Setting the Atmosphere


fforgiveness

Your Influence on the World,
Journal Entry Monday, July 31, 2017

Today, I awoke to thoughts about mercy. A myriad whirlwind of thoughts about various scenarios and their results. swirled around my mind.  I remembered a moving testimony on Lynn Leahz program. A man wrote in to share his testimony of encountering Jesus. As a young boy, his parents raised him to be a Christian and he accepted Jesus as His Savior. As he got older, His love for Jesus diminished and he joined his friends in partying and revelry. He became promiscuous and lost all interest in the things of God.

Suddenly one night, he felt a strange disorientation and a forbidding. He felt his body separating and was taken across the universe. Then he found himself standing before Jesus. Jesus exuded indescribable love, yet also great disappointment. Then Jesus gazed deeply into his eyes and soul.  “I’m going to show you different scenes from your life..” Steven’s whole life then appeared before him as on a screen. One scenario in particular is familiar to me.

Waiting in a long line at a grocery store used to be one of my pet peeves and even more so as I’ve had to deal with incredibly, painful spasms from the fluorescent lights and stimuli of the sprawling grocery.  I used to grumble and complain, but now, I’ve disciplined myself to try my best to be gracious and smile as often as I can. I’ve heard many testimonies from devoted Christians who say that a smile, a kind word or action changes the whole atmosphere of a person’s demeanor and day.

In Steven’s case, an old lady kept bumping her cart into his lags and he was blasting her. As Steven watched himself in the film before him, he was aware of everyone’s thoughts. He could hear the old lady worry., “I don’t feel well. Am I having a heart attack? ”Did I take my medication today? “Lord I had no idea” Of course you didn’t Steven because you were not in me. Jesus said, Son, you had sinned on may levels. You were rude and thoughtless to her. You cursed her and finally and most importantly, you didn’t tell her about me.”

Fresh revelation came to me this morning, as I prepared myself to await Father’s instructions “Father, what would you like to show me today and what is your pan for me today?” This quiet mediation and devotion time has not always been this way for me. Even in my early years as a Christian, the habit would be to wake up, have my coffee and rush forward towards the day.  Mostly, this manner  led endless days of mediocrity . Something was missing, but I could not see what.  Even though these past ten years of suffering this TMJ-Dystonia has been difficult and draining beyond belief, I tell Father, “I trust You!” Some days I can barely stand the pulling  of my throat muscles which pull at my jaw joints and which sometimes strangles me and cuts off the oxygen.  Father will never exempt any fragile and weak moment or circumstance to yield good fruit!  As I cry for relief  and to be released from this season of partial disablement, I marvel in expectation to see how He will bring all this suffering and loss of my time, (in evangelizing).. for His great Glory.

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Oh…the beauty of being still…and knowing He is God.  Many of us don’t realize how priceless our listening time with God is and how few of us realize the necessity to be still and listen. Many of us piously grab our bibles and commentaries and study..but not necessarily about searching our heart for His purity and childlikeness. . We are too busy disguising our minds from the reality of the subtle, yet ugly hidden sins we deem insignificant. As in Steven’s video we saw how his anger  and cursing the old lady was indeed sinning.  Many of us are unaware of sudden manifestations of our sin nature and strongholds of our minds. We think  resentment, lack of mercy, exactingness, ( insisting others live up to our expectations and in our timberline) fits of anger, self righteousness, need for controlling others,  pride, (refusing to say I’m sorry)  and hatred.

As I listened to Steven”s story,  I recalled  times, not too many years ago, when en route and late to a gig, I would go ballistic because a driver’s speed was not to my satisfaction. I would get angry if his slow speed would get me stopped at a red light, while he drove forward. Sometimes, I’d yell, “You, idiot! Get out of my way”. I am ashamed to admit it, but my transparency is your gain! Recently,  I remember as recently as last year, blurting out, “BIRD BRAIN!”  Oops. Immediately felt convicted. “I’m SO sorry, Father” Forgive me and I bless that person”

Complaining is sin. We can bend over backwards and drive our best buddy anywhere despite our exhaustion of a long week of grueling overtime, yet if our wives need to be driven to the doctor, we let her know we despise it! We wonder why our co-workers seem repulsed by our preaching, yet we continue to scrutinize, (while disdaining) the quality of their work or their inability adapt to our idea of excellence. How about wives who spend hours going to get their nails done or shop, spending hundreds of dollars on each spree, yet can barely sacrifice and make their husband a wonderful home cooked meal? How about parents whose lives revolve around working  countless hours of overtime to buy new toys and gadget, yet neglect nurturing and listening to their children. Life seems a breeding ground of dysfunction and no one really understands why relationship are amiss and disappointing..

How blessed we are when Holy Spirit lovingly convicts us. Truly. blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. As I continued thinking about Steven’s story,  I thanked Father for His mercy to me regarding all my self-righteous and pious demeanor at times. I’m grateful when I get that little nudge that a spirit of pride has taken residence in my heart.  Time to kick him out. I know I could never be righteous apart from Jesus and can never live up to His perfection and mercy.

Let’s talk about anger now.  Anger is rooted in some kind of fear. Anger shows his face in many ways and circumstances, (rooted very deep since childhood and even as far back as  in infancy and a fetus). There are may manifestations of anger.  During a conversation, when we feel intimidated, we react with a posture of defensiveness or vindictiveness. We get angry and take it personally when a co-worker messes up a project or schedules. We respond to the problem with sarcasm and  disdain, rather than asking God to intervene and help vindicate. Sometimes we are so arrogant that we blame everyone who makes a mistake as planning trouble. Here is a spirit of fear, (of losing the job, being demoted or being written up by a supervisor). We all have our excuses for  blasting people, but in God’s eyes, there is no excuse. Did we ever think that others have days were they are slow, confused, overwhelmed, by lack of sleep or troubled? When we think we can read people’s minds and judge their motives, we need to address this attitude as arrogance and renounce it. Oh, how we are so led astray by our hearts. The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

The bottom line is, I’m sorry, is the answer for ll our sins. Not I’m sorry to relieve our consciences, but repentance that a relationship was breached and tainted by our own selfishness, pride and/or fear. Even if we feel we are innocent, there is nothing more healing to the spirit of a offended child, spouse, friend, co-worker and God. I’m sorry humbly said after a disagreement of mistake can mean the difference between a chaotic and miserable day or one that is covered with mercy and love.

Rob Morrissette, in hi insightful deliverance book,  Pray Through It, says it is not so much our reactions and feelings which are sinful, but our response to the wrong. Do we fight fire with fire, tit for tat?. Are we vindictive and harbor a deep anger, erupting in a fit of rage? If we are to engage our culture in a Christ manner, we will understand the significance of setting an atmosphere of mercy and grace to others when they make mistakes.  I’ve had days when I was cursed, harshly criticized or condemned and my whole week was ruined. It can be hard to rise up out of someone’s curse. I’ve also encountered making mistakes and being responded to with great kindness and mercy. This gave me a attitude of gratitude and i was able to pray for all involved and saw God’ work miraculously! Everyone was blessed!

We are as the pebble thrown into a still pond. Our responses to painful or negative events undulate outward into humanity, changing the very timberline of life!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I ask you to help me be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Help me, Holy Spirit, to have the mind of Christ. Help me to respond patiently  and with mercy those who are having a bad day, not doing their job properly or are constantly in physical pain. Let us imagine that that slow driver may have lost their loved one or had to put their pet to sleep today. They shouldn’t be driving, but they are. Maybe they received a bad doctors report about their tests. They have Cancer and have eight months to live. Perhaps, someone’s house burned down or they were fired from their job. I do not know what a person is going through or grappling with, so help me to be merciful, gracious and have an attitude of healing grace.  Help me to be sensitive and ready when there is an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and His love for them.  Help me to be so in You, that I am sensitively intune to react as Jesus would.  Help me to catch myself when I suddenly react with defensiveness, fear or self-defense,  rather  than being humble and eager to quickly restore peace and lightness and peace in a conversation or relationship. With your help, I can reverse the negative emotional stronghold which have  hindered my joy and peace for many years and even many decades. With God…all things are possible.If I am willing, Father, You are able! Two special words, “I’m sorry” will bring  true repentance and healing to the one I unintentionally hurt. Help me to be led by  Holy Spirit and especially Lord, help me to learn to Be Still and know you are God…so I can hear your small voice which  gently convicts and corrects me so I can truly radiate the love and mercy of Christ, In Jesus precious name I pray, amen!