"Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7"
Weapons of Hope (sweet homemade version of TobyMac's hit "Get Back Up") https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v06qohB0HpI
Toby Mac "Get Back Up"
For some several months now I have been playing Lumosity brain games. One of my favorites is "Train of Thought" where the object is to direct different color trains into their correct station. Often the game speeds up and I can't keep up -- so the trains just pile into one wrong station after another, with a bong, bong, bong to alert me to my mistake.
The last few weeks have felt like a minor train wreck. It's been one thing after another, some significant and some minor. In the process some important things have slipped through the cracks. Other items had to be postponed. Nothing I did felt good enough. On top of it all has been all the snow, wind, and cold! In the midst of the challenges we have struggled to make Sabbath moments, knowing how important they are. But it just doesn't seem to be enough. As I approached the second week of E-lift, uninspired, I felt tempted to give it up. I can't keep up, I thought. I can't put together a decent thought. Why go through this effort week in and week out? Very subtly I felt myself tempted back to a familiar place of isolation, defeat and self-pity.
Then in the peaceful space of our Ash Wednesday service I heard once more those powerful words of Psalm 51:1: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions."
I felt a nudge and recalled Paul's words: "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Cor. 10:13" Temptations and trials are a normal part of life. It doesn't mean we are bad people -- even if we have made bad choices. We can fall 1000 times but God still is waiting to pick us up 1001th time. We are supported through the train wrecks by God's steadfast love.
Friends, this week’s e-lift is not quite together. It’s still a little wobbly as it gets back on its feet. However, as God’s instrument, it will stand again. It is a reminder to all of us that the important thing is just to get back up. God will take care of the rest. In the face of our trials and temptations to give up, the reformer Martin Luther reminds us:
“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
With that said, let us journey through Lent together, helping each other stand as God would have us. Here are 40 crippling attitudes and habits that keep us spiritually down. Let’s give them up! Lent is the perfect time to spend time in spiritual house cleaning. Which of these speak to you?
Fear of Failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
Your Comfort Zone – It’s outside our comfort zones where new discoveries are made.
Feelings of Unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (seePsalm 139:14)
Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.
Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. Our work is not always tied to a paycheck.
People Pleasing – I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please.
Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.
Over-commitment – Do less better and accomplish more.
Lack of Counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
Impurity – Live lives pure and without blemish.
Entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
Apathy – Life is too short not to care.
Hatred – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic.
The Spirit of Poverty – Believe that with God there is always more than enough and never a lack.
Going Through the Motions – The more you invest yourself, the more you will get back.
Complaint – Instead of contributing to the problem, be the solution.
The Pursuit of Happiness – God wants something greater and more lasting than happiness. It is called joy.
Bitterness – The only person I am hurting by holding on to this is myself.
Distraction – Life is filled with distractions that will take our eyes off the prize.
Giving up – God never gives up on us.
Mediocrity – If you are going to do something, then give it all you got.
Destructive Speech – Encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching (see Hebrews 10:25).
Busyness – It is a badge of honor to be busy. But that does not always translate to abundance.
Loneliness – With Jesus I am never alone. He is with me wherever I go.
Disunity – If two of you agree on earth about anything, it will be done for them by the Heavenly Father (see Matthew 18:19)
The Quick Fix – Rarely does true transformation happen overnight.
Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.
Idolizing – Don’t assign anyone a standard they cannot live up to.
Resistance to Change – Change is certain. It is not if we will change, but how we will change.
Pride – Blessed are the humble.
Small View of God – Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is.
Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Ungratefulness – You have been blessed in a way greater than you realize.
Selfish Ambition – God has a mission for me that is bigger than me.
Self-Sufficiency – Jesus is my strength. I can do all things through him (see Philippians 4:13)
Gossip – I will not take pleasure in talking about others behind their backs.
Self-Centeredness – Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25.)
Pray: "God, help me when the trials of life are so strong and I am so weak at times. Help me stand in your name."
(I regret the a credit is missing here. When I find it I'll include it!)