Attitude Adjustment

A couple of weeks ago I noticed I was feeling discontented with the way things in my life are going. My discontent was resulting in a bad attitude.

I knew there was a problem with my attitude and needed an attitude adjustment. I began praying about it, asking God to help me. But not much was changing. It was during my prayer time one morning that the Lord showed me the answer to my problem.

In my experience, when I pray about a problem and ask God to help me He usually shows me things I’m doing wrong or changes I need to make. In this case, I needed to adjust my focus.

I was focusing on all that was going wrong instead of all that was going right. My misdirected focus was causing ungratefulness resulting in a bad attitude.

When we focus on what we don’t have or all that’s going wrong instead of our many blessings, we end up with a discontented dissatisfied heart that surfaces in our attitude.

A bad attitude affects our relationship with those closest to us and the Lord. It causes us to distance ourselves from both. We unwittingly blame them for all that’s going wrong.

Once I redirected my focus, joy and gratefulness returned. My circumstances hadn’t changed but my view had.

Psalm 103:1-5 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

When we focus on all the good in our lives our complaining turns to praise, our discontent turns to satisfaction, and our ungratefulness turns to appreciation.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Are you feeling discontented with life? Do you find yourself complaining a lot or maybe feeling a little depressed?

I’d like to challenge you to list the good things in your life. Now, just begin to thank God for all He has blessed you with. You will begin to notice that joy is replacing sadness.

Proverbs 17:22a A cheerful heart is a good medicine.

This is Thanksgiving week. Let’s focus on the good in our lives. Let’s thank God for all that He’s given us, done for us, and brought us through. Not just this one time of the year but every day of the year.

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

I pray you all will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your hearts and homes will be filled with joy and praise. God bless you all!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

My Journey/Week 4

Last week I underwent a lumpectomy leaving me scarred and in pain. Just one more scar to add to my life-collection of scars.

I have acquired a lot of scars in my lifetime; as I’m sure most of you have. Some are a result of bringing life into the world and some to save my own life. Others are a result of repairing damaged body parts. And still, others are scars on my heart, emotions, and memory that only God can see.

Do you sometimes hear a song and think to yourself, “Wow! This really speaks to me and my current situation.” In this case, the song I am referring to is Scars, by I Am They.

One chorus goes like this: So I’m thankful for the scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And I know they’ll always tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful for the scars

It’s uncommon to be thankful for scars. They aren’t exactly a pretty sight. Being thankful for scars goes against all human logic. Plus, there is pain associated with scars. No one wants to be reminded of the pain.

Each seen or unseen scar is evidence that we have lived. The pain and scars are part of life. They come with the territory.

Hardships in this life will do one of two things; draw us closer to God or further away from Him.

I have learned from personal experience that when I view my painful circumstances and scars from a godly perspective my faith, joy, and character grows and I become a better person.

But when I blame God and become angry with Him for allowing the circumstances that result in pain; I become bitter and turn away from Him.

During difficult times, we have to remember that God is sovereign and that He knows what He is doing. He knows the end from the beginning. And He sees the positive results of our pain that we cannot yet see (Isaiah 46:10).

God allows our pain and suffering as an opportunity for us to run to Him, to know Him better, and to trust Him more. In reality, He is the only one that can help us get through it and make us better on the other side of it.

We can become better instead of bitter.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Though it’s hard to do, we can remain joyful as we look forward to the spiritual growth and maturity that results from pain and suffering.

It’s not if we suffer. We will all suffer in this life. But it’s about how we suffer that counts. That’s what makes all the difference in becoming better or bitter.

Back to the song I mentioned earlier. There is another chorus that goes like this: I’m thankful for Your scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful

We will never know the suffering Jesus suffered. He still bears the scars of His suffering. He endured the pain of the scourging and the cross in our place. He did it all so we can be in relationship with Him for eternity.

Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus’ scars are a reminder of His love for us and the relationship He desires with us. Those scars reveal His heart for His Father and for us. And the only way we can say thank you for all that He has done for us is to live a life that glorifies Him.

When we embrace the pain and suffering God has allowed in our lives with a good attitude we are living a life of gratitude that glorifies Him and points others to Him.

Do you have scars that remind you of your suffering and pain? Have you allowed those scars to make you better or bitter? Do you blame God for your pain or do you run to Him for the help and the comfort that He alone provides in the midst of pain?

Will you allow your scars to be exposed in order to help others, encourage others, and glorify God?

Don’t allow your pain and scars to stay hidden. Put them in the Lord’s hands and watch Him do amazing things with them.

Isaiah 61:3 God will provide for those who grieve-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgetting What is Behind

For the past couple of months, we have had a lot of deer flies and horse flies on our property and around our house. Before that, our dog Autumn thoroughly enjoyed running around at the back of our fifteen acres. We would take her back there and she would run around and explore; smelling everything and just enjoying being free and enjoying life in general. When the flies arrived on the scene that all ended. She was even afraid to just go outside.

The flies are pretty much gone now. There may be a stray one here and there but nothing like it had been. However, Autumn is not convinced. Thankfully, she isn’t afraid to go outside anymore. It took her a while to trust that the flies were gone. But she still won’t go beyond the fence on her own.

Recently my husband wanted to prove to her that the flies were no longer at the back of the property either. He opened the gate and coaxed her beyond the fence. She reluctantly followed him. He kept encouraging her to go a little further and a little further. The whole while she would continually stop and look back at the house. They got more than halfway through the backyard and she had gone as far as she could go. She stopped, turned around and ran back home. She anxiously sat at the back door waiting for it to open to safety.

My husband wasn’t going to give up that easily so he put the leash on her and took her back out there. This time taking her all the way to the back of the fifteen mostly wooded acres. She was frightened the entire time and constantly wanted to go back to the house. My husband was certain she would begin to understand that the flies were gone and that she could go back to enjoying life and running free again. Unfortunately, she was never convinced. She was so happy to be back home once it was all over.

Isn’t that just like us? We want to hold on to what’s comfortable and safe even though it may be keeping us from something better. It’s just easier. God is calling us out of our comfort zones and out of our fears. He’s encouraging us to leave our disappointments, our discouragements, and our hurts behind. He’s saying “I have so much more for you. I have a life of peace, joy, and freedom for you. All you have to do is trust Me. I will be with you.”

Philippians 3:13-14  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

~Patrice Maguire