Advent Devotional - Day 14

Saturday, December 12
Philippians 4:1-9

I’m a cynic by nature. Or maybe I have become one over time. That’s probably the actual truth. I’ll get to that later.

We are struggling and trying to navigate a world where everyone is out for themselves and/or their own values, disregarding the cares and needs of others. “I’m right, you’re wrong, and now we can no longer be in right relationship.”

Frankly, that’s no way to live. But that’s how a lot of us are living.

This year has been difficult, and that’s an understatement. Things that should never be politicized, like how to care for one another, have divided us. The election has torn families apart. Our social media presence may very well have destroyed any personal filters we had left. We see the news, and we are disgusted or disheartened.

An ‘old-man-saying’ I remember hearing as a child is, “No news is good news.” I haven’t heard a better description of 2020.

But there is news. Every day, new information breaks in our 24-hour news cycle. It’s hard for us not to focus on negativity when it’s thrown right in our faces. And sometimes we have to make lemonade out of the lemons we’re given. That’s where my cynicism really comes in. Easier said than done!

But God tells us that focusing our minds on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse,* is the path to making all things work together for our good.

We have to make those choices. Our circumstances will not make them for us. Roll up your sleeves. We have work to do!

God, help me focus today, on the things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, and gracious. Help me see the best, not the worst. Help me see the beauty of Your world, not the ugly. Help me praise, not curse. In Your Holy name, Amen.

*Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

Reflection by Jeff Allen

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