Pastor David B. Curtis

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Spiritual Stability - Part 4

Philippians 4:8

08/22/1999

We have been studying the subject of Spiritual stability. Paul commands in verse 1,"Standfast in the Lord." Standfast is a military term, it means: "to be at point in a battle, to hold your ground against all opposition." Our position is to be living a Christ like life; to be living righteously and godly. We must hold our position against doubt, temptation, trials, and persecution. The Christian life is a constant battleground. In the midst of the battle, we must remember that God is on our side.

We have looked at several Biblical examples of spiritual stability. We looked at Joseph and Job and we saw them standfast in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. It might be hard for us to relate to the examples in the Bible. So, let me give you a contemporary example. Parents, what is the worst thing that you can imagine happening to you? What would you conceive as your greatest possible tragedy? Would it be the death of a child?

Steve and Julie had a little 2 year old boy named Leland. Leland spent most of his time with his dad and grandfather who ran a farm together. On August 9, 1995 while working on the farm, Leland's grandfather accidently backed over Leland with the tractor killing him. Leland's grandmother, Gladys, and his mother, Julie, were on their way to Minneapolis - 2 hours from where they live.

The state police stopped them and sent them home. Steve and Julie's Pastor said that when he got there the coroner was there already and the body was covered up with a blanket, and Julie, Leland's mother, was lying there holding the body as best she could through the blanket and singing, "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus". Celeste Peterson told me that she talked to someone who went to the funeral and they said they had an absolutely terrific time. That, friends, is spiritual stability! To be steadfast, unmoved in your faith by the circumstances of life. This is not natural, it is supernatural. Spiritual stability is possible; we can attain it if we apply ourselves to the principles laid out in Philippians 4.

In verses 1-8 we have six elements that will lead to a stable life. They are: Unity - "be of the same mind."; Joy - we are to "rejoice in the Lord."; Humility - our "sweet reasonableness" is to be known to all men; Faith - we are to trust in the Lord and be constantly dependent upon Him; Gratitude - we are to react to problems with a thankful heart.

Let me pause here and ask you a question. What is your goal in life? Honestly! Is it material possessions, success, popularity, comfort, happiness, or is it maybe Christlikeness? Your goal in life will affect your conduct. For example, if our goal at Berean Bible Church was to be large in size, then we would have to change some things. The first thing changed would have to be the preacher. The doctrines of Sovereign Grace and Preterism are not very popular. So, if we wanted to attract a crowd, we would have to quit teaching them, which means you would have to get rid of me. We would have to be very careful that we didn't offend anyone, we would have to be easy on sin and light on doctrine. But if our goal is to glorify God, then we would teach doctrine, even those that are unpopular, and we would deal with sin. Some people are so self deceived that they don't even know what their goal is. If your goal is to be Christlike, then you will always be a thankful, grateful person. Because you know, according to Romans 8:28, that God is using every circumstance in your life to mature you, to make you practically like Christ. And you also know, according to Phil. 1:29, that suffering is a grace gift of God.

Philippians 1:29 (NKJV) For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

So, if your goal is to be like Christ, you won't mind suffering. Does this tell you something about your true goals?

The reason that so many people are unthankful and ungrateful is because God's will is interfering with their goal of comfort or happiness, which are probably the top goals of most people. We have a Burger King mentality, we want it our way. I never really have gotten it "my way" at Burger King. My way is, I get the burger and I don't have to pay for it. That's my way.

In verse 8 of Philippians 4, Paul reaches the climax and gives us the key to it all. This is his major point: In order to be stable, and in order to experience unity, joy, humility, faith, and gratitude, you must learn to think right. All of these are mental attitudes. Spiritual stability is related to the attitudes that you have. It is not related to your circumstances, it is related to how you think. To demonstrate this look with me at:

Psalms 73 (NKJV) Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. 7 Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. 8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return here, And waters of a full cup are drained by them. 11 And they say, "How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?" 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. 15 If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. 16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image. 21 Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.

When we get in the presence of God through His Word (vs.17), our thoughts will begin to line up with God's thoughts. We will begin to think right about life. Paul wants to teach us how to think, primarily how to think about God. Right thinking will give you a spiritual stability.

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.

With this verse, Paul reaches a climax on spiritual stability. The key to it all is how you think. Paul literally says, "Let your mind dwell on these things." We are to focus our attention upon the things listed in verse 8. Spiritual stability starts in the mind! Verse 8 is governed by the verb, "meditate", which is the Greek word logizomai. It is an imperative, it means: "to evaluate, to ascertain, to weigh, to meditate upon and then to allow these things to shape your conduct."

Why is how you think so important? It's important because you are a product of your thinking. Proverbs 23:7 says (NKJV), "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." To the Hebrew mind, the "heart" is not the muscle that pumps blood but the center of thinking. A.W. Tozer said, "All conscience behavior is preceded by and arises out of our thoughts. What we think about when we are free to think about what we will -- that is what we are or will soon become."

What is really frightening about this is that in our culture thinking is not really that important. Do you realize this? We are not so concerned about thinking as we are about two other things, emotion and pragmatism. We're concerned about feelings, and we're concerned about success. We're not so concerned about thinking. People don't ask the question, "Is it true, is it right?" They ask the question, "Does it work, and how will it make me feel?" Emotion and pragmatism! This is tragic, especially because it has taken over the Christian Church. "Will it work?", is the only question the church seems to be asking. If it works, let's use it! I know that there are churches that teach tithing because it works, it is not a biblical mandate for New Covenant saints, but it works so let's use it. It is guilt motivated giving, and that is not right. This is where our society is, the mind is depreciated in our culture because we are into emotion.

Even in theology, it's sad to say, the issue is not always, "Is it right or true," but will it offend or upset someone? We have seen this played out with the doctrine of preterism. We worry about how the truth will make people feel. In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were noble because they searched the scriptures, not to see if these things felt good, or to see if these things worked, or even to see if these things would offend, but to see if these things were "so," to see if they were right and true.

We live in a culture that is fast learning not to think, because it is fast learning not to read, which creates thinking. From Erasmus in the sixteenth century, to Elizabeth Eisenstein in the twentieth century, almost every scholar who has grappled with the question of what reading does to one's habits of mind has concluded that the process encourages rationality.

Paul Robinson, professor at Stanford University, wrote an article titled, TV Can't Educate. He's coming from the secular mind set and says, "The only way to learn is by reading, words on a page freeze a thought, you can analyze it, verify it, meditate upon it. Pictures don't create thoughts, they just grab emotion. He says the worst possible TV is educational TV because it is a contradiction in terms since TV can't educate.

Neal Postman, in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death says, "Under the governance of the printing press, discourse in America was different from what it is now -- generally coherent, serious, and rational. But under the governance of the television it has become shriveled and absurd."

Postman says:

Not until the end of the nineteenth century did advertising move fully into its modern mode of discourse. As late as 1890 advertising, still understood to consist of words, was regarded as an essentially serious and rational enterprise whose purpose was to convey information and make claims in propositional form. Advertising was intended to appeal to understanding, not to passions. By the turn of the century advertisers no longer assumed rationality on the part of their potential customers. Advertising became one part depth psychology, one part aesthetic theory. Reason had to move into other areas.

Gap, Budwiser, or Nike commercials are a good example of this. These commercials convey no information at all, they're strictly emotional. At times, I can't even tell what is being advertised.

Bill Hull, in his book, Right Thinking, says, "What scares me is the anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking philosophy that has spilled over into the Church. This philosophy tends to romanticize the faith, making the local church into an experience center. Their concept of church is that they are spiritual consumers and that the churches job is to meet their felt needs."

People are going to church not to think, not to reason about truth, not like the Bereans to search the Scripture for truth. People are going to church to get a weekly spiritual fix, a high, so they can feel that God is still with them. They are spiritually unstable, because they live on feelings rather than on thinking. The Christian must not be a victim of his feelings. He must not get caught in the pragmatic trap of, "Does it work?" Even much of the so called evangelism of the church today is unbiblical. But all folks seem to care about is results - will it work? Striking the rock worked for Moses but he was judged because of it. God told Moses to speak to the rock.

Numbers 20:8 (NKJV) "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals."

Moses, in disobedience to God, struck the rock instead of speaking to it.

Numbers 20:11-12 (NKJV) Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

Moses got results, his way of getting water worked, they got water, but he got judged. His way was sin. More important than getting results is doing what is right.

John Stott says, "Indeed sin has more dangerous effects on our faculty of feeling than on our faculty of thinking because our opinions are more easily checked and regulated by revealed truth than our experiences." You can have an opinion, you can say, "I think this." But I can take you to the Scripture and show you where your thinking is wrong biblically. But if you have an experience, how do I disprove that? I can't. Most sins, perhaps all, occur because an emotion has disrupted the minds rationality. Why is it that two Christian young people will violate the will of God and engage in sexual sin - fornication? Is it because they think sexual sin is good? No! It happens because their emotions take over and block out their thinking. Emotion hinders, distorts, or almost eradicates thinking. Acting under the stress of emotion, we usually act blindly.

William Glasser, a psychiatrist who is known as the father of reality therapy, has written a book called, Stations of the Mind, and coming from a secular mind set, his conclusions are quite interesting. He says that humans are not what they call SR animals, that stands for stimulus response. Traditional humanistic psychology sees man at the end of an evolutionary process. We're on top, but we're like all the others in the chain, just an SR animal. That is why you have a man like Pavlov who runs a bunch of tests with dogs which salivate in certain situations. They take Pavlov's dogs and translate it over into human behavior, because all we are to them are advanced dogs. They conclude that we are SR's. When the stimulus is there, we respond. This has been unassailable truth in the evolutionist's mind set. Glasser attacks it and says:

Man is not an SR. Man is controlled from the inside by what he wants and by what he desires. And what he wants and desires is predetermined by what has influenced his thinking." That is what the Bible teaches. He says, "You can give one man the same kind of stimulus several times through his life and you might get several different responses. If man was an SR animal he would always respond to the same stimulus. Further more, you can take 15 different people, give them all the same stimulus and get 15 different responses. This is because man responds not by the outside stimulus but by what he wants and what he desires which is programmed by what has influenced his thinking. His response is not mechanical, it is thoughtful.

The mind is the command center which determines our conduct based upon how we have been influenced to think. How you think is a critical issue, and from a Biblical perspective, it becomes very clear how important thinking is. That is why Paul is calling for right thinking in Philippians 4:8. We've got to learn to think on the right things.

What does the Bible say about thinking?

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV) "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

The word "reason" is the Hebrew word yakach. It is a legal term used for arguing, convincing. God says, "let's think this thing through." He doesn't say, "Come let us experience", but, "Let us reason." Think it through.

Let me make it very clear that I am not against emotions. If you take emotion out of a kiss, what do you have left? Germs. I am not against emotions, what I am against is emotions being the controlling factor of your life. Your emotions should always be brought under the control of your thinking.

In Luke 16 we have the story of Lazaurs and the rich man. They both die, Lazarus goes to heaven and the rich man goes to hell. The rich man begs for relief but gets none so then he asks:

Luke 16:27-31 (NKJV) "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'

Moses and the prophets represent the Old Testament Scriptures.

30 "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead."

We don't need a miraculous experience. Jesus did rise from the dead and men still did not believe. Revelation is what is needed, not experiences. Always, the Bible calls on men to think, to reason. That's why the Bible is a book. God didn't give us a TV program, a movie, or a music video. Scripture assumes that the first priority is to think, because it is a book. And if our emotions are stirred, it is to be by the contemplation of truth. I was stirred emotionally as a missionary told the story of the Indian woman who was tempted to go drinking. As she read the book of Malachi, she was convicted by the fact that God's people were unfaithful to Him, and she turned from temptation. Because I know the content of Malachi, I was emotionally stirred by the response of a woman who loved God and didn't want to join the ranks of the unfaithful who experience judgment.

Many today are running around not looking for truth but for an experience, an emotion, or a feeling.

Psalms 32:8-9 (NKJV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.

God is saying, "I give you all the truth you need- don't be like the animals, think!" Christianity is propositional and demands thought. We need to return to the importance of the intellect and get back to reading.

The Bible has a lot to say about thinking. The mind outside of Christ is described by Paul as: a depraved mind in Romans 1:28; a blinded mind in 2 Corinthians 4:4; and a futile mind in Ephesians 4:17. The post-fall mind left to itself is depraved -- unresponsive to morality; blind - unable to see God's workings; and futile -- unable to develop philosophies that truly solve man's most basic problems.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

The natural man cannot receive the truth of God. The spiritual man has the mind of Christ. How does the natural man become a spiritual man? Does he believe what he cannot understand? No! He must be given spiritual life first.

John 3:3 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

The natural man must receive the new birth, a supernatural work of God. Apart from the new birth, he cannot see or understand the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 36:24-27 (NKJV) "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

God gives us a new mind in the new birth - a mind that understands spiritual things. Salvation occurs when God gives us a new mind and a person comes to a proper comprehension of the truth: Truth about himself -- he is a sinner; truth about sin -- it requires judgment; truth about Christ - he is the God man; truth about the work of Christ -- he paid man's sin debt in full by His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith is an exercise of the regenerate mind. Faith is believing the propositions of the Bible. That's why the Bereans were so noble, they searched the Scriptures, they thought it through. Faith is not an irrational leap into the light. Faith is a reasonable trust in the revealed truth about the true God. It is a process of thinking.

Some people think that as soon as a person is saved the battle is over, but in truth, it is just beginning. The conflict of the Christian life centers in the mind. The mind is the battle center. And if you are going to be stable, it starts in your thinking.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 (NKJV) not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

Isaiah 55 establishes the existence of two viewpoints of life.

Isaiah 55:7-9 (NKJV) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

In verse 7 he talks about a man's thoughts. In verse 8 he says, "My thoughts" - this is a reference to the mind of God which is contained in the Word of God. Then he says, "Your thoughts" - referring to the thoughts of man. This is the human viewpoint -- everything you read in the newspaper, hear on the radio, or see on TV. Notice the correlation here -- if you think a certain way, you'll act a certain way.

At salvation, our mind is filled with human viewpoint and must be renewed. We do this by filling it with the Divine viewpoint - the Word of God.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Ephesians 4:23 (NKJV) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

We see here that we must change our thinking if we are going to change our lives. We need to learn to think Biblical thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

The battle centers in our mind and we are to take the human thought captive to the truth of God's Word. Humanistic thinking always leads to man at the center. We are called to mental discipline.

Colossians 3:2 (NKJV) Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Are your thoughts earthly or heavenly? We must guard our mind. Notice what the writer of Proverbs says:

Proverbs 4:20-23 (NKJV) My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

The heart, referred to in verse 21, is the mind, the thinking process.

Mark 7:21 (NKJV) "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

The heart is the center of thought.

We could paraphrase verse 23 this way, "Guard your mind above everything else you do because it will determine the life you live." We spend a lot of time and money protecting and guarding our houses, cars, and physical property. We take out insurance, and do many things to protect our property. But the most important asset that we need to guard is our thinking. John Owen said, "That good which the mind cannot discover, the will cannot choose, and the affections cannot cleave to."

Let me give you an example of how our thinking controls our actions. The Bible calls Christians to be thankful and grateful at all times. Why aren't we? We aren't because our thinking is wrong. You see, if you think you are a person worthy of receiving certain benefits, certain blessings, and you don't get them, what is your response? Anger or depression? Why? I'll tell you why. It is because you "think" you deserve better. Your thinking has been infected by the world and you think you are a person deserving better than you are getting. When, in fact, the Bible teaches that all we really deserve is Hell! Anything short of Hell should cause us to be very thankful. You know your own depravity if you are honest, and you should know that every breath you breath is pure grace. If we would learn to think right about ourselves - we're sinners, and God - He is holy, we would be grateful people, because we would understand we deserve nothing. If we think right, we'll live right. The best way to guard your thinking is to saturate your thinking with the Word of God. Get into the Book! Let it cleanse your thinking.

The Christian mind has succumbed to the secular drift and we have a Christianity today that doesn't think. We are asking the wrong questions, "Will it work?" And, "How will it make me feel?" Instead of, "Is it true, is it right?" We have got to learn to think on the right things. What are they? Paul tells us in:

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.

We need to focus our thinking on what is true. True is the Greek word alethes. Where are you going to find truth?

John 17:17 (NKJV) "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If I'm going to think on what is true, I'm going to have to go to the Word of God to find the truth that I'm to think on.

Noble - is the Greek word semnos, it means: "honorable, noble, reverent, not trashy or mundane, worthy of adoration." Just - is dikaios, it has the idea of: "duty faced and duty done." There are those who set their mind on pleasure, comfort, and ease. This word has to do with thoughts on duty to man and duty to God. Pure - is hagnos, it means: "morally pure, clean." Lovely - prosphiles, it has the idea of: "attractive or winsome." A good way to translate this word would be: "that which calls forth love," not thoughts of vengeance or bitterness. Think about that which calls forth love in you. Good report - euphemos, it means: "whatever is highly regarded, commendable."

This really confines our thinking. These are the things I am to fill my thoughts with. Will I see these virtues on TV or in the world's music or literature? We must protect our minds, because it determines what we want and what we desire. And what you want and desire determines how you react to the stimuli of life.

Then, Paul says, "If there be, and there is" The "if" is a first class condition and could be translated: "since." Virtue - is the Greek word arete, which means: "excellence." Praise - comes from epainos, "a commendable thing." Think on these things, focus on them. Protect your mind, program it over the long haul, line upon line, precept upon precept.

Amos 4:13 (NKJV) For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth; The LORD God of hosts is His name.

The only right thinking is thinking that lines up with God's thinking, and He has revealed his thoughts to us in His Word.

How much time per day do you spend in the Word of God? Based on my experience with people, I would say that the average Christian spends less than five minutes per day in the Bible. We are constantly bombarded with corrupt and vile thoughts by the newspaper, the TV, and the radio. If we spend so little time in the Word of God, how will we ever learn to think right? If you are not spending time daily in God's Word, I would encourage you right now to confess your sin of negligence and disobedience. Then, I would challenge you to adopt this motto: "NO BIBLE, NO BREAKFAST." In other words, make a commitment to yourself not to eat any food until you have spent time in God's Word. If you do this, one of two things will happen; you will either lose a lot of weight, or you will begin to know the joy of fellowship with your God.

A little boy came to his father and said, "Daddy, I'm reading my Bible, but I'm not getting anything out of it." Have you ever felt that way? I think we all have at times. The father said, "That's all right son. Just keep reading." The son replied, "But why should I read when I'm not getting anything out of it?" The father being a wise man said, "Son, go over and get that coal bucket and go down to the stream and fill it up and bring it back." The coal bucket was a mesh bucket that was black with coal dust. The little boy took the bucket and ran down to the stream and filled it up, but before he could get back to the house, it was empty. His father said, "Go try again son." So, the boy tried again and again but to no avail, every time he got to the house, it was empty. Finally, in exhaustion, the little boy said, "Dad, it won't hold water, I'm wasting my time." The father said to his son, "Look at the bucket." The coal bucket was clean from the water that had run through it.

You might not think that you are getting much from your time of reading the Word, but it is cleansing your mind. This is not just a book, it is the Living Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

If you spend time in God's Word, it will cleanse you. It will effect your thinking.

We are responsible to study it, to learn it, to grow in our understanding of God's mind. Spiritual stability is the result of right thinking. There is nothing as easy as thinking, nothing as hard as thinking right.

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