What Do You Think?



What do you think? (someone may be asking for your opinion)
What’s on your mind? (someone may want to know what is concerning you)

These may sound like simple questions requiring simple answers. However, I challenge you to think deeply before you answer.

Let us think about numerous scriptures regarding our thoughts and God’s thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. . . . ‘So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
If we want our thoughts to be aligned with the Lord’s thoughts, we may want to make a few changes in our thought life.

Why are our thoughts contradictory to the Lord’s thoughts?
I Corinthians 2:14&16 answers, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
We must not tell the Lord what to do since we have only limited knowledge. May our thoughts agree spiritually with the Lord – not just be opinions originating in human understanding.

There is hope for us.
II Corinthians 5:17 NLT, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
This includes a new thought pattern.

The conclusion of I Corinthians 2:16 says, “But we have the mind of Christ.
What a wonderful promise for us when we become new creations in Christ!

Romans 12:2 NLT warns, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Psalm 139 makes a good comparison of God’s thoughts and our thoughts.
In verse 2 David says to the Lord, “You perceive my thoughts from afar.
God knows all our thoughts whether or not we express them.
In verse 17, David declares, “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast are the sum of them!
Do you grasp the magnitude and majesty of God’s thoughts?
In verse 23, David cries out, “Search me, o God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
If we allow God to scrutinize our thoughts, we must be ready to make the adjustments He suggests.

How do we change the way we think?
In
II Corinthians 10:5, Paul says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We need to cast down the imaginations in our human thoughts and capture them for Christ. Our imaginations are composed of images we create from the “what ifs” that invade our minds.

Paul warns in II Corinthians 10:7 that too often “You are looking at things as they are outwardly.
Remember
Romans 8:6 NLT, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to control our minds, wills, and emotions.
Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Paul gives good suggestions in Philippians 4:6-7.
Verse 6 says, “Be anxious for nothing.
Not worrying about anything is a new way of thinking!
Verse 7 begins, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension
That means we still can’t understand it!
Verse 7 ends, “(God’s peace) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God’s peace protects our minds from negative thoughts and imaginations.

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Yes, this is my goal.

I began by asking, “What do you think?”
Now I ask you, “What does God think?”

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
God wants to share His thoughts if we will think about Him and ask for Him to reveal His thoughts.

I also asked, “What is on your mind?”
I conclude by asking, “What is on God’s mind?”

Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Then He will tell you what’s on His mind.

Psalm 139:17, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
God’s thoughts  are the thoughts I want to think! His thoughts are what I want to be on my mind!

In Anxious for Nothing, Max Lucado says, “Think about what you think about.” His advice is confirmed by Proverbs 4:23 NCV, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.

 

 

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A Treasure Hunt


Please join me on a treasure hunt. The Bible will be our map. We are going to look for meaningful and valuable spiritual treasures hidden in the scriptures.

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

As we begin our hunt for treasure, we must look into our hearts. The kind of treasure we will seek is determined by our heart’s condition. Romans 10:10 says, “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

In the account of Jesus birth, Luke 2:19 says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Giving birth to God’s son, being in a stable surrounded by animals, having shepherds come visit – so many things for a new mom to think about! Yet, Mary treasured all these things because they were part of God’s plan. She placed a high value upon these experiences. Her heart was full of love. Jesus was her treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
Matt 13:44

Let’s dig for a hidden treasure in the first gospel of our Biblical map. Matthew says God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field. Paul alludes to hidden treasure when he writes about a hidden message. He says in
Colossians 1:26 NLT, This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” Paul is referring to the glory of Christ as a once hidden treasure that we can now find. Matthew 6:33  says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. I think we have found a piece of our treasure. 

I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places
Isaiah 45:3

Treasures of darkness do not sound like the kind of treasures we want to find. However, we must not be too quick to discard dark times.

In Jesus Always, Sarah Young writes about treasures of darkness. Hear Jesus speak the following words through her writings. “Look for Me in the hard places of your life…. I am tenderly present in the difficulties,… your problems are fertile soil for growing in grace and encountering My loving Presence in greater depth and breadth. Watch for Me in dark times – both past and present. Invite Me into those broken places, and cooperate with Me in putting the fragments back together in new ways…. Against the backdrop of adversity, the Light of My Presence shines in transcendent radiance.”

The last part of Isaiah 45:3 promises hidden wealth in secret places. Even in dark places we can find treasures. Jesus, who is the light of the world, shines His light into our dark experiences helping us find unseen riches.

Discovering Jesus’ presence is a valuable treasure. Sometimes it is easier to find Jesus in the dark places than in the light. Daniel 2:22 says, “He (God) reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”

He (the Lord) will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
Isaiah 33:6

I Corinthians 3:11 confirms the words of Isaiah, For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” While digging deeply to lay the foundation of our lives, we find treasure. Our treasure hunt reveals riches of salvation, wisdom and knowledge – not riches of gold and silver. We discover a reverential fear and awe of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our treasure!

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him
with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

While on their treasure hunt, the Magi followed a star. When they found Jesus, they found the perfect treasure. Jesus was more precious than the treasures they brought with them. Like the Magi, we may be required to lay down our earthly treasures to find Jesus, our eternal treasure.

I Peter 1:7 NKJV says, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Eternal treasure has a higher value than earthly treasure.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show
that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
II Corinthians 4:7

While on our treasure hunt, we have taken various routes shown on our Biblical map.

We discovered the treasure of the kingdom of heaven in a hidden field. We found wealth hidden in treasures of darkness. We uncovered treasure in salvation, wisdom, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. We found treasure more costly than any precious metal or jewel. All of these treasures are part of the greatest treasure – Jesus. Jesus is the hidden treasure of the Old Testament revealed in the New Testament.

Jesus is the treasure for which we have searched. We want to keep Him in our jars of clay. We want to keep Him in our hearts. Ephesians 3:17 says, “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

Our treasure hunt is complete. We found the treasure. Jesus!

A Valentine for 365 Days

Universally, the heart is a symbol of love. However, on February 14, the heart is commercialized in more ways than one can imagine. Greeting cards are created in the shape of hearts decorated with lace and flowers. Heart-shaped boxes enfold decadent chocolates. Bouquets of red roses with a plastic heart stuck in the middle are advertised. Even fluffy stuffed animals portraying love are for sale. Whatever the expression of love, there is always a heart included with the sentiment “Be My Valentine.”

Why magnify love only one day of the year? True love lasts longer than one day. Love is more than a few romantic words composed by Hallmark. Love is more valuable than commercial stuff. God’s love is lavished upon us 365 days of the year. (see I John 3:1) God is love according to I John 4:8.

Let’s make a few comparisons between what God says about love and what the marketing industry sells.

The Greek language has several unique words for love. Agape is God’s love – selfless love. Eros is passionate or romantic love. Valentine’s Day focuses on Eros.

Here are images of angels. Cupid is the valentine angel. In classical mythology, Cupid is the god of erotic love. A cupid is described as a winged being symbolic of love.

In comparison, we see an image of Michael, God’s archangel. Micheal is a warring angel who fights for us. (see Revelation 12:7-9) In Revelation 5:11, John heard the voice of “thousands upon thousands and tens thousand times ten thousand” angels. Too many angels to count! Psalm 91:11 a  loving verse telling each of us about our personal guardian angel. Weapons are evident in these images. In the valentine image, Cupid is shooting an arrow with his bow. On many valentines, there is an arrow of love aimed for the beloved’s heart. Is this truly romantic?

The other image is symbolic of the sword of the Spirit – part of God’s armor. (see Ephesians 6:18) The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Offensively, God’s Word can penetrate the unbeliever’s heart allowing him/her to experience the love of God. Much more powerful than an arrow!Is love costly? Looking on the back of a valentine card, one discovers how expensive a particular piece of folded paper can be. Is Eros love worth this amount of money?

Agape love cost Jesus His life. That’s costly! Romans 5:8 NLT says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” And I Corinthians 6:20 says, “God bought you with a high price.”Pictured above is an old-fashioned valentine. On a flimsy piece of paper, a cute little angel says, “It would be heavenly to have you for my Valentine.” Although this might be a sweet sentiment, there is no sincere commitment.

In contrast, God reveals His love for us throughout the Bible. In Revelation 21 and 22, the angel of the Lord shows John the new heaven and the new earth that will last throughout eternity. The Lord’s love endures forever.  (see  I Chronicles 16:34)

So, forget the commercial hype of Valentine’s Day. Concentrate on God’s  love. Listed below are  scriptural love notes from God. (Emphasis is by the writer.)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.
I John 4:7

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I John 4:8

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But
the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:2

(Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.)