Summary: To walk and live in the presence of the almighty God one needs to have and maintain a positive attitude. This is critical. You need to see your cup as half-full and not half-empty. You need to always be grateful for who you are, what you are, what you have received and to celebrate that every day of your life as you strife for better and for more. We have each been given different talents and to each according to our abilities. We need to see the giver in positive light all the time and appreciate the positive intentions of the giver. A positive attitude brings down barriers. A positive attitude is critical in overcoming adversity. A positive attitude releases the delivering power of God. Remember God feels your pain. The underlying principle is that ultimately the positive will prevail over every negative.
Covered in this section (all quotations are from the New King James Version NKJV unless otherwise stated.)
N5.1 Understanding a positive attitude
N5.2 Celebrating life in a positive attitude
N5.3: A positive attitude is not easily offended and brings down barriers
N5.4 A Positive attitude overcomes adversity
N5.5 A positive attitude releases the delivering power of God
N5.1 Understanding a positive attitude.
In Matthew 25:14-30 the Lord Jesus Christ spoke a parable saying “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man travelling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying “Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.”21 His lord said to him, “Well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” 22 He also who had received two talents came and said “ Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look I have gained two more talents besides them” 23 His lord said to him “Well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” 24 Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you had not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look there you have what is yours.
26 But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give to him who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Notice here that the talents were given to each servant according to their abilities. We all have different abilities, gifts, capabilities but we have each been given something to work with. The difference between the first two servants and the third was attitude. The first two had a positive attitude to their task and to their master. The first could have asked why he was given so many responsibilities that would have meant waking up early on more morning doing more miles of trading and more work. The second did not ask why he had been given two and not five. He celebrated his two talents, with a positive spirit he went and worked with them. One of the critical requirements for experiencing and enjoying the presence of God is having a positive attitude. A positive attitude sees one’s cup as half-full rather than half empty, it sees, celebrates, embraces and rejoices in what is there without perpetually mourning about what could be there. It appreciates what has been given, it appreciates each day, it gives thanks continually, it is full of contentment for each step achieved, it sees the giver positively, it acknowledges the good intentions, it thinks positively, talks positively and acts positively even in a negative situation, it sees through the negative and sees the ultimate positive outcome. The underlying principle is that ultimately the positive will prevail over the negative. Whether there is a challenging situation you are going through and whatever it may be always remember to be positive and thankful.
N5.2 Celebrating life in a positive attitude.
The psalmist says “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24. In Psalms 100:4 the word of God says “Enter into gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.” Psalms 32:11 says “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous and shout for joy, you all that are upright in heart.” Isaiah 61:10 says “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
N5.3: A positive attitude is not easily offended and brings down barriers.
A positive attitude is a persevering attitude and does not easily get offended. It is also a winning attitude. The word of God gives a good illustration of this in Matthew 15:22-28. It reads “And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him (Lord Jesus Christ) saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries out after us.’ 24 But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of Israel.’ 25 Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Lord help me!’ 26 But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ 27 And she answered and said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Here we see a remarkable story of a woman whose attitude and determination was so positive that she passed every test that was thrown at her. She came to the Lord Jesus with a petition and at first He appeared as if He was ignoring her, as if He was not taking any notice. The Lord Jesus had taken notice, and was in fact deeply compassionate to the plight of this woman’s daughter. The whole exercise was a test of the woman’s positive attitude and her faith and determination. This woman carried own putting forward her petition. Then the disciples came and asked the Lord to send her away! I am sure that this lady heard it and must have been thinking –the Master ignored me now His disciples are saying send her away! The Lord Jesus then in another test to her faith answered her and said I was not sent to you Cannanites- she read through this came forward and started worshipping the Lord Jesus. Then He answered and called her a little dog in a further test to her faith and attitude and she answered further – it is alright Lord – I will be happy with crumps that fall from your table Lord- at that point she got her miracle and the Lord marvelled at her faith, determination and positive attitude. Remarkable story most would have left at the first or second hurdle but for this lady was Ignored- apparently- her response -no problem I will continue to ask. Disciples say send her away- her response- no problem He is about to hear me. The Lord Jesus says woman I was not sent to you- her answer-let me worship Him. The Lord says you are a little dog woman- her answer- thank you I will do with the crumbs. Her positive attitude broke every barrier in front of her till she got her breakthrough.
N5.4 A Positive attitude overcomes adversity-Lessons from the Book of Job Summary:
Notable quotations from the book of Job:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there."
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’
"In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause- Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvellous things without number.”
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth."
" And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"
“But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
The story of Job is illustrative and instructive. In Job 1:6-20 we read “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ 9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to your face!’ 12 And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. 13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys feeding besides them, 15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away- indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you. 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burnt up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you! 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you! 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said,’ Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshipped. 21 And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
When calamity came upon Job he fell to the ground and worshipped and the word of God says in all this Job did not charge God with wrong. He continued with a positive attitude.
In Chapter 2:9-10 after God had given Satan permission to struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. The word of God says “Then the wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ 10 But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
We see job in the most testing of circumstances, He did not become bitter with God, but he maintained a positive attitude. While still distressed with sickness and calamity on his household in Job 5:8 he said “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause- 9 Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvellous things without number."
In verse Job 5:17-19 he said “Behold happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. 18 For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver you in six troubles; Yes in seven no evil shall touch you.”
In Job 19:25-27 he said “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! In Job 23:10 he said “But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
In Job 42:12-17 the word says “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. 15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. 17 So Job died, old and full of days.”
We see that Job finally overcame adversity by maintaining a positive attitude towards God. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
N5.5 A positive attitude releases the delivering power of God.
In Acts 16:16-30 we read “Now it happened, as we went for prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place to the authorities. 29 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, ‘These man, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.’ 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’ 29 Then he called for a light. Ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”
Here we see the story of an Apostle and his companion, being falsely accused for what they had not done, being beaten, humiliated and then cast into not just a prison but the inner prison, the equivalent of a maximum security prison. As if that was not enough, their feet were fastened in stocks. At their midnight hour they did something amazing- they started praising God, celebrating His goodness, singing hymns and praises to God. The most natural thing to do would have been to be asking God why allow us to be humiliated, beaten, fastened in stocks, put into inner prison for no cause- they did not do that they instead maintained a positive attitude to their God, celebrated His goodness in the midst of such adversity- and you know what – He responded with force, an earthquake, shaking the foundations of the prison, stokes were broken. After midnight Paul and Silas found themselves out of jail and preaching to the household of the prison keeper. If they had mourned, pity partied, etc it is likely they would have spent the night in jail and woke up with an unsaved jailor.
Copyright: Planet Ministries