Thought for the day – Friday 15 May

Thought for the day - Friday 15 May
Dear All
I’ve got my Mr Grumpy coffee mug beside me on the kitchen table and I refill it about a dozen times while ‘penning’ my daily thoughts. I am enjoying writing to you each morning and count it a real privilege to do so. I am also very grateful, heartened and pleased by your many kind and generous comments. Thank you!
As I write I am mindful of how trying it is for you at home and how much you are missing your families and friends and of the impact and disruption to your and my normal way of life. It’s difficult for us all and we’ve had to adapt and get used to the necessary changes we’ve had to make. One such change for me is that of writing each day and It has become a major part of my now daily ‘routine’
Some time ago I read a couple of books that someone recommended, one was ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’, by Norman Vincent Peale, and the other, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. I enjoyed them both at the time, however, I did find some of the content in both books a little presumptuous and condescending. As with anything we might read, we need to do so with an open and yet critical mind. Criticism isn’t a bad word.
PeaIe’s book, for instance, smacks of the influence of the ‘prosperity movement’ ethos favoured by some swish televangelists who will happily relieve you of your bucks while getting you to thank them for the privilege. The money factor is an ever-present theme in both books as I recall and I have no intention of reading them again. That said the concepts in both books are noteworthy.
You and I know fine well how what we think directly affects us either positively or otherwise. We don’t need anyone to tell us that, sometimes though, we forget and so a bit of encouragement goes a long way. Good outcomes and not so good outcomes are often dependent on what we think and as a consequence what we ‘make’ happen.
We often hear and perhaps repeat the mantra ourselves, ‘let’s be positive’. We say that I think because we instinctively know that nothing would ever be achieved if we didn’t think it possible. I think Paul was a very positive thinker as you will see from what he wrote to the people of Philippi.
Paul was a Pharisee, he was a tent or sailmaker, he was a learned man and he was also a Roman citizen. He knew times of plenty and poverty and he like the rest of us had his failings and flaws. It’s against this background that he writes. He was confident yet humble and for sure he was a very positive thinker. Paul tells us to ‘think on these things’, by that I believe him to mean meditate, to let things ‘sink in’.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, you will have I’m sure, but I have quite deliberately included each day at the end of my notes, the words, ‘Today I ask you to think/ meditate on these things’. Using the same repetitive words each day is meant to reinforce what we have just read. Reading and seeing the same printed ‘mantra’ is all part of our learning and sharing together.
Paul does something similar, he tells us to ‘rejoice in the Lord, again I say rejoice’. Paul with his positive outlook was able to say that he ‘could do all things through Christ who strengthened him’ and so can we. It is not by our willpower or by our own resolve and determination that we are conquerors but rather through the grace of God in Christ Jesus that we are not only conquerors but more than conquerors. Be positive in the Lord.
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things
God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

PHILIPPIANS 4

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last, you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

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