Sunday, August 16, 2009

Attitude is Everything

"We've" been working on our attitudes around here this week, and I'm happy to say that "we've" made some great progress. "We" no longer sit around and watch crime shows all day long. "We" are making a greater effort to eat right, exercise (took a walk and a bike ride yesterday!), and have a more positive outlook on "our" situation. I think "we" are on the right track.

Okay, I'm done using euphemisms for you know who. Oops! I did it again.

Since, attitude has been such a focus for us these last few days, I was delighted that last night's message at church was about attitude. My pastor is still on sabbatical, but I was thrilled that this weekend's guest speaker was once again Jeff Perry. Hey, if you're in the St. Louis area, you have got to check out that church! If you're not in the area, Jeff's sermons are available as free podcasts on iTunes. He is one heck of a preacher, and he had a Word for me last night about attitude - of which mine can always use a little tweaking. How about you?

He started by sharing this from Chuck Swindoll:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.
I had heard that before, but it's worth considering over and over again. He then went on to share this from Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and see in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
These words were written by Paul while he was held captive in a prison in Rome. Even in such terrible circumstances, he was still able to encourage others (the church at Philippi) to have a positive attitude about their situations. He tells them (us) to rejoice (be joyful), know that God is in this with you, don't worry, bring it all to God in prayer, and you will receive His peace. In the second passage, the apostle tells us that we must focus on the good, not the negative. When we do these things, God fills us with peace.

Paul was able to be a source of encouragement even though he suffered greatly for his devotion to Christ. Consider this about Paul. He was:

  • Put in prison over and over
  • Flogged an uncounted number of times
  • Faced death over and over
  • Received 39 lashes from the Jews 5 times (Paul had been a Jewish Pharisee prior to his conversion experience)
  • Beaten with rods 3 times
  • Stoned one time
  • Shipwrecked 3 times
  • Spent a day and night in the sea
  • And was in continual danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, and the Gentiles (non-Jews)
  • Was in danger in the city, in the country, at sea, from false brothers
  • Was weary and in pain often, without sleep
  • Often hungry and thirsty, cold and naked
  • And continually concerned about the health of all of the churches
And yet, he still had a positive attitude and encouraged others to do so.

Pastor Jeff concluded his message by praying over the congregation for those who were in need of jobs, those who had wayward children, those who struggled with temptations, those who were dealing with illness, those who were desperate to sell a piece of property, and so on. I was moved to tears as he touched on a couple areas of my life for which I was in need of prayer.

I walked out of there feeling like a burden had been lifted. My attitude has been adjusted. It's going to be a good week.


Alex and Jill said...

Loved this post!! :)

Kayce said...

I really needed this Joannah. Thank you! Thank you!

In response to your comment regarding my work schedule this school year...I'm going to take it easy this year and just do some volunteer stuff at the hs and jhs. Our district is offering 3.5 hour positions only and it just doesn't pay the insurance bill nor do I get benefits so it's not quite worth it. Plus with referral so near I'd have to quit anyway for a while. And with my grandma's news I'm glad to have the extra time this year to give to her and try to kick her butt in some rummy games! That is what is most important right now plus a positive attitude. :)

onesillymama said...

So true, and a good reminder for us all, Joannah. Thanks!

Tamara said...

Oh Joannah, God is good! To see how He reached right out to touch you where you were. What a wonderful post.