OUR NAKEDNESS REVEALED

Several years ago, as an adult Sunday School teacher, I was asked this question during a bible study in Genesis 3: 

Genesis 2:25 Unashamed Nakedness
Genesis 2:25 Unashamed Nakedness

“Why was it, that after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, the first thing they noticed was that we’re NAKED?  Weren’t they ALWAYS naked?”

“Well yes,” I answered.

“But before they ate of the tree…they didn’t think about it.  They were innocent; their hearts were pure.” 

Genesis 2:25 (AMP):  

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.”

Have you ever noticed little children?  Sometimes they strip off all their clothes and begin running naked all through the house.  They’re not worried about being naked, one bit.

They have no shame.  But why?

One commentator noted:

“Two-year-olds don’t see any difference between (their) face, (their) knees, and the parts of (their) body which we adults insist that (they) cover. Only adults feel that certain parts of the body must be covered. Because those parts are connected with physical lust and passions”  (Chaya Sarah Silberberg, Chabad.org).

You see, before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their hearts were PURE–nothing needed to be covered.

But once they ate of the FRUIT…that all changed.  Their HEARTS–MINDS were now tainted by sinful thoughts they had never considered before.

JESUS said “…out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs)…”

You see, there were NO evil thoughts inside them UNTIL…they ate of the FRUIT.  

But afterwards, the KNOWLEDGE they gained…SHAMED them.

But it gets worse!

The couple’s new-found knowledge separated them from God.

THE FINAL PUNISHMENT from their disobedience of God’s command (Gen. 2:17) upon Adam and Eve was for them to leave His presence (Gen. 3:23,24):

23  So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt of which they’d been made.  24 He threw them out of the garden…

Yep! God kicked them out!!!  He evicted them from their home.

But God didn’t completely turn His back on them.  Before God sent them away, He gave them a SPECIAL GIFT:

Genesis 3:21:  “…the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them.”

Now when I read the words here, I thought this was interesting:

 1st, Adam and Eve ALREADY had clothes–FIG LEAVES.

Genesis 3:7 tells us that “…they knew they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves”  (English Standard Version – ESV)..

You know, I’ve seen many different kinds of leaves over my lifespan; I even once tried toFigLeaf grow a FIG TREE in the backyard BUT I have yet to see any LEAF that I’d feel very comfortable with wearing out in public.  And apparently, these particular leaves didn’t do much more for Adam and Eve.

When GOD comes walking in the Garden and finds the couple hide themselves…and when GOD calls out and asks Adam where he’s at, look at how Adam replies:

“I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was afraid because I was NAKED; and I hid myself”  (Genesis 3:10).

Think about that!

Up until that moment they thought their fig leaf aprons were doing the job.  But suddenly the LEAVES…leave them feeling NAKED…EXPOSED.

SO WHEN did Adam realize his fig leaves were not enough; making them feeling NAKED?  (when God came visiting)

It was when Adam found himself in God’s Presence that he realized his man-made coverings were not enough.

NAKEDNESS has been the symbol of our sinfulness ever since the Garden.  

Whenever a person’s SINS are discovered, we say they have been EXPOSED/REVEALED.

JESUS warns us NOT to be found “naked and exposed” when He comes again:

“BEHOLD, I am going to come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake (alert)  and  who  guards  his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] seen exposed!”  (Revelation 16:15 AMP)

I think most people understand this reality of “being exposed”.  

They know their “nakedness”…they know their own sin/shame personally.  They even may be merrily living their lives, working out in the garden one day, doing something in the house, or working at the local grocery store and suddenly…it hits them out of the blue; A THOUGHT will overcome them reminding them of a something they’d said, done or thought in the past that brings a sudden wave of SHAME over their lives.

Genesis 3:11:  And GOD SAID,  “Who told you that you were naked?”

I just love that verse, which brings me back to the peruvial “THE GENESIS QUESTION” presented in Genesis 3:1:

And he [Satan] said to the woman,

“Can it really be that God has said…?”

In Henry M. Morris’ book, The Genesis Record, he writes this commentary:

The approach of Satan (through a serpent) to the woman was a masterpiece of effective subtly.  Catching her when she was alone, without Adam to counsel and warn her, probably one day when she was admiring the beautiful fruit trees in the garden, he first insinuated something which neither she nor Adam had even imagined before, namely, that it was possible for a creature to question God’s Word, “that God has said?”  In other words, “Did God really say such as that!”  Note the slightly mocking superior condescension to Eve’s “naive” acceptance of God’s command, a technique followed by Satan and his human emissaries with great success ever since. This first suggestion that God could be questioned was accompanied by an inference that God was not quite as good and loving as they had thought.  “He has not allowed you to eat the fruit of every tree, has He?  Why do you suppose He is withholding something from you like that?

If one studies each situation closely, you will find that SIN always begins by questioning either the Word of God or the goodness of God, or both.

So the 1st thought-provoking thing that came to me about the story of ADAM & EVE was that they ALREADY had clothes; they just weren’t very good clothes and were man-made.

The 2nd thing that’s thought-provoking here was God supplied their clothing.  He gave them clothing that He made for them.  GOD DID IT ALL–they did nothing.  All they did was to put on the clothes and even more interesting was the KIND of clothing God supplied–ANIMAL SKINS.

Genesis 3:21 says, “…the Lord made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them.”

Now where would God get skin off an animal?  It’s got to die!

When God called these animals to cover Adam and Eve’s NAKEDNESS–their Shame–it became the beginning of animal sacrifices.  Animal Sacrifices were made throughout the Old Testament to pay for SIN.

The LAW OF MOSES repeatedly taught the Israelites that every SIN that they committed was punishable by DEATH.  But since everyone sinned, God allowed them to PAY for their sins by OFFERING UP a Sacrifice a pure and spotless animal in their place.

Hebrews 9:22 tell us  “..without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.”

Leviticus 17:11 taught  “…for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life [which it represents].”

In order for God to give mankind forgiveness…something had to die.

But why would God have an animal die for ADAM & EVE?  Well, God had created the animals FOR them.  One of these gentle companions God had given them had to DIE to cover their NAKEDNESS.

A PRICE had to be PAID for their SIN and BLOOD, which is the life of the sacrificial animal was the dearest price that could be paid.

And so, the animals that God used to make Adam and Eve’s garments are the FIRST DEATHS on earth.  Nothing else had ever died before this.  They were literally the FIRST SACRIFICES ever made in man’s history.

One person has rightly noted that God made the FIRST and the LAST Sacrifices for man’s sin.

Here in the Garden of Eden, God sacrificed the FIRST innocent animal to cover sin.

And it was on Mount Calvary, God made the LAST sacrifice, His sinless son, to COVER sin. 

In the garden, God supplied Adam and Eve with garments.  His GIFT to them involved the DEATH of an innocent animal.

His GIFT to us, involved the GIFT of His Son…a PURE & SPOTLESS OFFERING to cover our NAKEDNESS.

Genesis tells us that God sacrificed those first animals to cover man’s NAKEDNESS. And today, the SACRIFICE of Christ on the Cross covers our NAKEDNESS.

BUT HOW?

The answer is found in Galatians 3:27:

“For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ  [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah]  have put on (CLOTHED yourselves with) Christ.”

When we were buried in the waters of our BAPTISM, we were literally wrapped in JESUS and His righteousness COVERS us like a garment.

BUT THE GARMENT we received through Jesus Christ is far better than the ones that Adam and Eve were given.

  • Their garments would eventually wear out.
  • Their garments would eventually be torn and stained.
  • And their garments would ultimately become shabby and not worth wearing.

But worse than that…the GARMENTS God had made for Adam & Eve would never allow them back into God’s presence.  No matter how long they wore them, they would never be allowed to re-enter the beautiful Garden that He had prepared for their home.

But when you and I put on JESUS, that all changed.

Hebrews 10:14-23:

“…by one sacrifice (Jesus) has made perfect forever those who are being made holy…Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more…Therefore brothers, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the BLOOD of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having out hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful”  (NIV Bible).

Unlike Adam and Eve, the GARMENT Jesus supplied us with gives us the privilege of BOLDLY COMING to God’s presence and enjoying His love and compassion on a personal level.

No more NAKEDNESS–no more SHAME!  We have been made innocent in God’s eyes by the BLOOD COVERING of His One and only Son, Jesus Christ.

stock-photo-cross-with-a-man-kneel-in-prayer-on-a-beach-at-sunset-138903485

 

 


CREDITS:

The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris – Baker Book House Grand Rapids, MI 49506 – Copyright 1976

Photo Images:  search Google Images; Shutterstock.com

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

 

 

 

 

Living in a Moral Fog

Being in a FOG
Being in a FOG

One Helicopter Pilot’s Story:

A helicopter pilot was flying over Seattle and got lost in the dense fog that rolls in from Puget Sound.  He emerged from the fog and had no idea where he was.  He could see a tall building nearby with people working at their desks, hovered the aircraft near one of the windows holding up a sign asking “Where am I?”  One of the workers wrote a response then held up a sign that said,  “You are in a helicopter.”  The pilot nodded his thanks and flew straight to the airport runway.  One of the passengers quipped, “How could that sign ‘you’re in a helicopter’ help you know where you were?”  The pilot said,  “Simple.  The answer that guy gave me was technically correct, but completely useless, so I figured that must be the Microsoft Customer Relations Building, so I knew where I was!”

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How Can We Know Right from Wrong?

Most of the moral advice today is found in magazines or heard on talk-shows which leads to more confusion.  So how about this advice:

“Let your conscience be your guide”

No, that’s not in your Bible.  Can you guess (no Google-ling please) the original source of the saying?  I thought it came from my mother when growing up; and she no doubt coined the saying from the 1940 Disney movie “Pinocchio”.

In the movie, Jiminy Cricket sang a song to Pinocchio in which he said,  “Take the straight and narrow path; and if you start to slide–give a little whistle, give a little whistle and always let your conscience be your guide.”

Darn it.  I’ll have the tune embedded in my head while writing the rest of this post!

Can you let your conscience be your guide?

My answer?  YES and NO.

“YES” when you are really young, you should pay attention to your conscience, but as you grow older, we’re going to see dangerous things in letting your conscience be your guide.

Titus 1:15-16  (RSV):

[15] To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.  [16] They profess to know God but they deny Him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed.

“To the pure all things are pure” – What does that mean?

Some people would like it to mean that one can engage in some sort of less than pure entertainment and not be adversely effected by it.  For example, some have said that they could view pornography with their own “purity” (?) that make their observations pure.  They suggest the only way one could be adversely effected by such must have a “dirty” heart (mind) to begin with.

So what is the apostle Paul trying to convey in this passage of Scripture?  Does it mean if I am “pure in heart” in every thing I do, will it be construed automatically as PURE?  Does it mean that a person’s lust, greed, immorality, cursing, cheating and lying are all “PURE” if the person committing them is pure within?  I think that anyone who is rational thinking and dedicated to pleasing the Lord knows better than that.

Spiritual Principles of a Pure Conscience:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary defines the English word “pure” in Titus 1:15 with the Greek word Katharos, “pure”, from the heart.  In the Greek, there are different words for PURE (“hagnos”); WINE mixed with water may be “hagnos” – pure, “not being contaminated”. But “katharos”, as used in verse 15, implies “when there is the admixture of any element even though the later is ‘pure’ in itself.”

Our English word “conscience” comes from two Latin words:  CON meaning “with” and SCIENCE meaning “to know”.  The New Testament word, sunelesis (Greek), means “to know together”.  Both words have the idea of “knowing with ourselves” or “knowing within ourselves”.

When it comes to MORAL DECISIONS, it means to “understand internally”.

Cain’s Conscience–

In Genesis 4, because of Cain’s outrageous anger, he kills his brother Abel.  Although this act was committed long before the Ten Commandments,  “You shall not murder”, Cain knew instinctively what he had done wrong.

Your conscience is to your soul what your nerves are to your body.  When your hand grabs hold of a hot pan’s handle on the stove, the nerves send a message to the brain: THAT’S HOT!  REMOVE YOUR HAND!

The same is true with CONSCIENCE.  Your conscience is like a warning light telling you what you are about to do is wrong…and if you do it, your conscience says, “See, I told you not to do that!”

Having a God-conscience:

People are born with a sense of right and wrong.  The Bible teaches God provided two solid proofs to point out His existence.

THE FIRST…an external witness of creation.

When you understand the amazing ans awesome order of the Universe around us, you are driven to admit to a higher intelligence that designed all this and created it!

THE OTHER WITNESS to the existence of God is an internal witness-conscience.  The fact that we are born with moral equipment called conscience.  It should prove there is Someone who determines the rightness and wrongness of our actions.  You don’t have to read a written law to know that stealing, killing, and lying are wrong; that’s something everyone instinctively knows.

Romans 2:14-15 says,

[14]  When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law.  [15] They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them].  (Amplified Bible).

Your CONSCIENCE doesn’t make you do right, or wrong, but lets you know when your about to do wrong; makes you suffer when you have done wrong.

Moral Guidance is Contorted–

Our conscience is like a piece of sharp metal within our soul.  It has sharp corners when you are considering doing something wrong; corners that can stab you on the inside.

Filing the Edges
Filing the Edges

However, every time you ignore or deny your conscience, it files down the sharp edges of the metal of steel.  The next time you are faced with the same opportunity to do wrong, conscience stabs you again, but this time, the jab isn’t as sharp.  Over time, as you continually resist the words your conscience brings to mind, sharp edges are worn down until you seldom feel them.

The Bible says, “To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.  They profess to know God but they deny Him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed”  (Titus 1:15-16).  

Have you ever told a lie?  The first time you told a lie you probably felt badly.  But the next time you told it, it became a little easier.  People have convinced themselves that telling a “little white lie” is not actually bad–everyone does it.  Their conscience has become “dulled”.

SO HOW DO WE COME OUT OF THE “MORAL FOG”?

Your CONSCIENCE must be transformed by JESUS.  If you and I could spend our entire lives listening to and obeying our God-given consciences we would live a perfect life.  But God’s Word tells us,  ALL sinned and we fall short of the glory of God.

Have you ever told a lie?

Have you ever cheated or stolen?

Have you deliberately hurt someone?

That’s why ALL of us end up with a messed-up conscience.

Having a Guilty Conscience–

Samuel Langhorne Clemens–pen-name, Mark Twain struggled personally with his own guilty conscience.  In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his struggles with conscience came out of Huck’s mouth:

“If I had a yaller dog that didn’t know no more than a person’s conscience does, I would pison him.  It takes more room than all the rest of a person’s insides, and yet ain’t no good, no how.”

When you have a guilty conscience, seems like it’s hard to ignore–but that’s a good sign; shows your conscience hasn’t been completely deadened.

What Do You Do When You Have a Guilty Conscience?

Hebrews 10:22:

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water”  (NIV).

The Bible teaches a guilty conscience is a dirty conscience.  It is like moral filth that you allow to accumulate and then. pollutes your soul.  And when your conscience becomes dirty, it always affects the way you look at yourself and others.

JESUS can do two important things for a “dirty conscience”:

#1.  Your CONSCIENCE must be cleaned by His blood.

When people have a “guilty conscience”, they do all kinds of things to get rid of their guilt.  Certain areas around the world people crawl on their hands and knees up steep mountains to reach a church altar.  Other people throw themselves into religious activities trying to get rid of their guilt.  But the Bible, God’s Word, teaches only one thing to clean a “dirty” conscience–the Blood of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:14:

“How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?”  (Amplified Bible)

I have an old Hymn Book I keep close to my computer out of nostalgia from long days past and for reference in writing my blogs.  In writing this past week on  addressing our CONSCIENCE ISSUES that in living, we need to ask ourselves the questions a Hymn writer by the name of Elisha Hoffman asks:

“Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?  Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”  [from Are You Washed in the Blood].

#2.  Your CONSCIENCE must be corrected by His Word.

When you become a Christian,  “set your conscience to the Bible-Word of God”.

We READ in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that God’s Word ALWAYS points you to JESUS.  He becomes your standard of right and wrong:

[16] ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;  [17] That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”  (KJV).

When you become a “true believer”; a follower of Christ Jesus, born-again of the Spirit–your determination of right and wrong no longer depends on your CONSCIENCE because you can’t “let your conscience be your guide”.  You come out of LIVING IN A MORAL FOG.

You don’t decide what is right or wrong on how you feel, because you have learned that feelings can be unreliable.  Your standard for MORALITY is NOT what the “majority” in SOCIETY are thinking.

THE “DOINGS”, the “DEEDS” PROVE THE LIE (Verse 16):

“They profess to now God but they deny Him by their deeds”

It is rather easy to talk about God.  The phrase “Thank God!” is probably expressed several million times across the land each day.  What a grateful God-fearing nation we must be!

We notice how at the Academy Awards, so many thanked God for their award.  But the fact remains while one may verbally use the name of God, this doesn’t mean they really know Him.  In fact, it is a false claim to say one “knows God” if they are disobedient to His Word by their deeds. John, the disciple of Jesus, inspired by the Holy Spirit had much to say about this (1 John 1:6; 2:4-6).  

The Scripture passage in Titus 1:16 says those who say nice things about God but will not submit to Him are:

“liars”

“detestable”

“disobedient in nature”

“worthless for any good deed”

That’s pretty strong stuff!

The Pure in Christ Come Out of the Fog–

“…in ALL THINGS, show yourself to be an example of good deeds with PURITY in doctrine dignified”  (Titus 2:7).

The godly man or woman teaches the TRUTH and dignifies it with righteous living (1 Timothy 4:12).  

In front of everyone we come in contact with daily, with a clear (PURE) CONSCIENCE, the proof is in the “doing”.  It is because of the HOPE we have in Christ Jesus we’re motivated to take a stand with a “pure conscience”, even if it is unpopular:

“And everyone who has this HOPE [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless)”  (1 John 3:3 AMP).

Here’s my last question:  Has the fog lifted, can you see the landing lights on the airport runway– can you see God?

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

–Matthew 5:8–

The Spirit of Whatever

A RESPONSE TO THE WORLD:

270355045_ffe4d7f712That word, “whatever” has become a verbal shorthand to a particular response to life these days.  It’s a sigh of resignation, a denial of meaning and purpose when a person offers you a response of “whatever”.  The response essentially is saying, the topic doesn’t matter–their response doesn’t matter, or perhaps you don’t matter.  Some of us might even proudly wear the badge on our chest.

We’re living in a “WHATEVER WORLD”–

We are living in a culture in which TRUTH has been stripped away and its meaning replaced with personal preference.

My son-in-law says when he asks our grand-kids when they were in their middle teens, “Go and do…” and they would grumble under the breath “WHATEVER-R”, in his mind it was like them using the F-bomb for their reply.

What does a “whatever world” look like?

Even as believers in JESUS, we are living in an age, a culture where ALL IDEAS, ALL LIFESTYLES, ALL BEHAVIORS are considered of equal value.

~ You cheat, I don’t.  WHATEVER–what’s valid for me isn’t necessarily valid for you.

Investigating THE DNA of a Believer–

After our pastor Kyle’s message a few weeks ago:  DNA of a Believer, I decided I would investigate how Scripture often uses “WHATEVER” and as believers, how are we to understand more clearly the responses to the Christian’s Life?

SOME EXAMPLES:

Colossians 3:17:

And WHATEVER you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:23:

WHATEVER you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

1 Peter 4:10:

Each of you should use WHATEVER gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 10:31:

So whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be–

WORLDVIEW adopted in the western world:  “You can believe WHATEVER you want because… ALL IDEAS are pretty much equal.”

There is no authoritative TRUTH to which we all hold; each person becomes his or her own authority, determining our own values, our own beliefs, our own truth.  The Barna Research Group, through its surveys, show the results of the thinking worldview:

“WHATEVER-R”

~ Three-fourths of all adults believe [think] “there is no such thing as absolute truth; two people could define truth in totally conflicting ways, but both could still be correct.”   WHATEVER-R-R! 

~ Less than half of all born-again adults (44%) and less than 10% of born-again teenagers (9%) believe in the existence of absolute moral truth.  WHATEVER-R-R!

~ Nearly half of adult Americans (47%) believe that “to get by in life these days, sometimes you have to bend the rules for your benefit”:  If that’s the attitude of their parents, is it any wonder, some 70% of American teenagers today admit cheating on exams and don’t see anything wrong with it?  WHATEVER-R-R!

[The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings from Barna Research Studies @ from Barna Research Online]

Our Spiritual DNA Makeup Begins In Our “Thinking”:

REMEMBER:  You’re not what you think you are, but what you think…you are! 

As Proverbs 23:7 reads,  “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.”  What you THINK today, you become tomorrow.  Your spiritual DNA is developed from the body, soul and spirit.  Or as someone has said:  “Your ‘know-er, your think-er, and your feel-er’.”   

If you think you can’t, you probably won’t.

If you think angry thoughts, angry words are sure to follow.

If you fill your mind with sexual fantasies, your body will find a way to fulfill those desires.

If you dwell on your problems, they will soon overwhelm you.

If you feel like a victim, soon you will become one.

“GIGO” Almost a generation ago!

The computer revolution had just begun, the pioneers in the field coined a brand-new word when not many people knew how to operate a computer and those who did made many mistakes.

Sometimes the “experts” entered the wrong data to discover a universal TRUTH:  If the raw data is bad, the computer can’t do anything good with it.  Whatever you put into a computer determines what comes out.  If you put the right data in, the right answers come out.  The reverse is also true.

To express that TRUTH, a new word was coined describing in four letters, both the cause and the consequences.  Most computer “geeks” know what word I’m talking about: GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Those four letters summarize a huge TRUTH about computers:  What you put in determines what you get out.  If you input garbage, guess what your output will be?  GARBAGE!

Your “Thinker”–

What is true of computers is also true of the human mind–the “thinker”.  The human mind has often been compared to the computer.  In fact, the human mind is far more complex than the most advanced computer ever designed.

GIGO
GIGO

BUT, the BASIC PRINCIPLE of GIGO is still TRUE:  Garbage In, Garbage Out.  What you put into your mind; what you believe, determines what you get out.

Is our thought process, our THINKING, really so unimportant; Our Spirit of Whatever?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Beware of what you set your mind on because that you surely will become.”

Norman Vincent Peale :  “Change your thoughts and you change the world.”

Henry Ford gave that TRUTH a spin when he said,  “Thinking is the hardest work in the world, which is why so few people engage in it.”

I ran across this perceptive comment by Betty Sachelli during my Word Detective investigation this past week:

“Two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at the same time.”

So the choice is ours; how we respond to society, whether or not our thoughts will be constructive or destructive to the hearer.  It is a world in which life has no meaning beyond personal fulfillment with no values higher than my own choices.

Can Christians, Should True Believers, Be The  ULTIMATE AUTHORITY in Determining Right and Wrong?

It is easy to reach the stage in today’s lifestyles where there is no wrong–at least not for me.  But if we recognize there is a GOD who stands over us, that through JESUS, He wants to enter into RELATIONSHIP with us…then it changes the way WE THINK; it changes the way we determine OUR VALUES, OUR PRIORITIES, OUR COMMITMENTS, OUR “WHATEVERS”.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”  (Matthew 22:37)

The Old Testament passage (Deuteronomy 6:5) behind JESUS’ statement in Matthew is a little different; it says to love GOD with heart, soul and strength.  So why did JESUS instead use the word “mind”?  Perhaps to remind us that it is essential to bring our minds under the authority and Lordship of our Father in Heaven.  Otherwise our FAITH would make little impact on us or anyone else we come in contact with.

The way we THINK determines the way we live and the results of The Spirit of Whatever in our doing.

THE “WHATEVER” MEANING IN THE BIBLE–THE WORD:

Colossians 3:12, 17:

[12] Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones, purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tender-hearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

[17]  And WHATEVER you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, DO EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

“WHATEVER” means “that absolutely everything…” in RELATIONSHIP:  

How’s Your Thought-Life As a Christian Believer?

 According to some psychologists, the average person has over 10,000 separate thoughts each day; 3.5 million thoughts a year and if you live to be 75, you’ll have over 26 million different thoughts.  Everyone of those 10,000 thoughts represents a choice you make and a decision to think about this, and not about that.

The words that dwell in your hearts and minds (Colossians 3:16); as you TEACH and TRAIN others.

As wives relate to their husbands (verse 18);

As husbands treat their wives (verse 19);

As children respond to their parents (verse 20);

As fathers bring up their children (verse 21);

As employees react and respond to their employers (verse 22);

“WHATEVER may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the LORD and not for men”  (Colossians 3:23 AMP).

 How’s Your Thought-Life As a Christian Believer?

THE TRUTH IS POSITIVE:

The 14th Chapter of John’s gospel, JESUS made a most astonishing statement when He said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

And if it is the TRUTH, then it makes the difference in the kind of world in which we live.  If JESUS is Himself TRUTH, it changes everything!

It means...HE IS TRUTH FOR YOUR MIND.

THE WAY WE THINK determines the way we live.  If we THINK of ourselves as the ultimate authority in determining right from wrong, then it is easy to reach the stage where there is no wrong–at least not for me.

HE IS THE TRUTH FOR YOUR LIFE–not only does Christ provide the TRUTH but helps us understand [the “know-er” in our DNA] REALITY.  He also provides the TRUTH and allows us to live lives of meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

In our “WHATEVER-R” CULTURE–

Each person is an authority unto himself and God’s Word is overlooked or ignored by untold millions.

News reports tell the tale of what happens when we IGNORE God’s TRUTH for our own:

A NATION where Gideon bibles are turned away at the schoolhouse door but…condoms are freely handed out.

A NATION where millions of children grow up in homes WITHOUT two parents.

A NATION where we can’t physically build prisons fast enough to accommodate the growing population of inmates.

How does all this happen in a NATION where, at least on the surface, it would appear that a large percentage of the population claim to be Christian believers?

A MAJOR part of the problem is too many of us take the religious dimension of our lives and put it into a neat little compartmentalized box–to be pulled out only on Sundays.  The rest of the week we tend to get along and go along with the world without letting our FAITH inform us in our day-to-day lives; at the office, the shop, the school, the neighborhood.

Your FAITH isn’t one more item to put on the To Do List.  You and I are called to let our commitment to Christ shape and guide everything we do in every facet of our lives.  It is the TRUTH from which everything else flows.

THE PRESCRIPTION FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE:

Listen to the apostle Paul’s practical advice in Philippians 4:8:

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This verse gives us eight questions to ask about our thoughts before you think; before you speak.

#1.  Is it TRUE?  “Whatever is true”.  TRUTH is the first test.

“All that rings true” — by Knox.  

Before you open your mouth, are you speaking the TRUTH?  Do your words have a “ring of truth” about them?  If the answer is Yes, then it rules out all that is dishonest, untrue, and unreliable.

#2.  Is it NOBLE?  “Whatever is noble”. 

The word means “honorable”, “worthy of reverence”.  One person translated it as “noble seriousness”.

#3.  Is it RIGHT?  “Whatever is right”.

This means “In conformity to God’s standards.”  Not, “Is it right in my eyes?” or “Is it right in the eyes of others?” but, “Is it right in God’s eyes?”  If others knew what you were thinking, what would they think of you?

#4.  Is it PURE?  “Whatever is pure”.

The word means “undefiled, chaste, clean, holy.”  It touches the whole area of moral purity.  Is your thought-life clean?  We used to say, “Get your mind out of the gutter.”  If you LIKE the gutter, don’t be surprised that your mind is covered in slime!

#5.  Is it LOVELY?  “Whatever is lovely”.

This word is used only here in the New Testament.  It literally means “love towards” and has the idea of attracting loveliness, as a magnet attracts iron filings.  One person translates “those things that GRACE attracts.”

Do your thoughts automatically attach themselves to that which is beautiful and lovely?

Here is a simple rule I try to follow in my life with the Holy spirit’s help; I can’t do it with my own will-power and neither will you:

IF it is not lovely,  IF it doesn’t make me lovely…don’t say it, don’t think it, don’t do it, don’t dwell on it, and don’t repeat it!

#6.  Is it ADMIRABLE?  “Whatever is admirable”.

That is, if the television program, magazine cover in the grocery check-out counter I’m watching or glancing at…WORTHY of study and meditation?  Or is it cheap and vulgar?

This question asks us to focus on the things that are positive not negative, constructive not destructive, things that build up not the things that tear down.  This means editing your words, your choices so that you simply DELETE non-admirable things from your vocabulary; “Your Words Determine Your Thinking”  (Step #2 in 8 Steps to Your Destination by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar).

If that’s not enough questions, the Apostle Paul gives us two catch-all categories:

“If anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY”

EXCELLENT refers to virtue and PRAISEWORTHY means “those things that God Himself would approve.”

 So here you have TWO FINAL QUESTIONS:

#7.  Is it morally EXCELLENT?

#8.  Is it something that God would approve?

Taken together, these EIGHT QUESTIONS point the way toward positive thinking.  Paul says, “Think on these things.”  

A.  It is a command.

B.  It is in the present tense.  

C.  Keep on focusing your thoughts on these eight areas.

D.  Find the virtuous, the moral, the holy things and think about it.

“Just Do It” with a Promise–

Verse 9 of Philippians 4 tells us that if we “Practice what you have learned and received…and model your way of living on it”–here comes the PROMISE,  “the God of peace will be with you.”  

The Online Dictionary defines PRACTICE:  To do or perform something habitually or repeatedly.  Synonyms–exercise, rehearse.

The Spirit of Whatever when practiced, will experience God’s peace in their lives.  “PRACTICE makes perfect”!