The Outlook

March 16, 2020
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I dwell in a tiny home, just under 400 square feet, along with eight dogs. Each one of them has its own share of flaws or shortcomings, which I encounter each and every day. Some days, they can wear on my nerves, especially if it's one of those days when everyone's shortcomings seem to be in the spotlight of their behaviour. Most days, however, I have a different outlook.

I choose to dwell upon the good and lovely points within each one of my canine friends. This does not mean that I don't continue to work with each one of them to change any difficult, offensive, or destructive behaviour. It simply means that my main outlook is focused upon their wonderful qualities.

Paul advises likewise, according to today's verse — a well known and favourite verse for many:

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV)

Life is full of the negative; bad news reports daily assail our ears. People are at war. Millions are starving. Drug wars rage. People commit suicide. There are murders, rapes, bullying, and fears concerning climate change and pandemic. Cancer and sickness of every form persist, in spite of billions of dollars being spent on research. No matter which way we turn, any one of us can recite the bad news that plagues our societies, our lives.

These things are a reality. We cannot say that they are not happening, because they are, and until the day that Jesus returns, they will continue to happen. But we need not let these negative realities become the focus of our outlook. Rather, we must choose, make our minds up, persist, and develop the habit of dwelling, thinking, and focusing on "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." If we take a good look around, we can indeed always find them within our natural world, within our friends and neighbours, within ourselves, and especially within our Lord, who has promised always to be with us, no matter what, and in Him there is no darkness — only light.

What will be our outlook today? Negative or the positive? Darkness or light? The choice is ours.

Prayer: Father God, it is so easy to get dragged down by the negatives of this world that surround each and every one of us. Help us to remember, as You have commanded us through the apostle Paul, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.


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About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Especially true with the current world situation!


    A timely message. Thank you and God bless, Lynne!


    Excellent Lynne!!!
    (B.C.)


    Lynne,
    So timely and appreciated.


    With all the talk of virus today, we could forget to look for the good. Thank you for writing.


    Thanks, Lynne, for sharing this devotional with us. God is good even when life isn’t. Blessings.


    Thank you for encouraging us to be positive. We really need that message now.
    Blessings.


    Good morning Lynn,
    Good devotional this morning, right now, as we are bombarded with bad news, it is very difficult to stay optimistic.
    Blessings.


    Lynne,
    Philippians 4:8 Has been a familiar verse for a long time. What an appropriate verse for today!!!
    Thank you and your fur babies.
    Blessings!


    Thank you, Lynne, for your beautiful uplifting message. I agree, we all need to think more positively.
    Aren’t you lucky, 8 dogs. We live in a building that won’t allow pets and I sure miss having pets. Or maybe it’s the dogs that are lucky to have you.


    Greetings Lynne,
    Thank you for another very mindful devotional. Focusing on Philippians 4:8 is definitely a great scripture to focus on in our daily life. Lord bless you as you daily attend, with such loving care, to all your pets especially those sharing the house with you.
    (B.C.)


    Well, you knocked us over with the “proverbial feather” when you said you lived in less than 400 square feet! We have always pictured from your writings you lived on a large piece of land with livestock!
    Love your writings and usually we know it’s you. Today was quite different. Keep up the writing. It’s always just “what the doctor ordered”
    (NH)


    Lynne
    Thank you for sharing, I am concentrating on the positive as I look to the Lord to heal a very bad head cold so I can have surgery this week. A decision has to be made by the Doctor based on how I am feeling. I do not want it cancelled as all that is developing with the Coronavirus could affect when it could be rescheduled for.
    Give all your dogs a hug for me.
    Blessing.


    Dear Lynne,
    Such a fine devotional. As usually, you teach us to grow in our Lord.
    I question only one word in your devotion, the quantitative word: “eight”. How can anyone have eight dogs with a purpose for each? I don’t have even one dog. A neighbor lady, who has a dog, has walked it to my little house when she has visited – and that’s enough dog for me!
    Keep writing for Jesus’ sake.


    Hi Lynn, I woke up this morning with a headache and our oldest dog, who is blind and deaf, started in barking. His brother gleefully joined in. After finally getting them settled I read your devotional. Can’t imagine having eight dogs in such a small space. I have two and a cat, and it’s enough.
    I appreciated your devotional as I find it easy to focus on the negative, kind of my default really.
    Having a positive outlook takes work and commitment and your devotional serves as a great reminder.
    God bless.


    O Yay for the 9 of you! Blessings on each one! How I have loved Philippians 4:8 and have turned to it through the years, over and over again. And its promise that the God of PEACE will be with us. Especially today, when I woke up with a cold. I’m sure it’s a cold but you know this virus thing… who is gonna believe me? I had friends coming over and I know I have to cancel that visit. Even though we’re careful, coughing and sneezing is right out. O Lynne, I can use your prayers at this moment, that this thing WON’T turn into the virus and infect my dear husband, to whom every sneeze must be certain doom. Blessings on your inspired writings, over and over again.


    Morning, Lynne,
    Thanks once more for your thoughtful devotional. Well, what I am wondering is how you feed 8 dogs.
    I pray fervently that we as a people will get hold of ourselves over this pandemic, use good sense, and quit hoarding. I had to laugh at the older man who is a stocker at our local grocery store. I went to the store and there were no carts! Even here people are acting unbelievably; so, I asked what he thought the panic was over toilet paper. He said, “Well, they interviewed some lady on the tv, and she said the first thing they ran out of was toilet paper.” Didn’t say how many in the family, how many rolls her family had before this all started, etc. “And there doesn’t seem to be anything to say to stop people from buying all that toilet paper.”
    I don’t think God is going to fill all those shelves, but I do think he calms the mind and allows us to think rationally.
    Thanks again for sharing your talents with today’s devotional.

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