Attitude is half the battle, but remember II Chronicles 20:15:
"The battle is not your's, but God's!!"
In other words, remember Who is in charge of your life.
In Charles R. Swindoll's book 'Strengthening Your Grip', he writes:
"This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis, is my choice of ATTITUDE.
It is that single string that keeps me going...or cripples....my progress.
It alone fuels my fire....or assaults...my hope.
When my attitudes are right, there's no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, and no challenge too great for me."
I would reiterate the above....
and keep in mind that 'the Lord is the Lord of you'!
As I was starting this paper, La Moyne read the following e-mail to me.
It was from Clyde Tamura, a retired Maui policeman who (along with his family)
were members of the church we served for a year in Wailuku, Maui.
Clyde has been battling cancer for the past year or so and is presently going through chemo therapy.
"A friend advised that if I feel really lousy/sick from the chemo, then try to think how those cancer cells must feel as they are getting destroyed by the chemo!"
Clyde said, "Now when anyone asks me 'how I feel', I tell them what my friend said and it makes me feel uplifted and cheers me up!!"
Yes, attitude is half the battle, but he (like we) realizes that this is more than the Power of Positive Thinking.
The Presence of the Precious Person...
and Provisions of God.
In addition to Clyde's note, I was also blessed by the Daily Bread devotional in my quiet time this morning.
It shared Jeremiah 32:6-15 which was the worst of times for Jeremiah and Jerusalem, during the captivity of so many to Babylon.
God's Spirit inspired Jeremiah to buy land. He did not understand, but obeyed God anyway.
Oz Guinness has said, "All the known facts are NOT all the facts.
Faith is backed by known facts and when these are absent, there are others."
He was speaking of the spiritual dimension of life.
This is what kept our prisoners of war 'going'...and staying alive.
The Americans captured in the Philippines in the early part of WWII, spent long days in sweltering heat and confinement.
Likewise, in VietNam, Colonel Robinson Risner spent years in a jungle-dungeon prison.
He was asked how he withstood it and he said...
"Out of our memories came faith."
This produced 'proper attitude' and kept him alive!
My Mom (wife of a cotton farmer/dairyman) would have been 101 yrs. of age on August 11th. In spite of the dust bowl, drought and heat, she had a tremendous attitude!
Toward the end of Mom's life, our son Kevin videoed a conversation with her.
She got to laughing about past events in her life...(and oh how she could laugh!)
One of those events, was the night that a thief entered her house via the garage,
falling through the roof into her dining room. She hollered for him to get out of there!
When she heard him go out the front door, she decided to just wait until morning to call the police, so she went back to sleep!
The police couldn't believe such bravery...at her age!
Knowing Mom's faith, she felt that God was going to take care of her!
1) The dictionary says:
'attitude is the posture of the body in connection with an action or mood'.
I would say, add mind and spirit also.
The word 'attitude' is not in the Bible...
but actions with wrong or good attitude are on almost every page.
Here are a few of my favorites:
a) Matthew 5:1-11:
The Blessed Attitudes of our Lord are given and in vs. 12, Jesus says:
"Rejoice and be exceeding glad for you are in good company and your reward in Heaven will be great."
Then He emphasizes that these attitudes lead to actions that are like salt and light.
A bad attitude puts 'baskets over your light' and covers up your 'salt'....
and makes ineffective the witness of your life.
b) I Thessalonians 5:16-23:
Vs. 16: "Rejoice at all times in the midst of ANYthing" (Philippians 4:4)
Vs. 17: "Pray without ceasing"
Vs. 18: "Be thankful in everything"
Vs. 19: "Don't quench the Holy Spirit with bad attitudes"
Vs. 22: "Let your attitudes keep you from wrong actions"
Vs. 23: "We can have peaceful attitudes from the very God of Peace
c) Luke 17: 11-19:
The ten lepers were healed but only one returned to give thanks to Jesus.
Something was wrong with the attitude of the other nine!
d) Romans 1:21-22:
The lack of thankful attitudes led to foolishness and God gave them up to the behavior they had chosen.
For further emphasis on Gratitude-Attitude, see website paper on 11-25-05.
2) The writings of Paul are filled with personal testimony and instructions on Attitude.
A steady diet of this (esp. Philippians) will help ANYone to prepare for the future.
The key attitude by Paul is 'Joy' and his main concerns for us as Christians...
is to have an attitude of contentment.
The following are 3 areas of life with which we MUST have the proper attitude.
a) Right possessions:
A heart made right by God
A living faith in God
A will surrendered totally to God
b) Right relationships:
A vertical relationship with God established by faith in Jesus Christ
All horizontal relationships of love for people, set and maintained by love for Jesus...
land the Holy Spirit working through us.
In order to do this, we must love people and use things.....
not love things and use people!
Things make good servants, but terrible masters!
c) Right outlook:
A spirit of humility that leads to appreciation for everything that we have.
Knowing and doing the Will of God is the biggest and best place in the world.
Please note this Will of God is 'character' as well as 'vocation'.
At the time La Moyne and I got married, I was a coach.
I coached both girls and boys' basketball, as well as boys' baseball.
I looked for attitude as much as I looked for ability.
I wanted a good person, a clean person and a team person.
Our eldest son, Craig, is a college coach and he starts each year with a retreat for his team. He uses Scripture for the devotionals as well as selecting a certain Scripture to be their motto for the year.
To have proper attitude, we need to go to God daily in Prayer and Scripture.
We need to surrender our days EARLY in prayer.
Every morning we need to lean our arms on the windowsill of Heaven....
look full into the face of God and turn strong to meet the day!
Victor Frankl must have done this while he was imprisoned during the Holocaust.
There were years of indignation and humiliation by the Nazis.
He recounted that everything was taken from him, including his freedoms.
He determined the one thing that no one COULD take from him...
was his power to choose his own attitude! Go thou and do likewise!
"Let this mind (attitude) be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!"
In his book 'Loving God', Chuck Colson tells about Alexander Solzhenitsyn's imprisonment in a Soviet prison.
"Like other prisoners, Solzhenitsyn worked in the fields, his days a pattern of backbreaking labor and slow starvation.
One day the hopelessness became too much to bear. Solzhenitsyn felt no purpose in fighting on; his life would make no ultimate difference.
Laying his shovel down, he walked slowly to a crude work-site bench. He knew at any moment a guard would order him up and when he failed to respond, bludgeon him to death, probably with his own shovel. He'd seen it happen many times.
As he sat waiting, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he lifted his eyes. Next to him sat an old man with a wrinkled, utterly expressionless face. Hunched over, the man drew a stick through the sand at Solzhenitsyn's feet, deliberately tracing out the sign of the cross.
As Solzhenitsyn stared at that rough outline, his entire perspective shifted. He knew he was merely one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet in that moment, he also knew that the hope of all mankind was represented by that simple cross -- and through its power, anything was possible. Solhenitsyn slowly got up, picked up his shovel and went back to work."
The Cross can bring this same kind of encouragement/strength to us....
and help to change our attitude....if we'll allow it to do so.