FOCUS!

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.  I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.  I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed.  And from then on, I’m going to need a lot more help…

I’d like to give appropriate attribution for this prayer to its original source, but couldn’t find it.  Perhaps because it’s not any ONE person’s prayer, but a prayer for all of us!  How often does our day seem to start going down hill as soon as we think about putting our feet on the floor in the morning?  Why is it so hard to remember that “This is the day the LORD has made!”—even if we’re stuck at home with COVID quarantines, and all we see in the morning news is bad and worse?

I love being around the kind of positive people who, when you do the perfunctory “Hi, how are you?” (not that you’re really interested, being concerned with more important things like the latest crisis, your cold coffee, and the guy who cut you off at the stop sign just a bit ago…) and their response is something like “Living the dream!” (without sarcasm), or in my Army circles at least, responding “It’s another great Army day!”  It’s almost as if people like that have actually read, believe and live the words of Philippians 4: 8—“ whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Not that we don’t have bad things to deal with every day—crises still happen, people still get sick and die, people still get nasty at you when you’re trying to be helpful, cars still break down at the most inconvenient of times, coffee even still gets cold—but we don’t have to let any of these externals warp our attitude.  This is STILL the day the LORD has made—we can STILL rejoice and be glad in it, despite what’s going on around us.

God tries to remind us each day, whether with bright sunshine, a breeze in the trees, the beautiful colors of spring flowers, the kindness of a neighbor’s morning wave, the smell of fresh coffee brewing (God is the one who invented coffee beans too!).  Yet we too often keep letting our eyes and hearts lose their focus on the blessings of God, and shift to the more disappointing perspective instead.

But in the same way that no one makes us call a glass half empty, when it’s actually half full, each moment of every day, each of us gets to decide whether to listen to the voice of God and “count your blessings, name them one by one,” or choose to listen to other voices that would have us focus on the thorns in our flesh instead.

Some of you may have seen me writing on this theme before.  Maybe I need to be reminded, too, that this is, indeed, the day the Lord has made, and regardless of what challenges come our way, God is still with us, equipping us to be overcomers, because we are still “living the dream!”

Keep being a blessing—Rev. Jim

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