I don’t know about you, but I really struggle watching the nightly news. Night after night the “breaking news” isn’t new, and it is bad. Perhaps I am being a little paranoid but I get the distinct impression that the major networks are trying to indoctrinate us. No that can’t be… but the breaking news well, just isn’t new. Think about it for a moment. We get lots of commercials that take up at least 10 to 15 minutes of a half hour segment. In the 15 to 20 minutes of news we hear the same things over and over again. We listen to X number of minutes of bad news followed by a two minute segment at the very end they considered a “human interest” story, a slice of visual and verbal nutrition that is supposed to make us feel better after witnessing all the mayhem and destruction in the previous segments of the national nightly news.
Now unlike some people, I don’t consider the mainstream media to be “fake news,” but I do believe it is heavily scripted. The main goal of evening news is not to inform us of what we want to know, but what they want us to know. By the time the nightly bites are over I’m telling myself, “well that’s a half hour out of my life I cannot get back!” The worse part of watching the nightly news is that it lingers like a bad smell until my mind clears itself by moving on to something else. And here in lies the rub.
Clear thinking can be difficult when fluid thoughts are muddied by worldly contaminates. Thinking about things that count, like goodness, beauty, and love become arduous, dare I say laborious when bombarded by daily and nightly toxins. Of course, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I a thinking person?” Thomas Edison once said, “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” Hopefully we are the majority of real thinkers. And if we are real thinkers, what do we think about?
These days my Bible memory time is given over to rememorizing some familiar passages. Rememorizing sounds remedial, almost like I am being punished for… forgetting. Like repeating a grade or being in a remedial reading class. But being self-imposed and old, I really don’t care because I enjoy the process. So one of my memory passages is Philippians 4:8, “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 praise worthy—meditate on these things.” As I read this passage over and over trying to find storage in this old brain of mine, a thought occurred to me. Jesus is the very manifestation of every word used here in this one beautiful verse. So I put it to the test and started to meditate on it.
Here in lies the test:
Is Jesus true—yes-
Is Jesus noble—yes
Is Jesus just—yes
Is Jesus pure—yes
Is Jesus lovely—yes
Does Jesus have a good report—yes
Does Jesus have any virtue, is there anything praise-worthy in Him—yes.
All the things the Apostle Paul mentions in Philippians 4:8 can be seen in the person and work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He proclaimed to His disciples that He alone was truth. The Gospel of Matthew begins by calling Jesus the son of David, indicating His royal origin (noble). As far as being just, Jesus proves this by going to the cross for our sins. Romans 3:23-25 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (ESV) As to His purity, Second Corinthians tells us that, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Is Jesus lovely? Don’t think on the physical aspect of Jesus but what He did to go to the cross for you and me. Could the Apostle John’s word, found in First John 4 be any more appropriate as a designation of the true essence of who Jesus is, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin.” (1Jn. 4:8-10 NIV) Could there be anymore of a lovely person than what is found in Jesus? What about His witness—does He have a good report, is Jesus beyond blameless? Yes, in all things Jesus was never at fault, never to be blamed for a thoughtless or careless word, never to be charged by truthful men that He did any wrong to be held accountable for (good report). Yes, evil men made things up about Him, what else could they do to the Son of man who walk 33 years blameless before all. As to Jesus’ virtue and praiseworthiness, He alone holds all the cards. No one in all the world has shown mankind a higher moral standard than Jesus. His life was lived with one purpose, to do His Father’s will. His virtue is seen in His continual want to obey His Father’s will, setting the bar for all who came before Him, and have missed the mark and all those who came after Him have done the same. So, is He praiseworthy? There is none other to be praised, none other deserving of our admiration, our time, and our thoughts.
We live in a society that idolizes the famous, the notorious, the rich, the educated, the intellectual elite, and worse of all we make little god’s out of them. We see them, dress, talk, act, mimic them and worse of all think like them, and all the time wondering why the body life of the church holds no attraction, no desire for those who are called by His name. Could it be that the church has lost its influence in the world we live in because we stopped meditating on the what is really true, noble, just, pure, and of a good report? This may sound harsh, but sometimes I think we have made our minds a mosh pit for Satan and the world culture to hold their rock concert in?
As I began this ramble let me end with some words of warning. It is not about the nightly news. What we view at night is just the tip of the iceberg. What is really at stake is what or who we allow to control our heart and mind, who or what we dwell on, meditate on. Let me leave you with the chilling words of Edward L. Bernays, “The father of public relations” He was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda. He said this, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of… Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
My friends I encourage you to be careful of what you allow your minds to dwell on. It is mind shattering to think that there are people out there whose sole goal in life is to control the mind of the masses in order to get us to think on things the way they would want us think. As believers in Christ our minds do not belong to the few “pulling the strings,” nor are we to be in step with the masses just because they say so! We belong to Jesus and it is He that our minds should dwell on.
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!