During our quiet time this morning, the author made this comment, "Trouble is inevitable, but misery is optional. Attitude has to do with the way I choose to think about things." This is very true.
As the apparent wickedness of our culture seems to grow and appear as though it is prospering, more and more people are developing a sour disposition and an angry spirit. Me included. The word fret means to burn with anger. Everyday I fight a spirit of anger at what the world and our country leadership continue to promote as law.
The Psalmist writes, "
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
This is one of the ways the godly persons attitude is tested. We live in troubling times and wicked people appear to prosper. Are we looking up or looking within to see God act on our behalf?
"The cross of Christ and the swastika do not need to oppose each other, and must not do so, but rather they can and should stand together. One should not dominate the other, but rather each should maintain its own meaning and significance." This is a quote from a tract (1) written in 1934 during the rise of Adolph Hitler by a German church leader. The Nazis put a lot of effort into the movement, but it ultimately failed.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
When someone or some situation causes you pain, how do you react? When people come alongside your life on that day, what will they see, what will they hear? Words of self-pity, or a song of trust? Will they hear a sigh of sorrow, or a psalm of praise?
Paul said, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). ESV.
I think almost all of us have at one time or another, rolled our eyes at someone or looked down on them. Granted sometimes it may have been in jest. Haughty eyes are eyes that are lifted up in arrogance. The position of the eyes describes the attitude of the heart. The arrogant spirit may vaunt itself against any and all people, but fundamentally this reflects haughtiness before God and refusal to reckon with one’s limits and human attributes.
Contrast this with the teachings of Jesus. There is something of a contrasting parallel arrangement with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. It has seven blessed things to answer these seven hated things; moreover, the first beatitude (“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Matt 5:5) contrasts with the first hated thing (“haughty eyes,” v. 17; i.e., “a proud look”) and the seventh (“peacemakers,” Matt 5:7) with the seventh abomination (“stirs up dissension,” v. 19). (1)
Which would you rather reflect in your life?
(1) Ross, A. P. (1991). Proverbs. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 935). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
This weekend, I heard my pastor preach another great message from the life and ministry of Christ. During his message he referred to the things God hates. And, yes God does hate some sins. We find the list in Proverbs 6:16-19.
There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,
A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers (NASB).
The seven things that the Lord hates are specific, personal attitudes, and actions.
The first five things the Lord hates are body parts set in a sequence that moves generally from the head to the feet (eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet), and the last two are specific types of persons (the false witness and the troublemaker). Also, note that the first five items concern general moral characteristics (pride, deceitfulness, a violent or conniving character, etc.), whereas the last two (v. 19) specifically belong to a judicial or governmental setting.(1)
(1) Garrett, D. A. (1993). Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (Vol. 14, p. 97). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Proverbs 15:13-15 says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly. All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast."
Recently, I had a horrible experience with a couple who I thought were my friends. In the wake of this experience, I have struggled with my emotions as they go back and forth from optimism to anger. Unfortunately, what we think often influences what we do and what we say. If not in check by the power of the Holy Spirit, the negativity will feed on itself and the behaviors that grow are not godly. In fact, in many instances they are just plain sinful. On the other hand optimism breeds more joy.
Which attitude would you prefer? Would you rather have a cheerful disposition or one with negative emotions? As I release this to the Lord, I am filled with His joy and enjoying a feast of His fellowship.
It is widely accepted that as a leader goes so goes a nation or for that matter an organization. It is also true that as a man goes, so goes his home. This includes when men are engaged and when they have abandoned their responsibilities. Whether you are more engaged as a leader or not, this principle is still true.
A man never outgrows temptation. In fact, the older a man gets the more time Satan has to find the kink in his armor. In 2 Samuel 24 God gave David nine months to realize his sin and repent, yet he did not. It took the discipline of God for David to make the correct sacrifice, stop the plague, and usher in the revival of answered prayer.
What is the condition of your home? If Satan were to find a kink in your armor, where would it be? Do you need to confess a sin that is hindering your marriage and or leading your home? How can you better lovingly lead in your home and set a godly example?
These wise men traveled thousands of miles to find the new born King of the Jews. When they did find Him, they poured out lavish gifts fit for a king in an act of worship. This is not how people react today. Most people go to God wanting Him to give them gifts rather than giving gifts to Him. Those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who He is. God with us.
Are you taking some time this Christmas season to worship?
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” ... When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:2, 10-12).
Even a decision to do nothing is an action that often results in a consequence. In 2 Samuel 20:10-12 once again we see David allowing Joab to murder someone and allow his act to go unpunished just like he did with Abner (2 Samuel 3:26-27). Sometimes treachery appears to go unpunished in our fallen world; however, God’s justice is not limited to the rewards and punishments on this earth. Sooner or later everyone faces the Lord’s judgment just like Joab (1 Kings 2:28-35).
With all the chaos going on in our world, with all the riots in our streets, with all the rebellion in peoples hearts and with all the evil decisions coming from our political leaders, it is refreshing to know God will have His way in the end.
In Psalm 86 David displays devoted trust during times of deep trouble. His life is in jeopardy and he pours his heart out before the Lord. He can’t see immediate relief in sight so he acknowledges the greatness of God, asks for lessons in the right way to live, and prays for a sign of God’s goodness. He knows God answers prayer.
Sometimes the troubles in life are so great that all we can do is cry out to God for mercy, forgiveness, relief, and restitution. When relief is slow to come, we can acknowledge the goodness of God and wait on His answers. He will always answer our prayers but not always in our desired time frame or in our desired outcomes.