THESE THINGS                                                                                                                            Andy Hollifield 1-3-17

Sometimes we let our minds get in such a rage that we drive ourselves crazy. This time of year is especially bad for it. We overload our brains, our memory, and our schedules for 6 or 8 weeks prior to the end of the year and then “poof” in January all of it is gone and we suddenly realize how frazzled we have been. I began to think during Monday night prayer meeting at State Street that sometimes we get ourselves out of touch with God not by what we do but often just by what we allow our minds to be occupied with. I began to think about this as I watched people being obedient not to their own desires but to the leadership of the Holy Ghost. Service was over 2 hours with no preaching, just spirit led testifying, and prayer reached the throne on behalf of some real situations that are troubling God’s people. I was thinking of how honored I was to be in the sweet presence of the Lord and how I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t experience that more often. As I was enjoying basking in his overwhelming presence, I prayed about what I would be writing today. The thought he immediately gave me was this; “Think on these things”. Than it dawned on me; the reason we can’t get that close to him more often is because we let too much junk clutter our minds. Philippians 4:8 says “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.” There it is! We cheat ourselves out of the presence of the Lord in our lives more often, not because our heart ain’t right but because we don’t have our mind right. Some might disagree with that statement and I probably would have at one time, but God showed me that your heart might be right where you need to be but if you get preoccupied THINKING about other things, he can’t speak to you like he wants to. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and it just didn’t seem like they were really paying attention to what you were saying? They might have been looking at you and responding but their mind was a million miles away. A lot of times, we approach God with that same mindset or attitude. We even go to church like that with the mindset that we are making time for God in between all the other stuff we have going on. Even if the Holy Ghost comes on the scene in a great way, we can’t enjoy his presence because we are too preoccupied with other things. If we get our mind right, and we have our heart right, God would bless a whole lot more than what he does. If we kept the second greatest commandment, “love thy neighbor as thyself”, we wouldn’t have near the trouble carrying the burdens of others like we should and would be able to see God answer their prayers and rejoice with them when he did. We heard a lady tonight request prayer because a situation she thought was resolved, that had been a great burden for a long time, came unraveled at the last minute. You could hear the disappointment in her voice but you could even feel the disappointment in the church because there had actually been people helping her carry that burden. We were all disappointed in the situation. We all hurt for her.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. If there be any virtue or praise. I am sorry. I like FOX News too but it isn’t very often that they have stories that qualify for what we are to occupy our mind with. I believe in being informed but not to the point that we are hindered spiritually by allowing current events to clutter our mind. I learned years ago, and have to be reminded occasionally, that even subjecting yourself to “good” news in excess can bring you down. I used to listen to Focus On The Family with Dr. James Dobson and even though that is a wonderful Christian program, when they continuously talked about how the devil was raging and destroying families and lives, after a while it was enough to make me discouraged. I figured out that I needed to focus on something with virtue and praise. I needed to feed my mind something that was lifting up the Lord Jesus and not just concentrating on the fight. I needed the virtue and praise to help me focus on God’s power and the victory we have in him. I hope this makes sense to everyone because I am trying to explain it the best I can. If you read the whole 4th chapter there in Phillipians, Paul starts by encouraging his fellow laborers to “Stand fast in the Lord”. He then thanks some of them individually for their efforts in his ministry. He then starts telling them to rejoice in the Lord always. He starts in verse 5 telling them how to get their mind right to be at peace with themselves. If we can’t be at peace within our own heart and mind, how can we possibly honor and praise God. If our mind is in turmoil, we can’t worship him as we should. The bible says in John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth.” If the turmoil in our mind hinders the Spirit from working in our heart, how can we worship him in the Spirit? We can’t!

The book of 2 Peter 1:5 tells us 7 things that we have to diligently add to our faith. We have to work at it. These 7 things don’t come automatically. On down in verse 8 he tells us that having these 7 things added to our faith will keep us from being barren or unfruitful but without them we are blind and near-sighted and have forgotten that we were purged from our old sins. Some of you will never be what you could be for the Lord because you probably won’t look and see what you need to add to your faith to be fruitful. It may be that you have too much on your mind to take the time to look up the verses. If that is the case; you have too much clutter in your mind and that is exactly why God can’t bless you like he would like to. I don’t mean to be mean but if we aren’t going to go before God with our mind right, what right have we got to expect him to give a lot of time and attention to us? Think on THESE things. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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