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A Great Challenge
by Rev. Will. Harrison Jr.
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Dearest Friends

Of all the years that I’ve lived in this world, it never ceases to amaze me at the high rate of opinions of dissatisfied people with the cities or municipalities they live in. There is far and above more negativity out there in our mouths and
ears than anything positive or constructive.

I’m not one to advocate only the positive in things, nor necessarily an equal balance of both positive and negative. One of my favorite sayings from the Old Testament of the Bible is that
To everything there is a season.....and there is a time and a place for everything.
A time to live, a time to die; a time for war, and a time for peace, etc.
A time to look at the positive and a time to look at the negative.
A time to evaluate and assess and even learn from our mistakes. And not only an appropriate time and place but an appropriate way to go about it.

But what happens when almost everyone is majoring in the negative. Including insults, berratings, belittling, lies, fears, etc. and so on. The atmosphere is dark and gray and bleary all the time. Curse the weather, curse the leaders, curse the economy, curse your neighbor, curse everything we don’t like or agree with. I wonder sometimes if we are not the ones who have either added to or even caused the negative aspects of these things (like the weather) by what we have said with our mouths.

It’s a known fact that our words have incredible power to affect a persons life and surroundings and even the atmosphere of somewhere we live. It can get extremely difficult to find somewhere refreshing where it isn’t like that. It can become like a swift running flooded river and scoop you right up along with it. Or, if you fail to join in the cacophony of poisonous venom you can risk being seriously ostracised. Then there are even those who will reject and punitively ostracise anyone who points out any negativity at all just because they have no solution.

We live in a region that is well known for its dark cloudy overcast sky, dreary dismal misty mornings, and for long stretches at a time. We can’t control the weather (yet) but can we control the way we view what our circumstances are and the way we talk about them? You can always find folks that behave and talk all the time as though the sun is always shining for them, even if it’s raining.

This only proves that it is more than possible to adjust ourselves in such a way as to be aware of both spectrums and yet not be ruled by one or the other all the time. Even if we can't adjust the weather.

You mean to speak forth what we want to see? Even decree it and declare it.....

There especially seems to be a voracious appetite to roast and toast and desecrate those in positions of leadership and administration. Having been in those positions myself and known those who have been , they know equally as well about the exact nature of the negatives that everyone seems to want to tell them about. They weren’t hatched from eggs while the rest of us are all too human. Unfortunately though, far too many of them are only looking for solutions and ideas and not wanting to hear any constructive criticism.

A question I want to pose here is, is it possible to effect the changes we want and need to see by how we see and how we speak? Without majoring in the minors, or majoring in the negatives, or wanting to “bring back the good ole'days”?

Consider a story from the Bible. Once upon a time in the Old Testament days before Christ, the people of God had been invaded by a foreign people and carried off into captivity, obviously against their will. The Bible records that God was chastising them for rebelling against him and doing their own thing instead of following his ways. He allowed this enemy to prevail over them for a season (a long season) as a way of what we might call getting a spanking and being made to stay home instead of going where we wanted to. Until they learned their lesson and repented for their misdeeds. (I’m really condensing this version for the sake of illustration and time constraints)

As usual, there was a prophet in their midst who was God’s direct representative spokesman. God told the prophet to tell the people to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you will be prospered.”

What a fascinating way of instructing his people in how he wanted them to handle their time in detention, that he would agree to bless. Even if our bad circumstances were to be a consequence of some kind and a result of doing it our own lousy
way, if we want God’s help and will do things his way, and don’t return railing for railing but return good for evil and pray for the place we don’t like instead of cursing it...... I really get the feeling sometimes that the way some folks talk about our area here, and our country, that they were in an enemies land and surrounded by an occupying force, causing them to live in a most horribly humiliating and humbling way.

But our lot is not the same as theirs, you may say. We just need some new leaders who will do things the way we say and all will be well.

Even though we’re here today and they were who they were back then, these instructions of God reflect his way of doing things. The entire Bible throughout the course of history is replete with this type of insight into his way of doing things. And if he will bless it, won’t it turn out better than if he didn’t?

God has placed at our disposal, right between our lips, an effective tool in helping to make things better. Jesus Christ said that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. What an incredibly insightful saying. If we will talk-up
our community around us, instead of talking it down, so to speak, then we may find ourselves able to see the sunshine above the gray skies. With respect to this idea I’ve heard it said that “what you say is what you get”.

What if we were to start thanking God more for what we do have that is good, and the potential there in people and institutions, maybe we’ll start actually literally seeing more beneficial things come to be. I’m not just talking about the art of happy visualisations, but confronting what could be talked about in a negative way with a “faith” response for the positive outcome. God's outcome......

How have we gained thus far by doing it the way we’ve been doing it? We’ve only gotten more of the same along with bitterness, resentments, hatred, discrimination and so on. We have no more real constructive positive solutions than before, and even if we did, who would notice?

Let’s give this some real serious thought. This is not only a challenge to the community but a personal challenge to every individual.
“A Great Challenge” to change what we see, what we say, and what we get.

His Will.

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