Positively Negative – Where’s Norm?

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This past weekend Lead Pastor Ben Snyder stepped into Week 4 of the series “Where’s Norm?” As we apply this lesson to our daily lives, hopefully we will walk away with a deeper sense of what God wants to do in us and through us. For many of us, it would be good to focus on negativity – our own negativity, not the negativity of others.

Negativity truly can be contagious. I know for certain, I need no help with stinkin’ thinkin’! I can go to that place all by myself, quickly, without any assistance, thank you very much.

But, seriously, it takes second place to how easily I can identify the folly of others – like the leaders of the Israelites in Numbers 13.   Their negative attitude was off the charts! How clearly, they identified the obstacles before them after their 40-day exploration of the land of Canaan.

Numbers 13: 27-28
This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!”

Numbers 13:30-31
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”

The spies all saw the same thing, but the report Caleb gave differed from the others. Caleb saw opportunities for the demonstration of God’s power, as he looked through eyes of faith. The other spies saw obstacles.

It is as though Caleb knew the first “P” – purpose – taken from the four P’s referenced in William Bridges’ book “Transitions.” Caleb remembered the reason for the journey. He never lost sight of the purpose of the new beginning the Promised Land offered. His confidence in God allowed him to see past the obstacles. Similarly, when we look to God through eyes of faith, the obstacles before us diminish. If we fail to overcome our stinkin’ thinkin’  the obstacles overcome us! Or, as Pastor Ben shared, “Trash (Adjust) your attitude before your attitude adjusts trashes you.”

What are the obstacles keeping you from seeing the purpose of transitioning into new beginnings? What keeps you stuck? Who are the people holding you back from taking steps into a new beginning? What voices in your head do you need to get rid of?

Next Steps:
Write down three major obstacles keeping you from stepping into new beginnings. Write down the names of people speaking negativity into your life. Identify activities stunting your spiritual growth.


Heavenly Father, thank you for accepting me and loving me as I am. Make clear the changes most necessary for my spiritual health. Give me the wisdom, courage and strength to step away from relationships that affect me negatively. Give me the grace to speak kind words as I step away from unhealthy relationships with love. May your love and your peace penetrate my soul as I look for purpose in new beginnings awaiting my arrival. Thank you for guiding me into all truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.

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3 replies
  1. Pam
    Pam says:

    I love starting my day with the LIO devotional… what a blessing! Thanks to all who write these. It’s certainly one way to start the day on a positive note!! May God continue to guide you all and provide this tool to help hone our personal relationship with God.

  2. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    I hoped and prayed for a new position, applied, and was passed over. Three years until I can retire from this place. Ten if I leave and go elsewhere. I’m feeling stuck, undervalued, hopeless. Doing my best to accept this is God’s plan and looking for opportunities to serve and bring glory. My hope is in the Lord God Almighty. If anyone can move me God can!

  3. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    It is so easy to lose the Purpose behind the work God has called us to… whether that be at work, at home…anywhere! Also, I’ll be sure to trash my trash attitude this week! Thanks for sharing, Karen!

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