Sunday, June 28, 2009


Look at that partially-filled glass on the table. Is it half-empty or half-full? Do you look at such glasses through “rose-colored glasses”? Is your nickname “Polyanna”? Or do the corners of your mouth seem to say, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” (like the little miss at left)?

I'm definitely a half-full type person, and try to "cast vision" for others to join me. It’s frustrating to me, in Christian circles, when discouragement-mongers grouse about "how bad things are these days", as they remember the past. They expect God's judgement (and it would surely be well-deserved) to fall at any minute. I always rush in to remind them of a way God is work. Recently I shared about the 25,000 youth and adults involved in this summer's World Changers programs.

Some people enjoy being downers, and their poisonous attitudes are easily "caught". I wonder if those with a pessimistic slant are actually putting up a protective shield. Perhaps they’ve been deeply-hurt in the past when dealt a hand of cards extremely difficult to play. Things were bad - very bad - when they expected them to be very good. So their rationale is to expect unpleasant results, and if that happens, then they aren’t discouraged. Better than expecting tremendous results and have your hopes dashed, right?

Wrong…oh, so wrong. Sometimes, we fulfill our own destiny by our attitudes. By deciding to look at things positively, we can often bring hopes and dreams to positive fruition by our mindset, prayer and dogged determination. Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Seems Paul is saying, “Brothers and sisters, focus on the good. And use me as an example. Then God’s peace will rule your heart.”

Yes, things look bad at most every turn. But we are to be salt and light to this desperately-needy world. And whom would you rather have influence you – one breathing out discontented sighs as they recount their problems, or one who has had their attitude adjusted by the God of grace, and is always ready with an encouraging word? Which is more honoring to the Lord, who "daily loads us with benefits" (Psalm 68:19)?

Paul was a good role-model. Over and over in the epistles, his thankful and indomitable spirit shines through. Christians over the centuries have been strengthened by his Spirit-inspired words. And what about Jesus? In him, we see the correct blend of realism/optimism when he said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."

Yes, the glass is half-full. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get some iced tea!

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