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It seems the normal human response to life frustrations and relational exchanges are best termed in a Yiddish word “kvetch.”

Kvetch /k(ə)veCH/

kvetchedkvetch·ingkvetch·es

To complain persistently and whiningly.

n.

1. A chronic, whining complainer.

2. A nagging complaint

There are large sections of the Bible, however, that demonstrate how God feels about such responses and it would be good for us to pay attention to our own responses of life.

I think the “normal” response can be trained to respond from a higher level, that is, seeing our life with new eyes – from God’s perspective. What would that look like in your own life? I’ll share my testimony of God’s work in my heart on this issue.

The “No Kvetching” Rule

Three years ago Ron and I instituted a core value that we now live by. We call it our “no kvetching” rule. We embarked on an ambitious and very exciting 50-day “walk” through Europe in 2009 and we knew it would be so necessary to live from another place other than out of responses to external things that we would experience. So, from the moment we left our home until we returned 50 days later, we did not kvetch about anything, or anyone, for any reason whatsoever. You can be sure that our resolve was sorely tested, but, for the most part, we were successful. The fruit of this “experiment” was exceptional.

And you know what? Living with a determination not to kvetch really works! I suggest that you try it yourself for a day, a weekend, a week, a month…then make it a lifestyle! This will change your life! Once instituted, you will have new eyes with which to process the world around you. You see people differently—you see only the treasure in them, and not the negative stuff. (It doesn’t take a genius to see people’s faults and weaknesses, by the way.) Instead, you see only how beautifully God made them, and you see the goodness of God working on your behalf, and are not bothered by circumstantial pressures. It is quite simply a different—and much better—place to live from.

Since that Europe/Middle East trip, Ron and I have adopted the “no kvetching” rule as our core value—and we just live there all the time. It makes every day a beautiful day, and every person we meet is a treasure.

Sing a New SongEveryday

But you have to replace the kvetch habit with the opposite: thanksgiving! Another core value I live by is maintaining a vibrant heart of thanksgiving. The way this works is that I choose to see God’s goodness in everything, and I sing a new song to the Lord every day, in all situations, no matter the stress or issues I’m going on. My life–like yours–is far from stress-free or trouble free by any means. I have the same health, financial, relational issues that everyone else has. I have had to train myself to choose how to respond from a core value of thanksgiving–singing a new song to the Lord, instead of focusing on the negative. As a result, I do not have a bad day!

I share this with you to give a backdrop.

Sing to the Well

After many experiences of desert wanderings with God, kvetching (grumbling, complaining) about food, water, and life-circumstances, the Israelites got it right. Their history finally convinced them: God is our Provider—our Sustenance for every need. He always gives us a good water source; He always provides nutrient-rich foods to keep our bodies strong, and He provides all we need—supernaturally—direct from Heaven.”

As the tribes of Israel moved into the land of Moab, they needed water—again. But interestingly, this time, they did not react violently towards Moses or Aaron or with unbelief towards God. Apparently, they decided that returning to Egypt was not an option anymore.

Abraham’s well in Beersheva

From there they went to Be’er, the well the LORD told Moses about, “Gather the people so that I may give them water.”

Then Israel sang this song:

Spring up, wellsing to it!…(Numbers 21:16-18, HCSB)

Instead of complaining about what they did not have, the Israelites chose to trust God – and their leaders. They chose to sing to their provision—in joy!—with the expectation of an answer to their need.

And God provided so miraculously—enough water to care for all the tribes of people, cattle, etc…in the middle of nowhere, from an unexpected source. That’s our God.

There’s a lesson here. It is yet another example of responding with thanksgiving in every situation—instead of kvetching.

What would happen if we do likewise—singing to our well in joy—with an expectation of God’s provision? Think about your most pressing need today. Your song today could be:

  • The check’s in the mail…la, la, la
  • His mercies are new every morning…
  • Bread of Heaven, feed me til I want no more…
  • Spring up O well within my soul, spring up O well, and make me whole…

By now you have a long history with God. You know full well that the provision for all you need—however desperate—is already on its way. That’s a great start.

But, it is what we do in the meanwhile that demonstrates our current relationship with God—and our core belief about Him.

Moving up to the High Places

In all the places God led the Israelites, we see that they renamed it, appropriate to their God-encounter. Look at the three places they traveled to after their well experience.

They went from the wilderness to Mattanah, from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamot, from Bamot to the valley of the territory of Moab near the Pisgah highlands that overlook the wasteland (Numbers 21:18b-20, HCSB).

I was so intrigued by the Hebrew names of these places God led them:

  1. Mattanah – which means “gift”
  2. Nahali’El – which means “river of God”
  3. Bamot (Pisgah) – which means “high places”

It seems the people of Israel had a graduation: they moved from the desolate places of the lowest wastelands on the planet—in their kvetch mode—to the heights of the Moab mountainous plateau—singing to the well of provision. From the peaks of Moab, the Israeli’s had a major paradigm shift of their present situation. They now had a spectacular view of where they had come from and where they were headed—the Promised Land. And, what a vista it was!

While living in Jerusalem, I could actually see the mountains of Moab from my Jerusalem home balcony on a clear day. They were stunning in hues of pink, blue and purple. The Israeli tribes saw their inheritance for the first time in breathtaking sunrise and sunset colors.

Living From Heaven to Earth

God intentionally led the Israelis from the salt and mud pits of desolate wilderness places to the heights of beauty and provision. They called this place “a gift,” the “river of God,” the “high place.”

Likewise, our inheritance in Jesus positions us in “heavenly places” on our life journey where we too can experience a paradigm shift–particularly of our mind set. If we live from this vista position, everything in our life will be in its proper heavenly perspective.

Determine that in the very next life test your “kvetch” meter will be in the “off” mode, causing you to journey right through the salt and mud pits of desolate, wilderness places.

Sing to your well today, and watch God bring up refreshing waters from the artesian deep springs of His generous provision, all while He repositions you on the heights of His love and blessings. Enjoy the view!

Song: O Taste and See (Brian & Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Md-hEvjz0&feature=relmfu

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We are often limited by our own perceptions and self-image. The playback in our minds is so powerful, that it will actually create an inability to rise above the negative image that we believe ourselves to be. We get stuck in a self-perceived disqualifying cycle that disables us from the full life God intended for us and made possible by Jesus.

I saw this illustrated as I read 2 Samuel 9 about the story of King David and Jonathan’s son Mephiboshet. By this time, King David is well established on his throne and he remembers the promise he made to his best friend Jonathan, the royal son of former King Saul.

David asked, “Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan . . . Is there anyone left of Saul’s family that I can show the kindness of God to?”

Ziba said to the King, “There is still Jonathan’s son who was injured in both feet.”

The King asked him, “Where is he?”

Ziba answered the king, “You’ll find him in Lo-debar . . .” King David had him brought from the house of Machir . . . in Lo-debar.

I was struck by the fact that David was not eaten up with rage to take vengeance on the descendants of King Saul. He could have been . . . Saul hated him and sought to kill him all those years. This former king of Israel became possessed with an evil jealousy that consumed him with hatred and finally, a murderous spirit. From the time David killed Goliath, Saul was offended even by his presence and he ultimately became obsessed to kill his perceived enemy.

David, however, was a man of a different spirit: He refused to allow the foul-spirited environment he lived and worked in at the king’s palace affect his heart. Rather, he chose to live safely secure in God’s Presence, trusting Him for his full protection. He never considered King Saul to be his enemy just because he was hated; rather, David went after the enemies of his God and of his nation.

The nature of a shepherd protects the sheep from wolves whose intent is to kill. A shepherd does not see other sheep who need discipline as the enemy.

David was a man of his word: He made a covenant to Jonathan to bless his household, and now, as king of Israel, he was in a powerful position to follow through on what he had promised.

Nothing Town

We can only imagine the changes that took place for Mephiboshet after his grandfather and father were killed in battle. At this news, and fearing for the life of the little royal child, his nursemaid ran with him from the palace, falling on the child and permanently disabling him. In one day, Mephiboshet lost his family, his royal position of privilege, and he became permanently disabled. It was a life trauma indeed.

The king of Israel finds Jonathan’s son living in a city called in Hebrew “Lo-debar (לו דבר),” which loosely translated means “nothing,” or, “[land of] nothing” (9:4,5). It pretty much sums up the attitude Mephiboshet about how he felt about himself – his own self image – “I’m nothing.” Living in “Nothing” Town seemed to fit the story of his life.

Out of nowhere, Mephiboshet is summoned to the royal palace to stand before the King; but, he cannot stand because of his disability. So, in humility, he prostrates himself before the King. After all, he knows who he is – a disabled nobody from Nothing Town.

“Mephiboshet son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, bowed down to the ground and paid homage [to the king of Israel]” (9:8).

Now I’m sure as Mephiboshet is on the ground, his life is passing before him. He knows the reputation of Grandfather Saul and how he mistreated David. He knew what he deserved. What he did not know, however, was the covenant of deep friendship between his father Jonathan and the present King of Israel. David and Jonathan had to keep their alliance very secret or it would have cost them both of their lives!

King David was a man of covenant faithfulness; he was a man after God’s heart! But, all the while, and face down on the floor, Mephiboshet may have been thinking, I deserve whatever punishment the king chooses to give me. I am worthless – a nobody.

Status Upgrade: A Royal Son

Just at the moment when he is most terrified for his life he hears the King shout his name: “Mephiboshet!”

As his name reverberates across the palace halls into the courtyard, Mephiboshet scrambles to “stand” on his disabled, deformed limbs before the King – as eye level as he can manage.

King David & Mephiboshet

The King steps down from his royal platform –where justice and mercy rules – into the courtyard of servants and peasants, kindly reassuring Jonathan’s adult son:

“Don’t be afraid,” David says kindly, taking his hand and leading him through the line of governing leaders bowed low as he passes along the interior stone walls. “Long ago I determined to show kindness to your father’s sons. This day I am restoring to you all of your grandfather Saul’s fields, and, you will always eat meals at my table.”

In this moment, the king restored to Mephiboshet his full inheritance, farms that would bring great wealth, the power of being a landowner, influence as an elder in the city and his tribe, and a royal sonship position in the palace with a life-time reserved seat at the King’s table! He was moving up from Nothing Town to Jerusalem, God’s city!

Dead-Dog Mindset

Instead of excitement at the king’s words, Mephiboshet became weak-kneed and down he fell again before him. He was accustomed to groveling with a lowly “I’m-not-worthy” slave mindset:

“Mephiboshet bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?’” (vs.8)

Here are two contrasting profiles: Royalty, and a dead dog. King David saw Mephiboshet as a royal son of the palace, but Mephiboshet saw himself as a dead dog who lived in Nothing Town and who felt he deserved life-long punishment.

We often find ourselves in agreement with the negative whispers in our ear: You know, you really are nothing but a dead dog . . . you’re never going to amount to much. Look what your family has done! The best you could ever hope for are some crumbs from a rich man’s table and a resident address in Nothing Town.

There is only one power that the enemy of our souls has to use against us and that is to lie to us. He actually has no power over us; Jesus gave us all power and authority through his name. So, the only power Satan actually has over us is what we relinquish to him. And, that only happens when we agree with the lies that the enemy feeds us.

So, here is Mephiboshet, tuned in to the I’m-a-dead-dog-livin’-in-Nothing-Town lies of the enemy – a mindset that is hard to change. His self-talk was convincing him to refuse the king’s offer.

We have to press into our breakthrough opportunity if we ever hope to break out into the person God created us to be.

Upgrade Someone

I believe God showed David the real person of Mephiboshet– how he is known in heaven – and David went after it with his shepherd nature. Mephiboshet was eventually convinced of the king’s kindness and he did move to Jerusalem to eat from the king’s table.

I believe we too have the opportunity to upgrade someone in our life. We’ve all met people who communicate an “I’m not worth anything to anyone” attitude. But God has given us the power to encourage people – or discourage people; to empower people with courage or to take it away. We have the power of words that either bring life and health, or sickness and death. Our words are so powerful they can kill a spirit – or, give it life and see a dying spirit live again.

I always want to be the kind of person who breathes life into people with words of encouragement.

David was just that kind of man. God had breathed life into Him at his most desperate hour and now he wanted to release mercy and kindness with the same generosity as God had shown him.

The greatest expression of mercy and compassion is that which we give to someone who does not deserve it.

Determine to upgrade someone today. We can do this by reminding them who they are – their heavenly identity – and watch a transformation take place. Determine that your words today will bring life and health to someone’s spirit. Lift them up off the floor from their groveling I’m-good-for-nothing attitude, and look them in the eye as you remind them that, they are, in fact, created to be a royal son of the Living God through the blood of Jesus, with great purpose and destiny to glorify the Lord. Tell them that they were created to move from Nothing Town to Jerusalem, to eat at the King’s table. Demonstrate honor to them in a tangible way, and watch them emerge into the person God created them to be.

Words of encouragement call out the genuine person who is buried beneath a weight of guilt, shame, and a lifetime of disappointments.

Extravagant Kindness

David operated out of a core of extravagant kindness and deep compassion. Mephiboshet lived in Jerusalem because he was expected to eat at the king’s table every single day.

The king called Mephiboshet up into his true royal identity that was hidden under his own personal shame and physical disabilities. Mephiboshet had been identifying himself by the shame of his grandfather who had betrayed God and caused his family to be ravaged by the enemy.

And, he had been identifying himself by his physical scars that he carried from that fateful day of sorrow and grief. Mephiboshet had come to associate that trauma and his handicap as something he deserved. He branded himself as a dead dog (something truly hated as evil in the Middle East) and even referred to himself by this name.

Mephiboshet had grown to identify with his disability and life of shame with a resigned this-is-as-good-as-it-gets attitude.

But, God did not see Mephiboshet that way. I have come to learn that God will often find one in a family that he can demonstrate mercy and love to, and God intended to show his kindness to Jonathan’s family through Mephiboshet. You see, God saw him still as royalty; he felt deep compassion for Mephiboshet’s grief, and planned to restore everything he had lost when his father and grandfather died in battle. He’s just good that way.

David – always close to God’s heart – went after the treasure he saw in Mephiboshet. He purposed to create the environment for him to live as a royal son of the palace – yes, even to thrive! – though he no longer had any legitimate claim to the throne.

And, David saw what God saw: The heavenly identity of Mephiboshet. He set out to extend kindness by honoring him because of his covenant of friendship with Jonathan and his descendants.

Jesus did that for us. He went after us like King David went after Mephiboshet with his dead-dog-living-in Nothing-Town identification and gave us an upgrade through his blood because of his great love. As a result, we became royal sons with a full inheritance through Jesus, along with the kingly status to rule and reign with Him in heavenly places. We eat in the Palace with the King of the universe every day – bread and wine served up from His table.

We now live in a perpetual more-than-enough state of God’s extravagant abundance.

Identity is a Mindset

How easy it is to define ourselves by the circumstances of life. We mistakenly identify ourselves with our physical or economic situation – even long after our situation has improved for the better – because we developed a wrong mindset. For instance, a person with a long term illness who recovers or gets healed by God’s supernatural power may continue to have the mindset of an ill person. While ill, this person was very limited in what they could or could not do. Now, without the limitations of that illness, they are no longer bound and can lead a normal life. But the mind has to change its behaviors and unconscious habits in order to catch up to the new, improved state, and that takes time to make the adjustment.

To change a wrong mindset, we must partner with God in an intentional manner.

A person who has grown up in a very poor economic state, for instance, but has gone on to improve their circumstances considerably later in life, very often has a difficult time making this change in their mind. They still have a poverty-mindset that does not allow them to fully function as a person who has not grown up in those circumstances. So, even with an abundance of financial provisions, this person will continue with a poverty mindset – often unable to really enjoy their abundance. Their new economic situation requires a new mindset – and with it, a new identity.

Our inheritance is the mind of Messiah Jesus. We can appropriate Heaven’s thoughts.

A Poolside Transformation

I often think of the mindset issue when I read the account of Jesus healing the man who had sat by the pool of Siloam for 38 years waiting to be healed. In one moment, Jesus walked over to his poolside spot, had a short conversation, healed him, and that was it! He was healed! No more infirmity! Okay. Now what? For 38 years he had been identified as “the disabled man who sat at the pool of Siloam and never had anyone to help him into the waters.”  In an instant, he was no longer that person. From here on he would be known as “the man who had been healed by Jesus as he sat by the pool of Siloam.” (And, as far as we know, he was the only man Jesus healed that day at the pool that day.)

The Pool of Siloam

Prior to the healing, his relationship to God was no doubt a daily, desperate, pleading prayer for a change of circumstances. He may have used pitiful gestures in his attempt to convince someone – anyone – to aid him into the waters as they were “stirred.”

Now that his circumstance had changed, his mindset had to change! In order to maintain his healing and experience the full life Jesus intended him to live, this man had to create new patterns of thinking in his brain that agreed with his healing. He would need an after-the-healing mindset shift that would also upgrade his relationship with God.

Thanksgiving and gratitude establishes an atmosphere of joy in an upgraded relationship with God.

I’m sure after he was healed, his prayers were no longer whiney and pitiful, but rather, were full of joy. His face would have revealed this transformation!

Legally Disabled

I have a personal interest in these stories that I use as illustration, because like the man at the Pool of Siloam and Mephiboshet, I too was legally disabled for many years. My natural Mother Rose was born with a joint and cartilage genetic degenerative disease called Ehlers-Danlos which severely deformed her hips, legs, and knees. My siblings and I have suffered with various forms of this same disease which has required surgery for several in the family. I personally have had 2 major surgeries on my knees, and a third surgery that complicated my joint mobility, along with years and years of painful, slow rehabilitation. Many of those years I used the aid of crutches, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and I too sat at the pool everyday utilizing warm-water therapy. I got used to people staring at my brother and I on crutches and braces everywhere we went. We were definitely an oddity to look at. I know what it is to be labeled “disabled” and to walk around with that mindset for decades. In my own mind, I excluded myself from most things –even from that which was physically possible – because my mind had already disqualified me with fears.

Disabled > Healed!

From the first weeks of coming to faith in Jesus as a seventeen-year old, I experienced God’s healing touch on my body. My first experience was at a Kathryn Kuhlman Crusade at the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles California. It was a miraculous healing in my knees – and everyone in my life knew it. This began a 40-year journey of learning to walk with Jesus touching my body and healing me as I needed it. Many times he came to me as I sat by the “pool” and I sensed Him saying to me: “What is it you want me to do for you?”

“I need your healing Jesus!” And, He has always answered; and with His healing, I had to move through a mindset shift yet again. Jesus has always been my Healer – through all of my surgeries and painful rehabilitations. I continue to depend upon His total and complete healing of my body every day.

I am the most unlikely person to travel the world and walk in the nations, praying for God’s blessings. By all rights, I should be unable to walk at all without great difficulty and intense pain. Oh, I do experience pain in my hips and knees and feet, but it is never a deterrent to God’s purposes for my life!

I am a walking miracle, and God’s love overwhelms me!

I was legally disabled, and now I am not!

Now I release healing in other people’s bodies and have seen scores of people healed in their joints. I continue to experience healing as I need it.

Jesus is everything I need . . . and so much more!

The King’s House

To experience the full life of healing and abundance God has for us, it will require an intentional mindset shift to our heavenly identity where we will exchange our disability for healing, poverty to royalty, beggar to adopted royal son, etc. Whatever your situation today, understand that you have been upgraded to live in the King’s Palace! He expects that you will:

  • Move from Nothing Town to Jerusalem (City of the King – the place where He dwells)
  • Eat at His table every day
  • Make an exchange from your old identity
  • Receive His royal treatment as his adopted son/daughter
  • Carry yourself as royalty: Dress, act, talk like Kingdom royalty
  • Represent the Kingdom as His Ambassador of love
  • Take from the King’s treasury all that you are entitled to
  • Take advantage of the freedom to go into the King’s private chambers and treatment rooms
  • Have an expectation that you will receive all you need from the King today
  • Expect a personal encounter with the love and kindness of your Shepherd/King

My prayer is that the revelation of God’s glory will displace any lying perception that has kept you from receiving your full healing and inheritance today . . . to the glory of His Son, Amen.

http://youtu.be/Z1DFBr-pd0E

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NOTE: I’d like to thank the leadership of David Crone, Dan McCollam, and Graham Cooke at The Mission for such powerful impartation of these principles that have come alive in my spirit and for creating a safe environment in which to thrive and mature in my journey with God. For more resources on your identity in the Messiah, check out The Mission online store and Graham Cooke’s online store.

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