ITCZ 101 - A Calm, Cool Demeanor

Getting In The Cool Zone comes from a willingness and the practice of choosing a state of mind that is calm, cool and peaceful. This is the initial objective of In The Cool Zone and our namesake. When a situation is thrust upon us how do we respond?

The Lord of peace himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.

A "Go-To" State Of Mind

When events begin to unfold around you and you find yourself in a stressful, frustrating or scary situation we need a mechanism and thought process that we can lean on. A true "go-to" state of mind to set us up to react appropriately and powerfully when we need it most.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. - Romans 12:2 KJV 

ITCZ 101 - The Holy Spirit Leads 1

In the process of preparing our mind we need to be clear about who does what in the process of salvation and growing in the Lord. Remember that we want to do the things God told us to do and just as important, we need to let God do the things He said He would do.

Delivering The Gospel

When we obey the command to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, that is our part. The Holy Spirit will bring the conviction. He will bring the salvation. He will bring the growth.

And He (the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; - John 16:8 NASB

God gives the increase.

When we deliver the Gospel, do the works He gave us to do and let the Holy Spirit do his job, we stand in faith. We are not required to convict anyone. We actually can't. That is a job for the Holy Spirit. Let Him do His job.

The Puzzle Analogy - Part 3

We pick up today with our continuation of the Puzzle Analogy.

Seeking The Truth

Have you ever been able to connect two puzzle pieces together and later realized they shouldn't be connected?

Oh sure! Some of the die cuts on the puzzle pieces allow for pieces that are not meant to be connected, to actually fit together. In some cases you really can't determine that two pieces do not go together until you build up the cluster. The colors match. The pattern matches. However, those pieces do not go together. The new pieces connected around the original two revealed the wrong placement.

The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.

In the same manner, you may connect ideas that you discover do not go together the way you originally thought they did. In many ways the ideas fit but new information revealed the wrong placement. It could even be that the idea was just wrong. That's ok. Don't panic!

The Puzzle Analogy - Part 2

Now that we have built the framework of our puzzle we are ready to deal with the pieces that are much more challenging to organize. The pieces in the center.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Unknown

When you pick up a puzzle piece and do not know where it goes, do you throw it away?

No! If you throw away the piece you can never complete the puzzle.

In the same way when you get a piece of information that is confusing, don't throw it out. All information is valuable. Simply, place that info on the table and as you get more information you will eventually be able to understand it and integrate it into the rest of your knowledge.

The Puzzle Analogy - Part 1

In the article, Galvanize Your Heart, we talked about how and what we should be thinking and we focused on the priority of thinking. Getting your thought process out in front of an initial emotional shock will keep you thinking when you need it most.

Now let's discuss organizing your thinking process. I present to you "The Puzzle."

Understand what the will of the Lord is.

The process of building a puzzle is very similar to the process of organizing information. We have an overwhelming amount of information coming our way every day. From our scriptures to politics to work, dealing with family, friends, strangers, finances etc. It's a lot to take in.

How do we begin to put it into perspective?

Think about how you approach a puzzle. There are dozens if not hundreds of pieces. You have one guide which is the picture on the box cover. For our purposes, the pieces are information and the picture on the box is the truth.

Galvanize Your Heart

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. What and how you think about life is extremely important. There is also another aspect of thinking that needs to be considered as well. That would be the priority of thinking.

Guard your heart above all else.

The scripture in Romans 12:2 NLT does not ask us to change the way we feel. We need to change the way we think. Thinking is the part of your heart that the Lord is working on. So let's put a high priority on how we think.
Pray. Think first. The emotions support and reinforce our resolve. The body gets us there and does the physical work. God is glorified.

Think Like Jesus Thinks

So what and how do we think? Have you ever noticed that when Jesus answered a question, he either asked another question back or answered the question they should have asked to find salvation? Jesus certainly did answer their question but more importantly He would first give another answer to a question they did not ask, but they should have.

The questions that were being asked Jesus came from a way of thinking that did not comprehend the ways of God. Jesus was changing the way they think through His teaching and answering questions in a way that challenged their incorrect thinking process. So take the time to put on the mind of Christ by finding out what His Word says about His way of thinking.
Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. - James 1:21 NLT
Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy. - Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT
Having trouble finding a place to start digging into the Bible and not sure where to start? Review the article, What Should I Study? You'll be putting on the Mind of Christ in no time.

Count The Cost

As a Christian we are going to get resistance. There is no way around it. We live in a violent world that is diametrically opposed to the Word of God. If the world hated Jesus, we know the world hates us. Let's get the right mind set so we do not get taken by surprise more often than we should.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. - John 15:20 NLT
The core issue comes from walking in the manner the Lord has told us and standing up for the truth. Certainly, we are not talking about dropping "truth bombs" as is said, just to antagonize someone, but representing the truth when we may suffer consequences for doing so. This will come many times when sharing the Word of God or it may present itself in some situation that may arise.

Skill Development

As you grow in the Lord and become more skilled and effective at sharing salvation and the Word of God, attacks will undoubtedly come your way. They will range from disparaging remarks to unwarranted treatment to physical attacks. Therefore, the Lord has given us a heads up to prepare.

When we pray for wisdom, we learned in the article Praying for Wisdom... Debunked?, that trouble does not come because we asked for wisdom. We pray for wisdom because of the things that are already headed our way. In the same manner, counting the cost does not bring persecution. It prepares us for the things already in our path.

Praying for wisdom and counting the cost are principles that are proactive, just like Jesus was proactive. Grab this concept and own it.

If we want to grow in our relationship with the Lord we must count the cost of what that relationship will mean.

Prerequisites: Building Fortitude

When we ask and believe, we are in faith. We may not feel like our faith is effective if the Lord takes a while to bring things around. The good news here is He knows exactly what He is doing.

Many requests that we make we cannot bear, regardless of how bad we want them. The Lord knows this and instead of granting a request that will crush us, he builds within us the fortitude we need to take on the blessing.

Crave pure spiritual milk.

Remember that the scriptures tell us that the blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it? This is true of things we are asking for. Our Father hears your request. He is building a foundation in you to bear the very things you are asking for.

Walk By Signs or Walk By Faith?

Have you ever had an important decision to make and you just hope and pray that the Lord will give you a sign? Oh, sure. We've all been there.

As new Christians we have a tendency to initially seek a relationship with the Lord where we desire for Him to make decisions for us rather than understand God's ways and walk in them. Let's change our mind and seek to understand God's ways and make them our own.

Faith Killer

Seeking a sign takes us out of faith. Take a quick look at the definition of faith in the article, Faith… Updating Your Definition. The act of faith is to know the character of God, put our trust in Him and take action.

So let's keep our focus on the things He gave us to do (How Do I Serve God?). Our Father has tasked us to pray, gather information, make a decision and continue in prayer. At the same time we let the Lord do what He said He would do. He does the miracle (Let God do His Part).

And we know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to His purpose.

We do not want to put ourselves in a position of being a drone and seek the Lord to make decisions for us. Clearly this is not a relationship of love.

The Lord has set us free. We have liberty. We have a loving Father and we have the God given faculty to make decisions. Let's do it with confidence in Him.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. - 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

Can't Decide? God Expects You To

Walking in the Spirit isn't about the specific decisions you need to make. It's about acknowledging the Lord. Our Father understands that you have to make decisions through the course of your day. He wants you to make those decisions with confidence.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. - Proverbs 3:6 NKJV

In all your ways acknowledge Him.

With every decision you have to make there is information to base that decision on. God wants us to make good decisions based on His wisdom and council and He has armed us with the faculties to do so.

We are not robots and we don't want to be robots. Nor, does our Father. We are alive to Christ and He wants you to put Him first and learn to think like He thinks.
The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." - Psalms 32:8-9 NLT
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. - Romans 12:2 NLT
The key is not the decisions you make but your process for making decisions.

Faith… Updating Your Definition

Imagine a friend. Now imagine that you and your new friend are tasked with saving the world. The way you do this is you each have a button to push. Both buttons must be pressed within 3 seconds of each other and within a close proximity, once a day.

What if you fail to depress the buttons within the time given? You both suffer a painful death and so does the rest of the world.

The first day is going to be unnerving to say the least. With a 3 second window you want to be precise. The consequences are real. You and your friend get together and decided to go on 3. 1, 2, 3, press! You just saved the world.

Little Faith

It didn't take much faith to believe your friend would press his button. He was as invested as much as you were and he was standing right in front of you. You were able to communicate as well as acknowledge each other.

Our Father is faithful. Have faith.

20 Years Pass

Now fast forward. You've been successful for 20 years coming together and pressing the button and saving the world over and over. Each of you going to work, living your lives and yet always able to connect and press the button. Even when one of you was stuck in traffic, got a flat tire, held up in countless different ways, you were still able to connect.

Over this time you and your friend were able to build faith in each other through a relationship where together, you overcame obstacles and challenges that seemed impossible and that were most likely quite scary.

Study Like You Have To Teach It

In the article, How Do I Serve God?, we began to lay our foundation in the Lord with prayer, reading and connecting with other Christians. We then answered the question, What Should I Study? Now that we have discovered what to study, let's learn an important approach to study.

Study like you have to teach it.

Study like you have to teach it.

As followers of our beloved Father we know we are new creatures created in Christ Jesus and our primary goal is to know Him. To become like Him. As we do this we are building ourselves up in the Lord. We are on the right track!

We are also tasked with building up our brothers and sisters in the Lord so that they can know Him as well.  So let's keep them in mind as we dig in and learn. Thoughtfully develop your own style and prepare to dispense your knowledge and wisdom at every opportunity. It takes time to develop effective teaching skills so integrate this approach early on.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. - 2 Timothy 2:2 NLT