Guard your mind

I know it has been many a moon since my last post.  I blame myself.  Mostly for not being sure what to post, a phobia from actually hitting my 1Kth post, life getting too busy, whatever.  One thing i did learn early on in the Army was that, "the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters".  So, i shall not try and excuse my absence, rather, i will endeavor to find things to post about... and actually force myself to put some fingers to keyboard more frequently.

A couple of weeks back, by way of random exploration, i found a new book titled, "Warrior Wisdom:  Ageless Wisdom for the Modern Warrior".  While the author is apparently not a Christian (i do not know him personally, and i am not seeing anything come through in what i have read that would tell me otherwise), and i have thus far NOT found any biblical references or quotes via the Facebook page, there is some biblical wisdom to be found.  Remember, i am a Christian first and foremost - and thus i view and analyze via this 'filter' if you will.  That is not to say that i do not think, "outside of the box" from time to time, but when i come to share something here, it will always be from this view point - and as a "samurai" in service to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Anyway - before i would recommend such a book for general "consumption" here, i would want to read it through.  But, some tidbits, i would like to share here.  Two for today.  One is a picture the Facebook page shared, and the other is a symbol, which to many, is a symbol of Eastern Mysticism.

I was inspired to share this picture because it immediately reminded me of the Casting Crowns song, Slow Fade (click the link to see the video on YouTube), which Tulip shared with me... a year or so ago.

Now, this is a quote from Lao Tzu, but there is Biblical truth in it, even if the author had no idea of who God is, and that is one of the most amazing things about God to me.  Everything cries out His glory, even those who may, or may not, oppose Him.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." ~ Philippians 4:4-9, ESV (emphasis mine)
We as followers of Christ, whether we be 'artisans', merchants, or farmers, we are to bring every thought under control.
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,..." ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV (emphasis mine)
I say this because it is obvious that God sees the heart, and not just the outward actions.
"And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said,What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." ~ Mark 7:14-23, ESV (emphasis mine)
BUT, even in every effort we exert, we should endeavor to bring our thoughts into captivity. It is important however, to remember that without the work of the Holy Spirit, our efforts would be in vain.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV

The second item i would like to talk about what is commonly referred to as the YinYang symbol. 

Back before i had realized that God was revealing Himself to me, i had joined the Maryland Army National Guard, the historical 29th Infantry Division(I will not divert into the history of this unit, but i encourage anyone so inclined, to click on the link above.)  I will, however, discuss the unit's iconic symbol.  When the division was first organized, just prior the United States' full commitment into World War I, it was formed from the National Guard organizations of Maryland and Virginia.  The memories of the American Civil War were still firsthand of many at the time.  The Maryland and Virginia units symbolized the re-establishment of the Union from both sides of the conflict (despite Maryland being firmly South of the Mason-Dixon line, but i digress...), AND a representation of the only American Military Unit, the 1st Maryland. to have met it self on the field of battle, on opposing sides (again, a tale for another time), thus the colors of the Blue and the Grey (with the field of blue to always be closest to the bearer's heart). While the Yin Yang symbol originally represented the 'eternal struggle' between good and evil. the unit patch is a symbol of America's own struggles, but also, within the Christian, it is a symbol (to me) of the struggle we continue to wage between good and evil in our flesh, for we are not completely reborn until we are raised again with our new bodies and our eternal fellowship with Christ.  The complete symbol incorporates two smaller circles within.

These circles are always (or are supposed to be) of the opposite field of color.  This represents the "evil within the good, and the good within the evil".  Important note here - this dichotomy ONLY occurs within man, and NOT within God, for He is completely Holy and good.

The "evil within the good" represents (to me) the stain of the sin of man.  Within the complete holiness of God, once man has stepped within even the "smallest" of sins, he is forever tainted.
"Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." ~ 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, ESV
The "good within the evil" represents (again, to me), that no matter my circumstances, no matter how bad things are, He is at work in me.  He is transforming me into the image of His Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." ~ Romans 8:26-30, ESV
For me, this symbol, is a symbol of hope, and not one of eastern mysticism. I think what i am trying to say is, God is everywhere, and at work in everything... even in the things we think of as evil.  And while evil does exist in the world, and for whatever reason, He is allowing it, it ALL to work together for the good.  If you ever doubt, or say, "How could God allow this?!?", i would highly encourage you to read The Book of Job, and take comfort in it.
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV

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