Taking Thoughts Captive

Originally posted on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Leviticus 1; John 20; Proverbs 17; Philippians 4

March 30th, 2016

Taking thoughts captive

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. – Philippians 4:4–8

Here Paul tells us to be careful (or filled with care or worry) for nothing; but to turn the such thoughts over to God in prayer with thanks. Then Paul gives us another, what I like to call, ultimate checklist on what we are supposed to be filled with. The sort of things we are supposed to let occupy our mind. Things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

Thoughts are curious things. They tend to breed more of themselves. If we think on things that are dark, such thoughts beget more darkness. Have you ever heard the saying ‘when it rains, it pours’ in referring to life’s circumstances? Knowing the truth from God’s word, I wonder if this saying is actually a saying of thoughts rather than of circumstances? Instead let us abide in the word of God and think on things that are light, and let the light shine forth and produce a perfect day.

But the path of the just is as the shining light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day. – Proverbs 4:18

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

May God show us the truth and give us the fortitude to count our blessings in abundance when the deceiver would have us think there are none. Amen.

Cardinal Virtues: Fortitude

Fortitude includes both kinds of courage – the kind that faces danger as well as the kind that ‘sticks it’ under pain.

-C.S. Lewis

Marine Corps War Memorial

Fortitude from the latin fortis meaning strong. Fortitude in the english defined as courage in pain or adversity. C.S. Lewis believes that “courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” He points out a lesson from history noting that Pontius Pilate was just until it became too risky. What good is temperance or prudence or justice if it breaks the moment it matters?

C.S. Lewis wrote of courage during World War II. Many illuminating writings on the matter come from war. From times when men are called to kill and die. And face the end of their existence in this world. In the new World War II movie, Fury, it is no wonder that when the protagonists have a chance to escape certain death but chose to stay and fight that they draw their courage from quoting aloud the truth in 1 John 2:15-17:

If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The director of the movie is quoted saying of this last chapter in the film, “It’s fascinating that, because of his faith, he’s not unafraid of dying, but he’s able to accept it and doesn’t see it as the end of the road.”

So much of what matters in life and of the virtues comes around when there is something to lose. The most so: things of self. The most of this: life. Our life. Even the life of those we love. What of the life of our only son? If we can get past this the smaller things that are so large and do so much damage; our pride, our reputation, our prospects, our preferences become much easier to let go of. This may sound jarring, but it is just life. It is just a life. Let go. Give it to God. Trust all of self with God. Let go this world and hold fast to the next. May we all fall out of love with this world and break the bonds of slavery to it. Freeing ourselves to live in peace and do the will of God.

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

-A takeaway from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Drink of the Deep: Simplicity

God made us plain and simple but we have made ourselves very complicated.

-King Solomon

Busy retail high street 3 days after Christmas

A wet spring dusk among the shops. The kind where the lights of cars and street lights and store lights reflect on the wet ground. The rain ceased. The sidewalks busy again. A mother has conquered the shops. Plunder in elbow – hurries on a little one to come along. A man rushes past on his jog, playlist in ear. A group of young men banter back and forth as they head to the pub. Another mother hurriedly rushes around an SUV after shepherding several little ones in. Everyone late for full. On time for empty.

Deep things intrigue. Deep things fulfill. An adventure in the deep wilderness.  The superficial distract and leave empty. Once you have had a deep adventure the superficial just will not satisfy. A deep conversation of everlasting things can not be replaced by empty talk that goes no where.

What have we done to live our lives so superficially? Spending our time on things that do not last. Who can say if these people are on a deep adventure? Perhaps it is their cares that will decide. Are they focused on the distant past and distant future or on the everlasting and now? Planning and wanting for themselves or responding and serving others?

 

-A takeaway from Intimacy with the Almighty by Charles Swindoll

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Anxiety into Peace

For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.

-C.S. Lewis

Peace

A habit that I have come to cherish is a habit of peace and tranquility. It came from a mix of things I took away from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie and The Servant Leader by Blanchard and Hodges and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lweis.  I like to do it as soon as my eyes open in the morning.  It goes like this.

  • get down on your knees and place your hands face down on the ground
  • list off all the things you are working towards in your life and commit them to the LORD
  • once you have exhausted your list turn your palms up and ask the LORD “What will You have of Your servant today LORD?”
  • listen and weigh what you hear against your foundation in the Bible
  • take your marching orders for the day and go in peace

I have been taught that often when I am anxious or worried about projects I am working on it is likely because I have not committed them to the LORD.  That I am being prideful and working for my own selfish interests.

I absolutely love the image above – a takeaway from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.   The idea that eternity transcends all time.  And.  The point at which eternity touches time is right now.  C.S. Lewis suggests that God wants us to focus on eternity and right now.  The Deceiver on the other hand would have us focus on the distant past and the distant future as a way to make sure we are not doing what we should be doing right now.  To paralyze us with fear and worry.

God help us focus on eternity and now.  Help us focus on You and on others.  Lead our spirits on level ground and establish the work of our hands LORD.

 

-A takeaway from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

-A takeaway from The Servant Leader by Blanchard and Hodges

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lweis

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.