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Jacob’s Choice

“He said to them, ‘I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me’ ” (Genesis 31:5 NIV).

Speaking of attitudes that change. It took twenty years, but Uncle Laban’s attitude toward Jacob, his nephew, changed. It wasn’t for the better.

Here’s what happened. Jacob tricked his father and angered his brother, Esau, so that his life was in danger at home. He escaped to Padan Aram to get a wife acceptable to his parents. He arrived without money for the dowry, but somehow he was to marry one of Laban’s daughters. Jacob didn’t know which daughter he was going to marry. But when he first saw Rachel he fell madly in love with her. He fell so in love with her that he offered to work for Laban for seven years for the right to marry her.

Love is blind, so they say, and in Jacob’s case it was certainly true. On the night Jacob thought he married Rachel, his bride was wearing a veil. Laban had switched his daughters and Jacob actually married Leah. It wasn’t until the next morning that Jacob realized there had been a switch.

He confronted Laban and demanded to know why Leah was his bride instead of Rachel. It wasn’t until this moment that Jacob found out, as Laban quietly explained, that it was tradition for the oldest daughter to be married first. And now Laban generously offered his second daughter, Rachel, for another seven years of labor. Jacob agreed that he would work seven more for the right to marry Rachel.

The Bible tells us that the seven years went very quickly because Jacob was so in love. And all of that time Laban was reaping the benefit of Jacob’s overwhelming love for Rachel. In fact, he was happy to use his daughter as a bargaining tool. I’m guessing Jacob probably worked harder than any other of the Laban’s servants because he was Laban’s son-in-law. And I believe Laban’s attitude was one of power over Jacob. He could probably have asked Jacob to do anything for him and Jacob would have happily complied.

After Jacob worked and earned both of his wives, he was ready to go back home with his wives and children. Laban wanted him to stay and so Jacob made a request. He said he would continue taking care of Laban’s flocks if he could have every speckled and spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, and every spotted and speckled goat for wages. In the end this deal made Jacob quite wealthy. And now I believe this is where Laban’s attitude begins to change. He no longer had power over Jacob.

By now Jacob had become as rich as Laban and didn’t have to work for him for any other purpose than respect, because Laban was his father-in-law. This was hard for Laban to take since he was used to being in control. You can’t hide your attitude and in Jacob’s case it was obvious that Laban’s attitude had changed toward him. Jacob chose not to be distressed by Laban’s changing attitude, but to focus on God’s provision and blessing throughout those twenty years.

From this story we can learn that attitudes come from deep within. Circumstances change, and attitudes toward you will change, too. God wants us to always remember His attitude toward us. As the verse reminds us, God, our Father, is with us. Therefore, let’s chose the attitude of always trusting God in every situation. Since He will turn it to good, our attitude is one of joyful expectation ― like when you were a child anticipating Christmas and looking forward to days off school and presents under the tree.

God in Heaven, I thank You for all the beautiful things in life. You are the One who gives perfect gifts. Keeping a good attitude in the face of blessings and changes glorifies You. Show me how to constantly glorify You, even when someone’s attitude toward me changes. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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Entitlement

“Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual” (Daniel 3:19 NIV).

Attitudes can change instantly, and when they do they can transform into the exact opposite of what they were. King Nebuchadnezzar had an alarming dream and he called for Daniel to reveal what he had dreamed and what it meant. Asking someone to read your mind is an impossible task. Yet Daniel prayed and the Lord revealed the intricate dream so Daniel could impress the king.

After Daniel explained in detail the dream and what it meant, King Nebuchadnezzar actually fell prostrate before Daniel as if to worship him. But Daniel backed away and told Nebuchadnezzar all the credit was God’s. The king was in awe of Daniel’s God and even said that he was God of gods and Lord of kings. He was so impressed that he put Daniel in charged of all of Babylon’s wise men. In addition, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to high positions. Only a grateful king would do all this for these men. Nebuchadnezzar was grateful for finding out what the dream was about. A grateful attitude can be a generous attitude, or so it seemed. Remember, attitudes can change.

Nebuchadnezzar built a huge image (figure) of gold. He was the king and, therefore entitled to be obeyed. He expected everyone in the kingdom to bow down to the statue as he commanded. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused, Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude changed. He was no longer grateful when they dared to disobey his command. You see, one thing we learn here is how changing circumstances can change attitudes. Now Nebuchadnezzar was hot and someone was going to pay! He went from gratitude to furious in an instant.

He threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery pit but soon a fourth figure appeared through the flames. Jesus had come to protect the three men. When Nebuchadnezzar saw the fourth person in the furnace, he called the men to come out. Then he was astonished that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were unhurt. They were not burned; the hair on their heads was not even singed. Their clothing was not burned and they didn’t even smell like fire.

Nebuchadnezzar switched attitudes again. Now he was astonished and once again in awe of the God of the Jews.

Has an attitude of entitlement crept into your life? Do you respond well when others do not meet your expectations? What will it take to turn your attitude from one of entitlement into one of an awe and reverence for God?

Father, God. Good attitudes are important for us to cultivate in order for us to glorify You. Keep me mindful of the changes around me and how I respond to them and the people involved. Keep me on a straight and even path. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

I Hate Walt, Too!

It’s here! The long-awaited sequel to I Hate Walt!

Three years ago many readers complained at the conclusion of my previous book, I Hate Walt. I apologize to my disgruntled readers, and hopefully have redeemed myself.

I Hate Walt, too! Takes place in the Denver, Colorado metro area. It is the continuing story of Mary Lou Stots, who miraculously survives a mortal wound to the heart. Mary Lou took a bullet for her nemesis, Walt Pederson. Alive and well, Walt now seeks to discover why Mary Lou saved him. Past actions cause his old acquaintances to declare “Mary Lou hates Walt and I hate Walt, too.” Who could love a monster like Walt Pederson? Will Walt Pederson ever change? Or will hate and arrogance follow him all the days of his life?

Meanwhile Mary Lou’s boyfriend, Bobby Porter, continues to be the center of frustration. Mary Lou has a difficult time making decisions and Bobby seems unrelenting. Will Bobby Porter ever back off? Mary Lou finds a new love interest. Is he the man God intended for her? Can Bobby compete with the son of a multi-millionaire?

Still shocked that she survived, Mary Lou strives to understand why God spared her. She struggles to find her purpose in life. A loved one dies and Mary Lou tells herself, surely there’s more to life than International Enterprises. What should she do now? What about love? What about Bobby? Can she forgive Walt? What happens next?

Will Mary Lou and Bobby ever find each other?

Click here to order!

Consequences

“So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the Kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates” (1 Kings 11:11 NIV).

God made Solomon the richest and wisest man on earth. Yet in this verse we see that God is not pleased with Solomon’s attitude. As a young man, Solomon asked God for wisdom and God generously granted it. Chapter 4 tells us that Solomon spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles, and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom. All the kings of the world became aware of how the Lord had blessed Solomon.

How much more can God favor a man? Solomon lived the life people only dream about. With an attitude of gratefulness he built the temple, following the Lord’s instructions to the letter. Then he built his own palace. Then he saw to the furnishings of the temple. After that, he brought the Ark of the Covenant to reside in the holy of holies within the temple walls.

The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon. She had heard about him and wanted to meet him. She brought gifts and gold and he gave her gifts and gold. She did not go back to her own country empty handed. The whole world sought to meet with Solomon to hear what wisdom he would give them. He had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses. He made silver as common as stone. Everything in the palace was gold.

Gradually, something happened to Solomon. He forgot about his grateful attitude. He became greedy for foreign wives. God told him not to do this very thing because these women worshipped false gods. Instead of obeying God’s command not to intermarry with foreign women he married seven hundred women, many who worshipped foreign gods. He compromised and started worshipping additional gods. By now he was all about Solomon and tolerating the beliefs of his foreign wives. Perhaps he told himself it was necessary in order to keep the peace. We know peace-makers are blessed ― right?

Solomon was not just sinning, he was sinning against the God who had blessed him beyond what he could think or imagine. He had turned against God.

Soon after Solomon died, God split Israel. After that happened, the two kingdoms constantly fought against each other. The kingdom remained divided and dispersed until 1948, when Israel became an independent state. And this is something to think about. We are living in a time when Israel is united for the first time in 3000 years. God is all about Israel, the Jews are the tribe He uses to teach us how He wants us to live.

Let this be my attitude today. There is only one God. He is my Lord of Lords and King of Kings. May I cherish Him today and every day. I will not become greedy and compromise my beliefs to please others.

Dear Lord, give me an attitude of gratefulness and respect for the many blessings You have bestowed upon me. Every good and perfect gift comes down from Heaven. Thank You for sending the perfect gift of Jesus to save me. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Congratulations!

On May 11 I will speak at the Belleview Christian School Junior-Senior Banquet. The title of the presentation is, Writing Your Story. I look forward to an evening of celebration with the students and teachers from Belleview.

The Mind of Christ

Haleakala Sunrise

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV).

Paul tells us that through our faith in Jesus we have changed. It’s time to put off that old self, that life filled with the pursuit of lust, greed, revenge, power, recognition and all kinds of sinful endeavors.

Here’s the real question. How do we change? Every battle begins in the mind. We must change the way we think and react to the world around us. If we are believers, God has already given us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. We received all of this when we received the Holy Spirit. God wouldn’t ask us to change if it was impossible. Nor would He ask us to do something without giving us the proper tools to complete the job to His satisfaction. Now we can put the gifts of the Spirit to work.

Take a deep look into yourself. Is there any of that ‘old self’ attitude hanging around? If there is, you can be made new by changing the way you think. Use love to cover a multitude of judgments. Use joy and peace to satisfy the beasts of lust and greed because joy and peace in Jesus brings satisfaction and fills us up. Seek patience and forgiveness instead of revenge. Trust me, a person with an attitude of joy and forgiveness is more fun to be around than a person with an attitude of need, greed, and anger. Give it to the Lord. Always remember God is the One who said, “Vengeance is Mine.” Let Him dole out the consequences to someone that has hurt you. Move on with your life. Fight the desire for power and recognition by humbling yourself to show kindness, goodness, and gentleness to the people around you. Be faithful to the Lord and don’t abandon the change train you’re on.

And finally, invoke self-control. This is not the same as ‘will-power.’ Self-control is the control you receive when you let go and let God. This requires being in constant contact, through prayer, with God. Keep the conversation going with Him all hours of the day. If you wake up at night, regard that as a call to worship.
Instead of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, get up and get into the Word. If nothing else, choose this Scripture and start writing it out. Write all the way to the end of the chapter, Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Cling to the Lord and He will change your attitude toward others.

For today let the attitude of your mind and your heart be renewed with the humble servant attitude displayed by Jesus. As today’s verse reminds us, we were created to be like Jesus in true righteousness and holiness.

Father God, You are the One who knows me through and through. Search my heart and my head to reveal any sin in me so that I can confess it and ask forgiveness. Lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Good Works

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

God prepared good works for us to do before we even knew Him! Christianity now becomes an even more exciting adventure. This verse clearly states that God made us for a reason and that reason is for us to do good things that He designed. In a fallen world, the need for good works is astronomical. Good works can lift people up, brighten a day, or even give someone hope.

Because we can easily get to a place where we see only the evil in the world, it is important to be involved in doing good works. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to bless someone. A smile and hello to someone who looks like they are having a bad day can go a long way. Good works look like this; giving your seat to someone on the bus, baking cookies for the neighborhood children, visiting someone in the hospital or someone who is homebound, giving the neighbor a ride to work, sharing an encouraging video, going to Bible study, the list can go on forever.
One of my goals is to bless someone every day. This is not difficult, in fact, it is so easy that I often get to bless more than one person every day. It can be as simple as yielding to traffic, letting someone in front of you. That’s a pretty cheap way to bless someone and on a heavy traffic day, the person might wave a thank you for helping them out.

At one time I had a lunch ministry. My goal was to have lunch and spend time with at least one person a week. Not only did I get to bless someone in that way, I also was blessed. An hour or two sharing thoughts and ideas can be invigorating. Some of the things I learned have been invaluable. Speaking of gifting someone, a gift can be simply giving them the seat with the best view. They may never know that you gave it to them, but that makes it more of a blessing.

Good works that are the most fun for me are ones I can do without getting discovered. It comes down to an attitude of love and generosity. We can afford to be extremely generous in the sense that God has given us everything we have. He owns everything. Yes, really, it all belongs to Him. Gifts He has given us are many, but they include your time, your intelligence, your speech, your money, your affection, and more. We are rich in the Lord, so go out and share Him. He has gifted us for good works. You can bless someone today!
And what should our attitude be today? There are many good choices, so it may depend on the day. Most days will encompass several of these.

• Joy in walking the path God prepared.
• Love and generosity.
• Putting the needs of others before mine (servant’s heart).
• We are God’s handiwork and perfect just the way we are.
• We have abundantly more than we need.

Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your many gifts and blessings. I humbly accept the challenge to do the good works You have planned for me. Direct me to those You want to bless through me. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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