Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Too Many Mind"

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. - Psalm 37:7-8 NASB

In the movie The Last Samurai an American soldier (Algren) gets captured by a band of Samurai after being hired to teach Japanese soldiers how to use western weapons.  While he was in the Samurai camp he attempts to learn to fight with a sword.  He is only moderately successful until one of his friends (Nobutada) explains his problem:

Nobutada: Please forgive, too many mind.
Nathan Algren: Too many mind?
Nobutada: Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind... [pause] No mind.

Notbutada's point was that by trying to pay attention to everything Algren wasn't effectively doing what he was meant to be doing.  It is easy to have "too many mind", to focus on the events of the world, focus on those whom we see opposing the Lord, or even us personally.  Our mind, however, is meant to be focused on the Lord.  Trusting in Him.  Our lack of trust in Him can lead to fear, worry and anger, none of which are productive.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tents and Houses

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Between skin cremes and exercise clubs, doctors visits and weight-loss plans it seems an incontestable statement that we spend a great deal of time and money on our bodies.  Repeated commands from television to "love our bodies" or "treat ourselves" seem to be part of the most common marketing messages of our time.  Yet, as believers, we know that these earthly bodies (Paul calls them "tents" - temporary dwellings!) are not our final destination.  There is much that lay ahead for the believer.  We care for our bodies as we do with any stewardship.  Our bodies are a gift from the Lord and should be treated in that way.  But we must never confuse the gift with the giver, for a better body is ahead for those who know Jesus Christ.  Once we have our new bodies our obsessive behaviors about these "old tents" will seem quite silly indeed.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

If Pollyanna were a Believer...

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed. - Psalm 71:23 NASB

If you are offended by my questioning the salvation of a fictional character I will tweak your nose.  Many of us remember the heartwarming tale of Pollyanna, the sweet optimistic girl who taught a negative town to look on the bright side and think positively.  Perhaps your ears still ring with the sound Bing Crosby singing "You've got to ac-cen-tuate the positive..."  Both are a great deal of fun, and quite heartwarming, but neither comes close to the joy that we have in Christ.  The best the world has to offer is to try to ignore the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff.  As believers we have a far greater hope.  Believers can look with eyes wide open at a world filled with hatred, sin, oppression and fear and say, "I am joyful, because the Lord will not let sin reign forever."  A believer can look at the darkest heart in humanity and say, "I know the ONE Who can save him, and loves him enough to do it!"  A believer can look at his or her repeated failures and rejoice because, "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."  A believer can sustain the greatest injuries and losses because of all that we have been given in Jesus Christ, and take joy.  And all of the Pollyannaisms in the world, or even an army of crooners, simply don't hold a candle to Him.