Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4: 8-9 (NLT)

I wonder what Phil Mickelson was thinking yesterday during the course of his final round over the links in Muirfield, Scotland which secured The (British) Open Golf Championship for him.

I suspect it wasn’t thoughts of disaster or demise as he began his round five strokes off the lead. If thoughts such as that began to creep into the perspective of his next shot, or his approach to the next hole, I suspect he or his beloved caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay, would have quickly replaced them with positive and can-do thoughts coming from years of training and playing which had prepared him for this moment.

Here we are together beginning yet another week, in the midst of yet another round of life. Let’s be honest with ourselves. What’s your perspective and perception of the week before you? Honestly.

The weekend is over and many of us are back at it and into the usual grind of each day of the week. The break is over and whatever rest we were supposed to get to rejuvenate us—well, we could probably use just a bit more.

It’s a new day, and a new week and yet we seem to have enough stuff before us and to climb over this week to keep us on the flipside of joy for the rest of the week. Deadlines loom before us. The sky seems a bit cloudy. The economy is still at a standstill or worse. The political landscape is still locked in ideological battles.

And it’s probably going to start raining, too. Somewhere.

But take a look at Paul’s perspective and his approach to the day.

I don’t know what day of the week it was when Paul penned the words above to the church at Philippi. But we do know that he was under house arrest at the time, and chained all day long to a Roman guard. Yet his approach toward life always seemed to be the same, no matter the day, no matter what he faced. While others were allowing their days to be controlled by all the troubles of the day—maybe even something we find ourselves doing at times—Paul points to a better perspective about whatever is before us when he encourages us to—

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Even in the final round of the British Open? Or even on Mondays? Or Tuesdays, even Wednesdays, or Saturdays? With Paul’s approach, we may be surprised at how our perspective toward every brand new day changes. We may be surprised by the new perspective that we have toward what we face in our days and weeks—now that we have changed to focus on things that are true, right, lovely, pure and excellent.

There’s a story of a ship that had sailed from the Orient, on a long voyage around South America, in an area that was new and unfamiliar to the Captain and crew. As a result, they had misjudged their needed water supply, and so somewhere off the coast of South America they ran out of fresh water to drink.

So when a passing ship was spotted, the Captain of the distressed vessel had the signalman signal to the ship: “Can you share your water?” And the response came back: “Dip where you are.” The distressed Captain became irritated and repeated his request, but again the response came back—“Dip where you are.”

So a bucket and rope were rigged together, and the Captain had the crew lower it into the salty ocean. When they lifted up the bucket of water, and the Captain put his finger into it, touched his finger to his tongue, to his amazement he found that the water was sweet, fresh water. What he hadn’t known was that they were in the center of a mile-wide current where the Amazon River was still making its surging rush into the sea.

It’s Monday, and tomorrow will be Tuesday, and then—well it really doesn’t matter what day it is.

What matters is that it is a day where we can find hope for living and facing whatever we are going thorough—right where we are. Just like that day became for that crew, in that moment of unexpected hope found in the middle of a salt-filled ocean. It’s the kind of hope that the God who loves you and never leaves you is always providing you and me. Reminding us that no matter what we face we should always—

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

What are you facing today? Maybe you’re even five strokes back as you try to figure out your next step.

So what will your perspective be for today? What will be your perspective for all the other days ahead? What’s your perspective toward the rest of your life?

What is your perspective as you tee off on the final round, or any round, of whatever adventure, path or challenge that is a part of this journey you are on? Why not let your perspective toward it all, be determined and governed by fixing your mind on what Paul says to fix your mind upon, and upon the hope of life-giving fresh water that is always bubbling within, around and under you—in the person of Christ the Lord.

Draw on that when you need the perspective of strength and hope to get through whatever you’re facing today and all the way through eternity.

He will never fail you—all the way down the middle of every fairway you face.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.