8 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. 9 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.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I appreciate repetition. The last two days we looked at Romans 5:1-5 and our reading from today is the same passage that we looked at on Tuesday. It’s not a typo, but rather an intentional decision to look at this text from Tuesday again.
I haven’t always valued repetition. For much of my life, I have been one who just wanted to consume as much information as I could, but passages like this one are one of the reasons my bias in this has changed.
You might remember from our reading on Tuesday that this passage immediately follows Paul’s instruction to turn your worry and anxiety into prayer. He says in verse 6,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
What makes worry such a powerful adversary in our life is the consistent attention that we give to our fears. We “repeatedly” allow certain concerns to claim our attention, which squeezes out those other thoughts that could be appropriately described as true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
And all that leads me to this question that I want to invite you to wrestle with as we bring this week to a close:
Has our intentional practice of naming your blessings changed your focus this week?
Have you found yourself feeling more energized or engaged?
Have you had an extra spring in your step?
Has it impacted the way you’ve engaged with others this week?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, what do you think that means?
What have you learned by participating in this intentional practice this week?
Take a few minutes today to make sure you hit our shared goal of naming 50 things for which you are grateful in your life.
Continue praying today through Psalm 103 as your opening prayer for the day. Read it slowly and out loud as you allow the richness of the message to find its way into your heart and life today.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.