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Monday, June 2, 2014

Learning to Focus on the Good Times and Not The Bad

In review of the first part of Philippians 1:5 it says, “I thank God for the help you gave me.” (Philippians 1:5a NCV)

Bottom Line:
To thank God for the help others have given you and not focus on the bad.

What this means to me:
I should focus on the good times in my relationships and not the bad times. Thanking God for the help and friendship others have given me. I am partners with them in spreading the Good News about Christ, from the time I first heard and accepted it till now. In life developing an attitude of gratitude does not come naturally. By nature, I’m not a grateful person, but rather selfish and discontented. I’m always wanting more or something different. In the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the church that he started in Philippi, where a woman named Lydia opened up her home and, along with others, and welcomed Paul to the city. The Philippian church even helped fund Paul’s missionary journeys. In the first part of Philippians 1:5, Paul says, “I thank God for the help you gave me” (NCV). What I have learned recently is that, Paul didn’t have a good time in Philippi. In fact, it was one of his toughest churches to get started. When Paul went to this city to start a church, he was beaten, whipped, humiliated, falsely arrested, thrown into prison, and survived an earthquake. Then, he was politely asked by the city leaders to leave town. Yet Paul had a positive attitude and told the believers, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3 NLT). Paul choose to focus on some selective memories. Philippi was not a happy place for Paul, and he endured a lot of persecution and suffering during his time in that city. But he chose not to dwell on painful memories and instead expressed his gratitude for the good things that had been done for him and through him. For me, the longer I know someone, the more likely I am to take that person for granted, looking for faults and only remembering the bad things and not the good. However, memories are a choice. Holding on to the painful memories, will not make me happy! Paul had a lot of reasons to have painful memories of Philippi. Instead, he made the choice to be grateful for the people in his life and the work God was doing in and through them. When I do the same, God will bless my relationships far beyond my expectations. I must remember what is in the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive me for my sins, just as I have forgiven those who sinned against me.” I must forgive others who have sinned against me and not hold onto anger or resentment. Forgiveness is the key to removing painful memories. This verse today reminds me to focus on the good ones instead. When I focus on the good memories, it can affect my outlook on life and I’ll be a much happier person.