Summary: Five excellent things to think about

“Think on These Things”

June 1, 2008

The Bible will change your life. It did mine. I remember vividly, when I came home from Korea as a young Military Police Sergeant, how hopeless and empty life was. I was depressed, aimless, and angry. But then my Mom told me there was a purpose for my life – and the Bible would tell me what that purpose was. So I got a Bible and began to read. At first it was hard. I could hardly understand what it was saying. It helped when I got a newer translation – but still I struggled to understand. But before long, it began to make sense. I found meaning, forgiveness and purpose for my life. The Bible changed my life – or I should say, Jesus changed my life through the Bible.

But there are a few Scriptures more than others that really made a difference. The one I want to share with you this morning is one of them.

“Finally, brothers, 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.”

Philippians 4:8

It was in Hawthorne, Nevada. The year was about ’78 or ’79. And I was going through a time of depression. Every day was discouraging. The church only had a couple of people attending it - Joyce and her son and the Patterson family. The church was run down. The parsonage was run down. The community was slow to embrace us even after a couple of years. I had high expectations of myself and my ministry – but nothing good seemed to be happening. Then I happened on this Scripture. I realized what I need to do to get out of my depression was to “count my blessings.” “Name them one by one.”

I made a bulletin board and began to collect positive Scriptures – promise Scriptures and reward Scriptures. Scriptures like Galatians 6:9 and Hebrews 6:10 and 1 Peter 5:4. I collected positive poetry. I began to memorize poems like Edger Guests “It’s Couldn’t be Done” and “Two frogs in a can of Cream” and “When the Day is Done.” And this Scripture changed my life. From an unhappy, frustrated, depressed person I became a happy, faith-filled Christian. Pretty soon God began to bless and our church became the fastest growing church on the district. I started a wonderful Christian school, “Desert Son Christian School” and later was elected to be a delegate at two State Republican Conventions, and to serve as a county chairman of the party.

I’m not trying to tell you that this Scripture is a magic formula to change your life from failure to Success – but it will change it from unhappiness to happiness. It will change it from fear to faith. It will turn you from being a pessimist to a optimist – if you work it.

So let me share with you a few things you can ‘think on’ that will turn things around for you. The first thing that is excellent and praise-worthy to meditate on is the ‘love of God’. When you realize how much God loves you it will change your life. When I came to Jesus – it was about me. It was about my needs. It was about my desires. And God met me there in my self-centered need.

After a short time I realized that God loved me. Maybe no one else in the whole world loved me – but Jesus did. Maybe no one ‘could’ love me – if they knew the kind of person I really was inside. I was pretty ugly and selfish. But Jesus knew me better than I knew myself – and He stilled loved me. He really loved me. He demonstrated it in so many ways. One way was through the Scriptures.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:13-16

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Remember that old children’ song? It’s true! One of the reasons you should read the Bible is because it is a love letter from God – to you. When Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, He also weeps for you when you are in sin. When John lays his head on Jesus’ shoulder and Jesus embraces him – He embraces you as well. When He forgives and heals and instructs and lovingly makes promises – it is all to you. I know Jesus loves me. He has written me a love letter.

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