Thursday, January 21, 2016
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When I had lunch with my friends George and Linda, they told me that the view had really improved at their house. They told me that everything in their backyard had looked so dirty and so dingy for a long time - until the other day. They did something that totally changed the view. They cleaned the big window that looks out on the yard. See, when you're looking through a dirty window, everything looks dirty.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You¬ today about "When Everything's Looking Dark."
Now the Apostle Paul was writing from a very depressing location when he wrote our word for today from the Word of God. He was actually in prison for doing something right. He was a victim of injustice. He was surrounded by gloom, he was isolated from the people who cared about him and honestly he was very uncertain about the future. So what was the view for him - Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" How can he be so positive? How can he be so joyful?
Verse 6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God." Paul said when you bring your situation to God with thanksgiving, you're focusing on the good things that God has done. Then verse 7 says, "And the peace of God..." In other words, as a result of that, "The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." And then verse 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."
In other words Paul is saying train your brain not to dwell on the negatives but on the noble stuff, the true stuff, the right, the pure, the lovely, the things that are worthy of praise. He's telling us that life looks much brighter when you're looking out a clean window. But unfortunately, too often life looks dark and depressing, and discouraging, overwhelming to us.
That happened to George and Linda. That's how we ended up talking about their backyard window. They said there has been tension between them and some of their family members. They left their church because of some of the disillusioning things there; but now they're actively working on removing those sources of tension between them and between their family members and they're returning to their church, but this time with a new attitude. I said, "Hey, you cleaned your window". And they said, "What?" I said, "When you are looking through a dirty window everything looks dirty." Then they smiled at each other and said, "We just did that last week. We cleaned our back window and what a difference it's made."
They also cleaned the dirty window on their heart and they started to focus on positives, on solutions, on healing, and everything suddenly looked different. Maybe it's time for you to do some window cleaning. Maybe you've allowed some bitterness or resentment to creep into your heart. Maybe what you have been through has caused you to slip into thinking about yourself most of the time and into that awful swamp called self-pity. Or you focused a lot of your thinking on a person or some people who have wronged you or hurt you.
The fact is the view has become stressful, it's become discouraging, un-motivating, and it really isn't the stuff in the yard that's causing it. It's the attitude through which you are viewing things. It's your dirty window. Why don't you start back by what the Bible describes as the Rejoice Mode? It starts when you bring your situation to Jesus, and your attitude. It's your attitude that's dragging you down more than your situation. I guess it's the "rejoice choice" isn't it?
Each new day begin by listing to your Heavenly Father things for which you are thankful. There will always be plenty of them if you look for your God-sightings. And then start loading up your heart with music and scripture and conversation and people that will fill your tank with positive fuel. You may not be able to change what's in the yard, but you can change how you're looking at it. Haven't you been looking out the dirty window long enough?