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Best Month Ever
What makes something the "best"? I mean, like "the best time," "the best year ever," etc. And similarly, how would you define a day as the "worst" or "a bad day"? It seems like we usually assess value based on what is happening around us and to us. This is exact opposite reasoning. If you want to build a great day, month, or year; or better yet, the BEST day, month or year, you have to find out where that greatness comes from and how it develops. Hint: it has nearly nothing to do with what is happening to you nor what others do around you. If you'd like to know more about my "Best Month Ever" and how it came together, so that you can have one too, check out Episode 5!
Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Excel Still More podcast. I am your host, Kris Emerson, and we are here to talk about tips and strategies that we can employ to help us grow in our faithfulness to God to reach new heights to excel still more. Thanks for joining. Let's get started.
All right, so as we get into the month of February, the beginning of it, maybe it's a good time for me to tell you about my best month ever. So I turned 40 back in the middle of December last year and I had kind of been putting some components together for making a few big life changes and when the month of January started this year, I really began to be intentional and putting those things into place. And I'm here to tell you that what it has come together to be is the best month of my life so far. The month of January that we just finished. And I'd like to tell you more about that and how that works. As we get into February, there's a strong chance that no matter what happens around you this entire month, it can be the best month you've ever had. Now before we get into that, we need to talk about how we're a little off on this. Sometimes our assessment of greatest and worst is based on outside influences.
And that's a mistake. For instance, let's say I'm talking to some guy and he says 2018 was the best year ever. And I say, man, that's awesome. Tell me about it. I'm asking him to tell me what makes it great. And he says, oh, that's easy. So at the beginning of the year, my family and I had the chance to go on this awesome ski vacation. We'd been planning for two years. We had an amazing time and that's how we kicked off 2018 then in the middle of the year, I got this huge pay increase at just the right time and it made all the difference. And then near the end of the year my son was on the sports team and he was in this huge tournament and he made the the winning run and just absolutely blew it out of the water. Now what the guy has done is he's described a great year based on things that have happened to him, things that have happened around him.
That's typically the way we gauge when things are going well. Here's the other side of the coin. Maybe another guy walks up and says, man, I got to tell you 2018 was the worst year ever for me. You guys know on social media there are all these goofy little memes near the end of the year where they talk about 2018 as if it was a person like go away and don't come back. Well this guy is one of those guys. So I say, what made it the worst year ever? And he would probably tell me about things that happened. He would say, well, we planned this big ski trip early in the year, but our car broke down at the last minute and we had to use all our money on that and we didn't get to go. And in the middle of the year I lost my job. I was unemployed for three months. We had beans and rice for dinner every night.
And then at the end of the year, my son was on this great team and he broke his leg in some freak accident and didn't even get to participate. Now you see how we do that, we assess it based on outside influences. This works on tiny scales as well. Somebody says, today was the best day of my life. And you say, what made it the best day? And again, they'll say, well, you know, there was this new restaurant that opened up with the best steak I've ever had. And the boss said
something nice about me in front of other people and it was just awesome. And then on the other side a guy says, well it was the worst day. And you ask why. And again, it's going to be, well, you know, I got food poisoning at the new restaurant and my boss chastised me in front of everyone. If we are determining best and worst by the things that are happening around us and we are being influenced on what is valuable based on what other people do or circumstances, then we're looking at it from the entirely wrong position.
Joy and happiness and fulfillment and greatness happens from the inside out, not the outside in. For instance, let me get back to how I started this thing a few minutes ago. I'm telling you, January, 2019 is the best month that I can remember in the history of my life. Now, if you came up to me and said, dude, that's awesome. Tell me about that. And I walked you through every day, all of the things that happened. I journaled every day. So I could say, well, here, here's what happened to me on this day and here's what happened around me on this day. I'm just here to tell you that by the time we got to the end of it, you'd look at me and you'd say something like, Oh, okay. I mean there were some good things there and some not good things, but I really don't see anything that would qualify as the greatest month ever.
And that's the point. It was the greatest because of who I became. It was the greatest because of the way that I interacted with God and the way that I opened myself up to the things that the Lord wanted to do and the way that I tried to let that translate into confidence and boldness and faith. It was the month that I read through the gospel of Mark and finally maybe for the first time, noticed the way that power just leaps from Jesus upon believers, true believers, and it transformed the way that I thought. You see what made the month great was who I became from the inside, not what happened to me on the outside. Now, the buffers in between that are the things that you do, and I could list a few of those for you. I could say, Hey, I started getting up earlier in the mornings and I started praying more openly and asking God bigger, more beautiful questions.
And I started looking around at his providential workings in my life and I started reading Bible passages trying to see how they would affect me directly, and I started letting people into my life who I knew would make me a better person and was pretty intentional about doing that. I could tell you about this podcast that I started and how I finally sort of pulled it together and decided to put myself out there, and that is a part of what made it great. The things that I did, but those things came out of what was really happening. The part that you couldn't see, where I was getting up in the morning and just thinking about God, considering God, my prayers this month, have been very different than any time before. They're not formal. They typically haven't been starting with dear heavenly father and ending with, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
They've just been this meditation on God, just this general appreciation and proclamation of his glory and and asking these questions like, who do you want me to be and what have I been missing all these years and what is the word trying to do? And that was a great experience. It changed me and it can change you as well. And so we want to start thinking, and this is your big thing for the week. Start thinking about: the day is great if you are great. And what I mean by that is God's greatness is in you. God's power is upon you. God's Word is filling you. This starts on the inside and then it moves outward to the things that you say and you do. And last on the list, last on the list are the things that happened to you and around you. Let me just tell you something.
I'm on a pathway to make 2019 the best year that's ever happened in my life with my family, with my marriage, with my faith and preaching and work. And that has nearly nothing to do with what happens to me. There could be terrible disasters that we have to work through this year, but if I'm approaching it the right kind of way, I will make that great for the cause of Christ. Now, as I say that, I hope that you're thinking about the apostle Paul. We have got to spend a few minutes and talk about him. You may remember the book of Philippians. I've got my Bible open right now to Philippians 3:4, it's a book filled with rejoicing. It's about joy in every day and optimism and the peace of God. If you're familiar with that, you know that the apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote that.
If you assessed things based on outside influences and what was happening to him, there's no way you would rejoice. He said, I rejoice in all things everyday. I rejoice. I'm filled with rejoicing always in Jesus Christ, whether I'm in prison or whether I'm free. He talks in Philippians chapter four he said, I know how to get along no matter what happens to me, no matter what the boss says or what happens at work or what people do, or whether it's hot or cold outside. The Apostle Paul says, I know how to get along in humble means I know how to live in prosperity no matter. Verse 12 of Chapter Four no matter the circumstances, I have learned the secret of living the same, consistent, thankful, grateful life, whether I am hungry or filled, living in abundance or having need. Now, do you remember what the big secret was?
This is on the back of a lot of letterman's jackets across the country. Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Now I want you to think about that verse. We don't know what those things are. Those things could be enjoy a lot of really cool things this year and be filled with tremendous blessings. Those things could be the exact opposite of that. It could be losing your job. It could be dealing with sickness, it could be coping with loss. He said, it doesn't matter what the thing is and that's what I want you to thinking about today. It doesn't matter what others say or do. I can handle that with joy. I can rejoice in the greatness of who I am and where I'm going because of Christ who strengthens me. Where does Christ strengthened him? He strengthens him from the inside in his heart, in his mind, by thinking about the power and sacrifice of Jesus, by thinking about the fulfilling life that comes knowing you are covered.
Galatians 3:27 - you've been clothed with Christ. He says, look, that's how I handle every situation, every day and when I look back over January, there were some good things that happened to me and some not so good things. I did some
things I'm proud of. I did some things that I'd like to do differently. I made a lot of progress, changed the way I ate, when I got up in the morning and stuff like that, but those were just symptoms of what was on the inside and I mean that in a good way. I was connecting with God in a way that said, Jesus is working in me. He's working upon me and through me. No matter what happens and I just have to tell you it made for a great month and I'm looking forward to the year and I have a strong feeling that you can do this as well for the month of February. And when you do it and you really, if you, if you go back a couple of episodes ago and you set up that 60 minutes in the morning and you get your head and your heart and your faith and your focus and the right place, here's what it does.
It starts to work its way outward. Now you start doing things that promote who you are or who you want to be and watch what happens with the environment. All of these people around you that you didn't know what they were going to do today, all of a sudden they're starting to be affected by something that's going on inside of you. I know the Bible talks a lot about that. Jesus in the sermon on the mount talks about being a light to the world. You draw people by the light, but the light's in you and that light cannot be blown out by any wind of any kind. That's what it means to be strong in the Lord. If you're still in Philippians four we ought to talk about this. Here's Paul in prison writing in verse four "rejoice in the Lord always again, I say rejoice."
He goes on to say, verse six, "be anxious for nothing". You may be listening to this thinking, you know that that sounds great. Maybe one day I'll get there, but right now the things that are happening to me are just wearing me out. That's the idea of anxiety. My mind is pulled in different directions. There's no way I can stay Christ centered with all of this pushing and pulling. Listen very carefully: the Bible says, be anxious for nothing but in everything, everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. I certainly hope that your prayer life is taking all of those weighty things, the things that are keeping everyday from being great and you're just dropping them at the feet of the Lord. You're working your way into the throne room. God is sitting on his throne and you're just dumping it on the floor and saying, God, I don't want to carry this anymore and you don't want me to carry this anymore.
I am in your throne room where everything is good and I can draw strength from you. Here's what the Bible goes on to say if you're willing to do this, start your day this way. It says, the peace of God, the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I like that idea of beyond comprehension. We feel like we have to understand everything and have an answer for everything. If you ask me to tell you "no, no, Kris, I want you to really detail very physical, tangible things that made this the greatest month ever so that I can go out and do some of that stuff." I'm really not going to be able to do that because what I have found, and I've been a Christian for years, and I'm just continuing to deepen my search for this, but what has come together for me that is beyond comprehension that comes from
leaving that throne room, knowing that God is with me wherever I go, his hand is upon me: He is guiding me and if I'm asking big, beautiful questions, he's surrounding me with answers. That's beyond comprehension.
And it provides something so strong that you can be an apostle in prison, not knowing if you'll live another day, rejoicing, rejoicing in Jesus. What a powerful idea. January for me, greatest best month ever and I have a feeling that we're just going to build from there and so I'm praying for you. If you're listening today, I'm praying that everybody who's listening can find that center in Christ, use it to affect everything else and this month, February, when you get to the end, you will be able to say this was the best month ever.
If you found this helpful today and you would like to support the program, there are three great things you can do. Make sure that you go to iTunes or the podcast app and subscribe. Leave a rating, and also a review that would really help us out. Don't forget to share with people that you care about and remember, you can follow along on Facebook at the Excel Still More page. I hope you have a great day and remember whatever you choose to do today in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Excel Still More
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How to be more active and less reactive in your life
- How to determine happiness by your approach to circumstances out of your control
- How to build the best month of your life, regardless of what happens to you
- Why is your inner peace more important that peaceful circumstances
- What are practical things you can do to have the best month of your life