Friday, June 19, 2009

Do You Have a B.A.?

Pastor Tim Howard
June 19, 2009

When I was a small boy I hated naps with a passion. My mother’s love for naps, however, greatly exceeded my hatred and I was doomed to take one each and every day. I think her love for them was rooted in the fact that she got a break from me. If the truth were known, it may have been her favorite time of the day! I recall one afternoon waking up from one of those naps and within a few minutes my mom told me to go back to bed. Curious as to why, I asked for a reason and she said, “Because you got up on the wrong side of the bed.” That didn’t make sense to me but I soon learned she was talking about my attitude. When she said I had a B.A. she wasn’t talking about a Bachelor of Arts degree from some college. Those letters stood for: BAD ATTITUDE.

Now, we talk about someone having a good or a bad attitude, a positive or a negative attitude. Regardless of your present stance, your attitude is connected to your focus and perception of life. Your reaction or response to the current circumstances only reveals your perception of life and the attitude within. One man calls it the ‘Squeeze’ principle. The pressures of life that try to squeeze you, do not create the attitude, but they do reveal it. What comes out of you when you are squeezed?

In Acts 16:22 –25 of the Bible, Paul and Silas had a challenging day. They were being squeezed! They had been preaching the Gospel in Philippi and the crowd was attacking them. They were ultimately beaten, flogged and thrown into prison. About midnight, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? They have been stripped, flogged, imprisoned, put in stocks, and now they’re singing. What’s going on here? You might expect this verse to read that Paul and Silas were having a pity party and complaining at midnight or they were blaming God and others for there current dilemma. Nothing is wrong with this scenario, however. These two men simply focused on God through singing and perceived this to be an opportunity where other prisoners could be influenced in a positive way. Their focus and perception created a positive attitude while others listened intently.

People look and listen intently to someone who stands with a positive attitude in the midst of dark times. People watch you when you’re in the midnight hours of difficulty more than any other time. Don’t forget the greatest impact of your life will often come at the time of greatest pain. Maybe you’re in a midnight crisis right now. How are you handling it? Are you like all the other prisoners, or is Christ inside of you giving you the grace to sing when you would otherwise sulk? God can change a Bad Attitude into a Positive Attitude but you may need to go back to bed, call out to Him and start the day over again. If you do, the resulting attitude will transform you and influence others. Make sure you don’t leave home unless you get up on the right side of bed.

By the way… I have learned to love naps. I wish I could take one each and every day!