July 16, 2010
"Finally, brothers, 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. 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."
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
Do you know the most annoying word in the English language? By popular vote, the word whatever won the dubious award of most annoying word by a poll conducted by Marist College in October of 2009. And, admittedly, most people use the phrase, Whatever!—I do myself. Even my three-year-old granddaughter looked at me the other day and said, "Whatever, Grandma."
Can't you hear it ring in your head as an exasperated person says, "Whatever!" Or a teen rolling her eyes and whooshing out, "WHAT-ehv-errr." Yes, it can be an annoying word. It can be a hurtful word filled with dismissal of a person or a person's actions.
However, I believe the Apostle Paul would not agree that it is a word nominated for most annoying. He determined whatever was a word that encompassed all the good things we experience in this life. He preferred to use the term as a directive for us to consider all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Then he finished in admonishment to us with, "And the God of peace will be with you."
So what do we do with the word whatever? Such a contradiction found in one English word provides us with a spiritual opportunity. We can use whatever to provide a verbal cue to others that we found them or their actions to be ignored. Or whatever can be a prompt for us to search for the positive side of people and circumstances. The decision is up to us to determine what type of whatever we allow to inhabit our lives. Do we consistently complain? Or do we choose to engage in encouragement?
Will you take the whatever challenge with me today? Let's choose to believe and ponder on all that is a positive influence in our world—everything that proves itself to be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy. And the best whatever is that the God of peace will be with us as we strive to experience the positive.
Dear Lord, teach me to concentrate on whatever is beneficial to my thought life. Grant me the ability to push aside whatever I find annoying in my life and let me learn to focus on the lovely and praiseworthy things You have placed around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents by Susanne Scheppmann
Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Names of God by Susanne Scheppmann
Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth
Take a moment to make a list of things that are excellent and praiseworthy gifts from God, such as books, music, friends, church, etc. Today purposefully reflect on how these items enrich your life. Ask God to help you replace the annoyances of life with the thoughts of whatever is lovely.
What do I find exasperating in my life—what are my "WHAT-ehv-errrs?"
Am I thankful for my whatevers that are admirable and excellent?
Do I complain more than I praise?
Would my family, friends and co-workers describe me as a positive person?
Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer 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." (NIV)
Psalms 33:21, "In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." (NIV)
Philippians 1:27a, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." (NIV)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105