Saturday, 23 June 2012

Thoughts, Ideas and Words of Christ that revolutionized the world

Jesus said “……For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-36NKJV)         

Watch your thoughts, they become your words
Watch your words, they become your actions
Watch your actions, they become your habits
Watch your habits, they become your character
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

“Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”(Proverbs 4:23 ERV)

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”(Isaiah 55:80 NIV)

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7AMP)

Is your thought life in tune with God's Word or do you harbor any secret areas in your mind that are not ruled by Christ, but still under the rule of old King Self? For example, there might be thoughts of pride, hatred, lust, love of money, materialistic addictions or idolatry. When you are a born again Christian, you need to be totally surrendered to Christ because now you are God's property. As a saved person you are about to experience a transformation process. 

In Romans 12:2 the Bible tells you not to be conformed to this world, "but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." God wants to rule your mind. Your thoughts are the roots of your actions. If Jesus Christ is truly your Lord, then you need His thoughts discipline, or you will be vulnerable to temptation, and you will have great difficulty to obey God - to be Christ like - because your mind is preoccupied with something else that is not of God. Our thoughts come from - God, ourselves/world/society/family and the devil. How do we recognize when we are thinking God's thoughts or the devil's thoughts? 

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. The real art of communication is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness."

 “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23 NIV)

Mind power is the second strongest power next to the spirit. The thoughts that pass through your mind are responsible for everything that happens in your life. Your predominant thoughts influence your words, behavior and attitude and control your actions and reactions. As your thoughts are, so is your life. Thought power is the key to creating your words, Ideas and reality. Everything you perceive in the physical world has its origin in the invisible, inner world of your thoughts and beliefs. To become the master of your destiny, you must learn to control the nature of your dominant, habitual thoughts. By doing so, you will be able to attract into your life that which you intend to have and experience as you come to know the Truth that your thoughts create your reality.

When we think before we speak and act, or consider the consequences of our actions, we can prevent a great many disasters. 

Thomas Secker former Archbishop of Canterbury said, "Some persons do first, think afterward, and then repent forever." But it needn't be that way. We have the power to think before we speak and act. At the very least, we can think after we act. That way if we make a mistake, we can learn from it.

One of the most powerful forms of thinking is reflection or contemplation. Simply put, it is careful thought, or thinking things through. In other words, we weigh the pros and cons or benefits and liabilities of a particular course of action. However, we don't want to overdo it. For as British Statesman Edward F. Halifax said, "A person may dwell so long upon a thought that it may take him prisoner." At times, any action is better than no action. After all, if we make a mistake, we can learn from it and move on, but not to act at all is to remain frozen in time.

If you are unhappy with life, change the way you think about it. In other words, change your perspective. Change the way you see things. Learn to see the good that surrounds you. Sometimes we are so busy looking for flaws, imperfections, and problems that are all we see and think. "Very little is needed to make a happy life;" taught Marcus Aurelius, "It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." Doug Horton adds an interesting twist, "Life is good when we think it's good. Life is bad when we don't think."

Our thoughts are a source of power. They can ennoble us or denigrate us, generate happiness or create misery, or set us free or enslave us. Thoughts are a creative force. You see, we become good by thinking about goodness and cause trouble to others and ourselves by thinking about trouble. Sid Madwed makes a serious point in a lighthearted way in this verse, "Thoughts are funny little things, They can make paupers or make kings."

Yes, constructive thinking is a life skill that leads to opportunities and personal growth. What can be more fun than wrestling with the infinite possibilities in our midst? Or more fun than trying to figure out our role in the overall scheme of things? Many exciting adventures await those who are willing to take the time to stop and think, for the fruits of thought are decisions, actions, and results. We can monitor, multiply the power of thought by using pen and paper. For writing down our thoughts helps us to focus on them. It allows us to capture our thoughts and all the directions in which they flow. Also, our notes provide the opportunity to amplify, clarify, modify, and simplify what's on our mind. Notes also serve as records to which we can refer to once again in the future.

God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts”, In some things there may be a likeness between the thoughts of God and the thoughts of men, as to the nature of them: thoughts are natural and essential to them both; they are within them, are internal acts, and unknown to others, till made known; but then the thoughts of men are finite and limited, whereas the thoughts of the Lord are infinite and boundless; men's thoughts have a beginning, but the Lord's have none; though not so much the nature as the quality of them is here intended:

In genesis 6:5   “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The thoughts of men are evil, even the imagination of their thoughts, yea, every imagination is, and that always and only so; but the thoughts of God are holy, as appears from his purposes and covenant, and all his acts of grace, in redemption, calling, and preparing his people for glory: the thoughts of men, as to the object of them, are vain, and nothing worth; their thoughts and sentiments of things are very different from the Lord's, as about sin, concerning Christ, the truths of the Gospel, the people of God, religion, holiness, and a future state, and in reference to the business of salvation; they think they can save themselves; Inside a person's heart, there is evil and there is sin. Since the cause of sin lies inside man, no matter how much good we do on the outside, we cannot get rid of our sin.

This is why God said, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord... for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).

God has the right to expect and demand that every human being live according to His will. This right is His because He is the eternal, sovereign Creator of us all. He is righteous, holy and powerful. He is also loving, kind and merciful. He is capable of both wrath and judgment. He is far above and beyond us. The wisest, most prideful among us are foolish compared to Him. It is a fool who lives in rebellion against God with each day drawing nearer to eternity.

Alexander the Great was fed ideas by his mother for his entire life that he was meant to conquer the world.  So he set out and conquered... most of the world. 

The great Macedonian king. Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence. He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last. He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.” With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes. “My first desire is that,” said Alexander, “My physicians alone must carry my coffin.” After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury.
“The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin.”The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dare bring the question to their lips.
Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. “O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?”
At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt. I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.
The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell People that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.
And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world.”Alexander’s last words:  “Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside so that the world knows the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying“. With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last.
We live our lives in denial, as if death will never come. But sooner or later, death comes to everybody. What is death? Is there life after death? Most of us only begin to ask these questions at the end of life, when the certainty of death can no longer be ignored. By that time we may be caught by surprise and ill-equipped to deal with the situation at hand. A perfectly natural, and even beautiful stage of life, becomes overcast with fear and confusion. Why wait 'til the end? Why not ask these questions now, while there's time to make a serious investigation?

Life is a mystery– from the flower that blooms on the valley, to the highest forms of conscious and intelligent existence. But what shall we say of death? Life, clothed with sensation, thought, and activity, was the last and highest act of the Creator’s power. But death — that mysterious change which defaced the beauty of this living creation, and breaks in pieces this most excellent monument of divine wisdom —what is it, but one of the highest and most striking proofs of the omnipotence of God, which spares not this his noblest work? See this beautiful vase dashed and broken! Not a vestige of its fair proportions remains. The living inhabitant that once occupied it is gone to some distant world; and the once beautified, adorned mansion is already beginning to be decomposed, and returning to its original dust. Nothing but desolation and decay are visible, and the stillness of death reigns throughout its deserted chambers.

The fields of science have been explored by his wisdom and industry. By his authority over the elements, he has compassed earth and ocean, and well near annihilated space. But with all his capacity for great and noble achievement, he has never been able to enlarge the boundaries of human life. Death’s arrows are sharp. His hand is unerring and ruthless. The giant stalks unseen, and throughout all the vast arena of his conflicts, none can resist, or evade his ravages. We may weep. We may tremble. But we cannot escape his fury. Man has no power to ward off the stroke of death.

But does the history of man terminate in the tomb? Is the grave a world of everlasting oblivion? What is God’s thought about death?

Death is the enemy of man; but it is the glory of the Gospel of Jesus that it teaches us how we may meet this last enemy with triumph. When Jesus Christ  was on his way to the grave of Lazarus, he proclaimed, I am the resurrection and the life; if a man believe in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that lives and believes in me shall never die! . The Resurrection of Jesus from the death is the cornerstone of Christian faith. It is precisely because the physical resurrection of Christ is at the very heart of our faith and Hope.

There are two types of wisdom taught in the Scriptures--man’s and God’s. Man’s wisdom is his intellect and his education, which breeds humanism. Humanism is when man focuses on the humanities. It’s a religion with their God being themselves. It’s a doctrine, thought, or a way of life whereby man is the Supreme Being.  When we encounter roadblocks in our efforts to build the kingdom, the reason often is that our solutions are grounded in the wisdom of men—which is foolishness to God

Bible says “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness and again,The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”(1 Corinthians 3:19-20) We all need God’s grace to enter His kingdom; our intellectualism won’t work. We are all in the need of His wisdom no matter how foolish it may sound. Remember, the Scriptures tell us to become fools that we may become wise in. Only pride will keep one from doing this. Nobody can take their smarts with them when they die; they are meaningless to Him. Don’t jeopardize eternity for what you think. Put your wisdom aside, and take His.

In this era when many people have neglected to learn what the Lord Jesus says and have pushed aside the eternal truths of God, too many people are unaware of how powerfully God’s ideas can change their lives and the world for the better. Hence the need of the hour is to communicate the revolutionary thoughts of our Lord Jesus to the decaying world. God's thoughts are on a different level from the thoughts of man. That is why we are asked to return to God. Many of the Savior’s most profound teachings are counterintuitive. “Love your enemies” is an example. The solutions that our minds are prone to develop are often different from those the Lord would have us pursue. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” 
In this article I will highlight the Christ’s thoughts and teachings that seem counterintuitive to the wisdom of men but that have the potential to help the Governments, people, Church and its Saints grow even stronger.

First and foremost thoughts that the  Lord Jesus Christ was motivated by the idea of love, love for the world.  So, he died for it. Note His own words “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, And to give his life as a ransom for many.” – (Matthew10:45.)

Here is another revolutionary thought by our Lord Jesus:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29).

A study published in the Academy of Management Journal shows that leaders who show humility are more well-liked and make better bosses than those who do not. The study also found that a bosses' humility is transmittable; in other words humble leaders’ followers were much more humble themselves. Jesus gave us a good example of humility in action.

“The character of Jesus has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive in its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said that the simple record of three years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists." He is God’s indescribable and unfathomable gift to the world. He is the most unique Person of the universe. No other religious leader has ever seriously made such a claim for no other could support it by their life. His life is unparalleled in beauty, scope, character, and effect. No one ever spoke like Jesus Christ, did the things He did, or made the claims He made.

The Infinite became an infant.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus Christ is the only religious leader in history who claimed to be God incarnate. The fact that God visited Earth in the form of Jesus Christ shows just how much God really cares about human beings. God was willing to subject Himself to the limitations of a human life to show us His love in the most up close and personal way possible. God endured suffering to pay the penalty of sin for us, so we could be connected to Him in relationships. No other religion shows God’s love at work in such a powerful way. Jesus reconciled God and humans completely, empowering Christians to change every part of human society for the better because His Spirit is at work through them.
Bible says “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9). Though Christ was rich, for our sakes, He became poor. What a beautiful and magnificent statement, The Infinite became an infant .

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but "though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor." "All things were made by Him" (Jn. 1:3) and, as to the Creator of the worlds, all belonged to Him. All the holy creation magnified Him. “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”(Col. 1:16).Thus we see that all things on earth and all in heaven belonged to Jesus Christ. All things subjected to Him and praised Him. Yet the love of creation is by far imperfect in comparison with the surpassing love of God the Father. The Son, Jesus Christ, was the constant object of the Father’s bottomless love. And this constituted the biggest treasure of His soul. He repeatedly said: ““As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. … ” (Jn. 15:9).But somehow, looking at one of the dearest creations, the man, He saw that the man was speedily distancing from God the Father, which he no longer can get into the glorious heaven. Sin completely separated man from God. There was only one way left to reconciliation. 

And He, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, King of kings, Son of Eternity, to whom all things belonged, decided to become poor for our sake. C. S. Lewis said it well: "The Son of God became a man that men might become sons of God." God became a man so that you might become God's child.

Bible says "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:4-6 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10).

 “Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5,

Jesus demonstrated His love for us by bearing our sins and dying on the cross. In John 13:34-35 Jesus commands His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” If we are to imitate Christ’s love and humility, we must demonstrate to others the love that He has shown to us. At times it will involve sacrifice – giving energy, time, and money or helping someone out when it is not “convenient” – but following Christ’s love involves more than just a feeling, but reveals itself in action. In His humility, Jesus Christ was willing to give up His rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Christ, we should have a servant’s attitude, serving out of love for God and for others.

 Every day, we can choose our attitudes – do we expect to be served or do we look for opportunities to serve others (Mark 10:45)? Jesus is God, He is unique, even so, as Christians we are called by God to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others. In John 13:1-17, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, providing us an example of humble service. Jesus was the disciples Teacher and Lord, but he performed a task that was normally performed by a servant. Jesus was teaching the disciples a lesson in humility, John 13:14-16, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” The true Christian is one who makes every decision on the basis of eternal values and principles of God’s word and not the passing fads of corrupted philosophy of a man or the corrupted society. “One test of a person’s consecration is whether he or she is willing to do something for the Glory of God, even if the credit is likely to go elsewhere or the deed may go unacknowledged.
One of the pre-requisites for us to walk in the humility of Jesus is that we have an intimate walk with Him. 

To be intimate with Him means that our lives become completely intertwined with His. It means we are "one with Christ” thoroughly with the Lord. It is out of this intimacy that Christ like character traits are born and developed, and this includes humility. We can safely say that Jesus was the most humble person to ever walk the face of the earth. He came to this world because He loves us, which means His humility was born out of His love for us. Because He continually walked in humility before the Father, Jesus enjoyed the favor of God upon His life (Isaiah 66:2; Luke 2:52).

Humility is the exact opposite of pride. When you practice humility then you think more highly of others than they do of themselves (Phil. 2:3) and put the well-being of others ahead of their own well-being (Phil. 2:4). The Lord Jesus Christ taught others about the importance of humility and practiced it flawlessly in His own life. Following are the classical example of Christ teaching and example; that we should be manifesting in our daily Christian life.

Jesus Christ taught His disciples to humble themselves as little children (Matthew 18:1-4).
He taught His disciples to be ministers and servants instead of kings and princes (Matthew 20:25-28).
He taught His disciples to be servants instead of masters (Matthew 23:10-12).
He taught His disciples to be servants of all to be first and greatest of all (Mark 9:33-35).
He taught His disciples to be least of all to be the greatest of all (Luke 9:46-48).
He taught His disciples to take the lowest position to reach the highest position (Luke 14:7-11).
He taught the religious but lost to be like the publican instead of like the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14).
 Jesus set an example for us by His own life style of humility.
He took upon Himself the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7).
He was made in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7).
He was found in fashion as a man (Phil. 2:8).
He voluntarily became poor for the sake of God’s elect (2 Cor. 8:9).
He was born in a stable and laid in a manger (Luke 2:7).
He was raised in a poor family (Luke 2:22-24).
He grew up in the lowly place called Nazareth (John 1:46).
He had nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).
He was a friend to publicans and sinners (Matthew 11:19).
He allowed Himself to be anointed by a sinful woman (Luke 7:36-39,44-48).
He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5, 12-17).
He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8).
He was buried in a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:57-60).
Jesus teachings demonstrated through His life
Jesus said “The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”

The Lord Jesus Christ always practiced what He preached and preached what He practiced. He was totally consistent in all of His ways. He condemned the display on one’s piety in order to win the praise of men.  Jesus Himself in this regard gives the guiding principle. “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven’ (Matt. 6:1)

"The Son can do nothing of Himself" (John 5: 19).
"I can of My own self do nothing; My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will" (John 5: 30).
"I receive not glory from men" (John 5: 41).
"I am come not to do Mine own will" (John 6:38).
"My teaching is not Mine" (John 7:16)
"I am not come of Myself" (John 7:28)
"I do nothing of Myself" (John 8:28)
"I have not come of Myself, but He sent Me" (John 8: 42).
"I seek not Mine own glory" (John 8:50)
"The words that I say, I speak not from Myself" (John 14: 10).
"The word which ye hear is not Mine" (John 14: 24).

These words open to us the deepest roots of Christ's life and work. They tell us how it was that the Almighty God was able to work His mighty redemptive work through Him. They show what Christ counted the state of heart which became Him as the Son of the Father. They teach us what the essential nature and life is of that redemption which Christ accomplished and now communicates. It is this: He was nothing, that God might be all. He resigned Himself with His will and His powers entirely for the Father to work in Him. Of His own power, His own will, and His own glory, of His whole mission with all His works and His teaching, of all this He said, It is not I; I am nothing; I have given Myself to the Father to work; I am nothing, the Father is all.

This life of absolute submission and dependence upon the Father's will, Christ found to be one of perfect peace and joy. He lost nothing by giving all to God. God honored His trust, and did all for Him, and then exalted Him to His own right hand in glory. And because Christ had thus humbled Himself before God and God was ever before Him, He found it possible to humble Himself before men too, and to be the Servant of all. His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow Him to do in Him what He pleased, whatever men around might say of Him, or do to Him. It is in this state of mind, in this spirit and disposition, that the redemption of Christ has its virtue and efficacy. It is to bring us to this disposition that we are made partakers of Christ. This is the true self-denial to which our Saviour calls us, the acknowledgment that self has nothing good in it, except as an empty vessel which God must fill, and that its claim to be or do anything may not for a moment be allowed. It is in this, above and before everything, in which the conformity to Jesus consists, the being and doing nothing of ourselves, that God may be all.

True spirituality and holiness is not hardness, legalism, or mean-spirited people making everyone miserable with their own list of concocted standards.  The Bible is a Holy Book from Genesis to Revelation and every standard set in Scripture is the humility of transformed saints.  Godly people will separate themselves from activities that are declared off limits by the Holy Bible.   There is no such thing as being a partaker of God’s grace, while the selfish mind is left to indulge in pride.  We cannot possess the true faith in our spirit and leave the soul and body in the clutches of pride and arrogant living. 

It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If we walk in humility nothing will shake us, neither honor nor disgrace, If we are disgraced we will not be discouraged. If we are honored we will not put ourselves on a pedestal." Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues, hence in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. True humility is a fascinating quality as it reconciles two contrary attributes, that of accepting one’s own limits, and being bold enough to stretch outside of one’s comfort zone. Humility is being comfortable with who we are in the Lord.. The meaning of humility in the Bible is one of loving others, not being a wimp! Therefore putting others first. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3) Humility is the true mark of spirituality and beauty of Holiness.

Apostle Paul said “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”( 2 Corinthians 10:3-5NIV) 

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