Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep Singing Your Song

"Ever be filled with the Spirit by speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, by making melody in your heart, and by being grateful" (Ephesians 5:18,19). I'm just so happy and grateful to be alive today. Sometimes I think people think that I just have a wonderful life, and I do. That doesn't mean I don't have stress and pressure. It just means that I choose to stay positive. I put into my life more positive stuff than negative. I sing a joyful song unto the Lord.

The other day, my granddaughter Jessie and I were driving home from Nebraska after Spring Break, and we started singing with the radio, "Follow me. Everythin' will be alright." I actually think we were singing a song about cocaine because the lyrics say something about "swimming through your veins". Yikes! Jessie says the song is about a woman cheating on her husband. But you know what? We were singing and enjoying the moment and not paying attention to the words of the song.....just singing and enjoying being together, making melody in our hearts.

The week before we kept my two-year-old granddaughter Kaya and she sways and dances to the music in such a comical way, we just crack up from watching her. She's hilarious! Oh, to have the innocent joy of a child again! When we recover our childlike enthusiasm, we have a song in our heart and a smile on our face.

Joel says, "How would our attitude change if we did not take everything so seriously and refused to allow every setback or disappointment to depress us for two weeks?" What if we wouldn't allow our problems to steal our joy? Our joy would rub off on other people. If we smile, others smile back.

"We are ambassadors of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20). Wow! We can hold our heads up high and walk with confidence. It may not come easy, but we can train ourselves to guard against negative emotions and let the positive ones prevail. Just keep singing your song! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Plan for Blessing

Too often we expect the worst! Why not plan for blessing instead? In Second Kings there is a story about a poor widow who had two sons about to be sold as bondsmen so that she could pay her debts. Wow! As a mother, my heart went out to that lady who in that ancient story had plenty about which to worry. I would have driven myself crazy with worry if my children were about to be sold for my debts. Wouldn't anyone? The prophet Elisha did not sympathize with her though or give her money. Instead, he helped her plan for a blessing. She had a little pot of oil, and Elisha suggested that she send her boys out to borrow dishes from the neighbors. Then the widow was instructed to use her faith and pour her little bit of oil into the neighbors' dishes. She filled all of them! She finally had to stop pouring because she ran out of dishes! Wow! What faith! Our God can supply our needs if we start asking Him. Lowell Fillmore says, "Let no one despair because he may seem to have little to draw upon. Rather let him look within and rejoice in the abundance that God has given him in Spirit, and then let him fearlessly give forth what he finds in the house." Joel Osteen says, "Start expecting. While we are expecting good things from God, we should be making plans. We need to talk as if what we are praying about is going to happen. We should dare to step out in faith and act like it's going to happen." Use the be-have-do model to get into the golden flow of the Holy Spirit's blessing. I am expecting a miracle. I already have a little bit of the resources I need to make it happen. In faith, I'm taking the step to make my dreams come true. Just like the poor widow, I will pour my little bit of resources into my huge plan for blessing. "They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither, and whatsoever they do shall prosper" (Psalms 1:3). I'm saying along with Joel, "This is going to be a blessed day; I'm having a good month. This is the best year of my life. I know great things are in store. Goodness and mercy are following me. God's favor is surrounding me. I am expecting increase, promotion, and abundance." I will succeed, not fail. I will stop worrying and start expecting blessings from on high. Father, I thank You that right now You are blessing me beyond my greatest expectations, and I am so grateful. You know my family situation, and You love everyone one of us. Things are going to work out beautifully because we can not fail when You are in charge. I feel the joy and enthusiasm of already having my dreams come true. I thank You for giving me the blessing of an awesome family, and I thank You that each one of them is going to live a long, healthy, blessed, prosperous life. Thank You for Your unlimited resources. Not only will You bless my family, but You will bless everyone who reads this message in whatever situation they may find themselves. I am making provisions just like the poor widow did. Thank You, Lord.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dealing with the Root Issues

It's easy to fix surface things, but sometimes we have to go deeper to get to the root of the problem. We need to look inside and get honest with ourselves. Why do I feel this way? Why do I have such a negative attitude toward this? Why did I say such hurtful things? Why do I react this way? These are questions for self-examination. We don't ask them to beat ourselves up, but to find out where, with whom, and why negative feelings arise so we can quickly release them and feel better about ourselves and other people. We are usually not upset for the reason we think. It's not usually what's outside ourselves that is causing our distress. It is oftentimes something from our unhealed past. If we can uncover it, we can forgive and heal. The Bible teaches that we should not let the root of bitterness spring forth and contaminate our whole lives. We are not victims of the world we see. If we feel wronged, dumped on, or like someone is taking advantage of us, or that love is ultimately dangerous or hurtful, we must remind ourselves that we are not the helpless result of others' thoughts and actions. Since all unloving thoughts of ourselves project outward and determine the way we see the world, we are ultimately victims of our own thoughts and not of the outside world. Joel talks about the children of Israel developing a victim mentality and blaming the past, complaining,and fretting over their wilderness journey instead of having faith to make their trip from Egypt to the Promised Land in eleven days instead of forty years! If we stay on the surface, it is like riding a treadmill and never actually going any place. If we dig deeper and get to the root of our problems, then we can rise above them. If we get rid of our bitter roots, we can be happier and have better relationships. Are we relying on someone else to make us happy? Do we have unrealistic expectations? Are we allowing our circumstances to keep us down? If so, we need to remember our royal heritage. We are children of the Most High God, and the Holy Spirit resides inside us. "Greater is He that is in you and He that is in the world" (I John 4:4). Let's get down to the root and face the truth about ourselves. Then we can make adjustments to improve our lives and be happier. We deserve good relationships and a full life. Let's get to the root of the problem and discover who we really are.