Life rarely lines up to our liking; our ducks all in a row, the planets in perfect alignment, our t’s all crossed and i’s all dotted, fair and equitable treatment in all our associations and encounters. Something is always amiss, out of kilter, or just messed up. We feel irritated, provoked, and mistreated. That is life.Then why isn’t everyone beat down? Why aren’t all people a toxic dump of negative emotions? Why isn’t everyone mean-spirited, defeated and in despair? —It All Starts with Attitude
A good read today from an OK brother.
King David declared, to a very generous Jebusite who was willing to give him everything he needed to sacrifice to God – “‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (II Sam. 24:24).
Although studying this context would be productive, our attention in this lesson will instead be directed to the concept of giving and various perspectives toward it. David, although he had sinned recently, here displayed an excellent attitude about giving to His God. However, for every person who has a proper attitude on giving, there are countless others who cling to inappropriate views.
If we slightly modify David’s statement to generalize the focus upon giving to God in general (as opposed to giving a burnt offering), it would read: “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” If we then break that statement apart, we can see four unique perspectives on giving. The first three are not proper, but the fourth most certainly is. Let us consider each perspective at this time.
1. I WILL NOT GIVE…
This is the perspective of the individual who loves himself and himself only. He will not give to anyone (whether mortal or divine). Such an individual fails to realize the benefits of giving to others. Indeed,”it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). People of this sort are dead inside, even while they live, for they lack compassion and wisdom, trusting in their money and possessions (cf. I Tim. 6:17). Continue reading
Almost seven years ago, Forthright Press launched The Fellowship Room as a group weblog of saints who could contribute and interact at will. (Here’s the first post.) In that time this modest effort has grown to include more than 11,400 posts by over 30 Fellows over the widest range of topics related to faith and discipleship in a fallen world.
Today, we take yet another step forward, with a new dot-com domain, which recently became available, and an installation on our own hosting. Several advantages now appear thanks to the move. Continue reading
A proverb says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” That means if you think positive thoughts, you are more likely to get positive results and if you think negatively, you are more likely to get negative results. Someone says, “That’s hogwash!” Well, scientists have put it to the test. USA Today reported that MIT researchers found that the attitude a subject took towards a pain-relief pill made a difference in its effectiveness. If the person believed a pill was a new and expensive drug for pain, it was more likely to be effective than if the person thought it was either generic or less expensive. All the pills were identical, only the attitudes were different. This is Just A Minute.
It has been noted that if one enjoys what they do, they won’t work a day in their life. What is work anyway? Whether we are talking about playing a round of golf or mowing the lawn, have we considered it is the very same muscles that are being used? Also, whether we are working a crossword puzzle or conducting business of some type, the same brain power is being utilized. So, why does what we call “work” seem to tire us more than what we might refer to as “play”? If the same muscles and brain power are put to use it must boil down to attitude and perspective. It would seem that if we could view “work” in the same way we view “play” it could be less wearing on ourselves.
Now, it also stands to reason that if that which is considered “play” seems to become too much “work” then the pleasure it was intended to provide will be lost. When we maintain a wholesome attitude toward both what might be labeled “work” or “play”, we can experience pleasure in both. It is when we think of it too much as “work” that we begin to struggle. Mark Twain is quoted as stating, “Work is not a concrete thing; it is a mental attitude. Nothing is either work or play but thinking makes it so.”
Looking at life in a general sense, Solomon stated. . . Continue reading
I’ve met several Christians throughout the years who are exactly what I try to avoid being – too “smart” for their own good spiritually speaking! Their “Bible knowledge” is so complete they have no room for growth…and it’s a major turn-off to the majority of people around them without them even knowing it, or caring enough to realize it.
But can’t you know the truth, some may ask? You sure can according to John 8:32! But that knowledge, in its completed form, comes from continuing in the truth – it comes from growing in it (John 8:31; 2 Peter 3:18).
Does that mean we can never know the complete the truth about a particular topic from day one? Absolutely not. Just think about the nameless eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:35-37). But at the same time remember the growth process that the apostle named Peter of Galilee had to experience concerning the possibility of salvation for gentile people years (literally years) after publicly preaching that the benefits of the gospel would reach “those who were afar off” (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 10).
My advice, which I strive to remember to follow myself, to anyone who gets asked a Bible-based question from someone who tells you that they’re not trying to be argumentative but simply asking a question that they’re curious about because of a statement or position that you’ve publicly proclaimed is for you to take the question seriously and try to recognize the validity of the point that the question is raising. Phew! Talk about a run-on sentence. But I suppose run-on’s are needed when you talk about a marathon length problem.
Concerning the sum of the situation, this one thing I have learned: when you are going to ask people to recognize their error you have to be able and willing to do the same with yourself! And the failure to do so reveals a lack of spiritual maturity that becomes obvious to everyone other than the person who stares back at us in the mirror. That’s why we’d all do well to be an Apollos-minded person, and not a Diotrephes.
“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:24-26)
Study the interactions between Jesus and Pharisees long enough and you’ll notice that they were more interested in disciplining the Law of God than they were in allowing the Law of God to disciple them!
And if we want to avoid the same fate we must avoid the same mentality.
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)