"For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me" - Job 3:25.

Either you are a believer in this or not. But studies after studies show that our thoughts have a big influence on what happens to us. The reason being that thoughts are catalyst for self-perpetuating cycles. What we think greatly and directly impact our emotion and behavior. Thinking that you are incapable won't make you even try. You will act incapable which feeds on the original thought and reinforces your belief of your incapacity.

Many thoughts are like self-fulfilling prophecies. A person who says to himself every day that he is a failure is likely to become one. He may even end up sabotaging his own effort to succeed. On the other hand, he who reminds himself every day that he's a winner will soon be one too. His positive outlook can affect many things and other people around him who will eventually be instrumental to his success.

People seldom go beyond their own belief of themselves and their future. Even a praying person will have a hard time praying for something they don't believe will happen in the first place. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or cannot, you're right." In other words, what you think is what you get.

Someone said, "Our thoughts create words and our words create worlds." Thoughts and words are reinforcing each other either for good or bad. It may be hard to control our thoughts sometimes but blurting out the words to reinforce them is doubling our chance toward the fulfillment of those mind pictures.

Negative thoughts are landmines along the pathway to being your best. Too often, it's not really our lack of talent or skill that hold us back but our thoughts that we lack the talent and skill. Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you consistently and intentionally nurture positive thoughts and expectations, you paint a picture of future success on the walls of your mind.

I'm sure we have experienced this too often to confirm the truth of the matter. So if we have the chance to influence our future with our thoughts, we may as well paint a good one in our minds all the time. We must be careful with our thoughts as well as our words. But let's not be too carried away by this idea because there are no guarantees that once we think positively, we always win or we are always blessed. A lot of what happens in the future is still in the hands of the Almighty. Nevertheless, the bible reminds us of the same truth.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways" - 1Corinthians 13:11.

As a child I always dreamed of flying. I thought and dreamed about it a lot. Even just in a dream, flying can still be exhilarating.

If imagination can actually create another reality, childish thoughts are actually helpful. Full of innocence, a child has access to a better view of the world. They still see a better version of it than we adults do as our view is already spoiled by reality. But children fantasies can also backfire. They see monsters in every shadow. They think every person who speaks nicely to them are harmless. They can find danger in the safest of things and they can find safety in the most dangerous ones.

But there comes a point in life when a child's innocence is gone and they are forced to confront reality. For a while, there is a felt disconnect of course but it will soon fade as childish thoughts and fantasies are abandoned to be replaced with harsh truth. They then realize that money doesn't come from those wall boxes that they can access anytime with a few press of a button, just as mom does. Instead, money is laboriously earned. They realize that the shoes they are wearing or fantasizing about is actually beyond their capacity to earn and not something that they simply ask their parents to buy for them. But some of our childish thoughts and ways remain and not surprisingly.

Sometimes the problem isn't really whether we want to give up childish ways or not. It's just that the mind doesn't actually age. I'm speaking now from experience. As I'm about to turn senior next month, I have time to contemplate on these things. And I'm sure that as far as my mind goes, I'm as young as I can be. I still want to climb a tree, swim in the river, eat anything like I don't have any care or just have childish fun if I can. These thoughts come from when I was still a teenager and there are times when I actually still believe I could do them. Only my body is reminding me that I'm not young anymore. Sometimes the mind catches up when a wrong physical move suddenly brings me pain or after almost missing my step and fall. Then and only then I realize that I'm old and must give up certain childish fantasies about doing extreme activities or that I already need to make a drastic choice of lifestyle change which covers not just physical activity but most certainly diet. That is if I intend to live longer without suffering from the usual malady of old age.

Even the mind should be forced to adjust with this new reality. Soon, like it or not, it is forced to catch up. The bible talks about seeing things dimly, not for what they really are. Or it can be that it means seeing only partially because our mind still can't grasp the fullness of what things really are or the true reality is still actually hidden. When Apostle Paul talks about this, he was referring to a future that is to come, when we are face to face with God and we see things as He sees, knowing Him directly as He knows us.

This is the future trajectory of life. We will see all of reality and for those who are unprepared for that reality, it may not bode well for them. In the same way that simple reality here on earth can oftentimes shatter our childish, immature or ignorant fantasies, after-life reality can also shatter our eternity. The bible is very clear about this future eternity - about heaven and hell. To remain childish and imagine that heaven is for everybody even without the proper relationship with God is disastrous to say the least. This fantasy is like a bubble that can give us a false sense of safety. But just like a true bubble, this security envelope can burst when confronted with truth that comes after death. And what does one have left when that happens? The harsh reality that some mistakes can't be remedied after a point.

Now is the time to abandon childish things. Now is the time to know the truth and it's all there in the bible. It's not someone else's opinion. It's what God is saying to those who would soon see the true reality as God sees. Only in God's reality is there safety. The rest may feel good now but they are merely childish fantasies that need to be abandoned. And soon.

(Photo credit: Chauburji at nations.com.pk)

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak" - Matthew 12:36.

The Pinoy version of that title is usually, "Atin-atin lang to." And I bet, whenever we hear such introductory sentence, immediately our intrigue juices begins to flow.

Intrigue and gossip will always find its place in any society. There's just something about "secret" or "confidential" things that are hard to keep that way. Perhaps it's because knowing something that's not common knowledge gives that sense of being privileged, in the know, or part of an exclusive clique. As soon as we know something that others don't, we feel special for having the privilege. However, usually it's not just the "secret" that gets passed on. For some reason, the same urge that prompted the person who shared the secret to us is also passed on and we also feel to again share the "secret" to another "privileged" person. And on and on it goes until finally the secret is no longer secret with the added bonus that it also picks up some distortion in details with every transfer.

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"And the Lord said, 'If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed...'" - Luke 17:6.

We know how powerful faith is. The most difficult people to subdue are those who are bound by their faith. Arms, weapons and tyranny may gain some temporary beachheads when fighting against such a people but the victory won't be complete. True faith can't be killed. You can only kill faith if you kill the man. But even from perspective of the most brutal ideology, killing everyone isn't always viable.

Still, faith isn't always enough in most people. Faith can suffer in growth and strength due to doubt. Jesus said that faith can move mountains but we also know that our doubts can create them. Faith goes through peaks and valleys. When life experiences challenges our faith to a point where we can't wrap our finite brains around some event without obvious explanations, faith falters. At its lowest, faith can feel like it's not enough. It's definitely tough to believe when faith is lacking.

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"Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established" - Proverbs 16:3.

Commitment is a broad term, but it generally comes down to dedicating yourself to something for a long time, whether that’s a job, a goal, a city, or a relationship.

The word commitment is a big word, so big that some people are even afraid of it. Fear of commitment result to at least one major loss - seriousness. If a person isn't serious about his romantic relationship, it's because he is afraid of the commitment involved in a serious one. That relationship isn't going anywhere. A worker who isn't committed to his work or profession can't be expected to be serious in his job or task or output. No promotion is expected there. With the loss of commitment and the resulting loss in seriousness, one can expect all possible mediocrity and most likely losses.

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"For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like" - James 1:24.

Our mind being a powerful thing can both be a good or a bad thing. The good happens when we think positively but realistically. The bad happens when we think negatively or unrealistically.

Unrealistic thoughts can invade our assessment of ourselves - who we are, what we are capable of, who we can still become. When we overshoot reality, we can have high dreams but can't accomplish them. For example, a boxer who believes he's as good as Manny Pacquiao may dream of becoming an eight-time world champion too without even bothering to follow Pacquiao's training regimen and discipline. Come match day, this boxer is in for a big disappointment - a victim of over self-assessment.

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