Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Pastor Chuck Swindoll believes that life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we react to it. How we react to life’s ups and downs reveals what kind of attitude we possess. When teaching on the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5:3-11) at church recently, Pastor Mike reminded us that these are “be-attitudes”, not “do-attitudes.” God is more interested in who we are than what we do. A “super spiritual” type man came up to his pastor one day and proudly told him that his life long dream was to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, climb Mount Sinai, and read the 10 Commandments out loud once he reached the top. His pastor replied: “I have a better idea. Why don’t you stay here in town and try to keep them?”
This past Sunday in the Spanish service I preached on a topic I wrote about in my blog of 8/21 regarding straying sheep. I reminded those present that people can stray from God even when they are in church and attend every service. They have not left physically but their hearts are far from Him. I cited Isaiah 29:13 where the prophet wrote this: “The Lord says: " These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” A biblical example of this type of straying believer is the older brother of the Prodigal Son, whose story is found in the 15th Chapter of Luke. Though he remained in his father’s house, he did not rejoice that his lost brother had returned, did not address him by his name but referred him to his father as “this your son”, and judged him by saying he had squandered all his inheritance on prostitutes. How did he know that if he didn’t go with him? Besides that, he never made an effort to go look for his lost brother, probably never prayed for him, and he passed himself as being much better than him. He also demonstrated that he was the type that never asked his father for anything, another red flag. These are characteristics that indicate the true condition of the heart.
Dear reader, have you examined your attitudes lately? How do you react to good and bad news? How do you react when someone slights, criticizes, or ignores you? How do you react to other people’s actions or reactions? Do you get angry, criticize, or speak badly about those whom you feel have walked out on God? Are you happy and content thinking they are getting all the misery they deserve? On the other hand, when was the last time you prayed for those who appeared to be straying from Him or rejoiced because they came back? When was the last time a song, sermon, or testimony stirred your heart and brought tears to your eyes? Finally, when was the last time you spent some good quality time with God in prayer? The Bible gives us this valuable advice: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Lets keep an eye on our heart and check our attitudes regularly.
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 144:15) “Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.”