The Way We Look at Things

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” – Matthew 6:22-23

When things start to look fuzzy, I realize my glasses need cleaning or updating with some fine-tuned lenses. I want clear vision, both physically and spiritually. I think of it this way:

If we look at the world through the lense of money (How much will it cost? Or how much will we make?), we will never see the world as God sees it. He loves the world without regard to cost.

If we look at other people through the lense of self-righteousness or superiority, we will not be able to discern right and wrong. We will have already made up our minds.

If we look at those around us through a lense of anger, we will never be able to show love or gentleness. We will be harsh and rigid in our judgments.

If we look at our environment through a lense of negativity, we will not be able to see good in others or accept them as Jesus does. We will be critical and untrusting.

Maybe we need to evaluate our perspective. We may find we need a new way of looking at things: God’s way of compassion.

God can give us a compassionate view. He can reveal prejudices and attitudes. He can give insight and understanding. Once we allow Him to correct our vision, our relationships will change and opportunities for new ones will open we cannot yet imagine. First we have to be willing to see things His way. He will do the rest.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

He’s First

Do you ever wish God would just write His will across the sky so you can understand it clearly? Something like that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it wasn’t the sky He wrote on, it was a mountain.

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“My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning, my spirit longs for You.” – Isaiah 26:9a

I got up, started the coffee in preparation for my early morning time with God, and began a conversation with Him as the coffee began to brew. As I waited, I looked out the kitchen window toward the mountains to the southwest. A prominent snowfield was visible on one of them and had melted into the shape of a giant “1”. I looked again thinking I must be seeing it wrong. But, no, it was really a “1”. God had written His will on the side of a mountain for me to see: He wants to be first in my life!

As I prayed, I realized He wants to be the first one I think of when I wake up in the morning, the first one I turn to when I need help, the first one I recognize when something good happens in my life, and the only one I ever worship.

The snowy “1” remained there for the rest of our stay in the mountains and was a many-times-a-day reminder of God’s perfect will for me – and for all of us who are His children. When we make Him first, we are less afraid, worried, and frustrated and more often filled with love, joy, and peace. It’s the best way to live!

“Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.” ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Just thinking . . .

Have you ever stopped to think about what you think about? What thoughts move in as soon as you’re not intentionally thinking of something else? Very likely, those thoughts are controlling your life.

"You become what you think about all day long." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You become what you think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Haman, in the book of Esther, helps us understand this.  He had everything he could want: wealth, power, and prestige. But he didn’t appreciate or enjoy it, because all he could think about was that Mordecai the Jew would not bow to him. That thought eventually consumed him to the extent that he conspired to kill Mordecai and all the Jews in Persia. As the story unfolds, we find that he is caught in his own conspiracy and it costs him everything, including his life.

We must not let a past hurt, a present situation, or a future concern rob us of all God has given us in this present moment. We don’t want to be like Haman – getting hung up on one troublesome thing and then missing everything else God has given.

Instead, let’s choose to think about things that draw us to God – His Word, His creation, and His actions in the world. In fact, Paul gave us a good list in Philippians 4:8 when he told us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

As we pay attention to our current thought habits and begin to develop new ones, we will notice that we become more joyful, useful, content, loving, and engaged. Everything changes when our thoughts change. Try it!

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ” (Psalm 139:23-24)