How Do You See Things?

April 22, 2016

 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  (Matthew 6:22-23)

When you break down the word perspective, it literally means “to look through” (per = through, specto = look.)  The expression tunnel vision is a good paraphrase for perspective. People with tunnel vision see their objective as if through a tunnel; they are oblivious to all the obstacles and distractions that could keep them from accomplishing their goals and objectives.

Jesus showed us the importance of our perspective when He told us our lives can be filled with joy or with sadness.  Those two awesome opposites are determined by what Jesus calls our ‘eye.’  By the eye Jesus means how we see things. One of the most important questions you will answer is: “How do you see things?”

According to Jesus, if the way you see things is healthy and whole, your life will be filled with joy and light.  If your outlook, mindset and perspective are not healthy, but defective, your life will be filled with darkness, unhappiness, sadness and depression.

God liked to ask the Old Testament prophets:  What do you see, Elijah? What do you see, Ezekiel? What do you see, Jeremiah?  The Old Testament is filled with stories of godly people who distinguished themselves because when God asked them that question they saw what God wanted them to see.

Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) A discerning spiritual leader added these words: “Where there is no plan, the vision perishes.”  As the eagle has binocular and monocular vision, we must have a vision which continuously holds in perspective the long view of what God wants to do through us.  We must also have a plan that gives us monocular vision to keep our vision from perishing as we move forward.

Dick Woodward, from As Eagles: How to Be an Eagle Disciple


‘Stinkin Thinkin’ vs. Beatitude-based Attitudes

October 17, 2014

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”  (Matthew 6:22-23)

 The way we see things can be the difference between a life filled with light and happiness, and a life filled with darkness, unhappiness and depression. Jesus and the entire Word of God will consistently challenge our mindset and show us how we should see things.

Have you as a believer ever found yourself in a funk and realized that you needed to have an attitude adjustment?  I certainly have.  I have learned there are times when an attitude adjustment can pull me out of what I label a “pit fit.”  The two letters “AA” represent many things, but let them remind you to make regular Attitude Adjustments when needed.

There are times when the best defense is a good offense.  That is especially true when it comes to attitudes.  Instead of erecting strong defensive attitudes, the better part of wisdom is to put in place a strong offense of God ordained attitudes that will raise us above the devastating effects of “stinkin thinkin.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us that if we want to be part of His solution as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must begin by having eight attitude adjustments.  In your Bible turn to Chapter Five of the Gospel of Matthew and study closely what we call the eight blessed attitudes known as the beatitudes of Jesus.

When you understand and apply them they will make your life the light of the world!

Dick Woodward, 25 August 2011


A Prescription for Depression

February 8, 2013

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”   (1 John 3: 20)

The apostle of love gives spiritual people a beautiful definition of depression.  In the Bible the heart is related to our emotions and feelings.  When we feel condemned John tells us some very good news: God is greater than our feelings.  Our faith is not based on something as fickle as how we feel. He goes on in this passage to tell us that our faith is based on the fact that we keep our Lord’s commandment that we should love one another.

Throughout the history of the Church of Jesus Christ devout people have struggled with bouts of depression.  Some extraordinary spiritual leaders have battled depression. This battle frequently takes place in isolation because it is thought to be inconsistent with faith.  People of faith are ashamed of their depression.

While medical professionals are often pharmacologists who medicate depression rather than determine its cause, the Apostle John gives some devotional and practical counsel to a depressed believer.  As a busy pastor when I had feelings that condemned me I went on a people binge.  I often found that when I became a conduit of the love of Christ for others I affirmed this wise counsel of John.

The Holy Spirit lives in believing people.  Although your depression wants you to isolate yourself, when you love other believers the Spirit passes back and forth between you with a healing effect on both of you.  That’s why James prescribed that we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed (James 5:16).

John is prescribing something very similar when he tells us to treat our depression with loving one another.


A Formula for Living

October 10, 2012

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NLT)

There are about 75 different approaches counselors can use as they help people live their lives. One of these approaches tells us that living is as simple as ABCD.  The letter A represents adversity or the problem that a person may have. B represents the belief system of the person with the problem. C stands for the emotional consequences the person is experiencing because of their problem. And D describes the role of the counselor.

Because the economic downturn in America and elsewhere has put many people out of work and forced them to abandon their career, many counselors are hearing people say their adversity is that they have lost their jobs.  Since they get their worth and their identity from their work the emotional consequences for them is serious depression.

These people are saying their adversities are leading directly to their emotional consequences; however, the ABCD approach purports this is never true.  Rather, it is the way people process their adversity through their belief system that causes their irrational emotional consequences.   The basic idea is that if you have an irrational belief system, you will have irrational emotional consequences.  The therapist is a Disputer who challenges the irrational belief system of the client.

The counselor would dispute that belief system with statements like “We are not human doings but human beings.  We should not get our worth or our identity from our work.”

I like this approach for two reasons:  I hear Jesus saying the same thing in the verse above and you can use this formula to be your own best counselor.