Where I have been can inform me about where I am going. Of course, it isn’t always a sure thing. And that is a good thing.
If I come from a place of pain and I don’t process it properly, I might look for and anticipate pain in all parts of my life. If I come from a place of safety and security, my discernment might not be developed enough to perceive danger. Of course, personality tendencies play a role here, too. We all know a Tigger-type personality. And, we all know those who view the world like Eeyore does.
Focusing on the negatives typically produces more negative. Experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on us. How we process them is important. Those negative situations in my life can trip me up so keeping my mind and heart focused on God’s Word helps me be oriented!
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. [Philippians 4:8-9, NIV]
This will be a two-part PrayerPoint because we will be at the Grand Canyon later on today and I am sure it will provide some further insight.
I always wondered why the chemical process to curl hair was called a “permanent” but it really only lasted about three months. No wonder we are a confused society.
There are times when things are permanent, of course. Sometimes that can be a relief and sometimes it is overwhelming. It depends what it is and it depends on our perspective. Sometimes I get all cozy and comfy in a place – so much so that when it is time to move along, I might stomp my feet a little. I liked it “here”.
But it is all temporary, particularly in light of eternity. The relaxing beach vacation, the place you live, the job you have, the routine of your day…it can change so quickly.
So, for the moment, see who and what is around you. Don’t fret about the future, don’t get stuck in the past, find things to enjoy about where you are and what is happening around you right now. You are in a place where God can teach you so much.
Be present. Be teachable.
We will only be here for a moment.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:5-7 NIV]
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 NIV]
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. [Colossians 3:1-3 NIV]
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Apparently I am in a season of life where there is a lot of traveling. I enjoy it, most of the time. It is definitely different and sometimes I feel scattered. Sometimes I am scattered because the trips are back-to-back and I am bound to forget something.
Scatter(ed) can certainly be a state of being, but it can also be a state of doing.
Are you actively dispersing things as you travel through life? It might be physical things, of course, but it can also be thoughts or ideas or faith or encouragement or courage or love or a smile. If you are out there, sharing with the world, have you considered that your contributions might be neutral yet are more likely negative or positive?
Sometimes I am super grumpy or overtired or guilty. Unfortunately, those are not generally the moments when I am “feeling the love” so I scatter seeds of negativity. If I am in a really bad space, I not only embrace my own habitual skepticism, I give it away to everyone I come in contact with whether I know them or not. Those seeds can land on fertile soil and become a nasty weed, seemingly overnight. Like a virus, it can quickly pass from person to person until the space where I am (and the trail from whence I came) is littered with negativity.
When I am in a good space, I can be reckless with my giving. I share without reservation. I am patient and can hear and see and feel and can give all day long, fueled by a grateful heart. I am full of love and grace and peace. Those things can also be quickly passed along and affect those all around me.
Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. [Luke 6:44-46 NIV]
It is important to think about those things you are storing up in your heart because those concepts will come out in the way of words and actions; it will be what you scatter! Breathe in the good and exhale it. If you intake bad, interrupt the cycle by putting out good.
You might find you need to go into a place where the air is pure, particularly with all the toxicity in the world today. It’s true, there is nothing new under the sun but the rate negativity can be spread is astounding.
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. [Philippians 4:8 NIV]
Our focus fills our heart and then comes out of our mouths and through the work of our hands.
If you are on Facebook, you might have caught a posting or two of adults in the stands at a ballgame snatching a ball out of the hands of a young child and being very satisfied that they had scored the prize. Caught on video, this “moment in time” of someone being jerky gets replayed and replayed and replayed for the world to see.
Ever been so caught up in the moment you cannot believe how you behaved?
And while there might not be actual footage of it posted on Facebook to watch over and over and over, rest assured, I often hit the replay button in my own mind.
Sometimes it is so hard to remember that I am forgiven!
And if I don’t make a point of surrounding myself with reminders, well, I get caught up in the memories of my sins. These painful reminders can be good because they nudge me to be humble and gracious to others who may be struggling because there are times I have a tendency to forget my own sins and get really frustrated about someone else’s. But, if I get stuck in “replay” mode on my own situation, it can be disastrous.
I have some memories that I won’t soon forget. As long as I don’t get stuck there, it can be a good thing.
“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore.” Psalm 131
Do you have a stilled and quieted soul?
With everything that is going on in the world at this moment (even though there is nothing new under the sun) this is impossible without God. I find that I am in a better position to have a stilled and quieted soul when my heart and mind is guarded.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Spending time in God’s Word and in prayer as well as being connected to a healthy Christian congregation are ways to keep God’s peace and path in my presence. This Holy Week, there are multiple opportunities to walk along with Jesus and consider His pain and suffering and God’s provision for us through Jesus’ sacrifice.
May your private time in God’s Word and your connection with a fellow believers this week strengthen your faith!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV
God’s breath and creative work is evident and excellent–even if you just consider nature! The intricacies, the incredible detail, the range of color, the sizes and shapes and all of the inter-dependent relationships. I am just talking about people. Now think about things on the land and now consider things in the ocean. And what about things in the Heavens? Talk about a license for creativity. God is simply amazing.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
Creation–though it has been tainted by sin, there are still glimpses of breath-taking beauty that reflect His excellent and praiseworthy work.
Seek the excellent. Ponder the praiseworthy. Let’s not get ensnared in the sin that so easily entangles us. It starts with God’s gift of faith–tucked away in our heart, soul, and mind and plays out in the way we allow Him to live through our lives.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV