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Focus on the Good Times
By Rick Warren

“I thank God for the help you gave me.” Philippians 1:5 (NCV)

Paul wrote the book of Philippians to the church that he started in Philippi, where a woman named Lydia opened up her home and, along with others, welcomed Paul to the city. The Philippian church even helped fund Paul’s missionary journeys. In Philippians 1:5, Paul says, “I thank God for the help you gave me” (NCV).

The thing is, Paul didn’t have a good time in Philippi. In fact, it was one of his toughest churches to get started. When Paul went to this city to start a church, he was beaten, whipped, humiliated, falsely arrested, and thrown into prison. He even survived a major earthquake! Then he was asked by the city leaders to leave town.

Yet Paul told the believers, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3 NLT).

What is Paul doing here? He is choosing selective memory. Philippi was not a happy place for Paul, and he endured a lot of persecution and suffering during his time there. But he chooses not to dwell on painful memories. Instead, he expresses his gratitude for the good things that had been done for him and through him.

The longer you know someone, the more likely you are to take that person for granted, look for faults, and remember the bad things instead of the good things.

Are you still clinging to painful memories of people in your life? Maybe you’ve never let them off the hook, and so you can’t enjoy those relationships because you’re still holding on to the past.

You need to understand that memories are a choice. I’ve mentioned a story before about Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross. A friend reminded her of a particularly cruel thing somebody had done to her years before. The friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

Your memories are a choice. If you want to hold on to your painful memories, go right ahead. But you’re not going to be happy. Paul had a lot of reasons to focus on painful memories of Philippi. But he still chose to be grateful for the people in his life and Gods’ work in and through them.

When you do the same, God will bless your relationships far beyond your expectations.

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the purpose driven life illustrated for children daily hope rick warren august 2022Help the Little Ones in Your Life Discover their Purpose

Even before the universe was created, God had you in mind. He has a special plan and purpose for your life.

Imagine if everyone grew up knowing this powerful truth!

That’s why Pastor Rick created The Purpose Driven Life Devotions for Children.

Filled with powerful Scripture passages and engaging illustrations, this colorful hardback delivers 100 devotions that bring the principles in Pastor Rick’s life-changing bestseller to life for children.

Written especially for young readers ages 4-8, this charming picture book speaks directly to the challenges children face—so you can share it with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and kids in your neighborhood.

The Purpose Driven Life Devotions for Children is our thanks for your gift to help Daily Hope take the hope of Jesus to people around the world. Request your copy today!

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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