Weekly Devotion: May 3, 2020

Weekly Devotion: May 3, 2020
My Dear Friend,
I pray that today’s devotional will in some way be an encouragement to you. As always, you are loved and you are missed. Please feel free to keep in touch, let me know how you are doing, and how I may be of further encouragement or help to you.
“Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things…and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
For Less Stress and More Peace of Mind
The Biblical prescription is, “Think on these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.” But some type of pest seems to be invading the flowerbeds of our minds – and it has been nipping these peace-producing thoughts in the bud. It is called “THE NEWS.”
Not that news is a bad thing. A famous theologian once suggested that effective Christian pastors should live each day, Bible in one hand, and newspaper in the other. This is good advice. As Christians, we cannot bury our heads in the sand. We need good information in order to appropriately serve people. But with today’s ceaseless and conflicting flow of what purports to be “news,” there is an important question that a Christian must ask: How is my appetite for “news” affecting my mind’s ability to experience peace – both personal and interpersonal?
Interpersonal peace, i.e. peace with others, is one of the most important objectives in following Jesus. But now, more than ever, there is a deterrent to interpersonal peace. Inexpensive technology has made it possible for most anyone to become a self-appointed authority on current events, even before the most proficient of authorities have had time to adequately discover the facts. The result is that more and more people – even well-meaning Christians – are taking up opposing sides, resulting in conflict and division. This conflict and division is to be eschewed by Christians! In Philippians 2:1-2, we are told that if there is any consolation of love, fellowship, affection, or compassion of the Holy Spirit, we are to seek unity in spirit and purpose. And in Romans 12:18, the Apostle Paul states plainly, “Insofar as it depends on you [Christians], you are to be at peace with all people. “All people” would include those who sit on the other side of the aisle.
Today’s barrage of conflicting “newsfeed” has disrupted the harmony we are to strive for with other people, even those with whom we disagree. But as followers of Jesus, our strongly held views must always be tempered by His maxim, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Without a determination to be peace makers, we will not fully sense the blessing of being in the presence of the God of peace.
And what about our personal peace, often called “inner peace”? Many of us call ourselves “news junkies” because we cannot imagine going more than a day or two without knowing what’s going on in the world. There is nothing wrong with this, but as with any addiction, there is a price to pay. Scripture teaches that being “mastered” by anything (or anyone) but the Lord God means being in captivity. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23, the Apostle Paul tells us that many things, while not unlawful, are nevertheless unprofitable because they are not edifying. To “edify” means to build up, and some things simply do not. The Apostle Paul said he would not allow himself to be “brought under the power of” any of the things that did not edify him. But look around, and you will see that multitudes, even many Christians, have been put “under the power of” things that do not edify.
Christians do not just seek information. In all matters – spiritual or otherwise – we seek truth, for it is the truth that makes us free (John 8:32). Truth edifies the soul. So please ask yourself: “Has the barrage of “news” that I’ve been consuming been uplifting and edifying to my soul?” If the answer is “not really,” then read the news, but don’t let your mind dwell on it. Then, please join the Apostle in saying: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, my mind will dwell on these things, and the God of peace shall be with me.” Amen.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Mark

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