Tag Archives: renewed mind

Changing the Mind

When I was a young man living in New York City we never had of the amount of gun violence you see now.  You might say that’s because there were not that many guns around.  I would have to disagree with you.  During the late 1960’s and early to mid 1970’s the proliferation of weapons on the street was substantial.  Almost everyone I knew carried a knife, myself included.  And, I had a number of friends who carried handguns for protection.  Some of my High School classmates carried guns even at school.  I went to a private Catholic High School where a number of students came from the Lower Manhattan/Little Italy section of the city.  You can fill in the blanks for yourself as to what “family” affiliations they had.  I still remember the moment while getting ready for gym class that a .45 caliber 1911 handgun slid out of one of my classmate’s pants pockets.  He gave me a quick look to see what I would do.  A simple nod of the head as I turned away was my way to telling him that I wouldn’t say anything.  I knew who he was, what his father did for a living and that having that gun was a necessity for him.  In the four years we went to school together he never pulled the gun on anybody and nor did anyone else who we knew that carried.  Neither had anyone of us who carried knives, some as early as grade school, gone on stabbing sprees or used it in a crime.  It was simply a way of life.

Violence and even death was also a way of life.  One of my classmates was killed by a rival gang in Chinatown for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was a slight, soft-spoken member of the group who didn’t carry a weapon.  He was protected by his cousins and friends.  On this particular afternoon he was by himself when he took a shortcut home through Chinatown.  The price of that mistake was a knife piercing his chest and bleeding out on a city street.  As we sat in a memorial service that week in the school gym most of us were stricken and distraught by the loss of one of our own.  Needless to say, his family dispensed justice on the gang of youths who murdered him.  In one event 5 teens were dead within a week – my friend and the gang members who killed him. 5 young lives snuffed out by bad choices and a hardened lifestyle.  But, that was the end of it.  No more retaliation and no further police involvement.  No copycat events or nonstop media coverage.  It barely garnered one paragraph in the newspaper and a brief report on the nightly TV news.  We never forgot about it but didn’t fixate on it either.  And, we knew it could happen again.  That was life in New York City during those days.

I don’t share that to justify it or condone it.  I share it to show that life was just as dangerous back then. What we didn’t have was a generation of youth with no sense of consequences for their actions.  We all knew that one action could, and would, create a ripple effect of subsequent actions that would not only destroy our lives but those of loved ones as well.  Television and films have indoctrinated our youth over the last 2 decades that the answer to everything is violence and that there are no consequences for their actions.  Violence now is stylized and those who can do it well are glorified.  Hollywood has also diminished the true nature of violence for ticket sales and television ratings. Video games have played their part as well into the desensitizing of our society.  First person shooting games as well as those filled with violent gore are best sellers.  Brains are being hardwired for violence and desensitized to it as well.

And, while I will agree with you that the majority of people know better than to act out what they see in real life there are a small percentage that don’t.  It’s that small percentage we see regularly in the news who have lost the reasoning ability needed to understand the consequences of their actions .  Instead of seeing honest and transparent discussions about the cause of such violence we see politically charged rhetoric about an inanimate object instead the hands that wield them.  The news headlines are filled with more calls for gun control but no calls for dealing with the people who use them in a constructive, proactive manner. Interestingly enough many of the voices crying out for change are the very ones who profit from promoting violence in their films, television shows or video games.  The do as I say don’t do as I do mindset of Hollywood is part of the problem in my opinion.

We need a long hard look at the cause of the violence we are seeing today. We need to examine the influence of media and the dysfunction of the home to find answers.  Monsters aren’t born they are formed.  Why is that happening so much these days?  As long as we fixate on the lifeless weapon of choice we will change nothing.  Evil will always find a way to manifest and anger will always find a way to fulfill its desires.  Will society stop the angry polarizing rhetoric to do that?  I do not think so.  That genie is out of the bottle.  Which is why many of us want the ability to protect ourselves and our families against such events.  We want more done by those who are qualified to protect us and our children.  We know that law enforcement is reactive to events after they happen.  We also know from the Parkland School Shooting in Florida that not all law enforcement can be trusted to protect our children.  Thankfully the majority of the first responders are trustworthy. However, all it takes is for a few to be derelict in their duties and we see the outcome of such blind dependency. From that same event we learned that laws and policies won’t protect our children and that gun free zones do more to endanger us than to protect us.  As long as our children and certain parts of our society are sitting ducks for violent, extremist behavior these events will continue.  And, I shudder to say, they will increase.

If terrorists, criminals and the criminally insane know that no one will stop their actions there is no deterrent against them from acting on them.  They know that they will receive be made famous by the media and politicians they will continue to make the choices for the twisted glory it gives them.    From the time that Cain killed Able with a rock nothing has changed.  Bad things happen to good people and evil acts out whenever it can sometimes for selfishly ridiculous reasons.  We need to change ourselves, our society and our focus on such matters.  We need to understand why these choices are being made with such frequency and do all that we can to be proactively prepared to stop them or respond to them.  Instead of soul-searching for legal or political answers we need the soul changing and a transformational mindset in our youth.  Stop the divisive rhetoric and start the real discussions for real emotional and spiritual change in our society.

Romans 12:2 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.

Thought for the Day – Be Content & Endure

Thought for the Day – Be Content and Endure

January 12, 2010

Philippians 4:4-13 (NKJV) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What?  The Apostle Paul wants you to rejoice?  Doesn’t he know what you are going through?  Hasn’t he seen your bank account or heard your cries?  Doesn’t he watch the news?!

Well, no, he’s dead but if he weren’t he’d still say the same thing.  Later on he tells you that he is going through his own tough times as he writes these words.

How do you guard your mind & heart when anxiety and fear attack them?

8 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. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

THINK about these things.  DWELL on them.  ESTEEM them and HOLD ON TO them.

The Apostle Paul says that if you do the God of peace will be with you.  Inverse logic says that if you do not do them there will be no peace because your mind will not be where God can influence it.

KNOW these kinds of thoughts (true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable & things that are excellent and worthy of praise) or NO PEACE!

And, the peace that you will be given SURPASSES human understanding.  I get so frustrated when I see that scripture misquoted as “the peace that passes understanding”.  It’s not a rational peace.  It’s an illogical peace that makes no sense because it comes from the Throne Room.

The Apostle Paul tells us why he knows this is true.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

He was going through his own financial and physical troubles when he wrote this.

Let’s get this straight – Paul did not patch tents because he liked it or wanted to do it.  His heart’s desire was to preach the Gospel and build communities of Believers.  However, some local churches he worked with were better at taking then giving and he had to survive by fixing and making tents.  But, that did matter to him because his mind and heart were set on the things he knew from Above.  He took his thoughts captive and had a mind that would not fear, fret or worry.  He knew that the Lord was faithful and held on to the Promises of His Word.  He could do that because he spent time in the Word, reading it and understanding it.  He spent time in prayer WITH the Living Word, the Lord Jesus/Adonai Yeshua who gave the written word supernatural abilities.

The next group of scriptures always made me uncomfortable as a baby Christian.

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Two words there have always gotten my attention: content and abased.

Content means to be happy, satisfied, at ease.  Abased means to be brought low, humbled, humiliated.

I liked the content part but being humiliated wasn’t something that excited me.  I still feel the same way but understand why now!

In those two scriptures he gives us the synopsis of the Christian walk – to be happy, to be humbled, to have needs and to have more then we need.  He is telling us that his peace is not dependent upon outward circumstances of the world.  It’s based on the inward security and trust he has in the Living God.  He knew he was in the world but not of the world.

How do I know that?  He tells me in verse 13: 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

ALL THINGS!  Not some things but ALL THINGS.  In other words, he can do EVERYTHING and deal with EVERYTHING the world, the flesh and the devil can throw at him because he gets his strength from the Lord.  The Greek word used for strengthen is endunamoō en-doo-nam-o’-o to empower:—enable, (increase in) strength (-en), be (make) strong.

Why is this power to endure the things the Apostle Paul is talking about so important to our walk and our life in 2010?  I’ll let the One who will sustain you answer this question.

Mark 4:3-9 (NKJV) 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air[a] came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
9 And He said to them,[
b] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Can you hear what He is saying to you?

Mark 4:14-20 (NKJV) 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

There is a thief out there given the name Satan but its every member of his dark kingdom.  They exist to steal your peace, steal your joy, steal your blessings and steal the Word from your heart & mind if they can.  Get rooted and grounded in the written Word (Logos) and the Living Word (Rrhema).  Drive those roots deep with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.  Cultivate it and protect it.  When the trials and tribulation we’ve been warned of come you will still be fruitful and won’t be washed away in the floods of despair that are coming.

Listen to what the Lord says to the church at Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:10-13 (NKJ V) 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold,[a] I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

If you have no joy, have no peace, are filled with anxiety or fear over your circumstances or your life, you will not endure the days ahead.  Make a choice today to guard your heart & mind from anything that comes to do them harm.  Even the smallest thing can begin to destroy the peace and contentment you seek.  Even the slightest complaint or negative word from your lips will start the rot that will destroy the Vine of Life given to you by the Lord.

Let NOTHING – NO THING natural or supernatural – hinder you from enduring to the end.

If the Apostle Paul were here this is what he would say to you today:

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—be JOYFUL BECAUSE OF HIM!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soonDon’t worry about ANYTHING; instead, pray about EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has already done. When you do that, you will experience God’s peace, which EXCEEDS ANYTHING WE CAN UNDERSTAND. His peace WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS as you LIVE in Christ Jesus. Remember, YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING and DEAL WITH EVERYTHING because of the supernatural, spiritual strength GIVEN TO YOU BY THE LORD HIMSELF!

And to that I would say, “Amen!”

Shalom & Blessings,

Richard J Grund

And through the hands of the apostles

many signs and wonders were done among the people.

And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

(Acts 5:12 NKJV)

www.onsolomonsporch.org/theporch

P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713


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Thought of the day – Conformity

“Character is always lost when a high ideal

is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.”

Charles Spurgeon

John 12:42 ( NKJV ) Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;

In the above scripture we see that many rulers believed in Yeshua/Jesus but because of their fear of being put out of the synagogue they did not confess that they believed in Him.  Their fear of man and man’s reaction to their choice kept them from being open about the faith.  They were conforming to the expected norms of their society instead of being open about their beliefs.  Over the last month this has been a topic of study.

What is conformity?

Conformity – behavior or thought that is socially acceptable or expected; agreement, correspondence, or similarity in structure, manner, or character.

In the Spurgeon quote we see what happens when we sacrifice our ideals for acceptance.  We lose our character and integrity.

Psalms 29:5 tells us that fearing people is a dangerous trap.  In the KJV and the NKJV the word for trap is “snare” which is a hook or a noose.  Generally it means something that is elevated off of the ground so that once the target is hooked it cannot get any footing to escape.  So, when we give into the fear of man, of what people think about us we lose our footing and cannot get away.  We cannot take a stand for the things we should.  We become powerless.

One of the best examples of this other then the above scripture and the story of Nicodemus coming to speak to Yeshua/Jesus at night so that no one could see him is the Apostle Peter after the Lord has been arrested in Luke 22:54-62.

We see in this part of scripture that as the Lord is being led to the house of the high priest Peter follows at a distance (verse 54).  He wanted to be with the Lord but his fear kept him in the courtyard with the crowds that had gathered.  In verse 56 we read where a servant girl recognized him as a follower of Yeshua/Jesus.  Because of fear he has lost his integrity and commitment to the Lord and denies he knows Him (verse 57).  He tried to fit in among them but once you know the Lord you cannot fit in no matter how hard you try. I wonder what was going on inside of Peter at that moment.  In a split second he denied he even knew Him.  Did he duck his head and try to hide?  Probably.  But when the enemy sees you compromise he smells blood, your blood, and the demonic sharks begin to circle you.

In verse 58 another person notices him and says “You also are one of them.”  Instead of proudly saying “Yes I am!”  he says “Man, I am not!”  It most likely got easier the second time.  Compromise always does.  For an hour no one said anything to him except his guilty conscience speaking inside his heart and the voice of condemnation in his ear.  By now Peter is probably bound up by fear.  Fear for the Lord’s well being, fear about what would happen to them and fear that he would be found in the courtyard and punished as well.  I will bet it was the longest hour of his life and just like the enemy to back off just enough to catch you off guard.  And then comes the final slip of the knot.  The final wrap of the snare around Peter’s ankle.

Luke 22:59-62 ( NKJV ) Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

In a split second Peter’s heart was broken because he knew that not only had he let the Lord down but he knew the Lord saw it.  When their eyes met no words needed to be spoken.  What did he see when he looked into the Lord’s eyes.  Sadness?  Sorrow?  Disappointment?  It’s not like the Lord didn’t know he was going to do it.  He had told Peter so only hours before.

Luke 22:31-34 ( NKJV ) And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

By these words He we know He knew Peter would fail the test –  and when you have returned to Me.

Verse 62 tells us so much more then our English language can say.  In the original Greek that was translated into the KJV in 1611 it says that Peter didn’t just weep.  The words used for “wept bitterly” means he sobbed and wailed violently.    You know what that is.  Gut wrenching, violent chest heaving sobs.  The kind of sobbing where you cannot catch your breath and it hurts so bad that death would be pleasant.  Peter had looked into the eyes of the Man who for three years had not only been his Master and Teacher but also his best friend and knew he had let him down.  How would you feel if you knew He was watching you at your moment of conformity?

Adding to that pain was the knowledge that John was inside with Yeshua/Jesus.  In John Chapter 18 we read that John had gone in with the Lord while Peter waited fearfully outside.  He was supposed to be the leader and the strong one and he was outdone by the youngest of the disciples.  This would be a sad ending if we didn’t already know that when the Lord rose from the dead an angel told the women who had come to dress the Lord’s body in Mark 16:7 to tell the disciples and Peter (bold letters mine) to meet the Lord in Galilee.  How cool is that?  The Lord wanted to make sure Peter knew he was welcome.

You see the Lord knows your failures.  He’s seen the end from the beginning and He knows where and when you will fail Him but He’s already making a way for you to return to Him.  He didn’t stay to Peter “if you return to Me” He said “when you have returned to Me.” He’s already made a way for you when you fail that test.  An angel is waiting to be dispatched to remind you where to meet Him.

No matter what you’ve done He’s letting you know you are welcome to come back.

If you understand what happened to Peter you can understand why he never backed down again.  He was bold for the Lord and set his heart to never let the Lord down again.  We see that in his answers every time he was arrested and told to stop preaching about the Messiah.  We see it in his boldness after the Upper Room.  He stood up the a public square filled with thousands of people, maybe millions of people, and preached the first sermon of the New Church.  That boldness was born from brokenness and sealed by love.

Where are you right now in your walk with the Lord?  If push came to shove would you stand up for Him and His Word or would the fear of man ensnare you?  How easily do you compromise or conform when the risk is your livelihood or acceptance from people who you want to impress?  Is there anything in this World that can keep you from boldly and publicly saying ‘YES!” when they ask “are you one of them”?  Or, will you drop your head, hide your eyes and deny Him by your words or your actions?  Just sitting in a pew isn’t enough.  We are called to live it for everyone to see.

Matthew 5:14-16 ( NKJV ) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

You might be saying “I want to be like this but I don’t know how!”  What is your fear?  What could it cost you to take a stance for the Lord?  Is that cost worth what it does to you inside?  Is it worth giving up your character for?  Is it worth losing your footing and being ensnared by that fear?  Only you can answer that question.  Personally, I don’t know any other way to live.  I have to live with that Light shining no matter what the cost.  I love Him so much for what He’s done for me and how much He has loved me that I believe I would have been like John.  I would have marched into Caiaphas’ house with Him and been standing at the foot of the Cross too.  He died for me.  Can I do any less then live for Him?!  But, even if I were like Peter I know that He will be waiting for me to return and embrace me with open arms as He did Peter in John Chapter 21.

Find out where your thoughts and decisions have led you to conform.  Ask the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit to change the way you think.  That’s what the Apostle Paul, who knew all to well the cost of following the Lord, meant in Romans 12:2.
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.

Romans 12:2 ( NLT ) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

When you do you will feel that rope slip off of your ankle and you will be set free from the snare of this World and what people think about you.

You will never be the same!

Shalom & Blessings,

Richard J Grund
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

And through the hands of the apostles

many signs and wonders were done among the people.

And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

(Acts 5:12 NKJV)

www.onsolomonsporch.org/theporch

P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713