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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews 4:12’

Your Thought Life

January 20th, 2014

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV.

Thoughts have a power to create and color the interpretation of your inner world.

My thoughts and comments today are about “your thought life.”

More than you imagine, thoughts influence how you feel, what you do, what you say, what you believe and, eventually, who you are. Thoughts are more powerful than you might at first realize. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right!”  Thoughts have a power to create and color the interpretation of your inner world as well as your assumptions about the world surrounding you. Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Jesus was asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” His response was simpler than expected; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and with all your mind.” Luke 10:25/27 NKJV. Jesus’ words are where any consideration or conversation about thoughts must begin. Thoughts are integral to a successful, spiritual life. Let me suggest a few practical ways to take charge of your inner thought life.

Fill your mind with the truth of God’s Word. “Oh, the joys of those who . . delight in doing everything the Lord wants; day and night they think about [meditate upon]His Law.” Psalm 1:1-2 NKJV. Think Biblically.The Psalm describes the process of God’s Word being perpetually in the forethought of all your deliberations, “day and night.” Our closest English word might be “ruminate – the continuing, deliberative process for fullest understanding.” Healthy, happy, and Godly thoughts begin with putting God’s Word in your heart intentionally and continually. “For the Word of God is . . able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NASV.

Occupy your thoughts positively. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV. There are processes of thought you indulge to your own detriment. See 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV. Negative, hurtful thoughts of anger, jealousy, resentment, doubt, worry, fear, regret, or past hurts cloud your peace of mind. You determine what you will allow to linger in your mind. “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV. Be vigilant and at peace.

Manage your thoughts productively. “Those who are controlled by the Spirit think about those things that please the Spirit . . if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6 NLT. When you are without the Holy Spirit’s control, you forfeit the dimension of life and peace He intends. “You [Lord] will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV.

Discipline your thoughts prudently. “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV. Undisciplined thoughts can lead you places you never intended to go and to become a person you never intended to be. You do not have to indulge your random thoughts and negative emotions. Exercise Godly authority. “. . for we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT.

Inadequate, inaccurate, or incorrect thinking is at the root of immaturity. When you think correctly you learn to respond correctly, which reflects spiritual maturity. My favored definition of spiritual maturity is: “Rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” To me, that sounds like a proper description of Jesus, Who could say truly, “I always do those things that please the Father.” John 8:29 NKJV. Spiritual maturity is simply Christ-likeness. See Romans 8:28-29 NLT. The Word of God will progressively conform you to the Savior’s likeness as your mind is renewed in its truth. See Romans 12:2 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your mind is renewed through His Word and wisdom.

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A Living Word

May 3rd, 2013

“They received the Word with readiness . . and searched the Scriptures daily.” Acts 17:11 NKJV.

A Godly life is the living application of eternal truth.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a living Word.”

There is a difference when you are “into” something, in contrast to being casual or curious. You can browse some books and that is sufficient, while another book so piques your interest that you carefully read every sentence, hardly moving to the next chapter without processing what you have read. The Bible is like the latter. See Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV.

Unlike other books, the Bible is not read merely for an intellectual grasp of its information. Life is not an academic process; a full and successful life is found in what you do and who you are. Be as those Christ-followers who, “. . received the Word with readiness . . and searched the Scriptures daily.” Acts 17:11 NKJV. The Bible is God’s Word to conform hearts, rather than inform heads. The power of Scripture is found in its living application to your daily life. That’s why Jesus said, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 NKJV. To do that, you must choose to get “into” the Word, prizing its truth, seeking its meaning, and applying its principles in your life consistently.

A Godly life is the living application of eternal truth – God’s truth. “For the Word of God is living and powerful . .” Hebrews 4:12 NKJV. Paul warned young Timothy about those who have “a form of godliness but denying its power . . always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.´ 2 Timothy 3:5/7 NKJV. The power of true Godliness is found in the life that reflects God’s Word in practical ways. Job explained the process, “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept His ways and without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily food.” Job 23:11-12 NIV.

When you treasure His words in your heart, God permits circumstances that provide opportunity to practice the truth that He is building into your life. It takes time to change ingrained, character traits. Old habits are not broken easily, nor are new habits formed in a day. Reading a truth does not produce instant change. Change and growth come as you learn to apply truth in practical ways – when your thinking, choices, and reactions are shaped by truth. You become a living word to others; “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by everybody.” 2 Corinthians 3:2 NIV.

You learn to love by loving people not easily loved. You develop patience by accepting delays and irritations with grace, trusting the Lord’s timing. You learn peace by choosing tranquility in God’s rest, even in troubling moments. You discover joy when you learn that real joy is in God’s care, not your circumstances. Truth that you read becomes living truth as you encounter situations, and people, where you choose to do the right thing instead of your natural inclinations. As you search God’s Word, ask yourself, “How can this Scripture help me be a little more like Jesus today?”

My prayer for you today is: have a hunger for God’s Word that nothing else can satisfy.

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Ruling Your Thoughts

June 20th, 2012

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV

God is with those in whose minds are thoughts pleasing to Him.

My thoughts and comments today are about “ruling your thoughts.”

Whatever dominates your thoughts eventually directs your life. You either rule your thoughts, or they will rule you. Your inner life consists of your mind, will, and emotions. And the mind often has a predominate role in directing your feelings and choices. Your thoughts act like a personal rudder that steers your decisions and directions you take. Though referring to the tongue, the Bible describes a ship’s rudder in ways that could also be applied to the disproportionate influence of one’s thoughts, “Ships . . although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.” James 3:4 NIV. A thought seems so small but it is far from powerless.

Direct your thoughts where they ought to go rather than allow their taking you wherever they seem to go. Make thoughts your servant rather than master. Some people’s thoughts are like a whimsical preschooler, extremely active but not particularly productive, unless properly, sometimes forcefully directed. In Peter’s first epistle, he links your mind and thoughts with your proper conduct. Read 1 Peter 1:13-15 NKJV.

Thoughts will dictate how you feel about your life, sometimes unnoticeably at the moment – coloring the memories of your past, interpreting and often misinterpreting present events, and projecting future expectations. That makes them important for you to manage. You need to guide your thoughts for them to be productive and carefully guard them to be profitable. Much hurt can result to you or others if your thoughts are not daily purified by the “cleansing with the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26 NKJV), and daily “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

The Apostle Paul often referred to your mind as holding the key to one’s happiness, “. . guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Whatever is true . . noble . . right . . pure . . lovely . . admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things . . and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NIV. The God of peace is with those in whose minds are thoughts pleasing to Him. “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Read Romans 8:5-6 NIV/See Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT.

Do you wonder how to accomplish that? I can assure you that such rightly directed thoughts do not come naturally. You have to do a lot of sorting and selecting. First, recognize the mind of Christ resides within you. “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God . . but we have the mind of Christ.” Read 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 NIV/Philippians 2:5-9 NKJV. With the mind of Christ within you, you can choose truth over error, contrast right from wrong, crave purity over impurity, choose excellence instead of mediocrity, and recognize what is praiseworthy.

Ruling your thoughts includes you but begins with God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me . . For the word of God is living and active . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV/Hebrews 4:12 NIV. When God has done His part, you must then do yours. “Pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments . . bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV.

My prayer for you today is that your thoughts are of things excellent and praiseworthy.

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The Power of Suggestion

February 2nd, 2012

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 TEV

“The thoughts you allow determine the life you live.”

My thoughts today are about “the power of suggestion.”

In a few days, two football teams will play for the NFL Championship in Super Bowl XLVI and the buzz has already started for the Super Bowl commercials. The cost of a commercial for the 2012 Super Bowl is reportedly an astronomical $3.5 million per 30 seconds. Any advertiser who will pay that kind of money is investing in the power of suggestion on a scale of influencing a TV audience hoped to exceed last year’s viewers, which numbered 111 million. They are counting on placing their company or product in the thoughts and minds of those watching.

Advertising taps into your thoughts suggesting a want or need, to then convince you to satisfy that desire with their service or product. Here’s why that works: your thoughts govern more of your life than you might imagine. Thoughts eventually shape your desires, and then your desires ultimately influence your choices, until your choices dictate a direction for your life.

Your mind is such a fertile field, giving a rich harvest of any thought you plant there. Truly, the mind is an area where you “reap what you sow.” The Bible warns those whose hearts “imagine evil.” Proverbs 12:20 KJV. The wise King Solomon advised his son, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 TEV. The Bible is right. What happens to you or is said about you cannot shape your life unless you allow them to do so. Circumstances do not have such a power; your thoughts – the persuasive, internal interpretation of circumstance – shape your life for a moment or for a lifetime, for better or worse.

Jesus said what goes into a man does not defile; what comes out of a man defiles. See Mark 7:15 NKJV. Ironic isn’t it? A person can be less careful about what they allow into their mind than what they place in their mouth. A pure life is impossible with impure thoughts, as is an impure life impossible with pure thoughts. You can be ”. . mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV. You have God-given power to capture and direct every thought in “obedience to Christ.”

The Apostle Paul gave sound advice, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 NLT. The thoughts you allow determine the life you live.

You can be different than you’ve been. Change begins internally before it is evidenced externally. “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” Romans 12:2 NLT. How does God transform you and change the way you think? Don’t be misled; this is more than the power of positive thinking. Life change comes through Godly thinking! Fill your heart and mind everyday with the Word of God and truth, because, “The Word of God is living and powerful . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NKJV. See Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that your thoughts will be His thoughts.

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