2003-12-18 - Runaway Thoughts
Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, 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, let your mind dwell on these things. (NAS)
I stopped at the light in the center of town tonight across from the burned out shell of the Pitman UMC. Something was up again. The Fire Chief's car was sideways across the road blocking the main road through the center of town. I couldn't see around the corner. "Great!", I thought, "What now?" I inched the car forward only to see a ladder truck in the middle of the road. The ladder was deployed but I could not see where it was reaching toward. "Oh no!", I thought, "Another fire."
My mind raced through a hundred dark possibilities. The church fire had been determined to be an electrical file. Was that really the case now? Could there be an arsonist burning down the center of Pitman one fire at a time? Why now and who? I inched my car up another foot to see a fireman in the bucket industriously working on repairing a set of Christmas lights that cross the road.
I felt a little foolish. Well, maybe more than a little. Why had my mind raced to so many negative conclusions? Because we live in a world that is racked by sin. Enron was all about greed, sin. The media plays up the bad news. Why? Because it gets more attention and sells newspapers, magazines and air time. It plays to our old nature.
Why do we all read a daily devotional? There are any number of reasons. To start or end the day on a positive, Christ-centered thought, to be instructed, to lead into a time of prayer, to be reminded that God is the center and not ourselves, etc. Honorable, pure, of good report... we are told to think on these things. There is a reason we are reminded of this point. It is so easy to be sucked into the way of thinking the world feeds us with unrelenting, unabaiting force. Negative, downward, sex sells, crime and terror are winning. The mind reels and stumbles in the face of this onslaught. Jesus wants to take us gently aside and say, "Be still and know that I am God." He is in control no matter how bad the news may be. Whether the news is really that bad, or we only hear the bad news, or the bad is made out to be worse than it actually was.
Is there evil in this world? Are their starving children in the world? Yes. God is there to catch each tiny one in His hands and take them home. Jesus told us we would always have the poor. Turn it around. There are always people we can do good for in the name of Christ. The evil will one day make it very dark in this world. But Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives on that darkest day with piercing light.
Take a few minutes and let your thoughts runaway toward the eternal loving Light of the World.
Grace & Peace,