Is Your Mind Stayed on God?
Is your mind stayed on God or is it starved? Starvation of the mind, caused by neglect, is one of the chief sources of exhaustion and weakness in a servant’s life. If you have never used your mind to place yourself before God, begin to do it now. There is no reason to wait for God to come to you. You must turn your thoughts and your eyes away from the face of idols and look to Him and be saved (see Isaiah 45:22).
Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. You should seek to be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with all that happens in nature— the rising and the setting of the sun, the shining of the moon and the stars, and the changing of the seasons. You will begin to see that your thoughts are from God as well, and your mind will no longer be at the mercy of your impulsive thinking, but will always be used in service to God.
“We have sinned with our fathers…[and]…did not remember…” (Psalm 106:6-7). Then prod your memory and wake up immediately. Don’t say to yourself, “But God is not talking to me right now.” He ought to be. Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Encourage yourself to remember, and your affection for God will increase tenfold. Your mind will no longer be starved, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.
I had promised my wife that I would bring her a cup of coffee after my morning run. So, at 6:03 a.m., breathing hard and sweaty, I walked into Starbucks to order two cups of coffee to take home.
As I waited in line, the guy in front of me was clutching a copy of theNew York Times and waving a $50 bill in the face of the clerk. Obviously ticked at the clerk, he was ranting, “What do you mean you don’t have change? What kind of a place are you operating here? I’ve got the money. I want my New York Times!”
The clerk, clearly shaken by the man’s anger, apologized, “I’m sorry, sir. We just opened, and I don’t have that much cash on hand yet. I don’t have change for a $50 bill.”
I had just been reading Jesus’ call for us to light up our world with good works so, knowing that this was an opportunity to put Jesus’ plan into gear, I stepped forward and said, “Hey, I’ll pay for your paper” and told the clerk to put it on my bill.
“Are you sure?”
“Yep,” I replied. “Put it on my bill.”
As the guy walked out he thanked me profusely and said, “All that I have is yours!” Which obviously didn’t include the $50 bill in his hand!
When the clerk handed me my two cups of coffee, he surprised me by saying, “Sir, that was a really nice thing you did. This world would be a lot better place if there were more people like you.”
Have you ever had one of those moments where you know that you should testify but the words just aren’t there? Well, I was caught so off-guard that I just muttered some self-deprecating remark and started toward home. I was tormented, wondering what I should have said! About half a block down the street, it occurred to me that I could have said, “Thanks. Actually, the world would not be a better place if more people were like me, but the world would be a better place if more people were like Jesus, because He taught me how to do that.”
I thought about going back to say that to the clerk. But then it crossed my mind that cutting in front of a long line of people to make a religious speech might not be a real good idea. Just then it struck me . . . I was wearing my Moody Bible Institute cap! I began praying that he had seen the cap. Praying that he had discovered that my buying a newspaper for a steamed customer and rescuing him is what “Bible-people” do!
I find myself praying for that server in Starbucks, praying that he will get around a lot of us Bible-people and notice that there is something consistent and compellingly different about us. That someday it will whet his appetite for the Jesus that has made us to be people of “good works.”
When we understand the power of good works our theme song will be:This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine . . . Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m going to let it shine!
|The Day I Couldn’t Shut UpFrom: Biblegateway
“Do you see a man who speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20 (HCSB)
Has your mouth ever gotten you in trouble — yes, even made you sin — all because you talked too much?
It’s certainly happened to me.
Years ago while visiting with a friend at a high school basketball game we discussed a budding new relationship between our 17-year-olds — her son and my daughter. It was nothing official, but we knew they liked each other, and we were pleased.
I rattled on about how my husband and I worked hard to teach our kids to choose whom to date, or even marry, based on more than just their looks. We’d often joke that looks shouldn’t matter since we’re all headed toward ugly anyway. (Then my daughter would chime in, “That’s all the more reason to pick someone with a great starting point!”)
In trying to express how happy we were that our daughter listened to us and not only chose someone who was good-looking, but also displayed godly traits and had a wonderful personality, somehow my friend thought I was saying we were glad our daughter chose on character because — boy, was her son homely!
It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized I had conveyed the wrong message. I received a letter from my friend stating how hurt she was by my backhanded compliment about her son’s character, implying he was unattractive.
I was floored.
And devastated. And misunderstood. And now I had a fractured friendship with someone I’d really hoped to get to know better. All because of my words.
Immediately, I called to apologize and shared what I meant to say before my rambling thoughts came out as misspoken words — that then led to misunderstanding, conflict and offense.
Thankfully my friend accepted my apology and six years later we are still friends!
If we want to avoid offending our friends — or committing any number of verbal sins — we need to learn to control our lips. When we sense a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit that signals a downward spiral, we can simply say, “I’m sorry. I’m talking too much.” And then? As my dad used to say (much like the character Festus from Gunsmoke), we can “shut our tater trap!”
Speaking too soon. Before we really understand all the facts. Before we’ve listened fully to the other side. And most importantly, before we’ve had time to pray and process what we’ve heard with the Lord. When we do any one or even a combination of those things, we are foolish.
Scripture has many things to say about fools. Our key verse today is just one: “Do you see a man who speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).
In order not to speak too soon, we need to cultivate two habits:
Perfect the art of the pause. Pausing creates white space in a conversation that enables us to sort out our thoughts before we let out our words. Counting to 10 before responding provides just enough wiggle room to really think through what we are about to say.
Ponder what the other person said, and perhaps go on a fact-finding mission. It’s easy to jump to conclusions when we don’t have all the facts. Holding our tongues, and our opinions, for a while often gives us time to assess the situation clearly before pronouncing judgment. I have found that many times what I was going to say was not in the end what I wanted to express. Giving thoughts time to settle and soak in Scripture is a wonderful habit that will keep us from answering too soon and looking foolish.
So pause. Gather the facts. Think before you answer, and don’t speak too soon.
Spring in the heart
‘Thou blessest the springing thereof.’ Psalm 65:10
Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 2:1–7
God is blessing the springing thereof. In looking back upon my own ‘springing,’ I sometimes think God blessed me then in a way in which I desire he would bless me now. An apple tree when loaded with apples is a very comely sight; but give me, for beauty, the apple tree in bloom. The whole world does not present a more lovely sight than an apple blossom. Painters have declared that there is nothing in the whole world to excel it in beauty. Now, a full-grown Christian laden with fruit is a blessed sight, but still there is a blessedness, a peculiar blessedness about the young Christian in bloom. Let me just tell you what I think that blessedness is. You have probably now a greater tenderness about sin than some professors who have known the Lord for years; they might wish that they felt your tenderness of conscience. You have now a graver sense of duty, and a more solemn fear of the neglect of it than some who have known the Lord for years; and you have a greater zeal than many. You are now doing your first works for God, and burning with your first love; nothing is too hot for you or too hard for you. To go to a sermon, now—no matter what weather it may be—seems to you to be an imperative necessity; you would go over hedge and ditch to hear the Word. But some who are of older growth want soft cushions to sit upon; they cannot stand in the aisle now as they used to do, everybody must be particularly polite when they come in, or they care not to worship at all.
For meditation: The believer is the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8); what kind of apple tree would you be in God’s eye? One that still produces pleasing fruit (Song of Solomon 7:8) or one that has withered away (Joel 1:12)?