And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
True, honorable, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue and praise — I am thinking on these things this morning.
If you live in a body, you know what physical pain is.
If you have a mind, you know the pain of being challenged or disparaged.
If you have feelings, you know the pain of neglect or love unreciprocated.
If you have relationships, you know the pain of missing someone, grieving for someone or the greater pain of not being able to do enough for someone.
Pain can color all of our thoughts if we don’t have a mechanism to overcome those thoughts. Experience, it has been said, is the great teacher, but I would offer another approach. Experience teaches us so many things. Touch something hot and you learn. Get caught in a lie and you suffer the consequences. Avoid paying your bills and eventually you will suffer loss. Disappoint your children and you run the risk of losing them.
Of course, experience teaches us the right way to do things as well. And this is what this piece is about. This is an exercise in choosing what you think about.
Pontius Pilate said in his famous conversation with Yahshua — “What is truth?” As I think about truth today, I wake up to what I know to be true and I consider these things. True — and some would argue that what I believe to be true isn’t true at all, but that somehow for me, doesn’t make it any less true.
True — God loves me. I love him. I am alive. My wife loves me. My daughter loves me and I love them. I have been chosen somehow to have access to the Word of God. I know who Jesus is … to some extent. I love to read my bible. I love to praise the LORD. I love to help people — for starters.
Honorable — I love to give people the opportunity to speak their beliefs and their minds — we call this principle — giving voice — . There are no second class citizens. We are all called to great things, but not one of us can do those things alone. Faithfulness is honor. Over perform and under promise is honorable …
Just — fairness — equity — as a pastor of a church — as the eldest son — as an employer — policies must be set that treat people fairly — effort must be rewarded to incentivize effort. Avodah is the Hebrew word for both work and worship. Work is a beautiful and necessary thing and it is right to “give Him thanks and praise.” What is just — many would say — Karma is just — what goes around comes around, but I have learned that He is just and that He is grace and that Vengeance is His … (Romans 12). God is just. He is the husbandman.
Pure — I struggle with pure … what is pure? I love pure in that you know it when you experience it. Children’s laughter is pure. People talk about pure motives, but motive’s more often than not have some form of selfishness mixed in, intentional or not. My image of God’s love for me is as pure as I can get. My love for Him is not that pure.
Lovely — my sleeping wife is lovely, my exhausted daughter after a day at the hospital is lovely, my son in law looking at my daughter — lovely, my family gathered together to celebrate being a family – lovely, A cardinal and a blue jay bouncing on our patio eating seeds, chipmunks chasing each other, an eagle in flight, a nursing child —
Good report — a friend buys a house, a person gets into college, a client is served well, a patent is granted, graduations, weddings, births, commitments made and kept, forgiveness, reconciliation, obstacles overcome
Virtue — character, love, faithfulness, conviction, curiousity, creativity, respect, light, life — each one of these meditated is time well spent.
Praise — Who is worthy of praise ? What is worthy of praise ? A job well done. A decision made, pursued and accomplished … The big things the small things — being of a mind to praise those who do what needs to be done — when nobody else really notices. Thank you Moms — you are worthy of praise — Fathers who love teach and stay — you are worthy of praise — sons and daughters who honor your parents — worthy of praise — for those of you who do your best to serve others — praise worthy. But most of all YHWH YAHSUA — you are my halleluYah. You are my very breath. You are Praiseworthy. You are my Praise.