Growing up, Mountain Dew was my drink. Upon discovering that due to its high sugar content, Mountain Dew is one of, if not , the worst drink for those who have a family history of heart disease and diabetes. Consequently, I acquired a taste for coffee. These days, I love coffee. I do not love it as much as Rob Sauls, but I really enjoy a good cup of coffee. I used to strongly dislike coffee. It was a drink of final desperation. I used to joke that I had milk and sugar with a splash of coffee. Then I had some GOOD coffee (Y’all know that not all coffee is created equal, right?). Now, I’m not a coffee snob (unlike someone whose initials are RS), but I like a strong cup of coffee without cream or sugar. It took a while to retrain my taste buds, but acquiring a taste for coffee sure has enriched my life! I am embarrassed to say that I am currently up to three cups a day.
From my experience, some things are just worth acquiring a taste to enjoy. Likewise, the Apostle Paul urges us to acquire a taste for good thinking. In Philippians 4:8-9, he challenges us, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Paul landed on a timeless truth when he recognized that how we think determines how we act. I think that Paul provides a hint about how his call in Romans to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds” can take place. By focusing on the goodness of God and His creation, the Holy Spirit changes the pathways in our brains that assess our predicaments and provide hope that God will shepherd us on the way forward.
Paul’s call is not merely to avoid bad thoughts; he calls you to be proactive in finding the good things of God. We are to be the kind of people that intentionally focus on the things for which we can praise God. I think this involves filling our mind with the scripture, singing praises, surrounding ourselves with people who will encourage us in the Lord, participating in the life of the local church, telling others about Jesus, and so much more. To me, that is what Thanksgiving is all about! We are so blessed, yet too frequently we allow the negative things around us to affect our minds. Let us think to be thankful. You may have to acquire the skills do that, but by the influence of the Holy Spirit you can do it! Let’s urge one another towards magnifying the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy things of Christ. We’ll do that as we gather together this Sunday.
Expecting His Best,
Stephen V. Allen
Senior Pastor