Assumptions {11.16.18}

We often make assumptions about someone or something, don’t we? Sometimes those assumptions are positive in nature. Sometimes we make assumptions about someone or something in a negative manner. We need to be careful in both cases.

 I’ve recently witnessed an attitude adjustment in someone. This person had a negative attitude about a particular group of people. But, through circumstances close to home, that attitude was adjusted a bit. It’s funny how we can form rigid opinions and thoughts about people or situations and hold our ground. But, when something happens that brings it close to home and we see the other side of the coin, our thoughts become a little more flexible. Sometimes God allows us to see it when it happens to us. Sometimes He shows us through other people and situations. Regardless of how, I’m sure all of us have “eaten our words a few times”. It doesn’t taste very good, but it does us good. Humiliation is not fun, but humility is a good thing.

 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

assumptions - blind spotsSeveral years ago, I made assumptions about a married couple. I did not know either of them but they both were musically talented and involved in the praise and worship ministry at church. I remember thinking that (1) they must really have it all together and be walking closely with God, (2) their children are blessed to have such a positive, loving, example lived out before them, (3) it must be great to sing and play music in praise to God in their home. What joy and fun they must have. I compared this to me and my life. Our family certainly didn’t have it all together. We were lucky if we knew what we had and where it was. Walking out our faith in a positive example before our children did not usually go as we wished it had. Coming to Christ when our children were pre-teens and teens put us behind the eight ball so to speak (that’s my excuse anyway – even though there really is no excuse.) Anyway, my husband and I neither one have any musical talent whatsoever. We make a joyful noise unto the Lord (and only He can appreciate it). Our life was full of love for sure, but it was also full of trials (and error) and distractions and discouragements. For some reason I thought this couple I watched were exempt from that. How absurd. God’s word tells us that all of us who follow Him will have trouble. Jesus had trouble. We will have trouble. I soon realized this in a sad way. That couple I wished we could be more like had troubles of their own. Unfortunately, they divorced, and I was shocked. This is an example of making positive assumptions of someone without knowing them.

 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When we make assumptions on the negative side, we look at a person or situation and think we know what they should or should not do. We make judgments using ourselves as the base line, somehow thinking that we know best and do what should be done. Oh! How quickly pride and arrogance can set in. And, how humbling when/if we finally get the truth about a person or situation and realize how far off base we were in our assumptions. We don’t know what causes a person to act or drive (for all road rage people) irrationally. Maybe they just heard a loved one was hurt or died. Maybe they are in a relationship that is hurtful. Maybe they are scared. Maybe they are just selfish. But the point is – we don’t know everything!!! Only God sees their heart. We see only the outward appearance. Unfortunately, we often make judgments on those outward appearances, false as they might be.assumptions

Satan is roaming about trying to get at us any way he can. He wants to drive a wedge between us and our relationship with God. When we act as though we know best, we know it all, etc. – we are putting ourselves before our God. God is jealous. He is almighty.  He shares His blessings with us but not His Glory. It’s all His and rightfully so. When we act as though we are somehow lesser than others, that isn’t doing justice to God either. He created us all uniquely, loves us all, and has a plan for our lives. We must be careful not to get too puffed up or too deflated in spirit.

 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)

 We all form opinions and then develop attitudes to go along with those opinions. It’s going to happen. It’s human nature. However, the problem is when our opinions and attitudes are so rigid that we don’t allow room for error (our error in thinking). Even though we think we know what we are seeing or hearing and that our opinions are justified or verified, our vision is blurred. God tells us that only He sees the entire picture with clear vision. So, my lesson to myself is this: don’t think I know it all. Sometimes I don’t know much of anything. But one thing I do know, God knows all and is in control. I can certainly leave things in His capable hands. I just need to be still and listen, so I will know when and how to obey when He calls my name. No judgment – just love.

 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5)

 

Attitudes and Actions {6.21.17}

Attitudes and Actions. They work together, or rather one fuels or directs the other. Think about it, what you are thinking about plays a huge part in how you act. That’s why God tells us in His word what we are to think of in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

This morning I was attitude - Churchillpraying before I got out of bed and then again in the shower. As I was getting ready for work, God brought to mind some of the things I had been praying about and that they are all part of either an attitude or action.

There are many things going on in my life right now and I have found myself entertaining doubt. I’ve wondered, Will God do this? Will He do that? Am I really in His Will or following after my own selfish desires? Knowing that we’ve prayed and prayed and felt God’s leading, Satan is always around trying to convince us of lies. One of his names is “Father of Lies”. God reminded me this morning of the words of James 1:6 that say “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” So…get on out of here Satan, I’m not believing in what I see, but in what I know – or more specifically, WHO I KNOW! Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I am going to praise God for the answer I don’t even see yet and not doubt for a minute that He will provide the answers – the best answers! After all, He knows the whole picture, I only see a small portion.

actions speak louderAnother area where I realized Satan was tempting me was with fear. I’m not normally a fearful person but sometimes we can fear the unknown and not even acknowledge that it is fear. I don’t know about you but I tend to like to know the plan. I’m a planner and organizer by nature and maybe it’s a control thing that I have to struggle with to give up. Regardless, fear does NOT come from God. In face this is what God says about fear in 1 John 4:16-19 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”  Fear not – My God is With Me!

It all boils down to our relationship with God through Christ Jesus. If we are His Children, we can stand on his promises, recite them to ourselves over and over again. He is true to His Word. God can be trusted. We must have faith and not doubt. We must be courageous and not fear. WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

BibleSo, if you, like me, have ever entertained doubt or fear – read God’s Word, hide it in your heart (Psalm 119:11) and then stand firm in the armor He provides (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Let’s make sure our attitudes and actions work together for good, for God, for His Glory and His Kingdom! Let’s walk forth in confident joy!

Grumpy – Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs {10.3.16}

I’m learning lessons from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I think we can all relate to Grumpy. After all, we know what Grumpy looks and sounds like. None of us enjoy being around grumpy people and guess what – they don’t want to be around us when we are grumpy either. Just out of curiosity I looked “grumpy” up in the dictionary. Here are some of the definitions:  bad tempered, short tempered, crotchety, testy, touchy, irritable, surly, disagreeable, snappish, cranky, ornery. grumpyWOW – I don’t want to be any of those things. They don’t sound like anyone I want to know and they certainly don’t sound like anyone I want to be. However, sometimes I just feel like I want to be grumpy. That doesn’t make sense I know but it’s true. Have you ever found yourself kind of feeling like you want to be grumpy? I can sometimes feel myself getting kind of grumpy inside and I don’t even know why. Have you been there? Are you there now? One of my temptations to grumpiness is when I look out the back of our house. We have lived here for about 5 years and had a beautiful field behind us. It was especially nice to look at when planted in winter wheat and the wind was blowing it. Oh, and one of the best things about this field is that we have enjoyed unobstructed sunset views. They are truly incredible. Well, recently the field was sold and now is in the hands of a developer. They have been moving dirt, hauling gravel, and beginning a new housing addition. Needless to say it has been a dirty, dusty mess! We can’t sit out on the back patio and now that the weather is cooler and we would love to open our windows, we can’t because that would only invite the dirt inside (and I don’t enjoy dusting)! In the scheme of things, that is a petty, small annoyance and not a big deal but I can make it a big deal easily if I allow myself.

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

There can be many reasons behind why we are grumpy. We might be hurting emotionally, we might be angry, in pain, frustrated, fearful, feeling unloved, you name it. Sometimes I think grumpy may be a defense mechanism so that people don’t get too close. However, just like with Grumpy and Snow White, eventually people usually respond to kindness. Grumpy did not want anything to do with Snow White at first. He gave a lot of negative talk, didn’t he? He knew that things would change in ways he didn’t think he wanted. Snow White continued to be kind and loving toward him though and eventually his cold and stony (grumpy) attitude changed.grumpy-and-snow-white

Snow White had the attitude of Christ Jesus whose love for us does not depend upon what we do or say. He loves us so much He died for our sins, grumpy attitudes and all. Salvation is not by works (what we do or how we act), it is by grace. Then, after we receive His glorious grace, we do good works as a result of the love we have received from Him. It’s God in us that allows us to overcome those “grumpy” times and attitudes and instead live a life full of love and joy. In looking at Grumpy and Snow White, I’ve decided I want to be more like Snow White and err on the side of kindness. How about you?

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Lessons I learned from Grumpy: I control my own attitude. No one wants to be around me if/when I am grumpy and grumbling. Grumpy people need to be shown kindness. Our perspective is often blurred. I need to seek God and ask Him to help me see others through His eyes. People don’t always deserve grace – neither did I.  I need to give it anyway. Grumpy can turn to Happy with love and kindness.

So…is there a “Grumpy” in your life? How will you react to this person? Will you extend kindness or be grumpy yourself? I would love to hear your stories. Just leave a comment.

On The Table {2.15.16}

Do you ever find yourself “down in the dumps” so to speak? It can certainly be depressing to listen to the news or read the newspaper, can’t it? Often we can get a negative attitude just by listening to the talk around us, whether it’s at work, school, the grocery line or in our own homes. The old saying that “one bad apple spoils the bunch” can be true – IF we let it. I guess that’s why God tell us in His Word what to think about (Philippians 4:8), what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Sometimes just a kind word or smile can turn things around (especially our own attitudes). Have you ever seen positive results from a simple act of kindness, a kind word or a smile? If so, what happened?