Whatever is Lovely

Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (NIV).

The word lovely is defined as charmingly or exquisitely beautiful, of a great moral or spiritual beauty. The Greek definition is something acceptable or pleasing. Christians run into problems when their idea of what is lovely differs from God’s. Many times we find things acceptable and pleasing that God finds repulsive and offensive. We must learn to think about what God considers morally and spiritually beautiful.

If you don’t know where to start, begin by getting into the secret place where God is. Anywhere God dwells is beautiful because He is beautiful. Make this your prayer, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1-2, NIV). His dwelling place is lovely, and your thoughts wander from lovely to ugly when you live outside of His presence.

God desires intimacy with you, and that relationship is formed and developed in His presence. The most intimate times I have with my wife are face-to-face, not over the phone or in written notes to one another. The most meaningful moments in our relationship have come when it’s just the two of us together.

Relationships suffer when the individuals involved do not spend enough quality time together. If your thoughts are immoral or unpleasing, get back into God’s presence. Look upon His face because He is lovely. When you become intimate with Him, you will begin to think about how beautiful He is. Thank You, Jesus!

Psalm 27:4 — One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple (NIV).

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Whatever is Pure

Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (NIV).

The word pure in this verse comes from the Greek word meaning freedom from defilement or impurities, innocent. The dictionary defines pure as free from anything contaminating. Given these definitions, one might think, “Lord, have mercy. The majority of my thoughts are impure!” If this is you, don’t be disheartened. You’re not alone, and your thinking can change.

In order to purify your thoughts, it is important to first identify where the impure thoughts originated from. They can stem from a variety of sources such as the way you entertain yourself, past experiences, addictions, etc. You need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you pinpoint the cause of the impurity, and then repent and rid yourself of it.

Impure thoughts never come from God. They are a product of your fleshly, sinful nature. If you are not thinking about whatever is pure, then you are feeding your sinful nature somehow. What do you listen to or watch on television or at the movies? Maybe you participate in unclean conversations with friends or coworkers. Perhaps you have been mistreated or abused in your past and haven’t forgiven yet. Bitterness and resentment cause impure thoughts of revenge and malice. Lust leads to unhealthy, sexual fantasies, and the list goes on.

Thoughts eventually lead to action, whether pure or impure. Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (NIV). If you are struggling with impure thoughts, crucify the sinful nature with its desires. Then your thinking will change.

Galatians 5:24 — Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires (NIV).

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Whatever is Right

Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (NIV).

The King James Version of this verse says to think on whatsoever things are just. In other words, the words right and just are interchangeable in this verse. To be just is to be correct in judgment. We are to think about what is good and proper.

There are many well-meaning people who have poor judgment. Poor judgment comes as a result of not knowing the difference between right and wrong. (Others make bad choices willfully.) Many people never realize their dreams because they make foolish decisions, or poor judgment calls, trying to fulfill them.

Take for instance a little boy who dreams of flying. Full of vigor and expectation, he glues paper wings to his back and climbs onto the roof of his house. He carefully positions himself at the edge of the roof, extends his arms, and takes a flying leap. The end result is less than desirable. His dream is shattered, and he’s left injured and confused. He thought for sure his plan would work, but he went about fulfilling his dream all wrong.

I know this is an extreme example, but the lesson learned can be applied to everyday life. Maybe you find yourself at a standstill today. All you have to show for your dreams is a laundry list of bad decisions and poor judgment calls. It’s hard to do the right thing when you don’t know what it is.

Psalm 119:125 says, “Give discernment to me, Your servant; then I will understand Your laws” (NLT). Ask God to give you discernment every day when you pray. It is one of the gifts of the Spirit spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12. He wants you to know and do what is right.

Proverbs 3:21 — My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight (NIV).

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Whatever is Noble

Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (NIV).

Think about whatever is noble. The word noble in this verse comes from the Greek word semnos. It is actually translated as the English word honest. The definition of semnos is dignity; a majestic and awe-inspiring quality that invites and attracts.

I have learned we eventually become whatever it is we think about. If you think happy thoughts, odds are you are a happy person. If you view the glass as half empty, you’re likely a negative person. If you want to be noble, you must think about whatever is dignified, majestic, or awe-inspiring, and then live that way. Noble thoughts are centered on God and His word. He is dignified, majestic, and awe-inspiring. When you fix your mind on Him, you will want to be like Him.

Nobility is an attractive quality. People are drawn to individuals that are honest in thought and deed. On the other hand, people tend to avoid those who are dishonest and have poor character. Many unsaved people are turned off of God because a lot of Christians do not think, look, or act godly. Their thinking is carnal, and they do not meditate on whatever is noble.

Be careful not to become snobbish in your thinking, though. Being noble doesn’t mean you look down at those who are not. The noble Christian leads by example. I encourage you today to evaluate your way of thinking. Maybe you think about things that are good, but they are not noble.

I challenge you to begin focusing on the person of Jesus Christ, His majestic and awe-inspiring qualities. As you do, you’ll become more like Him, and people will be attracted to Him through you.

Luke 8:15 — “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (NIV).

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Whatever is True

Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things(NIV).

I believe one of the main reasons why Christians do not mature in their faith is they haven’t stopped thinking like children yet. Think about it. Your mindset is what causes you to reason, relate, and react the way you do. Your emotions and problem-solving ability are all linked to the way you think. If a person has the mind of a child, he or she is going to act like one. In order to go on to maturity, we have to start thinking maturely.

1 Corinthians 14:20 says, “Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults” (NIV). What do adult, or mature, Christians think about? Philippians 4:8 gives us a breakdown.

Paul first tells us to think about whatever is true. The word true in this verse comes from the Greek word meaning true in conduct; sincere and upright. The truth also conforms to reality. It is genuine and not deceitful or confusing. Someone who only thinks about what is true does not speculate. He or she gathers all the facts before judging whether something is true or false.

A godly individual has no business thinking about things that are not true. Doing so is a waste of time. It is not healthy for you to even listen to statements or accusations that are false. There will be people that come across your path who speak lies about everything from religion to relationships, and believing those lies will bind you. That’s why it is so important for you to know the truth, and if you don’t know what the truth is, take time to find out.

Don’t be gullible. If you entertain fallacy for an extended period of time, you will eventually accept it as truth. Nobody purposes in their heart to believe lies, so be on your guard.

John 8:32 — “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (NKJV).

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Your Advantage

John 1:14 says the Word became flesh and lived among the disciples in the person of Jesus Christ. He was all that the Father would think, say, or do personified. The disciples walked with the word of God and talked to Him. They heard Jesus teach, saw Him love, and witnessed the miracles. God’s Son was alive in their midst, but then He started talking crazy.

John 16:5-75“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (NKJV).

For the longest time I thought all of the traveling and miracle working had finally got to Jesus. The disciples were obviously saddened because He discerned that sorrow had filled their hearts, and I’m sure they longed to hear Him say: “You’re right boys. It’s not really a good time for Me to leave right now. I should have been a little more sensitive to your needs. I will hang out as long as you feel it’s necessary. My bad.”

The disciples received no such comfort. Instead, Jesus responded to their distress with, “It is to your advantage that I go away.”

I’m sure they trusted Him, but this just didn’t make any sense. How could it be to their advantage for the Son of God—the Word in the flesh—to go away? Perhaps He meant it was to their enemy’s advantage.

Jesus continued, “For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” So now, He wasn’t just leaving, He was sending a stranger to take His place! But this wasn’t just any stranger; it was the person of the Holy Spirit. If the Bible is life’s syllabus, the Holy Spirit is its professor. Get to know Him, and you’ll get to know the heart of Christ.

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

The Professor

John 14:26 — “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (NKJV).

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach you all things. The Message Bible says He will make everything plain to you. He is a genius, and if you listen to Him, He’ll make you look like one too.

Have you ever had a teacher who knew his or her content thoroughly but was unable to communicate it clearly? I had a math professor in college who was absolutely brilliant, but it was as if he taught our class using hieroglyphics. I did fine and thought he was rather amusing because I had a math mind, but several other students left confused every day.

Jesus did not send us a professor who speaks in code or over our heads. The Holy Spirit has a way of making everything plain to us. He will tell you what, when, and how to do the will of the Father. God did not intend for your life to be an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, so He gave you the Holy Spirit to teach you all things and guide you into all truth. Listen to Him today.

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.