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Game Plan: The Philippians 4:8 Guide to Better Thinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PHILIPPIANS 4:8 GAME PLAN

A Guide for Better Thinking

 

Dan Robb

2017

All Scripture quotations are from the NIV

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

 

To my wonderful and supportive wife Heidi and my friend Tom Jarrett the world lost an amazing person in 2016.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

I could not have completed this book without the help of some awesome people. Thank you to Josh Bissell for the hard work on the cover. I have to give a huge thanks to Chuck Abbott and Charlie Abbott for reading and rereading my work and providing vital feedback. Also a thank you to all the students at Hill Country Bible Church, you all were a major reason I decided to do this project. Lastly thank you to my wife, Heidi, for always supporting my dreams.

 

 

Sign up for more free content and future free books at

www.danrobbwrites.com

 

 

This book should be used as a springboard to help people receive better results in their lives. The more it is used is the more empowered the individual will be for change. I used the game plan on myself and it transformed my marriage, relationships, and career. My prayer is that it would enhance your life as well. Thank you.

 

The pre game speech

 

 

This book should be used as a springboard to help anyone receive better results in their lives. The more it is used the more empowered the individual will be for change. I used the game plan on myself and it transformed my marriage, relationships, and career. My prayer is that it would enhance your life as well. We have to do the work if we want to win in life. I hope and pray this book will be a blessing in your life. Thank you.

 

 

 

The Kickoff

 

Sports tend to bring out the competitive side in me as it does with most people. It is difficult not to get emotionally involved when your favorite team is winning or losing. You might even find yourself yelling at the TV while your guests stare at you in disbelief. I was in my first year as the Offensive Coordinator for a local high school football team in Costa Mesa, California. I relished game days, because all the hard work, drudgery of the off-season, and preparation would finally pay off once the ball was kicked off.

 

We were up against Calvary Chapel and it was a game I wanted to win every year because that school played upper classmen against my school’s pure freshman squad. I understood Calvary’s reasons behind playing upper classmen, because they did not have a Junior Varsity team. However, I always made the game personal, because if my squad could compete and win then it would boost the players’ confidence going forward.

 

Calvary jumped out to a commanding 14 to 0 advantage however my team hung around and managed to pull close by tacking on 10 points. In the final minute of the game we were driving on Calvary in their territory, with zero time outs left. To compound matters there was no scoreboard clock, therefore the officials had to keep track of time and let us know how much was remaining after each play.

 

I was told we had 10 seconds therefore my quarterback launched a pass toward the sideline. Our star player jumped to catch the ball, but the defensive back arrived before the ball did. It was obvious. Plus the defensive player did not even bother to glance back to play the pigskin. A penalty should have been called, and we should have been given one more play. One more chance that was all we needed.

 

Nevertheless, the pass fell helplessly to the ground and the ref signaled game over and the Calvary fans and sideline erupted in shouts of joy. I stood there stunned and silent for a minute, staring at the spot the penalty occurred. The game was over, but not for me. I marched over to the referees, who were scurrying away like rats fleeing rising water on a ship. I remained reasonably calm in the face of the tired referee and said, “That was face-guarding. It should have been a penalty.” A stout referee with a mustache hung his head and opened his mouth to apologize, but an older, referee interrupted the other, and “The game is over you had your chance.”

 

This senior referee’s dismissiveness concerning his mistake annoyed me. I persisted, “You missed a blatant call.”

 

He raised a waging bony finger saying, “Look sonny the game is over. If you don’t like the score then you should have done something about it during the game.” They stomped off and I stood there holding my clipboard. I picked my jaw off the ground and jetted to my players. My heart sank for my players they did their best even though we came up short.

 

The referee was correct, as a game does not come down to one play. Even when a game is close and appears to come down to one play, there were still many plays that led up to that significant one, which could have transformed the outcome. In a game there are plays to be made every second, as much as we may want to shout at a referee on TV for missing a call our team could have done something on their end at some point in any given game to divert the outcome. Players and coaches are not held hostage by referees’ whistle.

 

Life is much like a sports game. When the clock hits zero our time is gone on this earth. Therefore, it is imperative that we have a game plan for our lives and how we live, because few people truly live remarkable lives. A huge part of our game plan for life should include what we think about, because it has been said that we have on average over 60,000 thoughts a day. Whew! That is a lot of thinking that goes on. Therefore, this should behoove us to be proactive in the way and what we ponder in every day living.

 

Our thinking is founded upon our experiences, circumstances, relationships, and education. This little book sets forth a game plan for a person’s thoughts, which will impact their actions and habits. If we choose to ignore this important aspect then we should not expect remarkable results. It has been said by someone (maybe Albert Einstein or Ben Franklin or someone else) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. I realize that quote was a reflection of most of my life. We can either use our thoughts for positive results or be used by them for the same old results. This book was created to be a game plan for lasting change through thinking.

 

The bible verse Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” The verse was and is a godsend to me and I hope that it will also be a blessing to you.

 

 

 

FIRST HALF

 

Chapter I

 

I am not a good cook, which is putting it mildly. I did work in a restaurant growing up in Indiana; however, I was always following a recipe. I can remember it once took me an hour to make minute rice. Okay that was a bit of an exaggeration, yet there is a smidgen of truth to it.

 

We had certain dinner staple nights in my house and while my older brothers and sister found excuses to get out of the meal I was always stuck. We had spam night on Tuesdays and Bean Soup on Thursdays. I still shudder at the thought of bean soup and it is why I probably never eat pinto beans to this today. I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished or was close enough to finishing the meal. I would sit there at the table in silence staring at the meal sometimes for hours after as if it was a gunfight at the O.K. corral. “There are hungry kids in Africa,” my mom would say from the living room. However, I was almost positive that if I sent those kids the bean soups that, they would mail it right back.

 

My defiance at the dinner table set the stage for my lack of cooking prowess. My bad experience did not propel or motivate me to desire to be a chef, but led me to avoid the opportunity whenever humanly possible. It was the reason why I so often settled for fast meals from a clown. Often I have found that as I look into my past, I find that there are a whole host of negative experiences that I have allowed to shape my present.

 

I was frustrated for most of my life until I came to Philippians 4:8. The verse is not just a verse, but offers a way of life. It is a way to live life and the way to be fulfilled in career, family, and relationships. I had to memorize it in bible college, but had forgotten about the verse and the power that it could have. It was only when I decided to analyze the passage that I started to understand what it meant and how it could potentially transform me.

There is much that influences everyone today through media, friends, professors, coworkers, circumstances, and much more. I have found that if I do not prepare my mind then my day has a way of putting its influence into my life. If you do not put anything into your head then the world has a great way of doing that for you. If you wake up and grab your coffee as you rush out the door without preparing for the day then you can leave yourself open for other people’s opinions, situations to influence how to think, feel, and even act. It is a terrible way to live, and I know from experience.

 

A driver cuts in front as you sit in rush hour traffic and we feel the temptation to raise our fist, anger pulsating through our veins. A fellow employee leans over your cubicle and starts complaining about how the boss needs them to work the weekend and at the end of the conversation you are nodding in agreement about how unfair the boss is acting. Then we get into our car to go home and all of a sudden the once promising day is now one that is filled with frustration, anger, and bitterness, and the cherry on top is we must fight more traffic to get home.

 

However, life does not have to operate this way it can be dramatically different for anyone if they take the time to study and then apply Philippians 4:8. This little book was created to be a game plan for change in anyone’s life. I used this process in my life and it worked for me and I know that it can for anyone willing to try it. No matter where you are in life this little book can put things into perspective and enable you to face the day and anything life throws your way. I pray it will be a blessing to you as it was for me.

 

Philippians 4:8,Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is [*anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”]

 

Philippians is a book in the bible about joy and specifically the joy in serving Jesus. Paul writes the letter from a prison cell yet he was able to find joy in one of the worst environments. Although to understand Philippians 4:8, we should first examine 4:6 [* “][*Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”]

 

Anxiety over anything and everything was something that had plagued me for most of my life. The anxiety gained power throughout the years and even led to a panic attack while driving through Nashville on the 65 interstate. A sense of dread and terror washed over me as I edged through the downtown. My heart pounded wildly and my palms were sweaty as cars zoomed past. The passing cars got close and I gripped the steering wheel like a vice grip. My mind filled with thoughts of crashing, worry, and failure. My speed went from the 65 mph to 40 mph and I coasted to the nearest exit. In the midst of the attacks I would feel as though my head were in a fog and I was unable to escape the feelings of failure. The walls were slowly closing in on me and I was trapped. I never experienced anything like that before and yet it became apart of my everyday living. In the years since I made it a practice to avoid certain freeways and tall bridges, because the panic was too consuming. I did not know what to do, but understood that this was no way to live.

 

Over the years I heard sermons on how you should trust God and then all of your problems would go away. Pastors would that all you need to do is “let go and let God”. The “let go” was of any feeling or tension and then give that to God to handle. The dilemma with this strategy was that I would still worry and fret over problems in my life. I would take notes during sermons and listen closely and in the moment felt as if I could conqueror the world, but upon leaving the church I would find myself stuck back in that same moment on the Nashville freeway. When I first read Philippians 4:6, it was like a breath of fresh air to my tortured soul. However, as the years clicked by I still found myself in the midst of panic attacks.

 

My wife and I moved to Austin, Texas in 2013 and the anxiety followed me from California. No matter how many times I prayed and trusted in God I would find that I was in the same fog every time. I was driving on Interstate 35 when the same feeling of dread clouded my thinking and I knew the panic attack was back and started having another breakdown in the car. I did not understand what was “wrong” with me. There had to be an answer other than going on medication (I do understand that many suffer with anxiety and they should consult their physician for any issues).

 

My thoughts came back to Philippians 4:8 and as I read it I started to notice words that leaped off the page.

 

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—meditate (think) about such things.”

 

When I investigated the words I realized for the first time that there was a great wealth and depth to them. I created my own plan to “think on these things,” I began watching my behavior, thoughts, and life change took root in my soul before my eyes and even my wife was surprised by the transformation. Please do not be misled it was a daily time out I took to implement “these things.” There was no quick fix or try this once to get these results.

 

Commit to taking time daily to set your thoughts and spend time with God. After a few weeks my wife saw the effort coming to the surface in my actions. I make it a point that no matter how busy or lack of sleep I have that is not an excuse to miss the morning set aside time. I realize it is difficult with life events, however, we get out of this life what we put in it and the same is true of our minds.

 

The Play calls: These Things

 

In many sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer there is a strategy to the game. The coach will often attempt to exploit the weakness of the opponent through the type of play calling. It could be a bunt situation in baseball with the runner at first base eyeing second to steal, because the catcher may not possess a strong arm to throw them out. In football it might be an overly aggressive defense and thus the offensive coordinator calls a screenplay in order to cease the advantage.

 

A bad play call can make the difference between a positive and negative outcome. Often we allow negative thinking and harmful paradigms to prevent us from going forward and being the person Christ created us to be. Below are the plays to call to our minds in order to experience transformation.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. True: What is Truth? Pilate asked that same question to Jesus however Pilate did not realize he was speaking with the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). The Truth is Jesus, but more specifically the Gospel or Good News about Jesus’ message of love to us through His death and resurrection on the cross.

 

However, let’s take this a step further and consider the truth of what God thinks of us. Often what blocks us are the lies floating around in our heads. We believe the lies and thus give them the power in our lives to control us. When the reality is that God has set us free. An example of this would be, “I could never do that…” Why not? When those words come out of our mouths or are repeated in our heads, we should ask ‘why not?’ Asking ‘why not?’ puts it on your brain to come up with a legitimate reason. Often there is not a decent reason and the statement falls. If your brain shoots back an answer that is legitimate like ‘yes do not go swimming with sharks because they might eat you,’ that is a good reason.

 

We carry an entire belief system about us that could be an inaccurate picture. People might consider themselves as unattractive and thus there is no confidence to go after or entertain the thought of dating. Therefore, we should check our thinking by questioning it to make sure we are not sabotaging ourselves.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Noble: This term is used to describe honorable character. This word is closely related with the Greek word for “holy” and thus means sacred or immaculate. Something that is noble is worthy of respect, majestic, and awe-inspiring.

 

I am reminded of Terry Shell, a gentleman who attended the church I grew up in. I noticed in church that Terry always held his wife’s hand. They were always together, carrying a smile across their faces. They had been married for many years and yet still after all the time together showed a genuine love and respect for one another. In observing them I came to the conclusion that I wanted a marriage that resembled something similar.

 

I was able to interview Terry for a Marriage class I was taking in college. He said, that their marriage was not always this way, however, he made certain choices to correct where they were heading and in an about-face he changed directions. The change enhanced his relationship with his wife and redirected the course of his life. His noble example was an inspiring lesson to me.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Right: Often what happens is that it becomes easy to think on the wrong “type” of behavior rather than the correct. The behavior we tend to think or set our eyes on is what we reflect in our lives. What is going on the inside always mirrors our outside. This is what I believe Paul is referring to in Romans 7 when he says he does the thing he does not want to do. But what if we could choose the way we think instead of allowing circumstances, feelings, media, and people to do our thinking then we should be writing a different story.

 

Paul grew up and was in a religious system based on performance, which is the backdrop of Romans 7. He strove and strived in the Jewish rigorous system of works. While he succeeded in many ways, he was also left wanting. There are two interesting verses in this context:

 

Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.”

 

Romans 8:2, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.”

 

What is Paul saying? Through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection we are free to live for God. Free from what? Sin. In Romans 7:25, Paul explains the dilemma by saying in his mind he serves God’s law, but in his nature he serves sin. Where does that statement fit in to our discussion? We cannot serve two masters. Therefore, we cannot leave room for both of them. There is a popular story about Cortez landing in Mexico and how he burned his ships (who knows if the legend is true). The point of the story is that, Cortez left no room to go back. He was going forward regardless of success. There was no place for defeat. There was no safety net. I believe and recognize in my own life that I have far too often been my own worst enemy.

 

We have the ability to do what is “right.” It goes back to what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:8, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What are the qualities? Check these amazing verses below:

 

2 Peter 1:5-7, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;[* ]and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;[ *]and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

 

We are saved through faith alone in Christ alone (John 3:16); however, we must add certain characteristics to our faith. They are: 1. Goodness, 2. Knowledge, 3. Self-Control, 4. Perseverance, 5. Godliness, 6. Mutual affection (or Brotherly Kindness). And 7. Love. I will expand upon these characteristics in another book, but the important element to note is that we must add these qualities to our lives. They are not just a given. God gives us the ability to live for Him, but we must add to our faith.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Pure: The word is used in connection with the Temple and whatever had been sanctified was considered “pure.” Proverbs 15:26 says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.” The comparison is between the impurity of the thoughts of the wicked and the pure gracious words. Whatever is pure has to do with whatever is not “tainted.”

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Lovely: This has to do with whatever people consider “lovable,” in the sense of having a friendly disposition toward. Another way to translate it would be “everything that we love.” This does not necessarily have to do with something that is considered Christian. It could involve the people, family, and relationships we love or even our pets.

 

The word has little to do with morality, but those around us revere the actions. Hence, it could be music, family, a book, or art. It could be going to a soup kitchen and feeding the homeless or providing an encouraging word to someone.

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. Admirable: This word represents our behavior that is spoken well by others. This is about what reputation I want others to think about me. Should I be a man after God’s heart, or someone who would take advantage of people if given the opportunity? We are either an example or a lesson in this life. Our life is an example of how to live or a lesson on what not to do. It is our choice.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Praiseworthy: It means conduct that is pleasing to God. Attitude is a huge part of this. The Israelites in the Old Testament days tested God when they were in the desert traveling to the Promised Land, because people would complain and grumble. They would forget how terrible their old circumstances were as slaves and instead talked about how excellent those times were. Praise should play a major role in us, because it transforms our attitude, which leads to better choices and actions.

 

We reflect the image of God through our thinking and actions. Our thoughts become our actions. Therefore, we must guard our thoughts or else we will reap what we sow.

 

Most of these “things” that Paul provides are actions that others observe in us. Again the more I think on things the more we will witness them bubbling to the surface in our actions.

 

Time Out: Meditate on These Things

 

We live in a culture that thrives on the art of being busy. Many people live full lives with both spouses working, sports with children, and keeping everyone’s schedule squared is difficult. If we are to implement “these things” in our lives then we will need to take a time out in our lives. There is an allotted amount of time outs given to each team in certain sports. The coach uses these time outs to correct, encourage and inspire the team to play better in the game. We can do the same in our lives, by taking a time out when and if we find ourselves in a stressful situation.

 

I would like to invite you to begin taking time outs in your life. You may take several during the day if you wish. A time out can be as long as five to ten minutes or as short as a minute depending on your schedule and demands. The time out is your time with God. They are opportunities for you to get yourself back into the game of life. Life throws curve balls and the circumstances on the field can be strenuous and you may feel your patience diminishing. Take a time out to follow the advice of Philippians 4:8 and think on these things. Below we will explore how you may “think on these things.”

Meditation is a word, which in our culture might make Christians cringe, because it is so closely associated with Eastern Religions. However, the Lord admonished Joshua to meditate on the book of the Law in order to have good success. In Joshua 1:8 meditate means to “ponder,” “think,” but also to “murmur.” What does that even mean? Well it is to go over and over in your mind regarding something, someone, or a place.

 

I can remember the first time I had my heart broken by a girl in college and I was stunned repeatedly saying, “how could this happen.” It was a rough day and even rougher for my roommates, who had to listen and console me. I found myself muttering things to myself throughout the days, and hours as I attempted to get over it.

 

Another way to look at it would be like the way cows eat grass. A cow has four compartments in their stomachs, which is amazing. If a cow is chewing grass in one part of the field and remembers how awesome the grass was earlier that day then he can regurgitate that grass and chew on it (disgusting I know) more in order to get all the nutrients out of it. The same way God tells Joshua to meditate on his word in order that he would be successful in conquering the land.

 

Therefore, the not so secret of my personal transformation was rooted in my thoughts. The way I thought even about myself was a huge problem and it produced the results that I received in my life. I made a list of the seven words that Philippians 4:8 mentions for us to “think on” and then wrote down what those things were in my life. Then I made it a habit to think about (meditate) on them. When a situation would arise where I could be stressed or worried I turned to those on that list and thought on those things. It was amazing how my thoughts were elevated to a better place.

 

It did not happen over night, but with God’s grace and a little work I was able to use this verse with success.

 

Your Play Calls

Create your own list

 

Write it out on a separate piece of paper or 3×5 card or here in this book. Get creative and have fun with it. Ask yourself what would you like to see more of in your life and put it through the filter of Philippians 4:8. It is ultimately your choice. If there were no road blocks in your life then what kind of person would you be?

 

 

1.

 

 

 

2.

 

 

3.

 

 

 

4.

 

 

 

5.

 

 

6.

 

 

7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have your list, carry it with you always. Put in your pocket, purse, or backpack. When the time comes and you are in need then pull out your card. Run through the things to think on. We all stumble and fall, and it is God’s grace that lifts us up. However, we should understand that He desires us to grow in our walk with Him. We posses the freedom to choose what to think and God will not force us to think a certain way. We already have the ability and capacity to do it.

 

 

SECOND HALF

 

Chapter II

 

Remember the Mental aspect of the game

 

There is a mental game to any sport. In fact, there is an entire industry that is devoted to enabling athletes to perform their best. If an athlete has an awful game or experience then they must guard their thoughts because it can be a slippery slope for them. Many excellent baseball players go through slumps and they are often unable to dig themselves out of the hole. We can be our own worst enemy.

 

Changing my thoughts was my first step. But I took it another step further with how I was thinking of myself versus the way God thought of me. God does not make junk and I lived a long time thinking and believing that I was. Through negative experiences and failures I began to adopt these negative experiences as the truths about me. The more I experienced the more I thought, “That’s just the way I am.” However, the statement, “That’s just the way I am,” is particularly destructive because it leaves no room for change and resigns us to fatalism.

 

Positive thinking is important, however, that will only take us so far. Positive thinking must be accompanied by positive doing otherwise our positive thoughts are not reinforced. My negative thinking was reinforced by failures and enough failures fed off of the destructive thoughts. I was a slave to my thinking unable to live freely to choose.

 

There was a battle waging inside that I never realized existed and it was rearing its ugly head every time I spoke, performed an action, or interacted with people. I was my own worst enemy instead of being my biggest supporter. I hated life and even hated myself. The hatred took the form of thinking and believing that suicide was the best possible route. I never acted on it, but I pondered it. However, it was the influence of a friend, which snatched me out of the jaws of the monster.

 

Through my friendship with a guy named Tom I was encouraged and able to gain confidence to live. His faith in God was contagious and inspiring. I did not feel comfortable until he came along at a critical time, however there was still a lack of confidence to try or finish projects and things I started. I would convince myself that I could not do it. Or I’d pondered that I was not qualified for something. It was my paradigm. A paradigm is a multitude of thoughts that form a way of thinking. I did not leave room for myself to fail as I grew up and consequently I took it as a personal indictment. I was a failure, therefore, why attempt or finish or even try something new.

 

It was not enough to only change my thoughts, I needed to investigate why I thought the way I did and consider the source. My source was my self-image (what I truly believed about me) and it had to be improved in order for my changes to take root and grow. Otherwise I was snapped back into place like a rubber band.

 

All things are possible with God and no person is ever without hope.

 

Now I knew all Bible verses and examples of normal people whom God used to do amazing things, yet I did not believe that He could use me to do anything, because I was constantly failing. What enabled me to take the first step to freedom was realizing and understanding the grace of God. God forgives freely and does not hold a grudge.

 

The next step I took was to forgive myself. This was a difficult part because I had demanded perfection and when I failed I would critique and shame myself for it. I was my own worse enemy. I left no room for growth and learning, which are a massive part of the process of growing up.

 

Therefore, you will need to inspect your life and ask yourself why you are where you are.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Remember God extols His grace lavishly on us. A simple definition of a complex concept like grace is “God’s unmerited favor.” Books upon books have been written about this concept of God’s grace and yet all have truly barely scratched the surface.

How does He extol His grace upon us? Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (The blessing is His grace in action).

 

Also 2 Peter 1:3-4 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Through both of these passages, Paul and Peter are communicating that God has blessed and prepared us for life for living for Him through the Lord’s grace.

 

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul is suffering a physical ailment and instead of healing him, God tells him that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for him. Grace is amazing and God graciously gives it freely to all. In Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus uses the analogy of giving and how a father is not going to give a son a stone when he asks for bread. Jesus lays out several examples similar to this in order to drive home the point that God gives freely good things to those who ask for His grace.

 

Therefore, when we pray, God will respond with good through His graciousness. This is why Philippians 4:6 tells us that we should not be anxious for anything, because our Heavenly Father will provide. Our anxiety is wasted on fears that only give the illusion of being real, but are not.

 

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. See yourself, as God would look upon His creation. To write that it is only in your head is actually an insult and yet much of our actions and thinking is founded upon our inner image. Our thoughts and beliefs are strongly held convictions that we knowingly or ignorantly picked up along the path of life and now are part of who we are. The Game Plan is designed to steer you from the paradigm into freedom, the freedom God has already given us.

 

Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes, because we are not born as experts in everything. Sure, there are some people who appear naturally gifted in certain areas. However, their appearance of comfort is based on much experience and practice. We are going to fail, but it is after we fail that matters.

 

Proverbs 24:16 say, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

 

Even the righteous person fails repeatedly but they get back up. God loves us and wants us to go forward confidently in our journey, therefore, we should be careful not to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Relax. Relaxing is an extremely difficult concept for people today to do on a regular basis. This is especially true of students in high school and college. A whole market has arisen out of helping students prepare for SAT and ACT exams as well as private institutions that will enable students to become math and science wizzes. Students abuse drugs like Adderall in order to gain clarity in order to achieve better grades so that they can land the dream job.

 

I enjoy playing Madden video games and it is a detail orientated game much like an actual NFL one. In the video at the start of the game they have the players warming up and you get to look around the stadium. You are introduced to the commentators of the game, Jim Nance and Phil Simms. The commentators have certain sayings for different plays that occur. One of the sayings of Phil Simms is that players need to relax because then they will play their best. His point is that if you are stressed, worried then you are preventing yourself from being at your peak.

 

This is why Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Peace and stress do not mix, much like oil and water. The more I take my requests to God through prayer the more that I am able to relax. This is what is meant by the cliché saying “Let go and Let God.” Essentially breathe and relax. Now it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do the prepare to or take the test, but it does mean that if you relax and leave it up to God that you are able to do your best.

 

In Philippians 4:8 Paul tells us to think on these things and it is our thinking not our striving and struggling that affects our actions. Thinking creates our actions so therefore we create our stress and environment. A test at school is just a test, not the end of the world even though we may place a huge emphasis what the grade could lead to. However, our life is not doomed if we receive a “C” when we desperately needed an “A” in order to qualify at the college of our dreams. Or maybe we get passed over for a promotion at work when it was obvious how hard we worked putting in long hours. Maybe a presentation is on the horizon and we will soon be in front of many of the corporate elite going over the marketing plan for the year. Anxiety is a killer to us performing and being the best that God created us to be.

 

We are not slaves to our failures, but rather creators of what each of our days will be by choosing our thoughts.

 

If we study and prepare and pray then we can relax. Below are some exercises I use to free myself of anxiety. Remember that God has freed us and it is our choice to live free or live in the prison of our mind.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Practice mentally walking yourself through your day and envision yourself being successful in the best light. You are saying the correct words and gesturing at the appropriate times in conversations. This is highly valuable and important because the more you envision the images the more relaxed you will be when the time occurs. You will be stress-free because you already performed or took the test or connected with the person. You will just do what you already did earlier. The sacrifice of time in order for you to realize your visioning will be well worth the sleep you give up. For everything there is a price to be paid.

 

Often I will imagine people’s response when I speak on Sundays and like clock work I receive the reaction I sought. You might say, ‘Where is God in all of this?’ That is a good question. I ask for His help, but I also dutifully make sure I prepare for the moment.

 

Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

 

The victory is with the Lord, but we still must prepare for the battle. We should prepare for our days, in order to maximize our time on this earth. If I can witness myself doing an action and gaining a positive result then that will grant me the confidence to go and do my best for the Lord. If you doubt this practice then try it out, you have nothing to lose and much to gain.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Ask God for help and believe it to be true. God is good. He wants to give His children good things. Read Matthew 7:7-12 over again if you struggle with believing God to be good. God has your best interest at heart and if you were the only person in the world then Jesus still would have gone to the cross for you. He loves you that much.

 

If we doubt that God will answer then we will be like the double-minded man that James 1 speaks about. Trust Him. Know He has already answered you and proceed forward believing. This can be a struggle, because often we naturally compare our earthly father with our heavenly one. If you did not have a pleasant experience with your earthly father then it is easy to compare the two.

 

Therefore, I suggest that you write out a few scriptures that deal with the goodness of God. Keep those verses on hand at all times as a reminder yourself.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. When a stressful situation does occur and you feel anxiety skyrocketing then pause. Take a deep breath. Think of a relaxing place like an island or a beach or a leisurely walk in a park on a sunny day and put yourself in there. This distraction enables you to release the stress, which causes anxiety.

 

Sure I feel my heart beat when I drive in a given situation, however, I defer my thoughts to pleasant things (Philippians 4:8). I no longer ponder the dread or give my time to thoughts of failure. It takes practice and I’ve had most of my life thinking in a certain way and now it will take work to get out of it. It will for you as well, but God can give you freedom.

 

Ultimately it was my choice to ponder what I did and it is your decision as well. We either control our thoughts or our thoughts control us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overtime

 

Philippians 4:9 [* “*]Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

 

Imitation is not only a form of flattery, but it is also how we learn, grow, and act. Children learn and act from their parents, relatives, and friends. There are also thousands of leadership books, which communicate the value in modeling for others to follow the leader’s actions. Here in the verse Paul tells the church to imitate him because he is the model of Christ that they have seen.

 

Paul laid out for the church in Philippians 4:8 how they should think and in verse nine he explains that he is the model they should follow. He is the one exhibiting those qualities he told them to meditate on. This is key because finding a role model will enable us to add these thoughts faster. When a negative thought pops in my head, I ask if my role model would think that about me and my answer is always no. Then I replace the thought with one that is positive.

 

Is there someone in your life whom you look up to? Find a person you know or have known or even one in the limelight then inspect their life and meet with them if you are able to on a regular basis. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich talks about this concept in the form of a team of counselors you meet. His point in the book is that you will be held accountable and receive ideas as you also help others in your group. It is the concept of iron sharpens iron from Proverbs 27:17.

 

My dad was not present in my life and by the way this is not a sob story but one of the opportunities he gave me to discover and make my own way. My dad’s lack of presence was a blessing not a curse. On a side note, it is all in how you choose to define something in your life. When I was younger I would be upset, dismayed, and angry, but I decided that I would look to people around me and add certain character traits that I respected and admired. I had no one person to be my role model per se, yet there were people portraying the characteristics that I applauded therefore, it was a buffet of qualities that I was able to choose from.

 

When I am faced with troublesome situations the many individuals who have influenced me come to mind and I ask ‘what would so and so do?’ then I understand the direction I must take. Terry Snell inspired me to be a better husband, even though I did not observe my parents having a great marriage. I knew he did therefore, I asked him questions and then filtered my decisions through what I believed he would do. I lost contact with him, but his short period of influence has left lasting positive results.

 

He was a godly man who portrayed Christ in his marriage and therefore, was a model for me to follow. When I face tough decisions or situations in marriage I go back to what he would say to me. He changed my life by his Jesus example. There are and will be people in your life, in fact they may be in your life right now. Ask yourself, “What do I want to be like? What kind of person do I want to be known as?” Asking questions and investigating is an excellent way to learn and grow. It is after all our decision that God graciously gives us on how we want to live.

 

Now Terry Snell did not seek me out, but I sought him, because I wanted to know and needed to add his knowledge in order for me to be a good husband. My point to you is that no one will do it for you. You have to want it and be it. The answer is there, however no one can teach it to you unless you desire it. Earl Nightingale the father of the modern leadership movement said that the secret to life and the knowledge from the countless great men through history is that no one can teach you anything until you are ready for it. That may read like a “well duh” but I cannot remember how many times I had solid people attempt to pour into me and I was obtuse and indifferent.

 

You have to be willing, because God cannot force us to do anything. That is the beauty of it, because it is our freedom to choose. It is your freedom to choose. Find a role model and watch them and yes they may fail, but it is all a learning process even for them. There is no such thing as a perfect role model, but we can learn what we will from them. Their knowledge and characteristics can be a blessing to us.

 

 

Conclusion

 

In my office I have an autographed picture of “The Miracle in Ann Arbor.” In 2015, Michigan State went to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines in an epic football game of the ages. I am a rabid Michigan State fan and even contribute articles to www.spartanavenue.com. I watched most of the game through closed fingers barely covering my eyes. Michigan led almost the entire game except when the clock ticked to zero, it was not the Wolverines hoisting up the Paul Bunyan trophy in the rivalry game. Somehow and someway the Spartans were able to snag a muffed punt in the air and rumble to the end zone for a walk off win in front of a stunned crowd, who were celebrating only moments before.

 

I had missed the play, because the impending loss was too much to handle. Therefore, I did the only reasonable thing and I turned off of the TV. But as soon as I turned it off, I told myself I had to watch it. I flipped it on again and witnessed Jaylen Watts-Jackson sprinting to the goal. I screamed for several minutes like a little kid coming down the stairs at Christmas and seeing all the presents. A team that never led in the game actually won on the last play.

 

Watts-Jackson broke his hip as he dove into the end zone and was tackled by Michigan tight end, Jake Butt. The MSU players dove on top of him celebrating until his moans of pain could be heard. Head Coach Mark Dantonio and players all refer to him as the legend. However, Watts-Jackson does not rest on his laurels he worked just as hard as any other player.

 

The picture reminds me that anything is possible even when it appears that all is against us. The road ahead may seem arduous and unpredictable, however, we must never give up hope or lose our faith because anything can happen. There will be much work to put in, but all the tough labor will be worth it as eventually our thoughts will transform and when that happens our actions will be impacted. Once our actions are repeated we will form habits.

 

I was able to do this over the course of a year. During that time I slowly put together the plan of action and then followed it methodically. True change does not happen over night, it only occurs because the individual desires it and is willing to do whatever it takes. God is gracious and forgiving and enables us, however, it ultimately is our decision each and every day. You are able and the choice is up to you. What will you decide? What will your Play Calls be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Reader,

 

Hi I hope you enjoyed the e-book/book as I had a blast sharing my story with you. If you would like more free e-books and materials then please sign up on my website at www.danrobbwrites.com also if the book was appreciated then please go to Amazon and leave a good review. Thank you so much! If you have questions or want to leave a comment then go to my blog and share it with me. May God bless you and may you know His wisdom and experience His grace in your life.

 

 

Dan Robb

 

 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

Dan Robb is a Student Pastor, author, blogger, and husband. He resides in picturesque Georgetown, Texas with his wife and two dogs. He is available to speak at conferences, camps, business retreats, workshops, and general events. You may contact him for booking at www.danrobbwrites.com. His goal is to be a blessing, bring hope, and value to people.

 


Game Plan: The Philippians 4:8 Guide to Better Thinking

Would you like to have better results in your life? Do you feel that your life is like a revolving door where you continue to make the same decisions with poor results? Does anxiety give you trouble? A few years ago I said yes to all of those questions. I was struggling in my marriage and my career was a disaster. Then God reminded me of Philippians 4:8 in the Bible. I realized that I needed to change the way I think in order to receive better results. I wrote Game Plan because I wanted to share what God used in my life to help people. This 8,000 word booklet is meant to be a starting point for any one searching for a more enhanced life.

  • ISBN: 9781542638166
  • Author: Dan Robb
  • Published: 2017-03-04 02:20:09
  • Words: 8724
Game Plan: The Philippians 4:8 Guide to Better Thinking Game Plan: The Philippians 4:8 Guide to Better Thinking