The Thought ParadeFebruary 7, 2007
Isaiah 55:6-9 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 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.”
A person who has no knowledge of the God who inhabits eternity could read the above passage and learn some very important truths.
( 1 ) We are admonished to seek the Lord while there is time.
( 2 ) We are to put away unrighteous thoughts.
( 3 ) God is incredibly merciful and ready to pardon.
( 4 ) Gods ways are much higher than ours.
We know that God is from everlasting, to everlasting, and completely holy. We, on the other hand, are created, our life on earth is as a summer breeze that appears for a moment before vanishing, and our righteousnesses are as filthy rags according to Isaiah 64:6. In our natural state, we are fallen and completely contrary to Gods holy nature and therefore, we need to change. This change begins with a thought; a realization that we are not acceptable to God “as is.” It culminates with the understanding that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God died for our sins and that if we “believe on him” we will have a relationship with God. Again a thought; a concept that we “believe” by faith. From the moment of salvation, we spend a lifetime growing and bringing into captivity the thoughts and imaginations which seek to allign themselves with the old man. In fact, here’s the verse that best explains this:
II Corinthians 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedaince of christ; And having a readiness to revenge all disobediance, when your obediance is fulfilled.”
This post is a fitting one because yesterday was packed full of every kind of distraction imaginable. This flurry of activity carried over into work where I found my thoughts wandering all over the place. Usually, the monotonous tasks at work make for much time to think upon the deep things of God. Last night, however, this wasn’t happening as the mind was somewhere out past Neptune. It’s amazing as to just how fast the mind can go on vacation. For example, I have, on a number of occasions had a particular thing that I was praying about when all of the sudden, I would find myself thinking about bills that are due, errands that must be taken care of, anything and everything; all the while, the lips are still in prayer. It’s the weirdest thing and as I write this down, I’m kind of wondering….. if….. perhaps….. I’m the only one….. who has battled this. (I am now officially “strange”) Little thoughts; seemingly harmless ponderings over very neutral tasks which get in the way of meditating upon the things of God. I would almost venture to say that it’s the little neutral thoughts which cause the most distraction because they slip in underneath the radar and begin broadcasting.
Proverbs 24:9 “The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.”
Nonsensical thinking can be quite humorous, and seemingly harmless but it usually leads to more ungodliness. Once again, the seeming neutrality is the dangerous part. When you happen to stumble upon material of a sensual nature, you know right away to not entertain thoughts thereof. But the little things don’t usually set off alarms like the major stuff. There have been times at work where a chance to witness was ruined because I was in a “horseplay” frame of mind. This is as serious as it gets. I want to be careful here, because I know that a having a light-hearted manner can also be beneficial in opening certain doors for witnessing and this has happened also. But for the most part, once a state of intense horseplay has been entered, it takes on a life of its own and before you know it, the night has been consumed with vanity.
Ephesians 5:4 “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
All of the problems in the world today are the result of sin. All of the sin in the world is here because Adam and Eve ate fruit from the “one tree” that they were supposed to leave alone. Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven because they rebelled against God. This rebellion began with a single individual, Lucifer, who had a “thought.” A very selfish and prideful thought.
Isaiah 14:12-15 “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the throne of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Lucifer did a lot of “thinking” and as a result, he along with a third of the angels are now reserved in chains of darkness while untold numbers of souls have perished. All because of one being, a created being at that, desired to set his throne above the God who inhabits eternity. Without a doubt, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Just a side note here, but can you imagine the story that he must have told, and the spin, that caused one third of the angels to abandon their first estate in paradise and follow along in rebellion? It had to be the “mother of all whoppers.” Just another thought, we know that the man of sin will be indwelt by Satan. If he was able to draw away a third of the angels who were abiding in paradise, an unsaved person won’t stand a chance when the hour of temptation comes upon the whole earth. Without a doubt, “now is the day of salvation” as II Corinthians 2:2 tells us.
Every sin begins with a thought. Every murder, every adulterous act, every form of evil that one will do to another, began with a ponderance to do such to another, thereby disregarding the second great commandment. (And the first one for that matter) You look at the world situation and you cannot help but see just how contrary folks are and just how close to the end we must be. Every age since the days when the disciples were first called “christians” in Antioch, it was believed to be the last time. The diffrence today is that (1) Israel is returned to its place, and (2) the logistical hurdles for a mark of the beast have been cleared. They’re chipping wildlife, they’re chipping livestock, and soon, they”ll be implementing plans to chip us. “For our own good” will be the pitch and the storyline will be a smooth one. No more identity theft, no more missing children, no more losing your keys, it’ll be the “mother of all whoppers.”
Well, such are the times that we find ourselves. Lest I leave this on an ominous note, here’s something about thoughts that should encourage every saint. Well known, but in need of repeating.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
When the Babylonians came against the children of israel, it had to be a fearful time. So fearful as to cause one to wonder if God had cast them off and thereby allowing such evil to come upon them. Yet it was needful and as we know, during the captivity, God wrought incredible things as one can see by reading Esther and daniel. A chastisement had to transpire, but Gods thoughts toward them and toward all who love him are those of peace. Trials and tribulations will come, but they only refine us. I heard a pastor a few months ago telling about watching a silversmith one day as he was melting silver. The silversmith told him that you must get the exact temperature because if you make it too hot, you’ll ruin it. The pastor asked him “How do you know when you have the right temperature?” The silversmith replied “When you see your reflection in the silver, the temperature is right.” Not much can be added to such an analogy.
I need to close this. I pray that we would keep our thoughts on things above. We naturally have business to attend to in this life, families, work, bills, obligations, community functions, and the like. But they should never become a priority over God. (I probably should have clarified this earlier) Using myself as an example, when doing my tasks at work, I can’t do a thing about the bills; in fact I’m doing all that I can by working. It does no good to think about such matters at that time. But if I use that time to meditate upon a scripture that’s been hanging with me or pray for the saints or pray for opportunities to witness. This is profitable and the joy of the Lord will always be very present in such times. So in closing, I’ll use a verse that seems to come up constantly, but it’s very true and in the times that we find ourselves, very urgent.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Psalm 139:17 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me O God! how great is the sum of them.”