Wow! What an awesome day!! Hope your day is starting out filled with praise!! I'm sitting up here on the outside pews at Triple C, listening to hundreds of birds chirping and praising Him!! At least, I think that's what all the chirping means! I know that ornithologists (birds experts! I had to look it up, folks…) say that bird chirps have different meanings…Their chirps can be territorial ("Hey! That's my branch! Those are my worms! You get the heck out of this yard!! Go chirp yourself!")…or their chirps can have significance in the whole feathery world of mating (as in, "Hey, honey. You're quite a chick…Why don't you come over and check out my nest?…") But I just believe that what they're really chirping is love for Jesus! As the Apostle says, "…their Lord and ours!" (1 Cor 1.2)
Y'know, for some, praise just isn't that habit that automatically comes gushing out of the heart and bursting out in your words. And new habits take work!
The other day, Tina and I were driving on Cedar Bluff Road with a backseat full of grand kids. There was a car beside us at the red light. In the passenger seat was an elderly granny…about eighty-some…smoking a cigarette. For some reason, it seemed to me that there was something…I dunno…weird about it. "Is that a cigarette? In your eighties and still smoking? Wait, Is it a pen?" (Normally, I'm not this nosey about what's going on in the car next-door…)
Then she took a drag…uh…puff…whatever you call it. Then I realized it was a plastic cigarette-y thing. Tina said it's a new invention for a person who's trying to quit. It makes you feel like you're smoking but you're not. It's steam coming out. You're not smoking, you're steaming. It gives you clouds of something to blow, some -but increasingly less- nicotine, a little of the "feel", but none of the emphysema, until you can finally quit!
"Wow! I thought, "What a brave person! After probably seventy years, she's trying to finally give it up!" ('Course, I'm assuming she was eighty-some. Might have been in her forties, but looked eighty from being smoked out all those years)
My five-year-old grandson Henry added from his car seat, "It's really hard to quit sucking your thumb. I bet it's hard to quit sucking cigarettes, too!"
I hope the fake cig works! I did wonder about the wisdom of the faux smoke plan, though. It seems to me that in the Scriptures, when you are trying to quit one thing, it IS important to do something else instead. BUT most of the time, it's not something that's like what you're quitting. Most of the time, the other thing you start doing instead of the thing you don't wanna do, is NOT at all like what you WERE doing! It's more like the opposite!
Like instead of smoking, don't "pretend smoke"! Run a mile! Sing! Swim those laps! It's the opposite! And better!
…Or take where Paul says, "Don't be anxious! Pray with thanks, instead!" (Phil 4.8-9) Instead of worrying, give thanks! It's not like worry at all! Complaining would be more like worrying! Giving thanks is the opposite of worry! It's the perfect substitute!
Instead of hating your enemies, "pray for them!" (Matt 5.44) To quit one thing, do the opposite of it!
"If you used to steal stuff, don't do that anymore! Work with your hands instead!" (Eph 4. ) It's the perfect substitute 'cause it's the opposite! Later he says, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving!" There it is again! Thanks substitutes for worry AND telling dirty jokes!
If you're trying to quit something bad, don't trade it for something like it, but, as they say on Monty Python, "for something completely different!"
I got thinking about this the other day when I read something our Lord yelled (in a storm!) to His guys…Matthew 14, verse 27…"Guys! Take courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid!”
Did you catch it? "Don't be afraid! Do something else instead!"
"Do what instead!?"
"What does that mean?"
"Glad you asked!"
Experts tell us that the word Matthew wrote, in the language he originally wrote it in, for "take courage" means, "to be emboldened from within" – that is, bolstered within, supporting unflinching courage – literally, to radiate warm confidence (exude "social boldness") because you are warm-hearted…"
Instead of being afraid, be bold!!
Don't just try to stop being afraid! Sing! If you're afraid of a conversation you need to have, GO HAVE IT! With all your heart! If you're worried about not having enough money, trust God and give some away! If you're anxious about what people think of you, trust God and say, "Good morning! How are you?" to the next person you see!
Better yet, give 'em a big hug!
Well…maybe not!...But you get the idea!
To quit one thing, do the opposite!
Don't smoke! Run around the block!
Don't keep yelling at your kids! Laugh with them!
Don't talk about someone! Call 'em and encourage them! Write 'em a note! Tell 'em God loves them!
Don't hold a grudge against someone! Forgive everyone you can possibly think of!
Don't worry about one thing! Thank God for 37 things!!
Don't be afraid! Praise! Sing! In your car! In your house! In your office! At the mall! Maybe someone will think you're nutty! Who cares!?
Don't chirp bossy things! Chirp His praises!
It may sound the same to some…but it ain't!
Blog: Tom Job