Mind Over (earthly) Matters

 

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)


Life is not always kind, or even “fair”.  When external stress and pressures build up, it can be oh-so-tempting to  sink into an pattern of pessimistic thinking that only serves to pull us farther into a pit of depression.

It is true that some earthly situations are not easily resolved.  And others may never be exactly “right”, according to our own estimation.  But that does not mean there is no hope of a better future for the Christian…if not here, then when we enter eternity, for sure.

We can always choose for our thoughts to dwell in either our temporary sorrows or on the promise of a blessed forever home in God’s presence.

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When You Just Gotta Vent

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Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)*

A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.
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It seems this particular warning is always applicable to my own life.
I think it is interesting that the Hebrew word which is translated as “feelings” is ruwach, which can refer to one’s actual spirit, or to their emotional temperament/disposition
BLB lexicon offers both of the following entries (as well as a few others).
In
3.6 disposition (of various kinds), unaccountable or uncontrollable impulse
And
6.
1. as seat or organ of mental acts
2. rarely of the will
3. as seat especially of moral character
In context, I believe these two ideas are the most applicable to the Proverb because they refer to the core essence of who one really is.
In effect, if one is a fool, (s)he will impulsively give vent to ignorance, impatience, arrogance, anger etc when enough pressure is applied to just the right place in his/her life.
It will be a spontaneously childish reaction, rather than a carefully considered, wise response.
This is to be expected because this is who they really are inside.
Regardless, such behavior is neither attractive, nor productive.

Romans 5:7-11 (NKJV) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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Image courtesy HUMAN COALITION.  I am borrowing it for non-profit, educational purposes 🙂

Inferno

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Image courtesy xedos4 @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Proverbs 29:8 (NKJV)*
Scoffers set a city aflame, But wise men turn away wrath. 

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Things that come to mind when reading this verse:

1. It is unwise to scoff at the righteousness of God.
2. The destruction of Sodom by God in response to the wickedness of the people. Their irrationally hostile attitude toward their heavenly visitors sealed their fate. (see Genesis 18-19)

*Genesis 18:20-21 (NKJV)* And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,
I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

*Genesis 19:24-25 (NKJV)* Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.
So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

3. The mocking, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad

Matthew 27:27-32, 39-44 (NKJV) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.
31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads
40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said,
42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
43 “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

4. And this:

*Psalm 33:10-12 (NKJV)*
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.
*12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.*

Saved! (From more than just the consequences of our Sin.)

John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

 

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Image courtesy http://www.REVIVAL-LIBRARY.COM.  I am borrowing it for non-commercial, personal use.

For God So Loved That He Gave…(John 3:16) (3)

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 

I believe that all matters of “human” wisdom derive their source from our Creator.  But in order to be true, any popular, pithy statement must be found compatible with scripture.  It is only within the context of God’s revealed truth that such observations can be considered valid. 

Illicit Love Affair

 

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Image courtesy Ambro @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

Matthew 6:24-25, 32-33 (ESV) “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
6:32-33 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Jesus

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(me)
We have legitimate physical and emotional needs, and it is not inherently evil to appreciate pleasant earthly experiences.

But we tend to lose sight of that which is of eternal value when we directly attempt to satisfy deeply-rooted cravings (aka lusts, desires) for ourselves, through temporal means. And we can make very, very damaging choices with regard to the way we go about getting what we want.

Jesus warned that it is impossible to maintain a heavenly-minded perspective while being preoccupied with gaining material treasure such as food, clothing, possessions, social status and human approval (See also Matthew 6:1-8).

He demonstrated that He cannot be tempted to sin in the way we are (Matthew 4:1-11).

And He reassured us that He has indeed overcome the world on our behalf (John 16:33)

He has also enabled us to overcome by the power of His indwelling Spirit:

1 John 5:4-4 (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

(me) The Apostle Paul reminded readers to stay the course.

Romans 14:17-19 (ESV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

 

Note: This is my personal consideration of these verses.  Please do take the time to check my references and prayerfully determine what is true.