Think About What Is True

Think About Such Things

Philippians 4:8-9 says this:”Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” It’s interesting that Paul tells his brothers and sisters in Philippi (and of course, all believers) that God’s peace will be with us, after we’ve meditated upon things that are true, noble, right, etc. There may be nothing about the circumstances we’re facing that appears to be overflowing with excellence or praise, but once we choose to think about things that are, then His peace comes upon us. In the preceding verses, Paul tells us that the same result happens when we give God our cares. He states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). In effect, he is stating that God’s peace (that is far above human understanding) is not dependent on circumstances, but is dependent on our choice to seek Him, regardless of our circumstances. His peace won’t just magically fall upon us like confetti at a wedding. It appears after we choose to give Him our fears, and accept His truth and victory. It’s that peace that Daniel discovered when he faced potential death in the fiery furnace, and again when he faced potential death when facing lions. The first recorded martyr Stephen also had such peace when he stood firm in his trial with a face “like that of an angel” (Acts 6:15) and his death by stoning when he was filled with the Holy Spirit and prayed (Acts 7:55-59). Both men experienced circumstances that didn’t seem excellent or praiseworthy, but they looked beyond the harsh truth of their current reality to see God’s greater heavenly reality, and see it they did. Of course, that same reality allowed Christ to be crucified for the forgiveness of our sins.

In the list of things that Paul urges us to think about, the first one is truth, and that’s because truth is the foundation upon which all other virtues stem. If we don’t first know God’s truth, then whatever is noble, right and pure will not be centred in truth. They will be a distortion. If our version of truth is different from what God declares as truth, then what we see as noble, right and pure will also be different from what God declares to be noble, right and pure. We must know His truth first, and what is His truth? Essentially, truth is found in God alone.

In John 7:18 Jesus says,”Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him,” and in verse 28, Christ states, “he who sent me is true.” It’s simple. What is truth? God is truth – His compassion, mercy, justice, power, love, forgiveness, etc. All of God is truth. Discover who He is and we discover what truth is. John 4:23 reminds us that God seeks those who worship Him “in Spirit and in truth,” and in John 14 Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of truth.” The centrality of truth is also emphasised in the armour of God in Ephesians 6. The belt of truth is mentioned as the first piece to put on, and then righteousness, peace, and faith, come later. God is not a god of disorder. Truth comes first for a reason.

In Paul’s encouragement about what we think about, we come to learn that our life begins with our actions, and our actions begin with our thoughts. James 1:15 warns that evil desires give birth to sin. It is a process that begins with what we think about; a lustful glance that lingers too long, continual pondering about some injustice against you, etc. Troublesome, distracting and evil thoughts will come into our mind, but we are not helpless against them. When they occur, give them to God immediately. 2 Corinthians 10:5 urges us to, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When we think about what is true, and noble, and right, as God (not ourselves or the world) define them, our life will change. We will make choices in line with those virtues. It’ll be easy for us to forgive, to “abstain from sinful desires,” and to find our joy and fulfillment in Him alone. Think about who God is, and we will begin to be a mighty vessel for His glorious purposes.

“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”

Psalm 119:15-16

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:1-3

 

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That I May Be In Them

I have made you know to them

Those powerful words belong to Jesus as He prayed to the Father. John 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Christ. In John 16, He spoke of the Holy Spirit to His disciples, and in John 18, He was arrested, followed by His trial, death and of course, resurrection.

John 17 reveals a vital moment in Christ’s life. He knew what was coming, and His heart was that His disciples (which also includes us), would grow to greater heights in relationship with the Father. They are powerful, heartfelt words; words of immense truth and freedom. Jesus always prayed passionately, and Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 unveil a glorious truth for us about Christ’s prayer life, because it was not confined to His time on earth. He still prays for us – now. He is at the right hand of the Father, and He lives to intercede for us.  Jesus is praying for us, even when we are not. Wow.

Jesus’ prayer is that we may know the love of the Father, and that Jesus Himself will be inside us, not as a temporary house guest, but as a permanent resident. Whatever we think, or say, or do – He is right there with us. That revelation must change what we think, say and do. We are never alone.

Do you think any of Jesus’ prayers have ever been, or will ever be, denied by the Father? Of course not. We pray for what we desire. Jesus longs to be in us, so that’s what He prays for, and continues to pray for. The victory is ours, because it is an answered prayer. Let’s rejoice for Christ is with us, He is for us, and He is also IN US.

“He must become greater; I must become less.”

John 3:30

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

God’s Favour

You'll never see

We can receive many wonderful things when we pray. By spending time with our Creator, we can know His joy, victory, presence, mercy, forgiveness, etc, but what about His favour? We know God is a generous Father who rejoices in giving good gifts to His children, but a life that is aligned with God’s purposes will see God’s results. Just because we read all the books and know all the strategies and have all the experience, doesn’t mean God owes us anything. He’s not waiting for us to fulfill the Top Ten Methods To Grow Your Church until He actually grows our church. Of course, we should learn all we can. We are called to be wise, not naive, and we are tremendously blessed with a multitude of resources to aid us. However armed with knowledge we may be though, we must arm ourselves in a far greater way with His presence. Knowledge about spiritual growth, without seeking the One who can truly grow us spiritually is a massive missed opportunity.

We must realise that our plans may not succeed as we’d hoped, or may not succeed at all, for many reasons. The main one may be not due to lack of trying, but lack of praying. Press in, and ask Him to bless the work of your hands. Do our best and then present it at the foot of the cross, for God to make it into something far greater. With His favour upon your ministry it will be mountain moving, and life changing. He will go before you, and will open doors no-one and nothing else could open. It will be undeniable that God alone has changed circumstances, and hearts. Seek the Giver, not the gift. The Redeemer, not the result. Hunger for Him, not what He can do for you. Seek Him and let Him do what He does best. His ways are not our ways, so let Him amaze you. He wants to surprise you, and after the impossible has occurred, He wants you to say to the amazed witnesses in your life, “My God did that.”

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” “

Matthew 19:26

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21