Every year when I am making goals and plans I take some time to come up with a plan for praying for my kids and godchildren. This year I was specifically thinking of my precious Mady. I am her "fairy godmother". My family doesn't really do godparents per se but my sister wanted some extra prayer for her children and so chose a special person for each child and mine is Mady. I wanted to come up with some theme that I could send her a note about throughout the year. Enter the study on Philipians that have been working on all fall. There is a ton of good stuff in there but I was struck by Philipians 4:8-9 as being perfect and full of matierial for the entire year.
"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, let your mind dwell on these things.
The things you have learned and recieved and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you."
So much good stuff. Of course I realized I didn't want to just save this for Mady but it was also perfect for my children and my other goddaughter. Then a couple weeks ago a friend asked us to be godparents to their son so I have a godson to pray for as well.
Wednesday was the study of this passage and some great stuff came from it which will be so helpful throughout the year. I think what attracted me to this passage, besides the fact that I could focus on each of the attributes pure, lovely, right, honorable, etc, is the idea of controling your mind and thinking. It can be at times easy to physically do the right thing, keeping your mouth shut and obeying your parents for instance but in your mind you might still be sinning by thinking negative thoughts or blaming others for your circumstances. The younger we can learn to control our mind and turn it to God the better off we will be in adulthood. Actually one of the women in my study has a son in medical school. He had taken a class on the brain and said that our minds develop grooves in the brain with our thinking. So if you are in the habit of a negative thought then your mind just sort of rides in the grove of negativity. You can create new grooves but it will mean working to stay out of that existing groove to do so and that old groove will always be there. Much easier to create positive grooves in the first place than to pull out of the negative ones. Much better to focus on all that is excellent and worthy of praise so that the God of peace shall be with us.
I think the most important part of this passage is the word "practice". Paul, the writer of Philipians, tells us to "practice these things". They don't come naturally to us. Paul knew this, God knows this. We need to practice. In practicing we don't always do things right but we keep trying to do better and we improve each time we try. What a great lesson in life.
Of course I will confess that I haven't sent Mady that first note yet and now the first month is almost over, so that is my task for today. Send a note to Mady and spend some more time in prayer for my children and godchildren.