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Progress is always possible with help from the Lord

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POSTED: July 26, 2010 1:25 p.m.
“Man, it’s hot!”
I don’t know how many times I have heard that lately. And I’ve said it a few times, too. Of course, we do live in South Georgia. You should expect hot weather in June and July. And August is still on the way.
Sometimes I complain about how hot it is. But then my wife reminds me of the winter we “enjoyed” where we had 16 consecutive days when the high temperature never reached 0 Fahrenheit. At the time we lived in an 80-year-old house with very little insulation. The gas bill for heat that month was more than $350. I have to be honest. I can tolerate the heat.
It really is funny that we talk about the weather, and complain about the weather, and wonder when the weather will change. But the fact is that we can do nothing about it. There is nothing that I can do to induce it to rain, to refrain from raining, to warm up or to heat up. I am not in control of the weather.
And yet there are things that I can change, and I too often ignore them altogether. I can change the way I treat others, whether my family, the clerk in the store or the waitress in the restaurant. I can change my attitude when driving in traffic. I can change the tone of my voice, even if I am a bit frustrated.
But here’s the problem. It’s easier to complain about the things I cannot change than it is to change the things that I can. To speak kindly every time I open my mouth requires discipline and grace.
Oh, I can speak kindly to you when you do what I want you to do. But what about those times when the waiter brings me the wrong food or the food is late? I can drive merrily down the highway when there is no traffic, but what about when there has been a wreck on I-16 just before Dean Forest? That will change your perspective.
And yet…
The Bible says, “God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” That does not mean that He is stubborn and unwilling to yield. Rather it means that He is consistent. We can count on Him. And that’s what the world needs from us. Our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends, and others need for us to be consistent. They need for us to live in a godly manner, no matter what comes our way.
I can’t do that on my own. But with the Lord’s help I can make progress. I pledge to be kinder, to be gentler, and to be more loving, just this week. If I make it that far, I will work on the next week.
I think I can do it, not because I’m special. But I can do it because Christ lives in me. God help us all to live in that way.
 

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