November 16, 2016
After a busy day filled with some not so ordinary events, my mind was racing from one thought to another as I tried to fall asleep. Knowing it would be a challenge and wanting to put the time to good use, I decided to think of things for which I am grateful, working my way through the alphabet. It did not take long to go all the way from “A” to “Z” with grateful thoughts about what I get to enjoy. Shortly after thanking God for the privilege of sleep (ZZZ’s), I was out for the night.
Someone asked me what to do when their mind is bombarded with thoughts about the counterfeit god, Satan. I suggested reading the Bible out loud – especially the Gospels, where the name “Jesus” comes up often. Satan and his helpers do not like to hear Jesus’ name. We also looked at a hymnbook and noted the many songs that have the name “Jesus” in them. By singing or just reading the words, filling our mind with Jesus will make a difference.
Much of the time, we cannot control all of the sights and sounds that enter our mind. But we can learn to filter out the thoughts that want to stay. Dwelling on a certain idea is like giving attention to a tender plant in the garden. If we feed and water it, the growth process will make it become a permanent fixture. And the longer it remains, the more difficult it is to remove.
The positive side of this is that good thoughts have the same potential. When we encourage wholesome thoughts to grow, there is less room for the bad ones. We have the ability to choose which thoughts will become permanent residents in our mind and those that we will quickly remove. Control of our meditation process is a personal choice. We can filter out what should not be allowed to stay.
The Apostle Paul gave us great help when, in Philippians 4:8-9, he outlined a list of the kind of thoughts we should invite to dwell in our mind. We will not have as great a battle with evil thoughts when we ponder those that are pure, honorable and worthy of praise. Think grateful thoughts and the negative ones will lose their power.
Pastor Bill Ehmann