What Did You Say?

You can’t control much of what happens to you in life. You can’t control who your parents are, where you were born, and a variety of things that have a significant influence on your life.

But you can choose how you react to what life throws your way. We have all heard people say, “They make me so bad!” Technically that is not correct. People may do things to you, lie about you or even cheat you but you have the choice how you will respond. The choice is always yours. Proverbs 29:11 (GW) says, “A fool expresses all his emotions but a wise person controls them.”

When we are mistreated, the proper reaction isn’t to blow up or clam up. Instead of responding in anger, God has a better solution. “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.” Proverbs 15:1

Here is the bottom line: Trust God to settle the score. After all, He has more and better resources to do that than you do.

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The Big Picture

My wife loves putting puzzles together. She says it is relaxing. (I’ll take her word for it.) Sometimes when I walk into the room and look at the puzzle she has just started, I cannot tell what the finished puzzle will look like. I have to pick up the box to see the complete picture. 

Life is like a puzzle. (Can I get an amen?) Sometimes we try to make sense out of a situation when we only have a few “pieces” of the puzzle. As God allows more “pieces” to fall into place; life becomes clearer. Why God does not reveal the big pictures all at once to us remains a mystery. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, ” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden…”

I love the song that Babbie Nelson sings,  “When you cannot see His hand, Trust His Heart.” That is very good advice. 

Knocked Down but Not Knocked Out

I am sure that all of us can remember a favorite toy we received at Christmas. To be honest I probably had several “favorites” but the one toy that I remember most was a sock-em-bounce-back clown. No matter how hard or which direction you hit it, it would always bounce back.

I may be stretching the analogy a bit but Christians should be able to “bounce back” when struck by life’s “punches.” “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again…Provergs 24:16 I read recently a definition of success that I rather like. “Success is falling down seven times but getting back up eight times.”

The secret of “bouncing back” for that toy and Christ-followers is the balance. Something at the center that brings us back to where we should be. Jesus Christ is our anchor that brings us back to center.

“We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.” 

Missed Opportunity

WPamela Patrick White Artworke have all wondered at some point in our lives that if we had responded differently to a certain situation what would the outcome be? Choices can have tremendous results!

On September 11, 1777, an army of 12,500 British troops marched to the patriot city of Philadelphia, a detachment of green-clad marksmen hid in the woods. Suddenly a senior American officer rode into view. Captain Patrick Ferguson, reputed to be the finest shot in the British army, had his men creep forward to pick off any unsuspecting officers. But before the men were in place, Ferguson felt disgusted with the idea of ambush and ordered his men not to fire.

He shouted to the American officer, who was riding a bay horse. The American looked his way for a moment and turned to ride on. Ferguson called again, this time leveling his rifle toward the officer. The American glanced back before slowly riding away.

A day later, Ferguson learned that the American officer he let ride off was General George Washington. He could have easily shot Washington but thought it was not proper to shoot an “unoffending” individual in the back who was just doing his duty.

If Ferguson had taken aim and fired at the officer who turned his back and rode away, there is no telling how the American Revolution would have turned out. One decision could have changed history!

The John Wayne Syndrome

“John Wayne.” Just the mention of his name brings a mental image of a man’s man. He is the epitome of the rugged individual; courageous, strong, and never asking for help from anyone, no matter the odds. The concept of the ‘stand alone’ rugged individual is highly regarded in today’s culture.

To ask for help is often seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of self-confidence. I do not remember the “Duke” (or Dirty Harry) ever asking for help from anyone! That makes for a great movie but in reality, we DO need each other.

The Bible refers to Christ-followers as the Body. The Body (both physically and spiritually) is made up of many members which are dependent on each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Sharing the load or asking someone for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of good judgment.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (ECCLESIASTES 4:10)