Monday Morning Devotion-June 1, 2020
What are You Thinking?
Think on things that are wholesome, things that are pure, things that are of good report.
Ever see someone with a look on his/her face that is hard to read? Maybe it's a frown or a scowl or perhaps a sly smile or their whole face lights up with a big smile. Their look certainly captures your curiosity. So, you ask outright: "Hey, what are you thinking about?"
Their offhand answer is; "Oh nothing." How frustrating is that? It says that they are not willing to tell you what they are thinking. There is no law against frowning or smiling in public. And nobody has to tell you what they are thinking unless they want to share it.
But, "Oh nothing" is not a valid answer. Everybody is thinking "something" all the time. According to Joel Osteen ("Think Better, Live Better"): "Studies show that we talk to ourselves up to thirty thousand times a day. There is always something playing in our minds."
Obviously, what a person is thinking about will play a role in how they act or react at the moment. It can also impact the way people around them respond. Thoughts have power.
Osteen points out that the scriptures tell us to meditate on God's promises. The word meditate means to think about over and over. So obviously it is important to meditate on wholesome things.
He follows up with this information in the chapter entitled: "Think Yourself to Victory:"
"Meditating is the same principal as worrying. When you worry, you're just meditating on the wrong thing. You're using your faith in reverse°The whole problem is what you're choosing to meditate on. You control the doorway to your mind. When those negative thoughts come knocking you don't have to answer the door. You can say: 'No thanks. I'm going to choose to meditate on what God says about me.'"
Thinking is a matter of where your trust lies. In Psalms David said: "Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses. But our trust is in the name of the Lord our God."
A modern translation of that would read: "Some trust in their money. Some trust in their job. Some trust in what the economists say. But our trust is in the God who created us."
In Isaiah 26:3 we read; "If you will keep your mind fixed on Me, I will keep you in perfect peace." That says to me that if your thinking is right the Lord will not only keep you in peace, but He will keep you in His Perfect Peace.
When we worry about something usually, we discover that we feel worse about it. Worrying does not make it better.
The Apostle Paul advises you too "think yourself happy." Despite all the misfortune Paul suffered through he said: "Thanks be to God who always causes me to triumph. I am more than a conqueror." Paul filled his mind with thoughts of hope, thoughts of faith and thoughts of victory. The cool thing about Paul is he never focused on the bad things. He never whined about what he had gone through---little things like shipwrecks or imprisonment for his faith. He was always able to "think myself happy."
How do we do that? Well a lot of it has to do with the way you start your day. Osteen says the key is this: "Don't ever start the day in neutral. You cannot wait to see what kind of day it's going to be."
Before you do anything "you need to set your mind in the right direction. Start out by thinking 'this is going to be a great day.'"
Osteen says: "If you don't set your mind the enemy will set it for you°. Very often, the way we start the day will determine what kind of day we're going to have. If you start it negative, discouraged, and complaining you are setting the tone for a lousy day. Your life is going to follow your thoughts."
Napoleon Hill in his "17 Principles of Personal Achievements" said: Lesson 3 "Faith is a state of mind through which your aims, desires, plans and purposes may be translated into their physical or financial equivalent."
In Lesson 7 Hill says: "A positive mental attitude is the right mental attitude in all circumstances. Success attracts more success while failure attracts more failure."
Hill goes on to point out: "If you do not control your thoughts, you cannot control your needs. (Lesson 9 -about self-discipline) and in (Lesson 10 -Accurate Thinking) Hill said this: "The power of thought is the most dangerous or the most beneficial power available to man, depending on how it is used.
Buddha taught: "The mind is everything. What you think, you become." (www.success.com Shawn Achor..
So, what do you believe? A better question may be "Is what you believe you are thinking about?"
In an article called "4 Familiar Ways to Guard Your Thoughts Everyday" by Lamica A. Burnett (www.teamjesusmag.com) points out that the key to ridding your mind of those harmful or unwanted thoughts is to: filter, block, delete, and unsubscribe.
We have God-given filters available to us. We can filter out each thought if doesn't meet God's standards as found in the scriptures like Philippians 4:8.
Those unwanted, negative thoughts can, with practice, be blocked just like we block unwanted calls on our cell phones. We learn to recognize these undesirables and switch to something more desirable and worth our time.
Once the undesired thought has been blocked it can be eliminated by making the decision to no longer think about it or as I pointed out in a recent devotion, we: "Delete, Delete, Delete."
We can unsubscribe to those undesirable relationships, extract ourselves, or avoid the ones that pull us down or like a magnet draw us into harmful territory. Refusing not to subscribe (participate or allow ourselves to be sucked in) to negative self-talk or our own self-doubt is a key to our self-improvement goals.
It can all be summed up in the title to Osteen's Book. "Think Better, Live Better."
Prayer: Lord be with us in our on-going battle to control our thoughts so as we think better, we will live better within Your will. Amen!