Tag Archive | Perspective

Thanksgiving week

1 Chronicles 16:8,9 – “Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

It is the week of Thanksgiving. I agree with the statement that we should be thankful more often than once a year. I try very hard to live a life of thankfulness. As you can see here, I wear a bracelet to remind me to be grateful and thankful.

What does it mean to give thanks? 

I think that being thankful can take many forms. 

Prayer – Reaching out to God in prayer just to tell Him how appreciative you are for Him being active in your life.                    Songs – Singing praises to God with a heart in a position of humbleness and gratitude.                                                         Conversation – Have you ever taken the opportunity to turn the spotlight off yourself and turn it on God? Giving Him the glory for an achievement in your life is a great way to show thankfulness. All too often, we are so focused on ourself that we take away the opportunity to praise Him and give Him glory.                                                                                                                                      Giving –  I think that when we take the time to give to someone else out of the abundance that we have, we are, in a way, giving thanks. When we give with the heart of humbleness and the desire to help someone else along, we are telling God thank you for supplying my needs and giving me the opportunity to help someone else.

Just like anything else, all of these acts of thankfulness can be corrupted by our heart-itude. If our heart is focused on ourself, if our motive is promoting self, then each act is torn to pieces in front of the throne of Christ. Our acts of thankfulness becomes acts of pride and selfishness, neither of which is honoring or glorifying to God. 

So, as you enter this week of busyness – planning, traveling, buying, cooking, cleaning, preparing and all the other craziness that I know goes on at my house – check your heart. Make sure that you determine in your spirit that you will choose to plan, travel, buy, cook, clean and prepare with thankfulness in your heart because all of these actions require prayer, singing (to keep from going crazy), talking with others and giving of yourself and what you have out of your abundance. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. Make sure THAT is your primary priority.

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The world thru His eyes

John 4:35 – “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

What if for one minute you could see the people around you as Jesus sees them? What if you could see their pain, their sin, their fears? How would you respond? Would you ever be able to look at them the same way again?

My kids are going to church camp today. Now, this is camp. No hotel. No linens. No nice bed. This is rustic. And beautiful because of it’s simplicity. There will be kids there from all over. So that means there will be situations, thoughts and beliefs from all across the board. All of them have a past and all of them have a future. But that future depends upon the decisions they make after hearing the Word of God preached boldly to them. 

If we could see a person as Jesus sees them, I think our perspective and priorities would be a lot different. I think that our petty problems that seem overwhelming would be nothing more than a minor inconvenience when compared to the heartaches that some people face. 

Our challenge yesterday from the morning service was to be burdened for the lost souls of the world around us. A burden is a weight that you carry around. It is something that is not easily removed. What if we had that for the lost? What if we truly saw them for who they are and was never able to let that vision go? Would we be different?

This week, I want to challenge you to think about this when you see that person across from you at the gas pump. I want you to think about this when you are walking down the hallway at work. What if you could say something to the next person that you saw that would change their eternity? Would you take time from your deadline to tell them or would you put it off to another time that might never come? 

It seems so minor…

Ruth 4:13,14 – “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.”

Obed. He may not be the most famous person in all Israel, but in the eyes of those closest to Boaz and Ruth, he certainly was famous. He was a child of blessing. 

Ruth was a woman of Moab. She had married an Israelite and was barren for the 10 years (or so) that she was married to him. And then, he died. Long story short – when Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided to go back to Israel, Ruth went with her. She left her family, her country and everything she had ever known to follow Naomi. She trusted Naomi and in some way (although it’s never mentioned), I believe she trusted God. When they got to Israel, Ruth’s reputation proceeded her. Everyone knew what she had done, what she had given up and what all those sacrifices showed about her character. No need for Ruth to brag or put on an act – everyone already knew. 

And then there’s Boaz. He was a godly man from the get-go. He showed kindness to everyone. He was fair and honest. He was compassionate. He was a man of integrity. 

To bring you up to speed on this verse, Boaz procured Ruth as his wife in a legal and binding agreement that was wrought in truth and honesty. And because Ruth chose God’s way in her life and because Boaz demonstrated God’s principles in all he did, God blessed them with a son. And that son, Obed, was in the lineage of David and, therefore, in the lineage of Christ. How cool is that!

My point is this – you never know how far your obedience will reach. You have no idea the impact you are making on some person’s life that you may never know or meet. I mean, think about it – the obedience of Ruth and Boaz has impacted my life – not only in reading and studying about them in the Bible, but most importantly, because of Jesus. That’s enough to get those glory bumps going (goose bumps)! 

Don’t think that your random acts of kindness or just following God’s principles are something minor and unimportant. They are incredibly important! You may be changing the life of someone important with your “minor” acts of obedience. Be that change. See the forest, not just the trees. 

The Little Things

Psalm 5:11 – “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

In my line of work, we celebrate the little things. We celebrate small steps that were diligently sought after and tirelessly worked toward. We tell them to everyone. We give rewards. We give accolades. We do it up big. Because by rejoicing in the small things, it gives us hope toward our bigger goal. 

Why should this train of thought be any different for my every day life? Why do I neglect to celebrate a lost 1/2 of a pound? Why do I not celebrate being able to turn on the dishwasher and enjoy some extra time with my family? Why do I not celebrate the extra cash left over at the end of the week? 

I don’t celebrate those things because sometimes I consider them too trivial to really matter. But are they? Are they really trivial? Or do they point me to a greater hope? Do they not show me God’s blessings in my life? Do they not show me that God has graciously provided all that I need – under budget? Doesn’t it show me that my family is important and needs my time? Doesn’t that fading half a pound show me that it can be done?

It is really all about perspective. I see that more and more every day. If I choose to see the small things and perceive them as blessings, my day takes on a whole new meaning. I find myself celebrating more and more. And with the added celebration comes more and more praise because I am choosing to see His hand at work in my life. 

So let me encourage you today to celebrate. Celebrate the little things. Choose to see those tiny little details that make life amazing. Choose to give praise and glory and honor to the One who has brought them into your life and to your attention. 

Good Monday morning

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Good Monday morning. 

I just returned home from visiting family this last week. We had a long drive yesterday and I really didn’t get much sleep while traveling. So, this morning I was stumbling around my kitchen trying to remember how to make coffee and put away a few things, when I dropped a can of root beer. It goes to spewing all over their floor. I tried to put my finger over the hole enough to get it to the sink. This worked somewhat but not enough to save me from having to spot mop the floor. 

Good Monday morning. 

What does this have to do with walking through the shadow of death you might ask? Perspective and attitude. Surprisingly, I handled the situation quite well. No harsh words uttered. No bad thoughts passing through my brain. Just “well, I have to clean this up.” Maybe it’s because I’m so tired that I can’t muster up the energy to get mad. Maybe though, God used this moment to remind me that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is how I choose to respond to it. And I feel like I chose well. “Very good, young patawon!” (I told you I’m not quite all here this morning!)

Good Monday morning. 

Let me encourage you today to let it roll. Let perspective and attitude be what keeps you afloat today. Don’t let Satan drag you down with mishaps and upsets. Show him that God is on your side by choosing to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear. 

Your Glass

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

I was listening to the radio yesterday. It was “Thankful Thursday”. One lady called in to tell what she was thankful for and the radio person commented that she sounded like a “glass is half full” kind of person. She responded, “No, not really. I just know that the glass can be refilled.” I loved that!

Society wants to put us into two categories – optimist or pessimist. But I agree with this woman, I think there is a third category that never really dawned on me until yesterday – a follower of Christ. Now, I’ve used that phrase multiple times in the past but this time I see it as a category. 

A follower of Christ sees the glass, understands that the glass is always changing and knows that if he/she keeps following the Owner of the glass that the glass will always provide what the follower needs. It’s not about the glass being empty and all is horrible or the glass being full and all is well. It is about Who controls the glass and its contents and Who controls our perspective of the glass. 

I think that Psalm 23 accurately portrays this truth. David had been through all these situations in his life. And he knew that God never left him in any of them. His glass was sometimes full and running over and sometimes his glass was dry as a bone. Sometimes he held his glass in the valley and sometimes he held it on the mountain top. And in each situation and in each location, David never faced these challenges alone. He always had the Filler and Owner of the glass on his side. 

So I ask you today, are you a “glass is half full” kind of person or a “glass is half empty” kind of person? Or are you that odd ball category of “follower of Christ” kind of category that sees things totally different than everyone else? Let me encourage you to change your perspective and try something new. Seek out the Owner of the glass. Let Him show you how changing your perspective can change your life. 

Perspective and Regret

John 12:16 – “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.”

Perspective. It’s something that we all could stand more of. We are a “shoot from the hip” kind of society. Too often, we react rather than taking a few moments to reflect. 

But this isn’t just a problem plaguing our generation. The disciples of Jesus had the same problem.  They had been traveling with, listening to and experiencing Jesus for about three years. They had seen His miracles. They had heard His teachings. They had seen His humbleness and gentleness. Yet, they didn’t fully get it until He had left. That was when they had time to stop and think. 

I am just as bad. Monday morning was a crazy morning. Things were not going at all like I had planned. And to top it all off, I sent my daughter to cheer camp for the first time. Away camp. And I wouldn’t see her for three days. Now, reflecting back on the day, I wish I had hugged her more and talked with her more and listened to more of her excitement. I got so caught up in all the things that I had to do that I didn’t appreciate the little things. 

I fear that too often this is exactly what we feel on a daily basis – regret. I’m sure the disciples experienced a certain level of regret as they looked back on Jesus’s ministry. They probably wished they had listened better and asked more questions. They probably wished they had not fallen asleep in the Garden when Jesus asked them to pray. Peter probably wished he could go back and do the whole trial thing again just so that he wouldn’t deny Christ like he had. But the past is in the past and all we can do is learn from it. 

So let me encourage you today to think. Think more about what is going on. Appreciate the little things a little more. Do less reacting and more reflecting. You see, we only get one shot at this life. Don’t waste a single moment.