Attitude Crash

From the Preceptor Archives

Had An Attitude Crash?

Warren E. Berkley

Have you ever had an attitude crash? Here’s what I mean. Things build up. You begin the day not feeling well, then everything that happens seems to make you feel worse. You keep doing what you have to do, but there is the ugly mess growing inside you with every additional pressure and stressful event. It may be compared to having a bucket inside you. The bucket can contain only so much junk, then it happens. You have an attitude crash which may express itself in an explosion of vile language, treating someone with conspicuous coldness, violence, indifference to someone trying to get your attention, a rash statement or insult, or just walking away from your present responsibility. This could be called an attitude crash. I don’t believe there are very many people who can claim they’ve never had one. What kind of Bible teaching might be applied to this common problem?

  1. I need to understand at the beginning of every day – the devil wants my attitude to crash. He will attempt to maneuver and seduce me into this, because he knows it will achieve his aim, which is to pull me away from God and into sin. It will help for me to get up everyday knowing I have such an enemy, and watch for his wiles. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Pet. 5:8,9).
  2. I need to realize that the closer I stay to God, the less likely such a crash will occur. I stay close to my God through prayer, Bible reading and study, meditation and good association with His people. If I worship with the saints on a regular basis, that will help. In that collective worship I need to be sincere, involved and reverent. As I grow in diligence and participation with God and His will, I actively prevent an attitude crash. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psa. 119:11).
  3. My great spiritual leader never had an attitude crash! Jesus “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth … when He was reviled, [He] did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” If I am a Christian, He is “the Shepherd and Overseer of [my] soul,” (see 1 Pet. 2:22-25). It is amazing! Under all the pressure of ridicule, violence, illegal trials, false accusations and then a painful death – He “did not revile in return!” He is our example, our leader and the overseer of our souls.
  4. As I read and study the New Testament, I am warned to monitor my attitude constantly. I am to “be renewed in the spirit of [my] mind, and … put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” I am taught to be angry but “do not sin,” neither “let the sun go down on [my] wrath, nor give place to the devil.” In this same passage: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” And “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you,” (see Eph. 4:23-32).
  5. I do not have to sin! “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it,” (1 Cor. 10:13).
  6. The love described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7 is another preventive measure I can take. If I suffer long; if I’m kind, not envious and not puffed up, this behavior keeps me from an attitude crash. If I refrain from rude behavior, avoid provocation and think no evil, this helps keep my heart pure and calm. If I have decided not to rejoice in iniquity, but to rejoice in the truth, these are the qualities that keep me from the crash. Watch out! Don’t surrender to an attitude crash.

Book Review – The Joy of Growing Old in Christ (by Dee Bowman)

Book Review by Warren Berkley

THE JOY OF GROWING OLD IN CHRIST

by Dee Bowman

It seems necessary to say, I’ve known Dee Bowman and consider him a close friend and mentor going back about 45 years. We first met in Arkansas where Dee came to hold meetings (early 70s). While I am younger than Dee, we knew – in those early days – we would get older. We just didn’t talk about it. It is different now. I’m reading and talking about it. Dee is writing about it in his new book, THE JOY OF GROWING OLD IN CHRIST (Available through Florida College Bookstore).

This is not a typical recital of all the foibles of aging; not a primer on how to navigate the Medicare system; not a denunciation of young people or exaltation of senior wisdom. This is classic Dee Bowman truth from Scripture that encourages and equips us to think of aging with righteous values and hope in view.

“Joy” is in the title and in the book, page after page, for senior saints to grasp and for junior saints to appreciate and develop in the present.

Here are some samples:

Your light doesn’t change because of advancing years. You still have an influence, and in some instances a greater opportunity to let it shine for the good of others. It would be a sad thing – indeed, if your light were allowed to dim when it could still shine.

[From the back cover] – Thus, this book They Joy Growing Old in Christ, has come into being. He maintains that growing old can be a joyful experience for every Christian who will accept it with a willing mind. He writes of the joy that comes from being in Christ; the joy of a married couple as they grow old together; of continuing to grow in knowledge of God’s word; of going on, enduring and finishing well (and much more). As you read it, you will be stirred by a fresh perspective on serving the Lord toward the end of life’s day.

Dee cites examples of real people; provides rich exposition of Scripture; applies principles of wisdom and in all of this, he is urging us to be looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. I highly recommend this book for everybody. Young People! Read it now, before the silver cord begins to snap.

4 Things to Remember

Berksblog Update – In a few days, my son, Herb, will begin contributing material on a periodic basis.

(Dee Bowman from a ’99 issue of Christianity Magazine)

FOUR THINGS TO REMEMBER

1. Who you are (Galatians 3:26).

2. Why you are here. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

3. Where you’re going (Joshua 23:14).

4. What to expect (Hebrews 6:19–20).

Source: Bowman, D. (1999). That’s Life. Christianity Magazine, 16(2), 24.

Am I The Problem?

Am I the Problem?

1 Kings 18:17, 21:20, 22:8

by Drew Nelson

[Originally published in Expository Files 21.12, Dec. 2014]

Ahab was a bad man and an even worse king. The author of Kings stresses that his wickedness was not just undesirable, but worse than every Israelite king before him. “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord…to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). He built and worshipped idols, married the evil Jezebel, and led Israel further away from God than they had ever been before. Yet these were just the beginning of Ahab’s issues. At the root of Ahab’s impiety was a hard heart that refused to evaluate himself or listen to godly counsel. Ahab never asked himself, “am I the problem?”

Because of the king’s wickedness, the prophet Elijah told Ahab that there would be a multi-year drought. When they met again Ahab jeered Elijah, “is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Elijah set him straight, telling him, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have…because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals” (v18). Ahab blamed Israel’s trouble on Elijah, never considering his own culpability.

After Jezebel’s conspiracy against Naboth to acquire his vineyard and Ahab’s complicity, Elijah approached Ahab again. This time Ahab wryly asked Elijah, “have you found me, O my enemy?” (1 Kings 21:20a). Again, Elijah set him straight, saying, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord” (v20b). Ahab considered God’s prophet to be his enemy, never considering his own evil heart.

After Jehoshaphat insisted on a prophet that was not a “yes man”, Ahab replied, “there is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord…but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8). Ahab never considered why all the prophecies concerning him were evil. Never did he wonder, “perhaps the prophecies about me are evil because I am evil.” Ahab constantly blamed his problems on everyone but himself.

Ahab’s shirking still plagues mankind. He continually assumed that everyone but him was the issue. Bad things were happening all around him, but he could only blame Elijah. Never did he stop and ask, “am I the problem? Maybe I have something to do with all this trouble that constantly surrounds me.”

Have you ever known anyone like this? Imagine a man who is involved in multiple traffic accidents each year. Police officers know him by sight because they pull him over so often. Everywhere this man drives people honk and yell at him. And this is the conclusion the man comes to: “why are all these other people such terrible drivers? The police are out to get me!” Every accident is the other driver’s fault in his telling. Never does he stop and ask, “am I the problem?” He never even entertains the thought the he might be the terrible driver.

It is easy to recognize this problem in others. But will we recognize it in ourselves? When we are in constant conflict with people or feel like we are being continually persecuted, our first question ought to be, “am I the problem?” If conflict and controversy have been the story of my life, that probably says more about me than everyone else (it did with Ahab). Humility, honesty, and self-evaluation are in order—all things Ahab never practiced. Conflicts among brethren would be very short-lived (non-existent?) if all parties asked themselves, “am I the problem?”

Silent Speech

Silent Speech?

Dee Bowman

There’s such a thing, I think, as “silent speech.” We can say things without ever saying a word. Don’t we often say, “that says something about him” when not a word was uttered? May I suggest some things you can say without a podium or a soapbox?

Say something to others by how you speak. If you speak with a clean tongue at all times and on all matters, you say something about yourself. A filthy mouth bespeaks a foolish heart.

Say something to others by what you wear. Sloppy dress suggests something about you. Provocative clothing says something, too. And so does proper attire. Clothing speaks.

Say something to others by how you act. Everybody wants a good time, but when fun goes ballistic and restraint goes out the window, it speaks volumes about who and what you are.

Say something to others by your choice of associates. Stay long enough with the wrong people and you’ll become like them. Stay with good folks and you’ll be influenced their good manners. Who you’re with speaks considerably to what you’ve chosen to be.

Say something to others by where you go. If you go places where evil is king, it says you don’t care. If you’re the only one on your block who attends worship services on Lord’s Day, it says to your neighbors that you want to worship Him, to recommend Him, to follow him. If you don’t ever attend it says you’re like everybody else, you don’t care to be there.

Need I say more?

Signs of Marriage Trouble

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You Know A Marriage Is In Trouble When …

Warren E. Berkley

Originally published 2008

Both tell the counselor that the other one is the problem. Counselors and preachers often have this experience. The husband says, “she is really a problem,” and the wife says, “the whole trouble is him!” When the report of conflict is dominated by “me” and “what I need” and “what I deserve,” you know there is trouble. When husband and wife verbalize selfish concerns, absent concern for children or obedience to God, you know there is trouble. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others,” (Phil. 2:3,4).

There is greater interest outside the home than in the home. In an episode of the Dr. Phil Show, he interviewed a man who was obsessed with his hobby, using a metal detector to find “treasure” just under the surface of the ground. The host of the show pointed out to him: “your wife is a treasure; your children are a treasure.” When recreation, nightlife, social engagements, hobbies and other things outside the home take priority over the marriage, there is trouble. “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband,” (Eph. 5:33). “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered,” (1 Pet. 3:7).

The kids know there is a problem. Children, even toddlers, are far more perceptive than many parents acknowledge. One of the saddest spectacles on earth is to see children hurting over the bitter conflict their parents fail to hide from them. Fathers and mothers, stop and think: You may fight and win some battle for yourself against your spouse, in a circumstance where your children are defeated by discouragement (Col. 3:21).

One or both partners are drifting from the Lord. This is often one of the “early warning signs” that trouble is soon to come. It is a fact that as long as both husband and wife are committed to the Lord, there is the best possible source of strength. And in the commitment of both to the Lord and His Word, there is a basis upon which to identify and solve problems. If this is so the contrary is true: when one or both partners drift away from the Lord, the basis of unity and permanence is weakened. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth … choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” (Josh. 24:14,15).

When there is more talk of divorce than marriage. One of the worst responses to trouble is, to threaten divorce. Look for grounds for marriage, not divorce! When you threaten divorce, you are using something God hates in an impulsive, immature effort to gain what you want (see Mal. 2:16). Do you think God is pleased, when you tell your mate you will violate God’s will? Do you think it will help your marriage and secure stability for your children, to get mad and yell about divorce?

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge,” (Heb. 13:4).

Hide Not…

The One Talent

Hide not thy talent in the earth,

However small it be;

Its faithful use, its utmost worth,

God will require of thee.

His own, which He hath lent on trust,

He asks of thee again;

Little or much, the claim is just,

And thine excuses vain.

Go, then, and strive to do thy part,

Though humble it may be;

The ready hand, the willing heart,

Are all heaven asks of thee.

– William Cutler

What’s The Big Deal?

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What’s The Big Deal?

 Warren E. Berkley

 “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)

Look at this rich promise: “…the God of peace will be with you.” So much beauty and power expressed in these few words. And if you heart is where it should be, this is immediately attractive.

But it is not automatic! You do not participate in this simply by reading the words or claiming you have the God of peace with you. Look back into the passage and context. Discover what is necessary to have this peaceful fellowship with God.

One thing you’ll see is that little word, “do.” It says, “these do,” and the God of peace will be with you.

What is to be done? The “things” we learn from the apostles! Through Paul and the other apostles of Christ, a pattern of individual behavior and collective practice was given, and it is expected that Christians follow this pattern. There is a prelude to this in the previous chapter. “Brethren, join in following my example,” and before that, “walk by the same rule,” (3:16,17). It is as Jesus said. The apostles bound on earth what had been bound in heaven and loosed on earth what had been loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:19).

What’s The Big Deal? The authority of apostolic teaching in the New Testament is widely ignored, denied or considered insignificant. This is true in the denominational world, in the “emerging church” movement, in the broader, ecumenical generic kind of “Christianity.” And in some places, among those who claim to be part of the Lord’s church. The apostolic pattern is ignored, denied or slighted. There is no reason for us to give up the word “pattern” or step back from the concept of submitting to apostolic authority. {See this in Matt. 28:18-20; John 16:13; John 17:20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:1,2; 1 Thess. 4:1-2; 1 Jno. 4:6; 2 Jno. 9.} Jesus wants us to obey the teachings giving by His apostles.

What People Think

What People Think: A Small Thing

Warren E. Berkley

From the Jan. 2017 issue of Pressing On Magazine

Do you know people who stay up at night worrying about what others think of them? Not just a passing thought occasionally, rather the habit is formed and continued, to the point of distraction and perhaps illness. (Have you heard about the preacher who stayed up at night worrying about people who were sound asleep?)

It is certainly true, we must be concerned about our influence on others. The Lord said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). I am to consider what others see in me, yet without obsessing over their conclusions or misperceptions. That may become a fine line. But Scripture is clear that we take responsibility for our influence but without getting worked up about what everybody thinks.

We cannot let people-pleasing become our priority or our source of constant anxiety. Paul said, “…with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court…,” (1 Corinthians 4:3).

Truth Connection: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10). Matthew Henry wrote: Paul “did not, in his doctrine, accommodate himself to the humours of persons, either to gain their affection or to avoid their resentment; but his great care was to approve himself to God.”

And …  if you would see into the minds of people, it might be – they are not thinking about you at all! God is.