Discover The Bread – Life Purpose Connection

By: Gail Armatys

Do you believe that Jesus is enough? Really?

If you sense a lack of purpose in your life, may I suggest you bake a loaf of bread? Sounds like a pretty crazy remedy especially for those of us trying to watch our carbs, right? But there is a biblical connection between life purpose and bread.

The Greek word for purpose is ‘prothesis’ and is translated to mean ‘placing in view’ or ‘setting forth’. It is nearly always used in connection with the showbread otherwise known as the bread of the Presence.

What is the bread of the Presence? It is the sacred bread always present in the Tabernacle and later the Temple, as an offering to God. It is discussed in Leviticus 24: 5-6 where God provides his recipe to Moses and tells him how to present the bread.

“Take fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah for each loaf. Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the Lord.”

I must pause here to say that if you think God is not concerned with the details of your life when he clearly indicates his detail-orientedness here (and throughout the bible, I might add), I humbly and lovingly suggest that you think again.

With that little bit of background, let’s get to bread making, baking, and life purpose connection.

  1. Preparation is Key to Your Purpose. God’s instructions for making the showbread call for the use of fine flour. Flour is prepared by grinding grains, seeds or even roots. It is the only way. More grinding means finer flour.

HeartSong Life Coach, The Bread-Life Purpose Connection

Do you see how this flour preparation might be relative to your purpose? Even Jesus’ purpose?

While Jesus knew his purpose from the start, it was fulfilled only through his trials up to and on to the cross. He knew the grinding was to come. Yet, he trusted God, persisted, and received his reward.

With Christ as your example, could it be that insight into your significant purpose might be revealed through trials and the sometimes traumatic process of life? Just as the grinding of the flour creates something finer and useable, the grinding that occurs in your life can develop special characteristics and experiences that God uses to fulfill your purpose and his plan.

Reflect on your difficult times. Can you see how God has intended them as an opportunity?

  1. Your Spiritual Gifts are a Clue to Your Purpose. The Lord is very specific regarding the amount of flour to be used in making the bread of Presence. The bread is a sacred offering and it matters that equal portions of flour are used in each loaf for the best results.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit distributes specific gifts according to God’s will. (Heb. 2:4) No one’s gifts are more meaningful than another’s – they are all important. God knows and decides what gifts you need to accomplish his plan and your purpose. Regardless of how you may feel from time-to-time, you do have God-given gifts to share and offer to God for his use.

Do you know your spiritual gifts? Are you sharing them with others?

  1. Time and Place is Significant to Your Purpose. God tells Moses that the loaves of bread were to be placed in two rows, six in each row. The placement of the bread is important to God, and so is yours. God put you in a place of his choosing.

In Acts 17:26, Paul boldly speaks in Athens proclaiming God as the Creator of life – of everything, actually – when he states…

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

HeartSong Life Coach, time, place, purpose

Not only were you created for a purpose, God had a specific time and place in mind for you to live.

“Really?” you say. That’s kind of imposing of God. Well, it is – and that’s one of the perks of being God, I suppose. Although we may think it unfair, God always has a reason. Why a specific time and place for you? Jesus liked to answer a question with a question so let’s try that approach.

Why do you do things at a specific time?

To stay organized. To be most effective.

Why do you put things in specific places?

Because you have the best access, view, enjoyment, and use of them in that particular spot. In short, because they have the greatest effect and achieve the highest purpose there.

It’s the same with you. You were created to be most effective living in a certain time. Does the biblical phrase, “for such a time as this”, ring a bell? (See Esther 4:14).

As for your placement, look around you. Who has God placed you near? How can you serve him best in this place? Who is in your circle of influence? Family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, enemies, the poor, hurting, and needy? Who? What are their needs?

How can you serve God best in the time you’ve been given and in the place where you live? He has a purpose for you here and now but you must open your eyes to see.

  1. Your Availability, Willingness, and Desire Create Your Legacy. The rows of bread were to be placed on a table. This table was created for a specific purpose – to hold and carry the sacred bread. The table was made of acacia wood, a strong, durable wood with various hues and distinct patterns common to the area.

Like acacia wood, Jesus was available. He was intent on accomplishing God’s purposes and weathered the hardships of his life to do so. Jesus was distinct among men, set aside for a particular purpose that no other could accomplish.

So it is meant to be with you and me. Are you available to be used for God’s purposes? Will you stand strong to accomplish those purposes no matter the storms? Are you willing to stand out among others – to be distinct – to allow God to accomplish specific work through you?

Please note, the key words here are available and willing. Your response to God’s call will be your legacy.

  1. God’s Love Protects You As You Step Into Your Purpose. The acacia table was to be covered with pure gold with a gold ledge. Why gold? In the bible, gold is associated with a Holy God. And the ledge? The ledge is indicative of protection, a way of keeping the bread from falling off of the table.

Could it be that this Holy God loves you, covers, and protects you as you willingly, faithfully step out to know and fulfill your purpose?

  1. In The End, Purpose Begins With Jesus. I began by telling you that the translation for the word purpose in the Greek is most often used in relation to the bread of the Presence. Then I provided some analogies that can be applied to your life. But, what I haven’t yet included are Jesus’ words, “I am the bread of life”.

God knew how much we would enjoy bread…no coincidence there. It tastes good and it fills us up. It sustains us…for a while. It is necessary. God also knew how much we would crave purpose in our lives. It, too, makes us feel good, fills us up, and is necessary – necessary to the kid who doesn’t feel like she fits in, to the college student who is struggling to make right choices, to the woman who is busy at home and work but doesn’t feel like she is making a difference, to the one that is tired and sad because she doesn’t feel useful any more – to everyone.

God knew all of this long before you experienced any of it…and he had a plan. He sent Jesus, the true bread of life and your connection to life purpose – the bread that calls you to accept his love and willingly ‘set him forth’ and ‘make him visible’ in your life.

HeartSong Life Coach, love

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.

I am the bread of life.

Jesus, John 6:47-48

Purpose Prayer

Thank you, God, for Jesus, the bread of life. Who has set within me specific gifts to share to accomplish his plan and my purpose here in this place. I pray for a willing heart and for persistence through the grinding. I desire to surrender my will to you and find your Holy Presence and protection as I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Purpose Steps

Take out your journal or paper and right down the answers to the questions presented to you above. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you in wisdom as you review your answers.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here!

I Am the Bread of Life/Richard Proulx and the Cathedral Singers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7y-NZocIwo

Broken for me…

By: Vivian Wilson

Do you believe that Jesus is enough? Really?

I set myself up for it. The “it” is the humiliation I experienced this past week. Scripture clearly warns that pride will cause dishonor and disgrace.

Proverbs 11:2  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace…”

The problem with pride is that it is sometimes disguised as confidence.

So how did I fall into the trap? It’s really very simple. I forgot that I am a broken person living in a broken world. I let my confidence in my skill and experience in what I do for a living get out of balance. I have a reputation that precedes me and I believed the hype. I became confident that in at least one area of my life I could be almost perfect; that in my own strength I could be the best and do it flawlessly.

Then one day, because I didn’t know the protocol for the celebration honoring one who has just gotten his braces off, we had a forty-five minute staff meeting at the end of the day. To be fair, it wasn’t the only thing discussed, but it did take up the majority of the time. Why didn’t I know? Because in my pride it wasn’t important enough to me to ask. Though I was not mentioned by name, everyone knew I was the one who messed up. I didn’t do a perfect job. During the next couple of days, I noticed that I wasn’t “perfect” on a few other details at work.

Of course I’m not perfect. This is why I need a Savior. And because He knows my tendency to be independent and forget that I am weak and needy and that in my own strength I will fail, He tells me to remember Him and what He did for me.

1 Corinthians 11:23-24  “The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me”.”

My humiliation last week was a blessing. The second part of Proberbs 11:2 says, “…with humility comes wisdom.”  My identity and my worth is not found in my skill and reputation at work. I am a child of the King, co-heir with Jesus because His body was broken for me so that my broken body can be made whole.

Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is my life. Whatever talents and gifts that I have, He has given me. Whatever good thing I may do is by His grace and His power.

I will be wise to remember.

A work in progress,

Vivian

Are you trading Real Life for a cheap substitute?

By: Amy Dalke

Do you believe that Jesus is enough? Really?

My 9 year old, Luke, loves communion bread. So much so, that when there is leftover bread after communion is served, Luke will occasionally get to take some home.

(If I didn’t know better, I might think there was a bribe involved somehow.) (But I’m fairly certain Luke just knows how to charm Miss Vivian.)

In a recent conversation about his love for communion bread, Luke told me that the Jesus bread will never get stale.

Although he was talking about the physical nature of the “Jesus bread”, I thought it was kind of awesome that he adamantly believed that this bread would stay good forever.

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” John 6:35

Okay, so I get that Jesus was basically saying that he is the nourishment our souls require for everlasting life. But what is that supposed to mean for us right now?

What does that really look like, when I’m the one growing stale?

It means that you and I don’t have to run ourselves ragged, chasing fulfillment in things that just leave us empty again.

Woman shopping and paying with a debit or credit card

 

Woman holding a small new house in her hands. Real estate, mortg

Snow White

I don’t know about you, but I’m so prone to reach for the cheap substitute instead of believing Jesus has something better. Mostly because waiting is hard, and trusting is harder. And my appetite has been trained to settle for less.

Jesus said that the one who comes to him will be truly, forever satisfied. And we don’t even have to score enough points to earn an invitation to this holy feast. All we have to do is come to him, believing that he is enough. 

Sometimes I’m tempted to think that I’ve already believed God once, so I’m good. Because you know, I did that thing where I gave him my life, and confessed my belief that He died for me, so now I have eternal life locked up and all that. Plus, I go to church. So of course I believe. Right?

But you see, Jesus’ command to believe wasn’t a one time thing. There is a dailyness to believing that is critical for our enjoyment of life right now. 

Give us this day, our daily bread. 

Just like our bodies draw energy from the food we eat, our spirits require the nourishment God provides daily in Christ. Perhaps we’re too busy nagging him about tomorrow, to see the abundant supply of himself that he offers us in this moment.

Or maybe we allow the worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and our lust for other things (Mark 4:19) to keep us from seeing that Jesus is enough for today. If so, then what are we believing? That we can work harder, do better, earn more, save more, drink more, eat more, or lose more weight…to achieve the satisfaction we crave?

If you took your heart out to examine it, I think you would find that every sin is attached to a tangled knot of misplaced belief. We make choices every day of our life, based on what we really believe. I can believe God big time at 8:00am, but by 2:00pm, I’m trading that true satisfaction for a cheap substitute.

The bread that the world dangles out to us appears to hit the spot; it looks rich, delicious, and appealing to our craving appetites. But it will run out, get moldy, and will only satisfy until we’re hungry again in a few hours.

And even though he didn’t realize it, Luke was right.

Jesus bread never gets stale.

So which bread will you choose?

Amy

40 Shades of Me

By: James Thompson

No, I am not jumping into the bru-ha-ha created by a certain movie lately. I apologize to those that only started reading this entry seeking to weigh on said movie. You may stop reading now. This entry is entirely and completely about me. Specifically, me and each of my shades (i.e., years).

In case you haven’t figured, my impending 40th birthday is what has led to this introspection and psuedo-wisdom nugget review. I have learned a few things throughout the years:

1. It is not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). That is true for this man. I probably would not have made it to 40 without my bride. I mean, really, can one live 40 years only eating vegetables that come on hamburgers?

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2. Speaking of Genesis – Poor Adam. Aside from the whole original sin thing, Adam had it rough. He was the first to deal, handle, hide from….love a pregnant woman. And, having children was completely a new experience. He didn’t get to practice as the “awesome” uncle.  Nope. He couldn’t even draw his own memories as a boy to give him insight into his own children.

3. And, yet, I sometimes feel like Adam. My kids make me feel like Adam. I have no clue what do with, or for, them sometimes. Isaac will even sometimes jump on me (with no warning) making me feel like I have dislodged a rib in my side.

4. If I’m Adam, Missy is my Eve. She was made for me. I truly believe this.

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5. Missy wouldn’t have eaten the apple. There is no way. Had the snake tempted my bride with an apple, there is no way she would have eaten it. And, by the time the snake proved to her that the apple was organic, raised from non-GMO seeds, without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and produced in an ecologically harmonious manner, the apple would have likely rotted.

6. It ain’t about stuff (Matthew 6:19). New stuff is only exciting for like an hour. Then, it becomes like the stuff you already have. Which you probably have too much of anyway and no where to store it.

7. You can’t change people. You can’t. Don’t try. Only they can change themselves. Some people are going to merge at the last minute, cheer for the aggies, and eat mushrooms. And, then, there are normal ones like me. All you can do is pray that they will someday see the error of their ways.

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8. Sometimes it just aint worth it. I don’t know what “it” is for you. But, for me, it is those things that suck the enjoyment out of life. Those things that are done out of sense of obligation rather than desire.

9. If you do something, do it with all your heart. Not only are we told to do so in the Bible. But, if you are not going to do your best, why do it at all?

10. Proverbs 25:24. There are no truer words….so, I’ve seen from some of my friends.

11. Hug your kids…..Especially when they ask for it (even if they are only asking because they are delaying going to bed).

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12. If you love someone….tell them.

I could probably come up with 40 of these gems. But, if you are older and wiser than me you already have them figured out. If you are not, read these words closely as they will ring true soon enough.

I hope each and every one of you have a great weekend. Appreciate each moment as a unique opportunity and gift that it is.

In full midlife-ing mode,

JET

Beautiful? Truth or Dare

By: Gail Armatys, HeartSong Life Coach

Did you see the chatter in the ‘news’ this week about Cindy Crawford, the super model? An untouched photo of Ms. Crawford in all of her scantily clad-ness was released to the world. The image revealed a bit of a tummy and stretch marks. Ah, ha! Hallelujah! She is imperfect! Females around the world rejoice! This super model is flawed!

A few days later more national news, Miss Alabama from years gone by, Katherine Webb, posted a photo of herself on Instagram in a bikini. Women were in an uproar making caustic comments about how thin she looked – “someone get her a sandwich,” was one of the kinder commentaries.

These news flashes stuck with me as I thought…

  1. Really, this is news?
  2. We must have all our needs met and too much time on our hands.
  3. Maybe, just maybe, we women are confused about the truth of beauty.

I don’t know what Cindy Crawford or Katherine Webb think about all of this, but I do know it is important for a woman to feel and believe she is beautiful. Why? Because what you believe to be true about yourself impacts the way you love, the choices you make, and the life you dare to lead.

So, in case any of us are tempted to make beauty comparisons to super models, Miss Americas, co-workers or neighbors, let’s take a moment to play a quick game of ‘Truth or Dare’.

In The Eye of the Creator

Truth

            I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with loving kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

This scriptural truth was declared by God to the people of Israel as he expressed his love for them. But as God does not change, this Word of the Lord has applied from the beginning and still exists. Let’s see how the first woman was ‘drawn with loving kindness.’

We don’t always think of Eve as a beauty. More often, we remember her as the mother of all the living and the one deceived by the serpent. But today, we look at Eve from the viewpoint of her Creator.

Eve was, among all creation, made last. She was God’s creative crowning glory. The star on top of the tree. The icing on the cake. In other words, God saved the best for last. (Sorry guys – it’s true.)

God created Eve in a special manner, differently than all other creation. She was made perfectly in his sight, just as he designed. Not from the dust of the ground like everything/one else. Instead, she was formed from the rib of Adam. Eve was created specifically and especially for a purpose – to complete Adam. She was God’s vision of beauty…and Adam’s as well.

Still, I wonder if in the eyes and times of our world she would measure up on our personal and national beauty-o-meter. I doubt it, but no matter. God knows and is the one who gets to judge this pageant.

Dare

Each day this week before going through your usual beauty regimen, as slight or as complex as it may be, look in your mirror at the person God created and dare to find one or more beautiful characteristic(s) you like about yourself. Thank God for making you just the way you are – the way he planned. (Really, it’s okay to do this!)

Dare to Believe You Are Beautiful

Imperfectly Beautiful

Truth

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

In an interview Cindy Crawford did years ago she tells a story about the mole above her lip (you know the one) and how as a young girl she wanted to have it removed. Not sure – but my guess is someone made a comment or made fun of the mole which led to her desire to get rid of it in order to feel more loved and accepted…more beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are often our own worst enemies as we believe lies and lose focus on God and his designed purpose for us. We do what Johnny Lee sings about. We go “looking for love in all the wrong places.” For reasons I do not know, Cindy kept the mole and now admits that it is among her greatest assets, a hallmark of sorts.

The moral of the story? God made you the way you are for a reason – a purpose. Imperfectly beautiful. In fact, the God-given characteristic you may dislike most about yourself, may be what he can use best for good and his glory. 

Dare

Choose a God – given physical characteristic you dislike about yourself and surrender your hurt, anger, frustration, etc. about it to God.  Ask God to show you how this characteristic can be used for good in your life, the lives of others, and his glory.

Beauty is Love

Truth

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.

The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who fears the Lord.

Proverbs 31:30

Sometimes we have moles, unruly hair, stretch marks, big ears, extra weight or we are judged too thin. The list goes on… but rather than invest in the negative comments of others or ourselves or focusing on the external, we must listen to and acknowledge the truth. For God, beauty is the love found in our hearts.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, God made you beautifully. Flawed against the image of what we in the world may call perfection, yes. But not less beautiful, less necessary, or less loved because of it.

Dare

Name one God-given trait of yours that you can use to help or encourage others.

Purpose Steps

Take the dares listed above. Then, dare to believe you are beautiful, necessary, and loved.

Purpose Prayer

Father, help me to see myself with your eyes. Help me to look into my heart and let loose the passion you’ve placed there. Please replace my hurts with your grace and motivation to step forward letting the beauty you’ve given me shine for your glory. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here!

Beautiful/Mercy Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WnAq0o2Xl8

Live the song written on your heart.

God’s Grace Through Relationships

By: Vivian Wilson

Thirty-three years ago I was standing alone in an empty ice cream shop.  I was waiting for the “ice cream scooper” person to come back to here post so I could order an ice cream cone. It was on a Sunday after church. I was new in my walk with the Lord. I still didn’t know the first thing about the bible or the Truth it contained. I had much to learn about my new relationship with God.

As I stood in the silence I heard, though not audibly, the clear voice of God in my spirit.  He said two things:  “I have a plan for you”, and “relationship”.  He didn’t tell me what the plan was, but I got it.  He had a plan.  But relationship?  What did that mean?

A relationship is a connection between two people.  The obvious one was my new found relationship with God.  That was my first thought.  I knew I wanted to know him.  The more I learned the more I wanted to know him.  Today my soul yearns for a deeper more intimate relationship with him.  The psalmist said it this way:

Psalm 42:1-2  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?

But I know when God gave me that word he was preparing me for the cultivation he had planned for my heart.  At that time in my life my heart was protected by a wall I had built to protect it.  Nothing got in or out.  So it is no surprise that I had never been very good at relationships.  Over the years he has healed the wounds and filled me with his love.  He has removed the wall and cultivated a heart that can produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

This fruit is for the benefit of others and not just for me.  It is through relationships that the very real presence of The Living God is displayed in my life.  It is through my relationship with whom ever God has put in my life, whether for a brief time or long term, that He can affect them through me.  What He wants from me is a willingness and availability to be used.  He wants me to have a servant’s attitude.

Philippians 2:3-7  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Jesus had a winsomeness that drew people to him.  He was gentle, kind, and full of love and grace.  In this world where narcissism and hate are rampant what a contrast is found in the follower of Christ whose motivation is love of God and others, evidenced in a servant’s heart.

Don’t think that I fully accomplished this.  Far from it!  Remember I, too, am still a work in progress.  But I intentionally keep in mind the importance of how I relate to others.  In my place of work, for instance, I am mindful of the opportunity to show them Jesus as I relate to them.  I have already seen evidence that some attitudes have softened and I have earned some credibility.  I pray that they see that it is Jesus in me that is drawing them.  I pray for opportunities to come for me to tell them.

1 Peter 3:15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.

Obviously, not all relationships are the same.  But all with whom I have a relationship should have this in common:  That they would be a recipient of God’s grace through me.

A work in progress,

Vivian

Change Your Thoughts = Change Your Life

By: Amy Dalke

What are you thinking about?

What if I told you that your enjoyment of life is directly tied to your thoughts? You might think that sounds a little hokey, and dismiss me as some wacko proponent of positive thinking.

But what if I’m right? What if your JOY in life really is directly correlated to what goes on in your head? I believe joy is the deep, resounding tune of a heart that chooses to believe God is good, no matter what.

Change your thoughts: Change your LIFE

Maybe you’ve lived your whole life without considering that you really do have control of your thoughts. Like me, perhaps your mind is so geared toward what happens next, that you aren’t aware of the thoughts driving you in this moment.

I’m so tired of talking about how tired I am. I’m tired of living for tomorrow, when in reality, my LIFE is happening right now.

What if our thoughts have everything to do with our ability to enjoy life in the present? If there is anything I have learned, it’s this: if we want to grow in godliness, and live with the joy and peace Christ died to give us, we must win the battle over our thoughts.

“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.” (Phil. 4:8 MSG)

 In Philippians 4:8, Paul exhorts us to develop a Christian thought life. 

Practicing verse 8 is essential if we want to develop and maintain healthy relationships (Phil. 4:2-5). A Christian thought life is also integral to a life of joy (Phil. 4:4) and peace (Phil. 4:6-7) in every situation. Since our thoughts form the basis for our behavior, a godly thought life is also essential for the obedience to which Paul exhorts us in Phil. 4:9. Clearly, Paul’s thought life was at the heart of the contentment he had learned in every situation (Phil. 4:10-12). So Paul is telling us the way to be whole people in our relationships with God, with one another, and within ourselves.*

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“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil. 4:8 NASB)

IS IT TRUE? Truth is that which conforms to reality. The litmus test for truth is how a thing lines up to God’s word. If it doesn’t reflect God’s heart, then you need to toss that thought. (Note, truth might not feel good, but it ultimately is good.)

IS IT NOBLE? Noble is a word that means something is worthy of respect or entitled to honor. If your thoughts don’t reflect those things that are worthy of special respect, cut it out off your mind.

IS IT RIGHT? The Greek word represented as “right” is dikaios, which describes whatever is in harmony with God’s eternal, unchanging standards revealed in Scripture. Are you giving your mind to thoughts that are righteous, or are your thoughts a little tainted and shady?

IS IT PURE? Pure thoughts are those which are free from defilement. They aren’t contaminated. They are morally and inwardly stainless. Is your mind set on things that will ultimately corrupt you?

IS IT LOVELY? Check this out: the word lovely is best translated as winsome. Isn’t that awesome?

The Greek word is prosphile, and it might be paraphrased as that which calls forth love. There are those whose minds are so set on vengeance and punishment that they call forth bitterness and fear in others. There are those whose minds are so set on criticism and rebuke that they call forth resentment in others. The mind of the Christian is set on the lovely things—kindness, sympathy, forbearance—so he is a winsome person, whom to see is to love.**

IS IT PRAISEWORTHY? Praiseworthy…highly regarded. This concept describes someone who deservedly enjoys a good reputation. So are you concentrating on the good in others – or do you dwell on all that is wrong and faulty in your neighbor?

IS IT EXCELLENT? Excellence can be described as active virtue. We demonstrate excellence by living into our potential in Christ. We have all we need to live a life of godliness (2 Peter 1:3-5), so are we actively living out the Christ-life within us? Are your thoughts rich with Christ’s potential…or do you choose instead to think about all you lack?

What would it look like for you to purposefully close the door on all your thoughts that don’t fit into these 7 categories? Can you visualize a trash can, where you toss the thoughts that are not true, compelling, and gracious? Could you do that for a whole 24 hours? Could you do it for an entire week?


 

CHALLENGE: Here’s where TRUE CHANGE is the difference between KNOWING & DOING: I challenge you to 7 DAYS of intentionally practicing Philippians 4:8. It won’t be easy to discipline your thoughts like this, but what if your joy is at stake? Wouldn’t it be worth it? I promise that I’m in this with you. Let’s win the battle for joy, by taking our minds back to all that is true and excellent and praiseworthy.

If you’re accepting the challenge…leave a comment here, or on Facebook. Then print out this graphic and carry it around with you for the next 7 days. (Or, you can write it out on a notecard if this is too girly for you.) This is going to be AWESOME. I promise.

What if changing your thoughts really could change your life?

*Jonathan Edwards, preceptaustin.org/philippians

**William Barclay, preceptaustin.org/philippians