Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent Day 24 - Stop staring at the icky things!

"Finally brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or
received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you."  Philippians 4:8-9

My dog was playing on the floor by my desk one day - he's a party all by himself!. I suddenly realized that he'd gotten very still and quiet so I looked over to see what he was up to. He was sitting on the floor like a sphinx -just that still - staring at something right in front of him. I looked to see what it was, and - OH YUCK - it was a dead roach. Bleh! Now a dead roach is only slightly better than a live one, but not by much. Just the sight of it makes my skin crawl. In fact, as I was looking for a picture to go with this post I started by looking at pictures of bugs but just couldn't stand it. Even in pictures they're revolting! When you start having emotional and physical responses to pictures it's time to stop looking! Which brings me to my point...

I told Riley to stop staring at that icky thing. Why would you want that picture burned into your brain? Then I started thinking about the verses in Philippians that tell us what to think about and set our minds on and I saw a connection there. 

Let's face it...the world is full of icky things. You can't listen to the radio or watch TV without being bombarded with the lasted horrific crime or suicide bombing or domestic dispute or missing person or the state of the economy or...

We probably all know people who have actually stopped watching the news just for that reason. Anne Murray had a song years ago with the line:  "sure could use a little good news today". Isn't that just the truth. 

The reality is we live in a fallen world, damaged and sickened by sin and that's not going to change until Jesus comes back to get us. We will continue to hear about the bad stuff because it will always be a part of life for now. We are also called to bring God's light and love and healing into this broken, sinful mess, so you know God is not saying to ignore the problems and the pain. 

What he is saying is, we need to keep our focus on the good things, the things of God. In doing that our perspective and focus remain clear and as our mind dwells on Christ he protects us and keeps us from being overwhelmed by the icky things. 

There are many things beyond our control that blast their way into our consciousness every day. There are also many choices that we make every day that determine where our mind goes. 
  • what music do we listen to?
  • what TV shows and movies do we watch?
  • what internet sites do we frequent?
  • what conversations do we participate in on social networking sites?
  • what books and magazines do we read?
  • what friends do we have lunch with and spend time on the phone with?
  • how much time do we spend with these things as opposed to time in the Word and in prayer?
Look at the last line of this instruction from Paul. It's a promise:

"And the peace of God will be with you."

Could you use some peace? The answer to that is always yes. When your mind races with the problems of the day keeping you from sleeping, when your attitude becomes bleak and hopeless, when you feel discouraged and overwhelmed...

Search for things that are - 
  • true
  • noble
  • right
  • pure lovely
  • admirable
  • excellent
  • praiseworthy
You will find them in God's word along with his many promises, not the least of which is this: 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do 
not give to you as this world gives. Do not let your hearts be
troubled and do not be afraid."

Could you use a little peace in your life? If the answer is yes, stop looking at the icky things and focus instead on the things of God. He always keeps his promises. 

I am praying for you today. 


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