"...if there be any virtue,... think on these things." Philippians 4:8
The Holy Scriptures teach us that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he:..." ref. Prov. 23:7 This just seems to indicate in my "thinking" that's it obviously very important what we permit our minds to dwell upon. Thus, the question is posed, "Can we trust our own thoughts?" My submission to you today is, "No, we cannot." They must be checked by a process given us in God's Word. Stay with me as I share some key passages that give us insight into such an issue of gravity.
In the book of Isaiah, the Bible teaches, through the prophet, that our thoughts are not the thoughts of the Most High God. In the 55th chapter we see the Lord speaking to His chosen people in correction concerning their way of thinking and behavior.
Isaiah 55:8,9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
As we study these things and learn from the example of the Chosen People, what instruction can we find for the Church to assist us with an area of such struggle. After all, someone has said, "You can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest there." ANON This is certainly applicable to a person's thought life, couldn't we say?
Let's look at what the Savior Himself had to say about "thinking."
Matthew 6:31-34 "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?..........But seek ye first the kingdom of God,.......Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
It seems we have something to do with the thoughts that we "take" according to this passage. We must choose wisely, then determine what to do with those thoughts that do not belong to us as believers. We have tools available to us to deal with the vices of wrong thinking.
II Cor. 10:3-5 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:....Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:"
We must choose to cast them away. They must align themselves with God's Word.
Now that I know what to do with wrong thoughts, what shall I replace them with?
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
When I read this sometimes it seems like He's asking us to fly with the butterflies in the land of Paradise. However, He knew we would struggle in these areas, therefore He's provided everything necessary to enable us to overcome. As with so many parts of this walk in the Lord, we must day by day, moment by moment practice the given instructions, His grace is always there to help us in our time of need.
May you be truly blessed this week and grow in ability to "take those thoughts of virtue" that bring glory to God and keep you in His peace.
"Religious and Education" Part II
We as a people are so blessed to have our founders with us, in the sense that the material they have left us is almost like being able to go to them for understanding in the system of government they left. When I am reading their writings, many times I like to stop and turn their thoughts into a question and let them answer me for themselves, it seems to bring a new prospective to my understanding.
A couple of weeks ago my post concerned religion and education, which is a topic foreign to us now. That has got me thinking, what if we were to pose the question to them, how might they frame their answers? Well, why not ask them?
I have here Mr. Abraham Baldwin, he was signer of the United States Constitution, so we can know he is speaking with great authority concerning the religions implications of that United States document and the true meaning stated in the 1st Amendment.
"A free government. . . . can only be happy when the public principles and opinions are properly directed. . . . by religion and education. It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of religion and morality." - Abraham Baldwin, signer of the United States Constitution.
Wow! Mr. Baldwin Sir, you make it sound so simple, we are told you have to have a lawyer to interpret our Constitution, that we are unable to understand it ourselves, some even say it has been to long and we just can't know the true meaning of it now.
"The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is indeed difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them." - Joseph Story, U. S. Supreme Court Justice. Story, Familiar Exposition, p. 260.
Difficult to conceive or not your Honor, it seems that is were we are at! We are facing so many difficult issues as a people and a nation at the present time, we are all searching for answers. I must wonder if they might be found in the wisdom and intent of those before us? I wonder if maybe we should stop for a moment and look at our foundation, see if we even still have one? Perhaps we may need to build again the foundation we once rested upon!
May God bless each of you,