The Crux of Christmas!

I confess! I enjoy the "trappings" of the Christmas Season. I like the tree, the colors, the family, the music, the cards and gifts (giving and receiving), the activities at the local church, etc. However, I have a fervent concern. In the midst of all this, Someone is too often relegated to the background. He, Who is the very reason for Christmas should never be reduced to a supporting role! Even the "Babe" in the manger can obscure the Savior, unless we are careful to remember the reason Jesus came. Charles Wesley, in his great Christmas hymn, puts his finger on the central reality, in these words, "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th' incarnate Deity,…"   Note that the angel said this; "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord." The emphasis was not the "Babe." Certainly, His birth is to be valued and celebrated! Nevertheless, let us not lose sight of the Cross while we admire the "Babe" in the cradle. Do keep very much in mind that the "trappings," while fun, are not the crux of Christmas. Selah! It is the celebration of His birth but never forget that He was born to die for us!    Ron

"And we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)  Let us behold His Glory in his Word!

A Blessed Christ-centered CHRISTmas to all!

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Matters of the Mind-Part 7

Kinds of Minds (Continued)

In yesterday's article, we talked about some results that come to a mind that is being renewed. We mentioned a pure mind, a mind at peace, and an understanding mind. There are other good conditions of mind that come to the child of God who is assimilating Scripture. There is a ready mind, a willing mind, a humble mind, a fervent mind, and a sound mind, to mention some. For a disciple, it is worth your time to study these and others mentioned in a good concordance. To conclude this brief series, let's focus on single-mindedness. Paul, in Philippians 3:13-14, says, "….this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark." Paul's supreme focus is summed up in Philippians 1:21 where he declares that, "For to me to live is Christ." James cautions against being double-minded, in these words: "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." In Phillips' paraphrase (of Scripture), he words this uniquely, "…the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn." The Spirit of God waits for you to spend time in the Word, so that He can spend time using the Word to renew your mind. Labor there much! You will be eternally thankful that you did! Selah! Remember this timely thought: "The greatest exercise of the mind of man is to think the thoughts of God after Him." (Source unknown).      Ron

Matters of the Mind-Part 6

Kinds of Minds (Continued).

Some interesting states of mind come from our minds being renewed. First, there is the developing of a pure mind. II Peter 3:1 has Peter stating that he wants to stir up their "…pure minds..."  Hearts and minds both have to do with our inner beings. For this reason, we are told that our hearts are purified "…by faith."  (From Acts 15:9). Since "…..faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17), then it follows that the Word of God, digested and applied, purifies our hearts. Next, we have a mind at peace. Colossians 3:1 reminds us that we, who are born again, "….were sometimes (i.e; once) alienated and enemies in (y)our mind(s)…." (From Colossians 1:21). Renewing our minds results in a shift of focus from many personal plans and pursuits. It moves our focus to God and His will. This brings peace and calmness and offers freedom from anxiety. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed ( who has his focus) on Thee" (From Isaiah 26:3). Finally for today, keeping in mind that hearts and minds are closely related, consider this, "Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding…." (From Proverbs 14:33). Couple this with the Psalmist's claims of having superior understanding (see Psalm 119:97-104)  because of his exposure to the Scriptures and it becomes obvious that absorption of the Word yields tremendous benefits. Selah! We don't really know how to live a truly worthwhile life, until our lives are aligned with the Word of God and the God of the Word!    Ron

Matters of the Mind-Part 5

Kinds of Minds (Continued)

 Beginning at birth, our minds still operate as a part of our fallen nature inherited from Adam. This is one reason why we need to be born again. At the new birth, a new nature comes into our being and with it comes a process of mind renewal. We are reconnected to the Life of God, the Life that was cut off at the fall of man. This process is referred to in these words: "…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (From Romans 12:2). The reconnection is spoken of as  "….the renewing of the Holy Ghost...(i.e; Spirit)"  (From Titus 3:5). We now "….have the mind of Christ." (From I Corinthians 2:16). However, having it and seeing it take over and purge the old way of thinking are two different matters. This takes place gradually. The active agent in this process is described in Psalm 119:130, "The entrance of Thy Words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." The more the Bible reigns in our lives, the more light we experience, the more we understand, the more our minds are renewed, the more we let go of sin. This results in some new mind conditions that we will try to explore for the next day or two. It also produces the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. Our mind is a part of the core of our being. Real renewal starts there. Selah!  Philippians 2:5 declares, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus..." Let Scripture permeate your heart and mind and, as you obey its' Truths, you will see wonderful change!    Ron

Matters of the Mind-Part 4

Kinds of Minds: (Continued)

Another condition of mind is "blindness."  II Corinthians 4:4-5 gives this explanation: "…if our gospel be hidden it is hidden to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world (age?) hath blinded the minds of them who believe not…."  We are born spiritually blind. When Truth reaches our minds, Satan tries to keep our eyes (our thoughts) averted. If we choose to believe God's Truth, we start to receive sight. If we act on the Truth and trustingly receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our spiritual blindness is cured and we progressively see more and more clearly.  

If we refuse to believe (remember that believing is a choice), then our blind minds experience corruption.  I Timothy 6:5 mentions, "men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the Truth…." The mind doesn't remain fixed in one condition. It degenerates! That is, it becomes more and more defiled by sin and consequently less and less likely to ever be cured. Resisting God's Truth leads to a reprobate mind. Romans 1:28 points out the  danger of our minds becoming reprobate. It says, "…God gave them over……to do those things which are not convenient (i.e; fit, decent). This is an essentially locked-in condition from which few, if any, ever escape. Selah! Look well to your mind. Opening it to truth brings Life and Light. A mind closed to God resides in a spiritual corpse!    Ron

Matters of the Mind-Part 3

Kinds of Minds

The Scriptures refer to a number of mind conditions. Today, let's look first at  the carnal mind.  Romans 8:6a informs us that "to be carnally minded is death….." Romans 8:7 adds more information. It says, "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be…."   "Carnal" (i.e; fleshly) here speaks of a mind that responds to life, and reasons on the basis of "me" and to some extent "mine." The idea is: What is in it for me/us? What pleases me? What helps me? Thoughts of God, if any enter the mind, are way in the back of our thinking. It's a kind of "tipping our hat" to Him. We do what we want and we pretty much are what we want to be. We are born with this kind of mind and mature in this kind of thinking. It is hostile to God. (No one is going to tell me what to do)! It leads to hell. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of (eternal) death" (Proverbs 14:12). On the other hand, let's consider the Spiritual mind. This is where God enters the picture. He introduces His Truth to us in our fallen humanity. If we respond positively, He begins to move us to Himself, the source of eternal Life. When we yield to Him and receive His Son as our Lord and Savior (and He gives us the ability to do this), then He imparts Spiritual Life to us. Selah! We soon discover that God's Word is renewing our minds so that the carnal mind is being displaced and the Spiritual mind is taking over.  Ron

"…to be Spiritually minded is Life and peace" (Romans 8:6b).

Matters of the Mind-Part 2

Two Major Mindsets:

We can think within a human framework or within a Godly framework. These have been called "worldviews."  The only eternally reliable "worldview" is God's, as revealed in the Bible. Man's mind is blind to Spiritual realities until he is enlightened and converted. How do we know that God's worldview is the right one to go by? The answer is logic and common sense. Everything hinges on the presupposition that the Bible is the absolute truth. Careful and continuous investigation of Scripture with a heart that is willing to accept truth, even if it means letting go of cherished beliefs, will confirm the Bible as Divinely inspired. I also mentioned common sense. It certainly makes sense to believe the Bible as opposed to the foolish concept that everything just happened somewhere, a long time ago, and somehow came together to make possible living as we know it. If we believe this foolishness and at death discover that we were wrong, we lose everything! If we believe Scripture, and later find out we were wrong, we have still enjoyed a greatly superior way of life. That is also common sense. Why do men fight against yielding to God's Truth? The Bible tells us, in these words: "….they willingly are ignorant….." (From II Peter 3:5). Why? Because, if they believe that God is, and believe what He says, they will have to submit to His rule, they will have to admit their desperate need, they will have to turn away from sinful pleasures, or live with more and more guilt. If that becomes unbearable, they will usually try to find a way to deaden their conscience. Selah! Living without God is living death!  Ron

"….as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind….." (From Romans 1:28).