Staying Positive In A Negative World – Words to Live by
By Pastor Lonnie G. McCowan
If you haven’t noticed that we live in a negative world, you just haven’t been paying attention.
These negative influences are real evident during elections like the presidential campaign. Each party spends millions painting a picture of the worst possible scenarios for Americans if their opponent is elected. Not nearly as much is ever spent expressing hope. Add in things like sickness, the loss of a job, or marriage problems, and you can see where, over time, the pressures of the world, if allowed, can steal the love and joy from your life.
In Matthew 24:12, Jesus said this: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” He said this would be a characteristic of the end times. Jesus was saying that the negative things going on around us—not necessarily in us—would cause the love of many to grow cold.
The word “waxed” used in that scripture is really significant. It goes back to the way candles are made. A wick is dipped into hot wax and then taken out and allowed to cool for a few seconds, leaving a thin layer of wax. The process is repeated hundreds of times until the wick is buried deep within the wax.
The same is true with the heart. If we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on the evil of this world and our circumstances, then, little by little, the layers of negativity harden around our hearts, and the love for God and others waxes cold.
So, how do we stay positive in a negative world? Let me start by using this verse from Joshua 1:9—
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Here, the Lord was speaking to Joshua, who was taking over for Moses—a hard act to follow. He told Joshua to be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid or dismayed. These are opposing forces. If you are afraid and dismayed, then you are not strong and of good courage. They counteract each other. So, you’ve got to do two things and resist two things.
The word dismay means “to fill with dread or apprehension; daunt”. Can you say you have fought apprehension (“to anticipate with anxiety,” about the future?) Have the problems facing you or the nation seemed daunting (intimidating or discouraging?) If so, you have been dismayed.
God does not automatically do these things for you—He flows through you. If you get discouraged or dismayed, you stop the process. Ephesians 3:20, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
The phrase “according to” means in proportion to or to the degree of the power that is working in you. God flows through people. If you become discouraged, you stop the flow of God’s power.
Here’s a great example. In 1 Samuel, it’s the story of a terrible situation that David was facing. His father-in-law, Saul, was trying to kill him. He had been running for his life every day for thirteen years. His possessions had been burned, his wives and all of the wives and children of his men had been taken, and his own men wanted to stone him. Not a great environment! Yet it says in 1 Samuel 30:6,
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
Things looked bad. David was in a situation where everything in the natural said “Be discouraged and dismayed,” but David encouraged himself in the Lord. Do you know how he did it? He took the Word of God and began to encourage himself, and it was only a matter of hours until all God had promised him came to pass and he became king. If he had given in at that last minute, he would have lost.
I see a lot of people today who stand for a period of time and then quit. It’s like there are limits on how long they’re going to believe God. You might be thinking, well, how long am I supposed to stand? The answer is simple. You stand on the Word of God and His promises until you’re encouraged and it works. Don’t quit!
Watch Pastor Lonnie Sunday 6am, on Keyt. Ch 3 (ABC)
Here him live at the Miracle Center, 10am, Ventura CA,93003. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lonnie G. McCowan is pastor at The Miracle Center of Ventura, in Ventura, CA. He can be contacted through email at email@example.com or by visiting www.miraclecenterventura.com.