Attitude Is Everything


By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz 

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man. " I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

 

  

 

  

God's Arsenal

 

An overview of the Whole Armour of God

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV)

This verse demonstrates to us that we are not powerless in our struggle against sin and the enemy.  On the contrary, God has blessed and provided us (His children) with spiritual body armour and weapons of warfare that allow us to completely defeat the enemy when we learn to appropriate, master and use these powerful defences God has put at our disposal. 

We are in a war and as is the case with all battles and wars, we need to go into combat fully prepared, properly dressed, and armed with superior weapons and firepower.  

In the natural world, our weapons of warfare include; helmets, body armour, camouflage clothing, boots and equipment, knives, bayonets, rifles, missiles, hand guns and hand grenades.  The list of modern weapons is endless and they are getting more sophisticated by the day.

In the spiritual world, we often face more subtle attacks from our enemy the devil, who is the master of cunningness, temptation, lies, twisted truths, subtlety and the power of suggestion.  We need to know how to deal with these attacks when they come, and how to prepare ourselves beforehand so that we are always ready, prepared and on-guard when we face the temptations, assaults, and the fiery darts of the devil in our daily life.

Just as the natural soldier has an array of armour and weapons at his disposal, so we also have a fully comprehensive array of body armour and defences against the enemy;  And, while we have many defences as described in the ĎWhole Armour of God belowí, we have only one weapon, but Oh what a weapon!!! 

Godís kids have been provided with a weapon so powerful the enemy cannot resist it and cannot defeat us once we have mastered its use and harnessed its power.  In the hands of the skilled soldier of God, this weapon is more powerful than a neutron bomb and is a weapon of mass destruction to the enemy.  It is, ĎThe Word of Godí.

The problem is, many of us have no idea of the awesome power that is contained and harnessed in the Word of God, that can be unleashed to defeat and destroy all and every attack the devil throws at us; and, this power is released simply by speaking the Word of God into any situation we find ourselves in and using it in conjunction with the Armour of God.

Some might ask:  OK, but how powerful can the Word of God really be, and, what difference can it really make in my life and in my situation? 

How powerful is the Word of God?  Well, letís just check out a few examples.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.  3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life; and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  John 1:1-5 (NIV).

As we see in this passage, Godís words created everything that exists so letís consider that for a moment. We can do this best by looking at the sky on a clear night.  By looking at its majesty and size, and then try to get our heads around just how big it really is.

In recent times, NASA scientists discovered a tiny square black spot in space that appeared to have nothing in it and not knowing what it was; NASA trained the Hubble space telescope on it for more than 4 months to let as much light as possible onto the image they were trying to capture.   What they found absolutely blew their minds.  In this tiny black square in space which from earth is less than one tenth of the size of our own moon, NASA scientists discovered more than 10,000 entire galaxies, the closest of which is more than 13 billion light years from earth.  Impressed yet?  One of these galaxies is more than eight times the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy and scientists say it should not even be possible for such a large galaxy to exist, but it does.   Each of these more than 10,000 galaxies has up to 1 trillion stars within its system and the nearest point of this newly discovered window in space to our own earth is;  More than 76,440,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles from earth. 

We are talking about a 23 digit number which is way outside the capability of most calculators. 

Thatís, 76 sextillion, 440 quintillion miles; 

Or:  76,440 quadrillion miles;

Or:  76 million, 440 thousand trillion miles.

Letís look at the big picture to see how huge this number really is: 

Sextillion   quintillion   quadrillion   trillion   billion   million   thousand   hundred

     76       ,     440      ,    000     ,     000  ,   000   ,   000   ,    000     ,     000  miles 

Beside the sheer enormity of our universe that just like our Creator has no end and no beginning, we see that the Word of God is so powerful; God speaks entire galaxies into being with nothing more than His Word.  He created the entire universe, simply by speaking it into existence.   We can see in this picture that Godís word is powerful beyond our ability to comprehend it.  We see that His Word is bigger than any situation, any temptation or trial we face, any mountain we climb, and any valley we need to cross.  Harnessed within Godís Word is contained everything we will ever need, the victory for every trial and difficulty we face, every tool we need for daily life; and, the full expression of Godís grace and love we need to reach a lost world for Christ.  

How did Jesus defeat Satan when He was tempted after 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness;   With the Word of God?  How did Jesus become so accomplished in the Word of God and harnessing the awesome power contained within it; by daily meditating on it, taking it into His heart, then storing it away in the vaults of His heart and mind for the times He would need it?  He did this by speaking Godís word when He faced temptation, when He healed the sick, raised the dead, when He turned water into wine and in countless other miracles He performed.

Reading and mediating on the Word of God helps us to understand the mind and heart of God and shows us the God given authority we have when we use and apply His word to any need we have or any situation we find ourselves in.   Simply put, the Word of God is as vital to us to live a victorious life that is pleasing to God, as breathing is to keeping us alive. 

How do we defeat Satan when he tempts us?  With the Word of God! 

How often should we read the Word of God?  Every day! 

How should I read the word of God?  In an organised and strategic fashion! 

There is no absolute way to do this, but hereís what works for me. 

Daily Devotions: 

Morning:  

I like to start the day with 2-3 chapters of the New Testament in the morning over breakfast when it is quiet.  For me, this is my favourite time of the day because it is quiet and without interruptions or unwanted distractions.  I love to start the day on a healthy diet of Godís Word to sustain me through each dayís trials and tests.  This is something I look forward to every morning.  I have found that the more we get into God's word and make reading it a daily practice, we develop a love for spending time in His Word.  So much so that on rare occasions when I have rush off in the morning and have no time to read God's word, I feel like I have missed meal; and in a sense that is exactly what it is because God's word is the most important food we can consume and take in.  It is the food of the spirit and life which provides us with the strength to get through all manner temptation and spitiual exercise.      

While my daily reading is very important to me and is the central point of my day, I donít get legalistic about it. So, if some days I only have time for one chapter, or, on the very rare occasions I have to be somewhere early and donít get a chance to read in the morning at all, I donít beat myself up over it. 

Before reading the word I like to give thanks over it in exactly the same way I give thanks over a meal.  I ask for Godís blessing on His Word, that He will use it to speak right to my heart, mind, spirit and soul, to etch His word in my heart to help me walk in His ways all day and so that I might have an opportunity to bless others. 

Evening: 

I like to finish each day by reading 2-3 chapters of the Old Testament at night in bed, so I go to sleep with the Word of God on my mind, in my heart and in my dreams. 

Using this system I get through the Old Testament in around nine months; and the New Testament around two to three times per year. Once I have read right through the Old Testament, I like to switch these around and read the Old Testament in the mornings with my study bible; and the New Testament at night with a bible small enough to read in bed.  This works for me, but you might have an approach that works better for you. Regardless of your approach, the important thing is, to read and meditate on our bible every day and make it a life-long habit that becomes a part of our DNA.

Taking Notes:

A great way to get the word into our hearts is to have a notebook handy as you read the bible.  As various passages of scripture speak into our lives and touch us, write these verses down as this helps to cement the Word into our hearts and minds for future recall.  If we can afford a good study bible, so much the better so we can look up the original Hebrew or Greek meanings of words and phrases and written commentaries that help us get a better understanding of the intended or deeper meaning of these Words or verses.

Be disciplined to read the Word of God every day if you can, because it is life changing.  As we do this we allow God to speak into our hearts and lives, to equip us for battles to come and help us to better understand God and His plans for our lives.  The more we read His word, the more we begin to love and understand God; and, the more we know and love Him, the less we want to do anything that will grieve Him.  The more we get to know Him, the more we will want to spend time in prayer at the throne of Grace in worship and praise for our creator. 

In no time at all, all the former junk in our lives that weighed us down and heaped condemnation on us as we gave the devil license to dump guilt on us, simply falls away.   It is a progression that changes us over a relatively short time of a few months to a year or so; and, once we have allowed ourselves to be transformed by the word of God and prayer, we can look back a year or so and not even recognise the person we used to be.  It is a process that brings joy, life, and the peace of God as we let the Word and Spirit of God do its work in us.

This is my story; it has transformed my life and I am nobody special.  These principles work for everyone if we follow this simple formula and make it a way of life. 

Above we have looked at the Word of God, how to use it and the incredible power it provides to ward off and defeat all attacks of the enemy. 

Below we will look at the whole armour of God as a complete package:   We will look at each part of the armour individually, and how these parts provide us with a complete and impenetrable defence system when we use them correctly, in conjunction with each other and master their use. 

The Whole Armour of God:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God; that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:10-13 (NKJV) 

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