Monday, October 29, 2012

The Key to Solving Problems

Patrick Webster holds the world's record for the most sneezes in a lifetime. For over 35 years, the man from Hampshire, England sneezed every two minutes, which equaled 600-700 times a day. His 7 million sneezes placed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Webster saw more than 60 doctors, taking skin tests and drug treatments, but nothing stopped the attacks. "I sneezed hundreds of times a day, all year round. It was exhausting," he explained. "I was so desperate that I took six months off work and ended up in three different hospitals. One doctor even told me I must be allergic to myself."

A private clinic specializing in nutrition finally discovered the cause of his problem. Patrick was allergic to egg yolk and oats, which had been eating every day since he was 17 years old. "As soon as I gave up eating the foods they indicated, the sneezing stopped."

To solve any problem, you must first find out what's causing it. That sounds so simple, but many of us are treating the symptoms to our problems instead of digging deep enough to uncover the root.  We're buying more handkerchiefs and pinching our noses, while our sneezing continues. But if you don't pinpoint the real cause, you will never find the cure.

Most marriage problems are rooted in selfish attitudes. Financial debt is usually caused by covetousness and a lack of disciplined spending. Most problems are rooted in wrong attitudes in your heart. Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders" (Matt. 15:19).

What problem is bothering you? If you'll think it through, you will eventually find what's causing it. When you fix that, the problem will be solved.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blind Spots

If you follow NFL football, you know that replacement referees were working the first few games of the season because the experienced refs had a contract dispute with the NFL. The “real” NFL refs are now working the games again, thanks to a blown call on the final play of a recent game. 

The Green Bay Packers were winning with just a few seconds left, so the Seattle Seahawks’ QB threw a long desperation pass into the end zone on the last play of the game. Green Bay intercepted the ball, but the replacement referee mistakenly called a touchdown for Seattle. The replacement ref robbed Green Bay of the victory and gave Seattle the win 14-12.

The referee who made the incorrect call was interviewed last week and was asked if he would want to change his call. Even though replays proved conclusively that he was wrong, he still maintained that he had made the correct call! His pride kept him from admitting his glaring mistake, which verified the fact that he was truly a “blind referee.”

While it’s easy to cast stones at the blind ref, we must not forget that we are often blind to our own faults. Blind spots are flaws that we can’t see in ourselves, but they are obvious to everyone else. When I’m driving my car and I look behind me toward the passenger side, a blind spot in the car’s design blocks my view. I can’t see if a car is coming on that side, so I have to ask my wife who is seated in the other front seat to tell me what I can’t see. Without her help, I could easily get in a wreck if I changed lanes.

This is why we need others to point out the blind spots in our lives. If your spouse or a close friend happens to point out an area where you are blind, do not get upset. They are only trying to help you, just as my wife keeps me from getting in car wrecks by pointing out the areas I can’t see. Don’t become defensive, like the proud replacement ref who won’t admit his error. Instead, humble yourself and ask God to show you truth. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

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