The Thermostat

Our house has a thermostat which controls the temperature. We set the thermostat to the temperature we want, and it tells the furnace or the air conditioner to kick in to reach that temperature. If you want to change the temperature in your house, you first need to change this small but powerful device called the thermostat.

Our attitude is the thermostat of our life!

If we want to change our lives, we first need to change our attitudes. Pastor Chuck Swindoll says:

“The longer I love, 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.”

Pastor Swindoll’s message is clear: choose your attitude carefully, because in many ways it determines the direction of your life. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” In many ways, your attitude is the thermostat of your life.

What causes fights and quarrels?

Proverbs 13:10 says, “Pride only breeds quarrels . . . ” The Bible teaches that unhealthy pride leads to strife. So what does unhealthy pride look like?  The word used for pride in the verse in the original language meant: “Contempt for other opinions, a clash of competing and unyielding personalities. It means an unyielding arrogance. Such an inflated, know-it-all view of oneself leads to quarreling, in contrast with a humble, wise spirit that makes one willing to learn and take advice.”

In short, unhealthy pride, which is an over inflated view of oneself, leads to conflict and strife. If you struggle with this form of unhealthy pride, your life will be full of conflict and strife. Therefore I encourage you to pray this prayer that I once read daily:

“Our Father in Heaven, we read in the Bible that love does not insist on its own way. Help us to love that we may live according to this precept. So often we feel that ours is the only way of doing a particular thing. We think, in the imagination of our hearts, that no one has as good ideas or as acceptable a plan as we have. And we realize as we survey the life about us, that such thinking is not only wrong but troublesome. How many homes have been broken and friendships separated because one or both parties insisted on being counted right? Grant that we may have hearts big enough to give credit to other people’s thoughts and desires. Create within us sufficient love that we may honor our brother as we would like to be honored by him.”

Don’t Waste Your Hurts

When tragedy visits your home, you have a choice. Will you waste it or invest it? 

Our hurts are our credentials for helping others. 

Who can best help someone who is going through a divorce? Someone who has been through a divorce. Who can best help someone facing a job loss? Someone who has been through a job loss. Who can best help someone who is depressed? Someone who has been depressed.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Our hurts are our credentials for helping others. 

Aldous Huxley wrote: “Experience is not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.” What are you going to do with your pain, hurt, and loss.? Are you going to waste it or invest it? 

1980 was a difficult year for Candy Lightner. One day her world was bright and sunny. The next day, it was dark and dreary. She felt like one person who said, “My life is so full of sorrow, I cannot face tomorrow.” What happened to Candy Lightner? 

You ever get a phone call late at night and are very hesitant to answer it because it might be very bad news? You walk slowly to the phone, pick it up, and are relived to find out that it is a wrong number.

Candy’s call was not a wrong number! It was tragic news. News that her 13 year old daughter, Cari, was dead. She had been struck from behind by a drunk driver on the way to a school carnival. 

How did Candy respond to tragedy? She partnered with God to bring significant meaning out of her loss.

And in 1980, she found an organization some of you have heard about called MADD-which stands for mothers against drunk drivers. MADD has sense grown into a nationwide organization with almost two million members and supporters and with more than 600 affiliates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain. Since MADD was founded, traffic deaths have dropped by more than 40%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Don’t waste your hurts. They are you credentials for helping others.

Depression: You Are Not Alone

The great Prophet Elijah once went through a severe depression where he prayed to die. He reminds me of saying I once read: “All of God’s giants were weak people.” In other words, we don’t have to be perfect to be used by God, just available.

If we look closely into Elijah’s story, we see that he made a major mistake in his journey with depression: he isolated himself from others. The Bible says: “Then he went on alone into the wilderness.” This is not good.

In my years of working with people, I have found that when a person is depressed they can isolate themselves from the very people that can help them. Don’t do that. Don’t isolate yourself; immerse yourself in the loving care of others and God.

You are not alone.

In fact, if you are going through a depression, remind yourself that are in good company. Many famous people went through periods of depression in their life. One such man was Abraham Lincoln, the most revered president in American history. He once wrote: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I felt were equally distributed, there would not be one happy person on the face of the earth.”

Another great leader who battled depression was Winston Churchill, leader of Britain during WW2.  He once said: “Depression followed me around like a black dog my entire life.”

Charles Spurgeon, who once labeled the “prince of preachers” battled depression his whole life. In the preaching world, he was like Michael Jordan to the basketball world, Babe Ruth to the baseball world, or Jerry Rice to the football world. And yet Charles Spurgeon once said, “ I am the subject of depressions of the spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I went to.”

If you are battling with depression, you are not alone. Please talk to someone and get help. Do not isolate yourself; immerse yourself in the loving care of others who can help you. Also, call out to God, who the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 7:6: “But God, who comforts the downcast…”

God Uses Ordinary People!

God did not use a celebrity to bring Jesus into this world; he used an ordinary, teenage girl named Mary, who as a Jewish peasant woman.  She was not from Buckingham palace, but a hick town named Nazareth.  She was a nobody, from nowhere.  In our day and age Mary is famous, because her story is told in the bible.  But at the time this story happened, she was a nobody.   And yet God chose her to bring the savior into this
world.


This is a pattern in the bible: God uses ordinary people to do extra ordinary things.  For example:
• He used a deceiver like Jacob to become father to the Israelite nation.
• He used a slave like Joseph to save his family.
• He used a shepherd like Moses to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt.
• He used farmer named Gideon to deliver Israel from Midian.
• He used a homemaker named Hannah to be the mother of Samuel.
• He used a shepherd boy named David to be Israel’s greatest king.
• He used a slave girl named Esther to save her people from a massacre.
• He used a tax collector named Matthew to be an apostle and gospel writer.
• He used a fisherman named Peter to be a leader of the early church.
• And he used a teenage peasant girl from Nazareth to give birth to the savior of the world.


Henry Blackaby quips, “An ordinary person is who God most likes to use.  Paul said that God deliberately seeks out the weak things and the despised things because it is from them that He can receive the greatest glory.  Then everyone will know that only God could have done it.  If you feel weak, limited, ordinary, you are the best material through which God can work.”

“Lord, I am stressed out!”

Do you have a gnawing pain in your stomach that won’t go away? Do you often forget things you’re supposed to do? Are you tired, short-tempered, irritable and discouraged? Is your life so packed with things to do that you can’t seem to get anything done? If you answered yes to most of those questions, there is a good chance you are stressed out today?

No matter where you are on the stress meter today, I know this: On planet earth, Stress is inevitable. It’s a part of the journey! In fact, if you think you can get to a place where you will have no more stress, you are living in unreality. You are believing a fantasy. Life on this earth will always include stress. So the real issue is not if we will have stress, but how will you manage it? Will you manage it in a healthy way or unhealthy way?

One of the best ways I know to cope with stress is to pray and live by the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

That prayer teaches us that there are things we can control and things we cannot control. Wisdom is focusing on the things we can control and leaving the rest in God’s hands!

What are some things we cannot control?
– The weather
– The economy
– The past
– Other people’s actions, attitudes, and choices

What are something we can control?
– Our attitude
– Our actions
– Our response
– We can chose to pray
– We can chose to trust God

Which category are you focused on? May God help you to focus on the things you can control, and the leave the rest in his hands. In Philippians 3:1 Paul exemplifies the teachings of the serenity prayer. He says: “Whatever happens, rejoice in the lord.” I love that verse: “whatever happens”- we get bad news, someone hurts us, our kids make a bad choice. Can we control the “whatever happens”? No. But we can control how we respond to “whatever happens”. Our response is our responsibility. Whatever happens, we can rejoice in the Lord. If you are stressed out today, I would encourage you to pray and live by the serenity prayer every day!

Crock Pot Spirituality

The other night I was watching a movie with my three year old. She asked me if she could do something. “You’ll have to wait until your get bigger,” I told her. She paused for a moment, looked me in the eye and said, “tomorrow I will be bigger.”

Many people have the same mindset when it comes to their spiritual growth. They think they can microwave it. They think they can instantly grow to spiritual maturity if they just find the right key. But the truth is spiritual growth doesn’t happen in day. It happens daily over an entire lifetime. It’s a process. It takes time.

Did you know that it takes God more than sixty years to make an oak tree but only six months to make a mushroom? What do you want to be, a mushroom or an oak tree?

We may be in a hurry to mature spiritually, but God isn’t. He is working from and for eternity. In Miles Stanford’s book Principles of Spiritual Growth, he tells us that many great men and women of God did not become that way over night. It took time. In fact, he says:

We might consider some familiar names of believers whom God obviously brought to maturity and used for his glory….The average for these was 15 years after they entered their life work before they began to know the Lord Jesus as their life and ceased trying to work for him and began to allow Him to be their all and all and do his work through them.

“Tomorrow I will be bigger,” said my three-year-old. Do you have that quick-fix, fast food mentality? If so, I want to encourage you to remember that God doesn’t microwave our spiritual growth; He crock pots us. Be patient with the process!

Pray for Afghanistan and Haiti

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~ James 5:16

Please take time this week and pray for  Afghanistan and Haiti. You may want to consider praying for the following things:

Prayer for Afghanistan:

  • Special prayers of protection for:
    • All people who are suffering
    • Christians and the Christian church
  • Public Health
  • For the Taliban (that God would change and soften their heart and they would accept Jesus as their leader and savior)  

Pray for Haiti:

  • Pray for continued rescue efforts
  • That those in need of medical attention would be able to receive help
  • That the peace that passes all understanding would reign
  • All people who are suffering

~Pastor Steve

Trust God and do your prayerful best!

10-10-10

Recently I read about the 10-10-10 principle: consider what the consequence of your choices will be in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years. In other words, live beyond the whims and feelings of the moment, and try to discern what consequences tomorrow will hold because of today’s choices. Live with an eye for the future.

Why? To a large extent, who you will become tomorrow is the result of the choices you make today. We chart the course of our lives by the choices we make. Therefore, don’t make rash choices, decisions you will regret tomorrow. Impulsiveness can cause us to make decisions in the heat of the moment that we can regret the rest of our lives! Don’t do that. Instead, stop and pray before you make choices and ask God this question: Will this be a wise choice in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years? 10-10-10.

Proverbs 14:15 says, “A prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:8 agrees: “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” Be wise – live beyond the here and now and see the then and
there.

Hope for Hard Times

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Notice carefully that, In Christ, we have hope for the future.

When you pray, ask God to help you pray in a spirit of hope, because one person said that the word hope stands for:

  • Hold
  • On
  • Praying
  • Expectantly

During this challenging season in life, please pray and believe these 12 reasons of why you can have hope for the future in these hard times:

God is always with you – Hebrews 13:5

God loves you as His child – Romans 8:15-16

God proved His love at the cross – Romans 8:32

God’s power is available to you – Philippians 4:13

God can exceed your highest expectations – Ephesians 3:20

God understands you and your problem – Matthew 6:8

God promises to supply all your needs – Philippinas 4:19

God’s grace is sufficient for you – 2 Corinthians 12:9

God works all things together for good – Romans 8:28

God uses trials to produce maturity – James 1:2-4

God uses trials to display your faith – Philippians 2:15

God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect – Romans 12:2