"Limbic Juju"    [ 12 ]   
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July 2016
 head brain

This is a casual entry to serve as a placeholder, a consolidation of materials from different sermons and even my own recent journal scribblings as of late. (Travel journals) I'm plopping this here as a reference mainly for ease of access in the future when I may want to revisit some of this.  :-)  ( it happens )

Romans 12:2 talks about 'transforming our minds' (with what is right and best to think about = Philippians 4:8). I sometimes envision this as a meta-surgical procedure, implanting such ideas deep into the brain — not unlike the movie "Inception" — even into the limbic system, which serves as the ground floor of our instincts and moods, base emotions, and drives — fear, pleasure, anger, hunger, sex, the need to care for others. The limbic system looks way more sci-fi than this image at right implies ► Lemme see if I can dig something up from the interwebs . . .

   limbic system


Just look at that crazy thing buried deep in our brains like some kind of alien sea creature from "The Abyss"! Just lurking in the middle of all that being primal...


Anyway, here is more or less how this entry got started, listening to a message by John Piper in which he explores a subject that seems perpetually close to my heart . . .

 Pastor John Piper
From Pastor John Piper's sermon "Much More Shall We Be Saved By His Life" (12/12/99) ▼

How many of you are spending your life doing something that counts?

If your job is letting you down in terms of significance, CHANGE it! There are 10,000 jobs available that are significant! Now I don't think everybody should be a missionary; I've made that plain. But if your job makes you feel useless day in and day out, CHANGE it! Come on, take some risks with your life, for goodness sakes! You only have a few seconds left on this earth!

Dream a Dream that Counts!

Don't dream about the American Dream — don't dream about the house in the suburbs, and the wife and the kids and the cars and the computers and the retirement and the vacations, and all the accoutrements of refrigeration and electricity, heat and [the ready availability of] '911'. Dream a REAL Dream, because hell is real and God's wrath is awful and Christ is GLORIOUS! And "one soul saved," as C. S. Lewis said, "is worth more than the preservation of every classic that's ever been written." Oh, let's get serious... let's get REAL:


 journal 107

From a recent journal entry:
Weighing this life against the REALITY of ALL that is to come, as sure and certain as anything we have ever known in this, our current strained existence (moreso actually), WHY do we not justly pour the bulk of our time, resources, and energies into that which GOD HIMSELF presents as infinitely more valuable and lasting that ANYTHING we do, build, enhance, maintain, gather and cherish for our own ends here on earth? Our Creator is no liar! .. WHY then do we live and act as if the reality He declares assuredly awaits us is nothing more than some half-baked 'promise' made by a busy father, dubiously contingent on an ever-changing variety of circumstances? God is no mere man, subject to the whims and forces that bend our hopes, our efforts, and our lives. No — He CALLS INTO BEING the shape of the universe in all of its forms and ways! And we -`doubt´- His Word regarding this life vs. the next? - What is WRONG with us??! Why are we SO WILLFULLY IGNORANT to our OWN DEMISE!?.. Yes, the answer is sin and our horribly corrupted human nature. But by studying His Word and striving to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8) we may grasp hold of the hem of His royal robes, figuratively speaking, and thereby combine our best efforts with His sovereign [and ultimately only true and successful] purposes in this world ~ rather than just read about it after the fact. That is what I am considering now . . .

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and
  all these things will be given to you as well — for
  your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
—  Jesus (Matthew 6:33, 32b)   
  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind! Then
  you will be able to test and approve what God's will is
  — His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
  —  Paul (Romans 12:2)  
“Finally, brothers —
  whatever is  TRUE
  whatever is  NOBLE
  whatever is  RIGHT
  whatever is  PURE
  whatever is  LOVELY
  whatever is  ADMIRABLE
  if anything is  EXCELLENT
think about such things.”
—  Paul (Philippians 4:8) 

Practice thinking GOD's thoughts!


For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
—  Proverbs 23:7 
Each of us will give an account of himself
to God. For a man's ways are in full view
of the Lord, and He examines all his paths.
—  Romans 14:12 & Psalm 5:21 


Watch your thoughts, they become your WORDS.
Watch your words, they become your ACTIONS.
Watch your actions, they become your HABITS.
Watch your habits, they become your CHARACTER.
Watch your character, they become your DESTINY.


Live this life strategically, engaging in activities that will help
you GROK how God is FOR you and is working the BEST for you!


A VISION is a picture of the Future that produces Passion!

Discipline — arranging your life around activities that will enable you to succeed!


“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things —
  take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
—  Paul (Colossians 3:2 & 1 Corinthians 10:5b)  


No amount of * regret * can change the past; no amount of * anxiety * can change the future!


“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold
  of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold
  of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining
  toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize
  for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I beat
  my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to
  others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
—  Paul (Philippians 3:12-14 & 1 Corinthians 9:27)  

Jesus Christ is my righteousness! His death is attributed to me for my/our sins — for ALL who will accept Him as Savior — just as His resurrection is a sure promise for the LIFE to come!

The prayer of a righteous man
(HE makes me righteous!)
(HE is my righteousness)
is powerful and effective!
—  James 5:16  

Therefore sharpen your axe (daily Bible study, meditation, prayer, Christian fellowship and service) and your God-directed efforts will become the very fragrance of Christ in this world! Wise lives smell DELICIOUS!

“Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession
  in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of
  the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ
  among those who are perishing. To the one, we are the smell
  of death; to the other, the fragrance of life!”
—  Paul (2 Corinthians 2:14-16b)  

 Pastor Ray Davis
From Pastor Ray's sermon "Finish Strong" (06/19/16) ▼

Living an unwasted life, finishing strong, is living your life in such a way that how you handle life's gifts, and how you handle the loss of life's gifts — growing older, battling cancer, divorce, job loss, financial collapse — so that when people look at your life, they will infer from your life that Jesus is more valuable than anything. And they are going to want what you have! We should be asking ourselves, "How do I do this, whether it be successes or sufferings, in such a way that Jesus looks more valuable than my successes and suffering?" That is what He has called us to do. That is how you make your life count. That's how you Finish Strong!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it
  all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
—  Paul (1 Corinthians 10:31 & Colossians 3:17)  

It is simply a FACT: as the only genuine Savior for mankind, Jesus Christ
* IS * immeasurably more valuable than any of my successes or sufferings!

“We live by faith, not by sight. So we make it our goal to
  please Him, for we must all appear before the judgment
  seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him
  for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
—  Paul (2 Corinthians 5:7ish-10) 

This reminds me of last summer's personal revelation: HOW CAN I BEST HONOR GOD WITH THIS? "This" being ANYTHING in life: material possessions, personal interests &/or passions, time, attitudes, even convictions, motives and thoughts, relationships, plans, entertainment choices, the way I treat others (friends, family, strangers, pets - even enemies), professional and even at-home work efforts, talents .. ALL of life and how I take care of what the Lord has entrusted to me — EVERY ASPECT of this existence! I wish I could say that since crystalizing this idea in such a nice 'WWJD' little statement last year, I have made Great Strides toward real and proper Spiritual Maturity.. but.. well.. knowing what you must do and actually DOING it sometimes suffers from an ignoble disconnect.  :-|  I am doing decidedly better on some fronts.. and just OK in others . . . but ever-stumbling in the right direction . . .

The righteous may stumble seven times, but they rise again...
—  Proverbs 24:16a  

We are owners of NOTHING, but stewards of everything God has given to us!

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove
  faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court;
  indeed, I do not even judge myself! My conscience is clear, but that
  does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore
  judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He
  will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives
  of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
—  Paul (1 Corinthians 4:2-5)  

This is not to say the Bible does not teach us to properly judge the 'fruit' (actions, words, express motives) in our lives and the lives of others. Scripture clearly and specifically addresses this concept. Anyone who quotes "Judge not lest ye be judged" as some sweeping catch-all statement to check functional logic at the door does NOT know their Bible! Jesus Himself said, “Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?” Luke 12:57 (consider also Leviticus 19:15, Zechariah 8:16, and John 7:24). A proper exegesis of Jesus' statement (Matthew 7:1-2) indicates in no uncertain terms that He was warning against judging too harshly, or in a hypocritical fashion. In fact, just four verses later He implies there are people who can be appropriately likened to 'dogs' or 'pigs' by their behavior, and warns against the futility of trying to reason truthfully with them. (This same concept is echoed throughout Proverbs which is full of warnings against dealing with 'fools'). In this passage from 1 Corinthians, above, Paul is describing how God knows the ultimate motives and reasons for whatever we choose to say and do. There is no escaping the all-seeing gaze of the Creator. But I digress ...

In the 1989 movie "Dead Poets Society" (set in 1959), teacher John Keating [played by the sorely-missed Robin Williams] leads his class into their prep school foyer by strolling wordlessly among them while whistling Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture". After a brief and entertaining lecture, he leans them in close to their progenitors pictured among the trophies, then delivers these following classic lines . . .

 "Carpe Diem!"
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? . . . Carpe. . . Hear it? . . . Carpe, carpe diem ~ Seize the day, boys... Make your lives extraordinary..!
  And then a little later in the movie . . .
Boys, you must strive to find your own voice, because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!

In his follow-up to this Father's Day message, Pastor Ray shared another Latin phrase that, I think, will replace this ▲ timeless theatrical call to action in my heart, which is something I never really thought could happen. It is no new thought in Christendom [hello: Latin] but rather a state of awareness that most of us nonetheless usually fail to maintain in our day-to-day lives.

 Pastor Ray Davis
From Pastor Ray's sermon "Bottom Line" (06/26/16) ▼

To "fear God" is to live in a continual awareness that all of life is lived before the face of God ... all of life is lived before the face of God. The Latin phrase for that is "Coram Deo". All of life is lived before the face of God, the presence of God...

~    CORAM DEO    ~

Think about it.

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