The book of Habakkuk is one of the shortest books in the Bible. It begins with the writer’s laments over Israel’s troubles but concludes with a beautiful affirmation of faith: “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”1
When life gets to be too much, when everything around you seems to be falling apart, when you feel that nothing you do helps, think about Me. Think about how much I love you. Think about My power. Think about all your blessings. If you thank Me for all the good things in your life, the negative feelings will gradually dissipate.
As far back as I can remember, I didn’t like cloudy days, especially in wintertime. They seem endless and hopeless, chilling both body and soul.
Still, they are a part of life, so I decided to learn to like them, and now they don’t seem so dreary. My secret? Actually I have several.
It is a common reaction for people, when faced with a negative situation, to feel justified in complaining and dwelling on the negative. Others have discovered the power of positive thinking and find it beneficial. The power of positive thinking is multiplied when your thoughts are turned into praise for My goodness, protection, supply, and the many blessings in your life.
The other day, I found myself sitting in a restaurant alone, as my friend was running late. As I waited, I decided to jot down some thoughts about what Jesus means to me and what I love most about Him. This is what I came up with:
My family and I once drove up to the top of Pikes Peak, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains. Around 14,000 feet above sea level, we took in the breathtaking views of winding mountaintop lakes, rock formations, forests, and soaring mountains on all sides. The whole scene has been etched into our family’s collective memory, to be shared over and over.
The more you speak words of gratitude and praise Me for the good things in your life, the more you’ll develop a positive outlook, even about things you’re tempted to feel negative about. The more you cultivate a positive outlook, the more you will realize that I can use all things in your life to work together for good, to be a blessing to you in some way, and to help you to learn something important or gain a new skill.
Becoming more Christlike is about becoming a better Christian through a more committed application of the Bible, coupled with the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit. This application of Scripture cuts two ways. First, it calls for doing away with ungodliness, for resisting and overcoming sin as much as possible. Second, it calls for us to put on Christ,1 to embrace the godly virtues spoken of in Scripture, and live in a manner that strengthens these virtues within our lives.
I was inspired the other day when I read some personal accounts on a friend’s blog on the subject of praising God for His goodness in spite of daily problems and annoyances.
Generally, I’m a thankful person. I post inspirational stories on my blog or send them to friends and family by email to share with them the good things that happen in my life. Still, after all these years, I wasn’t in the habit of praising God for even the “bad” things—”giving thanks always for all things to God.”1 I also wasn’t in the habit of looking for the good in everything.
I have a dear friend who told me about something that happened on his birthday. His car was in for repairs, and on this particular day he was driving someone in their own car on an all-day excursion. Planning to pick up his car from the shop after his long day’s drive, he brought along a substantial amount of money to pay for the repairs.