Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How is Your Thought Life?

You know I promised myself that I would never just write in this blog for the sake of writing....that I would only write when felt inspired, compelled or led..and that is why I have not had an entry in a couple of days which has been a bit unusual for me.. My mind has been weighed down over the last 5-6 days with a particular subject that has finally manifested itself into this entry..

I would also like to take a mini sidebar for a moment and speak about another smaller issue that I felt led to say..Everyone has a varying degree of understanding of what the bible has to say..Now I DO NOT mean that is says something different to everyone...let's be clear..I do believe that each person has different layers in which they are able to penetrate of the Word of God..There are those people who skim the surface and spend little to no time reading the bible and as a result are just not able to see and grasp some of the concepts that flow from it...and then there are those who are steeped in the Word every single day and spend enormous amounts of time in it, meditating on it and memorizing it...taking the concept of "bible intake" to a very high level...and it is my belief that those individuals are able to peel back many more layers in order to see a deeper more eternal meaning from the text, than others with less time. My point in saying all this is to say that my entries are a direct reflection of the time I spend in God's Word and what has been revealed to me..I make no bones about the idea that I am unable to see the text the same way my pastor Jeff Long does..I am not able to gather the level of deepness that he is and therefore my perspective may often times seem shallow and simplistic to those who are much more spiritually mature than I...so please when reading this blog, take this into consideration..There may be some who will have light bulb moments when reading and some who will find some interesting nuggets that in previous experience was not seen or understood..I am simply a man who has a desire to study the word of God and try to use the Mind God has given me to understand my role as a Man, a child of His, a fellow brother, a husband, a father, a servant and a son..These are my thoughts as they unfold in my mind in this moment in life and spiritual growth..

That leads me to what I really wanted to discuss and that is "Thought Life".. Let me start at the beginning..Our church held an event this past weekend called "Famfest" where the title of the weekend was called "Different by Design: the distinct roles of men and women"..Now I knew going into this weekend that I was going to be challenged as a man and as a leader.. That was no surprise..maybe I wasn't sure about the level to which I would be challenged...but nevertheless I was certain this weekend would give me a lot to think about and certainly inspire me to blog about..but here is the twist..This blog is not about my design or my role per say..It wasn't until the last 10 minutes of the last breakout session that I heard the sentence that would ultimately lead to this and the previous several days of thinking and pondering over..The last session was titled Manhood 101: what it means to be a real man. In the last few minutes after looking at what all this entails..Jeff Watts spoke about 6 sentences he keeps with him when counseling others and it comes from Promise Keepers.. Now I know very little about Promise Keepers and what all this ministry does but I can glean from the title it has something to do with "mean what you say and say what you mean." Anyway, one of the six questions was this..."How is your thought Life?" In that instance, I was blown away..my mind begin to scramble for direction as to what this really meant and the meaning I was to take from this sort of Epiphany. Think about that question.."How is your thought life?" Have any of you really set around and pondered your thought life..The very idea of thinking about your thought life is somewhat difficult to grasp..but there is more significance in this than most would ever imagine...

So as my mind poured over this question..I begin to remember things in my past that are relevant to this..such as "GIGO"...Garbage in Garbage Out... and an author and motivational speaker I am very fond of Zig Ziglar says that your mind is like an Bank or ATM..You can only draw out of it what you deposit into it..Boy that sounds over simplistic and basic to say the least..but at the core of this statement is your thought life..Most if not all of the things we do originate from our thought life..It is said that which we say flows from our heart..so if anger is flowing from your mouth, then anger is what is inside you..ie. your heart take the anger and moves it to your mind and then your mind expresses itself with words or actions.. I am taking a class called Manly Dominion with Clay Robinson as leader also at Parkwood and in our last class we got on a discussion about the Holy Spirit and the mind...which sparked a small debate as to the role of the mind versus the role of the Holy Spirit..Clay had just gotten a new bible study software called "Logos" and this software really allows you to break down certain themes of the bible as well as analyze certain words and phrases in their frequency and use.. The day after class he sent me verses of how many times "the mind" was used..I was stunned..I literally and this is no joke had to scroll for about 20 seconds solid to get to the bottom of the email..that is how many times it was referenced..I would copy and paste them here but it is so many that it would take up way to much space..I may post in a separate blog for reference..but the point is this idea of using the mind is a very well defined position and God has given us a mind different than any other species He created for a very specific reason..TO USE IT!!!!!Here is one of the many many verses from that bible about the mind ..Jer 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, • to give • every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

It is my position that we are not renewing our Mind with the word of God..We are allowing the world to fill our mind and therefore resulting in our beliefs and actions in life.. It is the secular music we listen to that clouds God's view..It is the TV shows that paint antagonistic views of the Bible..It is the secular books we read that alter our positions..It is corrupting our THOUGHT Life.. How can we spend 8-9 hours a day in the world and 1 hour a day in the bible and expect to think and act like Jesus..You couple this with an already sinful heart and a flesh that desires to fulfill its own desires, you are left with a very difficult road to hoe..No wonder our society is crumbling..no wonder our families are breaking down..no wonder people are leaving the faith for the world..We need to fully understand our thinking, what we spend our thought life doing, will result in the way we live and spend our time.. We are allowing our minds to be possessed by the evil one and his dark ways. Satan is not going to always place an obstacle in your way that keeps you from serving our Lord..he just intercepts our minds and we place our own obstacles..just as Adam and Eve. Satan simply placed the thought of " You can be like God".." Is God really telling you to not eat of that Tree?"..See he uses our mind against us and we allow this to happen..We are not equipped to take on Satan alone..We will lose..We need the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to lead us in this battle..

The battle starts in the Mind..Here is what I know..The very minute I realized this idea was the very moment I began to live a life surrendered to God and separate from this world..It is when I realized that my thoughts were obstructing my ability to truly get to know my Lord and discern His desires for me, that I was able to turn the tables on Satan and cast him out of my way..There was a book that alerted me to this and it is called "THE DIVINE DEFENSE" by Robert Jeffress..( http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Defense-Strategies-Winning-Greatest/dp/1400070902)For those of you who have never read this book or who want to understand how Satan attacks your minds, this book is an excellent supplement to the Word of God to help you..Here are a few of the chapter headings to give you a feel for what this book speaks about. 1. Demons in the world today; Satan's sidekicks are no laughing matter 2. Winning the mind games; you are what you think 3 Satan's favorite mind games; four lies that will pull you away from God 4. When satan comes knocking 5. Putting out the NOT welcome mat 6. Storming the gates of Hell; strengthen your resolve to resist..

I share this with you because it was a defining book and moment in my own personal life that revealed to me my thought life was where I had always lost the battle..that if I could capture every thought captive..2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

We must fully understand this.. Many books have been written dealing with this issue in some form or fashion..One that my wife felt helped change her life was "Lies Women Believe"..See it is the lies, the distortions, the disfiguring of the Truth that keeps us in bondage to sin and Satan..What goes into your mind is a crucial as to your spiritual walk than any other component..It is our mind that we need to control with the help of Christ in order to defeat this deceptive foe..to win back our families, our culture..tolerance is just a word used today to describe TRUTH as whatever form you feel it should be..THAT IS A LIE..The Truth is absolute..There are no half truths..If something is True then the opposing view by definition has to be False..The Word of God is TRUE...2 Timothy 3:16-17 (English Standard Version)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work

SO my question to you and myself..What do you spend your time on filling your minds with..Is it the things of God(His word) or the things of this world..?

Second..How is your Thought Life? really..think about that..Start there and watch your life begin to be transformed..If you have never really gotten out of your faith and beliefs what you felt you should have, or if you have consistently given in to temptation and went against the things of God, I would submit to you that this is where it broke down..Don't miss this..This is more powerful than you will ever imagine..God gave a you mind...Use it for His Glory..
The Apostle Paul says this Philippians 4:8 (The Message)
8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

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