My son got married last weekend and gave me the greatest honor by asking me to do the blessing and say grace over the meal at the reception.

The moment he asked, I started to think about what I wanted to say and immediately thought about my favorite bible verse; Philippians 4.8. I wanted these words to reflect all that was in my heart and be a blessing to everyone there as well.

But as with most things that begin with “I want”, it’s so easy to get caught up in self-will and lose sight of God’s will.

And so, I paused and prayed. I wrote in my journal and asked that I might be a channel for God’s love and that he give me the right words to say. I turned the page and there on the very next page, was Philippians 4.8!

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.

I love it because it offers simple and straightforward instructions for living a happy and successful life— and even more so because of the promise that follows in Philippians 4.9

…practice these things [in daily life], and the peace of God will be with you.

So when my own son marries the most wonderful girl in the world, it is a cause for celebration and gratitude, but especially because we’ve been granted a gift that makes it really easy to look upon such things.

But what about those days when nothing is going right, when you can’t get out of your own way and everywhere you turn is another reason to quit? It’s so tempting to turn our attention to what’s wrong, and surely there is so much wrong in our world today. Those are the very days when we must hold fast to God’s promise of peace and keep practicing these things in our daily life and trust that God will deliver on his Word. That is how to build up our faith and how we can ever hope to change the world. Fear, hate and retaliation won’t heal the world— only your own inner peace has that power.

That is the power of grace— the unmerited strength of God to handle every challenge. Saying grace is a proclamation and a recognition of all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Now more than ever, we need to train our mind to think about such things. Get in the habit of listing your blessings and speaking them aloud— especially on days that you don’t feel like it. 

If what we think about becomes our reality, we must all do our part. Instead of giving in to terror, let’s all focus on all the random acts of human kindness and the deep connections and healing taking place all over the world.

Take a few moments and think about what is good in your life and breathe it all in. We are all one and your one small and seemingly insignificant act has the power to transform the world.

Love prevails.

Here is my blessing on the occasion of my son’s marriage:

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.

I can’t think of anything more right, more pure, and more lovely than the love that Alex and Carolyn have for each other. And surely there is nothing more excellent and praiseworthy than the love they both have for God.

So as we come together today to celebrate that love, let us pray and think about such things as we call to mind the blessings of this day.

Dear God, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude. Thank you for Alex and Carolyn – for their love and faith and for the example they set as they handle every challenge with so much grace. For the Davis Family – thank you for raising such an extraordinary daughter and thank you God for sending Carolyn into our lives. Thank you for our families and friends who have traveled far and wide to be here today, for those who were not able to come, and for our loved ones who are here in spirit. Thank you for this meal and for those who prepared it and will serve it.

For all the blessings of this glorious day, may we always think about such things. in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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