God's View of Your Attitude

Posted on 08/03/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
with Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice


BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name

For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name


STILL

Hide me now, under Your wings
Cover me, within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

Find rest my soul, in Christ alone
Know His power, in quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


As I sit here, off to my left, I can hear a lawn mower running. To the right, I can hear the refridgerator running. In this room, I can hear the computer fans spinning and the hard drives crackling. And behind it all, is glorious silence.

Okay, so today we're going to talk about how you can deal with waiting in line at Walmart.

Well, not really. As far as I know. But seriously, I've noticed lately how many anointed, Godly men I know who, when it comes to traffic or long lines, tend to look through awefully carnal eyes. And I can relate, just from a very short time ago.

A lot of us put certain people up on pedestals, and without thinking about it, I think we expect that they go around all day, in every situation, walking in perfect holy peace.

And then we hear them complain about the weather. More rain, how aweful. More snow, how completely unacceptable. The sun's too hot. The wind is too strong.

And then something they consider really wonderful happens, and they are suddenly "in the spirit."

A little note here that I'm not talking about anyone. Not anyone in particular. Rather, I'm talking about a whole lot of us.

Wait just a minute... I'm not going to talk about having a thankful attitude, am I? Haven't we talked about that enough already? Maybe we should change our motto to, "ALM CyberChurch -- where we complain about complaining, gripe about griping, and are unthankful that people aren't thankful enough."

Well, I'll make you a deal. When I stop seeing and hearing Christians grumble and complain, I'll stop reminding us all that God has killed quite a few people because He hates that junk so much.

Seriously though, those of you here seem like the choir. If I had to pick a word to describe you, it might be beautiful, or Godly, or overcomers. There are so many victors here today. Some of you have constant opportunity to become bitter, to complain, and to get really nasty. But you are amazing. And your relationships with God show their fruit in your life. Not because you're perfect, but because you are walking with Jesus.

But, you see, there are a bunch of heathens who aren't here with us, listening to this message, who aren't so spiritual.

And for you who are listening at some other time or place, I hope you realize I'm simply having a little fun. So if you don't leave, I promise I'll pick on your some more.

Seriously though, why is complaining such a universal problem, even in the Church? Yes, it is. And I don't believe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.

After all, God hates complaining. No, really. And I don't mean He kind of wishes we wouldn't do it, but He understands, so it's okay that we do.

He understands that we're tired of the food we have to eat.

He understands that we just don't like the rain and that it totally ruined our plans.

He understands that we hate waiting in line, and we have to be somewhere quickly, and people are being stupid and inconsiderate.

After all, I'm not even saying anything bad. I'm too close to the car in front of me, and I feel as though my head might pop any minute now, but I'm not SAYING anything.

And when that person, who's probably on drugs and food stamps just because he looks like he might be and I'm unhappy with him so he looks even MORE like he might be, when he's holding eveyone up by counting out a jar full of coins to pay for his food, and he's too fat anyway and doesn't NEED any more food, and then he pulls out a bunch of coupons that are so crumpled that the cashier can't get them to scan and has to punch in the bar code numbers on each one... Well, I'm not SAYING a single word. I'm keeping it all in. So I'm not complaining, right? After all, complaining is limited to WORDS, and I must SPEAK those words OUT LOUD, right? Complaining can't possibly be an attitude or a state of mind, and if it were, God understands anyway. I'm only human.


The Israelites were only human. And they were going through some tough stuff.

All they had to eat every day and every night, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, day after day, week after week, month after month, was one ingredient. They made bread out of it. And whatever else they could think of. But how long can you live on nothing but bread and water? Wouldn't ANY of us grumble, at least just a little bit, maybe even just as a strong feeling on the inside? I mean, no coffee? Not even a little bit of bacon?

And they were in the wilderness, living in tents. Nothing but bread and water. Surely they were entitled to feel as though they were having a bad day, weren't they?

Well, let's read about it.

Numbers 11:1, 4, 10a (NKJV)

1 Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.

Woah... Wait a minute... Okay, let's just let that one slide. There's not much we can say about that.

4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: "Who will give us meat to eat?"

That's a reasonable request, isn't it? Just one chicken leg. Come on now, we're dying from protein deficiency. Maybe just one onion. ANYTHING besides this bread!

10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused.


God wasn't amused. But from the perspective of the Israelites, they were going through some really tough times. I don't want to beat this poor dead horse, but I mean, think about it. Bread and water. That's what they fed to prisoners where they were allowed to treat them like criminals, right? If you were thrown in a dungeon, you'd expect you might just get bread and water to eat and drink.

We know from the Scriptures, especially the teachings of Jesus, that the outside matters to God only because it shows what's happening on the inside. So it would be safe to say that God didn't like the fact that the Israelites were feeling all blue and deprived about having to live on bread and water.

Well come on now, God! Cut the people some slack! Maybe your sense of what's acceptable just isn't as refined... as... well, as mine.


Numbers 21:4-6 (NKJV)

4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.
5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."
6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.


You see, the people had everything they needed. God sent them bread to eat. God gave them water to drink.

"Yeah, but that was miraculous provision from God." Indeed it was. But so is the food YOU have to eat. And so is the water YOU have to drink. So is the place YOU have to live.

Are you stuck in traffic? You're there in the car God gave you. Complaining that your car isn't somewhere else.

Are you waiting in a unreasonably long, slow line at Walmart? God gave you the money to purchase what you're waiting in line to buy. God gave you the people who are in front of you. God gave you the cashier. "Yeah, but it's only ONE cashier!" Yep, that's exactly how many cahiers God gave you.

"But that person at the front of the line is taking up way too much time!" God gave you THAT person, too. I mean, the devil didn't create him, did he? "No, but I think the devil sent him here!" If so, then maybe the devil sent YOU there too, because you just happen to be in line right here and right now where you're waiting for that person. Surely, if God were directing your steps as He promises He will do for the righteous man or woman, then he would have sent you to a faster store, or SOMETHING would be different.

Everything is not how you think it should be. And so God didn't give you this time in this place. It's not how you think a pleasant thing should be, so God's not in it. Or if He is, then He must just be really testing me, trying to teach me something. In other words, regardless of the details, this is a bad circumstance.

In other words, I have the right to have an attitude of complaining. Especially if I say, "Yeah, okay, thank God.... because eventually I won't be waiting in line anymore."

Of course, you're still complaining, regardless of what you do or don't say.

And God doesn't like it. He hates it. It is completely in opposition to His nature. And it is a slap in His face.

Let me be very clear on this issue: Regardless of the details of your moment-to-moment circumstances, whether the devil is in there somewhere doing something; regardless of all the details, your right here and right now is ALWAYS a gift from God. God ALWAYS gives you everything you need. He is ALWAYS right there before you, behind you, above you, beneath you, on your every side, and blazing in glory inside you.

But you get lost in your carnal thinking. Craving to be in another time -- like Friday. Yearning to be in another place -- like.... not at Walmart. Wishing things weren't like they are right here and right now. Labeling this person as a welfare junkie, or that person as a jerk. Labeling the store management as hateful and stupid because they don't have enough lines open for you.

But I promise you this, and I can do so because I've done this myself: if you take your attention out of the thoughts your carnal mind is throwing at you, and you stop labeling everything, and you stop judging everything, and you come fully into the present moment and just let everything be as it is without critisizing it, in that inner silence, that inner stillness, standing in line will become a very pleasant experience. Your mind won't think so, but you are not your mind, and you're not getting caught up in it.

You see, that's the thing. I believe that before we ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we weren't controlled by our minds. We could use them, of course, and we know God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call them. So we could use our minds to label things.

But then we ate the poison. Our minds were made ill. And the knowledge of good and evil turned that mind, that used to be our tool, into our god.

If our mind tells us that such-and-such is of the devil, it doesn't matter if the Bible clearly says it is.

There are lots of Christians who call us CCM junkies (CCM stands for Christian Contemporary Music), because we use drums with our worship, and those drums play a certain kind of rhythm that supposedly summons demons.

Seriously. I'm not making this up.

I've been called a false prophet because we have church on Sunday instead of Saturday. I'm not sure how that makes me a prophet of ANY kind, false or otherwise, but their minds tell them it is so, and they believe it.

Of course that's none of us. WE have it all together. We don't condemn people because we don't like their style of worship music, or because of the day on which they meet with other believers.

Right. Of course we're on the right side of everything. Just like Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV) says:

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

"Well my heart is good!" I believe it is. But my opinion doesn't really matter. Does it.


Now, my intention is NOT to make anyone feel bad. That generally doesn't result in anything good. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction, it is pure and right, and it is accompanied by clear direction and the grace to follow that direction.

So if the Holy Spirit reveals to you that you might be drawn into a spirit of grumbling and complaining by your carnal mind, then that's a good thing.

What I would say about that is the same thing written in Philippians 2:14 (NKJV):

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing.

That includes waiting in line. Even when... well, who cares about the story on which the mind embelishes as its thoughts make you miserable.

Miserable. Why? Because you're caught up in them. You take them seriously. You forget that your mind is ill. ALL our minds are ill. They have been ever since that forbidden fruit. That poison fruit.

And when I said that waiting in a long line at Walmart can be a very pleasant experience, I know this from first-hand experience. I also know from first-hand experience how miserable it can be to be waiting in the same line while trapped in the mind.

And the only difference between the two is not the details, but the awareness. When you're lost in your sick mind, it will fight against what it doesn't think is ideal, as it fights to get away from the present moment and into a time it thinks is better at a place it thinks is more desireable.

Poor miserable mind. It really is sad. And I don't know about you, but I think I would be much better off if I stopped identifying with it, and with its endless chatter, and with its endless labeling, its endless complaining, its endless dissatisfaction.

Actually, I DON'T "think" I would be better off. Instead, I KNOW that I AM better off.


Now, if you've been listening and awake and undistracted enough the last few weeks, you might suppose that I've somehow come to the conclusion that the mind is a horrible thing and that we shouldn't think. Ever. At all.

Let me think about that for just a minute.


Here's what the Bible tells us about the complaining nature of our minds:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Not "in everything SAY thanks." Or "DESPITE everything, give thanks." But "in everything give thanks," and Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV) says, "giving thanks always FOR all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

And let me tell you: just "being present" wherever you are while fully surrendering to what is, not labeling it, not judging it, not fighting it; that creates an atmosphere inside you that cannot imagine NOT giving thanks in and for all things. Not just WORDS of thanks, but a FEELING of thanks. An attitude of thanks. A deep peace and a joy that bubbles up within you.

In fact, the last time we had to wait in line a long time at Walmart, we were buying one bottle of water. And I guess we waited a long time. I was just standing there, aware of the life in my body, hearing the sounds all around me, feeling the colors on the walls, not labeling anything, not thinking about anything, not off in some other time and place, just inwardly silent and still. And when we got to where the cashier was, I sensed her feelings of being lost in an angry mob as it drains her of life. And our eyes met. In an appropriate way, she could have been my mother. But I had no thoughts pulling me away. I had no judgments about her. I saw the radiant life that she is. And her face changed. She almost apologized that we had to wait so long for just that one bottle of water. And I smiled and joyfully said that it was a pleasant time, and I was enjoying the sounds.

No, I didn't stop and give her the Gospel message. But I might have helped bring her, even if just for a moment, out of a seemingly endless, dark whirlpool of the compulsive thoughts of the carnal mind. And even if for just a fleeting moment, she felt the lightness, the joy, the peace. And since I was in that place with God, she was touched by Him.

It's easy to think that if we don't at least say "God bless you" or "Jesus loves you," then we didn't witness to anyone. But witnessing isn't just about speaking. That's important, and it's the preaching of the Gospel that is the power of God unto Salvation. But there are people who go around constantly speaking about their preferred presentation of the Good News, who aren't necessarily being led by the Holy Spirit.

God won't always lead you to speak. Sometimes He will lead you to smile. To give someone a moment of peace. To let someone know that it IS possible to have peace and joy even in a long line at Walmart. And if there is that kind of unbroken peace and joy, if there is that kind of eternal goodness that is untouched by all the stories and the dramas all round, then maybe there is a God, and maybe there is hope for them, hope that if they seek for Him, they just might find Him.


But you won't have that if you're lost in the carnal mind's atmostphere of complaint. And what you do not have yourself, you cannot give to others.


Let's go ahead and close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, and ministry.

You're all invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front if you wish, as we gather at the front for some corporate prayer and seeking.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message one of us; or if you're listening at some other time or outside of Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way into the room up the steps to your left, when you're ready, and we'll meet there in a few minutes for some fellowship.

Come, and let's allow whatever the Holy Spirit has spoken to you, to sink in deep, as we spend some more time in His presence.