“Rejoice in the Lord always…do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving present your requests to God…whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure… lovely… admirable… excellent and praiseworthy think about such things.”
This familiar passage has opened my eyes again to how often I think in human terms rather than in biblical ones. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the negatives pressing in on me that it is a struggle to be positive about anything!
In the midst of this daily fight, God’s Word is such a wonderful help. It is the Touchstone of Truth, the Window on the Wonderful and the Revelation of our Riches. If we obey it, thinking on the positives listed above, our thoughts will be lifted to the Lord Jesus, for He is certainly all of these: He is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
When all is going well and there isn’t a great deal of pressure, it’s easy to be positive—but, when things get difficult, thinking on the Lord Jesus and all He is becomes both a struggle and significant.
As I read the other day, if we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small (Pro. 24:10). So before adversity comes, we need to strengthen our spiritual lives by willfully thinking on what is positively true, both in big things and small. When I lose my keys, I can think on the truth that God knows where they are and will help me find them, if that’s best. When tragedy comes, I can remember that God has a plan and is going to work it out. Through this way of thinking truth, we can nurture our soul, grow strong, deepen our trust in God and will move to praising Him in all. That will make us ready for the day of adversity.
These weeks past have given us a testing ground for our strength (which often proves to be too small). Taking classes in the local language here every day plus teaching English classes every night, along with the preparation for both, plus my work with the foundation, and other activities have all allowed us to see just how much we must rely on the Lord for strength. There is certainly always room for growth!
One area where we are really encouraged is health: we are all remaining healthy and strong in spite of the pressures and the cold temperatures in our house. Although it is mid October and the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s F outside, by law the central heating won’t be turned on until Nov 15. So we just dress more warmly and heat up one room with an electric heater–when the electricity is on; it’s off more than on here. God is our provider and we will praise Him for whatever He allows.
Prayer: “Father, forgive me for my tendency to complain; help me to reject the natural, negative thoughts that rise up from my selfishness, and to think instead of you in all your excellence and perfection, and of all the good things you provide. Make praise the keynote of my life. Amen.”