Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Devotion - So, Let The Son Shine In

Good morning my friends. I hope you are waking to a chorus of birds as I am this morning. Don't despise them. It is the natural music God has given us. It is the best alarm clock in the world. Stop to listen for a moment. Okay, moments over. We are continuing to look at 1 Corinthians 4.

We can be such a foolish people at times with very short-term memories. We forget who we are all the time and we forget what people do for us. We quickly let go of the positive events of the past to grab hold of the negative things of today. We are like the Israelites who, after being rescued via the Red Sea promptly started complaining about the lack of food. It is like God healing us of cancer but we forget about that and start complaining about our cold, as if he could not take care of that as well. Paul writes:

"What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Why do we pray, receive answered prayer, don't thank Dad for it and then start complaining about something else? Why do we recognize the Father as the giver of all good things and then turn around and ignore our many blessings? It's like we have one hand out to Dad to receive while at the same time giving him the finger with the other hand. Ever wonder why we seem to be so shallow in our experience and relationship with God? Let me take us back to the first chapter again:

'Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." ' (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

We forget who made us, who changed us, who blessed us. We look at the house that has no electricity for the moment and we curse the blessing of the house he has given us. We look at the car that seems to need constant repair and we forget the lack we had before. We look at the clothes that are a year behind in fashion and forget how we received them. We look at our misbehaving children and forget what is was like without those blessings. We look in the mirror at all our imperfections and we forget where we would be without Jesus.

Some of us have made complaining an art form. Sure Dad is willing to listen to our complaints, he is really good that way, but expect him to set you straight on the matter. I remember what an arrogant ingrate I had become as a teenager. My parents were upset with my recent behaviour and were "discussing" the matter with me. An ugliness welled up in me as my mom started pointing out all the blessings they had showered on me out of love. Suddenly I heard myself saying "Then take it all back; I don't need it." I know how that affected my dad but do we ever consider how it effects our heavenly Father when we ignore or forget everything he has done for us?

Consider this:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

With thanksgiving! Earlier in this same letter Paul stated that we need to do everything without complaining. The truth is our negative attitude is killing us. We are no different than anyone else on this planet. We will face pain and hardship. Relationships will begin and end. We will have moments of joy and sorrow. It is life. But yet we are different from those who are without Christ because in the midst of the hard times we have his Spirit who reminds us of God's goodness. As we face bleak chapters in our life we can remember how many good things we possess because of our God. We know that these unpleasant things are fading away as God's blessings increase:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Now there is an attitude changer for you. There is absolutely no need to enter this day with any cloud over us. We have no justification for any complaints. If you do not feel thankful then I want you to take out a piece of paper or open Word Pad on your computer and start listing all the good and positive things you have right now. Then realize their source. Also remember this:

"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)

In fact, if you can't shake this feeling then turn to Romans 8 and read it out loud. See how it changes your attitude. I challenge you to start keeping a blessing journal. Start writing down all the good things you receive and that happen to you. Then when you feel tempted to complain and become negative about things take out your journal and begin to read.

Remember that old song that mothers used to sing to their little children, "Let the Son Shine in"? (The world has changed it to sunshine but look at the original lyrics below.) What was that line? "Smilers never lose and frowners never win." Let us enter into this day with the boldness of a thankful heart. God is good, all the time!

Mommy told me something
A little kid should know,
It's all about the devil
And I've learned to hate him so!
She said he causes trouble
When you let him in the room,
He will never ever leave you
If your heart is filled with gloom

So let the Son shine in,
Face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose,
And frowners never win.
So let the Son shine in,
Face it with a grin.
Open up your heart and
Let the Son shine in!

When you are unhappy,
The devil wears a grin.
But oh, he starts to running,
When The Light comes pouring in.
I know he'll be unhappy
'Cause I'll never wear a frown;
Maybe if we keep on smiling,
He'll get tired of hanging 'round.

If I forget to say my prayers,
The devil jumps with glee.
But he feels so awful, awful,
When he sees me on my knees.
So if you're full of trouble
And you never seem to win,
Just open up your heart and
Let the Son shine in!

So let the Son shine in,
Face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose,
And frowners never win.
So let the Son shine in,
Face it with a grin.
Open up your heart and
Let the Son shine in!

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