Tag Archives: attitude

Who Does it Look Like We’re Living For?

 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT*

An ambassador’s words and behaviour should reveal the character of whoever the ambassador represents.

What does that mean for Christians? If we’re living for “One Name Alone,” we can choose His will and His way (including His “house rules”) over our own, and do it cheerfully, not grudgingly, because we love Him and it’s a joy to do whatever we can to stay close to Him.

When we cultivate an attitude of trust in God, of gratitude and peace, it’s not simply for our own spiritual wellbeing. We can let others see that in the good and in the bad, we choose to rely on God, and that He is enough.

Jesus is our model, as well as the One we’re to represent. His countenance, conduct and demeanor all reflected Whose He was. He didn’t go around with a moping, frowning face. He didn’t deny His pain, either – just took it to the Father.

He spoke truth gently to the hurting, and He listened first to discern their true needs. He reserved His blunt talk for leaders He needed to call out. He didn’t complain about people behind their backs. He didn’t gossip, stew in resentment, or indulge in any of the attitudes that so often beset us.

He didn’t condemn sinners, but invited them into new life. And He showed them the new life was good.

We’re not perfect, but the more we rely on the Holy Spirit within us, the more effective ambassadors we’ll be.

Father, sometimes I get tired, or frustrated, or fearful. You understand those feelings, but You have better things for me. Help me to remember that if I indulge in cranky or moody behaviour, it reflects poorly on You. Help me press into You, my Rock and my Redeemer, and live authentically so that others will see how trusting You makes a difference.

Let Matt Redman‘s song, “One Name Alone,” settle into our hearts and remind us of our true focus.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Service and Offering

But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.
Philippians 2:17, NLT* (emphasis added)

Our “service” isn’t just what we do in church, or our volunteer activities. It’s also how we care for and interact with others on a daily basis. Do we make eye contact with the sales clerk, show courtesy in driving, remember to say thank you?

Service: not serving self but being mindful of God in our behaviour, attitudes and choices.

Offering: More than the rote giving of funds on a Sunday morning. It’s yielding our whole selves to His will, holding nothing back, in the example of Jesus Himself (Phil. 2:5-11).

Maybe that sounds dramatic. Over the top. Too hard for us. But break it down to the small choices in each day: Will I choose God’s way or my way? Grudgingly, or with a willing heart?

Mighty and loving God, You ask us to give our all. You’re worthy of our all, and we owe You our lives. You know how tightly we hold on, though. Help us surrender ourselves to You daily – moment by moment, even – because You are a good God. You love us. And You’ve paid our ransom.

I’ve loved Third Day’s song, “Offering“, since I first heard it. May it be our prayer today.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Encouragement for the Struggle

For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
Philippians 1:19, NLT*

Paul trusts Jesus. He’s already been “saved” in the sense of being rescued from the penalty of sin. In context here, Paul is in prison and some of his enemies are trying to make that even harder for him. Likely the “deliverance” he’s thinking of is release from his chains.

If we belong to Jesus, we’re free from the power of sin and death, but there are still “chains” in our lives, binding us in ways that keep us from growing into all God intends us to be.

Attitudes, fears, memories… maybe we struggle with them and get discouraged. This can be our verse of hope. We can ask at least one trusted friend to pray, and we can remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is at work in us. No matter what we feel.

Holy Spirit, please help us believe that You are at work in us. Help us cooperate with that work, and persevere without giving up. Protect us from discouragement. Thank You for the promise of deliverance. And thank You for Your grace.

Here’s a song that encourages me when the struggle seems endless: “There is Coming a Day,” by Todd Agnew

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Every Morning, New!

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT*

Remember childhood, especially in the summer, when each new day meant another chance to play and have fun? We’d pop out of bed early, eager to get started.

I have some vague memories of this, but I’ve certainly changed. Waking is neither easy nor exuberant.

Instead of morning bringing thoughts of opportunity, it usually comes with a desire for a bit more sleep and with a list of responsibilities. At least that’s how mine start.

God and I have talked about mornings over the years, and I don’t dread them anymore. It’s still a work in progress, though. As I type this, I realize I’ve forgotten to begin each day with “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Choosing gratitude is key. Because each day is a gift—and an assignment—from God. (Click to tweet)

This week He reminded me of a fictional character who loved Mondays. She said they were “like mini New Years four times a month. A chance for a fresh start.” (Regina Beswith, in Rachel Hauck’s Princess Ever After). When I reviewed the novel, I picked this as a mindset I needed to learn.

And soon forgot.

Chatting about Mondays on Facebook, my friend Deborah said “The Lord’s mercies are new every morning just in time to forgive us for being ungrateful for the new day!”

His mercies are fresh every day. To cover our ingratitude and other sins, and to provide what we need for the day.

Merciful and gracious God, forgive our ingratitude and short-sightedness. Restore to us the joy of our salvation, the joy of living each day with and for You. Help us embrace Your daily mercies and live for Your glory.

Here’s a song from Christian rock pioneer Randy Stonehill: “Celebrate this Heartbeat.” The video shares the lyrics in ASL, and I found it interesting to see the subtle changes the translator had to make in the wording.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Use This”

Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalm 55:22, NLT*

Attitude. Heaviness of spirit. Frustration. Sadness. Some days I struggle with these things. They rise up, make it hard to live a life worthy of the gospel. Even minor situations amplify them, and I don’t want to have a meltdown or snap at (or cry on) the people around me.

Then there are the bigger situations—actual crises—health, obstacles, bad news. External things I can’t do anything about to help the people in pain or to salvage whatever plans have been overturned.

God is teaching me to pray Use this—to give these burdens to Him, repeatedly, with the plea that He will use even these to reveal His glory.

The Bible, and the personal stories of believers through the centuries, prove God can do this. Instead of rolling over and giving up in these experiences, we need to keep our eyes on the King and look in faith to see what He will do.

God, we know and believe there is none like You, none more powerful, wise or loving. We believe Your promise to sustain and care for us. You can do more than we can ever imagine. Help us trust You to use every aspect of our lives for Your glory. Let us not hold back or give up, but strengthen our faith so we can stand.

Here’s a faith-encouraging song from Kutless: “What Faith Can Do.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


When God Says “I’ve Got This”

I’m guest blogger this week at author Christine Lindsay’s site, sharing one of my key life-lessons from 2013: When God Says “I’ve Got This”. Click over and say hello!

God’s Strength for God’s Work

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him…
1 Timothy 1:12, NLT*

Jesus gives Paul the strength, and considers him trustworthy despite Paul’s past.

And the work is Jesus’ work, not Paul’s. Not mine. Not yours.

In Paul’s case, it’s high-profile, dangerous work. For most of us, it’s not. We’re parents, employees or employers, citizens, neighbours, friends, shoppers etc. It’s still more than we can handle in our own strength, and we need to rely on the strength and grace that God provides.

We’re Christ’s ambassadors, just like Paul.

If we keep the trust and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel, relying on Jesus’ strength and leading, we’re doing His work of revealing God’s reality to those around us.

That’s a high calling indeed.

Holy One who saves us, You send us just as You sent Jesus, to let the world see that You are God—and You are good. Help us walk by faith, not by sight. Help us rely on Your strength, not our own, and to live for the sake of Your glory, not ours. Thank You for calling us to work with you in reaching the world.

When we find ourselves working in our own strength, we need songs like this one from Brian Doerksen: “Enter the Rest of God.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


A Willing Spirit

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:12, NIV*

“I don’t really want to do that.” It’s easy to look at our responsibilities or opportunities that way.

Who really wants to drag their tired body out of bed too early to face the day? Or pick up toddlers’ toys one more time. Make that difficult phone call. Go to the dentist.

There are things we choose not to do, but there are plenty that we need to go ahead with.

The “I don’t want to” attitude can even slip into our relationships, or the job we love, or our ministry. It steals our joy.

Conscious gratitude helps, finding what we appreciate in the situations and deciding to thank God for His presence even in what we don’t like.

Eventually I find myself going back to King David’s prayer: “Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” It’s the way back to joy.

Holy God, Giver of life and mercy, complaining is offensive to You. Please forgive our rebellious spirits and the attitude of self focus that grows in us, and wash us clean. It’s about You after all, not about us. Grant us gratitude, restore the joy of our salvation when it slips, and give us willing hearts to sustain us in Your service.

Here’s Hillsong Australia with the chorus to the classic hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Heaven’s Prey Update

Signing the publishing contract for Heaven’s Prey felt unreal. I’ve waited, worked for and dreamed of this for so long, my brain didn’t know how to handle it actually happening.

I have to say, Nicole O’Dell and the folks at Choose NOW Publishing are amazing to work with. I’m truly thankful.

I’ve been living in the world of edits and revisions for the month of July.

There’s a fine balance between excitement and anxiety, and opening the manuscript file full of editorial comments tipped it. There were 129 comments plus the highlighted phrases requiring specific work. Yes, Nicole liked the manuscript, or she wouldn’t have chosen it, but she saw lots of ways to make it stronger.

This is what I wanted: a publishing contract, and the best possible version of my manuscript.

Fear whined, “I can’t do this,” but experience said I could. I chose to listen to that second voice.

Writers need editors. It’s hard to 1) see the weak spots, 2) grasp the editorial direction, and 3) internalize that and find the best way to rewrite.

I looked at Nicole’s comments for Heaven’s Prey. Self-pity sulked, “It’s too hard,” but I believe in this story, these characters. “Hard” doesn’t matter. I’ll do what it takes to present them at their best.

So I’ve been editing.

Every once in a while I found a line that amazed me: it fit perfectly, captured the sound of a character’s voice or the cry of her heart. Most of what I found was “good but it can be better,” so that’s what I’ve been working on.

Writing, like any art, is rarely perfect. Most books have a few copy-editing errors, a few repetitions or less-than-ideal turns of phrase. If we obsessed over perfection, none of our stories would ever get out. So I’ve prayerfully done my best, as will the rest of the Choose NOW team, and we’ll release these characters to the world in November.

Best moment so far: seeing Heaven’s Prey listed on the Choose NOW Publishing website. (Those so inclined can view it here … cover art will be revealed soon, and my newsletter subscribers will see it before it even appears here on my blog.)

Sometimes a sign says it all…

Sign: It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it.

Photo credit: Janet Sketchley

God’s timing… I saw this sign shortly after noticing His cues to write the devotional post, Accept the Gift.