Saturday, January 21, 2012

Life Perspective

I've noticed a shift recently in the way that I talk.  I find myself talking with much less excitement and passion, it seems I have a much less optimistic outlook on life, like when I talk about a subject I feel more dread than excitement, and I struggle to have things to say in conversation. It seems to me that I've been quieter and less contributive to thoughts and ideas as a creative member of a group, instead I often feel like an outsider in groups and like I do more to correct others ideas than to come up with my own.
It has been bothering me greatly because I've always thought of myself as a rather upbeat and energetic person, and I am in positions where creativity, originality, spontaneity, and energy are very important.
Then today, another current trend in the way I talk and think became apparent to me, and I wonder whether they may be related.  The "Good" side of my family got together for Christmas today (we actually had a white Christmas :) ) and so there were lots of questions like "How's the new job? How's married life? How's the apartment?" etc, etc... and I found myself talking about a lot of negative things.  I mean, I told stories of some good things and relayed the fact that everything has been amazing and things are going great, but beyond that I realized that most of the everyday type of stories i told were about problems, bad things that had happened to us, and annoying things that people do or had done.  And the thing is, I didn't have to tell those stories.  Yes, there have been problems and annoyances, but there's also been a lot of fun times and great things that have happened.
I've always been one to let the bad go and focus on the good, but here I was mostly telling the bad stories.  And I wonder if that's why I find less excitement and energy in my voice, because the things im talking about are depressing, not exciting.  I wonder if that's why I critique and piggy back on others ideas and struggle to make decisions, because im seeing the problems and drawbacks rather than the possibilities.
The other night, after my computer contracted a virus and me and Dana were both trying to maintain a positive outlook, I looked at the verse for the day on my phone which was:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
And it seemed fitting.  I think that maybe this is what I've been missing.  Perhaps I haven't been joyful always because I've been lacking continual prayer and thanksgiving.
So I am going to work on telling good stories; on not letting my life be defined by the things that go wrong but by the things that go right. It will take some conscious effort, but I think that overall it is worth it.  What about you?  Do you find that most of your stories are about struggle and hardship or do you find yourself telling stories of blessing and success?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Psalm 73

I love this Psalm, it carried me through at least one semester at West Chester University.  And seeing it put to music like this, it brings the message home even more clearly.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giving from the Piggy Bank

For the light in heart, from Christianity Today:

In our town's elementary school at the beginning of the year, the school secretary routinely collects the lunch money from the new kindergartners. This solves the problem of lost money. But for nervous 5-year-olds, it took a few days to understand what was happening.
For two days, the secretary would come into the room and ask in a loud voice, "Does anybody have any lunch money for me?" Her question was met with no response.
On the third day, one little boy came in at the bell, walked hesitantly to the teacher's desk, held out his hand and whispered, "Here is lunch money from my piggy bank for the poor lady nobody gives money to."
—June Spivey, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Sleeping In a Sin?

This is taken from George Muller's autobiography:
I want to encourage all believers to get into the habit of rising early to meet with God.  how much time should b allowed for rest?  No rule of universal application can be given because all persons do not require the same amount of sleep.  Also the same persons, at different times, according to the strength or weakness of their body, may require more or less.  most doctors agree that healthy men do not require more than between six or seven hours of sleep, and females need no more than seven or eight hours.
Children of God should be careful not to allow themselves too little sleep since few men can do with less than six hours of sleep and still be well in body and mind.  As a young man, before I went to the university, I went to bed regularly at ten and rose at four, studied hard, and was in good health.  Since I have allowed myself only about seven hours, I have been much better in body and in nerves than when I spent eight or eight and a half hours in bed.
Someone may ask, "But why should I rise early?"  To remain too long in bed is a waste of time.  Wasting time is unbecoming a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus.  His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord.  If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting the time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the saints and unbelievers around us.
Just as too much food injures the body, the same is true regarding sleep.  Medical persons would readily agree that lying longer in bed than is necessary to strengthen the body actually weakens it.
It also injures the soul.  Lying too long in bed not merely keeps us from giving the most precious part of the day to prayer and meditation, but this sloth leads also to many other evils.  Anyone who spends one, two, or three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Love of a Father - The Response of a Son

Credit for photo
Ephesians 5:1-2
If you know the love of God, then imitate Him, even as a child who knows the love of their father will imitate him.  So live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Our service for God should not be an act of duty, but a response to love.
(My paraphrase)