Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Right Mind-set

Yesterday, my wife and I attended the funeral of a lady that I had the privilege of being her pastor for ten years. What a remarkable lady that Millie was. She had such a wonderful attitude, even when she was the sickest. She had the right mind-set. I have been reading a book by Bob Gass entitled "Discovering your destiny" In it he talks about the importance of being yourself and keeping the right mind set. That is exactly what Millie did. She lived life with the RIGHT MIND SET.

When you entertain certain thoughts in the privacy of your own mind, you may be tempted to excuse yourself by saying, "What harm can it do?" Well…ultimately you become whatever you meditate on. Solomon said in Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."

Think about that for a moment. If you mediate on anger and the reasons that you have to be angry…you will be an angry person. If you meditate on fear and the reasons that you have to fear…you will be a fearful person. If you meditate on worry and the reasons that you have to worry…you will be known as a worried person. If you mediate on lust …you be known because of the lust in your life. I could go on and on. However, if you mediate on the peace of God…you will a peaceful person. If you meditate on the joy of the Lord…you will be a joyful person.

You see my friends, it DOES matter what you think! It does matter what you mediate on. Meditation basically means to dwell on something. What are you dwelling on today? What is on your mind? A thought left to ramble through your mind, can attach itself to a weakness or an event in your past to feed on it. The stronger it grows the weaker you become, until finally all your strength is drained away. Don't let that happen to you. Paul writes, "Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). In other words, take your thoughts captive before the take you captive.

In Ephesians 4, Paul writes, "Put off…the old man…put on the new man…" There are some old clothes you've got to take off when you commit yourself to a God-given goal – like old thinking patterns, old attitudes, and old behaviors. You may not even want to admit that you're still wearing those old clothes, but the truth is you can't put on the new man until you first take off the old one.

Furthermore, you can't hang those old clothes in a closet for a rainy day, or leave them on the floor to be tripped over. You've got to get rid of them! Paul says, "Put away all falsehood and tell your neighbor the truth…don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil.

When God tells you take off the old an put on the new, He's talking about having the right mind-set. A big part of that is – learning to be content. The Bible says, "…godliness with contentment is great gain" (I Timothy 6:6). Now sometimes when you talk about contentment, people think you're against progress. No, Paul is simply saying that contentment never comes from externals. NEVER! The Greek sage said, "To whom little is not enough, nothing is ever enough."

Every twelve minutes television advertisers try to convince you that contentment is not possible without their particular brand of product. As you watch, you start to feel "less than" if you don't have it. So you go out and buy it, put yourself in debt, and miss out on what's truly important.

Get rid of the idea that "more is better." America has less than six percent of the world's population, but more than fifty percent of its wealth. Now, if more is better, we ought to be the happiest humans on the planet. But are we? You already know the answer. The desire for more can be insatiable. As long as you believe more is better you'll never be satisfied, because you'll never live long enough to have it tall. Think, when you get something or achiever something, do you even take the time to enjoy it, or do you just move on to the next event without stopping?

The next time the "more is better" feeling hits you, immediately remind yourself that it doesn't work, because the same mind-set that wants more NOW will want even more LATER. If you don't want to get old too son, and smart too late, listen to what God has to say on this subject:

1. 1 Timothy 6:7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it. This verse explains why you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer. It's a one-way trip.

2. 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. If your pursuit of things leave you no time for God, you're heading for trouble. Reexamine your priorities and start changing them.

3. Solomon writes, "It is [good] for a man to enjoy his work, whatever his job may be…the person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy." (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 LB)

Stop wishing your life away! Stop thinking, "If only I had a bigger house, a more understanding spouse, a better paying job, a more beautiful body, a higher IQ, or the acceptance of a particular person, I'd be happy." It doesn't work that way. The Bible says, "This is THE DAY that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). Did you heart that? Today, not tomorrow!

Jesus said, Look at the birds…" (Matthew 6:26 NIV). "See the lilies of the field grow" (Matthew 6:28). "Be content…" (Luke 3:14). What is He saying? Simply this – take time to enjoy where you are, on your way to where you're going.

If you feel like circumstances have you locked in today, then read this:

Acts 16:25-26 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (26) Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.

The same power that opened every prison door for Paul and Silas is still available to you today. It's called, THE POWER OF REJOICING. Anytime you praise God despite your circumstances, the forces of heaven come to your aid. You say, "But I don't feel like praising God." Then listen, "…offer to God a sacrifice of praise" (Hebrews 13:15 NIV). Anybody can praise Him in the good times, but when youhave to rise above your feelings and sacrifice to do it – that's when it is most effective.

The battle of Jericho teaches us that sometimes we have to shout when: (1) it makes no sense; (2) it seems like we're just going in circles: (3) the enemy stands over us mocking; (4) our rational mind says "this is no way to win a war;" (5) it's the last thing on earth we feel like doing.

Nehemiah writes, "…the joy of the Lord (that that comes from knowing He is present with you in the situation) is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). If you look to your circumstances to find joy, you'll live on an emotional roller coaster. But if you look to the Lord of your circumstances and rejoice in His unchanging goodness, you'll move from weakness to strength every time.

So remember, wherever you go today, God's promise to you is "…ye shall go out with joy…" (Isaiah 55:12) Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" Bible reading: Tuesday April 15, 2008: Nehemiah 8:1-10:39

This week's memory verse to "Hide in my heart": Hebrews 11:1

(KJVR) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


...blessing... said...

I just want u to know that I feel God bringing me back to read your posts almost every other day... I feel like God has something for me here! Keep writing...! Many blessings...!