Thoughts to Ponder

Garbage in Garbage out.

I pass by two high schools every morning on my way to work. I often see high school students on their way to school. Many have head phones on their ears listening to CD's or radios. They are filling their minds with whatever it is they are listening to.

I get many messages from kids who are depressed and think that life has no meaning and holds no hope. I received one such message from a girl who was about 16 years old. She told me how out of control her life seemed, and how hopeless it was. She felt that there was nothing to live for. While I was responding to her I noticed her e-mail address: "childofkorn" to make it easier to see I will separate the words: child of korn. Now many of you may not know what Korn is. It is a rock group. I can't quote most of their lyrics because they are not suitable, however, I will quote one short verse from one of their songs:

This place inside my mind, a place I like to hide
You don't know the chances. What if I should die?
A place inside my brain, another kind of pain
You don't know the chances. I'm so blind

Their songs talk about death, killing, depression, hopelessness and pain. There is nothing redeeming about their music. So here you have a child of 16 who thinks that life is not worth living and what does she fill her head with day after day? Is it any wonder that she sees no hope?

We humans are really very shallow when it comes to who we are. We are what we put into our minds and our hearts. When you find the time to just sit back and daydream, what do you think about? What comes to your mind when the pressure is off and you can choose what to think about? That is who you are. What do you fill your mind with when you have the choice of what to choose? Again that is who you really are.

Do you want to know what your kids are like? Then look at their friends. See what video games they are playing and what television shows they are watching. We all put on facades when we are around others whom we think would not agree with what we are doing, but the real us comes out loud and clear when we relax.

Do you think that you can watch any movie or television show you want, or listen to any kind of music you want to without it affecting you? You are lying to yourself if you think so.

This is the very reason God gave the Israelites the commands He did: (Deuteronomy 7:3-4 NIV) Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, {4} for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. They didn't listen and what happened? Exactly what God said would happen.

Jesus tells us in the New Testament that we should guard what we see because our eyes are the lamp of the body. (Matthew 6:22-23 NIV) "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. {23} But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

The eyes are the gateway to the mind and soul. What you allow in is what will take hold. It is the same with your ears. If you listen to filth all day long you will be dirtied by it. Have you noticed how filthy most teenagers and younger kids mouths are these days? Where do you thing that comes from? (Matthew 15:17-18 NIV) "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? {18} But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' They have diseased hearts. Their eyes are dark and so are their hearts and minds.

So you may say, what about our Christians freedom? Well what about it? What are you free from? Have you really thought about that? Paul tells us: (Romans 6:20-23 NIV) When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. {21} What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! {22} But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. {23} For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You have the freedom to live a holy life. You have the freedom to not habitually sin. Too many Christians think they have the freedom to do anything they want. They think they can live like the world and not get soiled. They miss the whole point of their freedom. They are free from the hold of sin on their life and from the fear of death.

I am not trying to tell you that you can only listen to Christian music or only read Christian books, but you should carefully choose what you do listen to and what you do read. It will affect you. Look what God says about His commands: (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV) These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. {7} Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Why do you think He wants His people to talk about and think about His commandments? I believe it is because what we talk about and what we think about will affect who we are, either for good or for bad.

Too many people tend to dismiss the Old Testament. They claim we are no longer under those commands or that those things were specifically for the Israelites. Both of those thoughts have some truth in them, but not all the truth. God does not change. He still wants us to put His commandments in our hearts and teach them to our children, and to talk about them and think about them.

He also still wants us to be different then the world around us: (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NIV) Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? {15} What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? {16} What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." {17} "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." {18} "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

So what do you fill your mind and heart with? Is it things of God or things of the world? Your honest answer to that question will show you whether you are more a child of God or a child of this world. Do you long for the day when Jesus comes back to get us or do you secretly hope it is after your lifetime so you can enjoy the pleasures of this life a little longer?

Do you mourn your lack of spiritual growth while you watch your favorite television show, which you would not allow your children to watch? Do you keep God segregated from your personal life? He has His day and you have yours. Or do you talk about Him with your children and when you sit at home and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up?

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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