by Steve Martin
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.” (Psalm 18:25-26, NKJV)
Why would anyone write a message about ugly toads? Maybe just to get your attention? Often you know it works. Headlines glare at us from everywhere, so a shrewd man will use one which just might cause a head to turn, even if out of curiosity. Or to make you click on that phone app, which has become the social life we live.
So now that I have gotten your eyes reading this, let me share something that I have come to realize over a few decades. It will give you something to think about further. Trust me.
Let’s start with the word perspective. It is how one looks at things. It is a viewpoint. Often it determines how we speak. How we act. It often dictates whether we give thanks in a situation or just grumble as we have before.
One of the things I disliked about our 7 years of life we endured while living in south Florida, from 1987-1994, was the attitude of the old people. As a young man in my mid 30’s, I so wanted to look up to them, find good examples, and model my life after them, being they had lived and survived many years. Surely, they wanted to share that life experience with the next generation.
But I had great disappointment. Many had relocated from the north, to finally “rest” in their retirement years, and to basically finish off the life they hated elsewhere. Often it really seemed that they just moved there to come and die. They had been beaten down, worn out, sick of life and those around them, and they showed it.
At least that is what I saw, and I wanted none of it. You just didn’t want to be around them. And they certainly didn’t want you and your kids messing with their “quiet” years or with their accumulated wealth, which didn’t seem to give them much enjoyment.
When I encountered many of these old people, in quite a few cases they had become bitter, discontent, tired of relations, and wouldn’t think of having others intermingle with them. They basically just wanted to die. Believe me, that was how I viewed them. The ones I encountered did little to counter my observed vision. Little wonder my good wife and I called living there those “7 years in hell”.
How we see things is most often tainted and marred by the attitude that has settled in the heart. We get hurt. We bear a grudge. We are wounded. We let it fester for decades. Forgiveness is certainly not the first, or last, position to take. At least it is if you live that gospel.
The Bible says that from out of the heart flows that which comes out the mouth, exposing and revealing what really is behind the plastered smile.
As Jesus Himself spoke, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." (Mark 7:21-23, NASU)
He got that most certainly right. That which has been festering, causing embitterment, pushing out sin and shame – all come from within our heart. We can have the best living situation in the world; live on the most beautiful island in the Pacific; have the greatest and the grandest – and yet if we don’t have the inner peace and joy of knowing and following the Lord, our hearts will ultimately cause the death of our spirit and our soul. You can see it all around you.
Simply observe how people react to the weather, especially if it is adversely affecting their day. They may not say it out loud, but inwardly they are cursing the Creator (though they won’t acknowledge Him and instead call it “Mother Nature”, which is, by the way, a false god.) Rather than giving thanks for having rain, snow, wind, and sun for the good of the earth, or if the temperature is too hot or too cold (the porridge just has to be right, all the time!), you often hear the complaints coming forth. It is what is in their hearts, flowing out of their mouths and revealing their true attitudes.
“Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, "Amen." Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 106:47-48, NASU)
No, this message may not be about ugly toads, but by the way we conduct ourselves, if we aren’t more grateful and appreciative of all that we have, and acknowledge the goodness of the Lord as He directs our steps, then we will most certainly become as one.
And who really likes being around ugly toads? Or becomg one?
Now think on this,
Love For His People, Inc.
P.S. Want an adventure walking on short adventures? Check this out: "Walk With Me" video series with Steve Martin.
Want an adventure walking on short adventures? Check this out on our YouTube channel: "Walk With Me" video series with Steve Martin.
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Now Think On This #382 - in the year of our Lord 01.19.19 – “Ugly Toads” – Sat. 4:30 pm