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“Resetting My Focus”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, May 18, 2022 comes to us from Pat Gerbrandt of Manitoba, Canada.

1 The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." 2 But Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me." The Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." 4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, "Do you come in peace?" 5 Samuel replied, "Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord." 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord has not chosen this one either." 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the Lord chosen this one." 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen these." 11 So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered. "He is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." 12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; this is the one." 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:1-13 NIV


“Resetting My Focus”

Todays’ sky is such a pale gray-blue that it seems as if nothingness curtains the world. On a beautiful Canadian summer day, the sky may be deep blue and either cloudless or contrasted by dazzling white clouds. Vivid shades of orange, red, and purple announce sunrise and sunset. Early spring sunshine seems brave, shining with promise. Longing to capture God’s marvelous artistry, I take pictures of the sky on the days it intrigues me. But when I look at the pictures later, I am dismayed. The colors are there, but unsightly power lines are prevalent, detracting from the beauty I originally saw. I realize now that I saw only the beauty because I was focused on seeing it.

When I choose to focus on what God has done, I simply enjoy God’s sky paintings. The wires are still there, but I don’t have to let them diminish my appreciation for God’s gift of beauty. I’ll keep some of these less-than-ideal pictures to remind me of how to look at others. Do the flaws I notice distract me from the beauty with which God has created each person? I hope not. I want to see people the way God does!


Friends –

Like Pat Gerbrandt I often miss seeing details, especially when those details diminish a beautiful scene. I do try to see God’s light of goodness shining through people I encounter. I appreciate this reminder that what we see in others is, in fact, a part of God’s great and holy creation, which is beautiful and blessed by God. I invite you to consider specific moments when you have intentionally looked for and found the beauty and courage in someone with whom you interact regularly or in someone whom you may have just met. How did that impact your spirit? Did that attitude help you own spirit to shine in that moment?

--Pastor bea


Forgive us, God, for failing to see beauty in people created in your image. Help us to recognize your delight in them. Amen.

--Pat Gerbrandt

Prayer Focus:

To see the Beauty in Others

Thought for the Day:

God’s beauty surrounds me. I only need to stop and notice it.


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

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