Many people are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer” in this form:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
But few people know the history or original version of this prayer. Reinhold Neibuhr was an American theologian, who wrote an embryonic form of this prayer in the mid-1930s and developed it to its current form sometime in the early 1940s. It is a prayer that was circulated among U. S. troops during wartime and adopted into popular use among various recovery groups. It is a prayer of trust and surrender to a loving Father who is providentially governing all things.
Here is the prayer in full…
“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,and the
Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
I know a lot of Christians who have good intentions when it comes to memorizing Scripture but can’t seem to get into the disciplined routine it takes to do so. There is hope! One of the easiest ways to memorize Scripture is to strategically place Bible verses in a place where you will see it frequently.
There is Biblical precedence for this concept:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6.6-9, NKJV
You can use it as art on the wall…
Or place a notecard in a place where you will see it everyday…
My wife bought this framed blackboard and occasionally writes a new verse on it…
A little creativity can go a long way with this concept. Seeing these verses over and over daily will requires little effort on your part and helps download God’s truth into your mind and heart.
Can you think of other ways to keep Scripture before you so that it takes root in your heart and mind?
It’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently. As we have considered how to have our best year ever in 2015, it brings me back to foundational questions: Who am I? What is my mission? What are my goals? And does my weekly agenda match up with the previous three questions?
I believe those four questions I just asked are questions that everyone needs to think through, especially those of us who are following Christ. We must pray as Moses did, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90.12)
It starts with identity, then moves to mission, which establishes the nature of our goals, which are accomplished through our habits, or routine.
IDENTITY > MISSION/ PURPOSE > GOALS > HABITS/AGENDA
As Christians, it’s really a matter of us becoming who we are. In Christ, we are everything we ever would want to be. The issue is for us to learn to walk in the reality of who we now are (Ephesians 4.1). That comes through affirming our identity in Christ, reminding ourselves of our mission, establishing goals based on our mission, and then doing things (habits) through our week (agenda) which result in the accomplishment of those goals.
I’ve been talking a lot about goals in my recent messages on Sunday mornings and thought this talk by Tim Keller on the subject of risk is very relevant to the setting of goals:
It’s fairly well known that SMART Goals are:
- S -Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Actionable
- R – Realistic
- T – Time-Bound
Michael Hyatt adds ‘ER’ to make them even smarter:
- E – Exciting
- R – Relevant
And, finally, yours truly offers this approach to make them the smartEST goals for your life:
- E – Exciting
- S – Significant
- T – Tied to God’s Glory
I recently read David Marquet’s book, Turn the Ship Around: Turning Leaders into Followers. This TEDx Talk at Scott Air Force Base (not far from my hometown) summarizes his excellent message for leaders:
A couple of years before Duck Dynasty I came across an ESPN.com article about a family in Louisiana that loved to duck hunt and was making a killing at making duck calls. I was impressed with what I read. Then I came across a few videos online of Phil and Jase speaking in churches. Then I was really impressed. Finally, the hit TV show came on and I fell in love with this down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth family of rednecks. unPHILtered is exactly what the title says: Phil telling it as it is, no filter, and I don’t know if I can argue against the man on anything he says in the book.
I imagine the average city slicker would take a look at Phil and think…
“He’s a backward anti-intellect.” – He may be backward, but he’s sharp as a tack and has an earned master’s degree. He’s not anti-intellect.
“He’s a homophobe.” – He’s not. Unless your definition of a homophobe is someone who does not enthusiastically endorse the homosexual lifestyle.
“He’s a racist.” – He’s clearly not.
What he is… a man who was radically transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ; a man who loves his God, his family, his neighbors, and all people.
He’s also a man of the outdoors. He has no use for a cell phone. He’d rather be in the woods or on the water than using technology.
He’s wise. It’s clear he has excelled not only in business and in social relationships, but he has excelled as a husband and father. And he’s done it through hard work and good people skills.
This country, and this world, would be a lot better off if they applied the PHILosophy of life of the Duck Commander.
NOTE: I highly recommend you read his autobiography, Happy Happy Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander first, then read unPHILtered.