Rejoice in the Lord alway:
and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be
known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be
careful for nothing; but in every thing by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things
are of good report; if there be any virtue, and
if there be any praise, think on these
Choosing to Look on the Positive
The devil likes to paint a gloomy
picture when things do not go as you have
planned. When this happens, you need to take
them to the Lord in prayer. Letting things
discourage you is very easy. If you are not
careful, you can get a bad attitude about
different circumstances that happen and let
those things depress you. Most have heard the
saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining." You
need to look at the positive side of things
rather than the negative side. The devil would
have you to look at the negative side of things.
The Word of God says to be
thankful for the little things. You need to look
for the positive in every situation you face.
You should not sit around and feel sorry for
yourself; then you will become depressed. Look
at all the good things you have. When you start
thinking about the good things God has done, it
gets your mind off the negative and on the
The attitudes you take in
situations of life have a great bearing on
whether or not you will make it to Heaven. Often
you have no control over many situations you
face in life, but you do have complete control
over how you react to situations. If you have
the right attitude and live right, the Lord will
work things out. You can spend all day looking
at the negative side of things or you can choose
to look at the positive.
One songwriter wrote, "Little is
much when God is in it." You may have little,
but it is much when you give it to God to use.
He would rather have quality than quantity. God
would rather have perfect unity among the saints
of God than to have strife and division working.
God loves His church so much that He allowed His
only Son to come and shed His blood. Do not
think He does not care when people work division
and strife. He knows, and He is concerned. The
Bible says that few are going to make it
through; therefore, you should not be surprised
if few are willing to press on. I thank God for
those who are willing to keep pressing on.
God is going to bless His people.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 says: "Although the fig tree
shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the
vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and
the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall
be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no
herd in the stalls: [That sounds bad, doesn't
it? But what does the next verse say?] Yet I
will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God
of my salvation."
You cannot control what people do
around you or when people work against you, but
you can control how you react. You can say, "No
matter what happens around me or what others
choose to do, I will rejoice in the Lord." Too
many times, people look at the negative side of
life. God wants you to look on the positive
If your heart is not right, you
cannot uphold the standard of God's Word. You
may try in the flesh, but if you do not have the
Word and the Spirit working together, though you
have understanding, you cannot uphold it. It
will quickly fade away. I thank God for men who
preach the Truth, and I thank God for the Truth.
Also, I thank God that we each can have a pure
heart. If you keep your heart pure, God will
Friend, none of us knows how much
time we have left on this earth before the Lord
comes again. The way things are looking causes
us to think it will not be long. However, we
cannot just sit around and wait for the Lord to
come back. We need to continue to work for God.
I once read a story about a king
and his kingdom. The king called in two
servants. He told the first servant, "I want you
to go throughout the kingdom and gather weeds of
all different varieties and bring them back to
me." Then the king told the other servant, "I
want you to go around the kingdom and gather
flowers of all different kinds and bring them
back to me." He told them that they each had one
week, and then the two servants went out. The
first servant came back after a week with
armfuls of all different kinds of weeds. He
said, "I never knew there were so many weeds. I
am convinced that all we have in this kingdom is
Soon the other servant returned
and said, "Look at all these flowers. I didn't
realize we had so many flowers. We have flowers
of every variety imaginable. The way I see it,
all we have in this kingdom is flowers." One
servant saw only weeds; the other one saw only
flowers. Why was that? That was what they were
looking for. The man who was looking for weeds
found weeds, and the man who was looking for
flowers found flowers.
Likewise, if you look for
negative things, that is what you are going to
see. On the other hand, if you look for positive
things and look to help others, you will be
lifted. You find what you look for. God is
faithful to His people. If you seek Him for help
and divine direction, He will give you what you
When I first joined the Army,
people told me, "It is going to be rough. Those
drill sergeants are going to scream and yell at
you and break you down." So I prepared my mind.
I determined that I was going to be ready. It
pays to prepare yourself. Sometimes you know
what to expect, and you cannot let those things
get you down. You should look for positive
things and be thankful.
"Be Careful for Nothing"
Paul said in our Scripture text
in Philippians 4:4-6: "Rejoice in the Lord
alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your
moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at
hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God." Paul
said, "Be careful for nothing." We need to pray
about everything. It is easier to pray about big
things, such as a house, a new car, a good job,
or the right companion. Most people pray about
those things, but how about the little things?
Sometimes people forget to pray about the little
The Bible tells us in Song of
Solomon 2:15, "Take us the foxes, the little
foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have
tender grapes." We must be careful to take care
of the little things. Paul said, "Be careful for
nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests
be made known unto God." He said "in every
thing" so that your heart and mind might be
The Word of God says to be
prayerful in everything, with thanksgiving. You
need to be very careful. Instead of saying, "Oh,
that is so bad," you should praise the Lord. For
example, you would not say, "Praise the Lord, I
have a flat tire," but you could say, "Thank the
Lord, I have a jack and a spare and can change
it." The Lord tells us to pray with
thanksgiving. So, you could look at a situation
and say, "Lord, help me to keep my spirit right
and to be thankful." You need to be careful of
how you view things. Remember, circumstances
could be worse. Also, you need to remember that
people are watching how you react, and so is
God. When adversity comes, how is your attitude?
Do you look on the bright side?
I want you to read a little story
called The Fence.
There was a little boy with a bad
temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and
told him to hammer a nail in the back fence
every time he lost his temper. The first day the
boy drove thirty-seven nails into the fence, and
then it gradually dwindled down.
He discovered that it was easier
to control his temper than to drive those nails
into the fence. Finally, the day came when the
boy did not lose his temper at all. He told his
father about it, and his father suggested that
he now pull out one nail for each day that he
controlled his temper. The days passed, and the
young boy was finally able to tell his father
that the nails were all gone.
The father took his son by the
hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You
have done well, my son, but look at the holes in
the fence. The fence will never be the same.
When you say things in anger, those words leave
a scar, just as these nails have. You can put a
knife in a man and draw it out, but no matter
how many times you said "I'm sorry," the wound
would still be there. A verbal wound is as bad
as a physical one."
Maintaining a Good Attitude
People are watching how you react
to adversity. A successful person is one who can
adapt in adversity. In the military they take
the men who go through basic training and are
the most easily adaptable to harsh conditions
and make them elite soldiers, such as the Navy
Seals. The most successful people are those who
react to adversity in the proper way.
Do not think on the negative
things in life. You need to think on the
positive. If you react in the wrong way, there
are consequences. People are watching your life.
If you allow your temper to get out of control,
people will see. If you are sad and depressed
all the time, people notice that, and it will
leave a mark on their lives. The little boy who
pounded the nails in the fence pulled them out,
but they still left marks. Friend, you can go
back and tell people, "I'm sorry that I lost my
temper," and they can forgive you, but it will
leave a mark. Some people will hold you for the
things you do. Thank God, you can get right with
God, and He does forget, but your reactions
still leave marks on people's lives.
Again, you can go back and
apologize for losing your temper or for being
grumpy or sad all the time, but the scar will
still be there. That will make it difficult for
people to get help in their souls. You could go
to work and witness to people day after day, but
if you were to lose your temper because you
could not have the next Friday off, you would
leave a bad impression on those who saw you.
Then, the next time you ask, "Will you come to
church with me?" they would probably say, "No,
definitely not. I don't want what you have."
Your attitude is very important.
At times it takes much effort to maintain a good
attitude. I work very hard to remain upbeat on
the job. My goal is to smile and think on good
things. You might have a really bad day and have
to work late, but think on the positive side and
keep an upbeat attitude. Often people have asked
me, "Why do you smile all the time?" What an
opportunity to let them know that it is because
I have the Lord. On the other hand, if someone
were to ask you, "Why are you so sad all the
time?" that person would not want what you have.
The attitude that you show in
your daily living is a witness to others. You
can slowly plant seeds in people's lives. I try
to enjoy life and enjoy my job. Even when things
are not going well, if you keep the joy of the
Lord in your life, you will show people
something that they will want.
Think on Good Things
The Apostle Paul did not say,
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are false,
whatsoever things are a lie, whatsoever things
are unfair, whatsoever things are despicable,
whatsoever things are of a negative report;
think on these things." This is the attitude
that many people take. They only think about the
lies that people have told about them. They
think about all the times they have been
wronged, all the times people have not acted
lovely to them, and all the negative reports.
What about the positive reports?
Paul said in Philippians 4:8,
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true
[if something is not true, do not think about
it], whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things
are of good report; if there be any virtue, and
if there be any praise, think on these things."
Many people are so quick to look at the negative
side of everything. We live in a very critical
world. People are more critical of the church
than they have ever been.
Certainly at times you have a
legitimate reason to be upset about things.
Undoubtedly there will be times when someone
will do you wrong or when someone will cheat
you. Those things happen. Someone may do
something against Truth or against you; someone
may lie about you. Nevertheless, you have no
right to hold them for it. The Word of God says
in Hebrews 13:1, "Let brotherly love continue."
Many people are not willing to do that. They
think on the negative things, but that is not
what God has commanded us to do.
Even during the times when you
feel that you have a legitimate reason to be
upset, you should not think on those things. If
you catch yourself thinking on those things,
remember what God's Word says. It has a list of
good things to think on, and none of those
things is negative or bad. God wants you to
think on godly, holy, pure, honest things.
A wrong or a negative attitude
will drain you emotionally and spiritually. If
you think on negative things all week, you will
go to church on Sunday spiritually drained.
Remember, the attitudes that you have go a long
way in determining whether or not you will make
it to Heaven.
Shining Forth in Adversity
Acts 16:19-24 reads: "And when
her masters saw that the hope of their gains was
gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them
into the marketplace unto the rulers, And
brought them to the magistrates, saying, These
men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our
city, And teach customs, which are not lawful
for us to receive, neither to observe, being
Romans. And the multitude rose up together
against them: and the magistrates rent off their
clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when
they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast
them into prison, charging the jailor to keep
them safely: Who, having received such a charge,
thrust them into the inner prison, and made
their feet fast in the stocks."
That was not a good day for Paul
and Silas. It was a horrible day. If anyone had
reason to complain, they did. They could have
said, "Let's think about what has happened to
us. Those people told lies about us and whipped
us for nothing. That is unfair! What about the
despicable way they ripped off our clothes in
public and beat us? That was so unfair of them
to cast us into prison and put our feet in
stocks." However, Paul and Silas did not do
that. They did not think on their negative
What did Paul and Silas do?
Verses 25-28 tell us: "And at midnight [at the
darkest hour] Paul and Silas [they did not
complain and grumble] prayed, and sang praises
unto God [no doubt people were watching them,
wondering how they were going to react]: and the
prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a
great earthquake, so that the foundations of the
prison were shaken: and immediately all the
doors were opened, and every one's bands were
loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out
of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open,
he drew out his sword, and would have killed
himself, supposing that the prisoners had been
fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying,
Do thyself no harm: for we are all here." All
the prisoners were right there; no one had
The Bible says at midnight Paul
and Silas prayed, sang songs, and praised the
Lord, and all the prisoners heard them. What
happened next? There was a great earthquake, the
prison doors were opened, and everyone's
shackles fell off. You would have thought that
most of them would have gotten up and said,
"This is our chance to escape! Let's get out of
here!" However, that is not what they did. They
wanted to see who Paul and Silas were. They were
not worried about getting free from prison. No
doubt, they wanted to see what Paul and Silas
had to offer. Christian friend, people are
watching your life.
Verses 28-30 say: "But Paul cried
with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm:
for we are all here. Then he called for a light,
and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down
before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and
said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" How you
react in adversity and the attitudes you take
have a great impact on winning souls for God.
Paul and Silas could have sat in that prison and
felt sorry for themselves, cried over their open
wounds, and complained about how they had been
wrongly imprisoned and unjustly beaten. Yet,
they chose to praise God, and it reaped great
Friend, as people watch your
life, are they drawn to Christ or pushed away
because of how you react in adversity? The men
in the prison were drawn to Paul and Silas, and
the jailer asked, "What must I do to be saved?"
Life is not always fair, and the sooner you
realize it, the better you can cope with
adversity. People are going to wrong you and do
things against you. Some may try to do
everything they can to destroy you. You might as
well be ready to look on the positive side.
People may tell lies about you, cheat you, and
bring negative reports about you. Nevertheless,
you should not dwell on those things. Life may
not seem fair, but you must think on good
things. Take the trial or the persecution that
you are going through and turn it around for the
betterment of souls.
Paul and Silas suffered
persecution. If you have spent any time in the
Word of God, you know that the righteous suffer
persecution. Therefore, you need to prepare
yourself to be ready to react in a positive way,
just as Paul and Silas did. Paul and Silas did
not see their trial as a place to become
discouraged. They saw it as an opportunity to
reach out to souls. Are you reacting in a way
that draws souls to Christ? Friend, attitude is
everything. People cannot see what is in your
heart, but they can see how you react to things.
They can see whether you are really happy in the
life that you are living.
The Two Choices
I have a story that I would like
to share with you. It is a good illustration of
how one's attitude affects self and others.
Jerry was the kind of guy some
people just did not like. He was always in a
good mood and always had something positive to
say. When someone asked him how he was doing, he
replied, "If I were any better, I would be
twins." He was a unique manager because he had
several waiters that followed him around from
restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters
followed Jerry was due to his positive attitude.
He was a natural motivator. If an employee was
having a bad day, Jerry told the employee how to
look for the positive side of the situation.
Seeing his style really made me
curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked
him, "I don't get it. You can't be a positive
person all the time. How do you do it?"
Jerry replied, "Each morning I
wake up and say to myself, 'Jerry, you have two
choices today: you can choose to be in a good
mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I
choose to be in a good mood. Each time something
bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I
can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn
from it. Every time someone comes to me
complaining, I can choose to accept their
complaining or I can point out the positive side
of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that
easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life
is all about choices. When you cut away all the
junk, every situation is a choice. You choose
how you react to situations. You choose how
people will affect your mood. You choose to be
in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line
is, it is your choice how you live your life."
I reflected on what Jerry said,
and soon afterward, I left the restaurant
business to start my own business. We lost
touch, but I often thought about him, and I made
a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later I heard that
Jerry did something that you are never supposed
to do in the restaurant business. He left the
back door open one morning and was held up at
gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to
open the safe, his hand, shaking from
nervousness, slipped off the combination. The
robbers panicked and shot him. Fortunately,
Jerry was found quickly and rushed to a local
trauma center. After eighteen hours of surgery
and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released
from the hospital with fragments of the bullet
still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months
after the accident. When I asked him how he was,
he replied, "If I were any better, I would be
twins." Then, he said, "Do you want to see my
I declined to see his wounds, but
I did ask him what had gone through his mind as
the robbery took place.
"The first thing that went
through my mind was that I should have locked
the back door. Then, as I lay on the floor, I
remembered that I had two choices: I could
choose to live or I could choose to die, and I
chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose
consciousness?" I asked.
Jerry continued, "The paramedics
were great. They kept telling me I was going to
be fine. But when they wheeled me into the
emergency room, I saw the expressions on the
faces of the doctors and the nurses, and I got
really scared. In their eyes I read, 'He's a
dead man; He's not going to make it.' So I knew
that I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
He said, "Well, there was a big,
burly nurse shouting questions at me. And she
asked if I was allergic to anything." 'Yes,' I
replied, and the doctors and nurses all stopped
working and waited for my reply. I took a deep
breath and said, 'Bullets.' Over their laughter,
I told them, 'I'm choosing to live. Operate on
me as if I am alive, not dead.' " Jerry lived,
thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also
because of his amazing attitude. I learned from
him that every day we have the choice to live
fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
Friend, you have a choice
concerning how you live each day. You can choose
to be a happy Christian or you can choose to be
depressed. Many people walk around feeling as
though they are being cheated out of life
because they are Christians. They need to walk
closer to God. You cannot control some
circumstances in life, but thank God, you can
control how you react to each situation.
The man named Jerry in the story
chose to live, and his positive attitude allowed
him to do that. The same applies to you. The
attitude you take in everything will determine
whether you live or die spiritually. Thank God,
the Word of God can lift you and help you to
maintain the right attitude necessary to press
on. You may be going through a time in life
where you feel depressed, but the Word of God
can encourage you.
Looking to God's Word for
You may think, "This situation is
impossible," but you can look to the Bible.
Jesus said in Luke 18:27, "The things which are
impossible with men are possible with God." You
may say, "I'm too tired." Jesus said in Matthew
11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest." You may
say, "No one really loves me," but you can read
in John, Chapter 3, that God loves you. You may
say, "I can't go on," but 2 Corinthians 12:9
states, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my
strength is made perfect in weakness." You may
say, "I can't do it," but Philippians 4:13 says,
"I can do all things through Christ which
You may say, "I'm not able," but
2 Corinthians 9:8 says "God is able." You may
say, "I can't forgive myself," but in 1 John 1:9
God says, "If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You may
say, "I can't manage," but God says in
Philippians 4:19, "God shall supply all your
need." You can say, "I am afraid," but 2 Timothy
1:7 says, "God hath not given us the spirit of
fear." You may say, "I am always worried and
frustrated," but God says in 1 Peter 5:7
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth
for you." You may say, "I don't have enough
faith," but Romans 12:3 says, "God hath dealt to
every man the measure of faith." You may say, "I
am not smart enough," but in James 1:5 God says,
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
not; and it shall be given him." You may say, "I
feel all alone," but in Hebrews 13:5 God says,
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
You can think of many negatives,
but God wants you to look on the positive side.
Notice that all those negatives were not found
in the Bible; however, to find the positive side
of all those things, all you have to do is look
to God's Word. He has a silver lining to every
dark cloud you face. In everything you go
through in life, when you feel that you cannot
make it or when you feel that you do not
understand, remember that God has a silver
God wants you to lean heavily
upon Him and look to His Word. He wants you to
look to Him to see what to do and how to react.
Sometimes you may not know what to do and all
you can do is say, "Help me, Lord." Often when
you read the Bible, the Lord will direct you to
the promise you need to help you make it through
the situation. God has promised that He will
never leave you nor forsake you.
Again, our text says in verse 8,
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if there be
any praise, think on these things." [ The End