ENGLISH VERSION - Bulletin Nº 57 November 07, 2021

HEALING FOR THE SOUL - PART 03
MIND CONTROL FOR SOUL HEALING
​PHILIPPIANS 4.8-9

by Rev. Renato Souza Prates

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INTRODUCTION

            Our text today will be Philippians, chapter 4, covering verses 8 and 9. But before we get into that, I want to remind you of a simple truth you learned as a child: "you are what you eat." If you eat healthily, with a well-balanced diet, it is likely to be healthy. But if you fill your body with junk food like potato chips, cupcakes, and candy, your body won't get the proper nutrients it needs. Illnesses and weaknesses can come over you.

            I remember a few days ago we were teaching our 6-year-old niece Malu how to eat vegetables. Juliana cut the vegetables very small to see if she tried it and I gave a lecture about how it would be good for her, but it seems that the tactic didn't help much, but we haven't given up on teaching yet.

            Now what is true in the physical realm is also true in the spiritual realm. But instead of eating, the spiritual realm is about thinking. Here it is: you are what you think. If you are in control of your thoughts, you are likely to have a healthy life. But if you fill your mind with junk like bad entertainment, toxic reading and useless movies - your spirit will not be strengthened in the inner man. Sin and evil will easily overtake you.

            Nowhere is this clearer than in Romans 8:6: "For the mind of the flesh gives to death, but the mind of the Spirit to life and peace."

            Our mind is something extraordinary and is more powerful than any computer ever invented. For example, it takes 82,944 processors and 40 minutes for a supercomputer to simulate a single second of human brain activity.

            The human mind has about 70,000 thoughts a day and we are subjected to at least 5,000 virtual ads or advertisements a day.

            Therefore, mind control is extremely challenging for all of us!

            I would like to invite you to do a mental experiment with me now: I would like you to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Then, without opening your eyes, I would like you to imagine that you are walking through a lemon orchard. So, you decide to stop in front of a lemon tree and slowly remove one of them, big and green. You will bring it up to your nose and smell it deeply. Then, with the help of a knife you will cut the lemon into two bands and bite into the lemon. How many could taste the lemon?

            Our mind is capable of believing everything we say to it! As we said, it is a big computer, which records all the information that comes to it. That's why it's important to fill our minds with healthy and uplifting information!

            As the philosopher Renê Descartes declared: I think, therefore I am! You are what you think!

            In Philippians 4:8-9 we will see that controlling our mind or our thoughts can bring healing to our soul.

​EXPLANATION

            If you remember, the book of Philippians is a "thank you note". For example, in verse 10 Paul will discuss the financial gift that was sent to him by the Philippians while he was in prison.

            Epaphroditus brought the gift to Paul (verse 18). And with this letter, Paul expressed his joy at that church.

            But, before getting to that, he first needs to close this little section of guidelines to the church, which started in verse 1 of chapter 4. From verse 1 to verse 6 we have 6 guidelines.

 

            Verse 1 - Stand firm.

            Verse 2 - Live in harmony.

            Verse 3 - Rejoice.

            Verse 4 - Be moderate (gentle)

            Verse 5 - Don't be anxious

            Verse 6 - Pray.

            In verse 7 we have the result of these actions: the PEACE OF GOD, which will be repeated in verse 9, after an orientation on WHAT TO THINK, in verse 8.

            In short, the guidelines in verses 1 through 6 have to do with OUR ACTIONS. The guidelines described in verse 8 have to do with OUR THINKING!

            What we think about has a lot to do with our emotional health.

            That's why Solomon warned, "Watch your heart, for out of it are the fountains of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

            That is why Jesus said, "What proceeds from man is what defiles him. For from within, from the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornications, theft, murder, adultery, acts of covetousness and wickedness, as well as the deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile man" (Mark 7:20-23).

            Our sin starts within us, with our thoughts and intentions. And then it proceeds to our actions.

            Simply put, To have a healthy soul, we need to control our mind:

            MIND CONTROL FOR SOUL HEALING

 

            So let's start by thinking about Philippians 4: 8:

Finally, brethren, all that is true, all that is respectable, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, all that is of good repute, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise exists, be itwhatever occupies your thinking.

 

Here's my first point:

 

1. THINK POSITIVELY (verse 8)

            That's the point of verse 8: think about what is good. Paul first lists six qualities, all of which represent good things. This can be found in people and what God has done through them. They can be found in God and what He has done. And then, he says, "Think about these things."

            We do not need here to present an exhaustive definition of what each virtue in verse 8 means, but to understand that each produces the other. That is, TRUTH produces HONOR; HONOR produces JUSTICE; JUSTICE produces what is PURE; PURITY produces what is KIND; what is KIND produces GOOD FAME!

            Here is a complete list of six things. They describe the good of this life. They speak of God's goodness. And so Paul says at the end of the verse, "Think of these things." Put them in your mind and think about them. Meditate on them.

            What an opportune word for us who live in the "information age". We have more exposure to the things that can come to our minds than anyone who has ever lived before! Think about it. For thousands of years, the only books people read were those written for them by hand, until the advent of printing in the 1400s. For another 450 years, the only voice people heard was the voice of someone speaking directly to them, face to face, until the telephone appeared in the late 1800s. It wasn't until the 1920s that people could hear the background noise of other people talking or making music, when radio began to be used publicly. It wasn't until the 1940s that television began to make inroads into the home. The internet, which has only been around for 25 years, has really brought media into our homes and our lives. Cell phones, as we know them, have only been around for 20 years. And the smartphone, which merged the computer, the phone and the Internet into a mobile device, has been around for less than 10 years.

            All this technology and all this access to the media is clamoring for our attention. And how easy it is to think about these things. How easy it is to waste our time reading status updates from all your friends on Facebook or Instagram; view photos from this month's various graduation events; see pictures of adorable children sleeping in the strangest positions; seeing old photos of the beetles; see a series of weird family photos; read an informative graphic about the languages ​​spoken in our country; read an article about problems with our system or COVID. You can spend your time watching 3-5 minute movies of amazing football pictures, or adorable puppies, or an approaching storm, or a prank gone wrong, or a birthday surprise, or a truck that nearly explodes in the highway, or a man collecting earwax, or a baby elephant being dragged down a river, or a dog in a bowling alley, or the way movies should have ended, or like a rock splashes water in slow motion, or over the war in Afghanistan.

            You can give in to the "link bait" we see all over the internet. When you see a video with a short title saying, "You'll never guess what happens next!" Or "This will make your day awesome". Or, "Listen to this man's graduation speech!"

            I think you know what I mean. Now, this is not to dismiss the many good things the media can bring to us. Never before have we been able to connect with other people so quickly and easily, even on the road, wherever we are. A mass message can easily communicate to everyone in the church. We no longer need to waste time getting directions from people when we're lost, because we now have Google Maps. We no longer have to wonder if anyone will come to the meeting, because they can register attendance via an app or send a message and say they're late and how long to expect.

            But, I just say this: there is a danger in all these media. There is a danger that our minds are so distracted by everything around us that we fail to focus our attention on "all that is true, all that is honorable, all that is right, all that is pure, all that is lovely, all that is reputable, if there is excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, meditate on these things” (Phil 4: 8).

            Paul lamented that some people "are concerned about earthly things" (3:19). He called them "the enemies of the cross of Christ" (3:18). And much of our media can make us think only of earthly things.

            I'm not going to tell you to abandon the media. In fact, I would say exactly the opposite. Never before in the history of the world have we been able to surround ourselves with media that are worthwhile and excellent. Today, with millions of sermons available for us to download, we can listen to the most talented preachers on the planet. We can watch a lot of them on YouTube. We can participate in an online seminar. We can read for free cherish any of the hundreds of thousands of the best books published throughout the history of the Christian church!

            But, it's a matter of choice. It's a matter of using technology, not abusing technology. Because, as good and useful as the Internet is, it can also be perverse. Very wicked. I think you all know what I'm talking about. There are photos, images and movies on the Internet that should never enter your mind. And it's all so easy, just a click away.

            Perhaps the best guide for your media consumption is this: Is it true? Is it honorable? That's right? Is it pure? Is it adorable? Is it reputable? Are you excellent? Is it worthy of praise? So by all means read it, see it and use it. Use it to direct your attention to the Lord. But if it's not those things, stay away. For those involved with the evils of the internet, I invite you to repent! You know it's bad. You know this is bad. This comes with consequences. So, get away from your badness. And seek the Lord.

            So think about Jesus. Think about good things.

            Proverbs 4:23, "Moreover, that which must be guarded, guard your heart, for out of it are the fountains of life"

            The Hebrew word translated "to guard" more specifically means to protect or rule. If the sense is to protect, it is a matter of guarding against the enemy, so that nothing bad influences the integrity of the heart. If the point is to govern, it is a question of watching as if restraining a prisoner, so that nothing bad leaves the heart.

            Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?”

            That's why we pray like David in Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any painful path in me and lead me on the eternal path!"

            I love the image Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 10:5 of "taking captive every thought into the obedience of Christ." He is describing our thoughts as a wandering criminal who must be apprehended and thrown into prison. We don't let our thoughts roam the streets without restriction, because we know the wickedness of our hearts. We know where our hearts will go on their own. So, we take them captive and bring them into conformity with Christ!

            The second lesson we should learn from this text is in verse 9:

 

2) WE NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT MIND CONTROL

            In verse 9 Paul exhorts us to practice everything we learn through his teaching and witness.

            You may learn something, but you may not put it into practice or you may not accept this knowledge!

            So, it won't do us any good to know that we should think about good things if we don't practice it. Let's look at some very practical guidelines:

            a) Start the day early by seeking the Lord: This is an orientation that seems rather obvious to experienced Christians, however, it is one of the most despised by the church. There are few Christians who have their devotional moment as a priority to start their day. We usually wake up early against our will and soon want to check whatsapp and social media messages before anything else. The result? Our hearts are already filled with contagious information first thing in the morning and we waste precious time filling them with the virtues that Philippians 4.8 tells us.

            b) Memorize God's Word: This is a precious exercise to keep your mind focused.

Without Scripture in your mind, it is impossible to constantly think about what is good. You might think that because you don't have a lot of Bible verses memorized, you can't do that. Even if you didn't have any Bible verses memorized before today, you could make Philippians 4:8 your first verse that you meditate on all day. And so, make it a habit to memorize one verse a day.

            c) Carefully select what you watch, listen to or access on the internet (inputs): We have already learned that the movie you watch, the music you listen to or the page you access will have a great influence on your mind. It could even be controlled by malicious people if you're not careful. So, be brave and delete everything that doesn't concern Philippians 4.8 from your life and your family's life!

            d) Select your friendships: Bad friendships corrupt good manners. So why hang around with them? Choose your friends well, including the virtual ones and you will see that your mind will be much freer from evil thoughts!

            e) Occupy your mind positively in your spare time: The old saying already said: “Empty mind is the Devil's workshop!”. When you have nothing to do, read the bible, an uplifting book, attend a lecture, perfect a skill, do a physical activity, but don't allow the enemy to work his mind!

 

​CONCLUSION

 

            Today we close this series of lectures on learning to control the mind with Philippians 4:8-9. We learned two wonderful lessons:

1) WE NEED TO THINK POSITIVELY

2) WE NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT WE LEARN

            May the Lord help us to have the correct discipline to put into practice everything we've learned and have our souls healthy and preserved from all the evil around us!

From this Sunday on, you will enjoy a Revelation Series with Dr. Joel Beeke. It is amazing studies from which we can learn more about this instigating book.

Prayer Requests

Pandemic over

For the arrival of Rev. Renato and Juliana.

For the Council

By the Diaconal Board.

By Church Ministries.

For the sick.

For the unemployed.

For the Missions.

For the city of Macaé.

For the State of Rio.

For Brazil

For those far from the Gospel.

For the new believers.

For the lost.

Prayer Meeting

Every Friday, 6:00 am

Person in charge:

Presb. Anderson

Claudia

Lucilia

04/11 Luis Henrique Fanti

05/11 Anayansi Gonzales

09/11 Saulo Soares Armond

13/11 Maria da Graça Almeida Costa

13/11 Gabriel de Assis Furtado

18/11 Mayla da Cruz Reis

19/11 Eduardo Mendes de Oliveira Cruz

19/11 Lidiane Oliveira Fonseca Coutinho

21/11 Isabele Mendes de Oliveira Cruz

26/11 Flede Barcelos da Costa

During the pandemic period, the pastor of the church has been available for counselling and meetings in general, by phone and internet.

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For now, home visits and face-to-face counselling are suspended, due to the pandemic.

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