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Perspective

October 27, 2007

perspective.jpg“Thanks Living – from Perspective to Practice” That is our current series title at TRF. Tonight Pastor Ron spoke on “The Perspective of Gratitude”. One thing in particular jumped out at me. He asked, “What is the source of gratitude for me…Circumstances or God?

If my gratitude is formulated by my circumstances I am in a heap of trouble. And I have been there. I’ve just recently been there in fact! Not all circumstances are “great”. Certainly not in my case lately. Sometimes it’s hard not to allow our circumstances to dictate our reaction and response. In other words, for me, my initial feeling about it can begin a domino effect of roller coaster emotions that are forever changing. Then anxiety sets in, worry, which is nothing but negative meditation.

My source of gratitude needs to be found in God. In my life, going to God and soaking in His word is nourishing. It feeds me. It provides me with strength and hope. Circumstances are always changing – God is unchanging. He is the very one constant thing in my life.

I must choose to change my perspective. To put my eyes on God. This is a challenge. My flesh immediately looks to outside sources. Sources that are fallible, bias, wavering.

When you are faced with opposition, challenges, trials…Who or what is your source for comfort? How do you approach your source? Optimistically? Open-minded?

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace. which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2007 10:54 pm

    In case you haven’t noticed…
    God is speaking. LOL.

    Love ya:)

    Ang

  2. October 28, 2007 1:30 am

    OK i gotta fess up. When challenges come along my focus is usually either on the challenge or me – FIRST!

    It’s only when things REALLY foul up after my own attempts to handle the situation myself that i might take time to think about calling on ‘The Expert’ for a little ‘help’;-)

    I figure i am probably not alone in this.

    You certainly give ME things to shake my head and wonder about sometimes Tam.

    Thank You for that, Angel. πŸ™‚

  3. October 28, 2007 6:25 am

    Great post! What a challenging question. Great way to bring all things back into their proper prospective.

  4. October 28, 2007 11:06 am

    I always try to work out problems on my own. I think I have gotten better at asking for help before I screw up too badly.

    My friends provide support when I need a shoulder to cry on. Very manly crying of course. πŸ™‚

    I never accept advise/help at face value. I always examine, research and carefully consider any advice/help I am given. You can guess I am not a very trusting person. πŸ™‚

    Having a God you can place your complete faith in must be a wonderful thing Tam. You must also have a great deal of inner strength to implement the plan God has given you after all you have been through.

  5. October 28, 2007 12:44 pm

    Hi! I’m a lurker as you’ve noticed and thanks for checking out my blog as well :-)! I’m a fellow TRFer and my family and I have returned to TRF after being at another church for a couple of years. I found your and Brent’s blogs through my sister Kristen (One Day at a Time) and Kim (Praying for the Precious). I so thoroughly enjoy your lay-it-all-out-there questions and soul searching! You’re real and I really appreciate that. I loved Ron’s teaching this morning, and I know for me that I too often let my feelings dictate my reaction. I know that I know that God is the source of anything and everything good that is in my life, but I am such a do-it-myself girl. Pride, pride. It really does make one stumble, and I do every time I try to do it on my own. The Lord is always waiting saying, “Heh, I’m still here. I am with you. Let’s keep walking.”

    I’m enjoying visiting your blog and look forward to many more good reads :-)!

  6. October 28, 2007 4:10 pm

    Thanks for stopping by :-)! Oh my goodness, can’t you tell I’m a beach girl at heart, too? I truly long for the beach all the time, and please don’t get my poor husband started on how badly I want to be there at this time of year (and all year for that matter.) I can get really pathetic with all my dreaming and wishing about Hawaii…Kauai specifically. Nice to “meet” you and I’ll come say hi at church sometime!

  7. October 28, 2007 7:22 pm

    Ang – AMEN! Yes, I have certainly noticed!

    Love, Me too…I always think of me or the obstacle first. I think we all do. But for me, I am in constant practice to not stay in that mind set. It’s too crippling.

    Angela, Thanks! Ya know, one definition of “perspective” is “a particular attitude toward something.” I like that. We’ve all heard of having an “Attitude of Gratitude”. I can be a cynic – so it’s easy for me to look at obstacles an immediately see doom and gloom. So this post is HUGE for me – the question is one I’ve been going over and over again in my mind today.

    Ed, if I may be so bold here…The God that I have placed my complete faith in, who has indeed brought great comfort to me through the years is the exact same God who longs to comfort you as well. He isn’t just “mine” – He is yours too friend…

    Kelly, it sounds like you and I just need to hop a plane to the islands! Oh – I can smell that salty air right now…aaahhhhh… πŸ˜‰

  8. October 28, 2007 8:20 pm

    I am so guilty for trying to work stuff out on my own… although I don’t realize it until I have messed it up. But I’m working on it! πŸ™‚ Great post!

  9. October 28, 2007 8:26 pm

    Hey Rochelle! Good to see ya πŸ˜‰

    You know, I guess we’re all gonna try it on our own – it’s when we refuse to recognize, or admit, that we simply can’t do it alone is when the trouble begins. Isn’t that called pride? I’m guilty!

    Everyone go check out Rochelle’s blog…she has the cutest little girl in the world~

  10. October 28, 2007 8:28 pm

    “I can be a cynic – so it’s easy for me to look at obstacles an immediately see doom and gloom. So this post is HUGE for me.”

    Tam, even though I am an atheist I’ll put on my preachers hat. πŸ™‚ My observations are free, which is probably what they are worth. πŸ™‚

    You have faced more obstacles in life than than I have. You couldn’t have overcome them, even with God’s guidance, unless you were a very capable person.

    The question I would have is are the problems that trouble you now as bad as what you faced when growing up?

    It would also seem to me that as a Christian the worse thing that could happen to you is that when you die you don’t join God in heaven. I wouldn’t think that all the other obstacles that you face here on earth could match that one.

    I would think that facing problems is the best test of your faith in God. Every challenge is an opportunity to strengthen your bond with God.

    Viewing problems as a opportunity to test your faith isn’t comforting advice. When some one told me this my reaction was, “Right! Your not the one facing the problem.” It wasn’t comforting, but has proven to be correct.

    Looking at all the problems you have overcome in the past it is hard for me to believe that you won’t overcome whatever problems you face now, or in the future.

  11. October 28, 2007 8:49 pm

    Ed, you blow me away. You seem to have a better understanding of faith and trials than most people do.

    Yes, the worst thing that could ever happen to me would be if there wasn’t a God at the end of my journey. I believe i will meet Him face to face though – I don’t worry about that at all in fact.

    No, I am not going through anything now that even compares to what i have been subjected to before in my life, or other bad choices I’ve made.

    Yes, i can be a cynic, but usually in those times where I have gotten too wrapped up in myself. Life is NOT all about me. I have learned to look at obstacles with the possibility that however I choose to journey through this it could effect someone else down the line. Everything we do effects someone else. Sorry, that was a bunny trail…

    All the highs and all the lows provide me a clearer picture of my Creator. They draw me nearer to Him. My life before Him drew me closer to nothing – just another void.

    All this to say…I am not perfect…I always need to do a “checks and balance” and take stock of my perspectives, making sure my attitude is in the right place.

    You have much wisdom friend – thank you so much for putting on the Preachers Hat – I value your words highly!

  12. October 28, 2007 8:50 pm

    What a timely post for me! Thanks, Tam! I especially resonate with, “Sometimes it’s hard not to allow our circumstances to dictate our reaction and response.” Soooo true! But a hearty AMEN to your wise reminder!

  13. October 28, 2007 9:02 pm

    Aww, thanks so much for your enthusiastic response to my latest post. πŸ™‚ That definitely gives me positive reinforcement to start blogging more regularly again! πŸ™‚

  14. October 28, 2007 10:44 pm

    Hiya,

    It’s hard not to sound trite in complementing you on the quality of this post and the neccessity of this message. I actually started to write something earlier, but it didn’t do it justice at all. So I just decided to come back and say it’s so good I don’t know what to say.

    Giving credit to the King is what people who are being persecuted do. It is what those who know they need him totally and only do.

    His glory in our totally dependence. The strangeness and blackness and pain that brings us back and back and back and we are so silly for getting comfortable anywhere else and we are all sheepish and regretful upon returning and he just holds us.

    I am so sorry, Ed. I’m really glad you are here, though.

  15. October 29, 2007 12:46 am

    OKAY – we are all walking our own paths – as God would have us do. Some walk towards Him and feel the warmth of His light on their foreheads – some walk away to get a bigger picture before turning around and walking back a bit further than others do in this life.

    God has HIS plan, we are foolish if we think we ever see ALL of it at once.

    We need to be careful that we don’t try to turn a soul around before it is ready to see it’s vision for itself.

    WE also need to be careful that we don’t help someone follow US and in doing so both lose our way.

    God works with us best when we work on ourselves. Other humans we meet in our lives are there for a mirror for us to allow us to see what we look like as humans from another perspective.

    We do God’s work best by working on, and knowing truly, ourselves and our own mind, hearts and bodies.

    By all means offer help to those who truly need it – but how can we ever know what help is needed by another if we are not walking down the same path as the one God has chosen for them?

    Walking to a common goal does not require walking the same pathway – to know another’s path would require us to literally walk miles in THEIR shoes and who truly has the time to do that for all they meet.

    Walk your own pathway and encourage, do not discourage others, to do the same. That goes for the intelligent atheists amongst us too!

    Know thyself Fully first – then you may better understand and help another. Should you any longer see the need to.

    We ALL still have much to do in this regard if we are to obtain our rewards once we pass from this life.

    By all means share your insight that you feel has value to others – wisdom you aquire – love and laughter and good companionship/fellowship. Those who need it can seek help from those close around them (or afar if their help can reach over distances) but take care that you do not love those close to you more than you love your own relationship with your God – however He talks and walks with you personally.

    Make sure in saving another soul or souls, you do not lose your own in the process.

    Peace.

  16. October 29, 2007 8:23 am

    @love…-brother don’t you have your own blog! LOL just playing…good points and they are good for all of us…have noticed recently how very easy I can become sidetracked…

    TAM! I came to see you! hahahahaha very good post, and good reminders for all of us. Thanks for writing from your heart..that is so important to me that we just stay real! love ya!

  17. gavcait permalink
    October 29, 2007 8:28 am

    This is something I am working on. When struggles come my first instinct is to draw to others. While that isn’t neccessarly a bad thing, I need to draw to God first for my comfort and guidance and then others.

  18. brightshinyobject permalink
    October 29, 2007 8:32 am

    Hiya,

    “Walk your own pathway and encourage, do not discourage others, to do the same”

    Isn’t that what you just did? Do as I discourage, but not as I do?

    smilerguy

  19. October 29, 2007 9:41 am

    Love, you are absolutely right! Thanks for that…

    Darla, Hey girl! Good to see you…you always brighten my day!

    Crystal, you nailed it! I think there is much benefit to be found in others – but not solely in them alone.

    J, I got your comment #14 late last night and you left me speechless with your kind words. Dude, cut that out! HA! πŸ˜‰ Really, thanks! Now for your last comment… Huh? First, let me put out my disclaimer…Have you ever had those days when even the simplest of things are confusing? Please say YOU have! Well, today is my day…forgive me… I am mush today….

  20. brightshinyobject permalink
    October 29, 2007 9:57 am

    No, it’s not you, it is, once again my thinking other people know what I am thinking…..(they don’t?)

    As for simplest things confusing…my family would say to you that, no, I rarely get the simple things.

    I was only calling Love on discouraging us from being discouraging, in other words “don’t do the thing that I am doing”. Can’t have it both ways.

    that’s all.

  21. October 29, 2007 10:02 am

    Good morning Tam. I start most days having a brain of mush. At least until I have my first cup of coffee. πŸ™‚

    Your topic “Perspective” really got me thinking, which is sometimes a dangerous thing. πŸ™‚

    On the TRF site Pastor Ron asked:

    “Do you ever find it difficult to be thankful?”

    “Thanks Living, we learn to allow God to change our perspective, so that we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude.”

    I agree with what Pastor Ron is saying, but as an atheist I have a different perspective. To me cultivating “an attitude of gratitude” will help us focus more on the positive things that have happened to us, rather than dwelling on the bad experiences we have all had.

    When I wake up in the morning and most of my body parts are function fairly well, than I am grateful for having another day of fun and challenges ahead of me. Of course when my bursitis kicks in I am not so grateful for that. πŸ™‚

    I don’t thank God, as my Christian friends do, but I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had in my life.

    Here in America we have a holiday this month where we give thanks for all we have received. I think this is something we should do every day.

    The act of thinking about all we have received will also remind us of all the challenges we have overcome. This should give us more confidence that we overcome all the problems we will face in our journey in life.

    I will have to admit however that Ibuprofen does more for my bursitis then positive thinking. πŸ™‚

  22. brightshinyobject permalink
    October 29, 2007 10:04 am

    Ed,

    I hope you are not offended if I say you are not far from the Kingdom of God.

    Because it’s a complement.

  23. October 29, 2007 10:20 am

    brightshinyobject, I don’t get offended when a Christian tells me the are praying for my soul, or that they are sorry to learn I am an atheist. I now know this is done because they care are about me and our sadden by the thought that I may not be joining them in heaven.

    I use to think of Christians as being self righteous and judgmental. Having meet Tam and Gods Gal I know that is not the case. This is the great benefit of have the opportunity to speak to caring Christians like Tam.

  24. October 29, 2007 5:33 pm

    More great coments ! πŸ™‚

    Darla – you know quite well I have my own blog – thank you for visiting! Did you get to read my nuclear physics lesson i wrote mostly for you in my comments? I hope it makes more sense to you than the ‘Life, not as we know it ‘ did πŸ˜‰ I have more on that ‘vein’ if you like? lol πŸ™‚

    Tam – you’re wonderful πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    J – read it again chief – you missed the simple bit πŸ˜‰ i said to ENCOURAGE others to walk their own path First. theirs – not mine or ‘ours’. I thought my words did just that? ( yeah, ok, point noted – let other’s make their own mistakes and learn from them? right?) πŸ˜‰ I just hate seeing others walk into the traps i fell for is all. WOW! – Insight!

    Just don’t be too keen to ‘help’ while you have all those beams in (y)our eyes and head and may not have actually yet fully ‘got’ what you are on Earth to do! – I call it ‘correction’. I am happy for you to point out any such correction I may ‘need’ in your sight but please , when you do, make sure you read me right, first! πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work dude.

    Ed – I can now say for a fact that not ALL Christians are self-righteous and misguided souls, nor are some of them in any way unintelligent or incapable of deep and incisive or logical, rational thought. Any more or less in fact, than are atheists as a whole ‘grouping’.

    Like many ‘secular’ people they are as subject to the trappings of their great thinkers who came before them and some follow less than perfectly or through blind faith, as do those without religion.

    It is a mistake to judge a group by the worst in the group – judge them by their greatest if you have to judge at all. Would you wish to be judged by the worst atheists you could find on earth? Would you belong to that group for a second if you did?

    You are an intelligent man, as we all are, male and female, in our own way. I hope you can continue to extend your own ‘vision’ to let you see still greater things in your future. May God watch your back as you ‘walk’.

    Peace ALL πŸ™‚

  25. brightshinyobject permalink
    October 29, 2007 5:51 pm

    hihowarya,

    Tam – yeah, I thought about it about an hour ago, you didn’t understand me because my cutsie quip is meaningless. I got my point backwards…boy, THERE’S a book title.

    LWBUT,

    “Walk your own pathway and encourage, do not discourage others, to do the same”

    do not discourage…ummmm, just following the words. Unless you were saying something different..which is what I do when trying to be cutsie. And though I am just playing, and I really don’t think of it as a correction, the thing that I thought was funny was that you were telling people that, if their path IS discouraging people from going down a certain path, then you would discourage them from going down that path. I am greatly, greatly thankful, and you are too, I’m sure, for the many friends who have discouraged me at many turns, and I would never, ever discourage them from discouraging, otherwise I would now be even more discouraged than before they discouraged me.

    Are we discouraged yet?

  26. October 29, 2007 6:52 pm

    Lest we turn Tam’s wonderful blog into a meetingplace for nerds lets continue this discussion at my place? yes?

    Sorry Aunt Tammy! πŸ™‚ grovel, scrape?

    Still love us? πŸ™‚

    lovewilllbringustogether.wordpress.com – look for courage.

  27. October 29, 2007 7:14 pm

    I with blogger-Faith, this post could not have come at more appropriate time. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  28. October 29, 2007 7:16 pm

    I think I get so excited about posting my comment that I look as if I never took an English class in my life. It’s I’m not I. Sorry

  29. October 29, 2007 10:50 pm

    I appreciated what Ed said about being thankful. “The act of thinking about all we have received will also remind us of all the challenges we have overcome. This should give us more confidence that we overcome all the problems we will face in our journey in life.” Jeff and I try to do this as much as possible. It is good to see where we have been. It does build faith. One of my favorite sermons of your father-in-law was based on a passage from Joshua 4 about a stone altar built of 12 stones. These stones where to help Israel remember what God had done for them. Verse 24 says, “…that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

    I try to be as positive as possible when I’m facing a difficult situation, but I have had my moments over the past couple of years where I can get myself worked up. It was during this time that I started reading Philippians 4:6-9 in a completely fresh way. I try to remember to focus on only what I know to be true, as verse 9 talks about, so that I don’t try to come up with a worse case scenerio or sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  30. October 30, 2007 8:34 am

    a glock is a gun…lol! hey, those verses at the bottom really speak to me. I have had to cast my cares on the Lord a lot esp in the area of finances. I was just trying to give those things over this morning and know that He is God. I love you tam!! you are such a precious person with a beautiful heart! I am so glad to get these glimpses. you are so special!

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