Day 2 – “whatever things are true”

Phil 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.


Paul admonishes us in Philippians 4:8 to meditate on “whatever things are true.”

The Greek word used in this verse is alethes and is defined as “2. loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful,” which seems to me is very directed around my words – those words I think and those I speak.  Hopefully they are always in that order (think then speak) and hopefully some of the words I think don’t ever make it to the “spoken” category!

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus…

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “true” as:

1a : steadfast, loyal b : honest, just c archaic : truthful
2a (1) : being in accordance with the actual state of affairs <true description> (2) : conformable to an essential reality (3) : fully realized or fulfilled <dreams come true> b : ideal, essential c : being that which is the case rather than what is manifest or assumed <the true dimension of the problem> d : consistent <true to character>

So what’s in my heart? If I take a peek inside, do I find those characteristics that line up with Webster’s definition of steadfast, loyal, honest, just, ideal, essential, and consistent?  Does that describe what’s going on in my heart?

Are the words I speak – I’m supposed meditate on them first – in accordance with the actual state of affairs?

Do I make any assumptions? Am I speaking from first hand knowledge and not “something I heard” or am I filling in the blanks as I go?

Can I factually verify what I say (and meditate on)?

In Joshua 22:10-34 the tribes of Israel were really quick to judge the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh for building an altar. Israel didn’t get the facts first. They thought those two and a half tribes were building the altar in order to sacrifice there and the rest of Israel took up an offense because the LORD had strictly commanded ALL of Israel to worship where He had established the tabernacle.

In reality, the tribes of Ruben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh, which were separated from the rest of Israel by the Jordan, didn’t want future generations to be accused of not being part of Israel, so they built an altar in that place as a remembrance – a memorial – a tribute to their lineage and heritage for future generations.

It’s so important for me to “get the facts” before I make assumptions, before I take up an offense – even a holy offense.

Usually, when I take up an offense, even a holy offense, it is based and rooted in some sort of selfish motive, ultimately. It may take me a little digging to uncover that motive, but most of the time Father reveals the wickedness in my own heart as only He can (Jer 17:9), even when I think it’s justified. I often don’t really have to look very hard at all to see how I personally benefit from my perceived resolution of the offense I’ve taken up.

Even notice the phrase, “… take up an offense…”. No one can put and offense on me; no one can give me an offense; I have to take it. I have to pick it up. I have to carry it. “I… I… I…” – that is an amazing indicator of a selfish, prideful attitude somewhere in the mix.

… whatever things are true…” That’s a pretty good filter for what I choose to meditate on today.

Running After Papa (and renewing my mind)

Changing Lives…

Colossians 1:4-6 (NLT)

4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good New. 6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

The Good News bears fruit by changing lives just as it changed mine. There ‘s much to unpack in that statement.

  • Am I sharing the Good News?
  • Is it changing others lives everywhere?
  • Did it change my life? When did it change my life?
  • Is it still changing my life?

OK. These questions are a little haunting, especially if I ask myself is the Good News changing lives in my own home? How different is my family from the rest of the world? Is God’s word impacting their lives? Why or why not? The why or why not is directly related to Question #1. Am I sharing with my family – my wife, my sons, my daughters – the impact and change God’s word has on my own life?

Lord, please help me realize and be attentive to “teachable moments” with my family. I Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; ” I ask to be attentive and ready Lord, especially to those in my own household. In Jesus’ name… Amen.

I have said too much…

Click to see Job 40:3-5

Job has just spent the last 2 chapters getting absolutely pasted by the Lord.

Granted, there is NO WAY I could have maintained my integrity and not sinned against the Lord with my mouth had I just been through what Job had been through for the last 38 chapters.  But this is his response.

I am nothing… I will cover my mouth with my hand… I have said too much already.  I have nothing more to say,” in all humility and reverence to the Lord God Almighty.  Then God goes on for the rest of Chapter 40 and all of 41 all up in Job’s business.  I’m sure God would have just struck me dead.  One big lighting bolt from nowhere.  ZZZZAPPP!

This is an exercise I need to practice.  Putting my hand on my mouth, especially when I deal with my family and specifically my kids.  Oh the words that I say!

Father, close my mouth like you closed the mouthes of the lions when Daniel was in the den.  I surrender my tongue to You.  You use it for your glory, not my satisfaction.  In Jesus name.  Amen.