For “Scripture Sunday”:
“Self-pity is the first step in a downward spiral that leads to discouragement.
Andrik Langfield Petrides/Unsplash
Self-pity is a bad way of thinking because it robs us of the ability to get on with life.
Self-pity is a luxury that we cannot afford, and it is bad for our health. The simplest cure is to count what you have left. As children, we used to hum and sing the words to “Count Your Many Blessings.” The positive frame of mind that came when we assessed what we did have rather than focused on what we did not have was always uplifting.
It is good to write your assets down on a piece of paper and think about them from time to time. We train our brains through seeing, hearing and feeling. Writing, and maybe even talking to yourself as you write, will put you in a positive frame of mind. The old question that asks, “Is the glass of water half full or half empty?” reflects this thought. Half full is positive.
Our minds are wonderfully created—perhaps the most marvelous of all the creation—but we can develop good or bad habits of thinking. Self-pity is a bad way of thinking because it robs us of the ability to get on with life. We may wallow in a sea of storms and waves in our lives and never see the sunshine and calm waters that will come.
Calm, decisive, successful action depends on clear thinking. Good thinking is not clouded with doubts and fears. One of the most powerful moments in which God reached into people’s lives was in Jesus’ first message to the masses (Matthew 5-7). He encouraged people to do something about their lives and not lose hope. He said they were the salt of the earth and were to let their lights shine so others may see. Jesus did not leave room for self-pity. He encouraged us to put all our energy into living. Never feel sorry for yourself.” From : https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/pity-me
What Must I Say or Do for God to Hear My Prayers?
“There is no prayer our Creator is unable to hear; He is all-knowing and all-seeing. God also has all power over all things, so He is not limited in what He can do in response. Our actions and attitudes can influence God's decision in granting our requests in prayer, however.
We should pray completely convinced and confident that God hears our prayer and is fully capable of answering our every request.
God has the ability to hear all prayers but obviously does not grant all requests made in prayer. What if two people entered into a contest and both prayed for victory—they both can’t be given what they want. So God must decide when to act and when not to act.
Let’s ask the question a slightly different way
Is there anything I can do, or must do to get God to grant my requests? For Him to rescue or assist me in times of distress, or get Him to use His awesome power to help me accomplish my goals?
We are instructed to pray constantly, to keep hanging in there, and to expect an answer.
There is no set formula for prayer that would obligate God to grant a request. If that were true then God would be more like a magic genie in a lamp. We cannot control or manipulate God through any words, actions or rituals. He chooses to answer, or not, as He pleases. We are specifically told not to pray like this. (Matthew 6:7-8).
How do our actions and attitudes influence God’s decision to grant a request made through prayer?
On the negative side, indifference or disobedience to His commands, violence, dishonesty, pride, and injustice create a separation between us and our Creator. God does not give attention to the prayers of people who act and think like that. He may act in mercy towards them to get their attention and lead them towards meaningful change, but He acts as He pleases (Isaiah 59:1-2).
On the positive side, taking His commands seriously and trying to live by them, seeking peace, and having honesty, humility, personal integrity, generosity and fairness—these please our Creator and draw us closer to Him. God will give careful attention to the prayers and requests of such people. He will consider our requests and choose to act, or not act, according to what is good for us. (1 Peter 3:12).
Our Father knows what is best for us
The good that God desires for us is to learn to think and act like Jesus Christ and receive the gift of everlasting life. The path to that good involves suffering and perseverance, just as it did for Jesus Christ.
Consider how Jesus prayed the night before His execution. He prayed that God the Father not require Him to endure the painful suffering and death that lay only hours ahead of Him. The request was not granted. Jesus’ long session of prayer that last night ended with His submission to the will of the Father (Matthew26:39-44). Jesus’ suffering was the only path to the greater goal: God’s desire that many children receive eternal life.
In the same manner, our sessions of prayer and our requests are often the way in which we get our thoughts, attitudes and goals in sync with the thoughts, attitudes and priorities of our Creator.
How to pray
We might pray for release from pain, sickness or suffering, or we might pray for specific blessings, and our Father is happy to give us these good things. But if granting a certain request actually held us back from achieving our full potential as an eternal child of God, would it be good for us? We must have confidence that God knows the difference between the two and can make a better decision than we alone can.
We must not give up prayer thinking we are powerless to influence events. We are instructed to pray constantly, to keep hanging in there, and to expect an answer (1 John 5:14).
We should pray completely convinced and confident that God hears our prayer and is fully capable of answering our every request (Hebrews 11:6). We should also pray with a humble attitude, understanding that what we think is best for us may not be the way to achieve the greater goal our Creator has in mind for us: growing in spiritual completeness after the pattern of Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of everlasting life.” From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/what-must-i-say-or-do-for-god-to-hear-my-prayers?source=btupdate
I knew that freezing weather was on it’s way, so Zack, my neighbor helped me do a bit of extra insulating that I hadn’t done before. I had acquired a box of that insulating window film that you put around the inside of the window and tighten with a hair dryer, and so I thought I would try it out. I knew that when I opened the blinds on the north side it always felt colder, so this might stop that. It did, and it felt cosier in there. It is invisable and it looks great. So we put it on all the northern windows in my house and the guest house.
Then on Wednesday, my daughter Wendy arrived ready to take me for my eye surgery in Conroe the next day. The surgery went OK, I guess, just sounded like someone was scraping dried cement off my eye ball, but it didn’t hurt. Then because I can’t drive for a while she took me to the eye clinic for my post-op exam on Friday. That was in Spring, TX as their Conroe office isn’t open on Fridays. They said everything looked good, but I don’t see any difference in my sight. Wendy and I had a great visit and then she went on to her daughter’s house.
On Saturday, a friend who has a unit at the storage place next door, picked me up and took me there as they were having one of their twice a month yard sale days. I helped him put a few flashy and colorful things out to attract attention, and he said that it was his best sales day ever. Several large items that he had wanted out of there for ages, were sold. He packed up the sale at his unit early as he had had enough, and took me to the afternoon church meeting starting at 2.00 pm. But then he got a phone call that someone wanted to pick up their purchases so he left me at the church, tended to that, and picked me up later.
The Teaching, Sermon, Message, call it what you will, was about “Faith vs. Work”. And do James 2:14-17 and Romans 4:1-8 contradict each other? The conclusion was NO! True faith and works are the same thing, as you can’t have one without the other, as faith produces good works. Faith without good works is dead. I hadn’t been to that church for about 6 weeks, so it was great to see everybody. Therefore, I had an enjoyable and busy day.