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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

March 28, 2014 - Dangerous Blessings

By Jerry D. Scott

My life has been filled with good things — loving parents, a rich spiritual heritage, food, health care, shelter, and creature comforts more than I need. I am loved by my wife, have great children, work in a profession I love, and enjoy robust health. My life is filled with purpose. I know peace with God and, because of His grace, I am assured of eternal life in the presence of Jesus.

What more could a person desire? Sad to say, plenty! Contentment eludes me too often, and I find myself complaining or at least wishing for something novel or different in my life. It is the curse of entitlement.

Those who know great blessing often come to believe they deserve it, that they are owed more and more by God, others, and even the government. It shows up all through the American way of life.

Many kids believe they are owed a college education and never even think of it as a privilege. At the other end of life, many of us make little preparation for retirement because we believe the government owes us a pension and health care. When disaster strikes, many people sit down and wait for help to arrive because they feel entitled to assistance from Uncle Sam.

Believers are not exempt from that entitlement mindset. It is easy to begin to believe God owes us more blessings. When He does not give us what we want, we start to complain, often bitterly. Ancient Israel is an example for the modern church. After the Hebrews' miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt, God provided for their every need.

Amazingly, every morning the Israelites went out of their tents and found manna on the ground, angel food the Lord gave them to sustain them in the wilderness. Did they appreciate it? The Children of Israel were grateful for a few weeks, but then they started to feel entitled to more.

"The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, 'Why can't we have meat? We ate fish in Egypt — and got it free! — to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna'" (Numbers 11:4-6, The Message).

Several things will help us avoid entitlement thinking.

First, we can practice the discipline of giving generously and sacrificially. We need to go beyond giving as an emotional response to giving purposefully, like an investor uses his money. We should look for worthy ministries, well-run charities, and individual people we can help onto their feet. When we choose to set aside some of our wants so we can give, we gain a renewed sense of our own blessings.

Second, we must worship deeply, regularly and from the heart. True worship restores proper perspective. Taking a significant amount of time every day, and on a special day each week, to focus our attention on God reminds us He is God and we are not! As we mature in our prayerfulness, we begin to talk to God less about our wants and listen more intently to His instructions. In worship we learn more about how to live to bless than we do about how to gain blessings for ourselves.

Third, we need to express our gratitude. Cultivating a habit of thankfulness helps us avoid a me-centered life. We keep in sight the ways God has blessed us. And we realize how much others around us contribute to our well-being. Thanksgiving should not be just a day on the calendar for believers. It should be a way of life.

— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Faith Discovery Church (Assemblies of God) in Washington, N.J.

 

 

 

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