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Have you ever noticed that many people seem to focus on what is bad in their lives instead of what is good? Maybe that’s because we keep trying to fix the bad; that’s the part of our lives that needs the work. If we’re not trying to fix it (perhaps because we know that it is beyond our ability to change the situation), we may be trying to understand the reason for it. But all this dwelling on the negative only succeeds in depressing us. Maybe that is the reason that the power of positive thinking has been a topic of self-help books for years—for at least a century that I know about.

Despite the benefits of thinking about the positive aspects, we know that doing so won’t solve all of our problems. In this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) The Apostle Paul (who also encouraged positive thinking in Philippians 4:8) knew more trouble than most of us will ever encounter, (II Corinthians 11:24-27) so he had some authority to speak on the subject. After careful consideration of all of his hardships, and the troubles faced by fellow Christians, Paul concluded that the glory that will be revealed to us when Christ returns, far outweighs anything that we are facing now. (Romans 8:18) The word that is translated as consider in this verse means to compute or to calculate. It’s not just a passing thought; Paul weighed both sides on a balance and determined that the value of the coming glory would make the present seem as nothing.

We are currently in a state where our soul is redeemed (or can be if we choose to accept God’s gift of grace), but our body is not yet. We are in a race that we must finish before we can fully know the glory that is in store for us. We can, however, draw strength for the course by having our outlook on life shaped by the Holy Spirit instead by our earthly desires. (Romans 8:5) If we, instead of dwelling on our troubles, will put our focus on eternity, it will not only help us to do the more important things in life, but will also help us to see that our present sufferings are temporary and small in comparison to the glory and restoration (Revelation 21:4) that we will enjoy forever.

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Suffering. We question why it has to happen, and we try to avoid it, but it is all around us. Many wonder why God would let bad things happen to good people. Others argue that none of us are good. We shouldn’t be surprised by our troubles. God has told us that we will face trials, (Genesis 3:16-19, John 16:33) and He tells us in 1 Peter 5:6-7 what to do with them.

I have heard people quote 1 Peter 5:7 many times over the years, and very often they have omitted the word 'by' and changed the tense of the verb 'casting' to 'cast'. They have had to do that because they have not quoted it with 1 Peter 5:6. The two verses are in fact one sentence. When verse 6 is not included, the full meaning of the passage is lost. Yes, it is encouraging to tell someone that God cares for them, and to cast their burdens on Him, but there is more to it than that.

For many of us, certainly for me, a lot of our anxieties are a result of our pride. We want to be in control, to do things our way, and to make something of ourselves. What we need to realize is that God already has a plan for our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we will simply agree to His plan and do things His way, we will have no need to be anxious. (Matthew 6:25-34) He will take all of our troubles onto His shoulders. It’s not that we won’t have any trials to face, but He will be right there facing them with us, giving us the strength and resources we need to get through them. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

It takes humility to depend on someone else, to allow someone else to take care of us. But God promises that in due time—HIS timing—He will exalt us, IF we will humble ourselves. Biblical humility does not mean that we need to have a low opinion of ourselves. In fact it will allow us to have more confidence, because if we submit to God’s plan for our lives, and let Him take care of our difficulties, we know that everything will work out. (Romans 8:28) If we read 1 Peter 5:6-7 together we will realize that the way to be successful, exalted, is to humble ourselves, and we do that by casting all our cares on God and trusting in His power and goodness.

The question asked in Psalm 119:9 is asked about a young person, but the answer would certainly apply to anyone at any age. The sooner you start the better, but it's never too late.

Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It is divided into 22 sections, each with eight verses. Each of the sections is represented by a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each of the verses begins with the letter of that section. Psalm 119:9-16 is the second section and answers the question, “How can a young person maintain a pure life?” The answer is by following God's Word.

God gave us His Word as a gift. In this psalm, as elsewhere in the Bible, God’s word is sometimes also referred to as “law”, “testimonies”, “ways”, “precepts”, “statutes”, “commandments”, “judgements” and “ordinances”, but He did not give it to us to make our lives harder. He gave it to us so that things would go well with us, our days may be prolonged and that we may be blessed. (Deuteronomy 6:1-3)

Its mere existence is not enough however; we must have a part in making it useful in our lives. The psalmist sought the Lord with all his heart, prayed for the Lord’s help to keep His commands (Psalm 119:10), stored up His word (Psalm 119:11), praised the Lord (Psalm 119:12), proclaimed (Psalm 119:13), rejoiced in (Psalm 119:14), meditated on (Psalm 119:15) and delighted in (Psalm 119:16) His word. We need to do more than have a Bible sitting on our bookshelf. We need to read it, meditate on it and apply it to our lives.

Some people get a little confused about meditation because its meaning varies according to context. To meditate on the Word of God is to think about it, mull it over, keep it in our minds. It is a very good practice to memorize it. Then you will have it with you whether you have a Bible with you or not. Jesus didn’t have a scroll with Him when He was tempted in the desert, but He answered the devil by quoting scripture. (Luke 4:1-13) No matter what situation you are in, if you have God’s word in your heart, you will have a source of encouragement, hope and guidance. (Psalm 130:5, Psalm 119:11)

Tips for Memorizing Scripture
(This is my paraphrase of tips given by Robert J. Morgan, author of 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart.)

Choose your verse, decide how long until you want it memorized--a week, three days, whatever--then memorize one word at a time. The first word will be pretty easy. For example, John 3:16, the first word is "For". It won't take you long to memorize that! Then add the second word, the third, etc. Repeat each for however much time you've allowed yourself depending on your goal for completion and keeping in mind that successive words will need more time. The first word might only need a minute. By the time you get to "For this is the way God loved the world", you might need several hours. Keep repeating each section until you have it; then add the next to what you already know. Anyone can memorize anything if they do it one word at a time.