This picture is of an attitude indicator for flight on a plane. The human indicator is the heart.
Victor Frankl gives us a lot to this about in this quotation of his: When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are confronted by something of monstrous proportions? You feel utterly helpless. When you cannot do anything to change the situation, your attitude is what opens the door to allow you to change. Attitude (humility in particular) in success is everything. The book of James 4:6 Says, God gives more grace to the humble and He resists the proud. Pride therefore is the greatest contributor to failure. If we allow our hearts to remain humble and embrace whatever lessons there are to learn, adapt and change without compromising our values and beliefs then we will be victorious.
It is easy to let outside influences drive us away from our goals. We convince ourselves that we are managing. After all, we are busy and things aren’t really that bad. Are they? Most people don’t like to change. In fact, many people are afraid of change. Most people will remain the same, until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of changing. No matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid pain. Remember, stuff happens in life. You and I can’t stop unplanned things from happening. Drive your life to where you want to be. Be proactive!
Living a successful life is reading, learning, taking risks, having a dream, and taking action. What books have you read in the past 3 months to improve the quality of your life? Obviously this does not include your Bible which you should be reading every day.
Being successful is far more than going to a job and making money. Being successful is living your life through; work, health, family, finances, church and charity bringing influence and life. Anyone can become successful in life, but you have to be intentional to be influential. We are salt and light!
What is your attitude indicator looking like?
This anecdote from one of Grimm’s fairytales has the crudity of what life is like without Jesus!
Once there was a little old man. His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth. Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son's wife didn't like the arrangement.
"I can't have this," she said. "It interferes with my right to happiness." So she and her husband took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with wistful eyes.
One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the earthenware bowl fell and broke.
"If you are a pig," said the daughter-in-law, "you must eat out of a trough." So they made him a little wooden trough and he got his meals in that.
These people had a four-year-old son of whom they were very fond. One evening the young man noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing.
"I'm making a trough," he said, smiling up for approval, "to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big."
The man and his wife looked at each other for a while and didn't say anything. Then they cried a little. They then went to the corner and took the old man by the arm and led him back to the table. They sat him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things.
The sudden change of heart was not based upon love, honour, compassion, kindness, and gentleness or any other godly virtues. It was based upon fear of retribution, selfishness, fear and the revelation that they would reap what they had sown.
I am grateful for the grace of God, the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. But for the grace of God this is what I would be like! I want to honour, and love, serve and have compassion, model and make disciples, have faith and glorify God!
I have been studying sacrifices in the bible and have discovered so much that has just reinforced how incredibly wonderful and generous God’s sacrifice for our sin Jesus is! Paul speaks of a “drink offering” in 2 Timothy 4:6 & 7, this is one discovery I thought I would share with you!
Paul was in Rome as a prisoner in chains. He had already been tried once (2 Timothy 4:16 & 17) and was forsaken by everyone he depended on, but the Lord delivered him out of the jaws of a lion. The ungodly and unrighteous ruler, Nero, sentenced Paul to death. When Paul used the word ‘release’ it suggests he was longing for his departure from this world, and was anticipating his death.
If we go back and study the Levitical priesthood, we see that the primary offerings were animals, birds, grains such as wheat or baked flour, wine and olive oil. God ordained with each sacrificial offering, there should also be a drink offering. It had to be wine, poured out together with the offering. That is what Paul is referring to. He is speaking as his lifeblood is about to be poured out to seal the offering he was bringing to God; the fruits of his ministry. We can suggest that a life poured out in God’s service like Paul’s was, is an acceptable offering in the sight of God.
There is more to a drink offering than we think!
In Exodus 29:40 & 41, God ordered Aaron, Moses brother, to pour a quarter of a hin of wine and a quarter of a hin of oil over the sacrificial lamb. The lamb as we know, is symbolic of the Lamb of God; Jesus. The wine is symbolic of Jesus blood, shed for us and the oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. A hin was approximately 1½ gallons or roughly 22 English litres. The amount of wine poured out for the drink offering would have been about 5½ litres; approximately the same amount blood an adult man would have in his body. Jesus died when His blood was poured out for us.
If we analyse the ministries that have changed the world and blessed people, you will find that with every one of them, their lives have been poured out. Not necessarily as a martyr, but in selfless service to God to the point where, like a drink offering, they have been completely poured out. The Apostle Paul was getting on in years; was somewhat unwell and it was very cold in the prison. He had to send an urgent message to Timothy to bring a cloak with him before winter (2 Timothy 4:13 & 21). Paul had suffered terribly in His quest to spread the Gospel, yet there is not one single hint of defeat, self-pity or regret in any of his epistles. In his letter to Timothy, Paul comes to his three triumphant statements; “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
Every one of the last three statements, show us that his job was finished. We all need to finish our own race, keep the faith and fight the good fight. One major aspect of the Christian life is that it is a conflict.
We can get to heaven without theology; but we can’t get there without courage. Christianity is more of a test of our character than the intellect. How many of us really pour ourselves out like a drink offering, as Jesus and the Apostles did?
“I won’t give what costs me nothing Jesus” – Wholehearted (www.ensw.org)
Jesus by your grace help me to give it all for your glory.
We serve a GENEROUS MIRACLE working GOD!
God is generous regardless of our participation or lack there of. We have bought too much into the concept of causative giving.
Allow me to explain.
We have all probably heard the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes through the boy's lunch being multiplied. Matt 14:14-21
I have heard this portion of scripture preached on countless times, and in most cases attention is drawn to the obedience of the little boy.
Mistakenly people are led to believe that the miracle occurred because the little boy was selflessly willing to share his lunch.
Not only does that make it sound like God's omnipotence would have been hamstrung if the little boy had said no, and thus giving the little boy's action way too much credit in an ontological sense, it's also giving the little boy undeserved credit in the generosity department.
However, the food did not multiply when it was in the possession of the little boy. He was not under compulsion to give it to Jesus; he gave it because he genuinely wanted to. Do you think he honestly thought that his lunch was sufficient to feed 5000 people? Perhaps he thought that his contribution would help.
When Jesus took the bread and the fish He blessed it and broke it! Notice the blessed part. After feeding the multitudes there were 12 baskets left. God always does more than we expect. He will multiply whatever you give Him.
The point here is that God did a miracle through Jesus, not that a little boy was generous.
All glory to God who is faithful!
This week is a very significant week in the Christian calender. On Friday we remember that Christ came down from heaven, and crossed the boundary between heaven and earth for the sake of fallen and alienated humanity. He stood at the place where human beings suffer, are rejected and lonely. He took upon himself the misery of humankind and gave up His life in their service.
In contrast, most human beings are still living for self! I have been so challenged this last week not to focus on myself! The challenge I have is that I can fall into the trap of "self" so easily. It is so much harder to trust God and put our faith in Him and hand our lives over completely. We tend to allow all the self words come into play: self-promote, self-justify, self-defense, self-pity and the list goes on.
When we spend so much of our time focusing on self we tend to rely on ourselves more than we do on God.
How do we know when we have died to self?
When someone has spoken ill of you, when your advice is disregarded, when your hard work is over looked, and you refuse to defend yourself but take it all in patient loving silence, then you have died to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in a conversation, or to defend your own beliefs, your own good works, or itch for recognition and when you can truly embrace to be unknown, then you have died to self.
When you can see someone prosper and have their needs met, and you can honestly rejoice with them in spirit, and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in more desperate circumstances, then you have died to self.
When dying is about me and living is about Him!
Help me Lord to have your mind!
Christians believe that the season of Advent serves as a dual reminder of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting that Christians today endure as they await the second coming of Christ!
About a quarter of the Bible was prophetic at the time it was written, and many of those prophecies were specifically indicating that Jesus was the Messiah.
This period of time waiting for Christmas should be marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, preparation and longing. We live in a microwave society and we generally don't embrace the implications of waiting. This is not supposed to be a boring passive waiting period, but rather a time of preparation where we look forward to a blessed hope and glorious appearing.
This hope which is one of the three spiritual virtues is a gift from God! Instead of hope carrying the connotation of a spiritual truth, it is drowned out by the pandemonium that has become our Christmas holiday.It is buried under the sounds of cash registers and the peels of holiday music pumped through the stores and malls.
The Christian life can be a glorious, hopeful existence even though the individual may face war, famine, illness, and other perils common to human existence. We do not, necessarily, hope for God to bless us with earthly riches, nor do we expect Him to redeem His promises to us with earthly blessing. Our hope rests in the promise of an everlasting life near to God when Christ comes again.
These hopes are well stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8: 31-39: 31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What is this hope we are grasping? It is not money or things or a country. Hebrews 11 says we are looking forward to a heavenly city and a heavenly country.
Our anchor of hope is Jesus himself, who died for our sins and was raised for our justification. The author says, “We have this hope”; it is in the present tense, meaning we have it now, continuously. When we face our university examinations, we have it; when we go to the doctor and hear our disease is terminal, we have it; at the hour of our death, we have it; when our spouse is sick or when our child dies, we have it.
George Herbert said "He who lives in hope dances without music"
This is a time of celebration! It's okay to celebrate the glorious appearing! It does not matter that it has not happened yet - it will!
while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We are called to bear fruit, fruit that will remain, which comes by resting! Well how does that work? I am glad you asked!
Edsel Burleson, in The World Evangelist said, "Too many churches are singing Standing on the Promises when they are in reality just sitting on the premises. Someone has said that every church is made up of willing workers, 10 percent are willing to do the work and the other 90 percent are willing to let them do it. Too many have learned that heaven will be a place of rest and are getting all practised up for it."
In John 15:16 Jesus says "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear
fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you
ask in my name."
Clear indication that Jesus wants us to be fruitful!
In Matthew 11:28 - 30 Jesus also invites us saying "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We need to URGENTLY realize that we are called to advance His Kingdom in the earth.
Here is how it is done:
1. We do not PRODUCE fruit we BEAR fruit
Branches of a vine do not produce fruit, they bear fruit! The vine produces the fruit! Jesus says in John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener."
We are instructed to abide in Jesus and He will produce the fruit and we will bear fruit.
2. TRYING does not produce fruit TRUSTING does!
God loves you as a person even more than He loves you as a leader. It brings Him pleasure just to think of you, and He longs to lavish you with His attention and affection. There is absolutely nothing you can do to make Him love you less or more. Stop trying and just trust Him.
Abiding, staying attached, recognising who is at the core of you are and revolving your leadership around this core is the resting part. Trusting Jesus who is at the core!
3. Fruitfulness comes from RESTING not RESISTING.
A yoke is generally a burden to the ox that resists the lead oxen. Jesus makes it clear that following him is a slave to master relationship, which involves submission and obedience. His yoke is on us. But that means the power comes from the One who directs our lives. Christ offers a liberating enslavement. The yoke’s really on him.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on His shoulders. If He bids us carry a burden, He carries it also.”
Let's bear fruit resting in and abiding in the one who has called us!
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
I believe that having a personal mission is critical to having the kind of life and career that you desire. Going through the process of creating your personal mission statement clarifies your values, and gives you a sense of purpose and direction and focus in your life. Your personal mission is your foundation and the starting point for success. However, I don't believe it is the primary driver; it is based upon the call of God and understanding who He created you to be. This is only obtained by spending time with God and learning more about yourself through prayer and reading the Word!
Your personal mission statement serves to focus your energy, actions, behaviour and decisions towards the things that are most important to you.
There are three things that stop us from completing our life mission.
2. Intimidation: Fear is
used to keep you incapacitated.
3. Discouragement: becoming disheartened to the point of quitting.
I know so many people, including myself at times, who set out with great gusto and along the way become discouraged and then quit. This only results in a lack of confidence and feeling like a failure.
Procrastination, intimidation and discouragement are often interlinked and the result is a life debilitated from fulfilling its purpose.
When I was a kid my dad told me that when other children bullied me I should fight back! He explained that a bully would usually stop if I fought back and stood my ground. I did what my dad told me and it worked. Well, the same principle applies to discouragement. Think out about whatever has left you feeling discouraged, and fight back!
“Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your people, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14)
Nehemiah urged the people not to give up or give in but place their faith in God, resist those who opposed them and defend their loved ones and their homes.
“When our enemies
heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all
returned to the wall, each to our own work.”
The very people who had earlier cried “we cannot rebuild the wall” did indeed rebuild the wall. How? Because they reorganized their work load, they remembered the Lord and they resisted their enemies. And the consequence? Despite further setbacks and yet even more opposition Nehemiah concludes:
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
In 52 days they rebuilt the walls and discouraged their enemies. The Bible teaches that Christ-followers are in a spiritual battle too. In this supernatural conflict, Satan tries his best to bring us down.
So whatever the reason for your discouragement is, do not run away from the problem! Our response should be the same as Nehemiah’s. Fight Back!
Paul says “Fight the good fight of the faith”
How you handle discouragement affects your ability to take new risks and chances that could have huge benefits for your life and for others around you. The root word of discouragement is courage so it should only make sense that feelings associated with failure, fatigue, frustration, fear and rejection often deal a blow to your courage.
Discouragement is a disease unique to human beings, and it's universal - eventually everyone gets it, including those in ministry. I have no doubt you've experienced discouragement at times, maybe many times. You might even be discouraged at this very moment. It is easy for us to allow the pressures and burdens of life to overwhelm us and cause us to despair.
Discouragement is a killer!
Discouragement has caused many people to become unhappy in their relationships and to start looking for relationship elsewhere. Discouragement has resulted in dreams not being realised. It has caused people to leave the church. It has been a contributing factor to immigrations to another nation.
Spurgeon had this to say about his own battles with discouragement, "Discouragement … creeps over my heart and makes me go with heaviness to my work.… It is dreadfully weakening."
This past week I have
been very discouraged. My wife Kate and I returned from the USA fired up and ready to take on life here in South Africa or so we thought.
Something happened when we were away and we discovered that one of our children had let us down through not very pleasing behaviour. We felt robbed of our joy and cheated of all we had benefited from our time away.
It was in this painful place of feeling like “throwing in the towel” or giving up that I realised that it was my choice whether or not I wanted discouragement to be my constant companion.
Jesus said in John 14:16 that He would leave behind a helper in the person of the Holy Spirit, to comfort, correct and encourage us. I had to choose this week to tap into the Holy Spirit by faith and allow Him to lift me out of my pit of despair.
The truth is no feeling lasts forever; you have to choose to fight back! If you remain discouraged it is because you have chosen to feel that way.
I take comfort in the words of Billy Graham:
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘help me.’”
Jesus does not promise us a perfect life on earth, but He does desire us to have a balance in life and He promises to carry us through the hard times. We will pass through some situations and trials that incapacitate our joy. And still we’ve been promised victory in this world over them!
Run the race of life! Be encouraged to fight back from your set-back and know that you have a Helper who will never leave you or forsake you! That feeling will not last forever!