Autopilot Adjustment Needed?

I truly believe, with every fiber of my being, that the most important factor in life IS NOT what happens to us, but rather it is HOW WE RESPOND to what happens to us! And for the most part, how we respond to what happens to us is habitual. In other words, when something happens, we don’t think about how to respond, we just automatically respond the way we’ve always responded to similar occurrences.

These learned habitual responses are formed during our childhood and if they are not modified or adjusted, they will continue throughout our adulthood. This is what I believe is the problem in many situations in our country today!

A child is naturally selfish, self-centered, and insists on having its own way. When that is denied, the child responds with a temper tantrum, which involves aggressive behaviors. As part of the child’s social development, a good parent teaches the child how to share, how to respect the property of others, how to accept disappointment, how to accept ’No’ for an answer. All of this is part of the child’s maturing process.

I believe what we are witnessing in our culture today are the actions, responses, attitudes of people who have reached the age of maturity, but have yet to mature! At the same time, we are also witnessing the actions of children who have been allowed access to ‘grown-up toys’ too soon!

The Apostle Paul said: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NET) But it’s hard to put away childish ways when they have been allowed to grow uninhibited to the point where they have been habitually ingrained into the subconscious.

The answer? Be conscious! Nearly 95% of what we do every day is done as a subconscious habit! In other words, we live most of our life on autopilot! For instance, if I were to ask you: “What shoe did you put on first this morning?” More than likely, you couldn’t tell me! But I can tell you that it was the same one you put on first every morning!

So, here’s your homework. Tomorrow morning BEFORE you put on your shoes STOP! Take note of which one you reach for, and then put on the other one first! Try this every day for at least 21 days! It will be hard at first, but if you are consistent and don’t cheat, by the end of the 21 days, you will be putting on the opposite shoe with the same ease as you were putting on the other shoe!

Now, after you’ve mastered that, stop and think about the non-productive or negative responses to situations you always find yourself engaging in. Then, the next time a ‘trigger’ situation occurs, BEFORE, you respond STOP AND THINK: Is my response appropriate or proportional to the situation? Am I trying to kill a roach with a hammer?

You see, you respond that way because you have always (habitually) responded that way! It just might be that your response is inappropriate and non-productive. If that is the case, then you need to change your response!

Don’t settle for the false belief that that’s just the way you are and you can’t change because you can! You can change any response the same way you can change what shoe you put on first every morning!

Change your thinking; change your habits! Change your habits; change your responses! Change your responses; change your life!

Remember, it’s not the problem that’s the problem! It’s how you respond to the problem, that’s the problem! And often times, if you would just stop and think instead of just automatically responding the way you’ve always responded, you just might discover that the problem is not a problem at all!

A Birthday Message

Here’s a thought: Today marks my 62nd birthday! As I reflect, I can remember when I was a child, thinking people who were 50 were old! I definitely don’t think that anymore!

But as I reflect on this moment in my life, I understand and accept the reality that I do not have as long as I have had! I know I do not have 62 more years on this earth! I know, in the best case scenario, within 15 to 20 more years, I will cash in my chips!

I am not saying this to be morbid, pessimistic, or anything of that sort. I am thankful for the time I have had! I am thankful for spending all of these years in good health! Nevertheless, I know that my day is headed toward the sunset and the night!

Therefore, I will endeavor to be even more careful with my time and more selective with my activities. I’m striving even more than I have in the past, to make every moment count! So please excuse me if I no longer indulge in idle, fruitless, or negative activities. I am past putting a premium on ‘having fun,’ I am striving to have and leave a positive impact on the lives of others!

They tell me that during World War II, all throughout Europe, was found, scribbled in many places, the phrase: “Kilroy was here!” It is my desire, that after I am gone, my epitaph will not be restricted to being etched in stone in some cemetery somewhere, but that it will also be written in the hearts of all those who knew or even heard of me, letting the world know: “Harold Miller, Jr., was here!”

You Are AWESOME!!!

Has anybody ever told you how awesome you are? Well, if they haven’t, let me tell you, you are AWESOME with a capital A!

Now you might wonder why would I make such an assessment when I don’t even know you? Well, you are part of the human community and according to the Bible, you bear the image of God! What does that mean? It means that in spite of your flaws, imperfections, and insecurities, you are designed for God to manifest His life and love through you!

God created this whole world, just for you! When things went haywire, God sent His Son into the world, and that Son died a cruel death to get you back! And then God raised that Son from the dead as a stamp of approval of what the Son did and as a guarantee that if you trust Him with your life, even after you die, one day you will be resurrected as well!

I know, it sounds incredible, especially when you look at the mess this world is in today! But this world is in such a mess because there is an enemy that has blinded the minds of so many people to the truth I just shared with you! But I’m telling you right now: If you think it’s hopeless; that’s a lie! If you think your life doesn’t matter; that’s a lie! If you think life is not worth living; that’s a lie!

Be encouraged my friend! You are valued, you are loved, and you matter! No matter where you are in your life right now, the God of Heaven and Earth wants to lift you to a higher plane! He wants you to live in and enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom, not just after you die, but also right now and right here!

Want to know more? Find a Bible version you can easily understand and read Psalm 8. You will find out that you are royalty!

I didn’t mean for this post to be this long, but I just wanted to encourage you! Hold your head up! Be encouraged! No matter what’s going on, you are loved! You are valued! You matter! And you can make it! YOU ARE AWESOME!

The Rest of the Story About What Eyes Haven’t Seen!

PLEASE UNDERSTAND! When I post about common exegetical missteps, it is not an attempt to embarrass anybody or to project the idea that I am smarter than others! I love the LORD and I love HIS WORD! I believe we ought to spare no expense or effort to make sure that when we quote the Bible, we quote it accurately and correctly! After all, it is the word of God, therefore, when we say what the Bible says, we’re saying what God says or the principles, ideas, commands, and intentions God wants to convey. Consequently, when we misrepresent what the Bible says, we misrepresent the words, thoughts, intentions, and commands of God, which is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly!

So with that mind, here’s another one we so commonly and frequently mess up! We preach it, we quote it, and we sing it! What is it? It’s 1 Corinthians 2:9, which says: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 is the Apostle Paul’s adaptation of Isaiah 64:4. So, this is actually what Paul said and Paul is quoting the Old Testament, so what’s the problem?

Do you remember the radio commentator; Paul Harvey? He was famous for the way he reported his stories. Harvey would introduce a story, but before he concluded the story, he would go to a commercial break. When he came back from the commercial break, he would say; “And now, the rest of the story.” The problem with 1 Corinthians 2:9 is that it is not the complete thought the Apostle Paul was trying to convey! When we quote 1 Corinthians 2:9 and quit, we misrepresent Paul because we leave before giving him the opportunity to tell the rest of the story!

So, here’s the rest of the story! In 1 Corinthians 2:9 Paul says; “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” But wait a minute! Paul IS NOT THROUGH TALKING! In the very next verse, Paul says: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. . . “ What has God revealed to us by His Spirit? The things which God has prepared for them that love Him!Paul said one thing in verse 9, but he cancels it out in verse 10 and the following verses! Eyes haven’t seen, ears haven’t heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men what great things God has prepared for those who love Him, BUT GOD HAS REVEALED THEM TO US THROUGH HIS SPIRIT! That’s the complete thought!

So, when we quote verse 9 and run off without reading the rest of the story, and proclaim verse 9 as the Gospel truth, we are actually lying and are misrepresenting the intention of the text! We are saying God hasn’t revealed what Paul said God has revealed! To get the full picture, we need to at least read to verse 12! This is what that looks like;

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

Wow! Do you see that? We preach and sing that God ‘has not revealed’ and ‘we can’t know’ when the Bible actually says, ‘God has revealed’ and ‘we can know!’ The sermons and the songs sound good! But nevertheless, they are not theologically sound! How did this happen? It happened because we didn’t read the rest of the story!

Reading the Bible Too Fast?

It’s the beginning of a new year and there will be many who will embark upon reading plans designed to guide them in reading through the Bible within a year.


Now, while this is indeed a noble and worthwhile endeavor, I think, all too often, we make the mistake of reading the Bible ‘too’ quickly! In an effort to read the assigned portion or section for the day, we often fail to take the time to actually understand what we are reading. When we read too quickly and too methodically, we often miss the message in the effort to be true to our method!


As an example, I read a passage the other day that caused me to re-evaluate previously held beliefs. It was not a passage I had not read before, in fact, it was one that I had read quite often and one the preacher would call; ‘a familiar passage!’ The passage was Philippians 2:9-11, which reads in the KJV:


“Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


Now the thing that arrested me the other day was the realization that most people, myself included, often misquote the passage! The common saying of most is: “That at the name of Jesus, every knee ‘shall’ bow and every tongue ‘shall’ confess! But that IS NOT what the text says! The text doesn’t say ‘shall,’ the text says ‘should.’ There is a substantial difference between shall and should! The word; ‘shall’ is about ‘what is “going” to happen,’ while the word; ‘should’ is about ‘what “ought” to happen.’ Now, while it is indeed true that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, that is not the point Paul was making!


In the context of passage, Paul was not talking about what was going to happen, but rather Paul was expressing what ought to happen in response to the exaltation of Jesus as Lord! Therefore, when we say ‘shall’ we are, in a sense, postponing Jesus’ exaltation until the end of time, but Jesus will not just be Lord later, Jesus is Lord, NOW! He was recorded as saying in Matthew 28:18 after his resurrection; “All power (the Greek word for power, denotes ‘authority,’ not “might’ or ‘strength’ as we so often erroneously preach it!) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Paul wrote of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”


My point is that, since Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and in earth and he is presently reigning, every knee should presently bow and every tongue should presently confess that Jesus is (not will be, but right now, is!) Lord! However, we miss this fundamental truth when we misquote the passage or otherwise read ‘should’ but think ‘shall.’ As we read the Bible, we should slow down enough to read what it actually says and not what we have been conditioned to ‘think’ it says! Only then will we recognize that often, even the ‘little’ words, like the articles and definite articles; (‘a’ versus ‘the’), conjunctions, such as ‘and’ and ‘or’ can change the meaning of a text! It was only after I slowed down that I recognized the difference between ‘shall’ and ‘should!’