The Focus

May 14, 2018
by Lynne Phipps

Things have not been going very well in my little town. There has been much dissension over the replacement of a necessary facility. For more than two years, a group of volunteers has put a tremendous amount of planning, fundraising, and money into the project, only to have it stopped one week prior to the sod being turned and the construction beginning.

Tempers are running extremely high. Trust has been broken on a number of levels, and not for the first time. Lies are rampant as those involved seek to cover their tracks. All in all, it is a very negative and nasty situation, a circumstance that is occupying first place in the majority of minds, including mine, in a very cynical way.

Thus, as I was doing my regular morning chores, I was also praying and asking God to show me the best way not only to pray about the situation, but even to think about it, as I was burdened by my own less-than-charitable and black thoughts about the whole issue. For the longest time, I did not hear anything back from the Lord about the matter. But then, when I least expected it, focused on the cleaning task at hand, a Scripture verse quietly walked across my mind. And there it was: the answer that I had been seeking.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, 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. (NIV)

As I contemplated this beloved verse, which has seen me through many a difficult situation, I felt such a sense of relief and peace. There really was not anything that I could do about what was happening in our town, in regard to the actual project itself. But I could do something about my attitude, which in turn might have some small bearing upon the attitudes of others as well.

Focusing on the facts, which are negative, discouraging, and downright unfair, would not change anything. Doing so would simply continue to drag my spirit down. But if I chose to focus on what was going right in my life, in my town, what was pure and noble and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy, moving through the negative situation would become so much easier. It would also serve to remind me that nothing is impossible with God. After all, He holds the ultimate plan for our little town, and in His time, He will reveal it in all its glory.

So, in closing, I ask this question, whether you are going through an encouraging or a discouraging time: What are your thoughts focused upon today?

Prayer: Father God, we live in a difficult world. Many people are treated unfairly and many people are hurting in ways that we cannot even comprehend. What we read in the papers or hear on the news can be very discouraging. In light of these facts, help us to remember and apply today's wonderful words of Scripture to our minds, that we might maintain focus and attitudes of victory amidst the disappointments and inequality of situations which may come our way. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good advice, Lynne.


    I love your devotions. Many, many thanks for your dedication to this site.
    Blessings.


    Lynne – another great devotional. Thank you SOOO much. This is what I needed today. God Bless you.


    Thank you for your devotion today. It is very meaningful, for me in my personal life and as the world is at present. May God richly bless you.


    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional word from the Lord. May our focus always be colored by an attitude of gratitude. Blessings.


    Thanks for a very uplifting message for such times as we all experience. I do hope things get resolved as they are meant to be in time. Peace to you.


    Boy do I need this today.
    Thank you.
    Doing an election issue and its really hard to stay out of a negative space.
    Thank you, Lord, for using Lynne to help!


    Hi Lynn
    Thank you and praying things will turn around for you all in your little town. I also find when I get negative thoughts…it just keeps me down but when I think of positive things and trust God and remember He is in control no matter what things look like it brings hope in my being.
    God bless.


    Thank you Lynne – your devotional led me to the old familiar hymn Rock of Ages and the verse:
    Sometimes I feel discouraged And I think my works in vain
    I’m tempted often to murmur To grumble and complain
    Oh but then I think of Jesus And all He’s done for me.


    Good Morning Lynne, and Blessings in the name of “I Am”.
    Yes, the picture you paint, in dark colours, is the same here, and the brush and pallet are also wielded by the “Indigenous” people’s. It is often called a wedge movement, and it can be very destructive in many ways. I will write more later, as we are just leaving for Sudbury for Ursula’s cancer treatjment.


    Thank you for this devotional Lynne. I know there are no coincidences with God, but your great devotional today, sure struck a chord with me. There is a lot of controversy going on about a place for the homeless in our community and nobody wants it in their neighbourhood. I think the project is very much needed here.


    First I thought, “In a nutshell.”
    Sort of oxymoron-ish considering that my thoughts were on our nation and on my family. God’s word and yours of today apply to the whole spectrum of reality.
    Thank you for being willing to hear and say those words today!
    And, praise God from whom all blessings flow.


    Hi Lynne
    So appropriate for me today. My husband just had a major heart attack and my focus was on the imminent situation, even though he is alive. I got him to the hospital in the nick of time; by the Spirit urging me to take him to the hospital, which probably saved his life. I didn’t see it at that time, but reflecting, I see God’s hand in the situation. And….that’s where my focus should be.


    Thank you, Lynne. Your message today is exactly what is needed right now in the province of Ontario. June 7 is provincial election day, and the leadership candidates (especially the front runner), leave much to be desired in the area of trust and honesty.
    I shall keep your message in plain view as a reminder to be a “Positive Polly” as opposed to being a “Negative Nelly”. If God has brought us to it, then God will bring us safely through the next 4 years.
    (ON)


    Wow, Atlin is a long way up north.
    Really like your many contributions.
    I Googled Atlin, not sure if the controversy is about the Hydro project or the reopening of the mine.
    I’m afraid that money brings out the greed in some people.
    The verse you quote is worthy of all of us to live by.
    Good luck and may God be with you.


    I just wanted to let you know that your devotional touched my heart and reminded me that God is still in control. I have been going through a most trying time, and I received news that saddens my spirit. I have been praying fervently for my family, for forgiveness and restoration of relationships. Prayers have not been answered as I had hoped, but there is still so much for which I am grateful. Thank you for the nudge for me to refocus.
    God’s peace and blessing to you.

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