Take a Peale Pill!

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalm 112:4

When I was in high school I played the character of General Bullmoose in the play “Lil' Abner.” I told my secretary, “I'm not taking my Peale pills. They make me think…too positive.” The reference is to Norman Vincent Peale, the famed optimist. The optimist referred to in this verse is not merely optimistic for the sake of being up, but he's displaying the quality of his moral character.

I'll admit it, life can get you down, especially in the times we’re in now. But too much of the negative news will just wear you down completely. I think we need to guard against that. I don't say that we need to be a Pollyanna or swallow giant-sized Peale pills, but it's important to keep a healthy perspective.

Such as?

God is in control; we're not. God is not caught off guard by events. And God will give us the grace to handle anything life throws our way.

So, anyone for a bite-sized Peale pill?

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Burdensome or Blessing?

Wealth and riches are in his house; and his righteousness endures forever. Psalm 112:3

This is a verse that refers back to the previous two verses. Because a man fears the Lord, he has great wealth and riches, and it may very well be that his children are the source of those “riches.” Let me put it another way. Have you ever known a person with many children to be unhappy about it? I’ve personally known two families with 10 and 12 children each, and the parents couldn’t be more pleased with their decision to have that many children. Sure, the kids run them ragged but they are having the time of their lives raising them. They truly are wealthy families, though, as I recall, they didn’t have a lot materially.

So legacies are lived out through the children, and through their children’s children, and so on. The children may not turn out exactly like the parent had wanted, and may very often disappoint, but the legacy will still live on.

On the other hand, many parents consider their kids to be a burden, sadly. They don’t view them as the “riches” that they are, only that they are a drain on time and finances. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, but it’s not hard to spot someone who is not enjoying life with his children. I’m afraid that twenty years from now those same people will regret that they didn’t appreciate their kids more.

So, are children burdensome or a blessing? It’s probably an important question to ask as the kids grow up.

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Mighty in the Land

His [man who fears the Lord] children will be mighty in the land; each generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:2

This is a continuation of the previous verse. Each verse following will note that when a man fears the Lord, this will happen.

Many years ago, there was a commercial on television that ended with a father walking through the forest with his young son. The two sit down and rest against a tree. The father takes out a cigarette, lights it, and puts the pack on the ground. The young boy picks up the cigarette pack and looks intently into the pack. “Like Father, Like son, Think about it” were the only words the announcer said. It is has been said that religion is caught not taught. I think it’s true. The kids see the parents as they truly are, and not as the public sees them.

Do your kids see and hear you being nice to your spouse? Do they hear you bad mouthing your spouse or the pastor or co-workers? What do they see when you’re angry at another driver? Do you find fault with everything the children do and very little praise, or worse, no praise at all?

To be sure, the little ears and eyes are watching. They have the potential to be “mighty in the land,” but they might also be bitter by what they’ve seen and heard in their homes. Many reading this are doing the right things and should be encouraged to keep doing those things. It’s tough raising children. Kids aren’t expecting their parents to be perfect by any means, but they do understand love and affection and godliness and respect. They’ll take those qualities sprinkled with a few faults any day of the week.

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Presence of Greatness

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. Psalm 112:1

Have you ever been in the presence of someone truly great? The greatness I’m talking about is not someone who’s powerful or influential or famous or rich. I’m talking about someone who you admire so much that you hang on his/her every word. You write down what he/she says. Sometimes you understand everything she/he says and there are times what he/she says is a complete mystery to you. You inquire more about the person. You ask others what they know about this person. You have a reverent fear of that person. It’s not that he’ll strike you if you say something wrong, but that’s the point, you don’t want to say anything wrong. You want to impress and learn from that person. These type of people don’t want the glory or the fame for something she’s done.

That’s the kind of fear this verse is referring to. You hang on his every word (find great delight in his commands). You fear Him. You have a reverent spirit about you because you want to please Him; you want to learn from Him. And yet, you may not quite understand everything He does or says, but you want to try.

We have a golden opportunity to sit in the Presence of Greatness daily.

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.

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Perspective

The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Psalm 113:4

I love putting things into perspective especially after I’ve had a frantic day at work. We all have those days; some obviously more often than others. Then I get home and read about the news in the world; it’s enough to make me want to close myself from the world and hope they cancel tomorrow (or next month) completely.

Perspective.

You see, God is in control. I say it often enough in this space, probably more to remind me than to remind you. When you get a chance, go outside on any cloudless night and look up. That’s when we begin to see the absurdity of someone saying that God really doesn’t exist or if he does, he’s not really in control. Galaxies upon galaxies, and they’re finding new universes daily. And there’s no God?

Right, absurd.

More to the point, God is in control of your world too, as ludicrous as it might sound at the moment when the kids are screaming like crazed lunatics and the dog decides to chase the mailman while you’re on a conference call with an important client.

This too will pass and God will still be in control.

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The Fonz was Never Wrong

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Arthur Fonzarelli, affectionately known as The Fonz on the 70s TV show “Happy Days,” would never admit that he was wrong. According to The Fonz, he was never wrong. One episode shows him practicing in a mirror trying to say the word “Wrong” but he just can’t do it. To my knowledge he never did admit he was wrong.

We’re like that. Confession is good for the soul, but boy is it difficult to do when we’re embarrassed or ashamed about what we’ve done. We’ve been Christians for so long so we should’ve known better, right?

And yet, there’s forgiveness. There’s hope. There’s a clear conscience. There’s freedom when we confess. There’s even more freedom when He forgives.

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Who are We Kidding?

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Very few people in life claim to be perfect. We may joke about it being “hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way,” but we know ourselves. We know our faults better than anybody. But often, we hide our sin. God sees it all but we tend to hide it from others. Nobody wants to air our own personal dirty laundry! We think that if others see what we’re really like, they won’t accept us. The truth is, though, that we’re all like that in that way…to varying degrees obviously.

But our main concern should be to reveal ourselves and our sins to God. It seems like overkill because, well, God already knows us and what we’ve done, so what’s the point? The point is that God wants us to admit it because deep down we think even He won’t accept us if He knew! We smile at that but we know it to be true even a little. Like Adam, we hide.

Are you in doubt about whether God will accept us if we pour out our heart to him?

But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

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The Blood of Jesus

But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. That's essentially the Gospel message in a concise sentence. Men, women, and children all over the world have died horrible deaths because of that one sentence. They have risked everything to proclaim that simple message.

The upside to that is that many lives have been radically changed because of the words in that solitary sentence. Marriages have been rebuilt, addictions have been conquered, rivers full of tears have been shed, and thick chains have been loosened because of that sentence.

Without the reality of those words, all bets are off for mankind's continued existence.

But thankfully – thankfully – those words are real.

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The Journey Home

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7

Have you ever been in a room or area outside at night where it was pitch black with absolutely no light? Even after your eyes have “adjusted” to the darkness, you can’t see a thing. Nothing. You hope you don’t run into anything and your arms are searching for something-anything-familiar.

God has given us a way out of this spiritual darkness that we’ve been in, through his Son Jesus. Even as Christians there are times when we fumble through the darkness in rebellion or sheer pride, and yet we’re still going through the motions day after day, week after week. We’re living a lie and we know it. But we don’t have to live in the darkness. We can walk into God’s light and accept the forgiveness that God offers.

It’s never too late to repent; it’s never too late to turn back. The journey home is not as far as it seems. He’s waiting for you.

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