Category Archives: holy habits

Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #10)

Carlos Santana, famous Latin American rock guitarist, once said, “Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life as a victim of my habits.  As we think about the holy habits that we must work on, we’ve seen nine which I’m focusing on.  Your list might be different than mine, but most of the ones I’ve mentioned, it seems to me, ought to mark every believer in Jesus.

Let me review the nine briefly before I talk about the tenth.  I need to be into God’s Word on a daily basis and I need to give myself to a life of serious prayer!  I need to work on an attitude of thankfulness and pursue the discipline of solitude with the Lord.  I want to share Jesus with others and grow in my understanding of how to be a true friend.  I want to be quick to forgive and be marked by a spirit of submission to the Lord.  I know I need to be more willing to apologize when I’ve wronged someone.

The tenth habit that I’m working on is regularly taking stock of where I am in my Christian walk.  This kind of self-diagnosis has its limits, but I need to ask myself if I’m making any progress in the set of habits we’ve discussed.  The philosopher William James put it this way:  “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.”  We are certainly much more than “mere walking bundles of habits,” but we are not less.  Our habits show our hearts.

Asking myself how I’m doing is a step in the right direction.  Asking others how I’m doing is risky and painful, but will give me issues to work on!  We all know the fruit of the Spirit, right?  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  These are virtues which may be adopted into our lives — and worked on!  Asking myself, how am I doing when it comes to, for example, self-control, is a habit that keeps me from acting like a victim and making a lot of excuses!


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Posted by on January 10, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life (Habit #9)

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” The great theologian John Wayne said, “Never apologize, mister. It’s a sign of weakness.”  But is it, really?

Apparently, after John Lennon made his unfortunate statement about Christianity (“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now . . .”), he followed it up later by saying, ““I wasn’t saying whatever they’re saying I was saying. I’m sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still don’t know quite what I’ve done. I’ve tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I’m sorry.”

There’s a lot of confusion about apologizing, don’t you think?  Someone named Mark Matthews said, “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”  I don’t know — whenever I apologize it usually means I’m admitting I was wrong in my words or my actions or my attitude.

This is the ninth habit I’m working on — the necessity of the practice of apologizing.  It’s always painful for me.  I do want to value a relationship more than my ego.  Asking forgiveness puts one in a vulnerable position in which the other person might well choose not to forgive.

Jesus says in Matthew 5: 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  How important is apologizing?  Getting reconciled with another brother or sister?  Admitting one’s offense and trying to straighten things out?  Important enough to interrupt one’s worship of the living God!  Does a habit get more important than that?

May I suggest this includes also apologizing to those who are not yet Jesus-followers?  The more friendships we have with those not yet in God’s family means the more occasions we will have to disappoint them, hurt them, offend them.  And those become opportunities to admit our wrongs, to ask for their forgiveness, and to respond in a godly way (even if they choose not to forgive).  Allow the chinks in your Christian armor to show.  You are not yet perfect and neither am I.  So, apologize already!  (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 9, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life (Habit #8)

My paternal grandmother had a nasty habit. She chewed tobacco and had a real spittoon! We grandkids would go to hug her and she would turn her head and have to spit into her spittoon. Disgusting habit.

I’m sure I have some disgusting habits too! If we are asking the question, what holy habits should I incorporate into my life?, we could also ask, what disgusting habits should be replaced by those holy habits?

Let’s review briefly. If I’m spending serious time reading the Word of God, that is replacing the habit of not paying attention to what He has given in the Scriptures. If I am praying as I ought, that replaces the disgusting habit of trusting myself to meet my own needs. If I am seeking to develop a continual thankfulness for all the Lord is doing in my life, that certainly replaces any sense of self-accomplishment and ungodly independence. If I am pursuing a healthy habit of solitude, that means I’m replacing the habit of simply being by myself as an introvert. If I am intentionally looking for opportunities to share Jesus with others, that replaces the habit of putting my own interests before His. If I am trying to be a better friend to others, that means I am working hard at being a friend of sinners like Jesus was. That replaces a long-standing practice by Christians of only being with the redeemed, Beloved! If I am trying to be quick to forgive, that certainly replaces my natural tendency to keep score of offenses done against me!

An eight habit that I’m working on a spirit of submission. What I mean is best illustrated by the picture of my two hands, palms up, lifted to heaven. This expresses my willingness to do whatever the Lord calls me to do.

This habit differs greatly from the WHATEVER of our culture that doesn’t care what happens or has no interest in doing the will of God. When a teen sneers, “Whatever!”, we older adults cringe at the apparent lack of concern for what is important. My WHATEVER ought to flow from a heart that says, “Lord, I’m yours and I will do what You want me to do. I’ll go where you want me to go. You’re in charge. What’s my assignment today?” (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 8, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life (Habit #7)

We are discussing habits that help us in holiness. How do I measure my holiness? Well, I need to ask if I am saturating myself in the Word of God, the primary tool of God the Holy Spirit to make me more like Jesus.

I also need to ask, what is my commitment to prayer? Do I only pray for my own needs — or am I laboring in prayer for others?

Am I thankful for the Lord, for His people, for my present circumstances in which I am to serve Him? Scripture says we are to be thankful IN everything not FOR everything (I Thes. 5:18). We read, “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV). We are not to call evil good and when evil things come into our lives, we are not to give thanks for them, but to ask the Lord’s help as we respond IN that situation.

I enjoy spending time alone with . . . myself. Spending time alone with the Lord takes intentionality — and I need to work at that.

Witnessing and developing true friendships are two other habits which I need to focus on daily.

A seventh habit I’m working on is being quick to forgive. This is one of the toughest of the bunch! I’ve been helped here by John Bevere’s book The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense. Bevere writes: “Many are unable to function properly in their calling because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their full potential. Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt them.”

Forgiveness is a huge topic, but the Word of God is clear that we must forgive others.  We read in Matthew 6 the following: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Yes, I can continue to harbor a grudge, take offense, refuse to forgive someone else.  But that is contrary to God’s Word and His will.  Forgiveness does not necessarily equal reconciliation.  And it certainly doesn’t mean we are to put ourselves in the same situation where we can be hurt again.  But in my heart I have to forgive them!

The story is told about Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. One day Clara was reminded of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before.  But she acted as if she had never heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked.  “No,” came Clara’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Whom do you need to forgive?  (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in the Christian Life (Habit #6)

If a habit is simply a discipline practiced over and over, I have a lot of them! Some of them are good habits; some not so much. How about you?

We are sometimes described as creatures of habit. Do our habits help us in our moving ahead spiritually — or hinder us?

I want to get better at spending time in God’s Word, at praying, and at developing an attitude of gratefulness. I find it easy to spend time alone with the Lord and I really want to share the Lord with others.

A sixth habit that most believers need to work on is developing friendships. Both with members of the family of God and with unbelievers.  I love the quote that says, “True friendship is when you walk into their house and your WiFi connects automatically.”  Plutarch’s statement is very practical: “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”

God’s Word has much to say about friendship.  Notice these verses from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 12:26
The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 22:24–25
 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.

Proverbs 27:5-6
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Developing genuine friendships demands TIME!  We must invest in the lives of others, asking them about their lives, their joys, their challenges.  And then we must listen to what they tell us.  I love the C.S.Lewis quote when he says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  Please share below one aspect of your discipline of developing friendships.  (to be continued)




Posted by on January 6, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #5)

In these posts we are asking what habits have I found helpful in my maturing process as a believer. Reading God’s Word, spending time in prayer, developing an attitude of gratefulness, and being alone with Him are vital to my daily walk.

A fifth habit that I’m working on is being ready to witness to others. I know. I know. Witnessing seems to be such a burden, such an opportunity to embarrass oneself. So how can we take the sting out of sharing Jesus with others?

Here are a few considerations that have helped me. First, I need to remind myself that I am on a mission for the Lord. In John 17 Jesus makes it clear that He has sent us into the world to represent Him. Not to witness is clear disobedience to the continuance of His mission!

Second, I am slowly learning that every person has a story to tell and they just need to know that someone will listen! If we are willing to spend time with others and we let them know we will listen to them, they will begin to open up and share their lives with us. Evangelism by strafing (like a combat plane over an enemy encampment) is not witnessing.

When they know we will listen to their story, there will be places where we can carefully insert gospel truth. Some of these conversations may seem fruitless (like listening for a half an hour to one friend complain about the cost of shingling her house), but they are investments in long-term relationships!

Inevitably those who share their stories with us will begin to ask us questions. And it’s a whole lot easier to witness when we’re being asked questions, right?

In our next post I want to talk about a topic many of us need to really work hard at — the topic of basic friendship! But let me ask you — whose story are you going to listen to today?

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry . . .” (James 1:9)

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #4)

“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” (Dr. Rob Gilbert)

“In the lowest moments of my life, the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink anymore if I was dead.” (Eric Clapton)

“Blessed is the man who can set aside all distraction . . . Act with courage, for habit is broken by habit.” –Kempis

We are asking the question in these posts, how can I move ahead as a believer in Jesus? What practices ought to mark my life and help me grow?  I’ve talked briefly about reading God’s Word, praying, and being thankful A fourth habit that really helps me is drinking coffee in the morning.

No, seriously, a fourth habit is spending time alone with the Lord. I try to do that every morning (with coffee) and it is a very vital part of my new day.

I’m an introvert, so spending time alone is a welcome activity for me. I can be alone in the car driving for hours, take a long walk by myself, or just sit and read a book for a serious chunk of time. I’m not really energized by a lot of people, although I want to be social and to spend time with others. Especially if they are offering me coffee.

My daughter Amy is also an introvert.  She recently sent me a picture of a t-shirt she thinks we ought to wear.  I can identify with that t-shirt.

The practice of solitude is an important one.  It might be easier for introverts than for extroverts.  But I need that alone time for the health of my soul.

Spending time alone with the Lord in quietness or in reading His Word is a discipline.  One has to get to bed at a decent hour if that alone time is going to happen in the morning.

Jesus said in Mark 6:31 to His disciples:  “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”  I heard one preacher put it this way:  “Jesus said, ‘Come ye apart and rest awhile lest ye come apart!'”  (to be continued)



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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #3)

“Just read your Bible — and pray!” This was the advice given to me when I was first saved. And, to a large extent, that was great advice!

But the Christian life involves more than (but not less than) reading God’s Word and praying. I’m not at all sure I’ve mastered those two habits, but I’m working on them.

A third habit that really helps me is to practice a spirit of thankfulness. This might seem like an odd “discipline,” but it is certainly biblical. We read in Romans 1 that our default setting is unthankfulness:  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” My foolish heart gets darkened when I stop being thankful.

For me this is a several-times-a-day habit. I’ll say to myself, “List five things you thank the Lord for. Right now!” It’s not all that hard to do. I’m still vertical (alive). I’ve got a great wife. I’m getting opportunities for significant ministry. We’ve been given six wonderful grandkids.  I actually have people reading my blog! You get the picture.

We glorify God with thanksgiving (Ps. 69:3). We are to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4). In fact, we are to overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:7 says that we are to be “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”) I don’t quite understand how I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thes. 5:18), but I believe it and I want to practice it! When it comes to joking around (which I like to do), Paul commands in Ephesians 5:4 the following: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” And then my prayer life ought to help me with my anxiety and worry, for Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6).

Is this a holy habit you want to cultivate?  Then I thank God for you and pray for you to take steps toward that discipline! (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 3, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #2)

Pursuing this thing called the Christian life isn’t a piece of cake. It challenges us to the very core of our being. Our priorities, our schedules, our habits get reorganized and recallibrated.

My first holy habit is spending time in God’s Word. Just reading it. Pondering it. Taking a few notes on what I’m seeing in the Bible.

A second holy habit will not surprise anyone. Prayer. Yes, prayer. I’m not good at praying. My problem is that I often look at prayer as a passive activity, a last resort, a failsafe when everything else (all my efforts) have failed.

What a pathetic view of talking to the Lord! We are to pray without ceasing. In the KJV that expression is used four times: We read in Acts 12:5 that the early church responded to Peter’s being put in jail by praying without ceasing for him. The Apostle Paul showed his love for the Roman believers when he says in Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers . . .” Paul commands in I Thessalonians 5:17 that believers ought to “pray without ceasing.” And in 2 Timothy 1:3 Paul writes, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day . . .”

My wife Linda thought as a little child that the verse read, “Pray without sea-sicking.” I do become a bit nauseous when I look at my poor prayer life. How about you? (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in holy habits


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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life (Habit #1)

The Christian walk isn’t easy, is it?  There are temptations all around to settle for less than an energetic, focused, committed, joyful pursuit of the Lord and the things of the Lord.  Spiritual lethargy and status quo living are the default for many who are, nevertheless, genuinely saved.

What holy habits ought to mark the serious believer?  Let me tackle this subject from a personal point of view.  These practices are helping me to stay enthused about the Word of God and eager to put into practice what He is teaching me.

The first practice, for me, is a daily time in the Word.  This, of course, shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I need His Word as much as I need my next lungful of air.  After our house fire in 2003, Linda and I both felt that His Word needed to have a much more significant role in our lives.  We now consider the Word of God our spiritual oxygen.

So many of us live off second-hand sermons and Bible studies done by others,  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe we need authoritative teaching of the Word of God that comes from His messengers.  But where am I getting into the Word of God, the BIble, for myself?

I’m a big believer in what is called unit-reading.  Unit-reading a book of the Bible means reading it through in one sitting!  Really!  Not all of the 66 books of the Bible should be read that way, but most can.  And should.  I’ve done that on my blog as you can see if you go to:

We’re so fortunate to have the Bible in so many formats.  My wife uses the Two-Year Bible.  I’ve used the One-Year Bible for years.  I think someone should produce a One-Week Bible!  You’ve got one week to read the entire Word of God!  Wow.  That would be a test.

May I ask you, my friend, how’s your Bible reading?  A daily time in the Word is a holy habit you will not regret developing!

Scripture:  Jeremiah 15:16- “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”




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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in holy habits, Uncategorized


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