Tag Archives: Thoughts

Virtual Reality vs. Virtue

Philippians 4:8 Part 7

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.

 

Virtue is an interesting word, isn’t it?  Before doing this study, I thought of virtue as decent, respectful and with integrity and high moral standards.  And I was partially right.  I looked it up!  In the Greek this word means excellence and is translated hat way for this verse in the New American Standard Bible and the NIV.  This excellence is an excellence of moral character according to Strong’s.

As I look in Webster’s dictionary, virtue takes on many more meanings.  It says behavior that shows high moral character and then it lists synonyms for virtue which is quite a list of things: 
goodness
, virtuousness, righteousnessmoralityintegritydignity,rectitudehonordecencyrespectabilitynobility, worthiness and purity.  Now that’s quite a list!

As we look over this list, we can see how far our culture has moved away from virtue.  We see corruption I our highest government offices, and a lack of high moral character there as well.  Dignity and decency have gone out the window in our society (have you ever seen pictures from a gay pride parade?), and our internet is filled with all kinds of indecency and deception.  ESPN gave its highest honor to a man who became a woman!  What does that tell us?  Virtue is disappearing from our landscape.  The church must stay relevant and virtuous, or all hope is lost for our country.

Paul changes the wording here to say that if there is any virtue, we should think about that.  Maybe he foresaw the day when virtue would start to fade in our cultures.  Paul knows the value of virtue in a society having seen the atrocities of Rome first hand.  He knows that a society that starts to lose virtue will implode eventually.

The church must not let that happen.  We need to rise up a virtuous army of people and restore decency to our culture.  It’s not up to our politicians to do this, it’s the church’s responsibility.  This is what 2 Chronicles 7:14 is all about.  Each of us, individually, becoming virtuous and praying for or nation.  Let’s make virtue more common than virtual reality once again!

Advertisements

The Power of Positive Thinking

Philippians 4:8 Part 5

“8 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.”

When I see the word lovely I think of something that’s pretty or beautiful, like a pretty lady. I wondered to myself how this fits in with the rest of these things we have to think about because it seems so limited.

So I looked up the word lovely in Strong’s Concordance and what it means is pleasing or acceptable. Now looking at it that way I can see a lot of applications to the way that we think.

When I first got saved back in 1976 I had a terrible attitude. I was very good at cutting people apart with my tongue in an instant. I had a very sharp wit and it was mostly negative. I started going back to church once I get saved and also started talking to the pastor on a regular basis. He introduced me to a book that was very popular back in the seventies. It was written by Norman Vincent Peale and was called “The Power of Positive Thinking. That book changed my life.

Basically, It taught that we have to think about the best things in life, and shut out the worst things in life. As we re-frame our thinking our mouth tends to follow. So, reading and studying through this book helped me to start thinking about things that are pleasant and acceptable, or lovely. And that pattern was never more true than it is today. If you ask people around me they will tell you that I’m about the most positive person they’ve ever seen. While it’s true that my faith and love for God plays a big part in that, it was definitely spurred on by those two years studying that book,  I want to thank my former Pastor for the lesson well taught and learned.

To think on things that are lovely means that we will have positive words and positive attitude flowing through our mind on a regular basis. And when that happens the negative has no place to land.  The first step to a realization of this thought process is to find the type of faith that trusts God implicitly in any situation.  How do we find that?  Well faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Ro 10:17).  Get into the word and study scriptures on faith.  See all the times God came through I impossible situations.  And remember that God does not change (Heb 13:8).  If He did it before, He can do it again.

Secondly, know that God always works all things for your good (Rom 8:28).  You have to KNOW this, not just know the verse.  When you come to know this is true, negative thoughts will vanish when it comes to your life.

Third, practice Ephesians 4:29, which tells us not to say anything except what will edify someone else.

And fourth, meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and practice what Christian love is all about.  This is a starting point.  I also suggest this book to you. I’m sure you can find it on Amazon or in your local library. If you’re stuck in depression or just have a lousy attitude towards life, this book can change everything for you. I pray you will find it today.

What Was I Thinking?

Philippians 4:8 Part 1

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, a

nd if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 We have now come to a verse that I would consider one of the key verses for any Christian in the whole Bible. There is such richness and so much depth said in such a simplistic way in Philippians 4:8 that it boggles my mind. I’m sure that you have been in this verse as many times as I have. I am not going to go over this very quickly. We are going to spend some time here because I feel what Paul says here is so essential to the church, especially in these last days. We must, and I reiterate, we must put these things into practice every day, every minute, every second.

First he says “Finally my brethren”. I get a picture of Paul putting his pen to the paper and preparing to finish his letter to the Philippians with another verse or two. And then outflows Philippians 4:8 and Paul can’t help it go on for another 15 verses. The power of the Holy Spirit overcomes him and he just keeps on writing.  Reminds me of those preachers who say they are closing and then go on for 20 more minutes!

One thing we have to remember is the preceding four verses that tell us to rejoice, to be gentle, to give thanks, and to have peace. I think Paul led up to this verse brilliantly because the attributes mentioned I verse 8 would be very difficult if we did not have the previous four verses active in our lives. We learn to rejoice in any situation, we learn to be gentle, we learn to give thanks when we pray and we learn about the peace of God.  If we have those disciplines down pretty good, then it makes it so much easier to do what Paul asked us to do here. If you’re not in that place you can try to do these things, and I would highly recommend that you try, but it will be more difficult. Imagine trying to think on only good things if you have not learned to rejoice in the Lord!  Or imaging thinking on things that are lovely if you haven’t learned to give thanks in everything!  Could you think only of things that are good report if you did not have peace?  You being to see why the verses go in this order.

I want to skip down to the end of the verse before I go through the middle.  Paul says “think on these things”. It’s not a matter of saying the right thing – Paul wants us to think on the right thing. To have our mind so in tune with God that all we can think about are things that are true, and honest, and just and pure and lovely and of good report and virtuous and praiseworthy. Those are the things that hold my mind everyday. There is no lust, no greed, no bad thoughts. We are thinking like God when we think like this.

The bible says whatsoever is in the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt 15:16). I need to think on these things so it will get it down into my heart.   James says the tongue is an unruly evil )James 3:8) and that we need to learn to tame it (James 3:2). The writer of Proverbs, the wisest man in the world, mentioned several times that our tongue can be trouble for us (Proverbs 12:18, 15:4,18:21). But the mouth will only say what is in the heart. We don’t have to look any farther than the last presidential election to know what can be in some hearts.

So the next few days, as we go over these things, keep in your mind Philippians 4:4-7 and then keep in your mind the fact it we are supposed to think on these things. Don’t worry. I’ll be reminding you! Perhaps if each one of us would concentrate enough we could see this thought process very active and alive on an everyday basis. Wouldn’t that be awesome!