My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings!
As the virus separates our West Huntsville family from the assemblies for worship, prayer and study, we need to stay near our Lord. That involves thinking on the right things day and night (Psalm 1:2).
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 praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:8-9).
This week, every day, I am posting thoughts in the order that the apostle Paul listed them here.
Today’s word for meditation is noble.
This is a word Americans might associate with royalty or aristocracy; but this passage communicates on a spiritual plane. What Paul wants us to ponder is people or things which are worthy of our great respect; not those who live in Buckingham Palace. This is a serious and consequential thought as we consider the better things of life. He’s directing our concentration to the things which appeal to the better side of mankind; the opposite of the darkness found in the disloyalty of adultery, the abuse of lying, the corruption of the morals of teens, and any mistreatment by stealing what is my neighbor’s. The dark side of this world mocks the sweeter things…the holy things…the things that are truly valuable in the lives of God’s humble children. This world treats true nobility with unfortunate contempt.
To obey this command to think on things which are noble is to think on times in your life when you have witnessed the outpouring of forgiveness from a man approached by the one who harmed him; the kindness of a stranger who rescues a child from fear and harm and puts him in a safe place because it is the right thing to do; the sacrifice of a mother who loves her children in that selfless way through difficult events until the golden hairs on her head have turned to silver; a woman in line to pay at the grocery store who realizes the lady in front of her hasn’t enough money and says, “Here, I’ll make up the difference…”; a teacher who is paid to teach math or history but who daily teaches honesty and respect and godliness to other parents’ teens simply because he knows that, without goodness, an education is worth little; a dating couple who have begun to love one another, but who take their purity before marriage seriously.
Now, these are the real noble things. They are good and they touch a cord deep inside those who, through Scripture, have learned to admire what is good.
There are similar things that are hopefully coming to your mind after reading this. Spend a few minutes right now thinking about them. Some will make you smile. Others will bring a tear. We are better people if we work to weave into our personalities an admiration for the things in life which are noble.
Tonight’s Story Time
Additionally, I’d like to challenge those of you who have children to use this time to build family closeness in the Lord. For that reason I’m also suggesting that all our WH families be on the same nightly “story time” character: Joseph. He, like us, faced times that must have felt surreal.
Tell your children about Joseph’s time in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39). Read it again first to remember the details so you’ll tell it right. Then, start the discussion with your children with these questions:
1. Do you suppose the first night, as a slave, Joseph wondered if his Dad would come rescue him? Why didn’t Jacob do that? Was God watching over Joseph?
2. Verse two says, “The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man.” Did God’s blessing involve Joseph having to work hard? Does God want us to work hard as He blesses us?
3. Why did Potiphar trust Joseph more than his other servants (vs. 5-6)?
4. When Mrs. Potiphar wanted to pretend Joseph was her husband, why did Joseph refuse? After all, his family was far away and wouldn’t know what he had done.
Ask your children to tell you about a time they can remember in which they worked very hard and achieved something that they really needed or wanted. Ask them Who it is that gave them the strength and nutrition and even the time to do hard work.
Sing together the chorus of “I Will Work”
I will work.
I will pray.
In the vineyard, in the vineyard of the Lord.
I will work.
I will pray.
I will labor every day
In the vineyard of the Lord.
Have everyone quote the KidSing rule: Do the right thing!
Pray that your family will be noble. Pray that “we will work hard and make good choices that will help bring glory to our God.” Pray for every person by name–that each one will decide to do what’s right, just because it’s right.