Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Honoring My Dad
Not long after I committed my life to Jesus, I had a dream about my dad. At the end of the dream, I heard the Lord say the following things to me: 1) My dad was saved and going to heaven, but 2) his mansion was small because his deeds had been few and 3) my dad’s time on earth was soon over. Then He said, “Go honor your dad.” Let me just say I had no idea what He meant by what He told me, and I had no idea how to obey what He wanted. It was an almost ridiculous request in my mind. At the time, my dad and I had virtually no relationship. Quite frankly, I had very little feelings for him at all. My mom had died a number of years before, and when she died, everything in our family fell apart and we just all lost touch in many ways and believe me we all needed to put on a new attitude.
Cuss and Rant and Rave
Now, God told me to go honor a man whom I had no respect for and with whom I had no relationship. Further more, my dad lived an hour and a half away from me. I sought the Lord, and I felt like the first thing I needed “to do” was simply go see my dad. Oh, I remember those visits just to “see him.” For me, it was pure torture to sit and listen to him cuss and rant and rave about all the mess the country was in and how he had a solution for all the problems in the world. He disgusted me. I cleaned his floor. I vacuumed his apartment. I dug the dirt off his bathroom tile. I washed his clothes and dishes. I did something different each time I went to see him, and yet not once did he thank me for all my hard work. You see, even as an adult, I still craved my dad’s approval and my dad’s love. It seemed no matter what I did, it was still not good enough, and so I still did not measure up. It was very frustrating. I went to see my dad because the Lord told me to, and yet, I did not see what good it was doing him. Then, one weekend, I refrained from going. I did not call. I simply stayed home. Sunday afternoon, I got a call from my dad asking me where I had been. He had missed me! Oh, what joy it was to hear those words from his lips. Then, the Lord opened my eyes and my mind and my ears to understand my dad in a different way. All my “doing” had actually penetrated his heart, and he had been touched by the love of the Lord through it. I continued to go visit each weekend and sometimes even during the week, and my dear proud daddy began to tell me thank you. I’d wash and dry his clothes, and then I’d iron a shirt or two, and he would beam as he said thank you. I began to realize that my poor old daddy was lonely and tired and in need of love. He’d lived alone for many years and was cantankerous and had few friends. He was starving for God’s love. It wasn’t long before I was enjoying our conversations and enjoying my daddy. It wasn’t long before I looked forward to each and every visit and couldn’t wait to get to him, because God was changing my heart too! Also, my simple gesture of “honoring” my dad by doing a few chores around his apartment, listening to his stories, and letting him feed me an occasional meal was feeding him love he had needed for a very very long time. God knew it and He loved my daddy enough to inconvenience his own daughter’s schedule to give it to him. So, what do you do when you have to put on something that you don’t really feel?
1 Sam 15:22-23 Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.
Season of Obedience
There is a season for everything. This was my season for putting on obedience. Is God asking you to do something that maybe you don’t have the energy for? Is He asking you to yield to a season of something you truly don’t think you are up to? Know that God is faithful, and He is well able to supply you with the power to press onward and finish the task He has in mind. Let me just tell you that the season of obedience with my daddy was life changing for me, and for my family. Nobody really wanted to take the time or the energy to get to know our father – we had all been estranged for too long to start new relationships! Yet, God had a plan that went beyond our wildest dreams. It was the beginning of a long process whereby we as a family entered into a time of wholeness and healing that only God Himself could have ordained.
How to Dress for the Party!
So, how we dress for this kind of party? What we put on for each season all depends on how we respond – to God, to one another and to ourselves. What do you “put on” when your circumstances change from good to bad or from happy to sad or from peaceful to chaotic? The Bible gives us instructions on how to handle life by telling us very plainly that we are to put on, we are to “wear” the Lord Jesus Christ as our clothing. Yes, this means we can put on a new attitude!
Col 3:12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].
How on earth do you “put on” a person, much less the Lord Jesus Christ? First, you must belong to Jesus. Do you belong to Jesus? If so, then God sees you as His own, purified and holy and loved by God Himself. So, this means you CAN put on a new attitude.
If you belong to Jesus, then you can wear Him as a person. Okay, are you now asking yourself how to clothe yourself with an invisible outfit? It is not simple, but it is possible because the Lord never puts demands on us that through His power are impossible to attain. You CAN do it. You can put on calm when disaster strikes. You can behave as Jesus would want by being tenderhearted and kind and gentle. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can wear peace when all hell seems to break loose in your life and in the lives of those around you. Why? Because He is faithful!
So, what do we “put on” when tragedy strikes or when war comes or when betrayal occurs? How do we respond to life when death strikes? The key to maintaining sanity and integrity and peace is by learning how to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ. In practical terms, it means to lean into God no matter what comes our way. If we can learn how to yield to God and how to lean into Him, then we will somehow, someway, be strengthened and prepared for whatever comes next. It is all about choices, and He lets us decide what attitude to put on for each situation. It’s all by His power, but it’s definitely our choice.
A few tips for how to get through a difficult situation:
Get alone with God and with His Word.
Read aloud the Psalms, 1st and 2nd Peter, Colossians and Hebrews 11 and 12 (it helps to HEAR how other people in the faith got through difficulties.)
Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His Word. Ask Him to speak to you, so that you can do things “His way.”Listen for His voice through a thought that might come when you are reading the Word or through an impression He might give you as you are listening to Him while reading the Word. He might send you a dream or He might even send you someone who knows absolutely nothing about your situation to give you a message from God. Take your dream or your message to the Word and confirm that it is really from God by making certain that message or dream does not contradict scripture. Remember the Holy Spirit is faithful, so listen for Him. Wait for Him to speak to you. He wants to help you make decisions that honor Him AND keep you from trouble!Also remember, you have put on a new attitude!
Pray with me:
Jesus, I want to be a vessel of purity and righteousness and holiness. I desire to live according to Your ways and not my own. So, come Father by the power of Your Spirit and bring change into my heart. I need You God more than I need anything or anyone. I want to look like You, talk like You and act like You. So, come and convict me of sin and show me how to change. If you’ll show me Your way, I will obey. Show me where I am unkind or unjust to my friends or family or even myself. Show me, Father, where I need a change of mind regarding my attitude. I love You and want You in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you read this far you might be interested in a fiction story…kind of like a soap opera really – I released the 3rd part in the Other Side of the Road and am preparing to release FROM the Other Side of the Road – you can follow me there too if you like – its just for fun!! http://donnareinersblogs.wordpress.com/
Send this to friends who need to #BEBRAVER and put on a new attitude.
Follow me on https://twitter.com/donnareiners
Until next time,