“There is nothing more significant then what we believe right now.” Jim Willett, pastor and guest speaker, stated at church this morning. He had so many enriching words and stories yet this sentence stuck out most to me today. Remember how I’ve said that being around negative people rubs off? Or, if you are one of my friends, you may have heard me say, ‘Don’t be negative, you’ll speak it into existence.’ Well, this sentence explains it all. It confirms my conviction that negativity begets negativity: Things are as you believe them to be. Good or bad. If you believe things are horrible, if you believe things will never get better, if you believe you are worthless…then you are giving that thought significance. You are feeding the devil. Wouldn’t you rather believe things will get better? That the dark times are merely an opportunity for growth? That by going through the bad times, you can and will be better for it? Wouldn’t you rather believe that the situation you are facing right now is not the end? That it does have a greater purpose? It isn’t as bleak as it may seem.
Attitude is everything. Just a small gesture of a simple smile can spread, but so can a frown. Just a positive thought can invite positivity into your life, yet so, it is the same for negative thoughts. Get around friends and say something bad about someone or something – the president, the economy, a boyfriend/girlfriend or ex – and soon you will be in a perilous downhill spiral, competing claim for claim of how bad something is. More bad or negative thoughts surface and the air can literally become heavy. You walk away burdened with additional negative thoughts. Resolutions can seem elusive. Instead, talk about something positive and although it may take more time, the air becomes lighter. Smiles come naturally. An inner happiness can emerge. Why is negativity so easy to spread and grow? Well, we are in the flesh. We do live in the world. And both are so closely linked to sin. The devil likes us down. He likes to know what we don’t want. He wants to know our weakness and unknowingly, we tell him! It’s the devil’s favorite playgrounds: our minds, this world, our flesh. We believe things suck – therefore, they do. And we speak what we hate and he gladly delivers. If we change our thoughts to come from our spirit side, from God’s perspective, we may still feel the pull of this world sometimes, but this world is only temporary. A blimp in God’s time. We can break free when we view things from a bigger perspective. I know I will have more trials, but I know my God is bigger than any problem I could ever be faced with. I admit my faults and I ask God to help me. That’s not being negative. That’s being real. That’s letting go of pride and inviting God in.
The parable of the seeds was in my mind often these past couple days. (Luke 8:4-15) Wanting to write a blog about believing, I did some bible research and – low and behold – I came across this exact parable. AH-HA! I thought. That’s why! This parable is in perfect alignment with Pastor Jim’s statement.
If you are unfamiliar with the parable, it describes how seeds – knowledge, or the word of God – are spread among people. Some seeds fall on rocks where they are unable to grow roots. While joyous at first, they soon fall away and become discouraged. Roots are unable to form and the seed withers. Then there are other seeds that fall among the thorns. Again, they are joyous at first, yet they soon are overcome with the world and the stresses and worries of life. Sadly, they never reach maturity. The tender roots never fully form. And lastly, there are those seeds that fall into good soil. They hear the word, embrace it, thrive on it and persevere. Their fruits are evidence of their solid roots grounded in God’s word.
Whether you consider yourself a rock or thorn, it doesn’t mean you always are one or the other. I was a rock once and I was a thorn, too, but now…I consider myself among those with rich soil. I am fully invested in my well being. God doesn’t give up on anyone. He will keep knocking on our door until the day we die. He wants us in heaven, but we have to be the ones who decide when we are ready to fertilize and weed. We must decide for ourselves when we are ready to remove the thorns and rocks so that the seeds can set and flourish properly.
Did you know that dirt is soil without life? So, get some life in your dirt! Every gardener knows that a flourishing garden takes work…well, so does life! It’s easy to blame others, find ways to escape reality…or responsibility. But, the cold hard truth is, it’s your garden. No one else will till, water or pull out the weeds. It’s solely up to you. Yet, God will help. Your church will help. But rest assured, you will not just come home one day to a nicely manicured garden. I’ve learned this the hard way…
We are constantly faced with this adversary. The devil doesn’t want us to believe in anything good or positive. He’s the only one smiling when we suffer. The flesh wants to believe we can do whatever we want, even if we are passively destroying our bodies and our minds and the minds of others in the process. He is happy to oblige. Don’t feed him. Feed your soil so that the seed can grow strong roots. My primary concern is not to get you to believe as I do; my goal is to get others to just start believing again; in the good life has to offer, even in the darkest of times. I BELIEVE….and I hope you do, too.“4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
” ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’[a] 11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” ~ Luke 8:4-15 ” 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave [a] came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD :
“O LORD, save me!” 5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion. 6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me. 7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you. 8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living. 10 I believed; therefore [b] I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.” 11 And in my dismay I said,
“All men are liars.” 12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD. 14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints. 16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant [c] ;
you have freed me from my chains. 17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.” Psalm 116 “65 Do good to your servant
according to your word, O LORD. 66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I believe in your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.” Psalm 119 :65-67 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” ~ Matthew 21:22 “Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” ~ Matthew 21:32 “Everything is possible for him who believes.” ~ Mark 9:23