14 March 2011

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Whatsoever things...

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil 4:8)

"Thing" is one of those words I generally tell my students to avoid when writing or speaking - vague or imprecise and generally not clear... so as I've been meandering my way through Philippians (the whole book, but particulary chapter 4) this month, the repetition of this what-I've-learned-and-passed-on-as-not-automatically-a-good-choice-word-in-writing startled me and started me wondering. "And sometimes when you begin to wonder,  you begin to make things happen" (the teacher in The Wheel on the School, my all-time favorite kids' story). I can't say that I've made anything revolutionary "happen," but I've  delighted in meditating on my Heavenly Father and His Word (and word choices) as I've wondered about the significance of this word and the emphasis placed on it by its very reoccurrence in these Scriptures.

"Thing" comes from Old English, and originally referred to a legal assembly responsible for handling political and court issues. Later the particular issues discussed at that assembly began to be called “things,”  and thus the beginning of today's current common usage where thing refers to "an object." (Wiktionary)

It was somewhat humorous... my kids laughed... Mom looking up the definition of the word "thing!" It was the last word of the last definition however, that particularly caught my eye: "that which matters; the crux." It is another way of saying "This is not just priority... it is THE priority; the most important or central issue..." and what is crux? It is the Latin word for cross... 

Generally, if we speak of something as being the crux, it refers to the central, most basic, most critically essential characteristic. In mountain climbing (one of those things I love to read about, but am too cautious to consider doing any more), it refers to the hardest moment or place in a climb. Frequently, crux signifies a transitional moment on which future success hinges, or the last critical second, a final possiblity to turn and change directions. 

And isn't the cross not only THE crux moment in history... but it is also central to each moment individually when each ONE must decide what he or she will do with Christ and His sacrifice on the cross each time he or she is confronted with it?

Somehow, I don't believe it is coincidence then, that when I deliberately choose to think on, to concentrate my attention and focus on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and or good report, my meditations ever return to the cross, to Christ's sacrifical gift and I'm filled with gratitude once again.

And that reminds me of the words to a favorite song that so often ministers to my heart, one I've been humming along quite a bit in recent days while choosing to lean on the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, the One and Only Friend who is always available, is always loving, always understands...

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life
And I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are exalted to the highest place
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow
But for now, I marvel at Your saving grace
And I'm full of praise once again
I'm full of praise once again

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend

(Once Again, by Matt Redman)

This week's gratitude list:

#871 aced Algebra exams

#872 access to a swimming pool - and the water is still refreshingly cool - when it is icky, sticky hot

#873 new recipes - BLT salad - that work out wonderfully on the first try

#874 chocolate raspberry torte - it is almost as much fun to make and share as it is to eat... almost...

#875 things that are true

#876 things that are honest

#877 things that are just

#878 things that are pure

#879 things that are lovely

#880 things that are of good report

#881 thinking on those "whatsoever things"

#882 community that comes from surprising sources

#883 the refreshing coolness of 91' ... after a hot afternoon

#884 listening to teens with servant hearts, even when some of their music choices drive me crazy!

#885 long Sunday afternoon snuggle with two silly little girls

#886 homemade nachos, salsa and sour creme - our long-standing Sunday tradition that doesn't happen here nearly as often as I wish because it requires so much more effort than back in Michigan - but is so delightful and appreciated when do I make that effort

#887 ice cubes and ice water

#888 anticipating time off and then, the final quarter of school

#889 swimming laps and learning a new stroke

#890 watching Jonathan gain confidence in the water

#891 watching Elsie Mae start to swim

#892 a father-in-law who will kill large cockroaches so I don't have to hear the crunch

#893 reading The Wheel on the School yet again for the umpteenth time - that sweet story always delights and I don't think I'll ever tire of it

#894 girls taking puppy training seriously

#895 freshly laundered sheets... which means no sand in the bed, at least until little munchkins start crawling around on the bed tomorrow

#896 wondering where in the world M&M comes up with some of the things she says ~ recently it was......................................
"I like being the baby! It's cooool!"

#897 knowing she's a competent enough cook that I can give her the recipe to make a from scratch chocolate pudding pie, then lay down for a nap and not have to think another thought... at least about that

#898 her excitement at taking her pie to school tomorrow - to measure and then share with her Algebra class for "π - Day"

#899 carefully sketched horse drawings

#900 the hope of a better week... but knowing that even if it isn't, I have the promise that He is near and His help to still choose rejoicing, contentment and gratitude

(Hope you've enjoyed all the photos of "things" we see each day as we are out and about in this city... Thanks to Larry Macklin for sharing them with us.)

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