Little Hinges Swing Big Doors

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners!

You most likely have heard the phrase, “little hinges swing big doors.”  Imagine the two hinges are labeled ‘thank’ and ‘you.’  Those two ‘little’ words are the very hinges that will swing mighty doors in your life.

Perhaps you are in a season when your heart feels heavier with disappointment, weariness, and stress than with the lighter feeling of gratitude.  Thankfully, our minds are not an out-of-control thinking machine with no navigator.  As the guide to your intellect, you get to tell yourself what to think.  If despondent thoughts enter your mind, you have the power to not allow those thoughts momentum by halting their progression.  Instead, replace your disheartened thoughts with feelings of appreciation.  This is not to say your current distressing situation is not real, but we must manage our thinking in order to be overcomers.  A heart of gratitude allows those hinged doors to swing your heart, and other’s, wide open.

Paul speaks of the importance of growing in spiritual maturity, and one of the results is overflowing gratitude (Colossians 2:7).  Being thankful is a small hinge that shows the ‘old self,’ the enemy, and the world that by the power of the Holy Spirit you intend to designate gratitude as a watchman of your soul.   If our heart chooses to not respond to God with gratitude, our thinking will become nonsense, and our mind will be darkened (Romans 1:21).  Choosing not to respond to God does not make our decision neutral; choosing not to choose is still choosing.  In order to be the watchman of our soul, we must guard ourselves with gratitude.

I have included over 20 verses below for you to use to kindle and fuel your thankful heart.  Please read through these verses.  They WILL bless you.

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm. 7:17

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalms 9:1

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalms 28:7

“I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalms 69:30

“O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”  Psalms 95:1-3

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalms 100:4-5

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalms 103:1-5

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”  Psalms 107:1

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”  Psalms 118:29

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalms 136:1-5

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  Colossians 2:7

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”  Colossians 3:15

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”  Colossians 4:2

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:20

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28-29

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:15

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”  Revelations 11:17

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”  Revelations 7:12


Thank you, Lord, that by the power of the Spirit I can harness my will and say, “Not my will but Yours.”  I choose to guard my mouth against flippant, bitter, foul, and critical speech.  I opt instead to guard my mouth with gratitude.  I desire to speak with sincere appreciation regarding my fellow sojourners and my current life situation.  In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, amen.

In His grace,


God’s Overabundance

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.  Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy.  Then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like watercourses in the Negev.  Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.  Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.    Psalm 126

Grace and Peace to you fellow sojourners.  As a sojourner, do you know that you are only a temporary resident (1 Peter 2:11) during your time under the sun?  That knowledge should significantly influence how you view and handle all of your days.

Perhaps we all have had seasons of on-going earnest prayer. During those times it seems difficult to imagine laughing out loud again with pure joy.  When you consider the ‘impossible’ things that only God can do, does it seem like a dream to you when you experience His reality?  You know the promises of restoration, but when the experience comes, it can overwhelm your senses.  When the ‘impossible’ is orchestrated, our mouth erupts with laughter and shouts of joy!

The watercourses in the Negev refer to season streams or wadis, which occasionally blessed the land with a sudden overabundance of water (Holman).  A sudden overabundance…wow.  When the Lord blesses, don’t you know it comes as an overabundance and not just a few drops!


Lord, may You unleash the abundance of your blessings upon my life as only you can do.    I desire for my days to remain humble before You.   Lord, I know when you bring your restoration it will always be so significant that it will fill my mouth with shouts of joy.  I will proclaim your greatness to all who have an ear to hear!   Come, Lord Jesus.

In His grace,


Peace, be Still

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”  Mark 4:39

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners!

We are not told much about how this fierce storm broke forth, but we are told that the journey across the sea came at the close of a busy teaching day and Jesus was most likely weary.  In my own life, I seem to be hit by the fiercest ‘winds’ when I am tired.  What about you?

I find it interesting that the word translated ‘peace’ in this verse is also translated ‘silence’ in other versions of the Bible.  It is a word that means things like, to muzzle, to be speechless, and to be kept in check.  Can you imagine peace muzzling your speech so that it is held in check?

In our life experience, we can verify that the good and the bad both have the power to arise.  In this verse, the word ‘wind’ indicates ‘a violent attack of wind, not a squall or a single gust nor a steady blowing wind, however violent, but a storm breaking forth from black thunder clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything topsy-turvy’ (Strongs).  Without a doubt, this arising force would be bad if you happen to be in a boat on the sea.  The marvelous love of Jesus arises even in the midst of the unwelcome and forbids it to continue while bringing everything to peace; causing everything to be still and calm.

When your circumstances tempt you to veer off into a ‘furious gust,’ which causes your vision to blur and your insides to turn chaotic, call for the Teacher.  In the disciple’s distress, they did not call him by his name Jesus, but by “Teacher!”  I suppose they needed some teaching just as you or I need when we view our circumstances to be bigger than our God.

I want the peace that surpasses every thought to guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).  I am praying this exact prayer for someone very dear to me and to behold with my very eyes the storm dissipating in their heart and bringing a wave of peace that only God Himself can bring is an absolute joy.   Sojourners, let’s be so immersed in the peace of the Lord that when the storms arise, they can’t rock our boat.

In His grace,


Bone Up for the Clean Cup

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners!

I enjoy warm drinks, especially on chilly days.  I have discovered the coffee to be especially good when my friend prepares it and presents it to me; delicious!  Tea in the early morning is also extraordinarily good because my husband makes it and brings it to me as I study.  And of course it goes without saying, the cuter the cup, the better!

I am sure you have a favorite beverage and wonderful memories associated not only with the taste but also with the aroma.  Imagine the anticipation of sipping your favorite refreshment just to notice it will be poured into a repulsively filthy cup.   Would you permit someone to pour anyway and muster up your most polite southern manners to drink it or at least pour it out when no one was noticing?  Or in your disgust would you immediately halt the pouring and insist on a clean cup because regardless of how cute the cup might be on the outside the inside is indeed the priority.  Well, Jesus has something to say about this dirty cup business (Luke 11:39).

Sometimes the Lord illuminates me by permitting me to visualize ideas, and this was one of those occasions.  I was preparing to go somewhere, so I was busying myself with my outward appearance while pondering my reading that morning regarding the vain offerings spoken about in Isaiah 1:11, 13.  (The meaning of the word ‘vain’ in this verse is the Hebrew word ‘shav’ and means things like uselessness, deceptive, in vain, falsely, lying, and vanity.)

The Lord brought to my understanding how He values repentance (1 John 1:9), but it must be because we realize it is God we have sinned against (2 Corinthians 7:10) for it to produce renewing repentance.  Vain, worldly repentance is when we say we are sorry only to avoid the uncomfortableness of a situation, but it conclusively proves useless because it deceives ourselves and others, is lying and is, therefore, done in vain.  The result is a “cup” that might still look cute on the outside, but the inside is now dirty.  The longer we continue in this behavior, the filthier the cup becomes.  God is the only one that can cleanse our “cup” from all unrighteousness.

Israel was required to sacrifice certain prescribed animals to atone for their sins.  The aroma which resulted from these atoning sacrifices wasn’t what pleased God as much as what it represented:  repentance, clean souls, and changed lives (Leviticus 1:9, 13, 2:2, 23:18).  If the heart was right, these sacrifices were a pleasing aroma to the Lord (Numbers 15:3).  However, over time Israel left the condition of the heart out of the sacrifice, and it became just ‘a work,’ and God had this to say about it, “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams…Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me” (Isaiah 1:11, 13).

Have you considered your ‘vain’ confessions to be an abomination?  The pleasing aroma wafts from a sacrifice of genuine repentance motivated by a truly humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).  Fellow sojourners, ask the Lord to give you the heartfelt desire to keep your inward ‘cup’ free from filth and debris that would disrupt the complete work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Returning to the Luke 11:39 verse, why else would you suppose Jesus would be concerned about the condition of the inside of your “cup?”   Because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who was given to us (Romans 5:5).  Since the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts wouldn’t it be wise to make sure our ‘cup’ stays clean through repentance and the subsequent cleansing the Lord does in us on our behalf?  Martin Luther famously wrote in the first of his ninety-five theses, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” Repentance is not peripheral to a life of worship. It’s at the very heart, which is why God sees repentance as especially fragrant.


Thank you, Lord, for pouring Your Holy Spirit into my heart.  May you impress on me, even more, the importance of true repentance which will result in your cleansing me of all unrighteousness.  I desire for my “cup” (heart) to be clean.  When You prompt me to repent, I desire to do so immediately.  Open my eyes and ears and soften my heart to your promptings.  Your servant is listening.  In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, amen.

In His grace,


My Word! What’s with All the Profanity?

“No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”   Ephesians 4:29

Greetings fellow sojourners!

As the guard over our mouth, we should always be asking, “Does that speech minister grace?”  “Does it build up?”  “Does it demonstrate the loveliness of Christ in someone else’s eyes?”

To me, profanity has become rampant these days.  I read something recently that said profanity is often the result of idolatry, injustice, or irreverence.   The statement made me pause and put it to the test.  Let’s consider these points, and you can put them to the test for yourself.

Idolatry.  One thing we can proficiently do is idolize self.  1 Corinthians 13:5 says love is not rude.  If someone admires self they say things like, “I can do this, I have the right to talk like this.”  Pride is beneath a lot of this profane language.  But love seeks to honor because it is humble and not self-asserting.  “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly”  (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).   There are some dialogs which are inappropriate, dishonorable, disgraceful and indecent but love can masterfully rise above a dialog of sludge and instead ascend to God as a pleasing aroma.

Injustice.  If you consider injustice, a word that might come to your mind is corrupt.  Peter warned that we should “be saved from this corrupt generation”  (Acts 2:40).  It seems to me this generation is quick to release the floodgates on any language they see fit and the greater the shock value to make their point, the better.  Is it a just way to behave?  Have we really become that immune?

Irreverance.  Possibly all we need to consider here are some synonyms for this word to rev our thoughts.  Blasphemy.  Flippant.  Insult.  Rudeness.  Sinfulness.  Mockery.

“Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks”  (Ephesians 5:4).  Taking significant, weighty, and glorious things and trivializing them or speaking as if they weren’t important is inappropriate.  When you consider the word ‘crude’ is something simple and primitive, we must know we are capable of much more than ‘simple’ and ‘primitive.’  This verse says we instead ought to be giving thanks.

If our heart is thankful, we will not be speaking harsh, obscene, and foul talk.  If we are speaking this way in an attempt to fit in, Scripture has already shown us we are not to fit in, but instead we are to be saved from this corrupt generation (Acts 2:40).  Perhaps we are using the offensive and questionable language because our heart is not content.  We are not happy in Jesus.  When we imitate the way of Jesus, we demonstrate His beauty to others.  When we follow after the pattern of the world we show the vandalizing effects of Satan.

As the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), we should be instructing others with our words and guarding Truth.  If we attempt to lead others with language peppered with profanity, we must know it indicates our approval of obscene, foolish, and crude talk in the life of the Christian which most likely will create a stumbling block for others.

Friends, we are to live to cherish Christ and the gospel above all. That should mean that grace is abounding in our hearts. Therefore, most of the language that is offensive and questionable is merely contrary to ministering grace and living out of grace.


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for granting me a sound mind and bestowing Your Spirit that counsels me in the truth.  Therefore, I am well able to distinguish between words that can vandalize and words that can edify. I desire to guard my words.   It is by Your power that I am victoriously anointed to be a righteous saint of the Living God.  I am grateful.  Amen.

In His grace,


The Marvel of Faith

“Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before You day and night.  May my prayer reach Your presence; listen to my cry.”  Psalm 88:1-2

Greetings fellow sojourners.  Have you been in a season when you have known so much heartache that it seems to be your normal?  Does your heart long to be unyoked from the heavy weight of disappointment, sorrow, and grief?  The marvel of faith is that we can recognize that the darkness of despair is not to be our standard.  When despair calls to us, we answer by calling on the Lord even from the depth of our anguish.  Faith empowers us to stand in the resolute knowledge that the Lord is our only hope for deliverance from every one of our tribulations.

Share your life with God.  When you are preoccupied with your suffering, speak to the Lord concerning it and look for His remedy.

In the midst of tribulation, faith holds on to the “God of my salvation,” or the “God who saves.”  God has promised our deliverance.  I think we occasionally get stuck in the dream method by which God “ought to” deliver us, and then we become crestfallen when our rescue does transpire the way we conceived it might.  The promise we have before us is not the way in which God will deliver but that He will.

Never forget He has saved you from your former distresses!  Therefore I desire Lord, to not devise ways in my heart in which deliverance from my despair should be experienced but instead to look to You as The One who shapes (Isaiah 64:8), sees all things (Hebrews 4:13), loves me to the depths (John 3:16), and has the power to change anything (Matthew 19:26)!  My confidence rests in You!  Your love for me will cause the quick exit of any dismal thought regarding the conclusions of my trials and tribulations.  I am a child of Your love, not Your wrath.  I know that every trial is suited for me to bring things to the surface which do not belong.  Your love will then skim it all off.  I trust You and know You love me.

I cry out to you day and night because You are faithful.  May my prayer reach your presence.  In Jesus name, I pray, amen.

In His grace,


Lessons from the Fig Tree

Every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.  Zechariah 3:10

Beloved of the Lord, if we are going to invite our neighbors to come and sit under our spiritual fig tree and receive spiritual refreshing might we dare consider what is required to tend to the fig tree to make it appealing enough for others to want to come and sit beneath?  Let’s take a look at the care of the fig tree and draw some spiritual applications.  The fig was the third tree mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 3:7) after the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9) so we know it was in the Garden of Eden. In Biblical passages, to sit under the fig tree (as well as the vine) is the epitome of prosperity, safety, peace, and wellbeing.

The fig tree is a deciduous, fast-growing, tree that produces wonderfully sweet fruit.  Like most fruiting plants, the fig tree must receive plenty of nourishment from the sun.  Before these trees can begin producing fruit, they must first achieve their proper growth.  If you own a fig tree and decide to cut it back to keep it small, your fig will not produce fruit.  Because it is drought tolerant, it implies it must have deep roots.  Another thought to consider is if your fig tree receives significant damage due to a harsh winter, it will not produce fruit.

On to the big topic of pruning.  If a fig tree is going to produce good fruit, it cannot escape pruning.   This should occur every winter, and after the coldest part of the winter has passed. There are four things to consider when pruning your fig tree.  Firstly, the branches underneath that spread out from the bottom never get enough light for them to fruit so they must be removed.

Secondly, the root suckers that tunnel underground and pop up around the perimeter of the tree need to be cut off because they do not fruit well and end up taking energy from the plant needlessly.

Thirdly, any old branch and especially dead and diseased branches need to be pruned all the way to the base of the plant.

Finally, any part of the plant you notice that did not fruit should be marked so that you may prune that branch in winter because it never will fruit.  Any energy directed to branches that do not fruit will reduce the amount of fruit on branches that will fruit.

Spiritually, the Lord intends for us to produce good, not worthless fruit (Isaiah 5:2). For this to occur, we will require ‘pruning’ (John 15:2) and nurturing similar to the fig tree.  Have you considered pruning to be a positive event in your life (Isaiah 5:6)?  We must grow in the Lord (Ephesians 4:13,15) and receive plenty of nourishment from the Son (John 15:4) if we intend to produce good fruit.  Do your roots go deep in the Lord or do you need continual assurances? When fierce trials come about do you seek the shelter of the Lord or do you allow your soul to receive the frost-bitten effects of the harshest cold the fiercest person or trial can dish out?  If you do not seek the Lord’s nurturing shelter (Psalm 5:11, 27:5, 31:20, 55:8, 61:4, 119:14, 121:5, 142:5), your fruit will bear the marks.

Just as any branch on the fig tree lacking sufficient sunlight must be removed, we too must remain in the Son if we intend to produce fruit (John 15:4).  Fig tree branches, not fruiting well must be removed because they diminish resources from the good branches.  We too must not allow our energy to be expended in fruitless or sour endeavors but instead be focused on fruitful efforts that bring glory to God.  Therefore, any ‘branch’ in us that does not ‘fruit’ at the expected time should no longer receive our energies.


Thank you, Lord, for equipping me with the ability to offer spiritual refreshing to my neighbor. Your word says that the one who delights in Your instruction will be like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither.  I desire my fruit to be life for those around me.  In Jesus name, I pray, amen.

In His grace,


God’s Promises are Irrevocable

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Salvation is an intensely personal matter, but it is also intended to be shared.  How else will someone know the excellent value of eternal things if you do not share them?  Train your mind to participate with the Lord to obtain a fiercely beating heart for His purposes; as it is from this overflow that we will effortlessly speak of divine things.

It is through God’s promises that he reveals his eternal purposes to which he is unchangeably committed.  These promises are, however, conditional upon obedience on the part of believers.

He is absolutely trustworthy.  God, who swears by himself because it is impossible for him to lie (Hebrews 6:13-18), gives us the hope of eternal life which he promised before time began (Titus 1:2).

He is unchanging.  The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back (Psalm 110:4).  I, Yahweh, have not changed (Malachi 3:6).  And with Him, there is no variation or shadow cast by turning (James 1:17).

He has the power and will to fulfill his promises.  The word that comes from his mouth will not return to him empty, but it will accomplish what he pleases and will prosper in what he sends it to do (Isaiah 55:11).  Abraham himself was entirely convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Roman 4:21).

He is faithful in keeping all his promises.  None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled (Joshua 21:45).  Joshua himself testified that none of the good promises the Lord made had failed; everything was fulfilled (Joshua 23:14).  Solomon also testified that not one of all the good promises the Lord made through His servant Moses had failed  (1 Kings 8:56).  The Lord is faithful in all His words (Psalms 145:13 so let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

His promises stem from his goodness and glory.  His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue. By these He has given us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Thank you, Lord, for revealing your glorious majesty and wonderful works to me.  I will declare your greatness.  Your compassion rests on all you have made.  You help all who fall and raise up all who are oppressed.  My mouth will declare your praises.  Let every living thing praise your holy name!  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

In His grace,



Be Tamed in Christ

Greetings mighty warriors of the living God!

Have you ever considered the differences between the wild and the tamed horse? Let’s prayerfully consider the application in our lives.   Most people would agree a tamed horse is a gentle horse. One of the fruits of being yielded to the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) is gentleness. It is God’s will that you are amazingly strong in the Lord yet beautifully gentle in spirit at the same time! This type of tenderness suggests your will is brought under strict self-control by yielding to His Spirit. How divine. There is a precious sister in our group who makes her living working with horses and with people who desire to learn to ride them. She mentioned that the horse suitable for riding has been tamed (broken) and has been brought under the rider’s command because the horse trusts the rider. Do you believe the gentle Master in all areas of your life enough to deliver your stubborn will under His complete authority, like the tamed horse? (As you know, His will for your life has been laid out in Scripture.)

Have you ever witnessed wild horses or seen a video of them? What comes to mind? A wild horse has limited uses; it ultimately does what it wants and is driven to be its own master. The tamed horse retains all its magnificent power, and gorgeous beauty yet has been skillfully brought under the loving control of its master which makes it perfectly suitable for us. Because of this, these remarkable creatures have become adored, trusted, and wildly admired. What about you? Do you sense the Lord evaluating your character as one that needs taming or one that is suitable to receive the slightest command from the most trusted and adored Master, which always makes you available for His Kingdom purposes?

If your will is ‘wild’ what action would be required to make the necessary modification to be perfectly suitable for the most magnificent Master? Are you willing to do what it takes?

Here are two questions you might want to consider.

(1) When you agree with the Word of God what does that stir? Answer: The Spirit residing in you. Do you understand the effects of that?

(2) When you agree with the word that originates from the flesh what does that stir?   Answer: ______________ .

Which ‘word’ do you find yourself most frequently agreeing with? Remember, when we agree with a ‘word’ we repeat it – either with the voice of our mouth or with the voice in our head. Live intentionally fellow sojourners because you are Divinely Inspired and Victoriously Anointed.

In His grace,

Whatever is, and if There is any

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

This verse, right here, is extremely practical.  I will restate the obvious in order to make a point:

WHATEVER is true

WHATEVER is honorable

WHATEVER is just

WHATEVER is pure

WHATEVER is lovely

WHATEVER is commendable

IF THERE IS ANY moral excellence


Whatever you can find concerning a difficult situation or a problematic person to be true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and if there is any moral excellence or praise DWELL on those things.  Why?  Because these are the noble things, these are the things God sees as highly valuable.  If you can only see a fraction of honor choose to dwell on that fraction as opposed to the chunk that is dishonorable.  If you see only a fraction of lovely and a whole lot of ugly dwell on that tiny bit of lovely.  If there is ANYTHING you can give praise to, give it.

It may seem remarkably easy to notice the lousy attributes of a person or situation because those can seem to stand out like a spotlight on the darkest of nights but to look past the blaring elements and see the lovely takes an exceptional kind inner strength.  The kind of drive that comes from a life grounded in humility.  Another benefit of seeing the ‘whatever’ and ‘if there is any’ will not only assist you in taking note of the good in others, but it will help you tremendously when your circumstances seem bleak.

If I feel as though I have been mistreated or not valued by someone, it is easy for me to keep staring at the hurt which then causes me to spiral into negative thinking and disparaging thoughts.  If, however, I choose to LOOK for the ‘whatevers’ I can cling to those positive things.  While clutching these godly attributes, I can pray with a heart full of thanksgiving while clinging to the buoy of that one good thing while in the still, the current, or the avalanche.

The appeal is so vital that we can find another similar adage by turning back two chapters.  “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Words matter to God.  In Genesis 1:2,  God did not curse the darkness when it covered the surface of the ocean, He merely said, “Let there be light.”  We do not have to be amazed by the audacity of the darkness we merely copy God.  In the face of darkness, He proclaimed light.  It is all about perspective.  When Paul and  Silas were in prison, bound by chains and suffering the sting of a beating they choose the attitude of worshipping God instead of railing about how servants of God should be receiving honor instead of shame.  The result of their viewpoint brought freedom, even though they had no idea it would. The abused simply chose to view their perspective through the lens of holiness as opposed to interpreting through the lens of human nature.

God tells us life and death are held in the power of the tongue.  Do you choose to curse the darkness that surrounds you or do you decide to speak God’s word in the midst of that darkness?  It is ENTIRELY about your perspective.  Do you prefer to see the ‘whatever’ and ‘if there is any’?  The outlook is yours to determine.  It certainly does not mean it will be easy or will not come without cost, but absolutely will mean life and death to you.

Thank you, Lord, for Your Word.  You are faithful, and You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able, but with the temptation, You will also provide a way of escape so that I am able to bear it.  I choose Your perspective when I am in the midst of darkness.  I prefer Your viewpoint when I am tempted to despair.  You are my escape when darkness closes in.  I choose to praise You in the midst of darkness.  In the name of Jesus, I pray and believe, amen.

In His grace,