affect Change and Growth in Your Life by Ralph Drollinger

What follows is the biblical formula for growth, and it stands in dire and stark contrast to the world's notions of how to achieve that. Unlike the idealistic commodities that are bought and sold today, the biblical formula for growth is not pleasant, nor is it ego-gratifying. It's hard work and it has everything to do with coming to the end of yourself and understanding the critical need for repentance and turning from sin. ...

The Entrepreneur's 5 Pillars of Success By John Bowen

s entrepreneurs, we know we must deliver tremendous value to our clients and our prospective clients. The more value we can give them, the more value we create for ourselves and our stakeholders. This is the enlightened self-interest of capitalism. ...

The Power Of Resilience by Wes Hopper

Get in touch with what's important to you and build your motivation and self-esteem around that. Fill yourself with assurances that you CAN do what needs to be done. ...

Keeping On-Course by Jim Stovall

What you do today will bring you one day closer to where you want to be -whether you are able to recognize it at this time or not. Keeping the faith today is the price we pay and, as always, today’s that day! ...

Chapter - 25: Personal Improvement

Napoleon's Principle of Success

by Wes Hopper

"Those that are succeeding and are thrilled and
joyful in the unfolding will often tell you, "I've
dreamed this since I was little. I imagined it, I
pretended it, I used to practice with the hairbrush
pretending it was a microphone." Purity is the
alignment of energy. Doesn't matter what anybody
else thinks about anything. It only matters what
you think about it." Abraham

Have you ever noticed that people are different? You are probably thinking, "Of course, I know that."

But do you understand what that means? It means that comparing yourself to others and trying to copy what they do is a waste of time.

You can learn from them, but you can't copy them.

Two equally successful people may have very different ways of solving problems and different priorities for the solution.

So what is the common thread that runs through success if people are so different? There are two parts.

First, they are focused on the successful outcome, not the problems. Bob Proctor likes to quote Napoleon, who said, "I see only the objective. The obstacles must give way."

Bob keeps a statue of Napoleon in his house where he can see it every day to remind himself of that.

This produces the alignment of energy that is mentioned in our quote. It's that focused energy that dissolves the barriers and insists that the obstacles give way.

The second part of success is never, ever, quitting. We keep our energy aligned by staying focused on the path and never giving in to defeat.

This process will likely look different for you than it will for others. Don't think you're doing it wrong because it's different.

The only thing that matters is what you think about it.

All the best,

Source: Gratitude Journal

Fail First

by John O'Leary

"Sometimes you gotta lose [before you] find your destiny."
- Jon Gordon

Ever notice that advice about personal achievement tends to hinge on trying harder?

Study longer for the grade. Call more prospects for the sale… but when we honestly review our life's accomplishments: Yes, some were the result of gritty persistence. But we can't ignore that others are the direct result of just letting go.

This is certainly true when I look back on my journey. The best decision I made financially was to fire myself as a stock picker and hire a professional financial planner. The best decision I made spiritually was to surrender and accept the gift of grace. The best decision I made professionally was refusing to micromanage and instead empower my team to run their portion of our business.

Perhaps my greatest lesson about the power of letting go came as a young man in search of love. This story begins before I began dating my wife Beth. Within the span of three years in my early 20s I lost two dear friends in car accidents. These painful losses forced me to be contemplative. It was impossible to ignore the fragility of it all, meaninglessness of the trivial, value of living fully and longing to use my talents for causes bigger than myself.

I realized that I'd been letting selfishness drive my life thus far, particularly in my dating (or lack of dating). I wanted Beth to be my date, girlfriend, wife, even "proof" that I was normal.

But in focusing on my desires for the relationship, I was unable to enjoy who Beth was and the wonderful friendship we had. With my new found clarity, I decided to stop trying to convince her and instead open my heart and love her, even though it wasn't exactly the way I had planned.

Instead of operating from a place of fear, driven by what I could get, I tried living from a place of love, seeking opportunities for what I could give.

It was a mighty inflection point. I began to simply enjoy time we spent together. Instead of focusing on my needs, or desires, or goal of dating, the focus shifted to simply loving her and enjoying the moment. No strings attached.

And it was enough.

The change transformed the manner in which I treated her and, in time, the way she felt about me. Months after this shift, while at dinner, she asked me out.

We dated. Married. Have four kids. We've had the rollercoaster ride that all relationships endure and enjoy. (On my most recent Live Inspired podcast episode, I interviewed Jon Gordon bestselling author of The Energy Bus and a dozen other books. He shared something that sparked this blog topic: "Sometimes you gotta lose [before you] find your destiny." It's an awesome truth that we unpack more during the podcast.)

My friend, a great paradox of life is that in letting go of the desire to not lose, you win; that in releasing the need to never be wrong, you're right; and that in pouring yourself completely into others for their benefit, love comes back to you in ways more beautiful than you could imagine.

Real success and fulfillment are often found in surrendering to the gifts found in the moment.

Don't hold on so tight that you miss them.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

John O'Leary

Is there a time in your life that you "let go" and found greater success or peace because of it? Is there something you need to let go of today to find the peace for which you're looking?

How to Fix Work Stress

By Leo Babauta

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily."
- Gerald Good

At work, we often face stressful situations, dreaded projects, irritating co-workers, frustrating bosses, an overwhelming number of tasks and messages, and boring work we don't enjoy.

These problems have one simple cause: we're holding on.

The work itself isn't stressful - it's the action that's taken or needs to be taken. It's our reaction to the work that causes stress: our holding on to a wish that things were different.

It's not the constant stream of interruptions that’s the problem - these are just events that happen around us, like a leaf falling or bird flying. It's our holding on, in our minds, to the task we were doing before we were interrupted that causes frustration.

We wish we weren't interrupted, and come to resent anything that interrupts us. Meaning our minds are still half on the previous task.

Our co-workers and boss aren't the problem either - they're just other human beings trying to do the best they can in this world. It's our holding on to the idea that they should behave a certain way, that they should do their best to make us happy.

It's not that we have an overwhelming number of tasks and messages - it's our reaction to that number. It’s only list of things, or a phone ringing, or an inbox with a series of messages. Those things are harmless, really.

But when we hold on to the idea that we can do everything, and that we have to deal with everything at once, we become stressed because obviously we cannot do it all.

  • We can only do one thing.
  • But our minds are on doing them all.
  • So what's the solution? Letting go.
  • This is the Zen of Work. Learning to Let Go

When you let go of these ideas of how things should be, how other people should behave to make you happy, how you should do everything at once, then the problems go away. They simply don't exist anymore.

There are other problems, of course; you still need to do the work. But the frustration, stress, anger, irritation, and feelings of overwhelm are caused by that holding on. They're in our minds.

We also hold on to things that happened earlier - something someone did that wasn't nice, a meeting where we said something embarrassing, a mistake we made on our project – and this only compounds the pain, keeps it replaying on an endless loop.

Letting go allows the problems to disappear.

It's that simple, and yet letting go isn't always easy. It's a learning process. First you have to learn mindfulness, which is the key to the whole shebang. Mindfulness allows us to see these thought processes that are causing us pain, and allows us to delve into what we're holding on to.

Mindfulness also helps us return to the moment, so all the things running in our heads can fade away, and we live in what's actually happening right now.

We do a task without holding on to other tasks, or offenses made by other people. We do a task, and then let go of it, and move on to the next task.

This takes practice, and so I suggest starting with a simple practice of 5 minutes of meditation and working from there. Once you get good at this simple practice, you can expand mindfulness to other tasks. Eventually you'll get good at it and the problems will start to dissolve without exploding first.

About the Author:

Leo Babauta is the owner of, a website devoted to providing clear and concise wisdom on how to simplify your life. He's also the author of, "The Power of Less."

2017 © Early to Rise Publishing – All Rights Reserved

Imagination by Napoleon Hill

The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man. The impulse, the DESIRE, is given shape, form, and ACTION through the aid of the imaginative faculty of the mind.

It has been said that men can create anything which he can imagine.

Of all the ages of civilization, this is the most favorable for the development of the imagination, because it is an age of rapid change. On every hand one may contact stimuli which develops the imagination.

Through the aid of his imaginative faculty, man has discovered, and harnessed, more of Nature’s forces during the past fifty years than during the entire history of the human race, previous to that time. He has conquered the air so completely, that the birds are a poor match for him in flying. He has harnessed the ether, and made it serve as a means of instantaneous communication with any part of the world. He has analyzed, and weighed the sun at a distance of millions of miles, and has determined, through the aid of IMAGINATION, the elements of which it consists. He has discovered that his own brain is both a broadcasting, and a receiving station for the vibration of thought, and he is beginning now to learn how to make practical use of this discovery. He has increased the speed of locomotion, until he may now travel at a speed of more than three hundred miles an hour. The time will soon come when a man may breakfast in New York, and lunch in San Francisco.

MAN’S ONLY LIMITATION, within reason, LIES IN HIS DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF HIS IMAGINATION. He has not yet reached the apex of development in the use of his imaginative faculty. He has merely discovered that he has an imagination, and has commenced to use it in a very elementary way.

Your imaginative faculty may have become weak through inaction. It can be revived and made alert through USE. This faculty does not die, though it may become quiescent through lack of use.

Center your attention, for the time being, on the development of the synthetic imagination, because this is the faculty which you will use more often in the process of converting desire into money.

Transformation of the intangible impulse, of DESIRE, into the tangible reality, of MONEY, calls for the use of a plan, or plans. These plans must be formed with the aid of the imagination, and mainly, with the synthetic faculty.


Transformation of the intangible impulse, of DESIRE, into the tangible reality, of MONEY, calls for the use of a plan, or plans. These plans must be formed with the aid of the imagination, and mainly, with the synthetic faculty.

If you are one of those who believes that hard work and honesty, alone, will bring riches, perish the thought! It is not true! Riches, when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of HARD work! Riches, come, if they come at all, in response to definite demands, based upon the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck.

Generally speaking, an idea is an impulse of thought that impels action, by an appeal to the imagination. All master salesmen know that ideas can be sold where merchandise cannot. Ordinary salesmen do not know this—that is why they are “ordinary.”

When the idea (of a success philosophy*) was first planted in my mind by Mr. Carnegie, it was coaxed, nursed, and enticed to remain alive. Gradually, the idea became a giant under its own power, and it coaxed, nursed, and drove me. Ideas are like that. First, you give life and action and guidance to ideas, then they take on power of their own and sweep aside all opposition.

Source: Think and Grow Rich, Chapter Six: Imagination

Dear Readers,

It was Einstein who said that imagination was more important than knowledge. With a belief system, you can see images of what can occur in the future. These images will help you to believe in the future, develop plans, and have the persistence to see that those plans become reality.

Events that we are able to bring about happen because the beliefs we develop are so strong that we can hold on to them until our plans and actions can bring them to fruition.

Unless you have strong beliefs in what you want to become and develop those beliefs, it is highly unlikely that you will develop the plans and carry out the action needed to make you a highly successful person.

Wise men of the past realized and spoke of the fact that we are the result of our past thoughts. It is said that the overwhelming majority of people go to their graves without realizing the truth of this simple statement. If a person does not understand the importance of her thought process, then she is not likely to benefit from the proper use of her mind. The thought process has no limitations except those that we place on it. “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you,” wrote James Allen.

There is a saying in Buddhism, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” The simple fact is that your mind and the thoughts that you act on are what make you the person you are—either successful or unsuccessful.

At an early age, before I was of school age, my late father was an underground coal miner, and he told my brothers and me about the plants that grew wild in the mountainous area of southwestern Virginia where we lived. One of the plants was called mayapple, and once it was dug up and left in the sun to dry, it would sell for a few cents per pound. My father told me about the root and showed me how to dig it correctly. I did this and sold the roots for a few dollars; thus, even as a young child, I developed a belief that there was a way to make money. It was the biggest three dollars I had ever seen because I knew I had earned the money. Every event, condition, and thing is first an idea in someone’s mind.

Humans have a creative mind and are capable of creating results that have not existed before. However, a thought must exist before the mind can work. Remember, in all instances, a thought exists before a thing.

It is worth repeating many times that ideas within the mind are limited only by those limits placed on the mind by the individual.

I wish you the best,

Don Green
Executive Director Napoleon Hill Foundation

Source: Everything I Know About Success I Learned from Napoleon Hill

Focusing on Your Strengths

By Julie Clinton

Focusing on Your Strengths

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
--Judy Garland

In his bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes, "God will never ask you to dedicate your life to a task you have no talent for. On the other hand, the abilities you do have are a strong indication of what God wants you to do with your life."

So, sister, what are you good at?

Most of us spend far more time focused on what we're not good at rather than what we are good at. But human resource professionals tell us that the greatest opportunity for personal growth and development come from focusing on our strengths, not our weaknesses. This is counter to the message that corporate America habitually sends to its employees. In job evaluations, managers often spend more time pointing out employee weaknesses than building on strengths. And when setting goals, managers frequently ask employees to become better at what they are not naturally good at rather than asking them to focus on their strengths and capitalizing on them for the benefit of the company.

We all have a choice. We can focus on what we're not good at, or we can focus on what we are good at. Extraordinary women focus on what they are good at and use their gifts to further God's kingdom.

Extraordinary women also use their strengths in little things to make a big difference.

Mother Teresa knew that caring for the sick and poor one person at a time would make a big difference for each person she cared for. She didn't know that her compassion would make a big impression on the larger world as well.

You may not have heard of Genevieve Piturro. She was heartbroken as a volunteer at children's shelters when she realized that the kids slept in the same clothes they'd worn all day. Remembering the warm comfort of her own pajamas as a child, Piturro started purchasing PJs and taking them to children's centers. In 2001, when the demand for pajamas grew beyond her own ability to meet it, she started the Pajama Program. Since then, more than 10,000 pairs of pajamas and over 8,000 books have found children to wear and read them—and thousands of children have learned that though they are parentless or in difficult circumstances, someone still cares. (To learn more or to donate to the Pajama Program, visit

When Kim Newlen left her teaching job to stay home with her daughter, she experienced loneliness. Instead of wallowing in it, she decided to do something about it. She created a monthly gathering for women that didn't require them to send an RSVP or extend a reciprocal invitation. The gatherings, called Sweet Monday, offer brief spiritual encouragement, food, and most importantly, fun! Ten years after the first group met, Sweet Mondays are providing even more opportunities for fellowship as women across the country have adapted the idea. Because of this ministry, many women who stopped going to church have returned, and others who did not know Christ have made a commitment to Him. Kim, the lonely mom, has now turned into an encourager extraordinaire and has written Sweet Monday: Women's Socials on a Shoestring. (You can learn more about Sweet Monday at

Each of these women began her journey by meeting her own needs and the needs of others. God took it from there in ways that they could not anticipate.

One of my strengths is that I'm organized. I always have a plan and can handle details and deadlines. When I'm going somewhere, I have a complete itinerary (and usually printed directions from MapQuest!). I live by lists and read the directions when I'm doing something I've never done before. And then I actually follow them. This drives my husband, Tim, crazy.

I can either focus on my strengths and use them for service to God and others, or I can berate myself for my weaknesses. The first option is positive and empowering. The second option would simply make me feel bad about myself and not help me accomplish anything—except feeling bad.

Most of us can quickly come up with a list of weaknesses. But can you easily articulate your strengths as well? If not, take a look at the following list and circle or highlight any of the words that describe your strengths:

• flexible
• motivating
• risk taker
• supportive
• systematic
• analyzer
• intuitive
• assertive
• outgoing
• sensitive
• deliberate
• confident
• generous
• cooperative
• decisive
• loyal
• patient
• diplomatic
• enthusiastic
• influential
• optimistic
• organized
• visionary
• problem solver
• reliable
• determined
• results-oriented
• peacemaker
• questioner
• team player
• fact finder
• orderly
• cautious

This list isn't all-inclusive, but it's a good place to start identifying and verbalizing your strengths. Once you're able to do that, you're ready to move to the next step, which is to make a specific list of ways you can use these strengths.

"God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is"
(1 Corinthians 12:4-6 MSG).

Mother Teresa used the gift of mercy on the poor and sick. Genevieve Piturro used the gift of contributing pajamas to children. And Kim Newlen used the gift of connecting women in her living room.

What have you been given to do that shows who God is? Serve on the governing board at your church? Help at your local food pantry? Organize a fundraiser to support missionaries? Handle the finances of a charity? Teach Sunday School? Attend Sunday School? Help build sets for the annual Christmas drama at your church? Lead a music team? Make hospital visits? Provide transportation to and from church for those who can't drive? The possibilities are endless.

Here's what else is endless: the ability of God to reach down from heaven and show himself to other people through you. You are Christ on earth every day to the people around you. And when you focus on using your strengths to show Christ and refuse to wallow in your weaknesses, your light will shine brighter, and your reach will extend further than you ever imagined.

About The Author:

Julie Clinton M.Ad., M.B.A. Is president of Extraordinary Women and host of Ewomen conferences all across America. A woman of deep faith, she cares passionately about seeing women live out their dreams by finding their freedom in Christ.

Copyright ©2016 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

How to Affect Change and Growth in Your Life

by Ralph Drollinger

What you are about to read is not anything that you will find in typical, secular, pump-you-up, self-help seminars.

It has nothing to do with what personal growth gurus hawk in countless audio series, volumes of books, or in fiery seminars after they roll into town with much fanfare and bluster to teach you how to live in the moment, aim for the stars, and grow into your greatest and most powerful self.

What you are about to read has nothing to do with any of that. What follows is the biblical formula for growth, and it stands in dire and stark contrast to the world's notions of how to achieve that.

Unlike the idealistic commodities that are bought and sold today, the biblical formula for growth is not pleasant, nor is it ego-gratifying. It's hard work and it has everything to do with coming to the end of yourself and understanding the critical need for repentance and turning from sin.


The Bible has much to say about how a person can change; as a matter of fact, the Scriptures reveal that those who are in Christ will change for the better. But how exactly does this happen? Or better, how is the believer (to use the appropriate theological term) Sanctified? In addition to all the secular theories regarding achieving personal growth and change for the better, there are at least four major historical/theological views proffered in answer to this, but as you will see, only one of them has a solid biblical basis. Very briefly they are:


The first is known as Christian Perfectionism, it stems from Charles Wesley, the historic English leader of the Methodist movement. Herein a supposed second work of Grace, post salvation, catapults the believer into a state of "sinlessness." Another name for this flawed view is "entire Sanctification." The believer may make mistakes, but supposedly he is no longer sinning. Spiritual growth is indicated by increasing good works. Simply put, in a real world sense, Wesleyan Perfectionism is problematic in that one only need ask the perfect person's spouse if he or she is perfect. Practical reality suggests that total Sanctification/perfectionism is not achieved by any believer in this life. Nor is such a view supported by Scripture.


A second widely-held view of Sanctification is the Keswick (pronounced "Kezeek") school of thinking. In this understanding the believer passively grows in his or her relationship to Christ. One need only "surrender" to grow spiritually. Just keep drinking in the Bible and you will mature. "Let go and let God" is an appropriate summary of this way of thinking. But as will be seen in what follows, God's grace enables human responsibility in the Sanctification process and there is a biblical expectation for the enactment of human volition in the achievement of spiritual growth.


This third position is commonly practiced in cults. It is known as penance. Whereas the previous two positions are practiced in error amongst those with a biblical Soteriology (that is a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches about true saving faith), penance is the idea of imposing something as a punishment for sin - it is a human attempt to balance the scales. In the world of penance-seekers, neither justification (one's salvation) nor Sanctification (one's spiritual growth) is imputed from God via His enablement (per the truths of 1John 1:9 and many other passages). Rather, one's salvation and Sanctification are earned via self-efforts or personal merit. In this way of thinking it follows that if one is saved by personal merit that he grows by personal merit. One is Sanctified by conducting offsetting good deeds, works or prayers in order to propitiate (satisfy) his wrong doings; one is "guilted" into changing. The problem is, likened to the former positions, there is no substantiation, biblical basis, for such a belief or practice.


The forth position on Sanctification is the one that is supported by Scripture: Progressive Sanctification. The Bible repeatedly reveals that a lifelong cycle of repentance and renewal progresses one toward Christlikeness - and this process of growth will only be complete when one goes home to be with the Lord. There is no perfection this side of heaven. Growth and change are accomplished through the active participation and discipline of the believer whom the Holy Spirit prompts and energizes for the task. Philippians 2:12-13 and many other passages support this summation on Sanctification:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Notice this passage closely. Work out (the Greek word katergazomai) is not referring to salvation by works,2 (cf. Romans 3:21-24; Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 1:12; Romans 10:9) but rather is descriptive of the responsibility that the believer need possess after being saved by God's grace. And the fact that it is God who is at work in you evidences the causal agent (God) who engenders and empowers the working out of Sanctification in the life of the believer after being saved. Other passages that support the biblical teaching of Progressive Sanctification are Philippians 3:13,14; Romans 6:19; Acts 1:8; 1Corinthians 9:24-27; 15:58; 2Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 6:7-9; Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 3:1-17; Hebrews 6:10-11; 12:1-2; and 2Peter 1:5-11. Each passage underscores Progressive Sanctification, wherein God who is at work in you is the one who prompts the believer, and his responsibility to work - taking personal responsibility - to achieve spiritual growth as God directs in his heart.


The aforementioned listing of Bible passages are all worth noting and pondering before moving further along in the further development of this study (but are in accumulation, too lengthy to include in what I hope to be limited to a 12 page study on the matter). In summary, human responsibility - working at your Sanctification - is catalytic to change. But more specifically, how? What follows are the four fundamental scriptural basics related to Sanctification.


Since the Bible is inspired by God, it is the basis of all truth. "He is there and He is not silent," wrote Francis Schaeffer. In other words, God has revealed Himself to man not only in the advent of His Son Jesus Christ, but in His Holy Word. Scripture therefore need be the sole epistemological source (that is, the sole grounds for knowledge) as it relates to one's faith, practice and changes. Notice Scripture's internal testimony regarding itself as it relates to change:

2Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness . . .

The Greek the construct of this important passage is best translated, "All Scripture is given by inspiration . . . ". Notice one of the specific purposes God inspired Scripture is for proper teaching, reproof, correction and training; all these words connote change that is informed and guided by scriptural truths. Add to this understanding the following:

1Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Scripture states of itself that it intends to perform a work in you, that is to change those who believe in it. Accordingly:


Importantly and to the point in our outline, the Scriptures are the basis for achieving right changes. 2Corinthians 10:5 echoes and summarizes this first point when it says, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.


The second fundamental scriptural basic related to change can be gleaned from 1Thessalonians 5:14. Paul states, We urge you, brethren, admonish [noutheteo] the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Change occurs when one is confronted by the truths of God. Change results, according to 1Corinthians 1:18, because God's Word has power - power to change individuals when they are confronted by it: For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Isaiah 55:11 amplifies this same astounding truth:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

It follows that the Word of God is the conduit that one need utilize in counseling or mentoring (or better, admonishing) another to change. (Note that this is where the term Nouthetic Counseling comes from. This is a form of pastoral counseling that is totally Bible based and focused solely on Christ. It renounces conventional psychology and psychiatry as humanistic because so often they are opposed to biblical principles.) States Hebrews 4:12 in summary of the importance of the Word to create change, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . Often, God uses other believers through their friendship or writings to amplify His Word in our lives. Look for this and be open to it. This is how God intends to create biblically based change in your life.


Building from the first two points relative to scriptural basics related to change is how one responds to being admonished by the Word of God. How you respond to being admonished by the Word of God is very important if you are to grow. Pivotal to this understanding is 2Timothy 2:25:

. . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.

The proper biblical response to the admonitions of the Word of God is not, "I don't need to change, I am already perfect," nor is it, "I'll just let go and let God" nor is it, "I'll balance the scales myself." To the contrary of these aforementioned aberrant views of the Sanctification process, this passage reveals that repentance (metanoia) which means "a change of mind, direction and purpose" is the key to the believer's growth process. Importantly, Scripture reveals here and elsewhere (cf. Acts 5:31; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2Corinthians 7:9,10; Ephesians 2:7; 2Timothy 2:25) that repentance is produced by God's sovereign grace: if perhaps God may grant . . . .

In other words, like the faith to believe in Christ (e.g. Ephesians 2:8-9):


Repentance leads to lasting change; it is the key element in Progressive Sanctification! Underscoring this is Jeremiah 13:23. It states that any change apart from God-given repentance is futile:

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil?"

Sinners in and of themselves cannot change the essence of their very nature is Jeremiah's point. Therefore, the only way one can achieve lasting change is with God's help, which is why crying out to Him in brokenness and contrition is the only way one can enact change for the better. If you are following me, in the development of this study, How To Affect Change And Growth In Your Life has much to do with understanding what exactly biblical repentance is - in great detail - since that is pivotal to attaining growth, or Sanctification in the here and now.


In Paul's letters to the Roman, Ephesian, and Colossian Churches he often speaks of spiritual growth: i.e. Sanctification or change in terms of "putting off " and "putting on." He is saying that to grow spiritually, the believer must put off the old self and put on the new self. Ephesians 4:22-24 best capsulizes this wherein Paul states:

that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Key to our study, relative to how the believer effectuates change in his life is the idea of laying aside the old self, or putting it off. And, synonymous with putting off or laying aside is the Greek word for repentance. It means to turn 180 degrees, to put something off, out of your life that is not pleasing to God.

It follows then that repentance, putting off, is an essential, key element for Christian growth. Given basics related to Sanctification, and what keys it, how can we best understand what is characteristic of true repentance? What follows may seem a bit "in the weeds" on this subject, but precisely and thoroughly understanding what the Bible means by repentance is of utmost importance since it effectuates spiritual growth! It is the starting point of spiritual growth! Accordingly, to fail at this point is to fail at growing spiritually.



2Corinthians 7:9-11 is perhaps the best passage in the New Testament that carefully delineates the characteristics of genuine repentance. Let us now turn our attention as to how we can best understand that passage.

What follows is 2Corinthians 7:9-11. It is the best passage in Scripture that delineates, details, and defines the various components of true repentance:

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

In this portion of 2Corinthians, Paul is tracing over the past relationship he has had with the body of believers in Corinth. In brief summary, during his second missionary journey, he spent 18 months personally establishing this church. Sometime after having planted this church he sent his emissary, Timothy, to Corinth (1Cor. 4:17; 16:10,11. As a result of that, Paul found out that self-styled false apostles now inhabited the assembly, and in their zeal for power, they had castigated Paul and tried to persuade the congregation to no longer follow his teachings. When he learned of this mutinous news, Paul immediately departed (from Ephesus) to visit Corinth. To his deep chagrin, upon his arrival he soon tasted of the bitter fruit of the false teachers, experiencing the disloyalty of so many in the flock – a flock he had labored so hard to establish. Accordingly, and reactively, upon his return to Ephesus, he authored what is now commonly referred to as the "Severe Letter" (ref. 2Cor. 2:4) sending it to Corinth via his beloved, loyal disciple, Titus.

Upon Titus' eventual reconnection with Paul, Titus gave a surprisingly warm report to Paul as to the Corinthian church's acceptance of Paul's "Severe Letter." Specifically, many had repented of their rebellion against the Apostle! Paul was overjoyed to learn of this (as per the text under study herein in 2Corinthians). It is in this broad context that the words of 2Corinthians chapter 7 need be understood: As a result of the mutiny and the congregation's later repentance from their mutinous behavior, the Holy Spirit is affording to us what connotes true repentance in the life of a believer? Again, there is perhaps no better passage in the entire Bible than this one found in 2Corinthians 7:9-11 that unveils poignant insights that all followers of Christ need possess relative to the make-up of true repentance.


True, genuine repentance and change, states Paul, is characterized by at least eight attitudes and related actions that are motivated by God's Sanctifying presence in the life of the believer.3 "Paul expands [on the matter of godly sorrow] into a whole series of acts or dispositions, all of which are inspired by that sorrow, according to God."4 These characteristics follow from the words used by Paul in the 2Corinthian passage.


When a believer expresses sorrow in a godly manner, there will be a manifest sense of earnestness on his or her behalf to eagerly and assertively pursue a righteous course. There will be, as one commentator puts it, "speed involved in the carrying out of a matter . . . a willingness to do good will."5 Herein is the initial reaction of genuine repentance that is borne from above.


There is a resolution that becomes a reality – an internal motivation, an earnestness to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matt. 3:8).


States the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) in regard to this specific characteristic of vindication, "When they [the unrepentant Corinthian believers] thought of the infamy which sin had brought upon the church, they were quite eager to clear themselves of complicity in it and angry with themselves that they had ever allowed such a thing to be." Here is the second mark of true repentance, as one commentator puts it: "A desire to clear one's name of the stigma that accompanies sin, the repentant sinner restores the trust and confidence of others by making his genuine repentance known." There exists an earnestness to outwardly rectify, to vindicate that which the sin caused. Conversely:


This unrepentant person remains hung-up on himself, and the ramifications to self that stem from his actions: his reputation and his standing amongst peers remains more important. True repentance is always characterized by a God-given desire to immediately vindicate a matter, seeking out others whom they have offended, asking for their forgiveness, and thereby exonerate the wrong done. Put another way, to the genuinely repentant, outward self-preservation is less important than God-glorification. When an unction to vindicate is missing a person is really not repentant.

C. INDIGNATION (Aganaktesis)

This same Greek word translated here into English as indignation, as used elsewhere in several other gospel narrative and carries the idea of being angered by one's own wrongful actions. The early Church Father, Chrysostom, interpreted this portion of the passage to mean that the authentically repentant believer will be characterized by a personal indignation or anger "because of the scandal he had permitted to continue unchecked in the church and the consequent affront to the holy name of God." Herein is another clear indication of genuine repentance: the believer will possess an internal hatred and anger over his sin and a discontentment relative to the indignity it has brought on the Lord's name and His church. In actuality, this self-indignation is a blessing from God that can be likened to the internal molten pressure found in a volcano. There will be an authentic self-hatred that brews inside the believer's heart – a self-hatred that can only find its release through total rectification with offended parties.

D. FEAR (Phobos)

In addition to their internal compunction, the wayward Corinthian believers feared the apostolic authority of the one to whom they had been disloyal. They feared that he could seek retribution for their sinful ways, in fact, with a rod (cf. 1Cor. 4:21). A manifest characteristic of true repentance means there will be a healthy fear not only of God, but of those the sin has wronged.

To summarize the first four points:


E. LONGING (Zelos)

Zelos is the Greek word we derive the English word jealousy from. At its root it means "a strong desire." In the context of this passage it means a yearning or strong desire to restore a relationship with someone whom one has sinned against. Akin to No. 2 (the vindication of self which has in mind the forensic, outward detail given to clearing up the matter and situation), the longing mentioned here relates more to a vehement desire stemming from an internal aspiration of the heart.6 The Corinthian believers, in their genuine repentance, manifested an internal zeal to honor Paul and his apostolic authority. In addition, they strongly desired to repudiate the false intruders in the church. More deeply, they possessed a yearning to follow Paul's example, one of wholehearted devotion to the cause of Christ.

All of these attitudes express a motivated-by-God compunction to do the right thing. Why? John Murray states, "[True] regeneration is the renewing of the heart and mind, and the renewed heart and mind must act according to their nature."7 The genuinely repentant will always yearn and long for right relationships with other people. In Romans 12:18 Paul summarily embodies the aforementioned characteristics when he states, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

F. ZEAL (Epipothesis)

Another attitude that is consistent with true repentance is the zeal that the Corinthian believers possessed to take up Paul's defense and stand against the false teachers who had taken over the Corinthian Church. States NICNT, [the Corinthian believers desired] "to see the restoration of their former relationship of trust and affection." Their response to Paul's "Severe Letter" was not one of anger, but one of sobering, accepting and realizing that they had been disloyal to the Apostle. They adopted Paul's view toward the false teachers; they took up Paul's cause as their own! God-enabled genuine repentance produces this kind of zeal to do an about-face on a matter. They had zeal to reaffirm their love and allegiance for him. To the contrary, people who are unrepentant or humanly sorrowful in a selfish way, will remain disloyal and avoid adopting the contrary opinion regarding an offense. They are characterized by not admitting to any wrongdoing and continue to blame the other party.


Perhaps the strongest indication of true repentance is the one that is hardest to perform by means other than God-given. In God-empowered repentance, the sinner thinks not of protecting him or herself. The overriding concern is for justice to be done. States one commentator, "he wants to see the sin avenged no matter what it might cost him." Whether or not Paul was referring in our home passage to the Corinthians avenging of the wrong relative to their interpersonal relationship, or the Corinthians avenging of wrong in having allowed the false apostles to lead in the church does not matter relative to this study. In both cases, the now-humble Corinthian believers had a desire to seek reconciliation!

The all-consuming objective was to put their house in order no matter what the cost. When this is one's attitude, then spiritual growth is in view:



The last characterizing word that Paul chooses to express what, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, typifies true repentance is the Corinthians' innocence relative to their past sin. The Greek word here for innocent means "clear" or "pure, holy." He chose this word because the connotation of it has to do with a ritual purity. Without going into greater details or illustrations of early word use, the idea carried here is that if a procedure is followed, then purity results. And that is exactly why Paul chooses this word last on his list of identifying characteristics. Paul's word choice displays a beautiful, human illustration of the theology behind 1John 1:9, which states:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Corinthian believers in Paul's mind were now innocent of the matter because they had confessed and repented of their sin as was more than evident by the seven previous new attitudes and actions indicated in and by this insightful passage. Important also to note is that Paul doesn't rehearse the sin here, he simply calls it the matter. Why? In that they had satisfactorily taken care of their sin as evidenced by their actions of godly sorrow, in Paul's mind, the past had been "made as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18) because they had borne "fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). In Philippians we learn that Paul practiced forgetting what lies behind (Phil. 3:13). Since the past had been made right and it was time to move on – not relive it. Paul is expressing an attitude of exhilaration over the completion of the matter. This passage then is a beautiful narrative of the achievement of spiritual growth:



These eight characteristics of genuine repentance are basic to spiritual growth – correctly and completely turning away from the past and moving toward what is right in the future. Putting off and putting on, dehabituation and rehabituation.

A worldly kind of self-centered sorrow over sin will manifest few if any of these attitudes characteristic of true, genuine repentance. Furthermore, such a response to sin – holding on to it – is stagnating to one's spiritual growth. Remember the Greek word for repentance means, "a change of mind" whereas lupe, the Greek word for worldly sorrow means, "pain of body." Repentance is the fundamental key to a life of change and growth. As such, one matures in his Christian life through genuine repentance. So then, as God places things on your heart that need to change, pay close attention! Turn from them in earnestness and put them behind you forever as you put off and put on, and move on toward Sanctification in Christ!


Ralph Drollinger


1 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

2 Since salvation is explicitly revealed in Scripture to be a gift to those who will by faith repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord

3 As stated, repentance is actually a gift from God, given along with the ability to believe in Christ, at the day of one's salvation. Importantly and additionally, this gift of repentance is ongoing in its operation- not only in salvation, but in sanctification (throughout the life of the believer) as inferred by the Apostle in this passage under study.

4 The Expositors Bible, Second Corinthians.

5 New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDONTT).

6 Whenever Paul spoke of a good desire in the NT, (as he does 13 times) he uses this Greek word that is translated as longing. (Conversely when he speaks of a wrong, lustful desire he uses epithymia).

7 (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pg. 106).


The Entrepreneur's 5 Pillars of Success

By John Bowen

"At the end of your life, all you really have left are people and experiences, not money or things. It's not the stuff that matters in life, but the legacy you will leave. What will yours be & who can help you achieve it?"
 - Craig Ballantyne

As entrepreneurs, we know we must deliver tremendous value to our clients and our prospective clients. The more value we can give them, the more value we create for ourselves and our stakeholders. This is the enlightened self-interest of capitalism.

To do that, we have to be productive and be in control. For advice, I reached out to Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Ballantyne's initial success in the field of health and fitness - he created the popular home workout program Turbulence Training - led to him becoming a productivity and success coach who now helps entrepreneurs.

Through his efforts, he's developed what he calls the 5 pillars of success, which he recently shared with me.

1. Plan ahead.

If you're reacting all, or even some, of the time, you'll struggle. The key is to be proactive and plot out the ideal future for you and your business. I know - it's easier said than done for those of us who are constantly going and going. But the fact is, stepping back and engaging in preparation for what you want to come next is crucial to lasting and meaningful success.

What's more, you don't have to reinvent the wheel to become a better proactive planner. There are numerous resources to help you engage in long-term vision planning, and then smaller-dose resources that help you plot out 60 or 90 days of action steps to move you toward that vision. (Ballantyne recommends the approach spelled out in the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.)

2. Implement professional accountability.

Being held accountable for our commitments and actions is a great motivator to walk our talk. But frankly, accountability usually doesn't really work if we look to our teams or our friends to hold our feet to the fire. The best approach is to enlist the help of a professional coach, trainer, or mentor. They can give you expert advice about the key issues you're trying to solve, but perhaps even more important, they'll be brutally honest about what you're doing right and wrong, and where you're veering off your path - all so you can get back on track. "A friend or associate can help motivate you with their positivity, of course, but a coach or mentor is the one who will say ‘you're making some mistakes - what can we do about that going forward?''" says Ballantyne.

That said, not just any coach will do. For maximum impact, be sure to work only with someone who shares your values and ethics - someone who you "get" and who "gets" you. If you're not aligned in some deep way with your coach, you ultimately will end up ignoring his advice and insights. But if you are, you can reasonably expect to accomplish in 2 or 3 years what might have taken you 4 or 5 years on your own.

3. Recruit positive social support.

Of course, we do need cheerleaders in our lives who pick us up on our worst days. This is where those friends and colleagues who will keep saying "Go for it! You can do it!" are so valuable. I've found mastermind groups that hold regular meetings and events to be particularly affirming and motivating, especially when they consist of people who are pursuing similar goals with the same amount of passion. But keep in mind this social support can come virtually as well as from "in-real-life" friends. LinkedIn and Facebook groups and other online communities of like-minded people can be highly effective at providing motivational social support.

4. Give yourself meaningful incentives.

Whether it involves our companies, our health, or anything else, few of us stick to our plans and visions if we don't have something that incentivizes us. The key is to make that incentive be deeply meaningful. An example from Ballantyne's personal training days that he says kept people on target: I'm doing this for my kids, so I'll be around in 20 years when the graduate college. "Going out and getting tickets to a football game, that's a little bit of an incentive. That will keep you going for a bit, but that is not deeply meaningful to you," he says. "What I've learned over time is that what really matters in life is the people we spend the time with and the experiences we have."

5. Set a hard deadline for meeting a goal.

Most of us don't like having a deadline looming. But deadlines can be - and often are - very positive for entrepreneurs. It's helpful to set a series of short deadlines because it's relatively easy to tell ourselves that we can commit to something for 30, 60, or 90 days. When we feel burned out halfway through the process, we can quickly tell ourselves that we're close enough to the deadline to keep pushing forward.

Give yourself the tools you need to accelerate your success like never before. Check out the insights, tactics and actionable strategies from today's top entrepreneurs at AES Nation.

About the Author:

John Bowen is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of, a rapidly growing community of entrepreneurs dedicated to accelerating their success while making a difference in the world. Five days a week, he hosts the Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success podcast featuring revealing, in-depth interviews with today's leading entrepreneurs.

2017 © Early to Rise Publishing – All Rights Reserved

The Power Of Resilience

by Wes Hopper

"Any time we feel misunderstood, misused, neglected, suspicious, afraid, we are spending our thoughts and wasting our time. Whenever we assume the feeling of being what we want to be, we are investing!"
 - Neville Goddard

I think this quote today is an amazingly simple insight with a very powerful payoff. All of us, at times in our lives, have fallen for the negative feelings of self-pity that like to show up when things don't go well. Goddard has nailed the problem that self-pity causes.

We're wasting our capital, our self-esteem capital! Just like any other savings account, we build up through positive thinking and actions a reservoir of self confidence and motivation that powers us to move forward. That's what keep us going when things take longer or are more difficult than we expected.

If we don't have that capital in reserve, we can find ourselves discouraged and defeated when things don't go our way. We need resilience, which the dictionary defines as "possessing the power of quick recovery."

The best, and funniest, depiction of resilience is the character Inigo Montoya in the movie "The Princess Bride." He just keeps coming back - again and again and again! He's an example of what can be done with a large supply of motivation and self-esteem.

Get in touch with what's important to you and build your motivation and self-esteem around that. Fill yourself with assurances that you CAN do what needs to be done. Assume the feeling inside that you can and will do what you want to accomplish. And then you will!

Source: Daily Gratitude

Keeping On-Course

by Jim Stovall

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you become extremely frustrated with your progress toward your goal. There are days when you seem to be making incredible strides, and nothing can stop you. Then, there are those days when your best efforts seem to take you nowhere. That is the time to “stay the course.”

Farmers know what it’s like to plant a seed and see no progress for weeks at a time. Then, all of a sudden, a plant pops up through the soil, and hope is renewed. Sailors know what it’s like to stare at the distant horizon for days on end with no apparent progress. Then, without warning, land is spotted, and the destination looms ahead.

Each of us has this same dilemma to face on a daily basis; however, unlike the farmer who knows the crop will grow because it did last year and the sailor who knows his voyage is at an end because he has been this way before, you and I have no tangible landmarks.

Sometimes the only points we have are our starting point and our destination. We don’t get a report in the mail saying, “You are now halfway toward your goal.” The wonderful thing about our life goals is that while progress seems to be delayed or non-existent, your efforts are causing things to work behind the scenes that will allow you a quantum leap toward your destiny.

Remember all the times in your life when things were not coming together, but you kept on trying. Then, out of nowhere, you meet the key person, discover the missing element, or find the shortcut you have been looking for. Those magical moments happen only when you “stay the course.”

You are closer than you think to success. Just like the farmer who has planted the seed or the sailor who has started his voyage, you will reach your destination if you just keep going. Even though there are days when your goal seems a million miles away. For the farmer, the sailor, or you and me, every day of the journey is critical. They all add up to your success.

Remember, what you do today will bring you one day closer to where you want to be—whether you are able to recognize it at this time or not. Keeping the faith today is the price we pay and, as always, today’s that day!

About The Author:

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.

Source: Wisdom for Winners, A Millionaire Mindset


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