How To Think book by Chris Field

In Malaysia in June I met Barb Reid, an Aussie living in KL, working as a Librarian. I credit Barb for prompting my latest book, just released this week, “How to Think”.

Barb asked about my books, being keen on that sort of thing as librarians are.  In our discussion I realised that I have not yet written a book for the general market, having focused my book writing for Christian readers so far.

That set me to thinking about what I would write if I was to offer a valuable book to today’s youth.  And I quickly lit on the idea of opening up our thinking processes.

Solomon gave us great insights into “wisdom” and those insights are keys to good thinking.  So I set my mind to unlocking some of the most basic truths in Solomon’s writings.  Having given a lot of attention to Solomon’s Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes over the years I quickly distilled some keys that I think are fantastic, even though quite basic, and which should be captured by all of us as we develop our adult mind.

A week later, in Singapore with a few quiet days, I sat down and threw my thoughts onto the page.  It was exhilarating to see these points take shape so quickly and to recognise that what I wrote was of universal value for young and old alike.

With the first draft wrapped up so quickly I sent it to my two teenage children, Sophia and Isaac, for their critical comment, since I aim to give value to high school youth.  They affirmed and criticised my work.

While they thought my insights were fantastic (which a dad always likes to hear) they could see I was presenting too much insight too quickly for those who were slow to capture such things.  It’s a perennial problem I faced since my earliest writing efforts.  I see things and thrill at the insights, but struggle to dumb things down so everyone can catch it.  Learning to simplify my thoughts has given me credit as a great educator and Bible teacher, able to make truths come alive, but I have not fully conquered my natural tendency to throw too much at people who can’t catch it.

Anyway, I took on board their comments and worked through successive drafts, adding explanations and examples, breaking up some sections into multiple steps and so on.  I even thought of calling the book a “for dummies” book.  But my children told me my idea of a “dummy” is too highly educated for real dummies.

I am part way through creating a version of this book in a much simpler form, but I decided I should also give this current gem to those looking for insight into thinking, rather than put it away until a simpler version can be created.

That’s not to say this book is too clever.  On the contrary, it presents some pretty simple truths.  I have every confidence that tens of thousands will find great help and insight in its pages.

So I finished off this “How to Think” version and released it for sale on Amazon, as a print-on-demand book.  It will soon also be on the Kindle store and it is also available in print from Createspace.

I commend it to you as a book you really should read and give away to your young friends.  It is ideal for school and community libraries, youth groups, counseling centres, and for parents and grandparents to have on hand to share with their extended families.

To get a copy of “How to Think – Teach Yourself to Think Clearly – by Dr Chris Field” go to

Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/How-Think-Teach-Yourself-Clearly/dp/1490440453/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378632151&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+think+by+chris+field

Or Createspace  https://www.createspace.com/4323965

Happy Reading. Chris

Woman Beware

As a dad and as a pastor giving guidance to young people I have written very little for young women.  Following the pattern of King Solomon in his instructions to his son, I am starting out with some cautions.  And much of what I share here comes from the wisdom of Solomon.

The Heart of the Matter

For all of us the heart is the “heart of the matter”.  Our actions are less significant in God’s eyes than our motives.  So any guidance to youth is really guidance for their heart.  This is particularly so for young women who can be distracted by externals, such as their own appearance or competing with the beauty of others.

King Solomon instructs us to be very diligent in protecting our heart, because the reactions of our heart become the “issues” we have to live with and deal with in our lives.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.”  1Chronicles 28:9

Womanly Issues

From my counselling experience and from my reading of the Bible I am aware of several issues which women are likely to struggle with.  I want to draw them to your attention with the caution that these areas deserve careful consideration to keep the heart free.

I note, for example, that women are more concerned about security and preparation for the future than their husbands often are.  I note, too, that women want to feel “loved” and yet their husbands can often neglect them without realising it.  I also note that women can fall into contention, argument and having the last word, when they are upset with their husbands.

Then there is the reflection about womanhood that I once heard from Iverna Thompkins.  She observed to a large group of women that men tend to have a pigeonhole for everything – from work, to the kids, to the car, wife, dog, etc.  A man can therefore shut off to his unhappy thoughts or feelings about work (or some other issue) when he faces something that is not in that pigeonhole, such as playing with his children.

Iverna observed that women operate differently.  “For us girls,” she observed, “it’s just ONE BIG HOLE!” What she meant is that if a woman is upset about one thing her feelings spill over to everything else as well.

This leads to the observation that women must pay attention to Solomon’s advice to gain “rule over your own spirit”.

“He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

Proverbs 31 Woman

It is often observed that the last chapter in the book of Proverbs provides a description of an ideal woman.  Many women, therefore, take note of that description and try to match the various qualities, such as rising early, running a home business, and so on.

Let me remind you that it is not our actions but our heart that is the heart of the matter.  Despite the many activities described there, the key verse for women is not about wool, flax, food, enterprise or rising early.  The key verse is about the heart.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

The true “Proverbs 31 Woman” is defined by a heart to fear the Lord.

So let me point out how having such a heart makes you a very rare woman indeed.

Humility and Faith

I believe the two most powerful qualities a young woman can develop, and which will save her from the many traps that womankind falls into, are humility and faith.

Pride is a terrible thing in a woman because it leads her to fight and argue with her husband, which is the very opposite of being submissive and fitting in with his plans.  Let me show you how that works.

A contentious woman is proverbial, both in modern society and in the Bible.  King Solomon made repeated references to how terrible it is to be around a woman who is contentious.

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”  Proverbs 21:19

“… the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13b

Putting up with a contentious woman is like Chinese water torture!

So where do contentions come from?  Contention is evidence of Pride!

Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”  Proverbs 13:10

And a fruit of pride is that people look down on others, scorning them, and holding them in contempt.  That’s why getting rid of a “scorner” removes contention.  Scorn is an evidence of pride of heart.

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.”  Proverbs 22:10

Scorning the Husband

One of my lovely daughters-in-law related a few years ago how she attended a ladies group in her church and all the women did was complain about their husbands.  These young wives held their husbands in contempt.  They “scorned” them.  This means they had pride in their own heart about how much better they, as women, were, compared with their husbands.

When a wife lectures her husband, scolds him, belittles him, treats him like a naughty schoolboy, takes control over him and the like, she is in pride and is scorning her husband.

Yet it seems very easy for a woman to do that.  So beware of your heart.

Wives are commanded to submit to and honour their husband.  If you do not rule your heart properly you will probably find contentions coming from you because you scorn your husband.

The Place of Faith

I mentioned the need for both humility and faith.  I have shown that humility is important, to neutralise pride that leads to scorning and contention.  So, what about faith?

Wives are instructed to submit to their husband.  Yet many wives struggle with the lack of care, wisdom and planning they see in their husbands.

Because women are geared toward a need for security, the impulsive, undisciplined actions of her husband can make a woman fearful.  From that place of fear, combined with scorn for her husband’s lack of care for her, a woman can take control of the home and family, so she will feel secure.

This is where “faith” comes in.  Since it is God who commands the woman to submit, she must seek to do so with all her heart.  If she is insecure in the abilities and thoughtfulness of her husband, then she must focus her faith on God, not her husband.

A wife may pray something like this: “Lord, I know You want me to submit to my husband.  But he is so irresponsible and I am afraid for myself and our children.  He wastes money and makes decisions on impulse, despite all the times I try to get him to grow up!  But Lord, I want to worship You by obeying Your instructions.  So I choose to submit to my husband and honour him.  I do this as an act of faith in You.  I give You my fears and my needs.  I ask You to protect me from my husband’s foolishness.”

Such a prayer places the woman’s faith where it is supposed to be; on God, not the husband.

Out of Order

The ideal woman is one who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30), and rules her own spirit, having both humility and faith.  So what is a woman like if she does not follow this wisdom?

A woman who does not fear God allows her pride and fear control her, so she then seeks to control the man and children in her life.  This is where we get the idea of the matriarch who rules the family, or the woman who makes her husband a “hormone hostage”.

Manipulation and control are a ready pitfall for a woman who is out of order.  King Solomon has a description of such a woman.

“And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: the one who pleases God will escape from her; but the sinner will be taken by her.”  Ecclesiastes 7:26

Note that a man will feel like it is better to be dead than to live with such a woman.  That has echoes of the comment about living in the desert rather than putting up with a contentious woman.

I have had to counsel both men and women who struggled with the manipulation and control of a mother or wife.  Such control is more than just emotional, it is devilish, because it is rebellion against the will of God.

Witchcraft in the Home

While a godly woman is a most wonderful thing, a rebellious and contentious woman is a bitter thing.  However the deeper danger is the spiritual curse such a woman can bring in a marriage and home.  So let me add this observation to caution your heart.

A woman driven by fear, pride, scorn, self-will and an out of control heart will be in rebellion against God and he husband.  And “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”  1Samuel 15:23a

If a wife was to practice witchcraft in the home then spiritual oppression would come upon her, her husband and the family.  So, when a wife practices rebellion against God’s instruction to submit to her husband, she also brings spiritual oppression upon herself, her husband and the family.

This is part of the “snares and nets” problem a woman can be in a home.

What is Ruling You?

If a wife gives in to her impulses, fears, pride or reactions, she will be out of control.  She will not be under God’s headship, nor will she be under her husband’s headship.  Instead she will be ruled by her fears and other things that are ungodly.

If she then tries to contend, manipulate, control, argue and the like she is exalting that wrong spirit over the home.  Her husband should not give in to her, otherwise he is saying to Jesus, “You can’t be the head of this home right now, because my wife wants that spirit of anger to rule her and me.”

A wise husband will resist his wife’s manipulation and control, tantrums, outbursts, verbal attacks, contentions or the like, because he wants Jesus to remain as the head of the home, not some out of order attitude or spirit that wants to rule through the wife.

A Good Thing

Don’t think that these cautions mean women are terrible or evil.  All men and women have fallen short of God’s glory.  The challenge for each of us is to be holy as our God is holy.  For women that involves some challenges different to men, and vice versa.

It is God’s favour to give you as a godly wife to a man the Lord blesses.

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour of the LORD.”  Proverbs 18:22

Godly women want to be a blessing.  And you are.  You are a gift to your husband.

Note, as a final word of caution, that you are a blessing when you are a “wife”.  A woman who is married to a man but acts as his superior, boss, mother, manipulator, jailer or the like is not his “wife”.  Being married to a man makes you a wife in human terms, but not according to God’s plan.

I call upon each of you to be a godly wife, by living in humility and faith and the fear of God, ruling your own spirit, so you do not give in to fear, pride, scorn, manipulation, control or any other thing that leads to rebellion against God.

And may the Lord bless you as you do.

Missing Ingredients

Effective Parenting requires that you use the right ingredients. If something is missing then the recipe will not turn out right. Many parents lament they have not been as effective as they hoped and wanted to be. If you are in that category I trust this look at the Missing Ingredients proves helpful.

No Water

Some years ago we bought a bread-maker and made many successful loaves. We finally gave up, probably because the yummy bread was eaten in no time and bread making became a bit of a burden.

One memorable loaf which we baked overnight really disappointed us in the morning. The aroma of the hot grain could be smelled as usual, but when we opened the machine and looked inside there was simply a pile of dry ingredients in the base of the tin.

We forgot to add water. So the machine went through the whole process of mixing and heating and so on, but to no avail. A vital ingredient was missing and the machine just could not produce the usual delicious loaf.

We never forgot the water again.

Incomplete Recipe

temper-tantrum

In the same way parents can leave out something very important to the life of their child. If they do then some or all of the effort they put in will be wasted. If the recipe is incomplete then what is created won’t be what is expected.

That’s how many parents find it. What they get from their child is different to what they expected. So this lesson points you to two Biblical ingredients which every parent needs to put into the life of their child.

Rod and Reproof

People have different opinions about discipline and child training. Some are brainwashed to be negative about any form of punishment. Others believe if you spare the rod you spoil the child. Some believe that by being kind and patient the youngster will turn out right in the end.

Whatever your preferred ideas I want you to be Biblical first of all. Man’s ideas seem right but lead to destruction. We must put our own ideas aside and pay close attention to what the Bible teaches, since it is God’s Word to us.

So notice the Bible’s joint emphasis on two key ingredients: rod and reproof.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

Give Attention

discipline

Before we look at “rod and reproof” please notice that they both represent giving special attention to the child. The opposite of those things is to have a child who is “left to himself”.

So it is important for parents, both dad and mum, to share life with the child and to give the child attention. If the child is left to himself or herself and allowed to do as he or she pleases without guidance and correction, the result will be shameful.

Children are not designed to find their own way and to determine what is right or best for them. They are designed to be guided, corrected, brought to account, instructed and led into the right things. That’s the role of parents.

So please give good, Biblical attention to your child, and especially give them both the rod and reproof.

The Rod

The Bible teaches that children are blessed when they are punished for their wrong behaviour. Godly punishment involves physical pain, such as a smack on the bottom. It teaches the child but it also enables the child to feel whole and resolved on the inside.

By being punished when they know they have done wrong a child achieves the lovely sense of being made right. They feel absolved and don’t live with unresolved guilt or fear of being found out.

Parents know that effective physical punishment administered appropriately leaves children happy and feeling clean on the inside.

Therefore the use of physical punishment is for the good of the child. If a parent smacks their child out of anger or to vent the parent’s frustration then the action ceases to be godly discipline and becomes self-serving and abusive.

Reproof

The Rod does not work so well on its own. The Bible tells us that the Rod and Reproof work in tandem to create wisdom in a child.

Reproof involves speaking to the child and speaking into the child’s life. It involves explanation, instruction, correction, godly counsel, affirmation and direction for future behaviour.

When reproof is employed along with use of the rod the results are far better than if either one is used on its own.

Words of Reproof

To help those who may not find the right words easily, here is an example of a reproof that could be given to a naughty child.

“You know what you did is wrong, don’t you? You disobeyed mummy and that’s a bad thing to do. God wants you to always do what mummy tells you to do. Now, you are a very special good boy that God gave to us so we can train you to be a mighty man for God. That’s why it is so important that we smack you when you do wrong things, so you will learn to do what God wants and you’ll become the man that God wants you to be.”

“Now I’m going to give you one smack for saying ‘No’ to mummy. Then you are going to ask mummy to forgive you and I’ll lead you in a prayer to ask God to forgive you too. And if you say ‘No’ to mummy again, I’ll have to give you two smacks, because one wasn’t enough to help you learn to do the right thing. Do you want me to give you two smacks? I didn’t think so. So, all you have to do is make sure you don’t say ‘No’ to mummy again and do just what she tells you do.”

Ingredients

spoiled-girl

Effective parents know that they have to deal with things as they come up. They can’t neglect the child’s training. They also know the child needs their love and affirmation and that firm discipline is an expression of love to the child. They also know a child is unsettled and agitated if they cannot resolve wrongs in their heart. Godly discipline clears away the messy feelings they carry around with them when they have done wrong.

Clear explanation, loving affirmation and practical engagement in the right behaviours, such as saying “Sorry”, lead the child to put godly character and good behaviour into their lives.

Being clear about the punishment, why it is given and how it will be increased in the future if correct behaviour is not evident, helps the child feel secure and clear about what to expect.

I hope that helps you refine something of what you do to bless your children.

Toxic Ideas in Marriage

The devil uses “lies” to great effect. What helps his lies is that people want to believe them. The human heart is evil and so people want excuses to be let off their own responsibilities. The devil’s lies are often quickly taken up, to justify selfish choices in life.

The devil sows many toxic ideas into people’s minds regarding their marriage. The ideas usually appeal to human selfishness.

Devilish Wisdom

It is possible for an idea to be wrong, yet to appear to be ‘wisdom’. James, the brother of Jesus Christ, gives us insight into this situation in an important description of evil wisdom.

“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” James 3:15

You can pick the wrong ideas, even though they are propounded by experts and appear to be ever-so-wise, because they are “earthly” and “sensual”. When an idea defines reality from the earthly perspective, leaving God and godly morality out of the picture, then it is devilish wisdom. And when an idea appeals to human sensibilities, while ignoring God and godly morality, then it is devilish wisdom.

Beware of the ideas that go through your mind from time to time about your marriage. They may be devilish wisdom looking for a place to live. If you let that kind of wisdom in it leads to strife, contention and broken relationships.

wedding rings 2 kitty cheng

What are you Thinking?

Have you ever thought any of the following thoughts about your marriage?

“I married the WRONG person.” Maybe if you’d been more careful you could have been more happily married. Hmmm ???

“I DESERVE better than this!” You are not being treated properly and so you have the right to be angry and resentful.

“SOMEONE ELSE would make me happier.” Your heart is already lusting for something or someone better.

“EVEN GOD could not fix my marriage.” This is a great excuse to bail out.

“ADULTERY has ended this marriage.” When you’ve been wronged, why not be unforgiving and vengeful?

“God just wants me to be HAPPY.” Actually, I want to be happy, and I thought happiness was the whole purpose of life, so I’m now pinning my selfish wants onto God’s account.

“MY SITUATION is unique.” Your pain is very personal, and so surely no-one has ever been in your situation before.

Shake Up

Let me do a quick shake-up for you, and see if I can dislodge some of those “earthly, sensual” ideas that are dancing into your mind at times.

“I married the WRONG person” – You’ve got to be kidding! Your spouse only seems wrong because they rub up your selfishness and challenge your character. God did not create one “right” person for you. Instead, He created a relationship that is very resilient and able to be enjoyed with any one of gazillion spouses.

“I DESERVE better than this” – Do you really want what you deserve? I certainly don’t. When we compare you to God’s holiness, what you “deserve” may be far worse than anything you have ever been through!

“SOMEONE ELSE would make me happier” – How incredibly selfish of you! Your happiness is what you are demanding. And guess what! By being selfish you will be impossible to make happy. You are the principal obstacle to your own happiness!

Ready for More?

“EVEN GOD could not fix my marriage” – How dare you think so! Nothing is impossible to God. You just want and excuse to selfishly have your way.

“ADULTERY has ended this marriage” – That’s ridiculous! Millions of marriages survive adultery! Jesus Christ pointed to “hardness of heart” as the reason marriages break-up after adultery. When the offended party refuses to forgive, THAT is what ends the marriage. Don’t blame it on adultery!

“God just wants me to be HAPPY” – God wants you to be HOLY and that will bring happiness. If you are a happiness junkie, you will never find the joy your heart longs for. Be Holy. Happiness will follow.

“MY SITUATION is unique” – Rubbish! You don’t have a clue what other people have been through. Your situation is as fixable as anything God has to deal with.

Mending Marriages

I have drawn these points from my book, Mending Marriages – Putting Lives and Relationships Back Together. If I have offended you, then maybe I have made you think. Maybe you will open your heart and mind to some truths that will set you free from the devilish lies that have become “strongholds” in your mind.

We have a whole generation of unhappy people, simply because they believed the lie that they could pursue and find happiness. Godliness with contentment brings great gain. It is not “happiness” that you should be chasing.

When you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and be the person He created you to be, doing the things He created you to do, you will find wonder, joy, fulfilment and blessing that you cannot hope to find by throwing away your marriage.

Truth Video – Where Does Your Truth Come From

Where you look for truth will impact what kind of “truth” you come up with.
The question “Where Does Your Truth Come From?” has profound import in determining who you are and where you are going.

There are some things which appear to be “truth” or “wisdom”, but are devilish deceptions to enslave you to natural thinking and the limitations of mankind.
Chris Field presents this important question with his usual candour and easy-to-understand commentary.

Other Videos by Pastor Chris Field include ….

SEXUALITY VIDEO“Sacred Nakedness” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/sacred-nakedness-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“What is Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/what-is-marriage-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“50-50 Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/50-50-marriage-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“The Manhood Call” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/manhood-call-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“Sacrificial Purpose of Men” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/sacrificial-man-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Heart of a Child” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/heart-of-child-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Godly Seed” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/godly-seed-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Child Discipline” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/child-discipline-video