PrayerPoint ~ Excellent or Praiseworthy ~ April 3

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

God’s breath and creative work is evident and excellent–even if you just consider nature! The intricacies, the incredible detail, the range of color, the sizes and shapes and all of the inter-dependent relationships. I am just talking about people. Now think about things on the land and now consider things in the ocean. And what about things in the Heavens? Talk about a license for creativity. God is simply amazing.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,  their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

Creation–though it has been tainted by sin, there are still glimpses of breath-taking beauty that reflect His excellent and praiseworthy work.

Seek the excellent. Ponder the praiseworthy. Let’s not get ensnared in the sin that so easily entangles us. It starts with God’s gift of faith–tucked away in our  heart, soul, and mind and plays out in the way we allow Him to live through our lives.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Thanking Him for the Cross!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Commendable ~ April 2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

I simply do not do enough commending. I need to spend more time training my eye to notice when the kids quietly do something without being asked or volunteer to take care of something when I ask for help.  My list of commends should be way longer than my list of complaints and it isn’t always so. It is easy to focus on what isn’t exactly right and how this task might have been improved instead of saying “thank you” or “I noticed you [insert job done here]”. Even though it might be a teachable moment, what am I really teaching when I have to always make a suggestion for improvement? And what are they catching every time that I do that?

It is important to focus on and look for the commendable. And when I notice it I need to speak up about it. This certainly applies to family life but other places as well–restaurants, dr. offices, business dealings, church, etc.

On a mission to focus on the commendable!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Pure ~ March 31

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Boy is is tricky to have your mind only set on pure things these days. Goodness.

The visual and the auditory stuff we are bombarded with every day is astonishing. Ashamedly, I wasn’t always offended by it. I was pretty desensitized for a few years due to some unfortunate early experiences. In my younger years, my mind was dragged into the gutter and felt somewhat at home there. That is just one example of why I am so thankful for God’s work in my life! If I happen to be around someone who says something crude, sometimes I don’t even “get” their “joke”. Now that is amazing!

It feels like we are under attack every single day with so many sexualized images, crude conversations, violence, and ugly attitudes. It’s exhausting to try to shield these things from our children and simultaneously teach them discernment and how to trust that when God says “stay away” that they should pay attention and heed His words. God’s desire is to purify our minds.

And then there is the Truth of God’s desire and ability to redeem and restore and transform:

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

It seems unreasonable that the guilty should be set free–but I am so thankful the price has been paid by the Son of God!

Celebrating freedom in Christ!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Just ~ March 30

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8  NIV

There are a variety of definitions for the word just but this one by thefreedictionary.com is enough without being too much: honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions. And the definition for fair (from the same spot) is this: consistent with rules, logic, or ethics.

Alleluia for a God who is just and provides the way for us through Jesus! Nothing even comes close to comparing to the goodness and justice of God. He is always dependable to be just!

And while we might not always be consistent, my prayer is that each of us are being moved by the Holy Spirit in that direction. Let’s consider our actions as we are going about our day. Are we honorable and fair in our dealings? Are we consistent with rules, logic, or ethics? Of course we cannot compare to God in this department as we are laden with sin. But as the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us, there should be evidence of improvement in these areas. Of course, it does depend on what part of the day one catches me! Maybe the same is true for you.

Growing up with some shady authority figures in my life (not my parents) I didn’t (and still don’t) just trust authority. Seeing a lack of integrity so blatant with several adults in the church spoke volumes to me. And it afforded me the excuse (ha!ha!) to be  fairly rebellious. Truly, someone else’s bad behavior should not be a license for me to behave badly. However, we should consider that our behavior does impact others. God has been busy buffing some of that rebelliousness out of me during the last 40+ years. And He still has a long way to go. I am a work in progress–a work of His heart. And you are too!

As you consider where you have been, can you look back 5, 10, 20, 40 years and see God’s work in your life? I pray so!

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

So so thankful for God’s love and provisions!

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Worthy of Respect ~ March 29

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8  NIV

What things are worthy of respect? What things are worthy of my mind time? With the internet and other media outlets so readily available, it is easy to be pondering or engaging in discussions or “viewings” that are not worthy of respect. Ever feel yourself get sucked in and think “How did I get here?” Or “How do I get out of this pattern?”

It is easy to fall into bad habits and not so easy to crawl out of them but running towards those things that are worthy of respect will definitely help break the cycle. A quick Google glance brought me this definition:

Worthy ~ Having…excellence; possessing merit; valuable; deserving; estimable; excellent; virtuous.

So considering the verse above I have to ask myself this question: Am I spending my mental, physical, and spiritual energy on things worthy of my mind? You know, respectable things. Things worthy of respect….

Let’s just say there is always room for improvement. It is important to be deliberate when we choose where our mind is hanging out. To not make a choice is to let a choice be made for you. Less mind-numbing activity (as in “entertainment”) is probably something we can all benefit from. If we are too busy thinking about less-than-worthy things are we bypassing something God would have us initiate or participate in? Are our minds cluttered with things that are distracting from opportunities to serve in our church, community or beyond? If we discipline our time now what opportunities will we be available for in the future?

Considering what is worthy of respect,

Liz

The following link is an automatic attachment to the definition of the word worthy. I am not indicating the link is worthy by leaving it on this post. Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/words/wo/worthy240557.html#ixzz1qUzS1vh4

PrayerPoint ~ True ~ March 28

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8  NIV

This is a great verse to commit to memory. It is such a breath of fresh air to me – it actually lightens my heart when I say it and changes my attitude. So I certainly should say it several times a day, right?

If you are trying to get rid of that grudge, this might be the verse to stop and ponder upon. Put it on an index card several times and post it in  your car, above your coffee pot, or on your refrigerator. If you are really brave, you can buy window markers and write it on your bathroom mirror.

Sometimes we spend time thinking about the wrong things. We can choose to have the “better” things in front of our eyes. What are your favorite Truths from God? I do believe they are great to memorize and hide in your heart but there are also great opportunities to have them in front of your face….and in the sight of others. You influence those around you, for good and for bad. Include an encouraging Bible verse on your email signature or post it on Facebook. If you are sending snail mail correspondence, include a verse you wrote on card stock in marker or decorate an index card that says “I am praying for you!”

There are lots of ways to ponder “whatever is true”. And the truth is, we ought to be sharing it too.

Liz

Express Yourself!

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers, 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.

My guess is that when God inspired these words in Philippians, He knew that whatever one dwells on, one ends up expressing. You know how it is–whatever you ponder in your heart and mind eventually makes it to your lips.

And so it is incredibly important to consider what you ponder. Do you marinate a certain frustrating encounter that ends up creating or feeding an anger and intolerance for that other person in your heart? Do you find yourself ruminating over someone’s words or actions to the point of getting really fired up about getting even or at least getting a good dig in?

I hate it when I fall into that trap!

If dwelling on false, lowly, wrong, impure, ugly, repulsive, imperfect, or unworthy things is tripping you up, make a conscientious choice to focus your thoughts on other things.  Having a hard time doing this on your own? Ask God to help you and He certainly will!

And as you express yourself, consider your words and the example they set. Encouraging words in this day and age are like a precious bloom amidst some weeds–so refreshing!

Lord,   Teach me to measure my words and to consider dwelling, truly dwelling, on Your Word alone!