calendar 2013 - Highland Park Church of God

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calendar 2013 - Highland Park Church of God
May 2013
Dear Church Family and Friends,
I have a confession to make – I am a recovering “Dittohead”. What does that word mean to you?
Well, to those who follow Rush Limbaugh’s programming (I used to watch his TV show regularly) –
Dittoheads were a group of folks that would say the word “Ditto” as an affirmation that they agreed
with Rush’s view on a particularly topic (usually political). There were Dittohead mugs, hats, and
shirts you could purchase to show that you were a part of the group. What I finally discovered as I
watched his show was that over time I became increasingly negative in my outlook about what was
going on in our World and this Nation. When the TV show went off the air, I stopped watching and
noticed that my attitude about the world and our nation became less and less negative as I stopped
listening to all the negativity. There is far more right about our world and nation than there is wrong.
As I read through the book of Numbers in the month of April, I was reminded of how the Lord looks
at all of His People’s griping, grumbling, and complaining about things. Let’s see – the folks
complained about no meat and the Lord gave the Israelites quail until it made them sick of eating it.
Miriam (a prophetess) complained about Moses’ Cushite (foreign) wife and the Lord made her
leprous for a week – she had to live outside of the community because she grumbled about the
leadership’s choices. Next Korah (a priest) complained about Moses’ being God’s chief
spokesperson (after all he had been set apart for the Lord’s service). Korah amassed a dissident
following that all were charbroiled by God at the tent of meeting. In the 21st chapter, folks started
grumbling again about the food that the Lord was providing, and God sent poisonous snakes to bite
the grumblers – the Lord also provided a bronze serpent lifted up on a staff as the means for
surviving the snakebite, if the person bitten looked to it for deliverance. Jesus alludes to this in John
3:14, right before the famous John 3:16 passage. The lesson to be learned is that God’s desire has
always been to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of His People. God will always honor His
Commitment to do so. God never has promised to do things “our way” or in accordance with “our
will” or as we “deem best. “ What the Israelites needed to do was to recognize what the Lord was
providing and to receive with gratitude, those things provided by God’s hand. It is really a question
of trusting in God’s goodness and good plan for our lives, unfolding in accordance with God’s will
and wisdom. So why do we grumble? I think that it is a by-product of the Fall – we think that we
know what is really good or bad for our lives (the knowledge of good and evil), but we lack God’s
“big picture” perspective on things so we can never be absolutely certain about whether something is
the best thing for our lives based upon our human assessment. Unfortunately, we still seem prone
to believe that we can make those assessments accurately. Instead, what we need to do is to trust
God’s Good Character and Perfect Plan for our lives. The antidote to griping and grumbling about
our lot in life is another “gr” word – GRATITUDE. Having a grateful heart and spirit is not something
that is promoted in the media or in most settings these days, but it is essential to receiving and
recognizing God’s blessings in our lives. Let us commit ourselves to speak encouraging words of
gratitude and thanksgiving to one another each day. Let us truly give thanks for God’s blessings and
God’s work in our lives (even if God allows us to be shaped by suffering and trials for our spiritual
growth or benefit). I suppose that on this side of heaven, that I will always be a recovering
“Dittohead” to some degree – but admitting my problem is aiding in my recovery from negativism and
grumbling. May we all learn a lesson from the Israelites’ errors and decide to cultivate a gratitude
attitude in our lives. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!
Growing by God’s grace,
Pastor Bill

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