Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Biblical ABC’s:T is for – Think

Ladies Bible Study
Mrs. Rick Jackson
One of my favorite books as a child was written by A.A. Milne about his well-known character, Winnie-the-Pooh. Often, Pooh is quoted as trying to remember what he was about to do by saying, Think, think, think.” ― Another favorite quote by Pooh is when he says, People who don't Think probably don't have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake.” And another time in a conversation with his little friend Piglet: 'Pooh?' Pooh: 'Yes, Piglet?' Piglet: 'I've been thinking...' Pooh: 'That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet.' 
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”   
Our English Bible uses the word “think” 65 times, “thinking” twice, “thought” 81 times and “thoughts” 57 times. That’s over 200 times to think! I recently saw an interesting poster which said, “Before you speak … T.H.I.N.K.  Then, for each of the letters, there was a question.   That’s where I thought we’d look tonight – at this  thoughtT.H.I.N.K. . . . before you speak . . . 
  1. T – Is it true? 
Pastor has been going through 2 Samuel with us right?  Remember the story of Amnon?  You remember he raped his half-sister Tamar and her brother Absalom was quite angry with Amnon and sought revenge for what Amnon did to Tamar.  As you recall, he waited for two years, and then he had a big sheepshearing festival and invited ALL the kings sons to the celebration, with the intention of having his men kill Amnon to exact retribution for his sister’s honor.    
Now, turn to 2 Samuel 13, and let’s begin reading at verse 29: And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead. 
Jonadab was helping David to think first “Is it true??  Psalm 119:160 says, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”  We read in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” And in Revelation 22:6 -- “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.”   So, before we speak, let’s ask ourselves, is it TRUE? 
  1. H – Is it helpful? 
Our second letter takes us to the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph, the young son of Jacob who loved much and faithfully followed the Lord in his life, but was so misunderstood by his family, do you remember?  His brothers plotted to kill him, but ended up selling him as a slave; he was taken all the way to Egypt to serve a very rich man named Potiphar, eventually to become his most trusted slave/manager until Potiphar’s wife decided she wanted him.  Remember?  Then in trying to run from her clutches he was thrown into prison where he once again proved helpful.  When Pharaoh’s servants were also imprisoned, he interpreted their dreams and when what he told them came to pass, it was another two years before Pharaoh himself needed an interpreter and the chief butler remembered the one who interpreted his dream in prison.  After some time, when the famine came upon the land about which Pharaoh had dreamed, Joseph was reunited with his brothers who had sold him so long ago.  They were saved from the famine, Joseph was reunited with his father, Jacob, and it seems all is well until Jacob dies. Let’s now pick up the tale in Genesis 50 and verse 16:And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?     20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” 
Look again at what Joseph said . . . “But as for you, ye thought evil against me…” Their actions were precipitated by their thoughts.  Our speech is precipitated by our thoughts.  Is it helpful?  Was their thinking helpful?  Joseph said they were thinking evil!  Remember that song we teach our children, “Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see? Oh, be careful little mouth what you say?”  We need to be mindful!  THINK!  Is it Helpful?  Psalm 121:2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”  Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  And Acts 26:22 – “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.” 
  1. I – Is it inspiring? 
Back in the day of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was having visions and dreams, and God gives us the record of this king’s thoughts in the book of DanielTurn with me to Daniel chapter 4: – “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:  5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.”   
Look again at what the King says in verses 2 & 3: I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.  How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. 
Our third point is, Before you speak, is it inspiring?  King Nebuchadnezzar thought, and then he said something pretty inspiring!  Do we do that?  Or do we say something critical or thoughtless?  It makes a difference, doesn’t it? 
Jeremiah 29:11 says,For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” 
Nehemiah 5:19 – “Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.” 
  1. N – Is it necessary? 
For our fourth letter, we remember the life of one of my favorite Bible characters, that of  Queen Esther.  We’re all familiar with her story, right?  A young Jewish girl is one among many young women chosen to replace Queen Vashti who had opposed the King at an important political banquet.  When it was her turn to be presented as to the king, she pleased him so much, she was chosen to be the next queen, however, her uncle who had raised her had warned her not to disclose her nationality.  Later, when the wicked Haman (highest in kingdom next to the king) put a price on the head of all the Jews because Esther’s uncle refused to bow to Haman, her uncle, Mordecai, sent word that it was now time for the Queen to reveal her nationality and speak up for her people.   
Open with me to Esther 4 and let’s pick up the narrative at verse 5:Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;11 All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.12 And they told to Mordecai Esther's words. 13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? 
Was it necessary?  What she was about to go and say to the King?  Was it for a good reason?  Paul says in Philippians 1:7 – “Even as it is meet <right;necessary> for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” 
  1. K – Is it kind? 
Finally, we return to the life of Joseph.  Remember when we said he had been in prison and had interpreted the dreams?  Look back at Genesis 40.  
1 And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison 
8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. 
13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.14But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house.  
23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.   
Now, turn over to Chapter 41: 1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.9 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day.” 
T.H.I.N.K. . . .Is it kind? Was the chief butler thinking kindly?  Joseph asked him to do so.  But it took him two years to remember his promise to Joseph.  Two years!  
You all know the verse I’m going to share with you here, don’t you?  Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as ° God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  And 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” 
T.H.I.N.K. . . . Before you speak . . . 
T – Is it true? 
H – Is it helpful? 
I – Is it inspiring? 
N – Is it necessary? 
K – Is it kind? 
Isaiah 55:8 & 9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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