Roman 12:1-2

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Great Thoughts Become a String of Pearls

This week I have taken the chapter on Great Thoughts (Chip Ingram's Good to Great in God's Eyes) to heart. Or, rather, to mind. No -- to heart, for when we dwell on these thoughts, they needle into our counsciousness and become part of our character, like a speck of sand in an oyster.

Very often the Great Thoughts that twirl around my mind like a beautiful ballerina are inspired by a song. I love listening to KLove, which is a Chrisitan music radio station that plays around the country (and I shamelessly and without reservation encourage you to find the station in your area where they broadcast). The lyrics of these songs resonate with my soul.

Spoken For by MercyMe is no exception.

I don't know the rules of linking from a blog to another website, and I don't want to plagerize or anything, so I won't link but simply quote the lyrics as I would a line from a book. There are two images that come to my mind as I listen to the chorus:

Covered by your love devine
Child of the Risen Lord,
To hear you say, "This one's mine."
My heart is spoken for

"This one's mine" brings to mind a Western on a grand and epic scale. The back story involves a homesteader whose wife and child are killed by a thief. After burying his family, he goes after the man who killed them. Meanwhile, that thief has joined a gang that is worse than he has ever imagined, and though he wants out, he is stuck, tethered to their leader by fear and despiration, and the evil they perpetrate is much worse than simple thievery and accidental killing. Soon a posse is after them. The homesteader joins the posse for one purpose only -- to be there when they finally catch up with the gang. When they do, and the posse is preparing to hang them all from the nearest tree, the homesteader says, "This one's mine." He takes the thief and rides away. Fade to black.

As they approach the homestead, the man leading the thief's horse because the thief's hands are tied, he says, "I forgive you. You can stay here and work for me, be the son to whom I will leave everything, or you can high-tail it for Mexico. Your choice."

I am afraid my words don't convey the full feeling of what my mind has envisioned this week. "This one's mine -- hands off -- I'll deal out her punishment." And then God turns around and forgives. And gives us the opportunity to be heirs, part of the family. To hear you say, "This one's mine." My breath catches in my throat, knowing the punishment I deserve is one breath away, and then being offered full forgiveness in the next instant brings utter relief.

That leads to the next thought.

Covered by your love devine
Child of the Risen Lord,
To hear you say, "This one's mine."
My heart is spoken for

Spoken for. I am the beautiful belle of the ball, more beautiful than Cinderella could ever hope to be. A nice looking gentleman approaches, "May I have this dance?"

"I am honored, sir. But no, thank you. I am spoken for."

For now.

And for all eternity.

Spoken for.

These are the thoughts swirling through my mind this week. These thoughts provide me with such security and joy that they become another pearl on my string. The string of pearls that my Daddy gives me to let me know I am loved. I am chosen. I am spoken for.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"The Actions of men are the best indicators of thought.'

That is a quote from John Locke that Chip Ingram uses to open the chapter in Good to Great in God's Eyes entitled "Think Great Thoughts."

Later in the chapter, Ingram writes, "The thoughts we entertain in our minds become the thoughts that guide our lives."

I know this is true. Having spent several years in addiction, I can say that what I thought about -- always, always desiring that next "fix"-- is what led me to seek that next fix. Not just the random thought that pops into my head -- I can't help those. But the "entertaining" of thoughts, the dwelling on, the mulling over and over, like sucking on a cough drop to get all the sweet medicine out of it and immediately reaching for another when my throat becomes scratchy again -- that is what leads to the wrong behavior.  My behavior is in direct coorolation to my thought life.

So when I whine about my complacency (as I did in my last post), the solution is obvious: think about the object of my affection that seems to only produce complacency in me. As I think about and learn about and read about and pray to God, my complacency leaves me. It does not dissolve away but rather runs, full tilt, leaving behind it the full-fleded desire to spend even more time in God's presence.

Philippians 4: 8 - 9

 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.