On the alternative social media I frequent, somebody republished an image made on the internet, which carried these words: “I love not thinking.” I went to see the profile of the person. She was aggressive, angry, and unhappy.
The person had not found happy and positive thoughts. She probably would agree with the biblical writer who said, “My thoughts trouble me and I have no peace” Psalm 55.2 NLT. Human thoughts are “futile” Romans 1.21; 1 Corinthians 3.20. Continue reading “‘I love not thinking’”
Is Jesus teaching three disconnected lessons in Luke 16, or is he driving at a specific lesson in the chapter?
Jesus taught with a regard for context. Slicing up portions of his teaching has created misunderstandings through the ages.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus used three lessons: the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Our duty is to find the lost and teach them the gospel. It was the very reason Jesus was sent into the world (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading “Mindsets”
Does God give us his word in such a way as to confuse us? Some people think Jesus taught in parables to obfuscate the truth so no one could understand it. Did he?
The answer is no.
It is possible for a person’s mind to be so set against the word of God that such a one would reject what God tries to teach. A good example of this is one of the “hard sayings” of Jesus in John chapter six. The Lord said, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me” (John 6:57 ESV). Continue reading “Opening our minds to the truth”
In the transformation process, we use what God has given us to develop a spiritual mindset (Romans 12:1-2). A large part of this is learning how to think properly.
All we once knew must be filtered through a new perspective. A heavenly view of the world comes only through a humble and diligent study of Scripture. The flesh is a liar and all its fruit must be thrown away.
Human thought fails when we act instinctually instead of spiritually and intellectually. God gave humans an advanced intellect for a reason.
The weak-minded lump half-baked ideas and biases together and leap into action. The strong hesitate and analyze. We take what God taught us and treat ideas as God recommends.
The humble, spiritual person will take the time to learn and listen (Luke 8:18). We must slow down and take a measured approach because words and ideas have eternal consequences (Romans 10:17).
John Stott describes the process of breaking down a passage for a sermon as cracking it open with a golden hammer and examining the individual pieces before putting it back together again. His exemplary point is also true of ideas.
Each idea comes with a match, some smaller and some larger. In the proper brush, they can start a fire very easily. As Christians, we should want to be positive influences. That means we must be careful how we handle information and ideas.
First, this process requires that we gain control over our emotions because anger sabotages higher thought (James 3:1-6). Our spiritual minds must take precedence over the emotional.
Second, this process requires that we learn as much as we can about human nature so we can know how to help them find Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 3:15).
Third, this process requires that we realize that higher thought comes from nuance. The lazy mind allows insecurities and emotion to outdistance wisdom and logic. We lump everyone and everything together and create a mass of faulty conclusions and hurt feelings.
In John 15, Jesus tells the Apostles that the world hates them but they shouldn’t take that personally. He asks them to move past their fleshly instincts and realize that the world hates them because they hated Jesus before the Apostles came along (John 15:18-24).
Our emotions cry out, “People hate the Bible!” or “People hate Jesus!” and we dismiss everyone with a wave of the hand.
Taking that idea apart, we realize that people do not hate Jesus or the Bible. That’s too simplistic. If God, Jesus and the Bible didn’t demand that we live by a moral standard or make eternal decisions, people would find the Bible and God harmless.
They hate being told that their thinking and lifestyles need to be changed.
The flesh and the spiritual are diametrically opposed so we should never be surprised that their thinking differs as well. When we learn to think properly, we surge ahead of our peers and begin to think like God desires.
Faulty thinking means that we always see the world in an overly simplistic way. When we learn to think properly, we break things down and realize that problems are often easier to fix than we previously realized. In fact, it was our thinking that was broken all along.
Nicolas Carr’s 2008 article in “The Atlantic” entitled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” caught a lot of people’s attention.
To even ask such a question is audacious, one might think. Isn’t the purpose of Google to help us find information on the Internet? How could finding new information make us less intelligent?
Carr intensifies his argument in a new book, “The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains.” In a nutshell, here is what Carr claims: The way we browse items on the Internet changes the way we focus on information. We are acquainted with a greater array of information, but becoming less able to maintain a focus on that information. Continue reading “Give Attention To Reading”
by J. Randal Matheny, editor All the days of the afflicted are bad,
but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
-Proverbs 15:15 NET
Of all the self-inflicted wounds, mental injuries resulting from negative thoughts vie for the worst.
The hand-ringers, the finger-pointers, the sourpusses, the chicken littles, all have one thing in common: their very own thoughts keep them from enjoying life, God, blessings and peace.
The afflicted in Proverbs 15:15 are those whose thoughts dwell on the bad, the negative, the anxious, the evil, the injustices of the world.
If they gain an inheritance, they worry about the taxes.
If they experience success, they get concerned about failure.
If they see someone else’s success, they suspect foul play.
The obstacle to most people’s joy is themselves.
The cheerful heart, on the other hand, is more a mindset than a personality.
Optimism is a learned trait.
And the Christian has more to be cheerful about than anyone.
A hope that can’t be stolen or corroded or devalued by economic downturns.
A precious faith because of the price paid for our redemption.
Unequaled love in the Cross and in the church.
Renewed strength for the rigors of the day.
Unquenchable joy independent of circumstances, inspired by the Spirit of God.
Brotherhood and fellowship that cover the globe.
Purpose as large as the heart of God, as wide as the world, as lasting as eternity.
Maybe you like dog days, Monday morning or holiday blues, raising rugs to see the dirt, sweating by watching the temperature rise, counting warts on noses or outdoing your neighbor’s complaints.
I want my feast to last beyond Christmas. I want presents that don’t go in the trash soon after the paper they’re wrapped in. I want decorations for my life that don’t get stored when the tree comes down. I want friendships that last more than a smile at a party.
So I choose cheer.
How to get cheer? Seek God, and think his thoughts, on things on high, on Christ as Lord and Savior, on lasting possessions, on eternal light and love and laughter.
Your Christmas will be merry and your new year happy because you decide they will be.
_______ The editor is now on Twitter @jrmatheny and is also twittering for UPLift and Forthright Press.