Whatever is Lovely

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Reflect

There are a lot of challenging things going on in the world today, and the news keeps getting worse. There have been almost 700 000 deaths to coronavirus, millions of people have been affected by recent floods in India, a massive explosion in Lebanon has killed at least 137 people and injured about 5000, and the list goes on.

With all that’s happening, how are we supposed to deal with the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s scripture?

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.

It’s all very well for Paul to tell us that. He wasn’t facing a pandemic! No, but he was well-acquainted with hardship. He’d been whipped, stoned, shipwrecked and faced danger at every turn (see 2 Cor. 11:22–29). He even wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome (Phil. 1:12–13). Yet he urged the believers in Philippi to focus on the things that were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

This was not some edict to ignore what was going on in the world. It was not a call to distract themselves with visions of hearts and bunnies. This was a plea from someone who had suffered, yet knew the other side of the story—the peace and joy that comes from focusing on the truth of God’s word and his promises. In the midst of a pandemic, there is still beauty if we choose to look for it.

Pray

Dear Lord, there is so much grim news at the moment and so much negativity around us. Please help us to focus on your truth and fill our minds with the things that are noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Help us to be a positive voice in a world of darkness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ponder

Q1       If we focus on the positive things noted in Philippians 4:8, does that mean we’re ignoring the reality of what’s happening in the world at the moment? Why or why not?

Q2       What two or three specific things could you focus on in the next week that would be true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable?

Photo by Ralf Kunze on Pixabay.

Scriptures taken from the NIV Bible. Click here for the copyright notice.

See the World Health Organization for current statistics on coronavirus.

Click here for an article about the Indian floods.

Click here for an article about the explosion in Lebanon.

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4 Responses

  1. Yes Nola, thankyou. Absolutely, we cannot keep ourselves transfixed by the hard things in life because it would take us down so quickly. We can empathise with those suffering while taking time out to refill our tanks with the peace of God through his word, his creation and time spent communing with him.

    1. Thanks for that, Marion. It’s an interesting balance isn’t it? Trying to keep abreast of what’s happening, but not being pulled down by it. I like your suggestion of taking that ‘time out to refill our tanks with the peace of God through his word, his creation and time spent communing with him’. I find that reading the word, listening to worship music and getting out and about in nature really helps me. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Thanks Nola, I’m not watching the news at the moment. The over the top urgency of the news reporter’s voices is difficult for me to digest, so I’m taking your earlier advice and praying. Interestingly I have found myself singing some old hymns intentionally focusing on things like Phil 4 v 8 encourages us to. A great comfort to have faith that God is indeed in control – still!

    1. Yes Dianne, it’s certainly hard to keep away from all the news at the moment and I can understand why you’re not watching it. I limit myself to one TV news broadcast a night, and I usually don’t see all of that because I’m backwards and forwards to the kitchen getting dinner ready. I like to keep in touch with the latest restrictions, but I try to just find out what I need and then jump out. Music can be a great way of focusing on the positive. I’ve got a few favourite worship mixes I listen to on Spotify and I find that helps to get my head in the right place. As you say, it’s great to know that God is in control. Thanks for sharing.

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