For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15
New Living Translation

Well, friends, the holidays are over. Is that a good thing? It all depends on how you look at it. Some people are terribly depressed during the holidays. I, myself, have the opportunity to be. I am divorced, my children are grown, I have no one special in my life and I’m all by myself on Christmas morning. But I do have all my family over on Christmas day and I found that I was so busy preparing that I didn’t have much time to think about it. But after Christmas is a different story. I can’t really explain it, but for me, there is such a letdown after the holidays. You cook and you clean; you put up Christmas decorations. You give gifts and you get gifts; you send cards and you get cards from friends you haven’t heard from in a year. You prepare for months for Christmas programs and cantatas. It’s a pretty hyped-up situation. But then…it’s over in one day! Like the old song says, “Is that all there is?” Well, fortunately, it isn’t all there is. The very reason for celebrating Christmas is here year round. Jesus doesn’t leave when the tree is taken down. Christ doesn’t depart when the last gift is opened. The Light of the World isn’t extinguished when the last candle is blown out! It all depends on our focus.

One of the definitions of focus is to render (an object or image) in clear outline or sharp detail by adjustment of one’s vision or an optical device; bring into focus. In this instance, what we have to bring into focus is our “mind’s eye” (or thoughts). Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we focus on, dictates our mental, physical and emotional state. If I focus on the fact that I have no partner to share my life with, I can become despondent. But if I focus on the fact that I have two loving children and four beautiful granddaughters that think I’m wonderful, I have a happy heart. If I focus on the fact that I’m getting older, I can definitely become despondent! But if I focus on the fact that I’ve had a wonderful, fulfilling life thus far and it’s not over yet…I have a happy heart.

Let’s look at a more general area. The economy looks bad, doesn’t it? But the Bible tells me that “My God supplies all my needs.” On which thought should I focus? Absolutely every attitude and emotion we have depends on our focus. And be assured of this, it takes time to focus. You can’t glance at something and get a clear picture. Let’s make a resolution to focus on the positive promises in God’s Word this year. Let’s focus on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. By faith, let’s focus on the right things until we see the glass half full and not half empty. Do you want to have a continual feast this upcoming year? Then, by the grace of God, focus your mind’s eye on the things that cause you to have a happy heart.

May your New Year be free of trouble
And may your life be a continual feast!
Happy New Year!




Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:1-3

As I was having my devotional this morning, the Lord started speaking to me, not verbally of course, but in my spirit regarding the challenges I have been facing lately. I like to call them challenges, because that means they can be overcome with God’s help. For the Word tells us , “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

The Lord used the analogy of a rose. You know, you can’t pluck a rose and leave the thorns behind. The rose comes with the thorns…the beauty comes with the briar…the petals come with the prick. We can choose to focus on the thorns or the rose. Our attitude will be determined solely by the focus of our choosing. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to stare at the barbs when you have unfolding before you lovely silken petals? Wouldn’t it be foolish to sacrifice the soothing aroma for the anxiety of the prick? So life is like a budding rose. Each day unfolds anew with awesome beauty and fragrance. But many times, along with the beauty comes a thorn or two. Sometimes it seems that there are more thorns than petals! Continue to focus on the flower. Continue to revel in its beauty and fragrance. When you do, God will make a way, not to avoid the thorns, but to overcome them.

Go back and read our scripture verse again…slowly to let each sentence sink in. It tells us that Jesus had thorns to overcome…literal thorns. Not only so, but He shed His own blood on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for our sins, past, present and future. He chose not to focus on the thorns, but on the throne! He was joyful about the final outcome…our salvation! Oh, how much He loves us! So consider Jesus when you feel the thorns of adversity. Consider Jesus so that you don’t become weary and discouraged in your soul. You haven’t striven so much that you shed your own blood the way He did. Be thankful for the Rose of Sharon who took a crown of thorns so that we might…“have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)