"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, December 3, 2012

The 3-D Experience

View: an instance of seeing or beholding; visual inspection. sight; vision

"David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God."
-1 Samuel 30:6 

With the Holiday Season squarely sitting upon our shoulders there are few things that signify this time a year more than a trip to the movie theater. Couples, family's and children alike become fascinated during the holidays with the silver screen and it's content. No matter the cost, million(s) of Americans flock to their favorite theater to escape and become transfixed for but a couple of hours. There is nothing like seeing a great film that helps us pursue critical thinking, identify with our feelings and emotions, and stirs up some type of change; internally or externally. The movie  entitled "The Help" was one of those movies my wife and I saw last year during the Holiday Season that accomplished that for me. 

The movie was magical.

Not all movies are solely about thinking and feelings though, many are created purely to entertain us. And nothing has become a bigger part of entertaining the audience in the movie industry than the 3-D movie experience. The first 3-D movie was released some 60 years ago in the United States. The date was November 30, 1952. The movie, "Bwana Devil", was a drama based on the Tsavo maneaters. It was written, directed, and produced by Arch Oboler and is considered to be the first American feature-length 3-D film in color. It is also credited for creating the first 3-D boom in the U.S. motion picture industry. The movie lasted 79 minutes and stared Robert Stack.

The film's tagline was: The Miracle of the Age!!! A LION in your lap! A LOVER in your arms!

Just a sidebar... the highest grossing 3D movie of all time grossed over $2.7 billion. The movie was Avatar.

You can't view what you can't see..

All moviegoers know that in order to be fully exposed to the complete 3-D experience we need 3-D glasses. These special lens aid us in seeing the movie in the manner it was intended to be seen. If we don't have the correct lens we can't see correctly the movie.

Sound familiar? It should because life works in the same way.

We can't view what we can't see. Often times we are unable to view our trial or triumph as a chance to grow and,or mature. Weather the situation is good or bad many times we don't view the situation for what it's truly worth because we don't see them actually being from God. 

Sometimes it easier to acknowledge that God is in everything than to actually see Him working in everything.

For a "believer" in Jesus Christ this might be one of the toughest things to remember. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds the believer to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." And Romans 8:28 states; "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Many times it's easier to read those words, and share them with others, than to identify with them in our time of need or when we encounter a difficult situation; circumstance. 

Often the 3-D experience many people entertain on a daily basis is one that casts disappointment, discouragement and despair as the leading men.

Many people today are part of this type of plot and during the Biblical times David of the Old Testament was no different.

Le Roi David / King David (1951)
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
Musée national d'Art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

David was the first successful ruler over Israel. And though David wrote many of the Psalms, it was the delight that he provided God that he will always be remembered for, that, and Bathsheba. God stated in 1 Samuel 13:14 that he found a man after his own heart. Later, in Acts 13:22 these words were shared with the reader:

"After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’."
In the end, David was God's man, and was a man of God.

But as true as that last statement is David experienced great disappointment, great discouragement, and even greater despair during his life. David had reason to feel defeated more than a couple of times. In the 30th chapter of Samuel we are told of the story concerning the battle David had with the Amalekites. When David returned to his home of Ziklag he returned to complete devastation and despair. The town had been burned by fire, and his wive(s), along with all of his soldiers wives and children, had been captured and taken away by the Amalekites.

To say David was discouraged is an understatement.

The Bible says that all involved wept bitter tears until they simply had no more power to weep:

" When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel."
-1 Samuel 30:3-5

And if that wasn't enough, many in the camp wanted to stone David because he was their leader:

"David was greatly distress because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in his spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the lord his God."
- Samuel 30:6

Two things: when was the last time you cried until the point of exhaustion; until you couldn't cry anymore? And why is it that someone must always be blamed and punished for the bad circumstances that others experience in their lives? Didn't David lose his family too?

But, with all the despair and defeat, there it was in verse six that we realized David had the power to strengthen himself and rise above his circumstance. The Hebrew word for strength is encourage.  

In the midst of great trial and tribulation David had the courage to encourage himself. 

Learning how to deal appropriately with disappointment and discouragement is one of the greatest lessons we can learn in our life, and it is one of the greatest gifts of wisdom we can give to our children. But we as a adults must learn the lesson first. In the end, we can't give what we don't have. Learning how to deal with discouragement must come before we teach others how to navigate the troubled waters of discouragement

Allow me to share.

What are you looking at?  

Be Honest

First things first, be honest. We must be honest with our self and honest with God about what is causing us so much consternation and pain. life is very tough and can be very painful at times. This is no revelation but many of us struggle with that reality when it rears its ugly head. The Godly and godless, believers and non-believers alike lose their job, get ill, and grieve over the loss of a loved one. Psalm 145:18, written by David, tells us to share our true feelings with God: 

 " The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth."

Talking to God is the first step in the healing process. Share with Him exactly how you feel. Newsflash, He already knows, He's just waiting on you to humbly come before Him and share your concerns; your pain with Him. How we talk to our self, our "self-talk" is the second step. When we talk to our self (and everybody does at some point, it just happens that most of us say the wrong things to our selves) we must meditate on God. One of the Hebrew words for “meditate” literally means to murmur, and implies the moving of the lips. Another word means to converse with yourself. It is your “self-talk,” the way you speak to yourself about the things in your life, that will dictate the success or failure you have in handling the most troubling of circumstances. What we have to realize is that meditation nor encouragement isn't a matter of positive thinking, they are both matters of faith. Often times our discouragement finds its birth place in our view point. Paul tells us in God's word to "walk by faith, not by sight." We must stop looking at our circumstance(s) and begin to focus in on God's power, strength and sovereignty. God is our source in all things. In the end, it's not about us in the sense of getting what we want, rather, it is about God, and His glory, and the work that He desires to do within us. It is not about us, but about Him. Let your meditation be about the Lord, about His love, His Word, His promises, His goodness, His works. If we are able to move to this level of spiritual maturity we will find strength and encouragement in God's word and within our selves. Our confidence will find its place in the Lord and in the simple fact He cares about everything that is going on in our life. We can cast all of our cares and concerns; disappointments and discouragements upon Him and peacefully rest assured that His hand is on, around, and over each and every one of our circumstances. Being honest about our situation frees us to see what is really going on.

Don't Be Negative

Recognizing a bad situation for what it's worth doesn't imply we have to constantly give ourselves over to being highly negative. It's completely the opposite. What me must seriously consider and recognize is that we don't have to stay discouraged. Disappointment is a fact of life, but discouragement, long term discouragement, is a choice. Choose today to relinquish the grip that your unwanted circumstance has on you. No longer give life to negative thoughts and words concerning your situation and allow God to do a work in you. God can change the situation your in right now if He wanted to, but in His sovereign and all knowing character chooses not to. There is a reason for your pain, grief and hurt. Stop complaining. What we talk about we give life to and power over us. The amount we talk about our problems the more anxiety we create for ourselves, and the more control we give that situation over our lives. Stop talking about it. Stop complaining about it. Numbers 11:1 puts it this way: "Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused." When we complain we actually anger God. Spend as much time on asking God what He wants you to learn in this situation as you do asking him to end the situation. God has a specific purpose for your pain. Begin today asking what that purpose is. Remember, the reason many of us are so negative is because we lack the sufficient confidence that our circumstance will ever change. We look at the painful problem and say "no way." When, and only when, we put our entire hope in God and not in a particular outcome, person or our abilities, we have put our self in the best position to gain victory in our despair.

Trust  in God Completely

In the end, there is only one thing that we can do and that is to trust God completely and what he will eventually do in our painful situation. It is important to remember that our focus should be on God, not our circumstance. Jeremiah 29:11 states this: 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Either you believe that or you don't. I choose by faith to believe what God says and who He says He is. It's that simple for me. The greatest way to increase our faith and trust in Him is to spend time reading God's word, particularly in the areas of reading scripture that speaks encouraging words of spiritual truths, and in viewing specific passages that speak to your specific situation. In Psalm 103:2-5 David briefly speaks on the benefits he as a believer in God has through there covenant relationship:

"Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
I like what Charles Stanley says; Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. Trust me when I say God knows what He is doing. Better yet, don't trust my words, trust Him. Completely trust God to see you through your troubling circumstance and painful situation. Obey Him and leave all the consequences to Him. With that, there are 1189 chapters in the Bible (929 old/260 new) and approximately 31,173 verses. The “middle” verse in God’s word is Psalms 118:8…it is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in people.” The shortest chapter in the bible is Psalms 117; Praise the Lord all you nations, Praise him all you people of the earth. For He loves us with unfailing love; the faithfulness of the lord endures forever.” At the “heart” of God’s Word He tells us to “put our trust in Him” and at the very center of His Word He tells us “to praise Him.” No matter where we are in life just “Trust & Praise” Him.

Finally, all of us realize that everyday is not another day at the beach. Life can, and is, extremely difficult. This is something I'm reminded of almost "hourly" when my daughter comes to me crying and screaming bloody murder, and gets on my lap while I'm typing. I always say the same thing as I hold her tightly in my arms; "Come see Daddy. I make it better, I take care of everything." The truly sad thing about that whole scenario is that I realize I won't be able to make her circumstances better and take care of things for Reese her entire life. This truth is no more evident than right now as I watch one of my sons go through one of the most painful times of his young life. It's gut wrenching. It's infuriating and at times it seems hopeless. And with all that being said, it (his circumstance) really isn't that important in the grand scheme of things. Disappointment, discouragement and despair can be unwanted house guests from time to time and sometimes, if were not careful, they can become permanent residents. 

As I said earlier; life is difficult, but what I realize now is that God is constantly wanting us to come sit on his lap so He can hug us and tell us that He will make it better, make it better in His time and how He sees fit. God will take care of everything, we just have to be patient and trust Him to know what He is doing.  Remember, the situation that is causing us so much discouragement will not last forever.

Circumstances might not change, but we have to acknowledge that God has a plan in the midst of our devastation and despair. Remember the story of David and the Amalekites in Ziklag? David was in Ziklag for one year and four months. Sometime what we want doesn't manifest itself for a considerable length of time. Be patient and trust Him.

What is important for all of us to recognize is that disappointment is inevitable, living with discouragement is a choice.
The ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus reminded us thousands of years ago that "men are not disturbed by things, but by the view which they take of them."

See, its not our problems that are defeating us; it's how we choose to view our problems that is tripping us up and leavings us unable to see the complete picture.

God's showing us the movie, we just need to be looking through the correct lens to see it.

 Always remember, He want's to help us.

 sbb 3.12.12


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