Skip to main content

Meditate on things True

Dear Friends,

Here is the third of our REAL Devotions, written especially for you by one of the women from within Kerith community. We hope that these words bless and challenge you as you prepare for your weekend with us - it's just 2 weeks away!

With much love, Catrina and the REAL team x

 

"Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." Philippians 4:8 [The Message]

Oh dear, we do tend to enjoy doing what we shouldn’t, don’t we?

Maybe you’ve read these verses before but in another version, and this one might sound a bit weird - a different translation can often do that. Our thoughts are the basis for our actions so what we think is really important.

This text comes from one of the apostle Paul’s letters that he wrote to groups of Christians to teach and encourage them. It has been called "the happiest of Paul's letters". With any text, it’s always key to bear in mind the context. Prior to this section, Paul has encouraged two women in the congregation to get along together and he has been referring to the importance of trusting God, having a relationship with him, and not worrying. Commentators of this text have been at pains to point out that this is far more than just the modern-day advice to think positively. Let’s break it down:

Meditating: Greek "Logizomai": Reason to a logical conclusion, really take to heart to modify our conduct

True: God is truth and the Word of God our standard. The question should be, "Is it biblical?" rather than "does it work/do I fancy doing it?"

Noble: righteous, just

Reputable: of good report

Authentic: pure

Compelling: lovely, like Jesus

Gracious: positive and constructive, choosing not to see faults. The chapter opened with this. Unity is much valued.

The best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. How easy it is for us to see the negative!

Paul talks of "circumstances", by which he means pains and difficulties in life’s challenges, which can affect our thoughts. In my life, although I haven’t faced beatings and shipwreck and the other things that Paul faced, I have certainly faced pain and ongoing difficulty, like anyone else. In the last few years our family has faced severe disability, cancer, bereavement and depression. It is so easy to be overwhelmed, but this scripture can be used not to castigate us but encourage us to take hold of our thoughts and think another way.

Examples:

Everyday life examples of this application might include:

- Thinking about Jesus and his example

- Apprenticeship: the followers of Jesus spent time with him. We can apply the WWJD rule – think what Jesus would do in a situation

- Read The Bible daily: it’s not just another book. It talks to us if we let it. If we feel the words don’t "speak" any more, consider another translation or another format, e.g., listen to a podcast.

- Beware of bad thoughts – take them captive straight away and instead, think along the lines of this scripture.

- Listen to worship music.

Action:

Finally, we can decide to do something radical. We can go to a quiet place, and let the Holy Spirit be our guide. Re-read these verses, think, study, delve, truly meditate, rolling them round in our mind. Then apply it.

We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can marshal our thoughts, renew our minds and decide to carry on trusting.

 

 

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Blog: Esther in Indonesia

I'm delighted to welcome Esther Ross-Watson to my Blog today! She is a dearly loved member of our Kerith family. She and her late husband Michael served as missionaries for many years. Esther bravely made the decision to travel again, and she has recently returned from Indonesia. Here's her story: 

Whilst Michael was on his last days on earth in August 2017 he received a request from the Island of Madura, Indonesia asking us to return to the town of Pamekasen, Madura, Indonesia where we had begun our Missions work in July 1973 exactly one year after we were married. They were keen to have us see what God had been doing in the years since we’d moved on and we excitedly said ‘Yes’ we will come!Obviously that had to go on hold for a while because I didn’t feel I could, or even wanted to go alone!
Anyway around March/April time 2018, I begun to feel a gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit urging me to think some more about it! It was like a feeling of wanting to know for myself what had …

3 Little Bottles

Thought I'd mix it up today and do something lighthearted here.

I popped into town this morning (as an aside, anyone else still incredulous that "new Bracknell / The Lexicon is so great and that it's really here to stay?!) 
Anyhow, I popped into town for a quick wander and bought 3 "essentials" I'd run out of, so I thought I'd share them with you - and of course I'd love to hear about your 3 recent essential purchases.



1 Contact lense solution
I've worn glasses since Secondary school, and contact lenses since I left Uni. Gas permeables - great for me - slightly perilous in swimming pools / the sea / other people's sinks (£80 to replace). They work for me - and so a couple of bottles of solution each month keep me going.I ran out a couple of days ago, so it was £4.70 well spent for clean lenses and clear eyesight.

2. "Buffet" by The Ordinary
This was a new one for me, a present I received last Christmas. I LOVE it and can't recommend i…

Our Living Hope

Not sure what happens with my blog...or me writing my blog! Can't believe I've been away from it for almost two months. Oh well, no condemnation! Let's pick it up and start again :)
Yesterday was a great day in Church! I was so challenged and encouraged - I love Sundays and all the different ways God shows His love and who he is to us. Natalie Jones preached at both our morning meetings in Bracknell , she gave such a good message on generosity, be sure to catch it when the podcast comes on our website, but for now, watch a summary of Natalie's preach
At the 6pm meeting, we had Paul Manwaring sharing about culture : the 4 Gamechangers - again, a really challenging message to check out if you didn't get to hear it live.

I wore my HOPE earrings yesterday - sometimes I deliberately choose to wear them as a practical symbol that I am choosing HOPE - that I choose Jesus, I choose trust, I choose hope.
I'm so glad I did, as throughout the day I felt God speak to me about …