TRUST VS RECKLESSNESS

I posted the other day about our Bible study’s discussion regarding COVID-19 and how we saw it, not as a reason for panic, but an opportunity to be an agent of peace and light.

But, lest someone think we are standing in Wal-Mart daring COVID-19 to touch us, I feel a need to also share some of the rest of the discussion.

We discussed being wise. We encouraged each other not to act recklessly. We recalled Jesus/Yeshua’s time of temptation by Satan, who dared Him to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple because, after all, God would not allow Him to dash His foot against a stone.

His reply- “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matt 4:5-6)

Trusting in God does NOT mean you can stand in the middle of a busy highway and dare the 18 wheeler to hit you because you think God has an obligation to protect you! And the same goes for recklessly exposing yourself to the coronavirus! God has no such obligation! This is not trust! This is recklessness! The Scripture makes it clear that we should be wise.

Proverbs 22:3 ESV

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it

Proverbs 14:15 ESV
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

So, along with being pandemically kind, we also want to exercise wisdom in not being reckless with our behavior. For us, that means avoiding crowds and public places when possible, and being sensitive to the fact that, although we may not contract the virus ourselves, we could carry it to someone who then might become ill!

Ephesians 5:15 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise

PANDEMIC!!!

Today, at Bible study, of COURSE Coronavirus came up! But, I am happy to report that the conversation did not center around fear or panic at all! Instead, the focus was on the great opportunity we have to dispel darkness with light, to counteract fear with peace, and respond to a save-yourself attitude with an offer to help.

What an opportunity to give our neighbor a package of Charmin, allow the stranger behind us in the long line at the register to go in front of us, and to pick up the last Clorox wipes on the store shelf only to then hand them to the person who looks upset and frightened. And, even if we are confronted with anger or rudeness, we can respond with kindness and understanding. We have the most awesome opportunity to be pandemically contagious with love, peace, and selflessness. I was so impressed with our little study group!

May we go forth and recklessly expose everyone we encounter to the love with which we have previously been graciously infected!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

COVID-19 – God does NOT “got this!”

You know, I really have felt that the COVID-19  “pandemic” has been greatly overblown. And, to a great extent, I still do.  That being said,  I overheard a conversation in court today that offered another perspective. The speaker noted that, in many cases, those making a run on the stores and stockpiling, are doing so, not  because they fear contracting the disease, but out of a concern that shipments from China and other suppliers might be disrupted for a time.  Others are alarmed about the possibility that they may be required to lock down, leaving them unable to access supplies.  This was a perspective that I had not considered. Perhaps a little extra TP is not such a bad idea.

BUT, early one morning while praying, something else came to my mind.  I was petitioning the King of Kings on behalf of several people that I  love dearly. Each is going through stormy seas currently. Some are dealing with financial challenges while others have marriages in peril. And still others are experiencing serious health concerns. I was struggling somewhat with knowing what I could “suggest” to an Almighty Creator!  I defaulted to the Lord’s prayer – THY kingdom come.  THY will be done!

KINGDOM – a place where HE is King, and all others are subservient.  A place where HE makes all decisions for the benefit of His subjects!

I thought of the many times I have heard (and sometimes said)  “God’s got this!” But now I’m not so sure!  You see, it’s not that “God’s got this.”  It’s really not!  Quite frankly, many with strong faith would have to concede that numerous petitions, even when requested with perfect faith, have gone unanswered or denied. The crux of the problem lies in the fact that, although we absolutely believe that the God Who stopped the sun, split the sea, sent a large fish uber to transport a prophet, and raised the dead is ABLE to solve ANY issue with which we are faced – we are not so sure that He WILL! Our experience tells us that sometimes He does not, and besides, do we really deserve it? Didn’t we get ourselves into this mess in the first place?

So here’s what might sound like REALLY bad news – God does NOT “got this”  (at least not in the way that we might think of it). But, here’s the GOOD news – nor does He need to!  

God does not need to “got this” if God’s got YOU!   There is no need to run from trauma to trauma and stressor to stressor wondering if He will act on your behalf!  He will ALWAYS act on your behalf if He owns you! But acting on your behalf may at times not look like what you would have imagined or chosen! Stress, trauma, and stormy seas provide classroom time allowing plenty of practice in the discipline of turning ALL over to His kingship. You see, God has a vested interest in providing for and protecting that which He owns. On the other hand, as long as WE retain ownership, those responsibilities are ours!

If we believe He is sovereign, then we must admit that He has allowed us to be in this place at this time.  AND He has also allowed the dreaded coronavirus!  With that in mind, let’s take a look at this!

In all things give thanks, for THIS is the will of God in the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus! (1 Thes 5:18)

Could it be that the word THIS in the above passage refers not to the giving thanks, but to whatever the “all” is? As it relates to COVID-19, we would have to say – In all things (including coronavirus) give thanks, for this (the coronavirus) is the Will of God!

After all, if we believe He is omniscient, then could we possibly imagine that COVID-19  has taken Him by surprise? Do we suppose that He is pacing the floors of Heaven, wringing His hands, wondering “what are my people going to do about COVID-19?”   

If we surmise that He is omnipotent, then we must acknowledge that He is able to put an immediate stop to the coronavirus and, in fact, could have disallowed its dissemination in the first place!   

If we agree that He is sovereign, omniscient, and omnipotent, and yet He did NOT stop this pandemic, can we also believe that He is good?

GOOD– Just as with any good parent, our Heavenly Father considers FUTURE implications when approving or denying requests. I am SO very thankful that He did NOT respond to many of my short-sighted petitions in the way that I would have wished. Oh, yes He is good! His concern is not so much with our temporal comfort and happiness; but with our eternal gain! When we were a baby, we did not understand why our parents would not allow us to play with the electrical outlet, but it was their love and determination to protect that demanded that they deny our wish. When we were a toddler, we screamed and kicked as they pulled us away from the street. Loving? Why, yes! And as a teenager, their decision to ban us from running around with that older group seemed simply controlling and out-of-touch with the current times. Ah, but they could see things that we could not. Good parenting indeed!

Once we have established within ourselves that God is not only, sovereign, omnipotent, and omniscient, but always good as well,  then must we come to the conclusion that somehow, someway, this too, (COVID-19) is designed to profit us? But, how? 

At least one way comes to mind.  Oh, of course, He wants us to be wise, and perhaps we should put bags of beans in our pantries and TP in our closets. We should take lots of vitamin C and get plenty of rest.  But, at the end of the day, His desire is for us to be satisfied with the knowledge that, should He choose to leave us IN the storm, it is the storm that we need, and He will see us THROUGH it! He’s got you!  I believe He wants us to practice believing Him in all things and at all times. I believe He wants us to work out our spiritual muscles, standing firm in the knowledge that His choices for our lives are FAR superior to anything we could choose for ourselves. He’s got you!

Times like these are powerful spiritual purifiers and sanctifiers.  Far superior to any diffused essential oil, He provides THE  truly ESSENTIAL Oil!   Yes, He could stop the Corona storm tomorrow, but if He doesn’t —

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me! Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me! (Ps 23:4)

 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.( Isa 41:10)

Cast all your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you!  (1 Peter 5:7)

EXTREME MAKEOVER 7 – Spiritual Edition – PURITY

WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE – The word translated as pure means clean, modest, perfect, chaste.   In the days in which we live, it is becoming more and more difficult to bring something to mind that could be considered PURE.  Even when considering children, it is now only the VERY young whose minds have not yet been polluted by the impurity that surrounds us. Our society is constantly inundated with the impure from every quarter!  It is next to impossible to keep decidedly RAUNCHY material from flowing into our homes, cars, workplaces, and even our WATCHES,  multiple times throughout the day via social media, television, and internet! 

Innocent children, with no intention of accessing explicit material are being subjected to it at every turn.  Parents have become so desensitized to sexually charged media that they think nothing of allowing their toddlers to be exposed along with them. Think it will not harm them?  Think it will not harm you?   Think again!

Take every thought captive and make all thoughts comply! Give your children the great gift of teaching them to do the same!  Do a spiritual cleanse, asking the Holy Spirit to remove anything from your mind, heart, and spirit that would not align with His Word. Into the construction dumpster they must go!!  Go through your social media, your movies and your games as well as those of  your children. As we continue our Extreme Makeover, these inferior materials will compromise our whole project if allowed to stay. They are riddled with spiritual termites bent on destruction!

You can do ALL things through the Messiah Who gives you strength!   

Today, take note of how many times you are exposed to things of an impure nature.  Make it your mission to protect your mind and spirit from the unclean. And, out of love for your children, make it a top priority to protect them as well! As always, the best way to teach our children is to lead by example!

Take on the challenge of searching out and writing down 5 pure things to meditate upon this week and force your mind to comply. The Scriptures below would be a good place to begin!

1 John 3:3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Psalms 12:6 And the words of the Lord are pure, like silver purified in a crucible,  like gold[a] refined seven times.

Pro 30:5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Pro 15:26  The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words. 

Psa 119:140  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Psa 19:8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  Colo

EXTREME MAKEOVER 6 – SPIRITUAL ADDITION – JUST

Whatsoever things are JUST – innocent, holy –

Remember, we are in the midst of building a renewed structure.  We have begun with the building blocks of truth and honesty. We now will pick up whatsoever things are just and add it to the structure.

As you go through your workday or your playday, think about being innocent and holy (set apart for  God).   Is your speech true and honest? Can it be said of you that you are innocent, and holy in all of your ways?  What about  your thoughts?  

When evaluating to see what must be torn down and what can be salvaged, it will be necessary for you to examine not only where you go and the friends you hang out with, but what you watch, and what and who you listen to as well!  Sin is like a deadly germ.  When you come into contact with it, it begins rapidly multiplying even though you cannot see it.

Is there anything salvageable, or must everything go into the construction dumpster?   Remember, in this process of renovating your mind, heart, and spirit, we only want to build using the finest materials!

This week, as you meditate on truth, honesty, and being just, use the germicide of the Scripture to cleanse you of the old grime which desires to hang on and make you spiritually sick.

Luke 1:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the just, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

EXTREME MAKEOVER 5- SPIRITUAL EDITION – The Honest Truth

Php 4:8  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,

Having covered  “truth” in the first part of this Makeover series, we are now ready to move on with our renovation project.  As we proceed, it is essential to note that we do not put down truth in order to pick up honesty.  Honesty is a continuation of what has already begun with truth.   

Honesty?   Aren’t honesty and truth synonymous? If so, why does the Holy Spirit list them both in Scripture?

TruthHonesty.  What distinguishes one from the other? Knowing that Scripture does not “stutter,” and every word is purposeful and meaningful should compel us to investigate. Checking any good  Bible dictionary will reveal that it is the Greek word semnos, which has been translated into English as honesty in the above verse. It is defined as grave, venerable (accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character), honesty.  

A quick search for other occurrences of this Greek word in the Bible uncovers only three additional verses.  This would not be obvious if we were simply reading our English Bibles, because the translators have chosen to translate semnos using different English words or phrases.  Perhaps a look at these verses may help us understand what honesty is, as well as what it is not!

1 Timothy 3:8

In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect (semnos), sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.

We can see that the same word translated as honesty in Philippians 4:8 has been rendered as worthy of respect and sincere.  This verse also reveals what it is NOT  honesty. Indulging in much wine and pursuing dishonest gain are NOT honesty!

1 Timothy 3:11

In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect (semnos), not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

Now, we can add that an honest person does not talk maliciously and is trustworthy in everything.

We find our last verse in Titus 2:2

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect (semnos), self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Temperate (safe in mind), self-control, sound in faith, sound in love and endurance are characteristics of an honest person.

It is essential to investigate what the Scripture means by a word or concept rather than accept what the world says.  For instance, in days past, it would not have been necessary to define “worthy of respect.”  It almost always would have been understood to be connected to high moral character. Today, such is not the case.  “Respect” is often given to the person who makes the most money,  raps the best rap, plays the best game, has the most friends, likes, streams, etc. It is not at all based on a code of moral ethics, and certainly not on Scripture.

Interestingly, the way the Scriptures define honesty and the current legal definition differs significantly.  Are you aware that an attorney is required to be honest but has no such obligation to be truthful?  Now, if you find that difficult to reconcile in your mind, you are not alone!  Stated another, perhaps more alarming, way – an attorney is prohibited from telling a lie (he must be “honest”). However, he is NOT required to seek or bring out the truth.  

Let me offer this brief fictitious illustration of honesty vs. truth in our legal system, and I believe you will instantly understand why attorneys desire to limit witness responses to a simple yes or no.

ILLUSTRATION:

A year after an “alleged” victim reports having been brutally attacked in her home, the case has finally come to trial. The defendant’s attorney approaches the witness stand to question the victim. 

Isn’t it true, Ms. V,  that you did not initiate a police report on this alleged assault for over two months following the date you allege it to have occurred?  Answer yes or no, please.

Yes, but…

Now, Ms. V, I must remind you that these questions are yes and no ONLY  questions.

And isn’t it also true that you spoke to no one of the supposed assault during those two months?  In fact, you did not even call your mother or father for support during what would have been an extremely challenging time?  Answer yes or no.

(sigh) Yes.

And was that because my client made threats to you during that time? Yes or no, please.

No.

Okay, no further questions.

This does sound a bit suspicious, doesn’t it?   Is the supposed victim out for some sort of vengeance against a spurned lover? Why would she wait so long to report such a supposedly vicious crime?

   JUDGE – Your witness, Mr. Prosecutor

Okay, Mrs. V.  I know today has been very difficult for you. I do need to ask a few more questions, however.   

Now, the counsel for the defense has pointed out that you made no attempt to report this vicious assault for more than two months.  Would you please explain to the jury the reason for such a delay?

Yes, sir.  Following the attack, I was found by my daughter, who called 911. I don’t remember it, but I’m told I was lying in a pool of blood and was unconscious.  I remained in a coma for 63 days.  And even when I woke up, I had no recollection of what had happened.

No recollection at all?  Can you tell the jury if you were given a medical reason for this lapse of memory?

Yes.  The doctors say it was due to blunt force trauma to the head, causing excessive bleeding and  swelling of the brain.

When did your memory return?

A few days after regaining consciousness, I began having brief flashbacks. But it wasn’t until the detectives were cleared by my doctors to interview me, and they showed me pictures of someone they said was me lying on my bed that the flashbacks became more vivid and frequent.

What do you mean “they said” it was you?

The lady in the pictures didn’t look anything like me!  She was covered in blood and bruises. Her face was a mess, and her eyes were swollen completely shut.  She barely looked human! I simply could not believe that it was me!  I mean, I knew it was me. It was just bizarre to see how I looked!

Did you, at that time, provide the detectives with the name of the defendant?

No, I didn’t know his name. They returned a couple of days later with a photo lineup. As soon as I saw his face, I began to shudder and even threw up.  The nurses had to give me a sedative.

Okay, Ms. V. So, while the defense attorney was correct when he said you did not report this crime for more than two months and did not speak of it to family and friends,  the fact is that you were so severely injured that doing so would have been impossible. In fact, you were comatose!

Yes, sir.

Thank you for clearing that up, Ms. V.

Do you see how the defense attorney’s insistence on yes or no answers resulted in honest answers (not lies) but failed (by design)  to elicit the truth??  Note that the defense attorney did not lie.  Ms. V did NOT make a report for 60+ days. She did not call her parents or friends.  However, the defense attorney was NOT seeking truth and in fact, would not ALLOW the victim to disclose the truth.

Now we can understand that this modern version of “honesty” is NOT what the Scripture is instructing us to meditate upon.  We began with truth, and now we add to it honesty (worthy of respect).

This week continue meditating on truth and add to it honesty.  Check your behavior.  Does it demonstrate a desire for a character that is worthy of respect, not being malicious or greedy? Does it display Biblical honesty?  Are you growing in truth as well? Continue tearing down the old structure and building the new.  Remember, you are a new creation and renovation is underway! \lsdlock

EXTREME MAKEOVER – part 4 – BLACK DOG/WHITE DOG

BLACK DOG/WHITE DOG

Did you hear about the man who had  two identical dogs?  Well, they were identical except that one was black and the other white. One grew much larger and stronger than the other. Can you guess which one?

The one which was fed the most!

Determine what it is that you want to grow strong inside of you.  This is the “dog” you will want to feed!  If you desire righteousness to overtake evil, then nourish righteousness and starve evil!  Make a practice of reading His Word.  After all, it/He is the Bread of Life!

Psa_34:8  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psa_119:103  How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

 Surround yourself with people who will urge you to continue moving in God’s direction. Seek out friends who will not only encourage you along the way but will also tell you hard truths as well. Sever relationships and shun activities that belong to the other dog.

1 Corinthians 15:33 33Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Proverbs 27:6 (KJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Someone who loves you and genuinely wants the best for you will sound a warning when you head in the wrong direction.  Their words may sting, but their desire is to keep you from future disasters. Someone who does NOT really care about you will not only fail to warn you of impending danger but will encourage you to continue on the wrong path DESPITE the peril that lies ahead!  While their words may feel good, they are not good!  Would you really want a “friend” who strokes your hair while a venomous serpent wraps around your neck? Learn to tell which is which.

In summary, don’t abandon your fight against Satan. Be on guard against his plan to manipulate you. Deny him the opportunity to replenish ammunition or regroup and attack you again. In other words, DON’T fall back into doing the things you used to do.  DON’T listen to others who would encourage you to rejoin the friends of darkness.  Resist!

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 5:8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me

EXTREME MAKEOVER – part 3 – NO MAN

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Did you catch that?   He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  No one comes to the Father except through the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE!

THE WAY – the means by which you arrive at your destination. The “Way” is what following Christ was called at the time of the writing of Scripture.  If you were “In The Way,” it meant that you were following the Messiah and His commandments, which would get you to the Father. (Acts 9:2; 19:9, et al)

THE TRUTH – The dictionary defines it as “that which is true or in accordance with the facts or reality.”   He is Truth.  No one who is walking contrary to the Truth can come to the Father.

On the other hand, Satan is the father of lies. The Scripture says that when the Devil speaks lies, he speaks his native tongue.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth (Jesus/Yeshua), because there is no truth (Jesus/Yeshua) in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Do you really want to align yourself with the devil? Satan is pleased with you so long as you are going opposite to the Truth. (Hint – you do NOT want Satan to be pleased with you! ) His fight is not really with man. His battle is with the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When you start moving away from the path of darkness, Satan will tell you that you are worthless, that you will never change, that you will never be a good person, etc., etc., etc. 

So, how do you counter Satan’s lying tongue?  By taking each thought captive and replacing it with Truth.  Counter with “I am a new creation.”  ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).  Or with “He that has begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6) Or “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Satan HATES it when you quote Scripture to him!  Make him hate being around you!

The LIFEKnowing the Truth and living the Truth are two distinctly different concepts.  No one comes to the Father unless he not only KNOWS the TRUTH but WALKS in TRUTH and  LIVES the TRUTH.

Today, work on living the truth every minute. Pull back when you catch yourself starting to participate in Satan’s work. Refuse to allow anything to take up residence in your mind, heart, and spirit that is not True. (Remember, what stays in your innermost being , whether good or bad, will eventually come out in  your actions.) Then you will begin to look more and more like a child of the Most High God.

EXTREME MAKEOVER – part 2 – THE LITTLE WHITE LIE

What about little white lies?  You know, lies that don’t really hurt anybody?

Ahhhh, truth. It is almost extinct today, or at least on the endangered list!   

  • Your BFF tells you they love you one moment and then in the next breath, turns and talks about you behind your back. 
  • The phone rings, and you instruct your children to answer and tell the person on the other end that you are not able to come to the phone/sick/in the shower… 
  • You receive $20 extra with your change at the supermarket but put it in your pocket anyway, smiling as you walk out the door. After all, it wasn’t your fault!   The cashier was the one not paying attention!

Truth

  • “What’s the harm in a little white lie? “
  •  “EVERYONE lies!”

Unfortunately, many people DO lie at least regularly, or even daily.  It has become their way of life.  They have practiced dishonesty for so long that they are no longer capable of recognizing truth!   They begin to believe the lie they told so firmly that they would fight to defend it as truth!   They would never consider that in doing so, they are aligning themselves with Satan! More on that later.

As for the claim that “everyone lies,” thankfully we are not responsible before God for “everyone.” However, we are responsible for our own choices and actions.

Sadly, one of the results of this lifestyle of deceit is an inability to trust.  Most humans believe others operate as they do.  If they are not truthful, they have no reason to expect that others are truthful in their dealings with them!  They will never really trust when someone says they love them and will stand by them.   If their friend or significant other fails to answer their calls, they will find it difficult to accept that they may have actually been sick/in the shower/away from their phone.   But the most grievous victim of the death of truth is – a healthy relationship with God.  For He Who IS Truth, cannot hang out in the darkness of deceit. 

Thankfully, the Scriptures instruct us about the proper handling of this disease of deceitfulness.

2 Cor 10:5

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

What does it mean to take every thought captive?  Perhaps it means that we should stop all thoughts at the security post.  If an inspection reveals the thought to be unholy, unhealthy,  or untrue, immediate expulsion is in order. Remember – every action once began as a thought that was allowed to roam free or loiter.  

Today, try to capture even “little white lies” before they leave your mouth or set up housekeeping in your mind, heart, and spirit.  Make all your thoughts and words conform to The Way, The Truth, and The Life!

EXTREME MAKEOVER – THE SPIRITUAL EDITION – PART ONE – TRUTH

Did you ever watch Extreme Home Makeover? In this reality show starring Ty Pennington, a team would swoop down upon a house desperately in need of rehab, and transform it into a structure that was barely recognizable.  The renovation team’s first step was to determine the goal.  What were the needs of the family they were working with?  What was the desired end product? 

Next, they must evaluate.  Everything from the foundation up would be carefully assessed.   Without a good foundation, nothing above it would remain standing long-term either!  Then the walls, interior, plumbing, electrical, and all other components of the house would be scrutinized.  Once the team had determined what could be salvaged and what must go, a plan of action could be developed.

With the goal in mind and plan in hand,  the strenuous and dirty work of demolition could commence. Perhaps the most challenging part of the process, it was muscle straining, messy, and backbreaking labor.  A walkthrough at this stage might give the impression that no progress was a being made. In fact, things appeared worse rather than better!

Once demolition was complete and debris removed, construction could begin. By the end of the process, the structure had been completely re-invented!

Might this brief description of the process of  renovating a physical structure offer insight into the  Extreme Makeover of the spirit and mind? As it is in the physical, so in the spiritual.

  After all, the Bible does reveal that our minds must be renewed, or we could say “renovated.”.

Rom_12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 Having become a new creation in Him, a process of deconstruction and reconstruction commences. First, a goal must be established.  Is a right relationship with God on your shortlist?  Is your goal to become a godly person, friend, and parent?  Is your desire to walk in step with Him instead of against Him? Would you like Him to lead you each step of the way?

Whatever your goals, you will need to review them often. During Extreme Home Makeover, blueprints and schematics were posted prominently at the worksite. It was crucial for the plans to be readily available to ensure the project remained on course. Not everything would be happening at once.  The foundation must be laid and cured before walls could go up.  Walls must be up before electrical and plumbing could be run. Spiritual renovation happens in phases as well.   Although we have a Master Builder Who far outshines Ty Pennington, posting our spiritual renovation plan will be reassuring. Especially during the uncomfortable deconstruction phase,  we may need to be reminded that our Builder has a goal and a plan and is doing what is necessary to ensure the integrity of the finished product.

Along the way, there will be fatigue, sadness, discouragement, and even tears. Breaking away from your familiar past is never without discomfort;  much like birth is not without pain. But the result in both cases is  – LIFE!  Just as labor pains signal that birth is imminent, the pain and discomfort you will experience during this spiritual reset are not only okay but signal that you are moving away from the old and towards the new!  Being squeezed in the birth canal is not comfortable, but it is profitable! It’s all part of the demolition process before rebuilding can begin!

Then, step two – evaluate. What is salvageable, and what must go? Are the thoughts that regularly course through your mind pure? Are they tearing down or building up others? Could they be rightly considered righteous and yet not self righteous?  Are they  moving you closer to your goals?  What about what you view via videos or online? Are you being exposed to things of Light, or elements of Darkness? Have you reviewed the language you use and the friendships you maintain?  Remember your goals. Are you supporting and protecting those things that are compatible with your desired outcome? Are you tearing down unhealthy strongholds?

Some determinations will be easy to make.  Ty Pennington’s team could quickly establish that the broken down front door was built using inferior materials in the first place and should be discarded. Likewise, you have always known that some elements of your former lifestyle were not constructed with quality materials. They have no place in your renovated heart and mind.

In some cases, not much is found to be worth keeping. Even that which is determined to be salvageable will need to be carefully inspected and sanitized and/or repaired before it will be suitable for use in the renewed structure. Allowing unholy content to take up residence in our hearts and minds without challenge is no less deadly than turning a blind eye to aggressive cancer cells rapidly multiplying in our bodies. Years of spiritual junk food and ungodly living will eventually culminate in a diseased soul! And yet, do not despair!  God is an expert at redeeming that which seems hopelessly lost!  His specialty is transforming trash into treasure! 

 One of the most critical steps, as we move forward, is to inspect our foundation.  If our life is not built upon God’s Word, it rests upon a crumbling base and will not hold up under stress.  (Matthew 7:24-27) The old cracked and sinking foundation must be broken up and hauled away before a new one can be laid. This process of tearing down the former begins by listening to the Holy Spirit as He convicts us about building materials that must go! We begin to build a new structure by developing a habit of not only reading God’s word but meditating upon it.  “Meditating on the Word”  should  NOT conjure up an image of sitting cross-legged on the floor with eyes closed and fingertips touching, clearing your mind of all thoughts as you hum and invite a spirit guide in! Don’t ever forget that spirits of darkness exist also!  The only “spirit” you should invite into your heart and mind is God’s Holy Spirit! And “clearing your mind can be dangerous!

Luke 11:24-26 24″When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Do not just remove the ungodly. REPLACE it with the GODLY!  Meditating on the Word means to read a passage slowly and consider what it means for you and how you are to incorporate its instructions into your life.  Turn it over and over in your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. That is His job, after all.  (John 16:13)

To begin our Extreme Mind and Heart Makeover, we will use Philippians 4:8 as our foundation.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there be any virtue,  and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Starting with truth, we will proceed through the passage as we learn what the King of the Universe says we should concentrate upon. This will help us evaluate where we are and what renovation needs to take place.  The more we think upon a thing, the more it becomes part of who we are. And that results in the renewing of the mind!

This week, let’s begin by looking at a few verses about truth. You might even consider memorizing one or two and meditating upon them as you evaluate what is is in your heart and mind and coming out of your mouth.

Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 

VERSES ABOUT TRUTH:

Psalms 25:5   Lead me in your truth and teach me: for You are the God of my salvation. On You do I wait all of the day.

Psalms 51:6   Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden parts You shall make me know wisdom.

Psalms 86:11 Teach me Your way, O Lord.  I will walk in Your truth.  Make my heart fear Your name.

Psalms 119:30   I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments have I laid before me. dlocked0 List T