Devotions: Feeling Oppressed?

It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest…
I cannot sleep because of all of the problems racing through my head…
I just don’t want to get out of bed today…
My heart feels heavy…
All my emotions are drained and I feel alone…
I can’t even laugh anymore…

Do any of these emotions or expressions ring true for you today?
Most of us have been through these seasons of life…sometimes more than once.
We feel defeated, deflated, unimportant and alone.
I have been in this place and I have allowed these lies to emotionally wreck me.
Thank goodness I don’t live there anymore.  I know it was a lie, and that I needed to realize the truth – that I was loved and that I was never alone.  I was/am a child of the Most High!

Far too often Christians will start to believe these untruths, and I believe that spiritual oppression is very real and very alive in the Church today.  We hear things inferred or even said that cloud our judgement and make us forget how God truly sees us.  This is a great tactic of Satan…and it works almost every time!

2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  Did you catch that?  God says to you and to me you will be MY sons and daughters…forget what others might say about you; forget what you might think about your gifts and abilities; forget how the world sees you – the only thing that truly matters is how God sees you…and if He can call you son or daughter, then guess what?  All of the other titles in this world, both good or bad are so less important than this one amazing truth!!  You are His!!

Henri Nouwen once said, I truly believe he struggled with oppression and depression in his life too (so we are in great company) …”Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.

Prayer: Lord, please dispel the oppression of the father of lies in my life right now.  Help me to know and see the truth about who I am to you.  Strengthen me for this day, and fill me with your hope even when (or especially when) I feel defeated and alone.  Shine your light on me and reveal the truth to my heart today.  In your name I pray all of these things.  -Amen.

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Devotional Pondering: The Lifter of your head.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

Have you been to the place of darkness?
The moment when you have felt hopeless, alone and perhaps afraid?
It is a lonely place…sometimes even when you are surrounded by people.
There are seasons of restlessness, unhappiness and perhaps hopelessness too.
But allow me to reassure you today with a word of encouragement – No matter the difficulty you might be facing, or the circumstances that seem to loom in on you, you are not alone.  You are being strengthened by the Most High even if you do not immediately feel this way.  He is the lifter of our heads when we are downcast.  He provides shelter to us when we are standing in the heart of the storm.

I have felt the winds of these storms recently.
I too have encountered the weight of a heavy heart.
Sometimes seasons come and the darkness threatens us…but the sliver of light that does remain gives me hope.  I know that He is with me even in the heart of the storm.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for lifting my head when all I want to do is hang it in discouragement.  Be with me today, thank you for your joy which shines even when the storms of life swirl around me.  Help me to be content in you, no matter the circumstances of life around me.  “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge”   (Psalm 31:1) Thank you for being there for me and lifting my head when I was downtrodden.  Shine in me today so others might see your glory.  -Amen.

It Was A Great Birthday!…

Well, I turned another year older today.
I have survived another revolution around the Sun.
I don’t feel much older than I did…twenty three years ago when I was just 18 years old.(yikes!).

Today I received wonderful birthday blessings from so many people from around the world.  It was incredibly humbling and joyful to have so many friends both near and far away!  Thank you all so very much!

Tonight, my beautiful wife is preparing my favorite kind of ethnic food – Indian curry (of course)…what a great way to cap what has been an amazing birthday!

One of my favorite living poets Ted Kooser once wrote this poem that pretty much sums up my amazing day –

‘A Birthday Poem’
Just past dawn, the sun stands ted
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

Thank you friends!

Devotional: A Love That Never Fails

Have you ever heard the old phrase: ‘Nothing lasts forever‘.
It’s usually said to bring comfort to those who have lost a loved ones, a relationship, a treasured item like a cell phone or car…but I know at least one instance in which this phrase is flat out wrong.

God’s love is not temporal and does not have an expiration date on it.
He wants to lavish us with His provisions and love and the only thing that stands in the way of that at times is…us, and our old sinful nature.  Sin has a way of convincing us that the temporal, fleeting things are most important, and yet they pass away, they expire and are no more.  Yet, there God stands from everlasting to everlasting with something far beyond sometime finite – because He is infinite as is His love for you and for me.

Psalm 136:1,2 says:  “Praise the Lord! He is good.  God’s love never fails…”
So why do we put our trust in the things that are fading and passing away instead in putting them in the Eternal, Infinite love of God?  It seems like such a wasted investment, doesn’t it?  I don’t know about you, but I do not want to come to the end of my life and realize that I have squandered by time, talent and treasures on things that didn’t last.  Instead, I want to deeply invest in the Eternal and never ending love of God.  How about you?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, help me to know you more fully.  Help me to see your beauty in the world around me and to know that you love and desire my love in return.  Thank you for the many blessings that you have given to me today.  Help me to not take these blessings for granted.  Help me to love others as you have loved me.  Be with me today.  In your name I pray all of these things.  -Amen.

 

Dear Salvation Army, 5 Practical Ways To Engage The UnChurched?

Dear Salvation Army,
are we playing church when we should be engaging our community?  Is there a difference?  We understand that our ministry and movement is not strictly “Church”, it is really Gap ministry and the front lines of reaching the unchurched.  There are plenty of churches that minister to Christians, but how many movements are there that do 90% outreach to a majority of the unchurched in our culture today?

There is the temptation to want to peer over the fence at growing churches and mega churches that boast hundreds or thousands of members and wish we could become them…but is that really what we as The Salvation Army was created to be?  Is it all about numbers and/or attendance?  Why do we continue to buy into the erroneous notion that we have to look and appear like other churches from other denominations?

The truth of the matter is if we are striving to look like other Churches who predominantly minister to middle to upper class Christian people, we will surely fail – because that was never our vision or mission as an Army.

Questions:  
So WHO are we?
How do we maintain this Movement?
Are there times where we must realign our mission?
5 Practical Ways to Engage The Unchurched: 

1) It’s about Relationship and Trust! 
You cannot actively engage the unchurched if you only see them as statistics on your attendance sheet.  Would be new comers can sense a scheme or disingenuous’friendliness’ a mile away.    If you as an Army are to reach unchurched people, you have to be sincere, honest, genuine and make a concerted effort to meet people at where they are at.  You cannot expect people to change overnight if they have never been in a church ever in their lives!  Love them.  Display Christ to them in your actions…but true engagement comes when you first go to them and build a relationship and level of trust.

2) Study your community and fill a need! 
Are there a lot of single mothers in your neighborhood?  Perhaps build on that need and fill it in some way – offer support and helps!  Is there an influx of teenagers in your neighborhood?  Cater your ministry to meet these unchurched youth.  Become a student of your neighborhood.  Learn what that neighborhood or community truly needs.  Pray about it.  Ask God to show you, and then stay in tune so that when He does show you – you will be prepared to act.  Without learning about your community, you will not be able to actively engage it or truly reach the unchurched.  This can be dirty work – by that I don’t mean to insinuate that unchurched people are dirty, not at all, what I mean is you have to meet individuals – talk to them, and yes, you will meet a lot of people who come from hard-living lifestyles.  So roll up your sleeves and get to work!

3) Break the mold of what Sunday “church” looks like!
We as an Army have even developed what Sunday “Church” should look like.
We have a set format for it.
We have developed habits and sometimes ruts in our services.
It becomes the HOW of our identity… but is this the most effective way of reaching the unchurched?  I would dare you as Soldiers and Officers to move beyond what we think “Church” should feel and look like.  Get beyond the chapel from time to time.  Stop printing a bulletin one Sunday and see who gets bent out of shape by it = this is further evidence that we are stuck in the “church” rut of looking like other churches when we are not them.

Consider doing Messy Church one Sunday a month.
Maybe meet in a different place in your corps (if it’s big enough), or meet at the quarters on Sunday evenings for a fellowship.  Reshape how you do “Church”, because if we truly believe that we are NOT a Church, then why are we continually attempting to look like a church?  What matters more: we do all the right elements of church or we engage with real-life issues in intensive spiritually focused fellowship, discussion and discovery?

4) Create a buy-in and celebrate the small steps!


When we engage the non-Christian or unchurched – there has to be a buy-in.
Why do you want them to become a part of your Corps?  It sounds selfish, but what’s in it for them?  Why would you want to go to your corps?  What holds it all together?  When you can answer those questions you will begin to grasp the true buy-in for a new comer to become actively engaged.  Also know that there is no full-proof method and success rate.  We will fail at times in engaging people for Christ.  This will happen because of free will and choice.  You can’t force someone to attend your corps, but you can make attending your corps inviting, friendly and accepting if you create an intentional environment of welcome for all who come to your doors!

The second component to this is setting goals and celebrating successes.
Set goals and steps for your corps to meet.
Challenge each member to make connections.
Be realistic and authentic…and don’t emphasize the Forrest for the trees.
Set smaller steps so that every member can become engaged and celebrate when those steps are accomplished!

5) Talk About Real Issues And Be Honest!
Don’t hide from controversial topics or taboo topics in your corps.
The real issues facing people outside your walls need to be discussed and talked about inside your corps.  Don’t create a bubble that pretends everything is peachy-keen when outside people are dying from drug abuse and alcoholism.  Speak about these issues.  Hold a neighborhood meeting.  Be a mover and changer in your community!  Don’t shy away from the tough topics, but be available to provide a safe harbor to those who are caught up in lifestyles that troubling and hurting others.  When we talk about the problems and issues…when we engage in them- people in your community who are unchurched will see a buy-in and will want to help.  When you add them to your forces you are creating a space in which you can actively engage Christ to them through relationship and common purpose.

These are just practical ways to engage in the unchurched.
I would like to note that I do not use the term “unchurched” in any derogatory way.  I know it can create a label, and I would caution us not to call anyone “unchurched” but rather identify them as would-be disciples of Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Salvation Army – Letters From Prison

Life in The Salvation Army is always unique and eventful.  There is something new each day, and these “somethings” can be good, and they can also be not so good.  This ministry and mission that we engage in here in our Army is truly frontlines and gap ministries.  It is with this “gap” ministry in mind that I tell you this story:

I had been feeling very discouraged in serving in The Salvation Army recently.
The busyness of this appointment had begun to frustrate me – far too many reports to complete, too much desk work and not enough human contact in mission.  I had been fighting with policy, rules, regulations…all of the tedious hoops we all have to jump through as Officers in a very far-reaching Army.  Have you ever been there?  Feeling bogged down by stuff and instead of pursuing mission you find yourself pushing paperwork?  That’s where I was when something connected and resonated in me through our soup kitchen and social services…

Our soup kitchen is a thoroughfare to many who are in need, some by choice, others by crisis – all are looking to fill their bellies while sipping on cups of hot coffee and sharing in conversation.  This is a safe haven to a large number who are either living on the street, crisis poverty or habitual poverty.  All are welcomed here, and in a very practical sense, the gap is tended by stalwart soldiers and friends of this army.

I recently received a letter in the mail that was not an ordinary letter.  On the front of the envelop, in bright crimson stamped lettering it read: “Inmate Mail”.  I was intrigued, what could it be about?  So I carefully tore the envelop open and inside I found a hand-written note on a blue lined page.  This individual, now inmate, wrote her letter addressed to: prisonDear Salvation Army” (How fitting I thought).   First she expressed deep gratitude for us being there for her even when she was hurting herself with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.  She was a meth addict and because of her addiction she committed some crimes and ended up being incarcerated.  She continued to describe her dire situation of homelessness and utter hopelessness.  She was more imprisoned outside on her own then she is now.  Her letter ended with these words:  “Because of your soup kitchen, food pantry and your clothing donations, I was able to survive.  Your church gave me life everyday – Thank you for showing me, loving me, and sharing with me the love of Jesus Christ.
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My Dear Salvation Army, this is what our existence is about!  This is who we are!  We must mind the gap!  We must tend the very gates of Hell in order to pull hopeless people like this one from total self-destruction.  We cannot sit by and watch when no one else will help.  Action must be taken daily!  Sometimes we might even feel as if what we do has no effect in our community, and then letters like this appear at our doorsteps.  If I can be honest with you, I have felt defeated many times in my attempts to reach people for Christ.  I have felt the sting of rejection as the gospel has been presented.  I have heard the laughs and the words of mockery.  Perhaps, like me, you needed some reassurances that what we do still matters…IT DOES!
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ONWARD:
Let me, for what it’s worth, offer these words of encouragement and direction:
-Keep Fighting the good fight!
-Do not give up on doing these good works for those you serve!
-This movement and mission IS making a difference!
-Even though you may not always see it, God sees your faithfulness and you must find your reward first in HIM.
-Do everything without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14a) – (I am preaching to myself first and foremost)
-Every effort for service should be done with love, kindness and grace – you never know whose life you will reach, so be consistent and faithful to God in your service!
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The Salvation Army doesn’t exist for the purpose of maintain status quo and pushing paperwork – it exists so that people like this inmate who wrote this letter might find Christ.  This Salvation Army exists to be a lighthouse to a turbulent sea full of lost people struggling to get to shore.  This Army exists so that homeless people and pariahs in society might also have a chance to meet their Savior.  The words of General John Gowens still ring in my head when he said,  “Mind the Gap!”   We must still call others to mind this gap…and we must be vigilant in our mission as the Lighthouse shining out into the waters of desperation, depression, addictions, abject poverty and all the other ‘gaps’ that exist that would claim all who fall into them.

Something more for our Army to Ponder today!
To God be the glory!

*Disclaimer: The opinions and thoughts expressed here are the opinions of the writer of pastorsponderings and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and thoughts of the Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.*

Day 60 – Be Done With Sin!

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, army yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin…”  1 Peter 4:1

The joys of life can often be overshadowed by the hidden sins we think we are hiding from God.  We think that if we act a certain way, or talk with just the right words, that we will fool everybody.  That may be true of people, but it isn’t true of God.  He sees it all, the good and the bad.  He knows us, and in that knowing He sees.  I used to be afraid of that “seeing”.  I used to think that this meant God was always spying on me and being intrusive…but that’s not how God works at all.  sin

Like a loving parent, His desire is for us to be rid of all kinds of sickness, and sickness of sin is the worst of it.  He despises sin to the point that nothing with sin can ever stand in His presence.  This Fatherly love, that is perfect and completely devoid of malice, desires the best for us.  He sees the potential in us even when we do not see that potential ourselves.  We might consider ourselves worthless or lacking gifts or talents, where God sees us in a whole different light – His perfect light which is true, pure and full of love for us.  He sent His one and only Son into this world so that sin and death would finally be vanquished forever – so that through Christ, we might experience true life!

redeemWhatever temptations you are facing today – God’s providence can sustain you!
Whatever sins you have been wallowing in for far too long, Christ can forgive and redeem you.
Whatever struggle you might see as impossible to overcome – The Holy Spirit will empower you and strengthen you to overcome and see victory!

Allow this to take place in your life.
Say yes to true living and turn from the trap of sin that leads to loneliness, sorrow and pain.  Hope awaits us all – let’s embrace God’s Light in our lives today more fully than we ever thought possible, with the power of the Holy Spirit within us!

Prayer:  Lord deliver me from ____________________(name it) today.
You know these struggles and these temptations.  Help me to fully embrace your will for my life.  Lead me in this day, deliver me from the snares of the evil one.  Thank you for seeing the potential in me and for guiding me on this path of holiness.  -Amen.

Dear Salvation Army – 5 Truths About Sacrificial Living…

We are an army that is non-sacramental – I  believe this, but we must actually embrace and preach/teach the necessity for real, authentic sacrificial living its soldiership.  Without this crucial component of sacrificial living, we will have not only rejected ritual observations of the Church by way of communion and other such practices, we will have neglected the true essence of Christ himself (who was without sin, yet suffered and died for us).  If we are to be Holy as He is Holy, we must become like Him in every way – which includes sacrificial living. The season of Lent is upon us, and although we do not practice much of the traditional Church practices within Lent, we would be remiss if we did not explore this extremely important topic of Sacrificial Living.

But First let us clarify what Sacrificial Living is not:
It is NOT:  
-A great display and sanctimonious actions for others to see you and know your piousness and holiness.
-A ploy for promotion or power play for position or status.
-A means to compete with other soldiers and prove who is “holiest”
-A means to fool the world – but you can’t fool God.

If any of the above mentioned motives for Sacrificial living exist within us, we must eliminate them from our hearts and reconsecrate ourselves before God!
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5 Truths About Sacrificial Living:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

  1. Sacrificial Living Requires Consistency 
    But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” 1 Samuel 15:22

    consistencyWe cannot simply declare that everything we do in the corps will be the place of my sacrificial living – NO!  It is all or nothing.  God doesn’t want our sacrifices in one area while other areas of our lives are still not surrendered.  That’s like saying to your spouse, “I will be faithful to you in this city, but I can’t promise anything when I leave this city.”  How can we love the Lord with all of our hearts when we compartmentalize our relationship to Him?  If we are to be soldiers of the faith who are daily living sacrificial lives, we have to subject ALL of our lives under the sovereign, perfect rule of Christ.   Consistency is not easy, and there will be constant struggles to bring these areas of our lives under control.  But rest assured we have One who is with us – The Holy Spirit!

  2. Sacrificial Living Takes Work
    “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” –Romans 12:1.

    If we are to be consistent in our declaration of sacrificial living – we have to meansleeves2 what we declare – and this takes work!  We have to roll up our sleeves, so to speak, and intentionally, moment by moment surrender our wants and desires to God.  We have to declare Thy Will be done, instead of my will.  The work done on our knees in prayer before the Almighty will set the momentum going forward.  If we neglect this spiritual discipline of prayer, we will jeopardize our entire sacrificial existence.  This is a merging of our identities with that of Christ’s.  When we do this, we are essentially saying “I want to be Imago Dei” I am not just imitating Him, I want to be Him in every way.  There will be moments of stumbling.  We will experience great stress in temptation, because surely the Father of Lies will begin to see how dangerous His people will become to his devious plans on earth.  We will experience adversity, days of defeat, weakness – but these are only symptoms of us dying to our old-self.

  3. Sacrificial Living Is An Outpouring of Holiness

    “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” 
    -Acts 2:44-45

    When we declare our desire to be like Christ in every way, our crosses will be carried, and our path will be set.  It sounds paradoxical, but while we experience great sacrifice and discomfort, we will at the same time experience great peace too.  Sacrificial living is not the end result, no this is the outpouring of our longing for holiness in all that we are as Children of God.  This is more than just words uttered.  This is something on a molecular level – changing us from the inside out.  I believe something metaphysical happens when we make it our goal to be Christ in our holyhearts, minds and soul.   You know that when you have been married for a long time – you and your partner take on the mannerisms of each other…sometimes you even begin to resemble one another.  Holiness lived-out with the greatest of intentions and devotion will produce men and women of God who deeply resemble Christ in every way.  -This is what Sacrificial Living looks like and is the evidence of a commitment to Holiness on the deepest of levels.  Dare I say, but we as an Army have yet to even scratch the surface of real, tangible Holiness amongst its ranks.  We talk a good game, but I fear we are no where near it yet.

  4. Sacrificial Living Has No Room For Ego
    ego
    “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.”
    -Acts 4:32

    There’s an old phrase that perhaps you know, it goes like this: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”…even in the Army there is a hunger for power, whether it be in our corps and local officer positions or the Corps Officer, Divisional Officer, Territorial Officer…and so on.  Power is a dangerous vice.  Authority is necessary in any Church, Movement or Mission, but the hunger for power and man’s authority can corrupt all of the above.  In fact, this is what Satan hopes will happen to any adversary of his: that they become bogged down by their own egos and blinded by their own ambitions and thirst for imagined power.  You might say, “but we are The Salvation Army – we have no power.” – every organization, movement or Church has many places of authority and assumed places of power.  What we do with those roles, how we conduct ourselves if we become stewards of such positions determines not only the course of our Army, but the depth of our sacrificial living.  There is no room for ego in sacrificial living!   “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” -Psalm 51:17.

  5. Sacrificial Living Must Be Evidenced In Our Soldiers & Officers!

    More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” -Philippians 3:8
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    If we are truly a Holiness movement – then we must act like it!  We must eliminate every element of back-biting, gossip, slander, ego, power-plays, Church politics that elevates one over another, personal vendettas and all other kinds of selfishness!  Somewhere along the way we left the call for holiness in a pulpit sermon and lost our way.  We will not move or correct any kind of mission drift that is egocentric if we are not really actively engaged in sacrificial living.  Let’s stop talking a big game, and putting on a big show as we tout our Holiness Movement member’s cards (I’m being facetious)…let’s drop the pretenses.  If we want to see an Army on the move and if we long to save souls, then we first have to start with our own.  I am not questioning our salvation, I am questioning our depth of Holiness and Sacrificial Living.  Let’s practice what we preach…and perhaps for some of us, we need to fall in love with God all over again in reconsecration.  I love this army, but without soldiers, officers and adherents who are living sacrificially, and committed to the great commission of saving souls and making disciples, we could face extinction a generation from now.

    Something more for our Army world to Ponder today.

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    *Disclaimer:  the thoughts and opinions expressed here are the writer’s thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of The Salvation Army.  Reader discretion is advised.*

Day 59 -Finding Contentment

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Much of our struggles in life come from stuff and being discontent in life.
We long for that new cell phone that just came out and so we sacrifice to get it and when we do it’s nice for a time, but then it losing its shine.  We envy people who have “made it” professionally and so we covet what they have while we lose sight of the blessings we already possess.  We grumble and complain about situations and completely miss the little blessings God provides to us every day…or we take them for granted.

grumbleThis happened to me yesterday and it brought a humbling sense of God’s presence to me.  I was having a bad morning.  It seemed nothing I could do was good enough and so my wife and I went to get coffee at a local coffee shop.  While waiting in the drive-thru for what seemed like ages, I began to complain about that.  (Have you ever noticed that negativity breeds more negativity?)  I was criticizing the car in front of us for their choice of sports teams…and just being very discontent with the way life was going that morning.  But then it happened.  It was our turn to grab our coffees at the drive-thru window and pay.  I had my wallet out and I was ready.  When I finally got up to the window, still in a huff because of my day, the drive-thru employee informed me that the car in front of me had already paid for our drinks.  Wow…that was kind of like a slap in the face to me, as if God was trying to get my attention and remind me that my contentment doesn’t come from circumstances around me.  In that moment it had nothing to do with coffee or getting something free (although that was cool), it had everything to do with my attitude and response to the things around me.

Have you been there?  
grumpyHave you allowed negativity to rule your thoughts and actions?
I know from experience I am not fun to be around when this has happened to me…and I’m sure it’s the same with you.  No one wants to hang out with angry, sullen, sour people all the time.  If we are to be men and women of faith, who are fit to be called and Sons and Daughters of the Most High, we have to change this stinkin’ thinkin’ kind of attitude!

Where does our contentment come from?  It comes from the One who gives us strength to make it through whatever circumstance and situation – good or bad.  Through it all, He content1remains faithful and steadfast.  He is above any problem we might be facing or will face.  He stands outside of the troubles of life and He gives to us what we need in order to see the bigger picture – WE ARE KINGDOM PEOPLE – Not of this present world but the next!  We can live out His Kingdom now and live in holy contentment because of who He is.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to keep my attitude in check today.  Help me to see the bigger picture than the temporal problems that I am facing right now.  Give me your strength so that I might reside within Your holiness.  Lead me Lord and thank you for reminding me that You are there and You will provide!  -Amen.
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