Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Ye Gates Lift Up Your Heads"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 96:9 – Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. (NKJV)
During a recent holiday to Arizona, I would take two daily walks. Because of the intensity of the heat, I would walk in the early morning and before sunset. As I walked, I learned to meditate and listen for God's messages to me. In the midst of the desert, I could not help but wonder at our Maker's creation: cactuses, flowering fruit trees, and a plethora of bird and animal life. Only our God could create this abundance in an apparent wasteland. I started to notice something else as I focused on the beauty of God's creation: I felt peaceful, blessed, and content.
I think Paul was the originator of "positive thinking":
Philippians 4:11b – I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. (NKJV)
My faith is at the infancy stage of being content in all states, but I am learning, with God's help, how to be more content in my circumstances.
Have you noticed how easy it is to get sucked into society's negativity? The major natural disasters and brutal killings are hard to ignore, but it is also easy to be frustrated by spilling coffee on your favourite shirt, being stuck in traffic, and being cut off en route to work.
In a previous verse, Paul gives us instruction on how to be positive. I love this passage:
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. (NKJV)
Hmm — it seems to me that, unintentionally, as I was walking in the desert, this is what I was doing, and as I walked, I repeatedly heard, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
So, instead of focusing on the coffee stain on the shirt, thank God that no one was burned. Maybe instead of grumbling about the traffic, we could focus on something "lovely" — the sun glinting off office towers or the different flowers along the route. Instead of silently berating the idiot who cut you off in traffic, perhaps you could thank God that your vehicle was not damaged and that no one was injured. Making these small adjustments in our thinking does make a difference in how positive we feel.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as life rushes past us, it is so easy to get ensnared in the "doing" and "going" of daily activities. Anything that does not quite unroll as we planned, we see as a hindrance — another thing to be endured in an already over-busy schedule. Help us, Lord, to take time to see and meditate on the many praiseworthy things around us. Help us to improve our attitudes, and make us better emissaries for You. Amen.