Positive and the Best to Enjoy life

The last two posts have been about enjoying life and this post will continue along those lines.  Here are two more ways I think that we can enjoy the life we are blessed to have,

Thinking Right or on the positive side of Life – Phil 4:8 – Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  (Message)

What do you fill your mind with, things that positive or negative? Paul tells us for a reason to fill our minds with the positive. The positive brings about a better result!

Do negative people have great parties? When I was a kid I loved to watch the Honeymooners. Who would you have rather hung out with Ralph or Norton? Norton was a guy who loved life and lived it not worry about everyone else. We want to hang out with people who are fun and enjoy life like Norton. Not with people who constantly bring us down like Ralph.

Negativity and positively are both contagious – which are you spreading? Are you helping people to enjoy life or to dread life and fear everything?

What is your picture of God – Is he some Old guy up in heaven with rolled up newspaper waiting to slap you like a fly when you get out of line or is he a God who laughs, loves, and wants the same for his people. Do not misunderstand – God is Holy, Righteous and Just and He is also a God of Joy or enjoyment.

Your Thinking determines a lot. If you think that today will be joyful and enjoyable – most likely it will be but if you think it will be a drag then it will be.

So to enjoy life, a positive outlook is essential. That then moves us to the next thing we can do to enjoy this life.

Doing you best all the time for God – 1st Corinthians 10:31 – So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you–you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. ( Message)

You enjoy the things you work for more than the things given to you. You also get a real sense of satisfaction when you work hard. What is does it mean again to enjoy? Taking pleasure or satisfaction in something.

My first radio/cassette player was something I shoveled many sidewalks to get. I worked hard and did my best so that I could get it and I really got pleasure out of doing what was need to get it. I worked hard and kept it along time – as a matter of fact – I had a junkie car that I kept it in the back on the floor and played it all the time because my radio was broken. I had that thing for almost 20 years – I loved it – because I worked hard and did my best so that I could get it.

We should be doing our best because we always feel better when we have done the best we can – regret kills enjoyment. Live life with no regrets! You will never regret doing your best for God.

What do you think – do these areas help us to enjoy life more?  Do you lean to the positive or negative in your thinking?  How are you working to stay positive?  Do you always give God your best?

Life can be terrible or it can be…

As I sit and ponder life tonight there are many things that run through my head.  There are many things that could keep me down and depressed and morose.  I mean I have a house in another state that I have given back to the bank – called a deed in lieu of foreclosure – the problem is the mortgage company told me in February that I was done with it but I still got statements from them.  I called and there is a fight going on between the mortgage company and the attorneys that they hired to file the deed in lieu.  I am stuck in the middle with my credit get wrecked more and more each day because while they are fighting about it, they are keeping my case open.  You know what though, it stinks and I doing everything I can to take care of it, but it is life and I will not let it get me down.

I could be upset that the cost of gas is killing me when I have to travel so far to do hospital visits.  Most people here are not n the local hospital that is 6 miles away, but they are in the one that is 65 miles away and that means 130 miles per trip.  I do get mileage but it is at the end of the month so making a couple of trips a week kills the budget trying to fill up my Explorer.  You know what though, it stinks that gas is so high but I do get paid the mileage eventually and I get to make calls to friends and family while driving, pray in the vehicle, listen to books on CD, and  things like the such.  I can get a lot done on those drives and  so I will not let it get me down.

I have in the past with jobs been laid off, fired, given 6 months to find another job for no reason other than it was the whim of the Senior Pastor.  I have dealt with the pain of my wife having a miscarriage.  I have dealt with the struggles of having a child sick and flown by life flight.  I have had friends turn on me and completely disappoint me with their behavior and attitudes.  I  have dealt with family members who were seriously depressed and others who dealt with anxiety and panic attacks. I have lived having to rob Peter to pay Paul financially. You know what though – I have in all these things seen God work and do powerful and amazing things.  You know what else – everyone has bad things happen to them.

You see, I could easily go on and list more things that have gone wrong or bad in life and the things that could get me down.  I am sure all of us could commiserate on all the bad things that are happening all around us and in our lives.  Here is the real powerful thing, in reality we really are blessed by God, even when it does not feel or seem like it.  We have so much to be grateful for in all God has given us.  We need to  find the blessings in the day – they are there, just some are not as apparent as others.  We need to be finding the opportunities that God has provided to show His grace, mercy, and love.  It all has to do with where you are looking and focusing on.

Where is your focus?  Is your focus on all the bad things or on what God is doing?  Are you just looking at the bad things or are you looking for the God opportunities?  I love this verse and cling to it a lot because it keeps me focused on where my mind should be -  Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell  on these things.  So where is your focus,  on the negative things that happening in life or are you focusing on what God is doing around you and are you looking for and thinking about those positive things?

In life do you have a natural bent to be optimistic and positive or do you have the bent toward the pessimistic and negative?  Why do you think this is?

Be Positive? Really?

We have spent the week talking about smiling and laughing.  We have been looking at and talking about Proverbs 17:22 -  A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Some people live life in a positive manor and others in a negative manor.  For those who live in a negative manor let me ask you this:  What do you get from being negative? Being negative gets you angry, frustrated, and depressed.  Positivity and negativity are contagious.  My choice is to be around those who see the glass half full. 

Negative people are thinking about negative things –what does Paul tell us in Phil. 4:8 about what to think about? 

Phil 4:8 – One version puts it this way – Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse

The New King James puts it like this - Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

We can see from this verse is that we need to be looking to the positive side of things.  We need to be filling our minds with things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Am I saying that we should run around with smiles and laughing at everything that happens?  Certainly not.  There will be and are sad times in life – but we cannot allow those things to run our lives.  We need to learn that even in sad times we can have joy.  Paul was in prison writing rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

Here is what I know.  A positive attitude is more than running around with a smile on your face, it is understanding that there will always be times when things are looking bad but our focus should always be on Christ and with him we should always have a positive outlook.  It comes down to your focus – you can focus on the negative or you can focus on the positives in life.  People with cheerful hearts and minds focus on the positive.

Summing up the week – Laugh and smile, do not take yourself too seriously, enjoy life now, and have a positive outlook.  Let us all take a moment today to be as positive as we possibly can and if we are then we will laugh and smile and we will enjoy life and we will not take ourselves too seriously.

Who is the most positive person you know?

Power of the Positive–Part 5

This week we have been focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27:

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

The final thought for this week on this passage is that David thinks of Saul in terms of his office and honors him in this light. We see this matter of honor mentioned in Philippians 4:8: “. . . whatever is honorable. . . .” But this principle is taught in a number of other contexts as well:

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you”

Romans 13:7- Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1 Peter 2:17 – Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

In these verses, God calls upon us to “honor” others due to their position. In most cases, this honor is clearly to those in a position of authority over us like our parents or those in government. As Christians, we should honor all men, not only because God created them, but because we are to put their interests above our own (Philippians 2:1-8). David provides us with an excellent example of how we are to honor others.

We should also recognize that honoring the king of Israel had special significance. The king held a very special position of honor. We need to understand honor in that light.  When we see that David honors Saul as “God’s anointed,” and in so doing, honors the “Anointed One” who was to come we should begin to get the right idea. As the Old Testament revelation progresses, this becomes more and more clear.

When we honor those over us we are ultimately honoring Jesus Christ. Let me ask how are you doing with honoring those that God has put over you?

What are your thoughts on this final day looking at this passage?

Power of the Positive–Part 4

This week we are focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27:

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

Today’s point  is that David illustrates his obedience to a very important command, expressed clearly in Paul’s letter to the Philippians4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Truth is the first test of what should occupy our hearts and minds and proceed from our mouths. This is the baseline test, but there are many other standards as well, as we see in this text. David has written a psalm to help Israelites of his day and of later generations to remember and honor Saul and Jonathan. If they remember Saul the way David portrays him, then they will most certainly “let their minds dwell on what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute.” David will not have us dwell on Saul’s sins. Neither are we to overlook Saul’s sins. The author of 1 Samuel recorded them for us to learn from them. So really it is a balance.

Where does your mind dwell? Does it dwell on the positives? Do you have such a problem with some people that no matter what they do you see their actions negative? That is sin and you need to confess it and get past it and then purpose in your heart to have your mind dwell on what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute about all people you come in contact with. It will change your life dramatically in a great way!

Power of the Positive–Part 3

This week we are focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27:

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

Another thought on this passage is this:  I am forced to conclude that David thinks more highly of Saul than I do. I must confess that I do not like Saul very much. I want to think badly of him, and I am inclined to think the worst of him, rather than the best. I believe the author sides with David in thinking more highly of Saul than I may. This seems especially evident in his summation of Saul’s reign in chapter 14 of 1 Samuel: 47 Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the sons of Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment. 48 And he acted valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them (1 Samuel 14:47-48).

These verses seem almost out of place there in 1 Samuel. They are a kind of eulogy or benediction, placed before Saul’s irrecoverable error in 1 Samuel chapter 15, and also before the account of his death in chapter 31. I think the author is telling us that it is over for Saul, long before his life ends. In this I see and I must concede that Saul is spoken of much more positively in the Scriptures than I would expect. I believe the author of 1 Samuel gives us this relatively positive assessment because we need to keep this in mind as we focus on a very narrow slice of Saul’s life in this book. The author chooses to focus on Saul’s failures to teach the reader some very important lessons. I believe the way Saul failed is the same way Israel failed. To go a step further, the way Saul failed is also the way we fail today.  The focus of 1 Samuel then is on Saul’s failures, those that brought about the end of his reign. In spite of these failures, Saul did many good things. In his eulogy, David dwells on these good things.

Where do you focus?  Do you focus on failures or on the good things?  What are your thoughts?

Power of the Positive–Part 2

This week we are focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27: 

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

What we see when we go through this song is that David shows the great love and generosity in his heart towards Saul. It shows that David didn’t kill Saul with a sword or with in his heart or mouth. Here is what David saw:

· He saw beauty in Saul

· He wanted no one to rejoice over the death of Saul

· He wanted everyone to mourn, even the mountains and fields

· He praised Saul as a mighty warrior

· He complimented the personality and loyalty of Saul

· He called the daughters Israel to mourning, and praised the good Saul did for Israel

All this is a powerful testimony of how David kept his heart free from bitterness, even when we was greatly wronged and sinned against. David fulfilled 1 Corinthians 13:5: love thinks no evil. David knew the principle of 1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

David could do this because of his great trust in God and God’s power. He knew that God was in charge of his life, and that even if Saul meant it for evil, God could use it for good. Have you learned this lesson? Even if someone has evil intentions, God can weave good into their poor choice.

There is a lot too this whole thought process of David saying positive things about Saul.  Imagine David not saying anything bad about Saul after everything, the running for is life for over 10 years. How can he do this? David seems to have already dealt with Saul’s sins against him by forgiving him. This is what seems to have freed Joseph to deal kindly with his brothers, in spite of their wicked actions toward him. I believe David has forgiven Saul, therefore he has no bitterness to suppress or to vent. It is a sad thing to harbor bitterness, because of the harm that it does to us. David does not have to dredge up the past because he keeps short accounts. Do you keep short accounts with people or are you living in bitterness? Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Bitterness harms you!

Do not let bitterness take root in you! Hebrews 12:15 – Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.  We see here that bitterness in us will corrupt many others. Let me ask you – are you a corrosive and toxic person? Are you so full of bitterness that you are spewing your corrosive junk over others? I challenge you to look closely at your life and see if bitterness is in you and spewing on others.

What are your thoughts on this?

Power of the Positive–Part 1

This week – we will spend the week focusing on this passage from 2nd Samuel 1:17-27: 

17 Then David chanted  with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.  19 "Your beauty, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How have the mighty fallen! 20 "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 "From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions. 24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 "How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places. 26 "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women. 27 "How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

Here are some thoughts to consider in this passage.  David’s eulogy is a psalm that mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. David mourns over the defeat of Israel and the death of many Israelites, but this is not the focus of his psalm. His psalm expresses explicitly his sorrow over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. The Amalekite messenger thought the news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan would be good news to David. He was wrong. This psalm tells us that David feels a deep sense of loss and sorrow because of their deaths. David genuinely grieves over these men dying.

The following point is where we will stay the majority of this week and that is David’s eulogy says nothing negative about Saul. When David mourns the death of Saul, there is not even a hint of the mention of any of the evil or unkind things Saul did against David or others. How easy it would have been to include some of these details, to have indicated some kind of divine vindication, but David does not do so. How often do we do this in the things we say about others? How often do we just talk about people’s negative character qualities? How often is the negative the focus of our whole attention? We need to learn this lesson from David and allow only positives about others roll off our tongues and bounce around our minds.

David’s psalm honors both Saul and Jonathan as fallen heroes. David not only restrains himself from speaking ill of the dead, he honors Saul and Jonathan as war heroes, as men worthy of respect and honor. Who would have thought of Saul as someone worthy of respect? David did and we should look at those we disagree with honor and respect. It is a tough thing but a lesson that we could all stand to learn from David here.

I am amazed by David words about Saul and that is why we will be spending a week looking at this.  You have any initial thoughts on what is written here today?