Points to Ponder: Thinking Options
Points to Ponder
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer
A missionary to Jamaica tells of a leper who played his harmonica and sang praises to
God. The disease had taken his nose and ears, had rendered his fingers as stubs, and scarred his face. The initial shock of his appearance melts away as you hear his words:
"I drink out of the saucer because my cup is overflowing."
What does this man know that so many of us are missing? The Apostle Paul tried to convey this same concept in a letter from prison to the Philippian church.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand." (Philippians 4:4-5)
Let your graciousness, your forbearance be known by all who encounter you. How? "The Lord is at hand." He is coming. What's happening now is temporary; He is forever. Think it through.
It is a choice of perspective. You can't always decide what is; however, you can decide how you will regard it.
From earth upward we can offer praise and thanksgiving. From heaven downward we can see the situation in its ultimate context. How it looks depends on how you are seeing it.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
The great 19th century abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass said:
"Whatever you persistently allow to occupy your thoughts will magnify in your life."
If you constantly dwell on how unfair things are in your life, you will become a victim. Not a victim of those who have treated you unfairly; but a victim of your own thinking. Your obsessions will wrap around your heart and mind and lock you up right where you sit. And sit you will.
Paul, from a cold prison cell, writes, "Rejoice!" Twice. A good lesson to learn from him is this: How you choose to think about anything will enable you to face and to prevail over everything. With the heaven-downward perspective you have spiritual insight that few others will attempt to find.
As you look at the matter, here is how you are to think:
"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and mediating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies." (Philippians 4:8-9 from The Message, p. 421)
It's more than just having a positive attitude, or as one preacher says" "Turn your scars into stars." No, it's about options. There is a broad menu running past your mind's eye every minute. What you choose to meditate on is what exercises influence on your heart. To meditate is to chew on it awhile, just as a cow chews the cud to help it digest. What you chew on, what you digest through your eyes and ears becomes the nutrients for your mind.
"For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7 paraphrased)
In other words, we become what we think about.
Do you like the person you are becoming?
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.