Tag Archives: mind

Through the Bible, September 6

Reading: Acts 11-12

Summary: Peter’s visit to the house of a Gentile to preach would not go unchallenged.  Jewish attitudes and biases were too deeply ingrained.  Though some of his brethren were willing to accept the Gentiles right to receive the gospel, many Jews never did and so one of the greatest challenges in the church’s early years was set; one which Paul would fight throughout his life as a preacher of the gospel.

One of the church’s outside of Jerusalem that grew significantly was located in Antioch of Syria.  It’s here that Barnabas and Saul (not yet called Paul) work together for a time prior to their missionary efforts.  During this time the church in Jerusalem suffered some difficult times both through a famine that plagued the region as well as rekindled persecution that resulted in the death of James, the brother of John, as well as an attempt on Peter’s life.

Devotional Thought:

The Trouble with Changing Your Mind

When is the last time you embraced as being true, something you previously had denied and even vehemently opposed?  Been a while?  It’s just not an easy thing to allow previously held truths to be overturned and set aside.  Most of us are just stubborn and prideful enough that clear evidence can be easily overpowered by our long-held prejudices.

When Peter returned to Jerusalem from converting the household of Cornelius, news of the event beat him home.  And, he was predictably challenged by his Jewish brethren about what he had done.  That should be no surprise.  Remember that Peter’s own change of heart and attitude had required divine intervention (see Acts 10:9-16).

Peter laid it all out for them; from his vision to the visitors from Caesarea, to the Holy Spirit falling on Cornelius and his household (Acts 11:4-17).  Luke records, “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18).

I’d like to think I would have been like these Jerusalem Christians and believed and accepted this new truth and reality (it was brand new to them).  Obviously, not all the Jewish brethren were (see Acts 15).  This issue became a major thorn in Paul’s side in regard to his evangelistic work as is evidenced by the amount of ink he devoted to it in his letters.

But notice this progression.  These people expressed their concerns and misgivings to Peter when he arrived in Jerusalem.  They allowed Peter ample opportunity to explain himself.  Being confronted with this truth, they accepted the reality.  They then “fell silent” and glorified God.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, but often it does not.

How willing am I, when a long-held belief or understanding is challenged, to set aside my prejudices and assumptions and to seriously consider it as honestly and objectively as possible?  And if the evidence demands it, to turn loose of the old and embrace the new?

Through the Bible, June 1

Reading: Daniel 1-2

Summary: Following the death of good king Josiah, the fall of Judah was rapid. Pharaoh Neco killed Josiah in route to join Assyria in battle against Babylon. This battle at Carchemish essentially ends Assyrian dominance and begins Babylon’s.  Judah places Josiah’s son Jehoahaz on the throne, but Necco, returning home from battle, replaces him with his brother Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim only lasts until Babylon shows up and replaces him with his son, Jehoiachin.  Some of the “sons of Israel” are brought to Babylon to serve in the king’s court at this time.   Among the number taken is young Daniel.

While Jehoiachin and finally Zedekiah finish out Judah’s time as her last kings, Daniel is coming into prominence in Babylon as a notable Hebrew youth.  His interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream serves as a great prophecy of God’s coming kingdom.

Devotional Thought:

Should I Change My Mind?

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

That is supposed to be something Abraham Lincoln said.  It speaks as much to one’s mindset as it does to happiness.  Yes, happiness is a choice, as one’s state of mind has a far greater bearing on realities than do actual circumstances or other outside influences.

Of Daniel we read, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself…” (Dan. 1:8).  Of Peter, Jesus said his mind was set on man’s interests rather than God’s (Matt. 16:24).  Similarly, a mind set on things above as opposed to things on earth is to be characteristic of one “raised with Christ” (Col. 3:2).  And a renewed mind is the means by which spiritual transformation transpires (Rom. 12:2).

Several questions seem appropriate here:

Have you determined to follow Jesus?

Is your mind made up to live a “self-controlled, upright, and godly” life (Titus2:12)?

By what conscious means is your mind being renewed and your life transformed?

What kind of space are you allowing in your ongoing thought processes for spiritual, God-centered ideas and truths?

If your spiritual life is weak, somehow lacking, or unsatisfactory it could well be that the very first step in the other direction is to change your mind.

It’s a Matter of Mind

Devotional Text: Hebrews 11:15

You tend to follow your mind.

To say it another way, you become what you think about.  That is certainly what’s behind the wise man’s statement, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7) and also why the warning is given, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Now consider this statement regarding those great men and women of faith, particularly Abraham and Sarah, who left their homes, lived as strangers and exiles and were “seeking a homeland” (Heb. 11:13-14).  “If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, the could have found a way to go back” (Heb. 11:15; GWT).

What these heroes of faith accomplished had everything to do with the set of their mind—what they were thinking about.  “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (v. 16).  They followed their minds.

Our spiritual success or failure begins with our minds.  If we’re preoccupied by this world, this life, our troubles, concerns and worries, our pleasures and desires, we will never rise above them.  “If then you have been raised up with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

If they kept thinking about from where they had come, they would have returned.  Whatever we keep thinking about is where we’ll end up.

You tend to follow your mind.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Should I Change My Mind?

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

That is supposed to be something Abraham Lincoln said.  It speaks as much to one’s mindset as it does to happiness.  Yes, happiness is a choice, but one’s state of mind has a far greater bearing on realities than do actual circumstances or other outside influences.

Of Daniel we read, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself…” (Dan. 1:8).  Of Peter, Jesus said his mind was set on man’s interests rather than God’s (Matt. 16:24).  Similarly, a mind set on things above as opposed to things on earth is to be characteristic of one “raised with Christ” (Col. 3:2).  And a renewed mind is the means by which spiritual transformation transpires (Rom. 12:2).

Several questions seem appropriate here:
Have you determined to follow Jesus?
Is your mind made up to live a “self-controlled, upright, and godly” life (Titus2:12)?
By what conscious means is your mind being renewed and your life transformed?
What kind of space are you allowing in your ongoing thought processes for spiritual, God-centered ideas and truths?

If your spiritual life is weak, somehow lacking, or unsatisfactory it could well be that the very first step in the other direction is to change your mind.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE