Daily Devotional September 16, 2022

A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day”     (Proverbs 15:13, MSG).

       There is much to trouble the soul these days. I don’t care to elaborate on our world’s concerns. There’s more than enough bad news to go around to sink the human heart into despair. Too many of us are feeling as low as a bow-legged caterpillar.

      Solomon took note of this spiritual condition by observing that “…a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.” The author fails to offer any reason as to what makes for a sad heart. He simply acknowledges a reality with which many of us are all too familiar.

     Conversely, Solomon declares that a cheerful heart brings a smile to one’s face. I don’t believe anyone would disagree. Yet what makes for a cheerful heart?

     Well, I consulted an expert on such things who offered the following advice:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.  Philippians 4:8-9, MSG  

     Focus is the key according to Paul. Focus on what is best, beautiful, and worthy of praise, rather than on what is worst, ugly, or cursed. Centering one’s attention on such things will put a song in your heart (my interpretation).

      So, today I put into practice Paul’s counsel. What follows is a summary of what happened:

“This morning, I chose to marvel over a mother deer and two fawns in the backyard, even though my grand dog enjoys rolling in deer pellets. Then I laughed at the funny memes that popped up on my Facebook page and bypassed watching the news. Later, I sang at the top of my lungs the “Wheels on the bus go round and round,” instead of grumbling because I was stuck behind a stopped school bus. (Now, I can’t get the silly song out of my head.)”

     Here’s the thing. My blood pressure is down twenty points. I’ve had a silly grin on my face most of the day. And my wife isn’t threatening to make me drink decaffeinated coffee the remainder of my life.

     Here’s the best part. I feel confident I am in good enough humor to breeze through the rest of my day. Well, as long as I keep my eyes up, rather than down staring at the deer droppings. It’s all about focus.