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As I was walking in the warm sunshine (woohoo) on my way home from work, I came across these beauties.
And my first thought after….Ahhh! YAY! Crocuses!….was crocus of joy. I always associate crocuses with rejoicing because of the beginning of Isaiah 35…
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.”
The crocuses reminded me to choose joy today. So I’m spreading their message.
Point to ponder while you wander…
Joy is a choice.
“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” Martha Washington
Elijah’s List posted this recently.
WOW! Heart check!!!
Seriously though, take a minute and ponder that.
When I pondered…I thought of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When Screwtape tells Wormwood to focus the patient’s attention on petty things while he was at church. So the patient wouldn’t focus on the Word and how it applies to himself.
Judas did focus on the petty. The negative. And he remained a sceptic despite seeing miracles right before his eyes. He didn’t read about the miracle of the fish and bread feeding 5,000. He actually ate the bread and fish! He didn’t read about blind eyes being opened, he watched it happen.
Truthfully I feel bad for Judas. He didn’t enjoy His life. He clearly didn’t like himself. Seriously. Judas was with Jesus Himself for 3 years, and never actually absorbed anything about who Jesus was. Jesus was, is, and will always be love personified.
Who spends 3 solid years with Jesus, and comes out worse than where he started?
Truthfully…a lot of people.
What? Why? Who? Sacrilege!!
I know. Because I was one.
I confessed Jesus as my Savior at 16. And promptly tried to be perfect (as in without flaw) and do all the right things. I focused on behavior and looking the part.
Nothing reached my heart.
I couldn’t be perfect. And it frustrated me. My life didn’t change. No miracles happened in my life. And I was disappointed.
I ended up flipping around and going absolutely in the opposite direction. I became more critical. More judgmental. I loved less.
And it took a good 7 years before I gave it another shot. At 16, I shoved the Word at people…but at 25 I started applying the Word inward. I began to deal with my heart issues. My broken places began to heal. It was a process that still continues. It’s a day to day walk.
I can tell you that it’s much easier to point fingers and throw rules at people than it is to love them. It’s easier to criticize, scoff & judge.
But…if you take that pointing the finger and judging everyone path. You won’t heal. You won’t grow.
I think that’s what happened to Judas. I think he allowed his natural skeptic to dismiss miracles. He chose not to receive the love and teaching from Jesus. He chose not to heal and grow.
We have a choice too. Perspective and attitude are everything. Being open isn’t alway easy. Neither is change. Not for me. Not for you. Not for the disciples either.
Let’s be real…the 12 disciples are like us. They screwed up. They didn’t always understand. They acted without thinking. They lost their tempers.
But the difference between Judas and the other 11 is that the 11 grew and changed. They applied what Jesus taught them and walked it out.
Were the perfect? Um…definitely not. And neither are we. Neither are your leaders. We are all human. Doing our best. We are all given a choice.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT
Judas got to choose too. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out. (Spoiler alert…it can’t get much uglier).
Judas was bitter. I don’t want to be bitter, but some days I see myself heading in that direction.
Judas was a cynic. I don’t want to be an eye rolling cynic, but sometimes I am.
Judus had a greedy, selfish & negative outlook. Sometimes I do too.
I don’t want to be a complainer or a gossiper either. But some days I am.
So this is a heart check for me. To go back to Jesus on the rough days. The days I’m more Judas-like than Jesus-like and ask Him to show me what is going on in my heart and head so I can deal with the root of it and have a better attitude and perspective.
Especially with all the chaos in my life right now…I need more Jesus time. More worship. More Word. And less judgmental attitude. Less pessimism.
Point to ponder while you wander…..
Today I’m sharing my fave Rolling Stones song… Get Off Of My Cloud
When I hear the chorus I envision myself as child laying in soft green grass in our yard watching the parade of clouds roll by. I’d call out the shapes…elephant, duck, tree, turtle, ship… or I’d imagine myself floating in the blue sky on my very own cloud. It was quiet & peaceful on my joyfilled cloud. Nothing bad happened there, nothing sad either.
It was dreamy…the thought of alone time. I now know it’s because I’m introverted and I need alone time to recharge. Actually the thought of my own cloud was perfection. Soft fluffy perfection on my cloud.
I didn’t want messy drama brought into my cloud. I didn’t want someone to “wreck” my day.
But the truth is that no one can wreck your day without you conceding the right to them. No one can “make” you angry. They may hurt you, frustrate you, scare you, but you choose how you react. Anger is a secondary emotion, it’s choice.
Only you can determine what your attitude and frame of mind will be. Only you can choose to maintain peace in a storm. Only you can decide to choose joy in the face of a day that is full of problems.
Peace and joy are choices you make every day. Strength comes from joy. Rest comes from peace.
Point to ponder while you wander…Many things will happen in your life that you have zero control over. That is just life. But you have control over how you choose to react. You determine your attitude.
PS Continuing with the theme….here’s Barbra singing Don’t Rain on My Parade in Funny Girl for your auditory and visual pleasure.
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best–the sun to warm & the rain to nourish–to everyone.” Matthew 5:44-45 MSG
So many times in my life I’ve let people steal my joy and peace because of the way they’ve treated me. For too long I’ve let my day be darkened by someone else’s attitude. Jesus spoke this for our protection and for our good.
When we respond the way Jesus recommends, we are able to maintain our peace and joy. We grow in maturity. It’s a bad situation turned for our good. And we are helping someine who is struggling, because that other person clearly needs prayer, a love infusion, and more Jesus.
When we allow people (whether we like, love or loathe them) to color or even ruin our day by their behavior it means we have ceded control of our mind, will, and emotions to someone else. And that someone else probably doesn’t like themselves any more than they like us.
Something to ponder while you wander…a person’s treatment of you is a reflection of them, not you. Your reaction reveals your heart condition, not theirs.
“I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes.” Job 42:5
Everyone has hard times, but not everyone learns or grows from those times. You have the choice to become hard and bitter. And You have the choice to remain positive and open to change. Your perspective in the situation really is everything.
Job came out of his situation with a perspective shift, a softer heart & a real relationship with God.