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Reflections from my heart for 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010, 9:25 am |

A New Year’s challenge from Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com and SaveAmerica.com

For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. — Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

Here at the birth of a New Year, I don’t just wish you a happy new year. No, I wish you a Courageous and Faith-Filled New Year. With more love for and commitment to God than before. With more discipline of self and more serving of others than before. With a strong resolve to overcome fear with faith in God and by consistently taking that virtuous detour from fear called courage. Commit to doing good, even great things, in 2010!

I invite you make 2010 the year that you overcome your fears, put on courage, embrace the right expectations, and accept that suffering is part of growing and serving.

Will you join me in this adventure of faith? Armed with this attitude, we can do good, even great, things to serve God and others, on our watch, in our generation.

Those who know me best know that I am a thinker. I make it a priority to analyze the most important things of life, once I come out of ignorance or denial on whatever it is. A life well examined is a life well lived. And I’m still examining myself so that I can be the man God wants me to be.

And I want to help you grow too. Here at the turn of the decade, there are good things and bad things in the world and in our lives. But one thing I’ve picked up on lately that’s harming people is a wave of uncertainty, fear, doubt and an avoidance of pain at almost all costs.

Whether or not you are afraid at times, I want to share with you some reflections from my heart on these matters, based on a Biblical foundation that can benefit everyone. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to join me in examining these things, for a better mind, heart, soul and life here in 2010.


Are you like me and sometimes get paralyzed by fear? Are you wrestling with fear? Who’s winning?

Fear is the number one tool of the devil to discourage, paralyze and pull people into defeatist attitudes. It’s normal to fear, but it’s not healthy to live fearfully. Habitually fearful people can become indecisive, cowardly, given to complaining, and lose their joy. In contrast, faithful and courageous people who know Jesus experience the promise of joy and peace and abundant life, despite circumstances.

In the Bible, God and his angels tell people over and over to not be afraid. That’s good advice for us every day of the year!

What overcomes fear? Two things: faith and courage. And they always work together.

First you have to realize that you’re afraid. This requires slowing down, thinking, praying, and analyzing your emotions. Important questions are “What am I feeling?” and “Why am I feeling this way?” Now, doubt is not necessarily fear. But dwelling on doubt will quickly send you down the road to fear, far from the road of faith.

Once you recognize your fear, you must decide what to do with it. You can stuff it away and try not to think about it. You can distract yourself for a time – with work, activities, position, fame, power, friends, food, entertainment, and a wide assortment of sins.

Or you can deal with fear the way God wants you to, and experience true peace of mind. First, put on faith. What we see with our eyes can tempt us to fear. But faith is the substance of things unseen. Faith is the opposite of fear.

Letting faith overcome your fear is saying, “God, I’m going to trust you for this and take responsible steps to do my part to solve this problem, but I refuse to be paralyzed, depressed or consumed with fear over it.”

Don’t believe this is for you? Try sincerely thanking God for something right now. Notice how you didn’t worry as you were thankful. Why is this? Because God created your soul to be for him, but also allows you to choose to be against Him. Therefore, you cannot be thankful and anxious at the same moment. One attitude will conquer the other.

In the Gospels, we read how Peter walked on the water when his eyes were on Jesus. But when his eyes focused on the wind-whipped waves, his mind went back to his fear of drowning, and he started sinking:

When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”Matthew 14: 26-31 NASB

The spiritual lesson is clear: Don’t dwell on your problems, look for solutions. Don’t rely solely on your own reason or memories, but rely solidly on God’s Spirit, take steps of obedient faith, overcome fear, ignorance and denial, and experience both physical and spiritual victory. This promise can be applied to any situation today, in your finances, your marriage, your family, your mind, body, soul, and future.


Once you resolve to have faith, and you’ve resolved to trust God for the invisible future, you’re ready for action. You’re ready to prove your faith with the power of courage to produce good deeds in your own life and the lives of others. As the Bible says,

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”James 2:17-18 NLT

Faith naturally leads to courage, and courage, by definition, produces action. A courageous person gets up out of the mud and steps into the light. A courageous mind takes responsibility for his or her wrongs, and stops blaming others, blaming the environment, or blaming God. A courageous heart flees unworthy things and instead bears good fruit in his or her own life and in other people’s lives.

In the Wizard of Oz story, courage was the desire of the Cowardly Lion. Remember this from the 1939 movie?

Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion): Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
All: Courage!
Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion): You can say that again! Huh?

You cannot have faith without a display of faith. And you cannot display your faith without courage. Courageous people know what it is to fear. They were on the road of fear themselves, obeying its thoughts of bondage step by step, day by day, month by month, year by year. Then they saw, desired, turned, and decisively took a welcome detour called courage. And so their courage grows out of their fear. Courage is a choice that literally overcomes fear!

In the Gospels, Jesus consistently commended faith and obedience, but was sad about people’s lack of faith and those who refused to obey Him. Ask yourself, is your “default” your feelings and what pleases you, or God’s commands and what pleases Him?


Remember the Frank Sinatra song “I Did It My Way”? And what about those fast-food commercials telling us to “have it your way”? Over the last few generations, these self-centered messages have done great damage to the American psyche. The “me” generation has birthed the self-absorbed generation, raised by parents incessantly asking “what do you want?” and doing nearly everything to “be their friend.”

Today, many young adults in America, the same ones who elected Barack Obama, have a selfish expectation of entitlement that has produced in them chronic laziness, materialism, hedonism and defensiveness. This entitlement expectation is the same mindset that, in the last few generations, has caused bigger government, family break-ups, rampant immorality, and most people morphing God into their own image.

Being self-centered puts us in conflict with God. Often we don’t recognize this conflict. We just know we like or don’t like something, and are resolved to get our way.

The dangers of being self-centered are vividly displayed in individuals, marriages and societies.  Selfishness is the cause of personal ruination and marital divorce. And hedonism — the pursuit of pleasure, especially pleasures of the senses – has caused great societies to crumble from within.

Yet seeking and obeying God despite emotional suffering is how marriages and families and societies thrive.

What are your expectations? When faced with problems or conflict, do you want to solve it your way or God’s way? Expectations are something to really think about because they reveal our worldview. Our worldview determines what we believe. What we believe is what we think. What we think is what we say and do. Then our behavior reinforces how we think. Our worldview – our view of self, people and God — is the most powerful thought component we have. It shapes our expectations, creates good or bad habits, and produces either good fruit or moral ruination.

I like how Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas recommends denying yourself a pleasure every day in order to train your flesh to submit to God’s Spirit. It’s like training a dog to obey his rightful master, instead of the master obeying the dog!

Truly, we need to change our expectations about life so that our expectations and feelings don’t stop us from doing what’s right. Life is not about being comfortable and avoiding problems. Life is about dealing responsibly with problems, enjoying and serving God and loving others.


People often ask me how I maintain a positive attitude fighting for family values when family values are being systematically crushed by liberals (aka progressives) that have leadership positions in government, media, education, business, families and churches — literally all the institutions in society.

My secret is simple: Doing what’s right in the face of great opposition is always a success in the eyes of God. So my focus is on doing what’s right and showing others how to do what’s right. We can’t control the outcome but we are to be responsible, obedient and diligent in this pursuit. I expect eventual fruit to come of it, and don’t get my joy or my identity from short-term wins or losses. I believe this philosophy is right before the Lord. I want an authentic faith, not impossible expectations that depress me and tempt me to drop out.

What’s the secret to overcoming emotional hang-ups and childishness in your life? Accept suffering. Emotionally-mature people actually know what a wonderful teacher it is. Suffering transforms the soul, giving it opportunity to be humbled, to submit to truth, to learn essential and eternal lessons. As Jesus Christ prepared to suffer and die so that those who trust Him could be saved from the punishment of hell, He told His disciples to expect problems:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NKJV

Later in the New Testament, believers in Jesus are actually taught to look forward to problems. Talk about a new way of thinking!

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing….Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1:1-5, 12 NASB

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5:1-5 NKJV

What’s the bottom line? We must first expect suffering as part of life. Then we must embrace suffering to allow it to make us stronger, as God intends. Emotionally-mature people, who understand this, and who are devoted to God, are the ones who have the power to transform their families and help transform society.

Like the weightlifting motto, “no pain, no gain,” learning godly lessons from pain is the key to become effective in life. I keep telling myself to get the best I can out of life’s challenges. If I refuse to be scared away by suffering, then I will overcome. In fact, whenever I do the right thing and suffer for it, I am experiencing sanctification or the refining of my soul. How about you?


Here in this new decade, I urge you to join me in being personally responsible, faithful to God, loving and serving others, and purposing to make a significant impact in our land and culture in our generation. Again, I wish you a Courageous and Faith-Filled New Year. Make 2010 your best year yet!

Recommended Resource: The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman

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