Thursday, January 21, 2021

Fixed On The Positive

 “Fixed On The Positive”

Philippians 4:8 NLT

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

We all have had and still have our very fair share of times when we don’t focus on the positive aspects of life and what God has given to us.  We have days when things are going great and we do nothing but lift up praises. Then….there are the days when nothing seems to be going right and there honestly isn’t an ounce of anything close to praise coming from our lips.  We all have these times and if you don’t, you’re not a real human being! 

We all know that in the past year before 2021 hit, we had a year that was very challenging to focus on positive things.  It was filled with events we never thought would ever occur.  They came and we all were challenged to reconsider so many different things in life.  It was easy for any of us to lose our focus on the positive with the pandemic, the riots, the election and now with what has already happened to start off the year. 

Friends, there are so many things that would give us reason to focus on anything but positive things.  It often seems so easy to pick out the bad things happening in life, but that’s where the enemy wants us to be.  He wants us to be constantly thinking of negative things and not be filled with the positive things that God has done and continues to do in us, through us and all around us.

I would like to encourage all of us to take a few moments now and each day after, how we can take a step back, rethink all of the words we may be spewing out to others each day via social media to express our opinions, and remember that Paul highly encouraged not only the church in Philippi, but us as well today that we need to focus on the positive things God has done and continues to do. 

It is a daily challenge and one we must fully embrace if we are to shine the light of Christ around us to others.  Do people really need to hear our opinions or do they need to know the love of Christ?  Ouch!  Tough pill to swallow.  Does that mean we’re not allowed to share our opinions?  No, but it does mean that we often need to consider what we are focusing on and what our mission is each day of life.  Are we going to choose to be fixed on the positive and all that God has done and continues to do?  Or are we going to focus on making sure that everyone knows how we feel about things going on around us? 

We all need to take a deep breath, think about what we are sharing with others, and consider if what we are sharing is really spreading the true love of Christ.  Paul tells us to fix our thoughts on all that is excellent and worthy of praise.  Good advice!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

It's Right In Front Of You

 “It’s Right In Front Of You”

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Last year, I remember a funny moment when I went to find something in the pantry at home.  I looked for it and made a comment about not finding it.  My oldest daughter comes to join in at the pantry door, looks right in front of me, grabs it and says, “Dad, it’s right here in front of you!” as she laughed.  I think I said something to the effect of “Of course!  You find it right away!” as I laughed as well.

We have all had our fair share of times in life when we look for so long for something and someone else somehow happens to come to our aid and finds it almost immediately!  How can that be?  How in the world can we so often miss what’s right in front of us?  How can we be that blind?  We look everywhere, but……how carefully are we really looking?  Are we looking quickly and missing what is right in front of us?  Many times we are.

In the past years, when we’ve asked our girls to find something in their rooms, we have often joked that they go to the door, glance quick and come back saying they can’t find whatever we asked them to look for. 

As I mention these examples, I think about the things God puts right in front of us so often that we miss.  He is daily putting reminders all around us and so often we are so focused on the things we want to see and our own agendas that we totally miss exactly what He has clearly put in our path.  We get so set on our own thinking, our own agendas and our own ideas and we completely miss the great blessings God has put in clear view for us. 

I know that we have all been very consumed in one way or another this past year and even into the New Year, with uncertainty and chaos that has been in our lives.  It’s been easy to focus so much on all the chaos and fear that easily settles in our path and forget that God is abundant with His constant blessings. 

Sometimes, it’s so easy to dwell on the past and former things in our lives and we lose sight of what is right in front of us that God wants us to see.  Some of us are great at dwelling on the past and that blinds us to what God is trying to show us now.  God is making a way if we will just stop trying so hard in our own ways and focus on Him.  If we just slow ourselves down to take a deep breath and let Him lead, we will be so surprised at what we find right in front of us. 

As we continue into this New Year, why don’t we become better at letting Him lead, slowing down, and letting Him open our eyes more to what is right in front of us.  His blessings are all around us!  Do we see them?