When our lives are out of focus, and we are unthankful, we must ask God to realign our focus 360 degrees: the downside, upside, inside, and outside. Let’s consider the upside.
In stormy circumstances, it can and will get better. This is foresight that is hopeful. While in prison, Paul called those in Christ to devote themselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful because God would advance His kingdom through them (Colossians 4:2). Circumstances would get better.
The writer of Hebrews looked at the upside of God’s kingdom with thankfulness, “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).
David wrote his Psalm of Thanks when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem, recognizing that God’s blessings would follow (1 Chronicles 16:7-36). He thanked God for His righteousness that would prevail over the wicked (Psalm 7:17). The psalmists penned songs expressing their thanks to God for His continued deliverance (Psalm 100, 118, 136).
In spite of rebellious circumstances, Isaiah gave thanks because salvation would come through the Messiah (Isaiah 12:4). Daniel gave thanks as he looked at the upside of Babylonian captivity when interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:23). He continued to give thanks on his knees in prayer three times a day under yet another foreign regime, even though it would lead him to the lion’s den (Daniel 6:10). Nehemiah’s two large choirs gave thanks for the upside that God would provide after rebuilding the Jerusalem wall (Nehemiah 12:31, 40). The prophetess Anna thanked God for the redemption He would provide through the infant Jesus when He was dedicated in the temple (Luke 2:38).
The upside in our circumstances is that God will advance His kingdom through us when we focus on Christ, rather than the circumstances.
Look at the upside. Your circumstances can and will get better. Read Psalm 118 and Psalm 136. Then make a list of how your storm can improve by God advancing His kingdom through you. Thank God for what He will do. Memorize Psalm 100. Storing these fives small verses in your heart will equip you with a powerful resource to recall as you look at the upside and become thankful in all circumstances.
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