“A tower is consumed in fire, leaving 79 people missing and presumed dead.”
“A car plows over protestors, one killed, 19 injured.”
” A 3 year-old is missing; parents are being questioned.”
“Stores are laying off thousands of employees as their doors close for good.”
“Nuclear weapons are pointed in our direction.”
Terrorist…bombs…death…suicide…gender confusion….political unrest…and so on and so on…
Do you get tired of the depressing news that flows through the flat screen, into your living room or over your car radio, or pops up on-line? Let’s not forget the social media or internet craze where you can slide through article after article of information. Some may be interesting but other can be quite disturbing and it isn’t even a political season.
Our own mind can play our personal thoughts and cares on an endless loop tape…over and over. What do you constantly think about? What plays over and over in your mind?
All these words of gloom or distress plus the anger and fear that seemingly reside in our atmosphere can become overwhelming.
The other night as I was drifting off to sleep the heaviness of the world’s news, the sadness of those going through dark seasons, the cares that the next day may bring kept filling my thoughts. Suddenly Philippians 4:8 came to my mind.
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Instead of filling my mind with the news of the land I should be filling it with the hope of Christ. So I began to consider this verse. What does it mean?
So what is TRUE?
The truth is that God loves us. He sent his son to this dying planet to save us from darkness. He IS returning some day. Life does not have to end in defeat. The truth is that no matter what is seen with our eyes there is hope beyond measure in this life and beyond.
What is NOBLE?
Being noble is being virtuous and honorable in a world of self-satisfaction. A noble person thinks of others first, such as giving up a seat on a bus for an elderly person or returning a wallet found on a park bench to the rightful owner– with the money still intact. Or perhaps dying for a world full of lost souls so they can spend eternity with their creator.
What is RIGHT?
It seems the world we live in has lost the definition of right and wrong? But God is truth and though we have people trying to change that fact and people trying to make a twisted choice as right, it doesn’t matter. God is still right. It is still right to give innocent babies life. It is still right to spread the gospel of hope. It is still right to help those in need.
What is PURE?
Purity is undiluted. It isn’t mixed with properties that would taint it. Purity makes me think of a newborn baby who has not tasted sin. Or perhaps purity is the spilled blood from Christ’s body as he stretched out his arms to die.
What is LOVELY?
It could be your dream home on the ocean front or a field of flowers. I see a tender touch of a mother’s hand on her sleeping child or an elderly couple still holding hands after decades of love, even when faced with trials.
What is ADMIRABLE?
It is when a person risks his own life to save another life by forging into raging waters where a car has overturned. It is when a teacher does not give up on a child who may need extra help. It is when a doctor flies into a third world country to help those less fortunate; or when parents adopt a special needs child because they long to share the compassion and love that fill their hearts.
What is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY?
I look around me and see the people I rub shoulders with and know that I live amongst people who are excellent. I see people who have gone through incredible heartache yet whose hearts are still soft because they have allowed the Creator to walk with them through fires of life. Now they are giving a helping hand to those who experience the same thing.
I look beyond the chaos of this life and I see a purpose. I see a God who is slow to anger and full of grace. He is waiting for those who will turn to him. He is waiting for you and for me to quiet our hearts and give him our cares.
He is excellent. He is praiseworthy.
So I choose to think about and meditate on the things that bring life and hope. And I thank the Lord that no matter what the news may report, no matter what the movies may portray and no matter what people may say, God is STILL in control.
The events of the day do not change the fact that he is God. It does not throw him off guard or trip him up. He is aware of our future.
His word even states:
” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)
I pray that you find peace today. Whatever you may be facing or whatever you are listening to that may strike fear in you, I hope you can give it to God! Be careful what you pour into your mind and dwell on. And especially be careful whom you may choose to spend time with.
As you keep your mind on the things that bring hope I pray you find rest in HIS peace.
May the headlines that flow through your mind be true, noble, right, pure, admirable, and worthy of excellence and praise.