Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Positive Thinking Is Biblical

Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

A number of years ago, a young woman called me on the phone.
I was referred to you by my brother who goes to your church she said, and I need help. What is your problem I asked? Well I don’t know what to do, things are so horrible, I might as well die. And then she went on to explain. My unemployed husband was drunk and while trying to steal some pallets, he jumped off a fence and broke both legs. Now he is in the hospital and I have no way to pay the bill. Welfare cut off our checks and so we can’t pay our rent and we are six weeks behind. I just know the landlord is going to evict us. I have three small children and I am pregnant and I have a huge tumor on my neck, that needs to be removed … but they can’t remove it until after I deliver my baby, and I just know that it is going to be cancer and I’ll die. I know you might be thinking … this can’t be a true story, Bob must have made this up but, it is true, and I remember it as clear as if it happened today.

That is a sad situation, I said, and then I asked, Is there anything good going on in your life? NO, she replied, everything’s horrible. That can’t be true, I said there must be something good. Can’t you even name one thing good in your life? No, she said.
I said okay, would you mind if I asked you a few questions? And then I proceeded.
Are you a Christian? Yes she replied. Is that good or bad I asked. I guess its Good she said, but it doesn't seem like it right now.
You have three kids. Are they healthy? Yes Is that good or bad. Good she said.
Did your family eat today? Yes she replied. Is that good or bad? Good.
Are the utilities on in your home? Yes Is that good or bad? Good.
Is your husband a good father? Yes! Is he good with your kids? Yes Good.
Has your landlord given you an eviction notice? No is that good or bad? Good.
Has the doctor told you the tumor is cancerous? No. Is that good or bad? Good.
Does Jesus Love you and your children? Good or Bad? Good.
Has God promised he will never leave you or forsake you? Yes Is that good or bad? Good.
Now, I said, that's ten good things and I am not even warmed up ... do I need to continue? And finally she replied, no, I see what you are getting at. What’s that I asked? "I guess it is all in how you look at things." She said.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to meet with that young woman’s husband Randy, and he prayed for Christ to come in and take over his life, and the last we talked they were working on a plan to get their family’s problems solved and their life on the right path. Hopefully I’ll be able to get an update from them in heaven.

I don’t know about you but these past ten years have brought me a negative list longer than the girl’s above … so much so, that from a human perspective, sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and quit. Oh I know, some would say … Bob’s list couldn’t be that bad, but none of us really have any idea about how many problems someone elses life is going through. I will only say, no matter how low you have been, I think I’ve been lower. I won't burden you, but trust me, I could go on and on. And watching political television news shows only brings me lower. The news of the day provides a hundred ways to bring us down and very little that brings us back up! But the Good News is that God has provided a Positive list that far outweighs the negatives. All we need to do is meditate on The lord's blessings and promises and He gives us peace and joy in the eye of the storm.

When we focus on Christ and his word, the highs will far outweigh the lows. Today’s verse is God’s answer to negative thinking and receiving negative input. As I have posted previously, I love to talk politics … but the problem for me is that it always turns negative and nothing gets resolved. People’s minds are set and it is always your opinion against someone elses. The difference with Christianity is that we have a final authority to look to and stand on. The problem Christians run into is that many want to receive Christ, but then they remain the god of their day to day lives. With God, we can always turn to his truths for hope, wisdom, knowledge,courage, direction, peace, joy, love and encouragement.

Now let’s review the text above:

Be anxious for nothing: Don’t worry. The Lord has everything under control. He knows your problems and will cause all things to work together for your good.

"But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Make a list of your blessings first. Give thanks for all of the ways God has blessed you. Then you will be able to bring today’s problems to the Lord in prayer with a thankful heart and a heart and mind that faithfully believes that God hears you and will answer your prayers. Your prayers will take on new power and you will hear God and see what he wants you to do today.

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". Once you are confident that you are doing what he wants you to do, you can now live above the problems of the world … trusting your cares to the one who is the Creator and Lord of all. And He will guard you heart and mind from wrong thinking, and negative and evil input, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." This is Biblical Positive Thinking. God wants us to meditate on the good, the clean, the pure, the powerful, and the positive. Cut off the negative input … which would include the majority of the news in the world. We are here and cannot ignore the problems of the world but one hour of filling your mind with positive hardly balances eight hours of negative input from the TV. Think about it. What fills your mind each day? You are what you eat … works mentally as well as physically.

"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." So become disciplined. Memorize God’s instructions and practice living His truths morning, noon and night. And the promise is: Jesus will guide you, guard you, love you, and protect you.

It doesn’t get any better than that!

God Bless You, My Friend … Bob


  1. Hello Bob. I am wondering if you ever read the same scripture in other Bible translations to see if by the different sentence structure, or the substitution/omittance of words, or the translation itself make the meaning of the same scripture different, even though they all were translated from the same source. For instance: Philippians 4, 6-9. I read your post. Then I read from King James just to see if the emphasis was the same. It isn't and I wondered why? It is fun to be a curious Christ follower. Try reading Phil. 4, 6-9 King James side by side with your translation and see if you can see and feel what I am making reference to. Love your blog. Bless ya, Bob. Rob

  2. Further down Phil 4:13 is one of my all time favorites.

    Thanks for reminding me of this one earlier on in the chapter.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom Bailey

  3. Hi Bob, excuse me for interjecting, but I don't see what Robbin is talking about. Sometimes the language (especialy King James English) can be a little confusing, but in this instance both translations say the same thing. Where do you see a difference Robbin?

    Always seeking the Truth

  4. Robbin ... Thanks for your input. Sorry for the mistake. A word was actually left out on my original post. It has been corrected. I typically use numerous translations for reference. But have also found that NKJV to be best. On this one. I assume that you are referring to my use of the words "let your mind dwell on these things" rather than "meditate on these things". This post was submitted late at night by memory (memorized years ago) on my part and I apologize, I am not sure which translation it comes from ... and I will search that out.

    I share your concern about getting the word correct and not changing words. Some of the more widely used translations are using words that change the meaning of the verses to fit the translators personal doctrine. And pastors who use paraphrases for clarity or to fit their message is also greatly abused. On that note, I agree with Fred, I do not think the meaning has been changed here in any way here, but I welcome any corrections.
    God bless, Bob

  5. Hi everybody, interesting entery and very interesting comments too... I do have to agree to a certain degree with Robin though, and maybe even go a little further to say that The bible is actually at least a translation of a translation... Let me explain what I mean... The bible's translation to English is from (at least we're made to think so) mostly Greek manuscripts, and these Greek manuscripts are translations as well, because Jesus never spoke Greek (as we all know he spoke Aramaic -which is his mother tongue- and maybe Hebrew when he quoted some passages of the OT)
    Now, even taking it for granted that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (whose Gospels were written not by them but by some of their disciples supposedly based on their teachings) so even taking it as a given that these gospels were written in Greek... They actually were based on other Gospels (which were written earlier -Q Gospel and the like- and some scholars even think that they copied from each other (since some of the four gospels preceded others by decades). Now if a translation differs from the original, imagine a translation of a translation (and this is the best scenario we can imagine here). It is normal to find so many differences, because they are simply different versions of the story and different interpretations of the words. Bear in mind that some of these words are CRUCIAL for the Christian dogma and doctrines (i.e: Word, Son, Father... could very well have been mistranslated)

    Anyways I respect you guys, but i have to disagree with some things you might take for granted. I'm not here to preach my own religion, so peace and love.

    Take care

  6. Thank you for a beautiful, uplifting message.

  7. Bob, I love the give and take but even more is an openness in the people who respond to each other in this format. In a sense when we read any translation of the Bible God speaks to you directly when one has faith that what is written there is true. It confirms itself. It is pointless to argue but fun to explore the infinate depths of the only book I know of that when read with a right spirit changes you without you doing anything. In fact as one is changed by the Word, reading the same scripture you read the day before isn't the same and you would swear someone came in the night and replaced the page that was there as some kind of a practical joke! Ha! It fills this empty earthern vessel with The Word and without conscious thought or an act of will, the old man is pushed out by the workings of God's Word itself. Replaced with Life, an undergoing to an overcoming. The new creature. The last thing I would want to do is argue a spiritual concept. How could I, when it is the journy that is real! There is no destination. If I may be frank. An example of how language or the use of words, no matter how small they appear to be, convey meaning that sometimes is subliminal. Take the words " for " and " with ". For, creates seperation and position. If I work for someone he is my boss and is above me. If I am working with someone we are equals. The scripture written above, Bob, uses the word worthy. That isn't in the KJV. That is a big concept and it doesn't work there. Admittedly the Holy Spirit, our divine intersessor is teaching us God's alien language that is spiritual and not of the flesh. I'm asking people to be aware that when reading any translations or the commentaries like Schofield offers beware of agendas including our own. It's really fun to read with people who no matter how well they are familiar with any scripture read it as if for the first time. Bless you all for putting up with this somewhat lengthy meandering discourse. Rob

  8. robbin ... I don't want to argue over a word here either but, my Greek dictionaary defines the word used here: "a commendable thing". I believe that is why the NKJV and the NIV use praiseworthy and and the NAS uses worthy of praise. I am convinced the use of the word worthy is appropriate and is closer to the definition in the Greek. The original KJV often comes up short and often the meaning gets lost in the language. We have to find the best balance ... God does not want us to be confused.

    I am convinced that the NKJV is a better translation than KJV and that NAS is usually more reliable than NIV. But many have other preferences.

    I certainly do not pretend to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar. Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit and His word. If we meditate on his word, we will be looking into all of the definitions and allow for the Holy Spirit to guide us.

    Having said all of that I agree with your concerns about substitutions of words ... especially with paraphrases, which sometimes totally distort God's original meaning.
    God Bless, Bob

  9. Thank you So Much for writing about this Bob.

  10. Bob,

    A very moving post! And timely too!

  11. I've been a political junkie since about 1992 and I am well able to argue my point of view.

    lately I've been posting less and less political stuff on my blog and more personal stories mixed with humor and Biblical truths.

    Politics is like a drug and it's hard to break the habit.
    God delivered me from alcoholism and I'm sure He can deliver me from politicalism.

    God bless you, Ron

  12. What a wonderful post! It seems silly the things I worry about...

  13. I'm a 78 year old semi-retired former pastor who currently serves as one of several assistants. I beleive Jesus spoke Greek, Aramaic, and Latin, as many did in the era in which he was born, with Aramaic his main language.

    His discourse with Pilate indicates his knowledge of Latin and possible Greek.

    The only thing we know, is that he did not speak English, the Bible being a translation.

    Bob, thanks for inviting me to see your blog.


  14. i loved this! i need reminding of these things a lot lately so thank you.