// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
LAST MONTH I asked you a thought provoking question. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? I want to continue on the same subject this month. Do you see a glass with liquid in it as half full or half empty? When giving directions, do you describe a traffic light as a red or green light? Isn't it interesting that many people automatically go to the negative description?
If you have been depressed, lost your joy, or have been grumpy to those around you, I challenge you to change your focus. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines focus as: "to concentrate attention or effort." I want to encourage you to focus on positive things every day.
When I am tempted to become negative about my circumstances, I focus on the Apostle Paul. If anyone had a right to develop a negative attitude about life, Paul did. He was put in prison, whipped five times with 39 lashes, beaten three times with rods, and stoned once. He was shipwrecked three times and spent a night and a day adrift at sea.
And yet he declared, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:35–37).
Paul was saying that in spite of these circumstances, he kept a positive attitude because in Christ, we are not just conquerors, we are more than conquerors. Every time I read those verses, adrenaline begins to flow through me. I trust that as you are reading this, you are feeling the presence of the Lord Who is right beside you and ready to help you fight your battle and come out victorious.
I encourage you to focus on the Lord's ability and not on your insufficiencies. I'm reminded of when Moses fled to Midian after killing an Egyptian in an attempt to escape Pharaoh's wrath. Moses was tending his father-in-law's flock when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.
This got Moses' attention. He went closer to the bush to find out why it was not consumed by the fire. All of a sudden God called to him from the middle of the bush. He told Moses that He had seen the Israelites' affliction and was going to use Moses to deliver His people from the Egyptians.
Of course Moses gave God all kinds of excuses of why He needed to use someone else. Moses was focusing on his ability rather than God's. In Exodus 3:11–14 (NIV) we find this conversation between Moses and God, "But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?' And God said, 'I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.' Moses said to God, 'Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" Then what shall I tell them?' God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I AM has sent me to you." ' "
When you focus on "I AM" and not on your ability, your attitude and circumstances will change. When God began to ask me to do things that were beyond my capabilities, I became like Moses and said, "Why don't you ask someone else?" God answered me the same way He did Moses. He said, "I AM THAT I AM" has sent you.
I said, "Okay God, but I need a Scripture to stand on." Thus I began to adopt the Scripture that He has given me in every situation: Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I challenge you to focus on God's ability. When you do, He will empower you and cause you to be successful in every area of your life.