An Optimist Person is a Delight

At the end of my last mission trip in Costa Rica, I had the joy to meet René. He is such an optimistic person. You I am persuade that God could use him significantly if Rene remain focus on God’s Kingdom (Mathieu 6:33). Today reading during my quiet time reminds me of Rene.

The story is told of two psychologists who sought to determine whether heredity or environment decided a child’s mental outlook. So they placed a pessimistic child in a lovely room chucked-full of beautiful toys, and an optimistic child in a room filled with horse manure. Hours later the pessimistic kid was found in the corner, pouting. “Why aren’t you playing with your toys,” the psychologists inquired? “Cause soon as I do, someone will come and take them away from me!” By contrast, they discovered the optimistic child enthusiastically swimming and diving through the manure. His reason? “Man! With all this manure, there’s gotta be a pony in here somewhere!”

Naturally, we are more drawn to the optimist! Here are a few reasons why:

Optimists see faith in God as their only way to ultimate fulfillment: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) (See Joshua 1:5-9; Psalm 33:11; 40:5)

Optimists have great love for others, starting with family and close friends: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to usWe were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little childrenYou know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God… ” (1 Thessalonians 2:8a, 7, 11, 12a) (See 1 Corinthians 13; 16:14)

Optimists are cheerful, always seeking a favorable twist to the world around them: “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe… ” (Philippians 2:14, 15)

Optimists love what they do, and they put all their heart into it: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23) (See 2 Chronicles 31:21; Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Optimists learn to forgive, thus minimizing the paralyzing emotions of anger, hate and selfishness: “Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times‘” (Matthew 18:21a, 22) (See Genesis 32:1-33:17; Proverbs 19:11; Matthew 6:11, 14; 11:25; Ephesians 4:31, 32)

Optimists have can-do attitudes. They refuse to let unfavorable odds get them down: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) (1 Samuel 23:1-5; Psalm 18:29; 2 Corinthians 3:4)

Optimists are not born. They are molded by their own attitudes: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) (See Romans 12:1, 2; Colossians 3:1-3)

Thomas Carlyle once wrote that “the block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak, becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong.” Today, by His strength let’s choose to turn our obstacles into steppingstones! After all, isn’t our future as bright as the promises of God?


Catch! Live! Impart!


Want to change your world for Christ? Then consider this:

CATCH the passion for God and the knowledge of the Holy from extended time alone with Him, or from people who are infected with Jesus Christ. Get around those who are impassioned with being used of God to make a difference in this tired world. Keep in mind that “it is easier to cool down a fanatic than to liven up a corpse.”

You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)

LIVE — Prayerfully delve into the Scriptures with the anticipation and trust of a child at Christmas time. Dare to unconditionally live out the truth God reveals to you from His Word. Respond sensitively to the conviction and leading of the Spirit. Claim and appropriate God’s promises to release you from life’s bondages: The fear of man, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, the desire to impress others; a wounded or embittered spirit; the ruts, the familiar, the safe… perhaps even the traditional. (James 1:22; Romans 8:14; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 8:2; Psalm 34:4; Proverbs 29:25; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 15:8, 9)

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you freeIf the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31b, 32, 36b)

Allow the Spirit to lead you into areas that demand trust and stretching. Be prepared to be surprised by the goodness of God upon your life. That is because God loves to bless those who dare to take Him seriously! (Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Samuel 3:9; Psalm 30:5)

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… ” (2 Chronicles 16:9b)

IMPART — As Biblical truth becomes living reality, pass it on to others. That is fish for men. Engage and infect people’s lives with yours. Take it a step further by making a sustained investment of your life into theirs. Embrace missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s impassioned heart-cry, “Lord, make my life a crossroad in the life of everyone I encounter.” (Matthew 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 16:14)

QUESTION: Today, is your life “business as usual,” or is there a fire burning in your soul? If the fire is flickering close to extinction, ask yourself what root issues need to be reexamined? What changes need to be made? Jesus’ word of encouragement may be timely:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matthew 12:20a)


Monopolizing The Listening


During my second year at Bible School God brought my attention to the ‘tongue’. So I read all 31 chapters of Proverbs with one word in mind, what does the Bible teach about ‘the tongue’? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about it. It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn!  In my reading this morning I came across this little devotion that reminds me about my second year at Bible school. This is from the book “FACTS OF THE MATTER- Daily Devotionals by Dwight Hill”.

Theme: the art of listening.

Question: How will we tap into the wellspring of a person’s soul to know what is going on in their life?

The purposes of a mans heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5) (See Psalm 64:6; Proverbs 18:4; 1 Corinthians 2:11)

Three principles that will help us in practicing the discipline of listening:


Isn’t it true that we simply talk too much? “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19) (See Proverbs 17:27, 28; Ecclesiastes 5:3; 10:13; James 3:2)


If you don’t, you will not believe he has anything to contribute in a conversation. President Lyndon Johnson kept a sign on his wall, “You ain’t learning nothing when you’re doing all the talking.” Isn’t there an object lesson in the fact that God gave us one mouth, and two ears? Apparently, Solomon concurred, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning… ” (Proverbs 1:5a) (See Job 34:16; Proverbs 9:9)


French psychiatrist, Paul Tournier taught that true communication is “the meeting of meanings.” That is, grasping the definition behind the words. That takes disciplined listening! Steven Covey says, “many people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.” If we are to connect with people communications-wise, we must assume the attitude, “I am more interested in what you are saying than in thinking of what Im going to say, once youre through talking.

David Swartz reminds us that “big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking.” And James asserts, “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (1:19) (See Proverbs 13:3; 15:2; 18:13; 21:23; James 1:26; 3:1)

Dewey Knight relates, “My best advice came from a friend immediately after I was named to a topjob: Son, in this job you will have millions of opportunities to keep your mouth shut. Take advantage of all of them.‘”

QUESTION: Are you willing to demonstrate your respect for others by sublimating your ego needs and truly listening to them? If not, forget any notion that you are in fact a mentor or discipler.

How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Being a senior this devotion grasps my heart. Will the rest of my life be live in ‘fear’ or ‘faith’? Does God still have significant works for me to do? Let’s see what Dwight Hill had to say on that matters.

Recently I asked a group of businessmen their greatest concern in life. Their answer? Fear:

Of the future, failure, the past, peers, financial ruin, superiors, bad health, the competition, death, personal inadequacies, parents, the rejection of their children, and the unknown.

Aristotle observed the paralyzing effect of fear upon our lives:

“Elderly men… have often been taken in, and often made mistakes. The result is they are sure about nothing and under-do everything. They ‘think’, but they never ‘know’; and because of their hesitation, they always add a ‘possibility’ or a ‘perhaps’, putting everything this way and nothing positively… They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worst construction on everything.”

They are small-minded, because they have been humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or unusual than what will help them to keep aliveTHEY GUIDE THEIR LIVES TOO MUCH BY CONSIDERATIONS OF WHAT IS USEFUL AND TOO LITTLE BY WHAT IS NOBLE[They] lack confidence in the futurepartly because of their cowardice. They live by memory rather than by hope… ”

Obviously, “fear has to do with torment… ” (1 John 4:18b). But the good news is that God offers us deliverance from its bondage,

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

If you are struggling with fear, refuse to allow Satan to gain the upper hand. Claim God’s promises. Memorize, meditate, and appropriate His promises for your life. By so doing, you will put yourself in a position where God can, and will, set you free from the bondage of fear:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32) (See John 8:36; Psalm 119:45; Romans 6:14-18,22; 8:2)

“‘… Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraidfor I myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:10, 11, 14) (See Psalm 27:1, 2; 46:2; 56:3; Isaiah 12:2; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:18)


How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Paralyzed and diminished by fear?

Or liberated by the promises in God’s Word?

As always, the choice is ours.


The Fisherless Fishermen

Adapted from a story told by Luis Palau.

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.'” (Matthew 4:19)

There was a group called “Fishermen’s Fellowship”. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish and the thrill of catching fish. They got excited about fishing.

Someone suggested they needed a philosophy of fishing. So they carefully defined and redefined fishing and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics.

Then they realized they had been going at it backward. They had approached fishing from the point of the fisherman and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat and when? These are all good things to know.

So they began research studies and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled far away to study different kinds of fish with different habits. Some got Ph.D.’s in Fishology. But none had yet gone fishing.

So a committee was formed to send out fishermen. As prospective fishing places outnumbered the fishermen, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all the Fellowship halls.

Still, no one was fishing. A survey was launched to find out why. Most did not answer the questionnaire but from those who did respond, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment and several to go around encouraging fishermen.

What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, others simply didn’t have time to fish.

Jake was a newcomer to the “Fishermen’s Fellowship”. After one stirring meeting of the “Fellowship,” Jake went fishing. He tried a few things, got the hang of it and caught a choice fish. At the next meeting, he told his story, was honored for his catch and was then scheduled to speak at all the “Fellowship” chapters to tell how he did it.

Soon he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. He cut the speaking, resigned from the Board and said to a friend, “Let’s go fishing.” They did just the two of them and they caught fish.

The members of the “Fishermen’s Fellowship” were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few.

QUESTION: When was the last time you and I did some serious fishing for men? What are we waiting for? After all, Jesus did say, “‘Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men.'”