Watch your attitude

Two psychiatrists worked in the same building. Each morning they rode the same elevator, one getting off on the 5th floor and the other getting off at the 9th. Every morning just as the first psychiatrist was about to get off the elevator, he would turn and spit in the face of the second psychiatrist. The second man would then pull out a handkerchief and wipe off his face as if nothing was wrong. It was in the days when there was an elevator operator, and the young man daily watched this episode. Finally, one day he could stand it no longer. After the first psychiatrist got off, he turned to the second and said, “Why does he do that?” “I don’t know,” said the second, “that’s his problem, not mine.” So often what happens to you is not nearly as important as how you react to it. What happens in you. You and I can choose our attitude when responding to events that take place in our life. What makes the difference between someone who has everything against them and yet conquers it to have a great life, and someone raised with every material blessing yet does nothing and is miserable? Attitude. The single most significant decision you can make on a day-to-day basis is your choice of attitude. Some people complain that their circumstances or the people around them have given them a bad attitude. No one gives you a poor attitude, you choose it. You are responsible for your attitudes. How you think determines how you respond to others. Too many people believe that happiness and the good life depend on the right conditions. When things are going great, they are happy. When things aren’t going great, they are miserable. Viktor Frankl was a prisoner of war in WW2 and was treated poorly. He came to an amazing realization as he sat in the Nazi prison camp and considered all he had lost: “The one thing you cannot take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” Another prisoner, the Apostle Paul, wrote this, “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 everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12,13). Paul was not going to allow circumstances to dictate his attitude. He also recognized his need for help. Looking to Christ he found the strength to get through the challenges he faced. He knew that his real contentment lay in knowing Christ and his relationship with him. So, if you are feeling a little rough today, you can ask Jesus for his help in adjusting your attitude. You don’t have to keep that lousy disposition; you can be set free. Just look for help in the right place.

Three sure things to wreck your faith

Large companies and small businesses alike, spend significant amounts of money to protect their assets. Not only do companies need physical security but increasing money is spent on digital security. When you have something valuable, you need to protect it from danger. Our faith, as Christians, is precious and to be treasured. We are encouraged throughout scripture to be on our guard and to protect our spiritual life from danger and destruction, from thieves who will try to steal from us. Over the years I have noticed three problems that can pose danger to our faith and trust in God. 1. Looking at your problems instead of Jesus.We can be consumed by the problems and challenges of everyday life. A ‘to-do’ list can be overwhelming enough but when we add in those extra ‘issues’ we become paralyzed. When we focus on what is wrong, or what our problems are, we lose perspective. Problems become bigger than they really are. We have to keep looking to Jesus and asking him to give us perspective over all matters in life. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 2. Listening to lies rather than believing the truth.If you repeat something often enough people will start to believe it. We have an enemy of our soul who is called the ‘Father of lies.’ He is an expert at getting you to believe lies about yourself or about the gospel. When you listen to him, you become discouraged about your own status and fearful of other people – thinking that they are only out to hurt you. Our enemy comes along and lies to us about how much God loves us, who we are in Christ and what Jesus can do to help us today. We need to get God’s truth into our hearts to drown out the lies. “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:21,22 3. Living without rest.We live in a very ‘driven’ society. We are on the go all the time. Many of us thrive on that kind of living – go, go, go. But when we are always on the go, we have no margin in our lives and no space for anything to happen out of the ordinary. That usually means we aren’t getting enough rest or spending enough time with our loved ones. Above all, it is an indicator that we are not feeding and nurturing our spiritual life. Without rest, really stopping and just sitting in the presence of God, we are in danger of becoming a wreck. We run the risk of becoming disoriented and burned out. We must learn to build margin into every area of life, especially to feed our souls. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28,29 Take a moment and make sure your faith is safe and secure! See you Sunday,Pastor David 

Success or Failure

The most important rite of passage for someone growing up in a small rural community in Canada was to get a driver’s license. As a teenager, it was an essential need for having a social life. The day I turned sixteen I was able to get a beginners’ permit. A week later I started a driver’s education course and a couple of months later went for the driver’s test. I was so excited because I would finally get to drive by myself and then I would have a whole new level of freedom. The big day arrived. I was nervous but ready. Completing all the necessary checks, I put on my seat belt, signaled and pulled into traffic. Everything went perfectly for the first ten minutes of the test and then disaster hit. I drove right through a stop sign. Never even saw it. That’s an automatic failure. And just like that, my life was over. They could go ahead and write my obituary. I was crushed and it was too painful and embarrassing to tell my friends. For several days I was depressed and discouraged. I just knew my entire life would be one big disaster and this failure would haunt me forever. I was convinced I would never get into university, find a job, or get married, all because I didn’t have a driver’s license. But I was wrong. A few weeks later I took the test again and passed. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been driving for over 40 years. What was the big deal? It all seems silly now, but it was very real at the time. Our failures can often seem permanent and life-defining. The world tells us that ‘Failure is not an option.’ But failure is a part of the reality of life and something we all must come to grips with. Winning and losing, victory and defeat, success and failure – all these concepts are far less clear than we usually imagine. What looks like success today may be setting us up for failure tomorrow. What looks like a failure today may be what turns us around and leads to success tomorrow. Our perceived failures are seldom as final as we make them out to be. We can’t avoid failure and we can’t afford to shut down when it happens. We have to learn from it in order to keep going and growing. Think about all the Bible stories we know about individuals who really messed up. Didn’t God confirm his love and continue to work with them? Those stories are included in Scripture for our benefit. Through those stories, we learn that God is always working with us and for us. The Apostle Paul said: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippines 3:13-14) Failure is a reality in this life, but it doesn’t define who we are, and it certainly doesn’t change the way God thinks about us. In the end, our ‘success’ in life will be defined in terms of our walk with God. Let’s put the negative behind us and press on to what is important. 

Who will pay the bills when I’m 114?

Margret was 93 and living in a nursing home for seniors. She was worried about how much money she had and whether she could continue to live in the home. Her daughter, who had just turned 70, wanted to reassure her mother that everything would be fine. She sat down with her mother and the accountant, and they went over her financial records. The advisor said that even with inflation she would have enough money to live in the home until she turned 114 years old. When presented with the facts, her first question was, “And then what will I do for money?” Is Margret and optimist or a pessimist? On the one hand, she plans to live for a long time. On the other, she worries about something that is unlikely to happen. Do we ever reach a point in life when we truly trust God with our future? Our human need is to control everything. Yet there is very little we can exercise control over. The truth is, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know what joys and sorrows lie ahead. We do need to plan and be wise. We should be thinking about our future. It’s just that there are no guarantees. God alone holds the future. The words of Jesus bring us comfort: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 31-34) If you are worried about how you will pay the bills when you are at 114 years old – stop. Your heavenly Father knows your needs. Whether it’s our health, relationships, provision or just the future in general, we can count on him.