Develop An Overcoming Attitude

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‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4 NKJV

The disappointments of life can cause you to see nothing but negativity in your future. You express hopelessness, belittle your own abilities, refuse to take any risk, say no to personal growth opportunities, complain about the unfairness of life, and say that nothing you do will make a difference in a particular circumstance. Do you recognize any of these attitudes in yourself? If so, there’s good news.

Dr Paul Meier, a Christian psychiatrist, said, ‘Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought, and habits can be acquired. An action repeated becomes an attitude realized.’ That means with practice, you can develop an overcoming attitude. Here’s how:

(1) Be honest about your quest to conquer pessimism. Give someone you respect the permission to point out when you are being negative.

(2) Limit your exposure to negative input. Since you become like the company you keep, look for people who fortify your faith and not feed your fears. ‘Walk with the wise and become wise.’ (Proverbs 13:20 NLT)

(3) Volunteer to serve others who are less fortunate. Serving creates positive feelings and gives you a sense of value; it’s also the right thing to do.

(4) Look for the good in every situation and always express faith that it’s there! US President Harry Truman said, ‘A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

When you face a difficulty today, see it as an opportunity because ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’

Do You Believe This?

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‘I am the Resurrection and the Life… Everyone who…believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this?’ John 11:25-26 NLT

We struggle with the idea of our own mortality. It’s alleged that Florence Nightingale feared death so much, after the Crimean War she went to bed and basically stayed there until she died in 1910.

Chuck Swindoll says we skirt the subject by using:

‘(1) Humour. Making a joke of it keeps death at a safe distance so we never have to face reality.

(2) Denial. King Louis XIV of France wouldn’t allow the word “death” to be uttered in his presence. But on September 1, 1715, he discovered that death can’t be wished out of existence. People spend so much on anti-aging creams, Botox, and plastic surgery to avoid seeing evidence of death’s approach.

(3) Romanticism. A man in Europe built a special room where he can live with his dead wife. His bed is next to her casket. He decorated the room with flowers and candles. He writes her poetry every day in a romantic attempt to avoid the pain of her passing.

(4) Fear. Observe fellow passengers on an aeroplane when turbulence causes sudden drops and vibrations. Young and old alike scream and cry out.’ The good news is you don’t have to fear death! The One who defeated it said, ‘Because I live, you also will live.’ (John 14:19 NIV)

When you repent and commit your life to Christ, you have His personal guarantee of eternal life. After Lazarus died, Jesus told his sister Martha: ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life… Everyone who… believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this?’ If you do, you’ll live forever with Christ.

Keep The Fire Burning

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‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us…?’ Luke 24:32 NKJV

After the resurrection Jesus met two of His disciples who’d seen Him crucified and didn’t know He’d been raised from the dead. Then later as He ate supper with them at their house, an interesting thing happened: ‘Their eyes were opened… they knew Him… and they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”’ (Luke 24:31–32 NKJV)

This story has much to teach us about keeping the fire of love and devotion to Christ burning in our hearts. As you walk with Jesus and spend time in His presence, He talks to you and reveals Himself through the Scriptures. We all know that to keep a fire burning you must tend it, stoke it, and keep fuelling it.

Why do some of us go on to higher heights and deeper depths in our walk with God, while others seem to go around in circles without getting anywhere? Because one group commits itself to pursuing God until His presence becomes a daily reality in their lives, while the other group doesn’t. It’s that simple. The question is, which group are you in? If you’re lukewarm and half-hearted in your walk with God, today He is saying to you, ‘Return to Me… and I will return to you.’ (Zechariah 1:3 NKJV) Or in layman’s terms: ‘Turn around and come back. You’ll find Me where you left Me.’

So the word for you today is: keep the fire burning.

Calvary Was Always Part of God’s Plan

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‘But it was the Lord’s good plan to … cause Him grief.’ Isaiah 53:10 NLT

The psalmist wrote: ‘My God, why have You forsaken Me…I am…a reproach of men, and despised…All those who see Me ridicule Me…saying, “He trusted in the Lord… let Him deliver Him”…I am poured out like water…My bones are out of joint… My tongue clings to My jaws… They pierced My hands and… feet… and for My clothing they cast lots.’(Psalm 22:1–18 NKJV)

Think about it: David could be describing Jesus’ crucifixion in detail. Yet when he wrote these words crucifixion hadn’t been introduced as a form of execution. It was initiated centuries later by the Phoenicians, and long after that, it was adopted by the Roman Empire. Dr Charles Augustus Briggs says: ‘You can take this psalm… lay it side-by-side with New Testament accounts of the crucifixion… and see how they dovetail perfectly. It’s astonishing that someone could describe something so intimately and intricately a thousand years before it happened.’ Calvary wasn’t the result of happenstance.

Long before Jesus came on the scene, God had a plan to reconcile us to Himself through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:18). Historian Paul L. Maier says: ‘In Isaiah chapter 53 we have almost a running commentary on what happened on Good Friday… It would be mathematically impossible for anyone else to fulfill all these parameters of prophecy in the Old Testament better than Jesus.’ Bottom line: ‘It’s what God had in mind all along… that He give Himself as an offering for sin.’ That means long before there was an Easter, God was thinking about you!

Jesus Doesn’t Condemn, He Cleanses

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‘Go. From now on sin no more.’ John 8:11 NAS

The Bible says: ‘The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery…they said to [Jesus]…“in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.”’ Jesus replied: ‘“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”…When they heard it, they began to go out one by one…Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”’ (John 8:3–11 NAS)

Notice two things:

(1) Those least qualified to condemn you, will. Jesus knew the hearts of the Pharisees. They made a practice of lifting themselves up by putting others down. Their aim that day was to trap Him by exposing her. Steer clear of modern-day Pharisees! Find your friends among those who’ve been redeemed by grace, and know how to extend it to others.

(2) The One most qualified to condemn you, won’t. Stay close to Him. When you do, you’ll discover your scars aren’t permanent and you’ll recover much more quickly. Christ will meet you in your dark places and heal the wounds of your past because His grace is greater than your shame. Where sin abounds—His grace super-abounds! There’s no limit to the depth of shame He can see us through, because there’s no limit to the grace He can supply.

Today, if you’re feeling the weight of your shameful past and sinful ways, come to Jesus. He’s ready to forgive you and set you free. But His invitation to freedom reads ‘R.S.V.P.’

God Is At Work In Your Circumstances

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‘[His] power…is at work within us…to [carry out His purpose].’ Ephesians 3:20 AMP

Jon Walker writes: ‘We manage time, waste time, spend time, and save time. We wish it would come… we wish it would pass… we see time fly… we feel it drag. We watch clocks and carry calendars… yet God controls time. He created time, and His creations are fenced by His time, directed and guided by His loving hand.

We’re surprised by unexpected developments, but God is never surprised by even the most disastrous turn of events. And your outlook on life changes dramatically when you know that at this very moment God is working within you “to carry out His purpose”. Think about how you’d live if you were absolutely certain God was at the end of your deadline. That even if there were mere seconds left, you believed with certainty He was working through your circumstances. Believing God is there and about to provide is the essence of faith. “Jesus…is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NLT)

Time can’t diminish His love or His power to work within your life. He was there in the past; He’s present in the now, and He’ll be there in the future.’ The truth is, God has time in the palm of His hand. ‘…a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday…’(Psalm 90:4 ESV) God’s ultimate goal is to bring to eternity, not just get you through to the weekend. Remind yourself that in every situation: ‘[His] power…is at work within us…to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly…above all that we [dare] ask or think…[beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams].’

Be Willing To Learn From Others

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‘Happy is the man who finds wisdom.’ Proverbs 3:13 NKJV

Certain people can make us feel ‘less than’ when we’re in their company, but truly wise and mature people never try to do that. If you’ve had a bad experience with this, don’t allow it to drive you back in defeat. If you don’t stand near a ruler, you won’t be able to measure your growth or monitor how much you’ve developed. Whatever successful people know, they haven’t always known it—they had to learn and grow too. So don’t pretend you know what you don’t know. It’s best to speak genuinely and sincerely, asking questions when appropriate. Most successful people enjoy a chance to discuss and share what they know, so take advantage of this.

Fear of rejection keeps us from going forward in life and in relationships. You’d be surprised how many people limit themselves to socializing only with those who are comparable to them. They feel uncomfortable the moment they’re surrounded by people who are different from them. An important part of your development occurs when you decide to cross the tracks and relate to people who are ahead of you in some way. These relationships create a chance for you to grow. It’s not wrong to lack knowledge; it’s wrong to be unwilling to learn.

Joshua learned the principles of good leadership from Moses. Ruth learned how to find the right relationship by listening to Naomi. Make this Scripture a guiding principle of your life: ‘Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.’

Were You Really ‘Born That Way’?

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‘I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.’ Psalm 51:5 GWT

Whether your struggle is with alcohol, drugs, sex, anger, gossip, unforgiveness, stealing, lying, or gambling, one thing’s certain—we are all born with a propensity towards certain behaviors. So it’s not a genetics issue, it’s a spiritual issue. It’s not about science, it’s about sin. Any of us might find ourselves struggling with these issues—not because we inherited a gene for it, but because we inherited Adam’s fallen nature the day we were conceived.

David said, ‘I was born guilty. I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.’ Solomon said there are no exceptions: ‘Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT) So the answer is yes, we were all ‘born that way’. The reason these behaviors come naturally to us is not because we ‘can’t help being the way we are’; it’s because our sin nature is stronger than our desire to please God. Even when we try, at times we lose the fight! Paul, the greatest of Christians, admitted to failing when he tried to do right. ‘I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.’ (Romans 7:18 NIV) So if we are all born that way, what’s the good news?

Paul gives it to us: ‘Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 7:24–25 NLT) When you were born you received Adam’s corrupt nature, but through the new birth you receive Christ’s sin-conquering, life-changing, righteous nature!

You’re Qualified For The Job

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‘God has chosen.’ 1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV

People are often drawn to us because of our difference, not our similarity. So don’t fail them by downplaying the things God has given you that qualify you to meet their needs. The disciples didn’t blend in, they stood out, and the world they lived in took note that ‘they had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13 KJV) They preached His message, used His methods, and demonstrated His miracles. At Antioch they were first called ‘Christians’ (Acts 11:26). That’s because they talked and acted so much like Christ. What a compliment! What a calling! What a challenge!

Because a cleaning lady told a Syrian general about her God, he was healed of leprosy (see 2 Kings 5). Because Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams when others couldn’t, he saved the world from famine (see Genesis 41). Because a boy offered Jesus what he had—five loaves and two fish—a multitude of hungry people was miraculously fed (see Mark 6:34-44).

When it comes to hiring, personality profiling is a useful tool for discovering someone’s suitability for a job. But it’s different in God’s Kingdom. When God calls you, He equips you. Do you think you’re not qualified? Who told you that? Not God! His Word says: ‘God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise… the weak things… to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things… which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.’ (1 Corinthians 1:27–29 NKJV)

So, the word for you today is—you’re qualified for the job!

Simplifying Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

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‘Do not worry about your life.’ Matthew 6:25 NKJV

Thoreau said, ‘Our lives are frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.’ Jesus put it another way: ‘Do not worry about your life… the birds… neither sow… reap nor gather into barns…yet your…Father feeds them.’ (Matthew 6:25–26 NKJV)

Charlie Shedd pastored a large church with many demands. He and his wife created a simplicity list:

Make sure you need to simplify. Your problem may be inertia… because you aren’t doing enough. Selfishness never simplifies—it complicates.

Remember why you’re here. Put God’s will first. You unclutter by having a pivotal purpose on which your life swings.

Drop useless goals. Don’t wear yourself out on meaningless pursuits. You frustrate yourself by dedicating your life to the unimportant.

You can’t do everything. If God intended you to be six people, he’d have divided you up! Leave some ‘world building’ to others.

Live one day at a time. Plan and hope for the future—but don’t live there. ‘Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ (Matthew 6:34 NIV) Live well today and tomorrow’s strength will come.

Wherever you are—be there. Stop thinking happiness comes at five o’clock, or at the evening’s party, or when you fall asleep. Live in the present.

Develop a hobby. A change of activity keeps you fresh. Time spent playing is time well spent.

You can’t slow the world, so slow yourself. Learn to gear down. When you can’t alter the pace, retire to the inner sanctuary and alter yourself.

Adopt the perfect pattern: Christ… whose life cut history squarely in two. Follow Him as He lives a mighty life in quiet confidence.

‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 2:5 KJV)