"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
November 6, 2013
Hard to believe that we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in three weeks! Last year, I remember during the month of November many people on Facebook started posting things that they were thankful for; some daily and some weekly. It was great to read positive posts of things people were thankful for, instead of political or other sometimes negative comments that are sometimes written.
How many of you remember the 1960 Disney movie, Pollyanna? Granted, I wasn't yet born in 1960 so didn't see it when it first came out, but have seen it on TV. In a nutshell this is the plot of the movie:
Pollyanna is the story about a young girl, the orphaned daughter of missionaries, who goes to live with a rich aunt, whose wealth controls the town. Her cheerfulness changes the outlook of the townspeople.
When the townspeople want a derelict orphanage to be torn down and rebuilt, Aunt Polly opposes them. Some defy her by holding a carnival to raise funds for the new building, yet some are reluctant to show their support, due to the hold the wealthy aunt holds over them. Aunt Polly even has notes delivered to the minister with sermon recommendations. But the pastor decides to declare his support for the new orphanage and announces it in church on a Sunday.
Pollyanna sneaks out of the house to attend the carnival and then climbs a tree to get back into her bedroom afterwards. She falls and is severely injured, losing the use of her legs. Her spirits sink after the incident, which hinders her chance of recovery. Aunt Polly is saddened by this and realizes how much she loves her niece. When the townspeople learn of the accident, they all gather at Aunt Polly's home with outpourings of their love for Pollyanna. The young girls is encouraged and her spirits return to their usual hopefulness and love of life. She has an operation that corrects her injury and she is able to walk once again.
Despite the many hardships in Pollyanna's life, she maintains an optimistic outlook on life by playing what she calls "The Glad Game". It consisted of finding something to be glad about in every situation. For instance, one Christmas Pollyanna hoped for a doll from the missionary barrel, and instead received a pair of crutches. Her father taught her to look at the good side of things and to play the game -- to be glad for the crutches because she didn't need to use them.
It may sound somewhat cheesy, but the honest truth is, having an optimistic outlook and a happy disposition has an effect not only on yourself, but on those around you. I would much rather spend time with someone who was upbeat and happy, than someone who is constantly complaining and negative. It is much more fun and relaxing to laugh and have fun with a friend, than to sit around griping and finding fault.
Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) tells us: "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength."
Several years ago when I was a supervisor, I noticed that those working in my department were becoming rather negative and they would sit around all day complaining and griping. There was a big doorway between my office and this department so I wasn't in the same room as they were, but could overhear their conversations. I finally got tired of listening to them and decided that I needed to do something to put a stop to their bad attitudes. I told them that for one month they were not allowed to say anything negative -- nothing! They needed to think before they spoke and if they couldn't say anything positive or upbeat then not to say it. If they could do this for the entire month then I would reward them by making a special treat for them.
One of the women's response was, "Well, if I can't say anything negative, then I won't have anything to say and won't be talking!" So be it!! It was really tough for them, especially that first week. But by the end of the month, they were laughing and visiting and having a good time. Not only had their speech changed, but their entire attitudes had changed.
Another lady came to me later and said that she had no idea that she had become so negative until she started listening to herself and having to stop to think before speaking.
Negativity can become a habit. But if it can become a habit, then being positive and upbeat can also become a habit. And it's not going to make you feel depressed or stressed, but will make you feel happy and give you a brighter outlook on life.
It goes beyond posting a 30 second comment each day about something you're thankful for, but it's a 24/7 lifestyle. Anyone can take a few seconds and think of something they're thankful for, then in the next moment fall back into the rut of complaining and finding fault. But it doesn't have to be that way.
James 3:7-10 says, "People can tame all kinds of animals, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!"
Luke 6:45 tells us, "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."
A scripture we all know is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
It's difficult to be truly thankful and have a heart filled with good things and be a negative person, for our words are a reflection of our thoughts and what fills our heart. When our heart is filled with gratefulness and thankfulness for God's blessing, we won't have to play "The Glad Game", but our words will automatically reflect this.
But sometimes we may have fallen into the rut of negativity and it takes playing "The Glad Game" or stopping to think before we speak to get us out of that deep rut and back onto the road of thankfulness. When something happens or someone says something we don't like, it may take us stopping our usual comments and taking the time to think of something to be thankful for instead.
*You or a family get member get sick -- be glad that you live somewhere with good medical care (and yes, compared to many countries we do have availability to doctors and health care), and that you have a loving family to support you and help out.
*You get distracted and burn dinner -- be glad that you have a family to cook for and a kitchen in your home in which you can cook.
*You tear your clothing or a button pops off on your way out the door -- be glad that you have other clothing in your closet to wear.
We can be glad that we have family to call or talk to; glad that we have a warm home and a bed to sleep in at night; glad that we have a car to drive to get us where we need to go; glad that our husband has a job, even if he has to travel out of town at an inconvenient time (that one was for me!); glad that we have a church to attend and other believers who will pray with and for us; glad that we have food to eat, even if it may not be what we want at the time.........
It may not be an immediate response, but if we would begin to play "The Glad Game" there would eventually come a point in which it ceased to be just a game, and our heart would truly be filled with gladness.
Let's remind ourselves that we have so much to be thankful for and so many little blessings in our life for which we should be glad.
Mark 7:17-19 talks about what foods we eat. "And He said to them, 'Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?' (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, 'What comes out of a person is what defiles him...'"
He was talking about food, and said that it doesn't defile a person. But what about what we hear? We have a choice how to receive what we hear. We can hear others talking negatively, and ignore it, and hopefully walk away. Or we can agree, and accept anger or even hatred into our hearts. And we can repeat it, and spread it to others.
When we hear a comment now and then that pushes us to think angry, faithless, or even hateful thoughts, it isn't too hard to walk away. But when we listen to it over and over, it is harder to keep it from affecting us. I have been guilty of listening to music and watching movies filled with anger. I may have even claimed that I was just "getting out the frustrations", but it really only helped to reinforce my negative attitude.
If life seems down, and it feels hard to feel good about anything, please stop for a moment and consider what you surround yourself with. Is it encouraging, or depressing?
1 pkg. Fresh Cranberries
8 oz. Cool Whip
3 cups sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups seedless red grapes, sliced
The night before serving: grind or chop cranberries. Add sugar; stir and refrigerate. The next morning: drain cranberry mixture. Add sliced grapes, Cool Whip, and pecans. Stir together and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Sometimes when you read something quickly, you tend to misread and need to go back and look again to make sure what you "think" you read is what it really said!
Recently, my cousin's son posted a picture of two of his electric guitars and wrote, "2 of my favorite electrics!" When I glanced at it, what I thought it said was, "2 of my favorite electronics!" I thought perhaps he was trying to be funny and had written electronics since he was into guitars more than electronic gadgets and computers -- then I went back and reread.
I commented that I was a tad confused when I first read his post. Guess that's what happens being married to a man who uses and works with lots of electronics and the electrics Jon refers to has to do with wiring panels!
Have an attitude of gratitude!
We love you!
Loretta & Jon