Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 NKJV
With the death of a close friend, and both of us battling Covid (Thankfully not at the same time) the last seven days have begun to blur together. With hours of time and not a lot of energy, I have gone back to the project of digitizing our old family photos. First, comes the sorting process and deciding which of these can simply be retired. Then, I photograph each photo with our canon, upload and enhance those thousands of photos (Why did we take so many!?). By now I am up to the late 90’s and early 2000’s and the baby photos of our grandchildren are sweet. But as I see the thousands of faces, I also know the sad, sometimes tragic stories that replaced the smiles with tears. Some I simply delete, as the memories are too painful, others I preserve, because for better or worse these are the people who are part of our history. In a bout of depression, the other night, my mind turned back to the verse that has helped me so many times before. Our old friend, the Apostle Paul, sitting in his prison cell, writes to encourage his friends that when they face hardships, they need to remember the good things that God has done. No matter how low things appear, there are still things and people around us who have noble hearts. No matter how unfairly and selfishly people treat each other, there still remain things of true purity, loveliness and grace. As long as God sits on Heaven’s throne (Which is a long-long time!) – alongside the evil in this world and ruling over it are God’s goodness and glory. He is still good. He sees the whole picture and still loves and cares for each of us. It is up to me and you to decide what we allow our hearts and minds to dwell on and we can do this because our true life is in Christ and is hidden with Him in God.
One of the sisters from our prayer group sent us this song from Charity Gayle, saying it would give us something to praise God about. By the end, the ice in my soul began to melt and I was really blessed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There is no better way for us to set our minds on the good things God has done, that to take time out and give Him praise!
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3 KJV
“Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good!” is a phrase I have heard a lot. It is usually stated with a knowing grin as if to say, “You’ll come around and get a grip on reality one day.” But the older I get and the closer the realities of Heaven become, the more I realize that nothing on earth is more important or more real than Heaven. In fact, today’s verse tells us not to keep our eyes on earth but urges us to set our sights and affections on Heaven because that is where Jesus is.
One day, the flowers in our gardens will die, the mementos in our China hutches will sit on a shelf in a thrift shop and the savings in our bank accounts will be spent. But the things of heaven, like the love of God for a neighbor, the joy of having sins forgiven and the peace that comes from knowing God will never grow old. One day we will close our eyes on earth and open them to see Jesus. A moment will come when we draw our last breath on earth and our first in heaven. When all is said and done, no one will do more good on earth than someone who is always Heavenly minded. May our highest goal be to sing all the verses God gives us to our song on earth, so that one day we can finish the chorus with the angels at the feet of our Heavenly Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV
As we were doing work in our kitchen I took down the curtains to wash them and noticed that our atrium window needed some big time cleaning. I started first with the inside panes but then I noticed that some of the dirt was on the outside. Okay so I went outside with the step-ladder and when I finished I saw that Lo and behold there was more on the inside I had missed! That reminded me of how God wants to clean up my ways of thinking.
He promises to give the mind of Christ but only if we will yield ourselves to Him. We cannot do this window washing on our own but the Holy Spirit can’t wait to come and wash our windows inside and out. (And He won’t miss any spots!) Only He can transform us but only we can choose to yield ourselves to Him today.
For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16