Philippians 4:8-9 8 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. 9 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.
Wow, it’s just that simple. Think good thoughts, practice what is right, and GOD’s peace is yours. Put another way, garbage in, garbage out. Are you vigilant to what your mind is feeding on? How many of you felt a little knot in your stomach when the stock market began free falling the last couple of days? Are you a little anxious about that deal the President made with Iran? What about all the gay and transgender issues being tossed around the media these days? Are you listening to it or, feeding on it?
I am reminded of two things reading this wonderful passage. First is the story I came across recently on blue zones. Blue zones are places in the world that scientist have identified where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth. Several of these blue zones exist, and in each of these places people living to 90 or even 100 years is common. And they aren't just living long either - these people are living healthy - without medication or disability. So far, only five blue zones have been identified with one in the U.S. So what is the secret to longevity and health underlying these fascinating communities? Do they possess modern technology, do they take massive amounts of supplements, do they run on treadmills, do they have special genes? As you may have guessed, the answer is none of these. The secret is lifestyle. Quite simply, these people live a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise, and a low stress life that incorporates family, purpose, religion, and meaning. Just that simple.
My second thought is connected to Pastor’s message last Sunday. It’s clear that Paul is encouraging excellence for our own sake, but what about those who are watching us? What do we want our children to see? A colleague of mine tells the story of when he was three years old experiencing a Longhorn game with his Dad and friends one fall Saturday afternoon more than a few years back. He told how he quickly caught on to the cheering and rivalry and especially showing spirit by yelling “hook em” and holding up the traditional sign with his little fingers. On Sunday morning after the big game he had to go to church with his mom and grandmother. On this Sunday the ladies were stunned when in the excitement of worship my colleague joined in the praise by yelling “hook em” and flashing the sign. While the story is always good for a laugh consider that my colleague has grown up to be a Longhorn football season ticketholder but he does not attend church. They watch.
Heavenly FATHER, we give YOU thanks and praise for the peace YOU promise will be ours if we make the right choices. FATHER please give us the strength and the discipline we need to make the right choices and not only live in YOUR grace and peace but show others how to enjoy YOUR peace as well. In JESUS name. Amen