Monday Morning Devotion-January 17, 2022
Finally, brothers: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableÐif anything is excellent or praiseworthyÐthink about such things. Philippians 4:8
Louis Kahn the great architect once said: "If I've got all the answers when I get ready to start a project, I can be sure of this: some of my answers are wrong."
Ever heard somebody described with this statement: "He's got an answer for everything?" Right, he may have an answer for everything but how many of these answers are wrong?
It doesn't matter if you are talking about right answers or wrong answers to things in life, they both start in your mind. And that is the key to success; to happiness, to a good life for youÐall of that is determined by what goes on in your mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "A man is what he thinks about all day long,"
Elaborating on that further a famous psychologist said: "There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be."
You see, thoughts are things that possess dynamic power. Through your thought processes you can do something about the way things are going in your life. You may not have control over circumstances, but you can control the way they affect you.
In his famous book "The Power of Positive Thinking" one of the many people that Norman Vincent Peale quotes is William James who said: "The greatest discovery of my
Generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
Throughout the Bible we are taught that we can control what we think. Paul, writing to the Christians at Philippi stressed that what we put into our minds comes out in our words and actions. He had a suggestion that will help. It is found in our scripture lesson today. Philippians 4:8 in which Paul tells us to think about positive things and they will sweep away the bad thoughts which can lead to improper actions.
God has equipped each of us with a marvelous thought processor called our brain. But he has given us the freedom to program it however we see fit. Computers are wonderful things. They can hold and process tons of information, but they can only do what they are programmed to do. Likewise, our brain manufactures the thoughts we program it to create.
In Mark, Chapter 7, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees, who were the Jewish laymen of their day, a theologically conservative group who recognized Him as a teacher but were always trying to trip him up.
They were highly offended that Jesus' disciples had eaten food without washing their hands contending that made them unclean. (Of course, today if we do that consistently we could swallow germs that would make us sick)
But here's what Jesus told those nitpickers: "Don't you see nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean for it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach."
I once took a sales course, among about a million of the courses I took as a radio salesperson back in the day. And among all the courses I took, and forgot about, I do still remember; one statement in this particular course. The instructor said as you go along planning your sales day, "think about what you are thinking about." Pretty good advice no matter where we are in life. To improve in doing the important things that are uplifting and worthwhile we can do more good by ditching those useless, often lazy, thoughts. (OK maybe I'm talking to myself. You probably aren't guilty of any of that worthless thinking.)
But we all waste valuable time to some extent. And we do it because our thoughts are focused on the wrong things.
Norman Vincent Peale says it this way: "The secret of a better, more successful life is to cast out those old unhealthy thoughts and substitute new, vital, dynamic faith thoughts."
In his book "Power Thoughts" the late Dr. Robert Schuller wrote this:
Life is just a minute
Only sixty seconds in it
Forced upon you, can't refuse it.
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it,
But it's up to you to use it.
You must suffer if you lose it.
Give an account if you abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute
But eternity is in it.
Dr. Schuller passed away in 2015 at the age of 88. He had published over 30 books
and reached millions of people with his meaningful sermons that direct our thinking on his televised "Hour of Power" from the Crystal Cathedral in California.
His messages of the importance of proper thinking that lead to lives of triumphant living are still valuable guidelines for us today.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for guiding our thinking along the lines that lead us to honor you and to be constructive in our lives each day.