Summary: Learning how to look at the part of the glass that is full rather than on the portion that is empty energizes believers
How Paul Focused Not on What He Lacked But On What He Had in Christ
1. Why do you suppose that many people become depressed, discouraged or frustrated by circumstances? Maybe they are focusing more attention on what they do not have rather than on what they possess in Christ Jesus.
Illustration:Everybody recognizes that Ludwig van Beethoven was a musical genius. But few realize the adversity he had to overcome to achieve greatness. In his twenties, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. Because he couldn’t feel the music as he once had, on one occasion he said his fingers became "thick." His hearing problems haunted him into the middle years of his life, but he kept it a guarded secret. By the time he reached his fifties, Beethoven was completely deaf. But he refused to give up. He was once overheard shouting at the top of his voice, "I will take life by the throat!" Many of his biographers believe the only reason Beethoven remained productive for so long was this determination.
Today in the Word, September 5, 1993.
In this account, Paul gives us great inspiration and example of handling discouragements.
Here was a man who could have despaired of life, but he chose to focus on Christ and His resources. After spending long days and nights on a prison ship, Paul stands up and says, “Even now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship For this very night there stood by my side an angel of the God whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship.” (Acts 27:22,23)
Fix your thoughts on things above and not on things of this earth. Whenever you are in a difficult situation avoid focusing on the negative and concentrate on the positive resources you have in Christ.
2. When people are placed in perilous situations they tend to turn to the Godly who know how to connect them with the total source of all good things. As the ship teetered on the brink of destruction, they turned their eyes toward a man who knew God. Paul knew that the Lord allowed this hardship to occur so that many could learn about the omnipotent God who desires the best for everyone.
Many people are searching for answers to their questions. The Sovereign Lord uses times of adversity to prompt people to turn toward trusting Christians. Use these opportunities to demonstrate your faith, love and knowledge of the Holy One.
Do not join in the chorus of complainers or those who wallow in self-pity.
Ask the Lord to use discouraging experiences to help turn people toward the Godly who can point them to the infinite source of power, strength and protection.
3. Paul stayed encouraged, empowered and equipped throughout the ordeal so he could be useful at just the right moment.
Too many believers fail to remain in close communion with the Lord during difficult times. By praising, thanking and worshipping the Lord in troubled times, God will use us in greater ways.
Trust the Lord to help you remain closely connected with the vine so you can bear fruit in every situation.
4. Paul knew that he could leave a great legacy of faith, courage and hope in one of the darkest times of his life. In the darkest times the smallest light becomes significant.
The Lord is looking for those who are willing to let their light of positive faith shine in the dark corners of our world.
Ask the Lord to use the dark times to let your light illumine the lives of those around you.
5. Even Paul did not know what to do until God sent a special messenger of hope and guidance to him.
Many people tend to panic when they are not sure of what to do in a crisis. Paul waited on the Lord for instructions on what to do next.
While you are waiting spend time praising and thanking God in advance for expected fulfillment of His promises for guidance and care. Refuse to panic or get depressed. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)
Trust the Lord to avoid taking the entire weight of all problems on your own shoulders. Praise, thank and request God help with little and big problems.
6. Paul’s closeness with God gave him an optimistic outlook despite discouraging circumstances. Paul said, “In all things we commend ourselves as servants of God; in much patience, in tribulations, in needs in distresses…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor. 6:4,10)
Ask the Lord to help you adopt Paul’s perspectives toward discouraging circumstances.