“Make me your focal point as you move through this day. Just as a spinning ballerina mut kepp returning her eyes to a given point to maintain her balance, so you must keep returning your focus to Me. Circumstances are in flux and the world seems to be whirling around you. The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the one who never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances,you will become dizzy and confused. Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My presence and your steps will be steady and sure.”  (Jesus Calling)


“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)


I seldom quote Dear Abby but I found these two particular letters very helpful for our prayer this morning.


Dear Abby: I was moved by the letter from “Losing Slowly in Ohio,” who is 50 pounds overweight and walks every day with her friend to  lose weight. She said that almost daily people made fun of them. My heart goes out to her. I was in her shoes once. With diet and exercise I lost more than 60 pounds and I’ve kept it off. But I was  never ridiculed as she was. On the contrary, one day after I had just begun a daily 1-mile jog and struggling to keep going, I passed by a man who cheerfully called out to me to “keep at it, and one day you’ll be a 10!”


Abby, I can’t tell you what that meant to me. I thought about his encouragement whenever I felt hopeless and was thinking of giving up. We all have a  choice: we can be kind to each offer friends and strangers alike support for the challenges we all face, or we can make ourselves feel superior by being cruel and demeaning. In the end, our choice shapes our character and we receive what we give, so we must choose wisely.


I’m sorry that “Losing” has met with only ignorant jerks so far. I would be honored to pay it forward and tell her how incredibly brave she is, and to encourage her to stick with it.  — Wendy in Colorado


For me, this letter illustrates the heart of the following Scripture passage: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)


Dear Abby: After being diagnosed with MS last year, I moved 900 miles from home. Shortly after the move, my dog had to be put to sleep. Because of all the stress, my MS flared up and I was admitted to the hospital. After the third day there, I was lonely so I went to the gift shop (the Pink Smock) and bought myself some pretty flowers. While I was paying for them, the ladies behind the counter asked me if I needed a card for the flowers. I explained I was buying them for myself because I was alone. About an hour later, after I returned to my room, more flowers arrived. The card read: “Feel better soon!” From the Ladies at the Pink Smock. Abby that has to be the most thoughtful thing that a stranger has ever done for me.  — Rachel in Sanford N.C.


Dear Rachel: Your letter is an example of what strong medicine an act of kindness can be.