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In the midst of our lows the primary temptation is to dwell on how far the fall. We ignore the coolness and stillness of the space. This environment is perfect for meditating on what God has in store for the future, and this seems to escape the depressed mind. It is difficult to find any redeeming quality associated with the lowly position.
The opportunity that we forsake as we invest in the negative is greatness in the making. Instead of abandoning hope grab hold of whatever faith can be muster. Know that if you are in this place, then God’s plan for you is still active.
Our lives and the way we love should speak more profoundly than our mere beautiful words.
Sermons We See
by Edgar Albert Guest
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advise you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.
There are generally two possible feelings that emerge from our personal interactions. We only seem to notice these feelings when we care enough to consider the impact of each relationship that we participate in – and that time of inventory typically comes when we feel out of sync. The general outcomes of these reviews include being affirmed in our purpose or being tempted away from who we are called to be.
None of us are immune to being tempted. We are reminded of the power of temptation in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. So, we should not feel embarrassment when we consider temptation. However, we should never become comfortable with temptation or the tempter.
Who does not like to be affirmed? It feels good to hear that you are on the right tract, especially when it comes as a surprise from someone you did not know was watching. But, be careful with affirmation too. It could be that you are being setup or opened up to be taken advantage of. In this case, the affirmation works the same as temptation.
A true affirmation should elevate more than your ego (Edging God Out). Affirmations speak directly to what God has called you for and to. When you are affirmed in the appropriate manner, then it serves as fuel to move you closer to your calling.
As you inventory your relationships ask the important question, ‘do I feel tempted or affirmed through our interaction?’
We each have a past. Some are so weighted that it seems impossible to move beyond the experience. Opposite are those former experiences that serve as a positive lift toward our futures. In both cases, we cannot rest on what has happened.
The same principle is true when the past belongs to a group, a community, and even a country. History, whether negative or positive cannot be change. It can be told from various vantage points, but the raw facts remain the same. Juxtapose this with the future. For instance, the remainder of today is yet to be determined, which gives each of us a chance to participate in and influence a positive outcome. And our past should certainly influence what we do next.
Let’s take the good and the bad just as it was – let’s not hide the ugly scars that remind us of past mistakes. Neither should we stare too long at the trophies of victory. Move on, move forward, move upward towards an even greater existence as an individual entity, and collectively as a country. In the end, we should use all that is available, including our past to reach for God’s best for our lives.