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.

 

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

African sky

I'm writing this in the eerie light of Monday afternoon - anyone else noticed the yellow-tinged sky? I'm reliably informed (thanks Jake!) that the high winds are picking up dust particles from Liberia and North Africa, turning our sky a yellowish colour and definitely giving off an unusual atmosphere! Kind of intriguing too, as we are about to leave for a 10 day trip to Zambia this evening! We're flying overnight, and when we get there temperatures are high 90s - I have no idea how I'm going to cope with that at all...so I'm not even thinking about it right now! 
We'll stay a few days in Lusaka, visiting Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam and their girls;  and Tehila, the charity they run, Then it's a 5 hour journey North to reconnect with the pastors and families in Serenje, and visit the Dormitory to meet the girls. 
Please do pray for us - safety and good health, pray for our families, pray that everywhere we go we take people up in their lift! (If like me you…

Not the Summer I'd Planned

"Life's detours means  God wants you to run right into His arms  so He can reconstruct your heart"  Ann Voskamp
Well, let's just say that it's not been the summer I thought I was going to have!!! 
I'm so grateful we had our relaxing holiday in the sunshine
I'm so grateful it's summer time, and therefore not so many work commitments
I'm so grateful for my family being around
I'm so grateful for a wonderful and kind church family

If I was going to have an accident ...to slip over on the back door mat....in my wedges...feeding the dogs.. and dislocate and fracture my ankle...then I'm so glad I was at home with family around and with access to swift expert medical help.

The accident was so sudden and it was immediately obvious that I couldn't sort it on my own! I'm pretty squeamish so I'll save you the details, but the angle of my foot prompted me to say out loud "I've just done something really bad".

Funny isn't it, when yo…
Well last week had some highs and lows.

Highs included Simon's birthday and my cast coming off - hoorah!

I'm now officially walking - although it often looks like shuffling! Great to have 2 feet back in use - if only for planting firmly into the ground so that I can make the bed or get something out of a cupboard. It's a huge help to have my hands free when I go up and down stairs too. I'm of course being a good girl with the exercises. No idea what people mean when they say "don't do too much" - I join in if I feel ok and work out afterwards if it was really ok and good to stretch myself, or "Too Much"! Anyhow, it's good to be feeling more like myself again. Apparently It's still a slow process of building up strength and flexibility, so I need to keep on being patient!

The low was that our 12 year old labrador died - Nemo was a big character, and a huge presence in our home - he really was one of the family. We all said goodbye, we all th…