Bad News, Good News
Do you want the Bad News or the Good News first?
Right. Bad news it is, then.
I don’t watch the news on television.
I don’t read the newspaper online or in print.
Frankly, I just find it all too much. Too much bad news from too many places. (But don’t worry, I still manage to get the information I need – eventually).
It is important to know what is happening, so I’m not advocating sticking our heads in the sand.
It is just that we are over-saturated and overstimulated with news – local news and international news – and most of it is bad news, my friend.
Sometimes the bad news is in the way that something is reported or presented – with a troubling bias that negates what I believe to be true. It seems that everyone has an opinion, including journalists. And everyone seems to want to express their opinions, publicly, loudly, and vehemently. We can get ourselves tied up in a knot over everything that is happening everywhere – not to mention our own intimate circle of bad news. Close relationships can become polarized as differences of opinion become the hill to die on.
It all can be discouraging, disheartening, depressing, and even overwhelming. Fears abound, doubts grow, faith fades, and pessimism becomes the mood of the day.
Do you feel like that sometimes, too?
So where and what is the good news?
Good News – The Antidote
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is called Good News. While the world increasingly gives us a lot to be stressed and anxious about, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the antidote to all the bad news in the world.
Good News headlines might read:
Think About It
What we give our attention to forms our perspective and determines our responses.
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.“ Philippians 4:8
Fixing my thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; takes intention…
…because the loudest and ugliest voices clamoring for my attention are often the ones that I give the most attention to, and I shouldn’t. You know, “the squeaky wheel” syndrome…
…because God’s voice is a quiet whisper, a silent pull, a soft touch, a caress, full of grace notes, never pushy, but always inviting my attention…
Attention – Daily and Deliberate
Thinking about what is excellent and worthy of praise means that daily I give deliberate attention to God. There are many ways to do this. The Good News of Jesus Christ is found all around me – if I will give my attention to it.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16
1. Message about Christ
My primary news source is the Word of God – always current, always refreshing, always truthful. This is where I go first and often. I feed my spirit daily with the promises and presence of God, letting His Word dwell richly in me. This keeps the events of life in perspective.
“When I discovered your words, I devoured (ate) them.
They are my joy and my heart’s delight…” Jeremiah 15:16
(Maybe this is what Jesus (the Word of God) meant when he said to “eat his body.”)
2. Teach and Counsel each other…with wisdom
Words are powerful, whether spoken or written. Words used to communicate spiritual truths have the power to encourage and strengthen. I read books, listen to teaching and preaching, follow spiritual blogs, and read insightful articles written by others, because these words help build me up in the truth and love of God. The encouragement that I receive reminds me that the journey of life is best shared with others. I write for the same reason. 1 Thess. 5:11, Hebrews 3:13
3. Sing spiritual songs
I love any expression of creativity. The creative artistic expression of the soul tells its own story and leads us on a journey that touches our emotions deeply. Often the words of a song will reach more deeply and affect us more profoundly than anything else. Worship and praise is one of the best ways to connect with God. The bible says that God “inhabits” or is “enthroned upon” the praises of his people. Another way of saying this is that God becomes more real to us as we praise Him. Psalm 22:3
4. Earth and Sky (Universe)
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So we have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20
Nature: Living busy city lives means that we sometimes become disconnected with God’s voice in nature, and we miss out on the balance that it brings.
So beautiful and majestic – so intricate and detailed. The truth of God is evidenced in what he has created. I hear his voice in the ocean waves, the wind in the trees, the soaring mountain, the detailed color of a flower, the birdsong, a butterfly…
The Universe: The vast mystery of space speaks to me of an awesome mysterious God that I cannot understand, but whom I can trust because the one thing that he has revealed to me is one thing that counts – and that is that this unfathomable God of the universe clothed himself in my vulnerable humanity so that I can know how much he loves me. Psalm 19:1-6, Philippians 2:5-11
5. Food and Wine – Created and Shared
Well, you just knew that I would put this one in here. But I have always found that a meal is an act of creativity and hospitality. Both direct me to God’s goodness. Time spent sharing a meal with others is always good news. To me, fast food is bad news.
God himself is preparing a banquet for us. He has had many years to plan it and nothing on earth will match it for joy and celebration. I am looking forward to it. (Isaiah 25:6)
And finally, while the worst of evil can be found in people, so too can we find inspiration when someone does something kind or loving or generous or thoughtful or selfless or excellent or praiseworthy… The glory of God shining in people tells the best story of all… Ephesians 2:10
…that there is good news to be found if you go to the right sources.