One thing I’ve learned from my almost eighty-four years of living is to keep an open mind because there is always something to learn. For instance, scripture speaks of hardships and how they can be borne. God knows how many hardships 2020 threw at us and gives us the answer in 2nd Corinthians 4: verses 8 and 9.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
And then verse 16 reads: Therefore we do not lose heart.
Life lessons can be be found everywhere if only we keep open minds.
How many times have we said things we regretted? How many times have we wished we had phrased a sentence differently, or praised someone instead of berating them?
A little mini book came my way yesterday called “Watch Your Language” or … Why You Should Pay Attention to the Words You Use. The author of this intriguing piece of writing is Elena Consear Ramos who has obviously felt first hand the stinging blow of unkind and thoughtless words, as many of us have.
She takes us through how the choice of words can wound, insult, destroy, demean, and in many ways have a debilitating effect on a person’s life.
In her book, Elena carefully lays out the need to think before we speak, and in so doing shows by example that she does have a way with words.
It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks to us when we are open to hearing. I’m reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren for the umpteenth time. Although there are a couple of things in the book I can’t come to terms with, for the most part it is a “handbook for life”. The book was given to me in 2003 at a time when my life was so stressed that I just wanted to pack up and move away to the country and become a hermit. My almost daily mantra was, I’ve got to get out of here! That was not a good idea nor a good option but it was how I felt…and then I read this on page 263 of The Purpose Driven Life...
You may be serving in obscurity in some small place, feeling unknown and unappreciated. Listen: God put you where you are for a purpose! He has every hair on your head numbered, and he knows your address. You had better stay put until he chooses to move you. He will let you know if he wants you somewhere else.
Let me tell you, I got that message loud and clear! I never again felt the desire to move and I’m still here fifteen years later.
Long ago in my 1949 grade eight class, the lesson was about working together for the good of all. I can still hear the teacher’s voice intoning the above message and I’ve never forgotten it.
For all that’s going on in the world today, in some families, relationships, churches and businesses, and definitely in today’s governments, this message seems to be a timely one.
The popular motto “united we stand, divided we fall,” often shortened to “united we stand,” is commonly used to express unity and collaboration. The phrase is used to encourage and inspire, and sends the message that working together is easier, as there is strength in numbers, whereas doing things alone is harder and invites failure. This phrase has been used time and again throughout history to rally groups together and you will still hear it used today where the message remains the same.
This was gleaned from the Internet. And the following scripture says the same thing in different words. Happy Sunday.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2: 3-4 (ESV)
A friend shared this with me last Saturday morning because I had used the words, I can see clearly now as the finishing touch on a post, The Plank In My Eye on March 9th. I have always loved the song. The following is indeed another life lesson in itself, again taken from the song, I Can See Clearly Now written by Johnny Nash in 1972.
Do you know who Johnny Nash is? In my opinion, he is a genius who provided a tremendous life lesson hidden in the lyrics of a great song. If you investigate the meaning behind the message, you’ll discover the impact of his words.
Have you ever realized that your perception of life is the lens through which you view your life? Our perception truly shapes our reality. Is your lens clear, and do you like what you see? Or have you allowed circumstances in your life to cloud up your lens and change your viewpoint and perspective?
I love this lyric. Here is a person who has cleaned his lens. The rain was blocking his vision of life. When the “hard rain” is pouring down all around, it’s easy to miss the beauty around you, the opportunities open to you.
This person has arrived at a moment of clarity. Now that the rain is gone, he can finally see the obstacles preventing him from the goals and dreams he has been pursuing without success. Once you define and acknowledge your obstacles, you can create a compelling plan of action to turn these obstacles into tangible opportunities.
Wow, this is such a powerful use of words! We have all experienced “dark cloud” moments in our life. We have been hurt and disappointed. We have experienced losses and unexpected moments of sadness. We have been this close to a major victory only to fall short and have to start over. To me, these powerful words represent a message of hope. The dark clouds in our life will disappear. We will maintain our faith and belief that things can and will work out in the end.
Beautiful optimism! What an inspiring and positive outlook this lyric projects. This person has cleared off the lens, recognized the obstacles, removed the dark clouds, and replaced his blindness with a powerful vision. The road ahead is bathed in bright sunshine.
Johnny Nash’s words are open to interpretation, but I believe the rain could have been a series of negative emotions. The obstacles could have been the source of that (rain) pain. The dark clouds could have been the acceptance of those negative emotions causing blindness to the possibilities. The bright sunshiny day could be the moment the person said, “No more! From today forward, I will take hold of my life and choose to look through my lens with the hope, faith, and confidence that a bright future brings.”
Clear your lens and embrace your future – every day. What song has a lot of meaning to you?
Recently I came face to face with the plank in my eye. In trying to convince someone to see the error of their ways, I was forced to see the error of some of my own ways. “Aha!” said I to myself. “So that’s what that verse means!” I love it when I get convicted of my own convictions…another of life’s lessons learned!
New International Version You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
This is just one of the commands of Jesus in his famous Sermon on the Mount which starts at Matthew 5:1 and ends at Matthew 7:27. The sermon is chock-full of life lessons and well worth reading many times.