Wednesday, July 1, 2015

We Become What We Think About

As I write this short article with my computer, I thought: It is amazing how like a computer the mind is. A computer has a big memory bank where it stores whatever is put into it (Think of downloading data). The only thing you can get out of a computer is what you have put into it. There is an old computer term, GIGO, which stands for Garbage In/Garbage Out. It means if you put worthless, inaccurate, or faulty information into a computer, you will get worthless, inaccurate, or faulty information out of it.

The same is true of our minds. If we put worthless, inaccurate, or faulty information into our minds, that is all we will get out of it. But, unlike computers, however, the mind can create its own worthless, inaccurate, or faulty information. It doesn’t have to be put in from the outside. Someone can, for example, tell us as a child that we are stupid (or ugly), and we will water, fertilize, and nurture that seedling into a forest of negative thoughts and emotions. That is why it is so critical that we exercise great care in what we allow into our mind and what we allow our mind to dwell on.

Therefore, guard carefully what we put into our minds, and what we allow our minds to dwell on. (There are three big trouble spots in keeping our mind focused on good things: the media, our friends, and our inner thought life. Be prayerful). Having said that, there are enormous values of keeping the right, positive and Godly thoughts. The greatest of these is you’ll develop a Christian mind. So, not only we must keep the bad stuff out – we must put the good stuff in. The mind is powerfully influenced by what we put into it and what we allow it to dwell upon.  The Scripture commanded us as Paul writes: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Remember: We become what we think about.
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Jesus Promised Blessings (Long-Term) not Without Difficulties and Pain (Short-Term)

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV).

Jesus described “persecuted because of righteousness” blessing by expanded to “persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you,” which adds up to a thorough rejection. This is news we don’t want to hear. Do we really want to follow Jesus into a life of blessing that also promises difficulty and pain? Jesus instructed those considering becoming his disciples to count the cost (Luke 14:28), and he provided a clear idea of what that cost might be. There will always be some who decide the price tag for spiritual maturity and God’s blessing is too high.

Jesus helped by giving us a more long-range view. Costs and rewards may be present or future. One choice may yield great short-term rewards followed by long-term regrets; another may be difficult at first but generate years of great reward. Jesus applied the principle to all of life. He warned that the immediate results of following him may be hard, but the reward of heaven will make the hardships worthwhile.

If we read through the first seven “Blessed” (Matthew 5:3-9) with costs in mind, we discover that each one requires an uncomfortable investment, beginning with coming clean about spiritual poverty. Repentance (mourning) may not be a cost we’re eager to bear. Humbling ourselves will take a toll on pride, and longing for justice will be frustrating in a fallen world. Mercy will cost us our strong desire for revenge. And the desire for purity and peace will be costly to our tendency toward self-centredness. But Jesus has promised that God blesses those who make the difficult investments in his way of living. God will bring lasting satisfaction into your life as a long-term result.

Think about this: Jesus was certainly speaking with the end of life in mind;
Much of the blessing from the “Blessed” will come to us in eternity.
Yet there are clearly lifelong benefits that come to us on our present journey with Jesus.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Pray for Persecuted Church: Somalia

[The Voice of the Martyrs prayer calendar] Somalia has experienced continuous conflict for more than a decade and has not had a functioning government since 1991. Transparency International ranks Somalia as the most corrupt country in the world. Islam is the official religion, and there is no official religious freedom. Out of 22 people groups in Somalia, 16 are unreached by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Restricted Nation
Muslim 99.7%, Christian 0.3%
Head of State
 Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Most Somali Christians are secret believers who worship in house churches. Persecution has intensified in the past 15 years amid increasing lawlessness and diminishing authority of the central government. Islamic radicals, such as the al-Shabab group, have vowed to eradicate all Somali Christians. The murder of Christians, specifically Muslim converts to Christianity, is increasingly common. Conversion to Christianity is not illegal, but it is socially unacceptable. Persecutors include family members, clan members, Islamic extremists and local administrators. Distribution of the Somali Bible is possible only in refugee camps and outside the country. On May 10, 2009, the parliament approved implementation of Shariah Law nationwide in an effort to appease the militant Islamic groups. The transitional government has also banned proselytizing. A 17-year-old girl who converted to Christianity was shot to death in an “honour killing” on Nov 25, 2010.

Pray for Pastor “Abu” and for Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) safe house
that shelters persecuted Somali Christians.

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