Taking time off between Christmas and New Year, always makes me reflect on life:
Why we are here on earth?
What we are supposed to do?
Where am I heading to?
South Africa is busy making history again, shortly on the heels of what is happening in Zimbabwe.
How do I feel about this?
What is my attitude around this?
What do I think the future holds for us?
I was listening to a podcast of Michael Hyatt earlier in the year, titled:
Better things come to those who wait.
I was very motivated by one of the sections:
Control your attitude
Michael posed the question: Is it better to be optimistic about the future or pessimistic? Which attitude will serve you best?
They explored all the options:
Negativity or Pessimism alone can lead to cynicism. Pessimists does not do as well in live as optimists. Pessimists tend to avoid, deny and distort problems, they confront and dwell on their negative feelings. Negativity is another way to avoid pain. Maybe not such a good attitude to have.
Positivity or Optimism alone could become deluded, it leads to disillusionment. It is as if you are heading straight for the iceberg, ignoring the fact threat there is an iceberg. Disillusionment comes as quickly as the Titanic disappeared in the cold waters. Clearly this is also not the right attitude.
Michael and his team proposes and alternative: Hopeful realism, you have to match reality, but retain a belief that you can influence that reality to achieve a good outcome. Success is not a straight line, acknowledging failure unleashes creativity and our best problem solving.
We need to acknowledge our current reality for what it is, but retain hope. This attitude I can live by.
With Christmas past, I pondered around my current reality and the hope I have for the future. I realized that my current reality is based on a baby that was born in a crib, and even in that birth, so many of the prophecies around Him was fulfilled.
I am going to pause here and share some of the mathematics of the prophecies.
Peter Stoner (June 16, 1888 – March 21, 1980) was Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College, 1953–57; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College.
Stoner is probably best known for his book Science Speaks that discusses, among other things, Bible prophecies vis a vis probability estimates and calculations
He and his students calculated the probability of fulfilling forty eight prophecies was one change in a trillion (13 times). Our minds cannot comprehend a number that big.
An excerpt from his book Science Speaks:
Our Bible students claim that there are more than three hundred prophecies dealing with Christ’s first advent. If this number is correct, and it no doubt is, you could set your estimates ridiculously low on the whole three hundred prophecies and still obtain tremendous evidence of inspiration.
For example you may place all of your estimates at one in four. You may say that one man in four has been born in Bethlehem: that one of these children in four was taken to Egypt, to avoid slaughter; that one in four of these came back and made his home in Nazareth; that one in four of these was a carpenter; that one in four of these was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver; that one in four of these has been crucified on a cross; that one in four was then buried in a rich man’s tomb; yes, even that one in four rose from the dead on the third day; and so on for all of the three hundred prophecies and from them I will build a number much larger than the one we obtained from the forty-eight prophecies.
Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.
The odds alone say it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Yet Jesus, and only Jesus throughout all of history, managed to do it. All of this is neatly summed up in Acts 3:18 (even before statistics has been invented)
Acts 3:18 (King James Version)
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
So, to come back.
We need to acknowledge our current reality for what it is, but retain hope.
Did you also see the video on facebook of the joy in the Zimbabwe farmer’s (and their worker’s) faces, when they could reclaim back their farms. Wow, even someone as skeptical as me was touched by that footage. In June/July 2016 some South African prophets came together, fasted and prayed and one prophet proclaimed some of the happenings that we were seeing at the end of 2017 in Zimbabwe. Do yourself a favor and find a copy of “God Said; 2017”.
Now I cannot base my current reality and my belief system on one or two prophecies that came true or the things I think God is revealing to me, these things only strengthen my faith. I build my faith on prophecies from centuries past that has been fulfilled against all odds. Prophecies from different prophets at different times.
My current reality is that A Savior was born, whose life has fulfilled against all odds the prophecies proclaimed in the Old Testament. And I retain the hope that He will come back and fulfill the last, unanswered prophecies in Revelation.
This and this alone should determine my attitude for 2018. Everything I do, decide, think, should be based on this reality and my hope should be based on this too.
When I am despondent, I will revisit this, when I am feeling down, I need to come back to this, when I am happy, sad, mad, frustrated, irritated, scared, excited, unsure, name it, I need to come back to this reality and retain hope. This does not mean difficulties will not come along, In good or bad times, God stays constant. Whether I am hot, cold, lukewarm, etc, God is God. He is bigger than we think, He is more powerful than we think. He loves us more than we think.
As Winston Churchill rightfully said:
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
What attitude do you choose for 2018: Optimism? Pessimism? Or a hopeful reality?