Friday, December 23, 2011

Rest Beside the Weary Road...

Have you ever felt like you wanted to shout “stop world, let me off!?” Most likely you have, yet it seems like a very difficult thing to do. We are rushing and hurrying everywhere, running to and fro, and for what? Do we need to work all of those hours? Is it necessary to run ourselves ragged so we can have all of the latest trinkets of this earth? There is nothing wrong with hard work, having money and things in and of itself, but what has happened that so many of us are always so tired, harried and frustrated?

Could it be that this is one way that the enemy of our souls attacks us? Maybe he sees that he cannot get us to commit some mortal sin; he knows we won’t murder or rob a bank. But, could his strategy be to get us so busy with the mundane tasks of life, with the ever pressing reality of modern America to have more and more money to buy more and more things so that we will slowly die spiritually?

Perhaps, this Christmas, it is time to remind ourselves, that the reason we are on this earth, is not to possess more things, it is not to be so busy that we have no time for thought and meditation, but, instead, that we might know, love, enjoy and glorify Jesus Christ, our Savior. He said in John 10:10 that He came that we might have life and that it would be abundant life! This abundant life comes only by resting in Him, and leaving our sins, cares and burdens at the cross.

We may find it necessary to leave off some things…perhaps we won’t be able to have a decorated home that looks like it came out of Better Homes and Gardens. Perhaps we will find it necessary to forgo some of our other Christmas "traditions" in order to have more time to move in the rest that Christ came to bring.

But, if we can enjoy a Christmas basking in His presence, what could possibly be better? After all, isn’t HE the reason we celebrate? He came to provide rest for our souls; rest from our sins, rest from the cares of this life, rest from fear and doubt. Perhaps we should try and fill our Christmas season with more meaningful activities which start, first and foremost with just spending time with Him.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 that we should come unto Him and find rest for our souls. We can never find rest in the material things of this world. We can never find rest in anything which takes His place. What can we do, in order to experience the fullness of resting in Him?

“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose form is bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful step and slow. Look up, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Believe...(part 2)...Before the foundations...

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...

I believe that God planned and ordained a way of salvation before He laid one brick, so to speak, of this world in His creation. Salvation was not a last minute plan as a lot of nail biting went on in the heavenly regions during the events of Genesis 3. No, I believe that salvation was always a part of God's plan. 1 Peter 1:20 in talking about Christ states..."who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake..." (ASV) Adam Clarke comments on this scripture, " shows that God, foreseeing the fall and ruin of man, appointed the remedy that was to cure the disease."

Consider the implications of this foreplanning. Did God plan for His creation to sin? No. But, God is sovereign, all knowing and knew what would happen if He created humankind with a free will. He knew all of the events of what would happen if He created us.

Now this is hard for us to understand. Why would God create humans if He knew they would rebel against Him? That is a question I can't answer. But, I can say that God wanted a relationship with us, the crown of His creation. He wants me to choose to love Him. He wants me to desire Him more than anything. But, He always leaves the choice up to me...and you. He is a gentleman...He will not force Himself on us.

In Genesis 3, the Savior is foretold as soon as the first sin occurred! Genesis 3:14-15..."And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (ASV) This is an amazing prophecy concerning Christ! Praise the Lord that the remedy was already in place!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Believe...

Today, I want to begin a series of entries which state what I believe and why I believe it. I have been challenged in a couple of different ways recently to think about this. My basis will be the Bible. Without this "bottom line," I have nothing that is any different from anybody else. Without the Bible, it's just "my view." In this day in which we live, there is a spirit of tolerance to the degree, that "each does what is right in his own eyes," as they did in the time of the Judges. (See Judges 21:25) And, each believes "what is right for him/her." There IS absolute truth. There IS a true "bottom line." The buck DOES stop somewhere. We are not left to drift aimlessly. We have a place to cast our anchor.

Everything and everyone has a beginning...that is such an important place to start when defining a belief system. I'm going to start with the One who created this universe, who created this world, and the One who created me. Since He, (God) created all of this, He must have a plan and a purpose. He must have a "right" to decide what is truth and how I should live my life.

I believe in a very literal view of Genesis 1-11. Here we find the basis for everything else. Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis has been calling the church to return to this literal view of beginnings. Without this basis, everything else stands or falls. Is it any wonder that the church is so anemic here in America? We have surrendered to science as the ultimate authority. But, scientists are humans, too. They have not lived forever, they were not there when the foundations of the earth was laid. God challenged Job with the reality that he was not present when God created the earth in Job 38:4. Neither were we or any scientist present as well. Why should we trust in them as opposed to the God of the Bible who WAS there? Yes, we must have faith, but our faith will always be shown to be in the right place, if that faith is in God.

I believe that God created the world. We read about this in Genesis 1-2. Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
There is nothing said here about any big bang, evolution or any thing like that. Nothing is said here about amoebas transforming to tadpoles, and eventually to apes, and finally to people. No, we were created intentionally. We were created intentionally as the crowning jewel, so to speak of God's creation. Man was created last, at the summit. We were made in God's image as it states in Genesis 1:21 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." A clear understanding of this will result in a proper estimate of ourselves. I will see that I am created by God for great purpose, but still as subordinate to Him. I will see that I am created to show who God is to this world. Does my life show anything of His great holiness, love and mercy?

There is much ado about whether or not God created the world in six literal days or whether these "days" were actually much longer periods. The way that the words are used, "evening and morning," show us that these were literal days. When these words are used together in this way, we see that they are describing literal days.

In the context, the word day in Genesis 1 refers to six 24-hour days. Every time it appears with “evening and morning” or with a number like “sixth day,” it refers to a 24-hour day.
Terry Mortenson-To read more on this subject, read the whole article here.

This is an "evolution vs. creation" issue. If the world is young, say 6,000 years old as I believe, then there is no evidence of evolution involving millions of years. You can read more about that

All of our doctrines of the faith have an origin in Genesis 1-11. I will cover more on that in future posts. I believe that in our day of drift from a Biblical worldview, establishing our beginning is the only place to start.

To summarize...1)I believe that God created the world
2)I believe that God created the world in six literal days
3)I believe that since God created the world, He gets to decide what is moral and what is not
4)I believe that the world is "young," around 6,000 years old

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Cannot Do This Alone...

I Cannot Do This Alone

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised…Amen

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I love this prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor during World War II. He bravely laid his life on the line to try and rid Germany and the world of Adolph Hitler. However, he was hanged just prior to the ending of the war. Some would say his life was wasted. Not so. He left a wealth of writings and an example of selflessness which can only testify to one thing...he really WAS a man of God, and he lived out what he preached, taught and wrote.

For my own life, there have been some really sad things which have happened in the past 16 months, not the least of which is my brother Michael being diagnosed with cancer. With the cancer now growing in his lungs, things are not real positive. Except for God. He is still in control. I do not understand what all God is up to, but I know that He has never one time shaken His head and tried to figure out what He Himself is doing. No, everything is working out a glorious purpose which will only be fully revealed in heaven.

In the meantime, we on earth are left needing to feel His presence and reassurance. This beautiful prayer by Bonhoeffer gives us a road map to bring us back to the One who can help.
He begins his poem where I need to begin...early in the morning...if I could learn this lesson once and for all, what a difference it would make in my life. Seeking the Lord first thing in the morning is such a help in being "stayed upon Jehovah" as the song writer put it.

"I cannot do this alone..." Bonhoeffer writes. Recognition that I, Sharmen, cannot do this alone. In myself I am nothing. Paul stated, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." It is only through Jesus that I can make it through the trials and valleys which lie ahead. I need to lay down my feeble efforts to cope and trust completely in Jesus alone.

Bonhoeffer makes several pleas in this prayer as he recognizes his limitations. They include, "In me there is darkness...I am lonely...I am feeble...I am restless...In me there is darkness...I do not understand your ways..." He is so honest. We need to be completely honest with ourselves and with the Lord. If we admit and confess our weaknesses, then, and only then, can we begin to receive the help that Christ died to bring us.

After each of these honest admissions, Bonhoeffer turns immediately to the help we can have in Jesus. "...with You there is light...You do not leave me...with You there is help...with You there is peace...with You there is patience..."

Psalms 121:1-2 says, "

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."

Here we are reminded of where our help comes comes from the Lord ALONE! He made heaven and earth as well as each one of us, He knows how to help me!!!! But, I have to admit I need His help and ask for it. He will never force Himself upon me.

He closes his prayer with praise, regardless of the outcome. We can and must always praise the Lord, no matter what. Psalms 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times..." Yes, no matter what, He is worthy of all of our praise. We can be honest with Him, ask for His help, and relax, knowing that the outcome will be for the best. Then, we can praise...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where Do You Get Your Identity?

...Does it comes from the things you own? The things you do? Your career? Your spouse? Your children? Or, does it come from your Creator? In Genesis 1:26, we read (God speaking) "Let us make man in Our own image, according to Our likeness..." Here we see that God created us, does that not mean that He would have something to say about what His creation does? The fact that we know who created us, means we can start to understand what we were created for. This is very freeing, I believe.

The word "identity" has several definitions. I have included two of them here which illustrate the point I am endeavoring to make in this blog post.
  1. the condition or fact of being a specific person or thing; individuality
  2. the characteristics and qualities of a person, considered collectively and regarded as essential to that person's self-awareness (from
The first question asked in the Westminster Confession is:
1. What is the chief end of man?

Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.

Romans 11:35 says "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Whom be glory forever. Amen."
I Corinthians 6:20 "For you were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
I Corinthians 10:31 "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Psalms 16:11 "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

We are expected, by God, to glorify Him and to find joy in Him. This, should be our chief assignment for each day, and where we start in our identity. This sort of reason for living, goes across economic lines, and goes across every boundary, no matter where we may be. If you are a single person, you can glorify God by living a pure life invested in others, and you can enjoy God by finding fulfillment in Him alone. If you are a married person, you can glorify God by living out God's plan for marriage found in Ephesians 5:22-33, and you can enjoy God by finding your ultimate fulfillment in Him at all times and when your spouse lets you down (and he/she will). If you are rich, you can glorify God by using your money to further His causes and not your own, and you can enjoy God by remembering that He is the source of your happiness, not your money. If you are poor, you can glorify God by doing the best you can with what you have, and enjoy Him by knowing that He will supply all of your needs.

When we began to live for the glory of God, any circumstance which we may find ourselves, suddenly becomes a "gateway to joy" as Elisabeth Elliot has stated many times. Living for God's glory and not our own, gives life lasting purpose, and a pure, real identity! When we can see ourselves as placed on this earth for God's eternal purpose, not our own selfish fulfillment, our lives can be transformed. It will then be a natural stepping stone to find joy in the One who created us!

In Colossians 2:9-10 we read, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power..." Complete in Christ! Yes, there is wholeness to be found by immersing oneself in the One who made me! By finding the identity He created for me, there is peace, joy and purpose to be found.

In Ephesians 2:10, we read that we are God's "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works., which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." We are created for good works! Here, we see another aspect of our identity and purpose. We are to do good works which bring glory to God. When those things are done for the glory of God, we can find fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

So, based on the above scriptures, (and others), we can conclude that...

1. We are created by God.

2. We are created for God.

3. We are created to fulfill the purpose for which God created us, which boils down to glorifying Him in whatever situation we find ourselves.

4. We can trust God with the plans and details of our lives.

5. We can find our "identity" in God alone! How freeing is that?

May you find blessing and peace as you lay down the identities which are fleeting and earthly, and pick up, as your chief identity, that of glorifying God and enjoying Him!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Have a Goodly Heritage...

Psalm 16:6 says, " The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage."

My niece, Luanna, who is almost 14, is coming with me and my parents to the Inter-Church convention in Dayton, Ohio next week. This is a big thing for her, and I hope she has a wonderful week!
I started thinking about some events which happened when I was her age...let's just say that has been a "few" years ago! The summer after my 13th birthday, my brother Michael and I, accompanied my Grandpa and Grandma Heer on a trip up to Hot Springs, South Dakota. We made a stop in a town located in western Nebraska for them to have a missionary service. They had a very strong love and heart for the American Indians and traveled extensively for Wesleyan Indian Ministries. Michael and I assisted with the service by providing some music. My grandpa didn't make it to South Dakota that year as he was stricken with a heart attack while we were still in Nebraska. Thankfully, we were staying with the pastor that night, and his wife was a nurse. She accompanied us as we drove my grandpa to the hospital several miles away. We made it and he was admitted and stayed for awhile, perhaps 10 days or so, to receive care. After a few days had passed, my grandma took Michael and I, and we proceeded up to Hot Springs to attend the annual camp meeting being held at Brainerd Indian School. Eventually, we made it back to western Nebraska, my grandpa finished his recovery, and we drove on home to Overland Park. The next year brought dietary changes as he walked and tried to improve his health.
The next summer, when I was 14, Michael and I once again accompanied them north towards Hot Springs for the annual gathering at Brainerd Indian School. On the way, we stopped at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to assist Frank and Kathy Johnston and their family with a VBS. That was as far as we got. On Sunday night, my grandpa began to feel badly and went out to rest in the recliner located in the living room of the mission home. It was there, his spirit winged its way to his reward with the Lord as he once again suffered a heart attack. He was eventually discovered, and an ambulance came to get him. Three Indian men came and took him to the hospital, but he was already gone. It was so appropriate that he passed this life on an Indian reservation amongst the people for whom he carried such a burden. He so longed to see them receive Christ and have new life.
Soon, the Johnston's oldest daughter, Caroline, accompanied us as we drove home to Overland Park to prepare a funeral and burial. This was very difficult for my grandma to lose her husband so unexpectedly and without a chance to say goodbye. He was only in his 60's.
I am so grateful for these opportunities I had to spend time with my grandpa. None of us knew when we sat out on that trip, it would be our last opportunity.
He was truly a man of God. He spent his life preaching, teaching, pastoring, traveling in deputation, and praying that God's work would be accomplished. Truly, I have a "goodly heritage!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Music, does it really matter?

Recently, I raised a fire storm on Facebook by posing a simple question. Here is my question, "what sort of music do you REALLY want to hear at church on Sunday morning??? Screaming guitars played by guys in jeans or a choir dressed nicely in either robes or dress clothes singing hymns??? This is a fairly serious question...please give appropriate answers!" So far, there have been over 100 comments, you can see that this is a very volatile issue.

For the serious Christian, the bottom line should always be, what does the Bible have to say about music? It is my understanding, that most of the approximately 600 references to music in the Bible, are speaking of praise to God. If this is the case, we can be quite sure, that music should lift us in praise to God. Can we glorify God while listening to other styles of music besides religious? I believe so. Try listening to a CD of Bach music and tell me if it does not cause you to give honor to our Creator who could not only create music, but bring into being individuals, such as Bach, who would be enabled to write such magnificent music!
We could give that test to other types of music...why don't you try it some time? Can you praise God while listening to headbanging rock music? Can you praise God while listening to something sensuous and self serving?

Speaking of our Creator, if we believe Genesis 1:1 that God created the earth, do we not believe that He created music also? That He created humans with the gift of writing music and creating wonderful arrangements of tones which can draw our hearts to praise Him? If He created music, and I believe that He did, then, would it not stand to reason that He should have the ultimate authority over our music?

Mr. Richard Peck writes in his book "Rock, Making Musical Choices," about a way we can "test" music. Here is part of his outline involving the letters in the word "test."
T-Test-Is the message true according to scripture? John 4:24, II Timothy 2:15
E-Exalts Christ or man? Psalms 89:1, Psalms 147:1, Acts 2:25-21
S-Separate from the world? I John 2:15, II Corinthians 6:14-17, Romans 16:17, Galatians 1:8
T-Teaches and builds up the body of Christ? I Thessalonians 5:11, II Timothy 2:2, Colossians 3:16.

If unsure of a certain song or musical style, try applying Mr. Peck's "Test" to it and see how it measures up. Let's try an example and see how it measures up.
What about the very well known hymn, "How Firm a Foundation." Here we have the first verse..."How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord. Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word. What more can He say than to you He hath said? To you, who for refuge, to Jesus have fled."
Test-is it true? Yes, the Bible is our firm foundation and there we find that God is our refuge in time of trouble, Psalms 46:1
Exalt-Does it exalt Christ or man? Clearly, it does exalt Him as our refuge!
Separate-Is it separate from the world? Yes, this musical style is certainly acceptable and does not promote a love for the world.
Teach-Does it teach me something about God, His character? Does it build me up? Does it build up the body of Christ? Yes to all of these questions. It shows me that God's character is trustworthy, even in times of trouble, it encourages me to seek Him in times of trouble, it encourages the body of Christ to trust Him.

I would challenge you to respond to this post with some "test" observations of your own. Even bring your hard cases!

Keep in mind also, "The New Song Principle." We see this in Psalms 40:2-3 where the Psalmist is praising God for bringing him up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, placing him on the solid rock, and establishing his goings. This amazing "salvation experience" brought the Psalmist such joy! He was given a "New Song" to sing! The meaning of the word "new" here is "fresh, new thing." Can you honestly say that all musical styles would be acceptable as "new" for a newly saved individual? Or a saved individual who has been around for awhile? One who has just come from the pits of sin? He is set up out of that, should his old music styles remain? Should he endeavor to use a style of music which was written PRIMARILY AS A MEANS TO STIR UP SENSUALITY, as his worship mode?
Garen Wolf writes of the "New Song Principle" in his book, Church Music Matters, in this way...{The New Song Principle} connotes music making that is of a higher or renovated character that always renders praise to God-not man...part of the old things that pass away is the 'old song' and the old self-engrandizement and worldly musical performance practice." He also quotes II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
According to Wolf, the nature of the new song is "to praise...God that is of a higher renovated character. New song in the Bible means 'new character,' not just something produced now."
So, we cannot say that we must only sing newly written material. No, this is clearly speaking of a newness in character which should characterize ALL aspects of the Christian life, not just music. Good music can be hundreds of years old, or just days old. The important thing is to determine if it is appropriate, based on the Word of God, for the child of God to sing. Is it fresh, new?

These are just some thoughts that I hope will stir others to evaluate their musical choices in a new way, and be open to making changes as the Lord leads! I welcome comments!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Bless Your Name....

Psalm 34:1 says "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth..." We read in Psalm 33:1 that "praise is comely for the upright."

Have you ever been in a "prison in your mind?" Did life ever seem so bleak that you simply could not see any way to get on top or ever feel that life would have meaning again? I believe we CAN find an answer for these difficult times in something as simple as praise.

I recently listened again to a song sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir which really blessed me. It talks about Paul and Silas being in prison, having been beaten. We read in the scriptures of that account in Acts 16:19-39. They had cast out a spirit of divination from a young woman which caused her masters great concern, for how could they continue to receive such great gain from her? No longer would she be able to supposedly tell fortunes. Her masters brought Paul and Silas into the marketplace, complained loudly against them, and before it was all said and done, Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into prison.
Wouldn't that make you want to keep preaching the gospel? Hardly. But, for Paul and Silas, a "praise meeting" commenced at midnight. They sang the praises of God, and something amazing happened. An earthquake occurred, the prison was shaken, the doors were opened, and all the prisoner's had their chains loosed! Another miracle awaited in that the jail keeper and his entire family were saved!
Here we see the power of praise from the upright! The soloist for the Brooklyn Tabernacle sings so beautifully, these words:
"Some midnight hour, if you should find.
You're in a prison in your mind.
Sing out in praise, defy the chains.
And they will fall in Jesus name!

I bless Your name! I bless Your name.
I give You honor, give You praise!
You are the Life, the Truth, the Way!
I bless Your Name, I bless Your Name!"

Praise can bring you into the presence of the One who can break chains!
Sometimes it will only be a conscious decision. We will not feel like praising.
But, He can lift us above our circumstances. He can bring us out of darkness. He can help us to see the He will be with His child, even IN the darkness. He can help us to see that He is still ruling, reigning and living!

So, my friend, start praising Him! Bless His Name!

Monday, March 7, 2011

"His Kingdom Come..."

Have you ever thought about what it means when we recite the Lord's Prayer and we say "...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...?" What does this mean for me? For you?
Strong's defines "kingdom" as "properly, royalty..rule...realm...reign." His kingdom has to do with His royalty, which is undeniable; His rule, which is all encompassing; His realm, which is all of the earth and universe;
and His reign, which will be forever! We assume that eventually this will happen during His Millennial reign as the earth enjoys a thousand years of peace. But, have you ever wondered what it would be like to have this reality in your own life? What would it be like to have this reality in MY own life? What would it be like if it started happening today? What if God's kingdom and will could begin to happen in each of our lives, then spread to our families, to our churches and into larger areas?
What is God's will? Strong's defines the word "will" as "
a determination ...choice (specially, purpose, decree; abstractly, volition) or (passively) inclination:-- desire, pleasure, will." What would it be like if God's will truly came into my life today, your life today and into an ever increasing area through a ripple affect? What would it be like to have God's purpose, decrees, desire and pleasure happening in our lives in a personal way?
We know that ultimately His will has to do with His holiness and His glory. We know that His kingdom has to do with His purpose to redeem a lost human race and restore us to Himself. We know that He wants to live in us, and that His kingdom is there, inside of us if we trust in Him. How do we make that personal?
How do we move beyond the reality that our world is growing increasingly godless, moving more swiftly to an eternal hell, and Christian values are being attacked every day in so many arenas. What difference WOULD it make, if God's kingdom and will even came into my life?

Evelyn Chrisenson writes in her book What Happens When Women Pray, "...there is a spot on earth that belongs only to you. It is your own personal sphere. It has been given to you by our Heavenly Father
. {The disciples} knew they couldn't change the whole Roman Empire, but they also knew it was possible for them to change the spheres of influence which had been given to them by God...God frequently changes circumstances and people when we in a very personal way pray that His will be done in our own spheres of influence...Think of what would happen if every Christian really brought God's will to the little sphere of influence that is his or hers, with nothing contrary to God's perfect will! How different would be our nation, our cities, our churches, our homes."

What would that look like? Would our love for God really show in the way we talk? In the way we view the outcasts of society? In the way we treat our family members and those who disagree with us? Would it show in the neighborhood with the neighbors who annoy us? Would it show in the supermarket when the cashier gives us too much change? Would it show in the things we watch/listen to/read/spend time doing? Would it show in the church when it comes time to try a different approach? To pick a new color of carpet? Would it show by how many people we shared Christ with?

Would it show each day that we lived it as if it were our last? Would it show in the things that we treat as important? Would we view earthly things differently in the light of eternal values?

I am preaching at myself as I share this...what are your thoughts???

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We Are What We Think We Are!

It has often been said that "we are what we eat." I concur that we are also what we think! Just as the quality of food and drink put into our bodies will help to determine our health and longevity, so also, the quality of our thoughts will determine the type of people that we are and will become. Proverbs 23:7 says it clearly, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..." I find that I struggle with this area of my life. Let me give you an example. I love true crime stories. As a girl, I loved reading Nancy Drew and yes, The Hardy Boys! I love mystery, and the idea of putting the bad guys away. Maybe I should've been an investigator. Anyway, I enjoy watching news accounts which are shared regularly on the internet such as "48 Hours Mystery" and "Dateline." These shows chronicle various crimes and mysteries that often times surround the prosecution of the accused. I find them very fascinating. But, if we are what we think, is that really going to spur me on to deeper knowledge of Chirst? Philippians 4:8-9 gives us the recipe for our thoughts and for what we should focus on. There we read, "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things."
William McDonald in his commentary on the whole Bible helps us define these words more clearly.
true-genuine and real
noble-honorable and morally attractive
just-righteous towards God and man
pure-high moral character
lovely-admirable or agreeable
good report-good repute or fair sounding
virtuous-moral excellence
praiseworthy-something which deserves to be commended
This is what we are to meditate on! This is what we are to think on and mull in our minds. Striking, right? Meditate means "to care for, to attend to, practice, be diligent in, to ponder and imagine." (Vine's) This definition seems to show us that this idea of meditation will require time and diligence. It will require us to give up some things which might even be okay things, but which are not leading us closer to Christ. I believe that one way we can do this is by scripture memory. We can also do that by listening to good, Bible based radio programs, studying the word in small groups, and individually, etc. As we hide the word of God in our hearts, we are established. We really DO need to be careful what we meditate on!
I Timothy 4:15 says, "Mediate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all." "These things" refers to, among other things, "reading, exhortation and doctrine." If we are faithful to read the Bible and other books which are Biblically based, exhort others by spurring them on in their walk with Christ, and study Bible doctrines, how much time will we have left for things which don't meet the standards of Phil 4:8-9 and I Timothy 4? Just some thoughts to ponder...(and meditate on)...