The 20 Verses You Love Most: #11 Lovely Thoughts

The 20 Verses You Love Most | Liz Curtis Higgs

For a Former Bad Girl, this week’s verse can be a challenge. Ugly words and sordid images sometimes linger in our minds ten, twenty, even thirty years after the fact—taunting us, shaming us, belittling us.

Help, Lord. Please.

Here’s my prayer: that God will use Philippians 4:8 to renew our minds and refill our hearts, so that words like “pure” and “noble” make us feel clean instead of unworthy.

Since it’s June, and roses are surely one of the most beautiful flowers on earth, I’ve chosen some of my favorite photos, hoping they’ll help us think lovely thoughts.

Bible Open to Philippians 4:8

“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.” Philippians 4:8

This rose came from a bucketful of marked-down flowers at our Kroger supermarket. Even so, the color is stunning, isn’t it? Reminds me of a vibrant summer sunset in shades of orange and pink and red. Though the outer petals are slightly damaged from careless handling, and the edges are beginning to curl with age, it’s still a beauty to the One who created it, yes?

Right. We’re listening, Lord.

A Lovely Rose

“Finally,…” Philippians 4:8

Let’s be honest. Everyone’s favorite part of a long speech is usually “in conclusion” (CJB).

But Paul’s letter to the Philippians was so powerful, so joyful, the young church must have been sad when he neared the end. He offered up this final call to a life of obedience, showing believers how to walk forward with Christ “from now on” (CEB) and “for the rest” (DRA) of our lives. “Here is a last piece of advice” (PHILLIPS), Paul says, “summing it all up” (MSG).

A Lovely Rose with Two Buds

“…brothers and sisters,…” Philippians 4:8

Even if your favorite translation says “brethren” (KJV) or “brothers” (NLV), you can be sure Paul meant this for all who follow Christ—men and women. Adelphoi, the Greek word for ”brothers and sisters,” refers to all believers who are part of God’s family. “My friends” (CEV) strikes even a more endearing note, and “beloved” (NRSV) is perfect.

The following virtues aren’t meant to be a checklist—“Do this, and you’re in!” Instead they point us in the right direction and get us thinking in new ways.

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is true,…” Philippians 4:8

I love that Paul doesn’t spell out specifically what people are to noodle on. He trusts the Holy Spirit to help us “think about things that are true” (WE). Not just a handful of things, but “all that rings true” (KNOX). Nice range of possibilities there.

The first place to turn for Truth? God’s timeless, matchless Word. The psalmist wrote, “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (Psalm 119:160). And Jesus prayed for his disciples saying, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

So, if we want to focus on whatever is true, God’s Word is where to begin. That’s why I am totally blessed that you are here, studying the Scriptures with me.

More than once I’ve been called a “Bible-thumper” (which calls to mind a certain bunny from Bambi). Do I love the Bible? I do. Do I trust what it says? I do. Do I thump it? I do not. Listen, I’m not even comfortable putting a Bible on the floor!

I know the words between the covers are what make it sacred, not the paper and binding. Still, the Truth on those pages set me free. I’m not about to toss the Bible aside like it’s just any old book. Not this girl. Not in this lifetime.

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is noble,…” Philippians 4:8

The repetition of “whatever” is unusual—six times in one verse! It separates and emphasizes each thing we’re to think about. It also makes this passage read like poetry, as if each word was chosen with special care. Which, of course, it was.

Am I thumping again? Oh, I hope so. If a “Bible-thumper” is “an overzealous advocate of Christ,” I’m inthough it’s impossible to be overzealous when it comes to Jesus. He deserves all our zeal and then some.

As for “noble,” this is the only place the Greek word, semna, appears in Scripture. The literal meaning is “venerably grave.” Pretty intense. I’m sticking with “noble.” Maybe “honorable” (ASV). How about “seemly” (AMP) or “honest” (KJV) or “respected” (NLV)? All are fine translations of a word that brings to mind something high and lifted up, like a lofty idea or a noble ambition. Or the Lord.

Though a commoner by birth, Jesus is noble in every possible sense. Just as we look to God’s Word for what is true, we can turn to his Son for what is noble.

I know the whole WWJD idea—“What Would Jesus Do?”—got worn down to the nub in the ‘90s, but it’s still a solid yardstick for making decisions. We could also ask, “Is it noble? Does it aim for the highest possible moral ground? Does it bring honor to the name of Jesus? Is this what he would think about?”

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is right,…” Philippians 4:8

“Right” has nothing to do with where you stand politically. And it means a good deal more than just being right or wrong ethically. We’re to meditate on things that are “just” (RSV) and “reputable” (MSG) and “fair (GW), things that God would approve, that God would call “righteous” (CJB).

Wow. If we ran all our thoughts through that kind of filter, we would definitely be living out Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I will confess to you right now, I am not there yet. I’ve been too busy being proud of myself for not doing or saying the wrong thing (forgetting entirely that God alone made that possible). Only lately have I begun to focus on not thinking the wrong thing. Groan.

So much for, “Hey, nobody knows what I’m thinking.” God knows precisely what we’re thinking. Every word, every image, every emotion. All of it.

I need a long, hot soak in a bath of grace right about now. To think that God puts up with us every time our mind wanders away from things that are true, noble, and right!

The next three would be even more daunting, if not for Jesus.

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is pure,…” Philippians 4:8

The actress Tallulah Bankhead once said she was “Pure as the driven slush.” Unfortunately, I get that.

Pure is one of those words that pushes me back a step. So do holy and chaste, and that’s precisely what this word means in Greek. Ready for worship. Ready to stand before God. That clean, that pure.

Who could ever manage such a thing? Then I remember Paul was encouraging believers to think on such things. Fix our gaze on them. Turn our attention toward them. Make a habit of meditating on them.

Don’t panic, beloved. Don’t think, “I can’t possibly be pure!” Only God can “purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And he does. Continually. For no reason other than he loves us.

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is lovely,…” Philippians 4:8

Now here’s a word that doesn’t intimidate me. I love to think about lovely things, don’t you? You’ll not find this Greek word, prosphilés, elsewhere in Scripture either. We’re to think on things that are “pleasing, agreeable, and dearly prized.”

So, these roses. You weren’t thinking they were from my house? Lizzie Brown Thumbs? No, you’ll find them in the Wellington Botanic Garden. When I first saw row after row of rose bushes, each one more beautiful than the last, I could barely hold my camera steady.

That’s loveliness. Something that steals our breath. Something we can’t stop looking at. Something that so fills our heart with joy, there’s no room for sorrow, regret, or despair.

Lovely is a balm for our souls and a respite for our minds. “All that is lovely (KNOX), “beautiful” (ERV), “pleasing” (LEB), and “lovable” (AMP). Go there. Imagine that.

A Lovely Rose

“…whatever is admirable…” Philippians 4:8

If you can believe it, this Greek word, euphémos—literally, “well reported of”—is another one that appears only in this verse. God is saying something rare and unusual and wonderful in Philippians 4:8. He has spun these words out of pure gold, meant to dazzle the mind’s eye.

He wants us to think about things that are “kind and winsome and gracious” (AMP), so that we might become those things. In a world in which cynicism has replaced witticism and being cruel to others—especially online—is par for the course, God is saying, “You can do better than that. You can be kinder than that.”

A Lovely Rose

“—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—” Philippians 4:8

We sense Paul winding things up here. “Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile” (CEV), he tells us. Especially “if you value the approval of God” (PHILLIPS).

For those of us who struggle with wanting the approval of people, this simple statement has the power to transform us completely. This part of the verse isn’t talking about things for which people will applaud you. Oh, no. God is the one dishing out the kudos here.

As Matthew Henry put is, “Whether our praise be of men or no, it will be of God.”

A Lovely Rose

“…think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

This is the final word, telling us what to do with all of the above. “Weigh and take account of these things” (AMP). Toss them on a scale where the arrow points toward Pleasing to God. “Focus your thoughts on these things” (CEB). “Fill your minds” (EXB), then “meditate on these things” (NKJV).

When I found this translation—“let this be the argument of your thoughts” (KNOX)—I thought immediately of the creature Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, arguing aloud with himself. Did those scenes look familiar to you as well? Back and forth. Good Liz, Bad Liz.

If you’re as weary as I am of engaging in a mental tug-of-war with your evil twin, God offers us this simple but profound solution: “be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23). Turn away from ugly. Look toward lovely.

“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.” Philippians 4:8

A Lovely Rose

Now it’s your turn

Just two questions, beloved.

  • Can you think of a time when you sensed the Holy Spirit guarding and guiding your thoughts, keeping your mind from going in the wrong direction?
  • If this is a challenge for you, what might be a practical solution for this spiritual struggle?

We’d love to hear your experience. Just add your response under Post a Comment below. Bless you for taking a moment to add your voice to the conversation.

Next Wednesday, we’ll jump back into the Old Testament and unpack #10 of the verses you love. Another gem from Isaiah, and a splendidly visual one. I’m so ready to dive in!

Your sister, Liz

Your Sister in Christ, Liz Curtis Higgs

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50 Responses to The 20 Verses You Love Most: #11 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Denetta June 13, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    What an awesome reminder, that I needed, to take control of my thoughts. An independent woman being taught how to depend on our Lord, needs to keep her thoughts on all these. Which points me back to who God is not my circumstances. Yes Lord!

  2. Kemi Williams June 13, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    In a world of negativity, impure words and bad news, it takes a lot of swimming against the tide to achieve this! When you think right and speak right according to Philippians 4, you are likely to have to stand alone most of the time. It also takes filling our minds with the right things. As they say, garbage in-garbage out. I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me time and again to think right. For example, not to be jealous of other people’s success! or to believe the best about others and make excuses for them even when they don’t treat me right. You can trust God for your own success, genuinely rejoice with people and allow them to inspire you to do and be better. Also some people could simply be having a bad day-like we all do. It can be done and the more we do it the better we get at it and the easier it becomes. God’s grace is indeed sufficient. Thank you for reminding me of this.

  3. terri chapman June 13, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    a beautiful way to start the day…june is my birth month and roses one of my favorites…looking at the simple perfection of those roses so vividly reminded me that i am far to complex in my words and thoughts…for today, praying for a pure, simple, lovely thought life and “word” life as well…xo

  4. Trust in the Lord June 13, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    I am facing huge adversity from my ex-husband over our son; just last night I was on my knees in the Word asking God to help me be bold, and try to show love and peace with each horrible text, email, or word spoken against me (and there are many). This morning’s email from Liz are a message directly to me, to THINK blessings on those that persecute me, not just say them. It is so difficult to try to pray for and hope for blessings and good things about someone who is trying to take your child away from you, when I truly am trying to raise a Godly child and live my life for Christ. Please God, help me to allow my mind to not think about the negative things, but focus on the blessings you have provided, and how You instruct me to treat others, regardless of what the evil one is scheming.

    • Maritza June 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      My dear sister – I share these two verses with you that help me when things get overwhelming with relationships.

      When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Prov 16:7
      Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. Isaiah 41:12
      I hope they help you as they have me…God bless you – my heart goes out for you and your children in prayer. That God would make your husband of sound and repentant mind. Take care and don’t be afraid to ask for help from those around you.

    • Kimberly June 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Dearheart, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. My mom has been in the same situation as you with my dad (who left us) and younger brother. God is faithful to give us the wisdom, courage, and grace in how we respond, and I know He is doing the same for you. Love you, dear sister, and am praying for you!

    • Cathy Gross June 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      I am so sorry for your pain. In the end, you will prevail but the walking through it part is so tough. Speak truth from scripture over yourself every day…truth about how beautiful you are in the eyes of God. That you are wonderfully made and that He has a plan for you. What is thrown at you is no surprise to Him…He knows ahead what the enemy will try and He will be your strength. And remember how much He loves your child. your son will be so proud of you! God bless you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Your sisters here have all provided wise advice and heartfelt prayers. I echo their words and hope that your very difficult situation is either improving or coming to an end. Praying for your safety–not just physical but also emotional–and for PEACE above all things.

  5. Judy June 13, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks for the reminder Liz. Yesterday I was in turmoil because of an “unfair” parking ticket that I had received. As I struggled the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus’ teaching – “render unto Ceasar….” and when they required the temple tax he told Peter to go and catch a fish and the $ was there. I found peace as I realized that “it is only money” and I am directed to focus my thoughts on God and His grace. He provides and gives grace for each moment. Thank you for your thoughts on this verse.

  6. Megan June 13, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I usually just pass these things by, not taking the time to read them, because I know that it will be convicting and I don’t want go through that. (Can’t you just see me, stubborn stuck in the mud!) But this morning I woke up so desperate for encouragement that I couldn’t help but read this. Thank you so much, a true balm for my heart today

    • Nancy June 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Me, too. I have a melancholic spirit and lately feel life has been unduly burdensome. Reading Liz this morning, which I often skip because I “don’t have time today,” was perfectly timed. I have let my mind wander too far from Gods Word and being reminded to think on “these” helps me refocus on His desires or me and not what I want or what others want of me.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Oh, how I understand and take no offense that you pass by my blogs. Time is precious. Yet the very BEST way we can spend our time is in God’s Word, however you want to manage that. It’s the one thing on our busy to-do lists we cannot afford to cross off!

  7. Gina June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I love this verse. Many many years ago I was in a difficult work situation with people that could be very ugly. Let’s be fair, sometimes I fought fire with fire. I became so tired and worn out from that work-out. After reading God’s word I decided that a large part of the problem was my attitude toward them. I asked God to help me with my attitude. One morning I was showering and thinking about all the rotten things they had done and the things I wanted to say and do to them. A little voice in my heart said “Stop. THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS. Begin to think about positive things.”. So I started praising God and thanking God for his many mercies and gifts. Wouldn’t you know it, things began to get better. Not because they changed but because God was changing me. This is one of my go-to verses. I wrote down several of my favorite verses and put it in my Bible so I could pull it out quickly and easily and begin to think and pray about God. Remember the battle begins the moment we open our eyes in the morning.

    • Karen Dodgson June 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Hi, I just had to reply, as your situation mirrors mine so well! I work in a small school and the head and her deputy, both best friends, are retiring next month. They have made the teaching and support staff’s lives a misery this school year, but after reading todays study I realised what I already knew deep down, but didn’t want to face….I was part of the problem every time I joined in with the constant talking about them. So today I have resolved to do my bit to end the negativity by not joining in with it. I will instead just try and train my thoughts on lovely things instead. With God’s help, hopefully I can make Him smile when He looks my way and not feel disappointed in me.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      Gina and Karen, just want you to know how PROUD I am of you (I know, now I sound like a mom!). Truly, if we can focus on the positive, God will do miraculous things in our hearts AND in the lives of those around us.

  8. Rachel Russell June 13, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    As always, thank you Liz for your thoughtful and uplifting messages. Recently I was on my way to lead a meeting where I knew there were people with opposing views to work through. Prior meetings had been stressful. As I was driving, I was talking to God and asking for His guidance and presence to lead, guide, and direct my actions. Sure, I had prepared but I knew there would be many opportunities that could come up that I would need to respond to that were not “in the script” of my preparations on the subjects. I caught a glimpse of a church sign that I passed and what my brain processed from that sign was “Be in peace, I have gone before you”. I got to the room well before anyone else and just prayed for a peaceful and productive day to surround all who would come in. And, Liz… everything unfolded well and in peaceful resolution. A lesson for me from this is to be prepared in your work but know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

  9. Karen June 13, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I struggle with being the one who stands out in a crowd. As Kemi pointed out, Philippians 4:8 means we’re going to feel alone sometimes because it goes against what the world teaches. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul reminds us that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Sometimes the greatest strongholds are in our own minds. Only through Christ can we “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ,” (verse 5) I want to look toward lovely! I know God has provided what I need for this. Thanks, Liz, for unpacking some of the weapons we need for this daily battle!

  10. Mary Jane Miller June 13, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Liz, Thanks for the eye candy in the photographs of the lovely roses. We women love to drink in beauty, both from creation and the Word. Thanks for taking the time to add a touch of loveliness to the passage for today.

  11. CJ June 13, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    When I am tempted to think the wrong things, I pray this scripture. Let the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:7 And, God is faithful each time I pray this.

  12. KiKi June 13, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    So hard when you have kids that rent next door destroying your house. Praying for God’s love in this

    • Cathy Gross June 14, 2013 at 8:00 am #

      I TRY to pray for people who trouble me. Perhaps they have no one to ever lift their name before the throne of God…no one whispers their name to the Father who loves them so much. it helps me when I can see people from this perspective. Don’t misunderstand, I’m so far from good at this but I keep trying.

  13. Cassandra June 13, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    What a lovely, lovely display of God’s beautiful roses along with such an interesting, informative, verse as Phil. 4:8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and enjoying this week’s verse; and it has definitely given me a whole lot more to meditate on, and has made me more inquisitive to delve deeper into this verse and its meanings.

  14. Christina Anderson June 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Loved all the beautiful roses you shared. I find that it is hardest for me to think on the things Paul remarked on when I am around other Christians. Sound strange? Often I find other Christians to have an attitude of complacency and entitlement. They also run in cliques at my church. I’m not part of any clique nor do I want to be. It is hard for me to not judge these folks. I constantly have to pray that God will keep me centered on Jesus, His Word, and not to allow my thoughts to stray into judgement or self-righteousness. I have also found that many Christians don’t seem to care about the environment or the welfare of animals. God made us to be stewards of his creation, not to wear it out, use it up, abuse or neglcet it.

  15. Christina Anderson June 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Another thing that helps me when I am tempted to judge or to think thoughts I shouldn’t is the “Offertory” from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod liturgy. It goes like this: “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit.” I sing these words to myself to help me become more open to God’s Holy Spirit, His leading and His voice.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      Our Lutheran friends are wisely quoting Psalm 51:10-12:
      “Create in me a pure heart, O God,
      and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
      Do not cast me from your presence
      or take your Holy Spirit from me.
      Restore to me the joy of your salvation
      and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
      A very powerful passage written by David soon after the prophet Nathan confronted David about committing adultery with Bathsheba. Psalm 51 is a favorite, first verse to last, for this Former Bad Girl!

  16. Cathy Gross June 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    I believe we can behave and think in the manner God commands simply because He does not ask us to do what we cannot. Does it take the strength of the Holy Spirit? You bet! But as Believers we have it. Believing that truth has enabled me to face difficult situations with calm and strength.
    When I was a desperately poor child living in an unsettled home, my goal in life was to up to be a lady. For a long while I thought that was speaking with good grammar and enunciating my words so I would sound educated and carrying myself with good posture and having cups, plates, flatware that matched and a set for each person at the table. I loved Donna Reed and Loretta Young who came swirling onto the stage in an evening gown or cocktail dress. Later, much later, I came to realize a lady is someone who follows God’s command to dwell on what is pure, noble, right, true and lovely and incorporate that into who I am. While I do have pretty things now for which I am truly thankful, I long to be more and more of the lady God calls me to be. Thank you Liz!

  17. Kimmy June 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Liz, I just have to tell you, this was an incredible balm for my soul. Earlier this very day, I was spending time alone with the Lord and having trouble keeping myself focused. My mind keeps wandering off to places it shouldn’t, and I was reminded again of my past and felt dirty and shameful and told Him so. Because even though the actions I struggled with have ended, the thoughts have remained a battleground of my everyday. Later on, I was sitting at the table, and the thought came to me (not the first time I’ve had it, but the first time I let it sink in) that I felt rather like Gollum, going back and forth and fighting with myself. Lord of the Rings has always been a story dear to my heart, but never had I truly consciously related to Gollum – I always wanted to be Arwen or Eowyn or Frodo. To think of myself as Gollum was quite odious. Top it off with the fact that roses are one of my favorite flowers. You went and talked VERBATIM about the thoughts I’d had today, leaving me with a sense of peace, purity, and renewed hope because we DO have weapons with which to win this war, and while Gollum is our current reality, it won’t always be this way because God is making us new. He is so amazing. Thank you for being a willing messenger. He is so good!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Wow, Kimmy. Clearly God had YOU in mind as I worked on this week’s study. He is FAITHFUL beyond measure!

  18. Ruth June 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Life brings many situations that cause us stress and grief. However I am thankful that in God I have all I need to live a fulfilled life grounded in the knowledge of His love and support for me. Watching the news this morning again brought to mind the awfulness of people’s minds and actions. It made me turn it off as I find it difficult to acknowledge their actions and words. This to me is God’s leading in my own thoughts and actions. Him protecting me from all that is shared in this verse. All the unloving, unkind, untrustworthy, unpraiseworthy things in life. Yes, it can be a struggle but the more I come closer to God the more I find Him guiding me naturally in this way.
    I am blessed that at the moment I am able to spend more time in His word and sit thinking of Him and His ways. This has helped me tremendously in keeping focused in a manner that then leads to more peace. I pray for all of us that we can be drawn to God’s love in what this verse encourages us to do. I am so thankful that I have my bible to read and am encouraged by Paul’s words.
    When I read about this verse and the bible no matter how old etc I had to smile to myself. Only a few days ago I picked up my bible and part of it fell out onto my lap. I have had it for so long that parts of it have broken loose from the spine! I must see how I can mend it 🙂 I love this bible and have many verses underlined that I can read over again and again to help encourage me.
    God bless Liz and thanks again for sharing with us. xo

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      Just for you, Ruth: “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” Charles Spurgeon

  19. Judy Robinson June 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    “Loved this devotion today. I can relate. I praise the Lord God that
    he has forgiven as far as the East is from the West. I too feel
    unworthy to such a great and loving God. As I step on the scales each
    day hoping to see it go down I can think of stepping on a scale that
    tells me lovely thoughts and want to see no negatives there…Thanking
    God for that Grace and Mercy!”

  20. Cathy Gross June 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    The last few weeks have been particularly discouraging and reading scripture has been difficult, even listening to Christian television, two things that always lifted me up. But if God says “be of good cheer” then I have a choice here. Of course, I had to be miserable for a bit before I figured this out. So I put on music, music I have not listened to in years. Old fashion southern gospel, my roots. And it’s not magic but praising my God whom I love, out loud, singing with other brothers and sisters, helps tremendously. I think it falls under dwelling on what is lovely and pure…balm for a weary soul.

  21. Lizabeth June 14, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    When the enemy tries to steal us back into his ugly world, remember what the LORD said in Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

  22. DORI June 14, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    I found such encouragement within this bible study. Seeing that I am making progress in my journey to be the person God wants me to be. I have been so mishandled by people in my life, damaged no doubt, but I feel like the rose who is trying so hard to fully bloom into this lovely flower. God is pulling off the petals that make me look ugly to give room for my stronger, more beautiful petals to blossom. This verse taught me how God wants me to handle my thoughts in tough times. My thoughts produce my actions and can get bad if I am hurt. So, I am taking this verse.and I am going to put it to use. I am determined to bloom and be part of Gods garden, to be picked when I am ready to do whatever God has for me to do.
    Lizzy, the bible study was awesome, but visual was spot on. Thank you for sharing and breaking it down verse by verse.

  23. Kathy June 14, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Hey chicks! How are ya? Peachy here! Wow-love the pics of roses! Beautiful! Lizabeth -love your thoughts and scripture reference. I haved learned to bring myself back from wondering off into Neverland (never right Neverland ) with this verse. Everyone has times of trouble, if we will focus on this scripture – life is sooo much better. Don’t worry be happy! Love that song! Bless you ladies! KT

  24. Sue June 14, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    The battlefield is definitely the mind and our enemy uses fiery darts of ugly, evil, disturbing thoughts to fire at my mind an awful lot these days. Our pastor preached on this verse recently and so now as those thoughts come into my mind I take them captive as soon as I am aware of them and start repeating this verse. I even have the words, true, noble, lovely, etc written out on a sticky note attached to my monitor at work. Then I replace those awful thoughts and images with lovely thoughts and verses. I also crank up the southern gospel music with the emphasis on heaven, the loveliest place I can think of, and soon those images are fleeing from my mind, just as God promises they will.

    Thank you for this true and lovely study today!

  25. Linda H June 14, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    The rose that was “slightly damaged from careless handling” brought tears to my eyes. Thankful that it is still a beauty to the One who created it. I needed that today as I feel like that rose sometimes. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me to turn off the lies of the enemy. Why is it so easy to see the bad instead of focusing on the good. I am going to focus on “what is lovely”. I want it to steal my breath away, make me stop and look at it. I want it to fill my heart with joy so there is no room for sorrow, regret or despair. It will definitely be a balm for my weary soul and a much needed respite for my mind. Posting this verse on my chalkboard this week and getting some roses on my counter will challenge my heart and mind this week. You are awesome precious Liz!! You continue to amaze me with God’s word! P.S. I also feel the same way about my Bible!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Love the idea of having roses on your counter, Linda. Good reminder to “think on these things!”

  26. Glenda Zylinski June 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Hi, Liz~What a timely word! I was thinking of a time last year when I was going under general anesthesia (don’t do well with being ‘put under’) for an oral operation and just as a major panic attack threatened to seize me, God’s sweet Word came to mind to calm me! So grateful for your creative and encouraging website. Taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ- Glenda Zylinski

  27. Joan June 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    My daughter’s favorite word is ‘whatever’. She has artwork with this verse.

    The Holy Spirit is using you Liz. Thank you for listening – and sharing the Word, your thoughts and time with us.

  28. Dalyn June 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    lovely words and lovely photos. Refreshment. sigh. 🙂

  29. Jannie June 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Did these verses out of Philippians with my life group, we did do the whole book, but these verses was a definite heart changer. To always, whatever, think about these things is a real challenge and can only work with the Holy Sprit’s help. Whenever I start thinking negative I always am reminded not to go there, but to go back to good thoughts. “To Whatever”.
    Thank you for the reminder again.
    Blessings to all, love you Liz.

  30. Elizabeth June 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Liz- You are not a “Bible Thumper” you use the scriptures to fill your bathtub of grace, not as a weapon. You have no personal agenda with the Bible, only a love for it.
    I had each of my children make a motto of this verse and hang it in their room where they could see it daily. They all had it memorized in their troublesome teen years. Little did I know then how much they would need this verse inscribed on their hearts. They have thanked me for it. I thank God who pushed me into doing the right thing for a change.

  31. amy June 18, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Our Lord is so good and kind and loving! And these words…. I just had to come back to them this morning. My heart is overflowing in a thousand different directions and the nearness of the Lord is an overwhelming grace! The tears flow while the children still sleep! His grace… His love…. So lavish and free… overwhelms the soul…. And gives my heart so many lovely and pure things to ponder … I love our God and I love the way He speaks through you straight to my soul….

  32. Debbie June 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    To help me remember this beloved scripture some time ago, I rearranged the words to remind me to PRE-PLANT good thoughts in my mind:

    Love this blog-series. Love your teaching, Liz. Love the LORD and His WORD.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs July 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Ooh, that PRE-PLANT idea is so good, Debbie!

  33. Bonnie Brown June 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Thank you once again. I think I will print this verse out and put it on my bathroom mirror. Daily reminder to keep my mind focused positively on things that are praiseworthy. Also, WWJD is a simple reminder before making decisions.
    I want to add an extra thanks for the short comment that our Bible’s are very special and should be respected and not tossed around or thrown on the floor. My mother always taught me that the Bible holds a special place of honor and respect in our home. It should never be found with other things stacked on top.

  34. Janet June 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    I love this verse, and printed it out and posted it by my desk in my classroom one year to help me get through a difficult time.

    I have a tendency to live in a fantasy world, so this verse has helped me turn from that destructive place and live in the world God created for us to live in. It helped me appreciate the relationships and gifts God had blessed me with.

    Like many others, I needed this verse today, to encourage me. There’s a lot of uncertainty out there for our family, and it’s easy to get thrown off track by what ifs and worries. I’ll focus on “whatever”!

  35. cherrie July 3, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    thank you liz:)

  36. Susan Gruener July 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Absolutely love this verse – have been trying to memorize it – a hard thing at 61. 🙂 The Holy Spirit does remind us of the ‘good things’ we should dwell on, think of, and spend time pondering. I have found the quicker I ‘catch’ myself in ‘wrong’ thinking and choose to think on the true, noble, right, lovely, pure and good of His Word, that I am more apt NOT go to the ‘wrong’ thinking as quick ‘next time’. God is always faithful!
    Thanks for this Liz, and for the lovely rose photos! God’s ‘handiwork’ amazes me more each day!
    p.s. Have you seen the ‘snail flower’? We planted one and it is the most beautiful little flower you could ever imagine God ‘fashioning’! 🙂
    Blessings to you!