Each week, our own Dave Dussault writes Prayer Life, NP’s weekly prayer guide. You can get it via email by contacting him at email@example.com, or you can pick up a copy at the Information Center in the Foyer each Sunday.
Here’s what Dave sent out recently:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” — Philippians 4:8-9
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The answer to that question really depends on which mirror we use, and there is a mirror that does more than tell us how we look. It makes us new.
Looking into God’s Word reveals the many facets of His glory, and no one who sees the Lord leaves unchanged. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2nd Corinthians 3:18).
Time spent with God in His Word and in prayer changes our relationships, renews our spirits, and transforms our character. It teaches us the peace of God as we walk closely with the God of Peace. Remember, spending time with Him is a miracle that Christ accomplished on the cross, when He created peace between God and Man. And day by day, over a lifetime, God is perfecting in our lives the miracle He accomplished in our hearts the moment we were saved.
God’s first marching order for believers is to love one another. Time with Him gives believers a shared perspective even when we disagree. It gives a common goal even to people with competing agendas. There is something more important than my wants, my preferences, and my plans. God’s truth and His will take charge in our lives as we read His Word. Divine power and heavenly priorities predominate in hearts devoted to prayer, and we learn to let go of our desires, so we can embrace our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And releasing our wants frees us to let God take care of them. God doesn’t demand that we not have desires. He assures us of His provision. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). When He says “No” to one thing, it’s so we’ll be free to accept His “Yes” to something else, in His good time. Prayer lives in the current of God’s bountiful, ongoing, and wise provision, as we come to know His goodness at all times and in all things. And that brings peace. A life of peace. “The peace of God” (Philippians 4:7).
Time with God also gives us something to occupy our minds. It brings songs in the night, light in our darkness, and hope in times of despair and loss. “Your Word is truth” said Jesus to the Father (John 17:17). Reading God’s Word sets our feet firmly on eternal truth, giving us confidence, by enabling us to discern lies and distinguish truth from falsehood. It turns our souls from going down the wrong path and leads us “in paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3), as we turn our thoughts on to things God delights in.
• Reflecting on what is “honorable,” or worthy of respect, trains us to value what pleases God.
• Thinking on what is “true,” honest, and reliable equips us to reject what is false, deceptive, and unsteady.
• Occupying our minds with what is “just” conforms our thoughts and values to God’s perfect standards.
• Focusing on what is “pure” cultivates a taste for all things wholesome, with no trace of moral impurity.
• Things that are “lovely” promote peace and harmony with others, dispelling conflict.
• “Commendable” things are well spoken of, because they’re positive and constructive, not negative
• All these qualities are “excellent” and “worthy of praise”—things worth focusing our minds on.
Training our focus on these virtues helps us to know what God is like and what pleases Him. Gazing on God through His Word and in prayer—thinking on “these things”—unites us with God and makes us like Him. It also brings peace in our relationships, as vastly different people learn love, value, and eventually display the splendor of God’s character in infinitely diverse ways.
To the praise of His glory.
The rest of NP News for 4.5.2018 can be found on the “This Week” page at http://www.northpointcorona.org/this-week/