Presidents and Toggle Switches

Happy Presidents’ Day.

I have been slowly reading The President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. (2012 Simon & Schuster.) I am enjoying it! I read a chapter and then not pick it up for a couple of weeks. I came to this holiday celebrating presidents and the bookmark is at “Watergate.” Not what I wanted, but it is fascinating—as well as disgusting and a dictionary of negative words.

Bugging and recording systems have been part of the presidency. Gibbs and Duffy say on page 286: “It was so unfair; Nixon continued to be obsessed with how much less wiretapping and bugging he had done than his predecessors.”

Kennedy and Johnson had installed an extensive bugging system in the White House. When Johnson showed Nixon the apparatus, Nixon resolved to have it removed. And he did. However, there were practical, political and historical reasons to record every word. So, months later, Nixon had a state of the art taping equipment installed.

“Because he was convinced left-leaning historians would try to deny him his place in history; because he wanted to write memoirs better than Churchill’s; and because he was sure he would have the same total control of his tapes that Kennedy and Johnson had of theirs….”  William Safire

The differences in Kennedy’s and Johnson’s recording devices and Nixon’s was while their machines were manually turned on, Nixon’s was automatic, voice-activated.

“For want of a toggle switch the presidency was lost.” (White House staffer.)

Let’s park that for a minute. Myles Munroe differentiates a president from a king and why we are invited into a Kingdom. Not a trifle!

“Seeing life from (a kingdom) perspective will require a major change of mind-set for most people. We have to learn, we have to train; we have to be taught how to think this way. A change of mind is what the Bible calls ‘repentance.’ ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’ (Matt 4:17). He is saying, ‘Change your mind! Stop thinking like the world…and start thinking like a Kingdom citizen!” (Kingdom Principles, Destiny Image ©2006)

I’m obsessing about the X factor that enables a person to move toward success, accomplishment, personal satisfaction and…you finish the list. Getting “saved” is not the total answer. Some serious followers of Jesus live unfulfilled. Using the Old Testament model, many of us have left Egypt, but Egypt still dominates us. Repentance is the answer—not just being sorry for our behavior, choices and primary focus and changing our allegiance from self and sin to Jesus, but changing the way we think. What are our default thoughts? What is the thought pattern that determines decisions? Emotions?

  • Where did you learn to think? I’m talking about mechanics.
  • Where are you learning to think as a Kingdom citizen?
  • What is the Kingdom mindset? Worldview?
  • How do we change our minds? What is the path of a paradigm shift!

“Unless you repent, you cannot see the kingdom…” (John 3:3 KJV)

I’m not interested only in entering the Kingdom in a salvation experience, I want to “see” it and let it enter me—the way I think, therefore, the way I live. That ability to think moves me away from Brené Brown’s description of “scarcity” thinking and in a different dimension Munroe’s concept of scarcity and abundance. It moves us out of bondage and limitations. Kingdom thinking enables us to focus on “seeing” Kingdom possibilities and discovering solutions and strategies.

Where do we buy a toggle switch that will turn off the thinking that leads to despair and giving up? The ability to throw the switch is learned by observation—we’ve seen someone do it. Then having in place something positive to think about. It is never adequate to say, “Don’t think that!”

The Spirit-filled life is the big-picture answer I’m looking for. That life includes the choice and ability to throw the switch and think differently. What to think about: Principles of Sermon on Mount, Fruit of Spirit which lead us to action.

I‘m going to re-read The Secret Kingdom, Think and Grow Rich, As A Man Thinketh and Daring Greatly.

Thank God for Spiritual Toggle Switches and the willingness to learn how to throw them.

“John Erlichman referred to Nixon as the Mad Monk. He’d slip away to his private office in the Old Executive Office Building to brood for hours. “No one,” Republican chairman Len Hall once remarked, “would look forward to spending a week with Nixon fishing.” (p 265)

©2015 D. Dean Benton—

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