Monthly Archives: April 2021

Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Fri – 21-04-30



A couple of days ago, we discussed that most people enjoy being praised and applauded. I think this is a key part of our human nature. Sure, some people get carried away craving approval and applause. But the desire for approval is basically good. In fact, Jesus promises recognition and praise to his faithful followers. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the man who left and entrusted wealth to his servants – usually called the Parable of the Talents. In the story, the man eventually returns to settle accounts. He praised the faithful servants who used his wealth to gain more. He said to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Later, Jesus talked about the Day of Judgement, comparing it to separating sheep from goats. What a setting — multitudes gathered for judgement before Jesus! We usually think of this scene as sentencing in a court — that’s why we use the word judgement to describe it. But it is also a public recognition where Jesus will bestow praise on his faithful followers. As Matthew 25:34 (NIV) says, “The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

Stop for a moment and look at all the faithful followers of Jesus you know. If you are looking for whatever is praiseworthy, you can find it in faithfulness to Jesus.


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Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Thu – 21-04-29



I have to admit that I don’t watch many award shows. Several exist for music, film and stage. Perhaps the best known is the Oscars presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are full of glitz and stars. The spectacle begins on the red carpet as people arrive and continues with performances, awards and acceptance speeches. Many of the categories of awards you probably recognize, such as Best Actor or Best Picture. They also have some that are a bit less known, such as awards for Sound or for Film Editing.  I mention the Oscars because they are an example of public recognition.

There are other forms of public recognition as well. For instance, the President of the United States at times presents a medal to a worthy person in a public ceremony. All countries have similar practices. Companies also have gatherings to present awards and recognition. These may be for new product development, great sales or even celebrating years of service to the firm. In sports, different awards are given to recognize players who have excelled. The ultimate honor is usually induction into a hall of fame.

Public recognition is another aspect of focusing on whatever is praiseworthy. When people excel, their stories are broadcast far and wide. Spend time today looking at the public recognition occurring around you and focus on whatever is praiseworthy.


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Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Wed – 21-04-28



Have you noticed that most small children like it when adults applaud them?! Most mothers and fathers use applause to reinforce positive behavior in children, whether cheering a successful potty training attempt, making the bed for the first time or learning the ABC’s. The love of applause stays with most people through their life. It stayed with me. One of my favorite pictures in my high school yearbook is a shot of the bleachers during a football game. Most people are sitting and watching the game. The exception is four people on the top row. They are standing, clapping and cheering at the top of their lungs. Who were the four people? My father, mother, brother and girlfriend. I must have made a good play on the field when the picture was snapped!

I bet you also have some memories of times others applauded you, whether in school, at graduation, in the workplace or to honor your achievement.

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think about “whatever is praiseworthy.”(NIV) Praiseworthy things are things we applaud. Whether moved by a public speaker, a play or action on the sports field, applause erupts because something is just so good! Today, as you focus your thinking on whatever is praiseworthy think about it this way – what can you applaud? Who can you applaud? Open your eyes and discover the praiseworthy actions of others, and cheer!


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Tue – 21-04-27



One of our biggest challenges in focusing our thinking is approval. It is so easy to pay attention to the things we do not approve of, whether in the news, at work or even the behavior of our children.  In fact, in business, it used to be common to stamp documents by hand with big red letters that said “Approved” so there was no doubt on the document’s status.

When we think of “whatever is praiseworthy,” one nuance is the idea of approval. If we see something as worthy of praise, then we undoubtably approve of it. However, all the other things in life can crowd our attention. Even when an approval is presented, it is often from a negative view. For example, in politics, when polls of an office holder’s approval rating are reported, it only seems to draw major media attention when the numbers are down.

Take a moment to think through the different areas of your life and search for things you approve of, or that you like. Can you list some things from your family life? What about your work life and the actions of your coworkers? It is a bit easier to do this on social media, because most platforms have a like button. Strain through the news and look for items you like as well. As you do this, you are essentially looking for praiseworthy things.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Mon – 21-04-26



Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think about several positive things. This week we are focused on the last thing in the list, “whatever is praiseworthy.” The word praiseworthy in the original language comes from the word story. Praise is often given by telling the story of a person’s notable actions. Also the story of such actions is often repeated.

This is especially true of the brave rescue of others from danger. Take for instance a rescue performed in 1978 that was retold in the Washington Post just a couple of weeks ago.

June 27, 1978 was a stormy night in Washington D.C. Fire Engine 21 had been dispatched to Woodland Drive where power lines had been knocked down by the storm. The live wires were arcing and dancing in the street. That’s when firefighter John Bruton Sr. noticed a house at the end of the street was on fire, probably from a lightning strike. A woman was on the second floor shouting out a window for help. The crew moved to rescue her and raised a ladder to the window. Bruton climbed the ladder, but found the woman was no longer at the window. So he climbed into the burning house, found her and carried her back to the ladder where another firefighter carried her down to safety. Bruton received the department’s gold medal for valor.*

You and I should look for similar stories of praiseworthy actions. When we find one, tell the story to others.


*John Kelley, “A brave rescue in 1978 is still a part of District firefighting lore,” The Washington Post, March 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-fire-rescue-medal/2021/03/29/da2b8f84-8da7-11eb-a6bd-0eb91c03305a_story.html

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Whatever Is Praiseworthy – Sun – 21-04-25



Today is ANZAC Day. What? You’ve never heard of it? Well, ANZAC is an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corp. ANZAC is a nickname given to Army soldiers from those countries. ANZAC Day is April 25th. It is a public holiday to recognizes those in Australia and New Zealand who have served and died in war. It began to commemorate soldiers who served in World War I at Gallipoli. It has continued since, though its popularity has ebbed and flowed through the years. ANZAC Day begins at dawn with commemorative services, usually at a war memorial. It is followed by a march. After the march, a “gunfire breakfast” is often consumed. A “gunfire breakfast” is coffee with rum, which the soldiers at Gallipoli had prior to the battle.*

ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, Memorial and Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom are all examples of publicly recognizing something praiseworthy — the actions and sacrifices of soldiers. Many other countries do this as well.

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think about “whatever is praiseworthy.” Public observances often recognize the praiseworthy actions of people. These observances often include actions besides military service. Sometimes they commemorate the history and founding of the community or nation. Others may remember national leaders, civil rights leaders or those who labor in the economy. Participating in these observances helps us focus on whatever is praiseworthy.


*”Anzac Day,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day.

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Whatever Is Excellent – Sat – 21-04-24



2 Peter 1:5-7 says, “For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (NIV)

This is an interesting progression. Our relationship with God begins with faith and should ultimately produce love. But did you notice all the things in between? Right after faith, we are to add goodness. This is the word we have focused on this week. It can be translated excellent, excellencies, virtue or moral excellence.

Let’s change the translation a bit to say “Make every effort to add to your faith moral excellence.”

Wow! What does that mean? What is moral excellence? What is it like to have excellent morals?  Well, we can begin to understand by looking at someone who has bad morals. We all know someone like that, right?! Such people do whatever they want. They are selfish, unconcerned about others.

If we think about good morals, we refer to someone who follows a code of right and wrong. Good morals means they usually do the right thing. Therefore, moral excellence goes beyond actions that conform to a code. It refers to the heart that is full of goodness, resulting in right action.

As you focus on the goodness of God, make every effort to add his goodness to your faith.


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Whatever Is Excellent – Fri – 21-04-23



Have you ever been around sports fans who were discussing a recent game? Die-hard fans will often discuss their team, the games, reports of the locker room and more. If fans have a good team with a superstar, they will often recite the stats of the star player and relive the exciting plays made in recent games. Fans have such enthusiasm for their team! They declare how excellent their team is, whether in conversation, wearing apparel or affixing bumper stickers to their cars. I’ve even seen fake tiger tales hanging from cars on the freeway. The owners were fans of a team whose mascot was a tiger.

This reminds me of our purpose in life. According to 1 Peter 2:9, God chooses people to be his so that we can declare the excellencies of God. The word excellencies, sometimes translated praises, is the word we have focused on this week. Like enthusiastic fans, we should be talking about God’s qualities and actions. We should be sharing about the biggest victories of all – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus – as well as about the answers to prayer and his hand in guiding the events in our lives. We must have enthusiasm to declare how great God is.

Of course, like sports fans, we can’t talk about him if we don’t tune in to see what is happening. Are you looking to see what God is doing in your life?


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Whatever Is Excellent – Thu – 21-04-22



Do you have a favorite food? I have several, such as homemade biscuits and gravy followed by dessert of biscuits and jam – all with a tall glass of milk! I love breakfast foods, steaks, pork chops, and salads. I could go on and on, but I need to stop — or I’ll be getting hungry!

What I find interesting is the way we describe our favorite foods. Not the description of the contents, but of the experience of eating it. I’m sure you’ve used the term delicious, and perhaps mouth-watering to describe good food.  Oh, and there is that word too — good. It is probably the most used term to describe food we enjoy. Or perhaps you’ve used a phrase that is similar — full of goodness. If I talk about food that is full of goodness, what do you see or smell? I bet every bit of it is pleasant, not harsh or bitter.

We are encouraged in Philippians 4:8 to think about “whatever is excellent.” The word translated excellent is not used very much in the New Testament. But it is used to describe a quality of God.  In 2 Peter 1:3 it is translated as “virtue” or “goodness.” It is an essential attribute of God. He is full of goodness and virtue. It is how he calls us to be His people. If you want to think about whatever is excellent, one of the best things you can do is think about God.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.