What Haves
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! 

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 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 4:4-9 

In watching a program the other day, there was a conversation between two ladies. One lady was sharing the “what ifs” in her life. We know those conversations, focusing on the things that are wrong in our circumstances, which blocks us from moving forward. She was sharing her situation with a dear friend, who happened to be a military wife. The friend paused for a moment and said, “the one thing I have learned in being a military wife of a husband who is often overseas is to dwell not on the “what ifs” but on the “what haves.” This military wife was saying she had so many things to be grateful for, a husband (some don’t have one), a son, a thriving business, and friends to enjoy life with! She was choosing to not have regrets but to have joy in the midst of her circumstances!

“What ifs” simply trap us in an unrealistic world of regrets. But “what haves,” gives our heart joy and helps us continue to grow and develop the world around us! You see, God says that he will bless those who continue to live in gratitude and do good. 

Perhaps Paul was speaking about this very thing in the above verses. He is telling us to focus on the good around us, and not the difficulties before us. Paul had plenty of reasons to complain and grumble because he was under house arrest and limited in his ability to come and go (sound familiar?). Yet, he took this opportunity to teach abundant life to the church in Philippi, who were struggling to find joy! In so doing, many generations came to benefit from Paul’s teachings. So how can we take these opportunities before us to glow? How can we turn a difficult situation into joy? I propose we are already doing this by focusing on our “what haves” and considering our giftedness in every opportunity.

The people of our nation and church have done these very things through this present epidemic. We are blessed with seeing encouragement all around us, helping hands before us, and a hope that passes all understanding within us! We see our nation and church growing and glowing!

So thank you, Woodbine, for being willing to grow and glow during these difficult days! Thank you for turning away from your “what ifs” and gazing upon your “what haves.” Thank you for offering joy and hope to a struggling community and nation. In return, you have found joy, and you are living abundant lives!  

So grateful to be a part of good things,

Brenda Lewis
Executive Minister
Woodbine Church
5200 Woodbine Road
Pace, Florida 32571