Monthly Archives: August 2014

Attitudes and Altitudes

Attitudes and Altitudes

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The Lord has allowed me to fly many times to special meetings in churches and special trips around America and even in other parts of the world.  I have been in some of the smallest planes and some of the largest jets!  Flying is an incredible way to travel quickly to the next location.  Years ago, I had the opportunity to sit beside an airline pilot.  He was a passenger, so as we traveled we spoke, and I learned many interesting things about aircraft and flying.

When flying airplanes, it is important to have the “pitch” of the airplane pointed up.  If the nose of the airplane is not pointed up, it will not fly!  The outlook of the planes nose determines it’s altitude!  Our lives ought be pointed up as well!  Our attitudes should be looking up!  Our attitude determines our altitude.  Your outlook will determine how you live your life.  If you have a defeated attitude, you will live a defeated life.  If you have a bad attitude, you will not lead a joyous life!  Micah has been showed by God how he was to live his life.  “What is good,” and what the “Lord requires” of us is explained.  Living a just life, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God are characteristics of the Christian life. 

If I have the wrong attitude towards justice – (For example:  if I do not really believe people reap what they sow), then my life will reflect that attitude.  If I think “I do not deserve this!”  Then I may have the wrong attitude about living justly, because I certainly do not deserve anything good! 

What about our attitudes concerning mercy?  “He deserves what he got!”  Someone might say.  “I am glad that this tragedy happened to her.”  What terrible things to say!  These things reveal a wrong attitude about the mercy of God!  We are to be a forgiving people because we have a forgiving God!  He has not given us what we deserve and we should rejoice in this!

When it comes to walking with God, we may look at someone else, and say “They certainly have a long way to come.”  This would be a critical statement, and a judgmental one.  We all have a ways to go in our walk with the Lord!  No one has arrived, that is for sure!  Are you humble towards God and towards others in your thoughts, words, and actions today?

Perhaps the words and tune of “I’m Pressing On the Upward Way” by Johnson Oatman, Jr.will help set your trajectory today:

1. I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Refrain:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

2. My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

3. I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

4. I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

“What is your attitude like?  Your attitude will determine your altitude.  How high will you fly?  Where is the airplane of your life headed?

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Letting Go of the Rope

Are You a Forgiving Person?

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

The church I grew up in had several buildings, one being over 100 years old.  There was a steeple and a large and loud bell at the top of this building.   For Sunday School to start and sometimes to end, the bell would be rung.  Some years while a teenager in the youth group, for new year events, we would “ring in the new year” on the old bell.  Ringing the bell 95 times for 1995 was terrific!

Attached to the bell was a long rope that hung the entire height of the church building.  From the ground floor a person could look up and hold the rope and with effort, ring the bell.  Once you were able to get the bell started, it made a terrific sound.  If you were close to it, it would hurt your ears it was so loud.

Life will hurt sometimes.  People may “run over us” with no regard.  We may have hurt feelings and emotions from some bad past experiences.  Sometimes we keep ringing the bell of hurt and rehearsing the sound of pain from the past. Could you forgive that person who humiliated you?  Could you forgive the man or woman who verbally or even physically hurt you?  Can you forgive the person that passed over you in position or ministry? By God’s grace, you can forgive.  It is a command from God that we forgive others of their trespasses against us!

Any time you are violated by another person, your faith and what you say you believe is challenged!  To pass the test, you must forgive!  Are there people and events in your past that when something bad happens today, you think of them and something they did to hurt you?  If so, you have not forgiven that person.  If you are keeping a checklist of all the wrongs you have endured, then your heart is not currently forgiving of others.

Listen to what the famous Corrie Ten Boom said after enduring all the affliction and pain the Nazi regime caused her, her family, and the world…

“Corrie ten Boom likens forgiveness to letting go of a bell rope. If you have ever seen a country church with a bell in the steeple, you will remember that to get the bell ringing, you have to tug awhile. Once it has begun to ring, you merely maintain the momentum. As long as you keep pulling, the bell keeps ringing.

Corrie ten Boom says forgiveness is letting go of the rope. It is just that simple, but when you do so, the bell keeps ringing. Momentum is still at work. However, if you keep your hands off the rope, the bell will begin to slow and eventually stop.

It is like that with forgiveness. When you decide to forgive, the old feelings of unforgiveness may continue to assert themselves. After all, they have lots of momentum. But if you affirm your decision to forgive, that unforgiving spirit will begin to slow and will eventually be still. Forgiveness is letting go of the “rope” of retribution.”

Let’s become a forgiving people today.  After all, if you have been forgiven by God, it is your obligation and duty to exhibit the same type of forgiveness to others, lest they not see the love and forgiveness of God that He has shown to you! Ephesians 4:32 declares: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  

Let go of the rope of the past; stop ringing the bell of evil thoughts about others and choose to forgive!  If we can let go of the rope of hurt and stop pulling on the pain of the past, eventually the sound of unforgiveness will cease and we will be able to whisper in the quietness “I forgive.”

The Place Where Revival Begins

The Place Where Revival Begins

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me….Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Psalm 51: 10, 13

I like the following quote concerning revival: “Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.”  What a fantastic definition!  David had just sinned, committing adultery with one of his soldier’s wife, attempted to cover it up, and then set up Uriah to be killed in battle.  He recognizes the need for the sin in his life to be confessed.  He also sees the importance of experiencing cleansing from his sin.  David confesses his sin, then asks the Lord to clean up his life.  Thank the Lord that we can be forgiven our sin because of Jesus Christ!  David desired to have a clean, right heart, as he lived before the Lord.  We have the same need in our life! 

Before David was going to be able to witness and give testimony about his great God, he saw the need to be cleansed.  He is having a personal revival – then he is able to teach transgressors the ways of the Lord.  Before we will see people saved and the baptismal waters flowing in believer’s baptism, we must see personal revival.  We all have loved ones and co-workers or classmates that need the Lord.  Before we can effectively share the gospel, we need to be revived ourselves!  Fall in love with Jesus all over again.  Give up any sin, or uncleanness that is in your life.  Be like David and search your heart.  David had revival in his heart.  The heart is the place where revival begins! 

Everyone Wins

Everyone Wins

Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

In society today, most everyone wants to “get ahead.”  Companies are fighting for the best sales.  Stores are competing for the most customers.  Individuals in corporations are getting “after it” for the promotion, raise, and recognition.  Is there a position, a job, a raise, or a recognition that you would like to receive today? 

Peter was asking about rewards and the benefits of faithful Christianity in chapter 19.  Jesus responds by giving a parable concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.  Parables are earthly stories with a heavenly meaning.

After reading Matthew 20:1-16, we can make the following conclusions:   

  1. There is work to be done.
  2. Workers are needed.
  3. There is an owner/ householder to reckon with.

The householder offers jobs to different people at different times of the day.  Four more waves of workers are added to the workforce before the day is over.  When the work day is complete, the workers go to the householder to receive their wages.  After watching all these people “come late” to the workforce, the initial hired workers thought they would receive a greater wage. They modified their “expectations” from what they had “agreed” upon in verse 2.  A penny a day was a good wage back in this time for manual labor in the field.  They were severely disappointed however that they did not get more money or recognition for their day-long effort in the field.  Were they cheated?

Verse 15 is key to how to view this:  “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”  We must love this response!  Is the householder (Jesus) evil because he is seemingly “more generous” to other workers?  The answer is no!  Jesus is always just and right.  Anything good comes from God!  James 1:17 declares. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Avoid feeling shortchanged when another person is blessed, promoted or recognized.  Whenever a good thing happens to another person – be happy for them! 

When others get a promotion or raise – be encouraged for them.  When others get a new car or an update on their house, be blessed along with them.  When their kids turn out right, don’t be jealous – be thrilled!  When someone else gets to teach or receives a position at church – be thrilled for them!  We are commanded in Romans 12:15 to “rejoice with them that do rejoice!” 

Christian, keep serving, even if you are not the one being applauded.  We do not need to fight to get “ahead” of others!  My father used to say while we were growing up as teenagers: “We are all on the same team.”    What a great truth!  Whenever another servant of our Lord wins, we all win! 

Getting Tired?

Getting Tired?

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.    

Galatians 6:9

It is nothing new, our bodies need rest.  We can become tired not only physically, but mentally or emotionally as well.  Even our spirits need refreshing.  Perhaps you have been doing a work for the Lord in your home with the family or at church, or even in the community – keep it up!  Faithfulness is needed more today than ever.  Sometimes it seems that Christians get tired to doing the right thing.  May God help us never to become tiered of doing the right thing. 

During the summer months many people take vacation from school or work to rest and recharge; this should not be a time to take a vacation from church or a vacation from the Lord.   Whatever our calling in vocation or calling to ministry service in the church is – we have a good work the Lord has given to us to accomplish.  At the end of the labor and effort is the reward.  Your energy given to the Lord is not spent – it is invested.  What investments are you making for eternity?  God will bless your efforts of service as you are faithful to Him.  We will reap one day, what we sow in service to the Lord. 

One of the most difficult things to do –if you are a motivated servant of the Lord – is to take the time need to rest properly.  When facing weariness ask the Lord to help you go back to the basics of prayer, Bible study, faithfulness in church, and witnessing.  Sometimes our bodies need to be rested.  Sometimes our emotions and spirit need encouragement.  Sometimes that encouragement can come from other believers – that is why church participation is so needed.  Sometimes, not even God’s people will be able to help.  Getting alone with God, setting a part of the day or even a few days away from the norm will be a blessing to your life.  Have you heard the statement: “You better come apart or you will fall apart!”?  Coming “apart” or away from the normal routine can benefit you. 

After resting, be sure to get back to a good routine of faithful service to the Lord!  May the Lord help us not to faint in our service to Him.