You may have heard about the man who lived where the state lines of Wisconsin and Minnesota meet. He assumed he had been living in Minnesota but when a new land survey was done, it showed that he lived in Wisconsin. "Thank goodness," he exclaimed, "I never could bear those cold Minnesota winters."
Thank goodness it is possible to rise and shine. After visiting the "Promised Land," some people come back with grapes instead of gripes. They wake up singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning." They rise and shine. If they were football players, they would go for a great catch instead of signaling for a fair catch. They know that their outlook impacts the outcome.
I heard a story about a doctor who, while making rounds in a ward for the terminally ill, asked the patients if they had any final requests. He entered an older lady's room and asked, "Is there anything I can arrange before you pass on?" She replied, "Yes, I'd like to see my immediate family one more time." "Of course," said the doctor, "we'll arrange it." He asked a second patient for his wishes. "I'm a Catholic," murmured the man." "I'd like to see a priest for confession and the last rites." "Certainly," replied the doctor. Then he approached the third patient, "Have you any last wish, sir?" he inquired. "Yes," gasped the old man. "My last wish is to see another doctor." Research on people with life-threatening illnesses suggest that this gentleman just might get well. His focus is on living instead of dying.
A new driver for an interstate trucking company found the long cross-country trips extremely tiring. But he noticed that the older driver who traveled with him seemed to thrive on the road. He always looked as fresh at the end of the ride as he did at the start. So one day the young man asked the older one what his secret was. "It's all in your attitude," he replied. "While you went to work this morning, I went for a ride in the country." Your focus will determine whether life is work or a ride in the country.
A positive focus takes discipline. In order to rise and shine, we discipline ourselves to focus on the gains instead of the pains. We focus on what we have learned to focus on, and we can learn to focus on the positive.
Grandpa and Grandma had the grandchildren over the weekend. They decided to take an afternoon drive together. As they explored a new road, they noticed a sign that said, "Natural Park" and decided to stop. Grandpa and Grandma envisioned things like nature trails and so forth. But when they pulled up, they discovered that the "Natural Park" was a nudist community — naked people — or to be politically correct, clothing optional lifestyle. They were appalled of course, and worried about the children. But before they could leave, a group of naturalists came riding by on bicycles. The kids looked at the people and their eyes bulged. Then one blurted out, "Look, they're not wearing their safety helmets." Why was that their focus? Because they had been repeatedly taught to never ride a bicycle without a safety helmet.
Focusing on the good takes discipline, but it will make you a positive Christian. We live in a world that focuses on the negative. When is the last time a policeman pulled you over to discuss your great driving? Our world doesn't work on a positive basis, so you have to work on your world so you can be a positive person.
Focusing on God takes faith, and it will make you a powerful Christian. Even when life is difficult, you have faith that God has power to transform messes into miracles and blunders into blessings. When you see no reason to be positive, your focus shifts to faith. We believe that even in the worst situations, God can bring good. Many times we need more than discipline, we need that invisible means of support — faith.
When people and situations have power over you, you pity yourself and whine. When God has power over you, you pity the whiners and shine. Therefore, our uplook (faith) makes us powerful. That affects our outlook (attitude) which makes us positive. That affects our outcome (life), which allows us to rise and shine.