We should focus on who we truly are in God’s eyes; holy and specially made by God for a great purpose. When we keep God’s Word and purpose for our life in mind we can block out negative thoughts. This is important because our thoughts and what we see, hear, and say have a large impact on how we view the world and ourselves.
A researcher from the University of Tennessee studied the effects of media on how people think. Two groups of participants listened to a five-minute radio program. One group’s radio program was filled with negative news stories: an earthquake, riots in the street, a bus accident, and other negative stories. The other group listened to more positive uplifting stories.
The researcher found four discernible effects of the people that listened to the negative news stories: (a) they were more depressed than before, (b) they believed the world was a negative place, (c) they were less likely to help others, and (d) they began to believe that what they heard would soon happen to them. Our concept of reality is shaped by our thoughts. If we realized how powerful our thoughts are, we might never think a negative thought again. If we focus our thoughts on the positive uplifting grace of God’s Word, then God can use us to bring light, hope, and joy to the darkness of this world.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8
God’s vision for our lives is that we loving serve Him in response to the love He has shown us. God created you. He has a plan for you and a purpose for your life. Ephesians 2:10 reinforces this. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Knowing this can provide great motivation and joy as we approach each day! We can strive to make each day count for the glory of God!
Ludwig van Beethoven was a prolific composer and pianist. His music is among the most performed classical music of all time and he is one of the most admired composers in history. Over forty-five years of composing he created 722 compositions including nine symphonies. Beethoven drew on his Christian faith for motivation for this consistent effort. He described the aim of his music. “My chief aim was to awaken and permanently instill religious feelings not only into the singers but also in the listeners.”
Beethoven sought to develop the abilities that God had given Him. He wanted to keep learning his whole life. He described this God-given vision quite well. “Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning.”
There is a joke about how deeply committed Beethoven was towards this goal. When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, the caretaker of the cemetery was working when he heard a strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. The caretaker quickly ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Unsure of what it could be, the priest ran and got a police officer.
When the officer arrived, he listened and did not know what it was. By this time others from the nearby church had come out to the cemetery. The church organist bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, “Ah, yes, that’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being played backwards.” He listened a while longer, and said, “There’s the Eighth Symphony, and it’s backwards, too. Most puzzling.” So the organist kept listening. “There’s the Seventh…the Sixth…the Fifth…”
Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the organist. He stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, “My fellow citizens, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just Beethoven decomposing.”
We can seek to serve God our whole life. The Beethoven joke has a good message besides being funny. When we die, we know that death is not final. We will have eternal life in heaven where we will continue to praise and worship God. Psalm 23:6 describes this promise. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In 1522 Martin Luther gave a brief, simple, but expressive eulogy for a pastor named Nicholas Haussmann. Luther said, “What we preach, he lived.” We can strive to emulate this statement in our lives. What Jesus preached, we strive to live out!
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.