Coming in the Opposite Spirit

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I’m wrestling with an attitude problem. No, it’s not the attitude of a surly teenager at the breakfast table, or a disgruntled boss who seems impossible to please, or even the doom and gloomer media riding their own tidal wave of predicted disaster into my house. It’s my own surly attitude that wants to roll up in a ball under the duvet, shun expectations, and type nasty you-think-that’s-bad responses on my cell phone.

Ongoing health problems and extreme cold have kept me housebound for most of the past two months. I realize I need to do something to break the pattern of negativity and low expectations that I have been allowing to creep in like the cold of another frozen grey day.

I’ve heard people use the expression “coming in the opposite spirit” to describe an attitude that does not succumb to the prevailing spiritual atmosphere. This is an attitude that chooses to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable and responds to evil with good.

An example of this is found in 1 Peter 3:9:
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

On a day when I woke up sensing an atmosphere of darkness, coldness of heart, and dismal forebodings, I choose to come in the opposite spirit. I’m going to do this metaphorically here.

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The opposite season of year from today is mid-July. I went back to a file of photos labeled July, and chose some of them to post. Then I found some music from a delightful British Gardening show that carries good memories for me. This is the atmosphere I am creating on my blog today. This afternoon I think I shall peruse some online seed catalogues and make plans for the future.

Lord, to my heart bring back the springtime.

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You Wear Sunshine

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Everything I am will praise and bless the Lord!

Oh Lord, my God, your greatness takes my breath away,

Overwhelming me by your majesty, beauty, and splendor!

You wrap yourself with a shimmering glistening light.

You wear sunshine like a garment of glory.

(Psalm 104:1,2 The Passion Translation)

Tuned to His Glory

Everyone everywhere, lift up your joyful shout to God!

Sing your songs tuned to His glory!

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Tell the world how wonderful he is

For he’s the awe-inspiring God,

Great and glorious in power!

We’ve never seen anything like him!

Mighty in miracles,

you cause your enemies to tremble.

No wonder they all surrender and bow before you!

All the earth will bow down to worship;

All the earth will sing your glories forever!

(Psalm 66 The Passion Translation)

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The Formerly Splendid

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Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die. (1 John 2:15-17)

Instead

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My rose bush produced one measly flower this year, yet in the forest, untended and uncoddled, the wild roses bloom freely.

Sometimes I fret and rush about trying to make things grow when and where I decide they ought to, when really I’m not in charge at all. I can’t force relationships to bloom when and where and how I want them too either.

The roses in the woods remind me that Jesus said, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to this span of life?”

“Instead, seek his kingdom and all these things will be added to you.”

Grace and Glory

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To live by grace means to know that there is light and there is shadow in our lives. There is glory and there is shame.

But grace draws us into the light. It coaxes us out of hiding. It wakens our dormant hopes.

Grace exchanges our shame for glory.

 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

(Psalm 84:11)