Good Thinking

Scripture: Philippians 4:8, Mark 7:21-23, Colossians 3:1-17
Date: 02/05/2011 
Lesson: 6
Since our thoughts are the root of our behaviors, it is important to follow God's advice about the importance of good thinking.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. Thank you for joining us this morning to worship with us. We know that you will be blessed, however you're joining us, live on the internet this morning streaming, by radio, television, however you're joining us, welcome. We're glad you're here.

So pull out your hymnals this morning, and we are going to sing hymn number 449, "never part again." This comes as a request from helen in antigua and barbuda, pedro in barbados, dan, jamie and jose in California, andria and dalton in Canada, hopal in the cayman islands, perside and elia in england, ray in grenada, arvonie in guyana, bob and Paula in Idaho, leonardo and jennifer in jamaica, leo and dorothy in Michigan, car-ee in norway, gem in panama, francis, mahlon and marlyn in saint lucia, bernardine, herrigan, greta, emily, gideon, nicolette, madelynn, sherrine, miriam, aldwyn and the cocorite adventist church all in trinidad and tobago, and lisa in zambia. Hymn number 449, "never part again," and we will sing all three verses... What a blessed hope. You could sing that all day. If you have a special hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website, www. And there you can click on the "contact us" link. And you can request any hymn in our hymnal, and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn this morning is hymn number 626, "in a little while we're going home." And this comes as a request from icilma in antigua and barbuda, ralph, birdie and carmetta in the bahamas, edith and alma in California, joan in the cayman islands, onesimus in england, lew and katie in Georgia, bob and Paula in Idaho, ronny in New Hampshire, merlin and cookie in North Carolina, bob and judy in Pennsylvania, neil, dan, Christine in the Philippines, henry in saudi arabia, jenny in South Dakota, ashley in tennessee, glen in the united arab emirates, bruce and Esther in Vermont, elwyn and mere in wales, keith in Washington and kebby in zambia. Hymn number 626, and we'll sing the first, the second and the last verse.

.. Let's pray. Our dear Heavenly Father, we know that you are coming soon. The signs all around us tell us and you have told us in Your Word to watch and to wait and to look. And we know by faith that you are about here.

So we thank you that we can honor you and worship before you on your holy day. And we just ask you Lord to fill us with your spirit, fill us, so that we can do our part in finishing up the work and finally, finally going home to live with you forever. Please be with pastor mike this morning as he brings us Your Word. Please help us to apply it to our lives, that we can be better Christians, that we could be more like you and that people will know you, because they've seen us. We pray these things, Jesus, in your holy, precious name.

Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor mike. And he is our health and outreach pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you very much. Happy Sabbath everybody.

You're all looking good today. God is good. We're on with lesson number 6 in our little book, "Jesus wept: the Bible and human emotions." A very needful theme I think because we live in an age where more and more we see the effects of emotions on health and stuff. For example, in more recent years I used to think about how veterans came back from the first world war and the second world war. And nobody spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder.

They just came home, "okay, go get a job now and go to work." And a lot of these men, they were suffering emotional scars. It's only more recently with the vietnam war and the iraq war that we've seen the effects that emotions can have upon people. But today we're talking about "good thinking," hopefully good thinking. And we have a memory text here. And it says, "finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excEllent or praiseworthy, think on such things.

" I think if we could probably sum our lesson up today it would be by saying that good thoughts promote good behavior, which in turn affects the character, which in turn affects the eternal destiny. Now I don't say that kind of something that we do ourselves as a salvation by works, not at all. I didn't mention Jesus there. But it is a fact that everything Jesus has provided in the way of grace to help us, we can negate all that through bad thinking, through the way that we focus our minds at certain times. Our minds, our imagination was not given to us just to run riot like some undisciplined 2-year-old in a candy store.

We're responsible to reign the 2-year-old in in the candy store or the toy store, and also to reign our minds in. We've been told that our mind is the best possession that we have. And so if it's our best possession, then we need to obviously take care of it. Because who controls the mind is the one that has control over you. So let's begin with Sunday's section.

It says, "thoughts: the root of behavior." We might well say, you know, my hand did a certain thing because my arm reached out in that direction. Or my feet went in a certain direction, because my leg went there first. No, it's not true. Your hand goes in a certain direction not because of your arm, but because of a decision that you make up here. And your foot and your leg, they go in a particular direction based upon a decision that you made with your mind.

So if you put your hand in the wrong place, don't say, "my arm made me do it." No, no, no. It was the thoughts that you thought that caused you to make that particular decision. Now I'd like somebody if they would to read Mark 7:21-23. Do we have a volunteer this morning? "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.

" Yeah, thank you very much, anderson. Yeah, so based on this, whether it's adultery or whatever it is, stealing, it all comes from within. And it's probably true to say that for every act of immorality, it's probably been rehearsed many times previously, secretly in the chambers of the mind and in the heart. And then the opportunity presents itself, and especially if the thought is, "I'm not going to get caught," people go ahead and do these things. So it usually begins inside.

Things don't happen just for no reason. "As a man thinketh, so he is." And just as evil things originate in the mind, well good things do too. And this is how we need to be. In Luke 6:45, the first part of the verse, Jesus said, "a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good." And it's probably true to say again that right thinking lays the foundation upon which a Godly character is built. Now that Godly character comes from Jesus, right? But he's done all that he has, but unless we let our thoughts focus on those things, all that he's done can be negated just because of what happens here between the ears.

What was I going to say here? Yeah, we cannot of ourselves generate some kind of sanctifying thought process. We can't do that. But we can focus on those things that will, such as of course the Word of God. We can focus on Jesus. Studying the character of Jesus is a tremendous thing to do in Scripture.

And in this book here, "the Desire of Ages," tremendous book. If we let our minds focus on these things, the love of God, the character of God as seen in the life of Jesus, as seen in the great gift that he has given, which was poured out for us at calvary. These are the things upon which we need to focus so that what he has done can actually have its sanctifying effect in our lives. But unless we do this, unless we have the living Christ in our lives directing the thoughts, then all we'll have is a religious philosophy, which may be just packed to the gills with truth. You may believe every word in the Scripture, every word in the "spirit of prophecy," and I hope you believe both.

But unless Christ is there as what brings it alive, you'd just be a religious philosophist. You'll have all the right things to say at all the right times, but it's just going to be information. When you give a personal testimony, you want that testimony to come out of your mouth as something that lives. Otherwise what do you do? You open your mouth and out comes a pile of rocks and dry dust that just pile up at your feet. You know, I mean, who wants to be like that? Now notice two verses here in Luke 6:47, Jesus said this.

And I want us to catch what he says here. And maybe you might say it's just a little play on words, but it's still a good play on words. Jesus said, "whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, and the stream came and beat vehemently upon that house, it could not be shaken: for it was founded upon a rock." Now I want you to catch that little term that Jesus said though, "whoever cometh to me, and hear to things that I tell them to do and goes and does them, then they're building their house upon a rock." But he speaks of another person here in this passage. Of course he is of course the living word, he is the reality that makes everything come to life. But the second person, verse 49 here, somebody read that, would you? Verse 49.

"But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." Thank you. So this man here, it says he is, but he doesn't go and do. So this is not a man who's not an unbeliever, who's obviously maybe been in church. And he's heard these things, but he doesn't do them. Why? 'Cause the difference between this person and the other one who did it is that the other one, he went to Jesus.

And when we go to Jesus, that makes all the difference in the world. Because without Christ within our hearts, you can try and keep the law 'til you're blue in the face, and outwardly you may apparently have some success, but God sees the real picture. And it just--it just doesn't work. So really what we're talking about here this morning, we're actually talking about conversion. We're actually talking about conversion.

And this is exactly--this particular term conversion exactly relates to the question that is posed in Sunday's section. If you have your lesson, you may have noticed. There's a question, it says, "what alternative is proposed by Paul to deal with immoral behavior?" And the answer to this, we're referred to Romans 8:5-8. And if somebody would read Romans 8:5. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Thank you very much, jolyne. That's exactly right. It just kind of nails the whole thing.

So we can either walk in the flesh or we can walk in the Spirit. And it's the Spirit of course of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the infilling that he gives to us when we open our lives to him. We get the mind of Christ. We think differently. We desire good rather than evil.

Prior to this experience, our minds were warring against the law of God. We were warring against it. Now suddenly we find ourselves, we've made peace. We made peace with God's Word. And we long more than anything else to live lives which are joyfully submissive to its holy and its righteous standards.

We just want to submit and we delight to do God's will. Anyway, we need to move on. Let's go to Monday. This is a--there's a lot of interesting things in this lesson here this section, which I don't know if I'll get time to touch on them all. But it's certainly an important one.

Thoughts is a source of distress. Now I didn't bring one with me this morning, 'cause I forgot, but--and you'll know where I'm going exactly when I mention this. But suppose I have a lemon here this morning, okay. Where am I going? You know. [Laughs] if I had a little slab here and I cut this lemon in half, okay, and just take it from me.

It's a fresh one. And as you cut through the rind you get all those little cells, all that lemon juice, that lemon oil that's just spurting out. And you cut through it and it's dripping with tart lemon juice. And I get that thing and I just put it to my mouth and I start chomping down. Anybody like lemons by the way? You like to eat them like that.

Some people do. That's fine. You've seen this done. When we used to do the old 5-day plan to stop smoking, we would do this illustration--this demonstration to illustrate the power or suggestion of the mind physically upon the body. And we would cut that lemon there and we'd start sucking on the thing.

And then we'd ask the question. We'd ask the question, what's happening in your mouth right now? Well, there's always somebody that will say, "nothing." There's always somebody like that. And there's probably some of you this morning, you're probably thinking, "pastor mike, I'm sorry, but it just didn't work." But I know with some of you, as you really thought about that, your salivary glands start to work, right? Lemon is nowhere close to you. But none the less, it illustrates the fact that how we think can have a powerful impact upon us physically. So the way you think, a merry heart doeth good like a? Medicine.

Medicine. You know, there's a lot of good psychology and a lot of good psychiatry in that. But a broken spirit dries the bones. Yes, it dries the bones. Distressing thoughts can adversely affect us physically and can cause a organic disease.

Now while some stress is okay. We need a little bit of stress once in a while, and a little dose of fear once in a while doesn't go amiss. But it's not God's purpose or his wish that we should long-term be in a state of stress or especially fear. Now sometimes events happen in life, we just can't avoid them. But God does not want us to become a slave to our fears, even if we're in a situation that is long-term and it's very, very difficult.

Maybe, you know, maybe you're in a marriage where it's really hard. And you get under stress. You know, God said there's no temptation taken you that such that is common to man and women. But will with the temptation make a way of escape that you be able to bear it. I'm not saying you leave your spouse.

Sometimes that happens. But he will give you grace. God always gives you grace to either deliver you from the circumstance, or he gives you grace to be able to bear up under the circumstance. But either way you get your prayer answered. God always, always answers us and helps us and does not allow us to bear more than what we can bear.

But in spite of that, we tend to be pretty rough on ourselves sometimes. Some of us more than others and kind of even maybe compulsively dwelling on distressing thoughts. One perhaps you may have doubts that God has forgiven you. The lesson next week is on depression. I snuck a little look at that.

And one of the questions--one of the sections in there is about one of the symptoms of depression sometimes, there's people feel guilty, extreme guilt. And it can be over stuff that forgiven a long time ago. But because the serotonin is down, you become very negative. You start thinking back. And you can start feeling guilty about things that God has long ago forgiven.

But you see, it's important that the thoughts go in the right direction, because there's a little saying there that expression deepens impression. You may have heard this. So you may verbally out loud say to yourself, muttering away at yourself, "oh, I don't feel good about this. I'm sure this is going to happen." Oh, for example if you doubt that God loves you and that God forgives you, you may say, "I don't think God loves me. I don't think God has forgiven me.

" You express that. It goes in your ear. And what does it do? Expression deepens the impression upon the mind. Become more confirmed in that thought, you express it again. And so it becomes a vicious cycle until something which originally may have seen like a little molehill, what does it do? It becomes a huge, huge mountain just looming over you.

And the devil is really happy for us to do this kind of thinking, because it's one of the prime ways that he has of trying to bring back the past, take our eyes off Jesus and the cross and his mercy, start pulling all the stuff out of the trunk and getting you to focus on that. And what that does, it is very discouraging. He's very detrimental to your mental health and even your spiritual health. And what he does, he seeks to discourage you, break your hold, destroy your faith upon God. And the next thing you know, he's kind of taking you off under his power.

God does not want us to let that--God does not want that to happen. Now I'll give you an example of how kind of cherishing unbelief really did a lot of damage to the disciples. I want to go to "Desire of Ages" this morning. And it's based upon Mark--Matthew 14, Mark 6 and John 6 of the storm on the lake. You remember that story? And this is page 380 and 381 from "Desire of Ages.

" But I want to read what it says here. The disciples, they'd seen Jesus many times work miracles. They'd seen people following him. And they knew if Jesus would just make a claim for the throne of Israel, he'd just have the rank-and-file support of the people. Sure the pharisees would oppose, but you know, they were political in some ways.

And if they saw that all the regular populist was wanting this, they would have backed down. And so the disciples were getting a bit frustrated sometimes. "Why doesn't Jesus proclaim himself to be king?" Well, this is what it says here. It says, "unbelief was taking possession of their minds and hearts," unbelief. It says--let me move up.

He says, "were they always to be accounted followers of a false prophet?" "Oh, you're with Jesus, right?" "Yeah." Well, there were those who called him a false prophet. And the disciples are getting a little bit ticked off, you know. "Jesus, we're not following a false prophet. You know, you're giving us a hard time as well." So here's their thinking, you see. "Why did not he who possessed such power reveal his true character and make their way less painful? Why had he not saved John the baptist from a violent death?" Now there's a good question.

Why didn't he save John, you know? That's a thought. "Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness." They questioned. This is what they finally got to in their thinking. "They questioned, 'could Jesus be an imposter as the pharisees asserted?'" Imagine that. But that's where they were going.

It says here that, "they had plenty of evidence. Those were hours of large blessing, the disciples. But they'd forgotten it all. They were in the midst of troubled waters. Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable.

" So what did God do? "the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls and occupy their minds." Listen to this. "God often does this when men create burdens and troubles for themselves." So what did God allow to happen to get their doubts thrown overboard and realize that Jesus is the one we need. And what did he do? Well God allowed him to get in that little boat and start going over the lake. And what did he do? "A violent tempest had been stealing upon them. And they were unprepared for it.

It was a sudden contrast. For the day had been perfect. And when the gale struck them, they were afraid. They forgot their disaffection, their unbelief, and their impatience." So who did they cry for? Who were they longing to be there with them? They were longing for Jesus, weren't they? They were longing for Jesus. It says further on here.

"The worried men gave themselves up for lost. And storm and darkness and the sea had taught them their own helplessness. And they longed for the presence of their master. So you see, learn a lesson from this. If you start doubting that God loves you, God may leave you with those thoughts.

And next thing you know, you bring upon yourself dark, deep, dark spiritual darkness. There's no virtue in unbelief. In fact you go to Revelation 22:15 I think it says there. "The unbelieving are outside the new Jerusalem." We must believe. We must believe.

We must believe. The just shall live by faith. And we do this sometimes. But you know what? Even though we're prone to disbelieve and bring distressing thoughts upon ourselves, our feelings and thoughts may change about God, but do his thoughts change toward us? No, they don't. It says here, "Jesus had not forgotten them.

The watcher on the shore saw those fear-stricken men battling with the tempest. Not for a moment did he lose sight of his disciples. With deepest solicitude, his eyes followed the storm-tossed boat with its precious burden. For these men were to be the light of the world." In the very moment where they thought Jesus was the furthest away, that's where they were the closest to him in his heart. That was his church out there.

"As a mother in tender love watches her child, so the compassionate master watched his disciples. When their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled and in humility they prayed for help. It was given them. I'll conclude with this two or three sentences. "At the moment when they believed themselves lost--" and it was all though what? Encouraging distressing thoughts.

God allowed this storm now to change them. "At the moment when they believed themselves lost, a gleam of light reveals a mysterious figure approaching them upon the water. But they know not that it is Jesus. The one who has come for their help, they count as an enemy." That, you see, that's what distressing thoughts can do to you. Jesus is coming toward them and even now they look upon him as an enemy, like Jacob wrestling.

He felt that this was some assailant and he's struggling for his life. And it was his best friend in the world. But this is how we can get. Our minds can get so twisted around. "The one who has come for their help, they count as an enemy.

Terror overpowers them. They think it a phantom that omens their destruction. They cry out for fear. Jesus advances as he would pass them, but they recognize him and cry out entreating his help. The beloved master turns his voice, silences their fears and says, 'be of good cheer.

It is i. Be not afraid.' For a moment Christ is hidden from his view and his faith gives way. But then he hears the loving rebuke, 'o thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?'" "The just shall live by faith," beloved, so never doubt. So anybody here this morning that doubts that you are forgiven, you dishonor Jesus by entertaining such thoughts. You be of good cheer.

You are forgiven. You're a child of God. You got a clean page in heaven. And then of course the lesson makes the point that--and I'm still on this same section here--that when we speak negative expressions, of course we affect other people as well. I'm sure the disciples affected one another.

We must never underestimate the power of our words to build up or to tear down the lives and faith of other people. And Monday's section cites three passages relating to the prejudice and opposition that came against the Gospel and even personally against the apostle Paul by brethren who were trying to obviously oppose him. Sometimes known as a circumcision party or the judaizers, they were going into churches where Paul had been and they were trying to bring these people back to the ceremonial law, trying to tell them, "you got to be circumcised," or you know, this, that and the other. And it just causing real havoc. And these judaizers, you know, they would speak negatively of Paul.

So Paul wrote to them in Galatians, in Galatians 3:1. Would somebody read that verse for us, Galatians 3? Do we have the microphone over here? "O foolish Galatians! Who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath benevolently set forth crucified among you?" Thank you very much. Yeah, he says, "o foolish Galatians! Who hath bewitched you?" I hope this helps us to remember that there may be those who express negative thoughts which are very destructive to truth, but in a way that might take us unawares because they might do it with an air of care and concern. Look out for this. He says, "who has bewitched you?" He's not saying, "well who came in the church and hit you over the head with a scroll and told you how to do this?" No, he says, "who--" he says, "who got hold of your thinking here? Who kind of took your hand gently and took you down the path here?" You see we can be sure that we're probably those among the judaizers that would come into their churches and, you know, I would be pretty, "hey, you people need to, you know, you need to get back to the law of Moses.

" But it's probably true to say there were those who came in that perhaps very gentle, very pleasing disposition, very persuasive spirit, and they would sit down with the people and say, "you know," and name the name of Christ. But those kind of individuals, those can be the most dangerous. And they are the ones that we have to really be on the lookout for. "Who bewitched you?" Now when we look at what lucifer did in heaven, with the negative thoughts that he started sowing out there among the angels, he didn't go around saying, "hey, you know what? God is bad. God is a bad God.

" No, what did he do? He went with an air of concern. Probably went to angels and said, "you know, God is so good, but I just have a little concern about God. I'm a little worried about God." Drop a seed and off he goes. You don't know how long he was doing this for. And I've mentioned this before, maybe--who knows how long.

Bit by bit, just insinuating these negative thoughts, popping a seed in and saying, "but you know, God is still a good God, but just you know, look out." And so off he goes. And so finally what happens there's this thinking permeates the minds of so many angels, probably got to all the angels. It's just that some felt a little bit differently and made a different choice in the end. But he had a powerful effect, even on the angels. And we're told in "Desire of Ages," it really wasn't 'til the cross, even with the good angels, that they really saw satan's truly bad character that he had when he was responsible for murdering Christ.

So let us just be aware of that. Be very careful that yourself, you don't say something of God, you just never know. I was reading just two or three days ago, I think it was in "ministry magazine," the latest "ministry magazine." There was a letter on the back page. Yeah, it was "ministry magazine" from a gentleman who was--is going again to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But he was just a young theology student.

And he was there in college. And he believed the Word of God and he believed the "spirit of prophecy." And his professor who he had tremendous respect for, he looked up to his professor, and the age of the earth was mentioned. You know? There are some folks, they claim to be creationists, but they say it happened over a long period of time. That is totally against what the Word of God says. And you've heard some of this stuff.

And he put his hand up in the class, he says, "professor," he says, "but you know the Bible says, you know, as we calculate it's about 6,000 years. And Ellen white says the earth is around 6,000 years old." And the professor said, "well, Ellen white was just a product of her time." That was the end of the discussion. You know what? That started something rolling around in that young man's mind. Finally, one doubt led to another doubt. He left college.

He left the church. And he went down a road which was dark and very, very rocky, 'til finally--i don't remember what the rest of it said, but yeah that was it, yeah. He got a job as a chaplain in a college, of all people. And as young people were coming to him and asking questions, he would try and give answers based upon--he didn't have anything left. So bit by bit, he started shifting back to the Word of God.

And finally he realized that he had been duped. And now the sad thing is because of the doubts he had, he took his wife and his kids out of the church. He's back now. He's back in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and he says, "right now I'm alone. I'm just praying that my family can come back as well.

" But it's a very telling letter. It's almost I think near the back page in the latest "ministry magazine." So be careful what you say. I don't mean to be so long here on Monday, but be very, very careful. Negative thinking can do a lot of damage. Okay, Tuesday, the other side of the coin, wholesome thinking.

We got the opposite picture here. Somebody read Philippians 4:8 please. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise--think on these things." Thank you very much. Now can you imagine, even in an imperfect world, imagine if you can what kind of dramatic changes would take place if everybody followed this one Bible verse. Imagine how the divorce rates would go down.

Imagine how the family courts would--well, they'd have to layoff Judges. That might not be a bad thing sometimes. What did I just say? And court personnel. You know, down on power inn road, have you seen the family court? There's three huge buildings. They're not very old.

This is truly--now I'm not making light of it. I know there's people going through a lot of hurt with these things, so please don't get me wrong. But there's three huge buildings and it's all to do with domestic and family things. I've had to go there once in a while. Just if that one verse, Philippians 4:8, was carried out between husbands and wives and children.

Imagine how we'd have to--there'd be a down plunge in crime. We'd have to layoff police. No amens? We need--i wasn't looking for that. But you know, it would be nice if we needed less police, wouldn't it? And prison personnel. Imagine the international tensions that would be relieved.

Right now today if in korea or in iran or wherever, or even here, if the whole world just took that one verse, even before the second coming of Christ, there'd be a lot more heaven-like stuff going on here, just with that one verse. Don't you think? Just naturally quite amazing. But the world's not like that. So we do need the Judges. And we do need the prison personnel.

And we do need the police. It's just--unfortunately it's not the way it is. And unfortunately there's one aspect, there's one industry which Christians especially know they should look out for, but I don't think necessarily do, this industry that undermines Philippians 4:8, and that is the entertainment industries, what we see on television, on dvds. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, pure, lovely, good virtue, good report." Chances are probably video stores will probably shut their doors by and by because you can get this stuff through technology now quite easily. But if you went in any video store today and you looked along those shelves for that which depicts that which is true, just, pure, lovely, good report, you'd probably just be knocking them all off the floor.

There'd probably be a few left. There are some good things you can find, not necessarily in video stores. But there's so much garbage. And the entertainment industry is one that turns out those kinds of things that undermine Philippians 4:8. Now they might well argue, "but you know, we're only providing what the public wants," which is true.

But friends, we may be part of the public, but we're Christians. And if that's what the public desires, and that's what the entertainment industry supplies them with, we don't have to be a part of that. We don't have to be a part of that. We can in this Godless society and this fallen world engage in a heavenly kind of thinking, to allow our minds to focus on those things which are just and pure and lovely. The holy Scriptures, mentioned that before, looking at the life of Jesus, thinking of God's goodness, spending time on our knees.

These are the things that bring into our lives the sanctifying power of God and will develop new thought pathways in the brain. You know, it's being shown that you can actually lay down new pathways. Your neurons can sprout these little buds which can lay down new pathways of thought. So you may say, "I'm so, pastor white, I'm so engrained in this way of thinking or this particular habit." You may be. But there is--God has made the brain with some plasticity.

And they've shown that you can start sprouting new little neurons and pathways. And if you keep doing that, by the grace of God, your mind does not have to go down the wrong path. You can send it that way instead, and think about something else. And as you think about something else, you'll feel something else. And the hands will do different things.

And the feet will go in a different direction. Your mind is the best possession that you have. God has given it to you. That's why the devil's trying to steal the thing away from you. So how we allow that mind to think is so crucially important.

It's the way the character is shaped into the divine likeness. 1 Peter 1:23 says, "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever." We are responsible for what we allow our minds to dwell upon. And the Word of God will be a hedge and a protection, a hedge and a protection to stop our minds kind of sneaking out and going where they shouldn't go. Let's kind of look at it, I think I've used this illustration once before, but imagine that your thoughts, your imagination is like a herd of sheep. And you got, you know, there's a gate here and a gate here.

And the gate there sends them down in all the bad places, so you've got to keep that gate shut. But your thoughts have got to go somewhere. Have you ever tried to sit and stare and think about nothing? Just can't do that. Maybe some of you can. Maybe you think I do sometimes.

But there is a gate you can open. And it is the gateway into Scripture. And if you can kind of get tHis Word-picture, you open that gate, and you let your mind, your imagination, go out all those little sheep. And they go out and they graze. They can graze safely on those green hills and dales of the Word of God.

And they can just wander for miles. And there it's safe. And they won't be nibbling and partaking of that which is corrupt and destructive. And you know, the Word of God, it's a vast pasture, just let that little herd of sheep go out there. You can even shut the gate after them.

Leave 'em. That's where our minds, that's where our minds need to be. Okay, is that all I have to say on that bit? Yes, I guess I do. Wednesday, "thoughts of our hearts." Okay, we're looking at Wednesday, "thoughts--" we've got about six and a half minutes left. We tend to take it for granted that there are certain high-tech medical devices today that can actually look right inside your body.

You know, we've got scanning machines and stuff. And it's really quite amazing what they can do. And also it's quite amazing that at airports now, there's this issue that a lot of people don't like whereby you can have somebody find out if you're carrying something where you shouldn't or you can go through a scanning machine. And you don't need me to tell you that some people are kind of up in arms about this, because as you go through the machine, there's somebody in some room somewhere that can see through your clothing. And I don't think what they see is really that detailed, but nonetheless, you know, a lot of people just feel kind of violated by it.

And you can't blame them for that. So it's kind of embarrassing, but just imagine if you had a computer screen right here on your forehead, pretty large fonts. And it was constantly just flashing up there the thoughts that came into your mind, you know, the images that came into it, pictures as well and the thoughts that come into your mind. God--God can see in our minds just as easily as that. He doesn't need any computer screen, but imagine if there was something like that.

God can see in our hearts. And we should be concerned about that, but how would we feel if we had this screen and we're walking around and I come to you and you can see everything that's going on in my head. And maybe outwardly I'm behaving very good and politely, but there's maybe all this bad stuff. And I'm kind of doing this. And you've got one as well, and we're both there doing this.

I don't want to sound stupid this morning, but the fact is, God reads our minds and our thoughts like an open book. And if we would be embarrassed about what human beings might see flashing across that screen, how should we feel knowing that God, he sees it all the time, sees it all the time. There's a verse or two in here. And that's an indication of what road we're on. 1 Kings 8:39, it says, God--Solomon is saying, "you alone know the hearts of all men.

" 1 Corinthians 28:9, "for the Lord searcheth all hearts and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts." And I've got Hebrews 4:13 here, says, "neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked," screening, "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." So how is the computer screen that God is looking at this morning? Only you should answer that. But it's either praiseworthy and pleasing to God or it's otherwise. But David had a prayer--I'm going to have to cut this short. David had a prayer in psalm 19:14. He says, "let the word of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, o Lord my strength and my redeemer.

" I pray that every day, because I can have challenges with thoughts. Now I want to throw this in before our time goes. There are some people that get a bad thought, and they think, "oh! I've sinned. I had a bad thought. I've sinned.

God's upset. He's disgusted with me." And they get very, very discouraged. "I've got to stop thinking about this." Another bad thought comes in, think they've sinned again. No, I want you to be of good courage. I was looking for a statement from the "spirit of prophecy," that I used in a sermon 20 years ago, it's called, "as a man thinketh.

" Excuse me. I didn't have time to get it, but this is pretty much word for word, this is what it says, so listen. It says there are thoughts and feelings suggested or aroused by satan that annoy even the best of men. But if these thoughts are not cherished, then the soul has not incurred sin and guilt. I'm telling you that because some people think if they think a bad thought, they've sinned.

No. We're born in this world with all this dna that we didn't ask for, but we're dumped with it. We inherit things from our parents. We may not always been raised as Christians, and even if we've been raised as Christians, we're all descendants of fallen adam. And so we can get bad thought.

Ellen white said, be encouraged, "there are thoughts and suggestions aroused by satan that annoy even the best of men." So you think of Bible characters, they would have these thoughts would pop into their mind. But the thing is, you see, you don't have to take ownership. When the devil--there's another statement she says. "Do not for one moment acknowledge those thoughts as being in harmony with your own mind, but turn from them as you would from the adversary himself." So the servant of the Lord is telling you, you'll get them. You will, just the way it is.

But don't acknowledge them. And the devil has kind of a habit sometimes of bringing something--and you've seen me do this before. Here comes a thought related at something bad that you used to think about. And you kind of slap it in your hand. And he says, "what are you thinking about?" And you think, "I'm thinking about this.

" "This is yours, take ownership. This is you." No! You say, "no, that is no more a part of my life." And by the grace of God you reject it. And in God's eyes you have not incurred guilt. You have not sinned. You think bad thoughts ever came to Jesus? What does the Bible say? "He was tempted in all points like as we are.

" Sure, you can be sure the devil has tried. But Ellen white says, whether they came or not, she says, "not even by a thought did Jesus sin." He did not cherish that thought. Out it went. And she said, "so it may be with us." On that hopefully encouraging note, I'm going to leave the rest. And we have to finish.

So God bless you in your thinking. May it be good thinking. May it be encouraging thinking. And remember, above all else in your thinking that Jesus loves you. And he's very merciful.

And he can give you a new mind and a new heart. Oh, the free offer as well is "the armor of God." You can get this if you call 1-866-study-more or 1-866-788-3966. From Amazing Facts, free offer, "the armor of God."

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