Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Some years ago, on a hot summer day in South Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.
His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs.
That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep pain or regret. But some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack.
That's when the tug-of-war begins and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.
You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through. Never judge another persons scars, because you don't know how they got them. Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them, too. Enough to not let them go.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
How can we stay positive in a negative world?
You know, we all have a limited amount of emotional energy to spend in any given day. To have a good attitude, we have to do those things that keep our energy re-supplied—like enough sleep, exercise, lots of laughter and most importantly, time with the Lord each day.
Then we have to be careful how we spend that emotional energy. Often we waste a lot of our energy unnecessarily. We yell at traffic or go ballistic over a computer failure or get our feelings hurt by an insensitive person. We can spend all our emotional energy on things over which we have no control, and then we lose control over our attitude. It goes south because we don’t have any energy left to fight back.
Here’s a question I often ask myself, "Mary, what difference is this going to make in 24 hours?" I have discovered that most of what bothers me won’t matter in a short 24-hours, so then I tell myself, “Don’t spend any energy on it; it’s not important.”
Watch how you spending your emotional energy, and keep asking, "Is it worth it?"
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
All of us need to know how to deal with difficult people. Jesus certainly did.
When his home-town crowd was so angry, they wanted to kill him, Jesus knew it was time to leave, so in Luke 4 we read "he walked right through the crowd and went on his way." Sometimes we need to walk away instead of trying to have the last word or convince someone that he or she is wrong.
There were other situations where Jesus dealt with difficult people very directly, but I notice that Jesus was never out of control. And he was always motivated by what was good for others, not for his own selfish reasons.
When direct confrontation is necessary, we should be ever-so-careful to do it under the Holy Spirit's control. It can be forceful and direct, but it should never be cruel or vindictive or personal.
As believers in the workplace, dealing with difficult types gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus - real love that puts the other person's needs above our own.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
I wonder, could you honestly say that most of the time you're in positive mode and that you don't criticize and complain a lot? Do you find most people likable? Or would you have to admit you tend to be more critical and complaining?
What kind of attitude you have says a lot about you, and a lot about your walk with God. A Christian with a growing relationship with Jesus is bound to be more positive than negative. If you are consistently pouring God's Word into your mind and applying it to your life, you just couldn’t be a complaining, critical, negative person. It's like oil and water; they don't mix.
So my challenge to you this week is when you sense a negative or critical spirit to stop and pour God's word into your mind.