Excellence.

Written by gregdenham on March 1st, 2009

You made it! So glad you are here! Welcome :)

 

Well, this is my first – “blog” – on the new sight (still a lil bit under-construction). But I hope that you take some time and look around and enjoy and even tell a friend to come and join us. You can login and offer a comment which would be great — I would love to hear from you. I will be updating the blog every week with information that I hope you find insightful and that you enjoy and that even could impact a friend or a co-worker to God’s glory.

 

So here we go.

Recently we had a great evening at the church hosting Hall of Fame football player Jim Otto of the Oakland Raiders.

It was an evening we called “Celebrating Excellence!”

So, it got me thinking about … Excellence!

Is excellence just for the uniquely gifted? Those who have gifts of creativity or athleticism etc. You, know, those who make the “Hall of Fame?”

The answer is, no!

Excellence is a character issue. Character is the sum of our choices. It has to do with the choice of what effort I am going to give. It has to do with utilizing what God has given me. He gave us — life — and what excellence, is — is giving our best back to Him in the maximizing of our potential.

It’s as if when we were born God gave us a bag and inside are gifts, and opportunities, and potential. Excellence is doing something with what has been given to us. It’s maximizing our potential by giving the best effort possible. Too often people spend their time looking into other people’s “bags” rather then developing what has been given to them.

Excellence involves the lil things/ the “small choices!”

When Jesus fed the 5,000, we’re told it all began with 2 fish and 2 loafs of bread. A young boy was identified by Andrew who offered the food. What it tells us is that the Lord can use something small in a great way.

Phillips Brooks “Character may be manifested in the great Moments, but it is made in the SMALL ONES.”

The world champion boxer Joe Frazer said, “You camp out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.”

Excellence is different than “SUCCESS!”

Brian Harbour identifies this in his book Rising Above the Crowd. “Success means being the best. Excellence means being your best. Success, to many, means being better than everyone else. Excellence means being better tomorrow than you were yesterday. Success means exceeding the achievements of other people. Excellence means matching your practice with your potential.”

Excellence is playing to a different scoreboard. It’s the scoreboard that measures effort.The scoreboard that identifies if I have done my best. It’s the scoreboard that God see’s!

Excellence distinguishes between what you CAN CONTROL Vs. WHAT YOU CAN”T CONTROL

I can control my thoughts
I can control my decisions
I can control my priorities
I can control whether I prepare, whether I play with a big heart, whether I finish well

VERSUS

I can’t control the scoreboard
I can’t control what others think of me

Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden,

“My thoughts were directed toward preparation, our journey, not the results of the effort (such as winning national championships). That would simply have shifted my attention to the wrong area, hoping for something out of my control.”

Live EXCELLENCE — to the glory of GOD!

2 Corinthians 8:7 read, “But as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, and in all eagerness and in the love from us that is in you-make sure that you excel in this act of kindness too.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might…”

27 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan Bergendahl says:

    not too shabby! can I ask questions about Bible passages? If so, was there a significance to ‘golden bells & pomegranates’ design on the hem of the priest’s robe mentioned in Exo.28:34. There is an explanation for the golden bells given, but what about the pomegranates?

  2. David Kiener says:

    Greg,
    Congratulations on your new blog. Very nice. I like having the songs play while working at my desk. I did tell you the origin of the word blog a while ago but couldn’t remember it myself. I looked it up again and it is from weB LOG.
    Dave

  3. Pamela Goldbeck says:

    3/1/09 WOW!! I was so blessed by the message this morning. I felt so much closer to knowing my Almighty God for who he is and who I am through Him. The message gives me alot to meditate upon. Thank you Pastor Greg.

  4. greg says:

    Great to hear from you, Jan! I’ll look into it … :) And, thank you David for visiting. I was, right, you had enlightened me on the BLOG issue. Pamela, I too, am relishing in the wonder of what we are learning and what we have been reminded of. Thanks for visiting and I hope you return! BLessings, Greg

  5. Tim and Janie McGinn says:

    Excellent!

  6. Mike Walker says:

    Greg:
    I’m sorry I missed Mr. Otto’s presentation. Is it available on a CD? I enjoyed your blog on excellence. I believe excellence is a trait we can share with our children and grandchildren. I liked the simplicity of doing your best verses being the best. One of my grandsons, Noah, exhibits this trait. I want to encourge him on how important it is that he always strives for excellence in whatever he does. Speaking of excellence – I really enjoyed seeing Pete and Sarah as part of the worhship team this morning during the church service. I know it warms your heart to see them serving God. Sue and I both appreciate the way your whole family exhibits excellence.

  7. Jim Mc Farland says:

    I “found” This when searching for “Biblical Excellence”
    Though I did not think it, I think it fits under the definition of What would God call excellent in His children, (other than being conformed to Christ)

    Attitude # 1 Use or Lose
    I will use my gifts talents and abilities to God’s glory.
    (Read the story in Matthew 25:14-30)

    Attitude # 2 Work to Win
    I will find joy in the job where God has placed me. (Col. 3:17)

    Attitude # 3 Exposure to Experience
    I will accept new challenges to sharpen up my gifts, talents and abilities.

    Attitude # 4 Production to Perfection
    I will work to reach new levels of spiritual and physical excellence.”
    (2Tim.1:6)

    Attitude # 5 Flexible Planning
    I will accept interruptions as God’s appointments to polish and develop my character.(Proverbs 2:7-15)

    Attitude # 6 Give to Live
    I will give more generously of my time, talents and money. (Proverbs 11:24)

    Attitude # 7 Motivated to Motivating
    I will look to God for the motivation to motivate others.
    (Hebrews 10:24)
    In Hebrews 12:1 a motivating picture is described. “Since we have this huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands . . . , let us run with patience the race God has set before us . . . , looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
    One reason we lack the motivation that lasts a life time is because we’re not running for the eyes of our heavenly Papa. Consequently we don’t get excited about our God given work. We stop using some of our talents and then we lose them. We are too timid to tackle new opportunities.
    We lose confidence in the process of production to perfection. Without the eye of the Lord we can’t adjust to the unexpected. Without the consciousness of His presence and provision we fail to give generously. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
    That’s the only motivation that will last us a life time.

    Greg: I always enjoy your energy & insights, this comment above was not my design, but I sure liked the focus and the attitude. I think its a Christ like attitude, don’t you?
    May God grant us all the desire to have the Christ like attitude because we have the mind of Christ!

  8. Rick Ashford says:

    The first step to excellence is making a decision for Jesus, the next step is a game plan (which is the Bible) and then get both feet on the playing field; you can’t get on the scoreboard if you’re not playing.

    This morning you talked about proving that God exists. One of the few things that I remember from college (I majored in math)is that in order to prove that something is true, you try to prove that it is not true. If you cannot prove that God does not exist, then He must exist.

    I took your advice and went outside and looked at the sky to search for intelligent design; I almost drowned. It’s raining so hard in Roseville that I’m looking for an ark.

  9. greg says:

    Hi Mike – thanks for visiting! Yes, Mr. Otto’s Cd is available in the office. Great seeing you this morning! Greg

  10. Shelly Cunningham says:

    Greg,

    I have been so blessed by the songs posted on this site. I recently purchased the second worship CD at church. I listen to it in the car and each night as I put my little one to sleep. The “Garden Song” (You Fell Down) and “Eyes On You Alone” are engraved in my soul. Thank you for sharing them with all of us! “Safety At Your Feet”, and “Coming King” are beautiful! Sarah, your voice is so unique, beautiful!
    It has been such a blessing to hear our youth lead worship!
    Regarding “Excellence”- It really spoke to me about how being excellent is so much more than being successful. I believe it is desiring to grow, be teachable and be making progress, moving forward, not just spinning in place. I thought the evening with Jim Otto was great!

    This blog site is such a wonderful idea. It is a positive place to learn, communicate.

    Thank you for communicating your story of how God began to move in your life, sharing the godly influences in your life. Thank you for your faithfulness in bringing the truths of God’s word. For ALWAYS keeping the target JESUS!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Pastor Greg

    Im so thrilled you have a blog..!
    I really enjoyed reading this blog..i have learned alot and want to go get the Cd in the office if it is avaiable!
    Also my husband and i really enjoyed the messsage this morning, you are a such a blessing to us– we have grown so much because of your faithfulness to the lords calling in your life. Thank you

    It was also a blessing to hear Sarah and Peter lead worship this morning. Everytime they lead we are thrilled and soak it in..they are both truly gifted!
    i cant wait to read more on this blog..
    God bless

    Elizabeth

  12. Bill Spence says:

    Greg:

    Congratultations on your blog. Praise Jesus for providing yet another vehicle of communication and “Making Him known”. I am proud that this is my very first time posting comments on a blog.(no spell check so forgive me up front)

    Your comments on “Excellence” are spot on and we are so very blessed with how God has used you to communicate the Gospel. Thank You!!!

    By the way, Dominic insists that I tell you “How cool it is that God knew him before the stars and moon were created”. Since my younger Sons Brennon and Dominic were in their classes this morning I chose to complete our homework together. Even though it was a bit of a cloudy night, they understood and we were blessed to have time together and discuss this morning’s message. Then we read your blog together. Brennon and Dominic are both playing basketball and this was a great way to remind them to focus on what is MOST important and that it to be “Excellent” in our walk with Jesus.

    I think that we are a culture that measures success and results before we measure ones perseverance to become “Excellent”. When I think of being better tomorrow than yesterday, I can’t help but reflect on the challenge to remain on “Channel 2”. I believe that before we can be better tomorrow than yesterday, we must get past our past and not worry about the future. It is just like a quarterback that threw an interception or a receiver that dropped what should be an easy catch. We need to get over it quickly and persevere. Praise Jesus that by His blood we have been given the gift of GRACE that allows us to persevere and pursue “Excellence” in Jesus.

  13. Hannah McFarland says:

    Hello Greg. Nice Blog!

    -Hannah
    Phil. 1:6

    THANK YOU, HANNAH, FOR THE INSIGHTS YOU SENT ME ON BLOGGING. I APPRECIATE IT …
    Greg :)

  14. j. w. denham says:

    JUST READ YOUR BLOG ON “EXCELLENCE”. A THEME THAT TOO MANY OF US NEED TO BE REMINDED OF.
    FINDING MORE AND NEW CHANNELS TO
    COMMUNICATE IS AN “EXCELLENT” WAY
    TO REACH THOSE OF US WHO LIVE
    FAR AWAY FROM YOUR CHURCH.

    keep it up.

  15. Jim Lucari says:

    Nice blog.

    Wonderful teaching Sunday about the nature of God. Thanks for the depth, and the reminders. I think of Peter writing, as rendered by the NASB at 2 Peter 1:12, “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.”

    Thanks!

  16. Greg Laurie says:

    Greg-
    Welcome to the world of blogging!
    I appreciate your heart for God and love for His people.
    Greg

  17. Marilyn McMahon says:

    WOW! Church was awesome yesterday. The character of EXCELLENCE is definitely being practiced here, because the services are better and better.

    Brother Greg, thanks so much for the many encouragements that come through the Holy Spirit as you speak. It was incredible to think that God loved me and thought about me before He even created the world. That is too lofy for our little human minds, but came through loud and clear in the Spirit. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Jesus. It brings tears of joy to my eyes now while contemplating that very fact!!!

    This morning in my study I read and understood Hebrews 12:12-13. It directs the believer to live a life of EXCELLENCE in order to pass Godly living on to others. It is God’s promise to heal our iniquities as we seek His will in our lives daily. This is the true ‘healing’ message of the Gospel that we can claim and cherish for our own lives. Praise God!

    I am blessed that the Lord has brought me here as I tread on my own path toward EXCELLENCE. With His help I will surely finish well.

    In His Love,
    Marilyn

  18. Stephanie Hunsaker says:

    Hi Pastor Greg,

    Truly you are a blessing to all! My husband, son and I have learned so much from your teaching on Sunday mornings. It is obvious that God has given you this great gift to share the truth with His people. When we leave on Sunday morning, we leave feeling encourage and loved. It is amazing! Anyway, I just wanted you to know how much we appreciate you!

    In Christ,
    Stephanie

  19. Marsha L. Gallup says:

    The comments which I just read tell me that in Calvary Chapel Auburn we are one in the Spirit. Thank you, Greg, for teaching us the Word of God and writing songs (Sarah too) that lead our hearts minds and souls to HIM-keeping us in worship of HIM. Marsha,a Believer in Jesus Christ

  20. Cheryl Reeves says:

    Pastor Greg:

    Your message yesteday entitled “Majoring on Thee Almighty” was so powerful and thought provoking. My devotion from Streams in the Desert March 1 was taken from Ecc.7:13 “Consider what God has done” I just love it when God confirms and reminds me of the most important thing in life.It helps me to keep the right eternal perspective on life and truly how small my concerns are for Thee Almighty. Thanks Pastor Greg. A great message “for such a time as this.”

    “That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection,and the fellowship of His sufferings,being made conformable unto His death.” Phil.3:10

    Because of Jesus, Cheryl

  21. Todd Brassfield says:

    I love this Greg…The part about God giving us a bag and in the bags are gifts, and your past teachings on being able to control your own thoughts has made a difference in my life. Much love to you my good friend.

  22. Thanks for the food for thought. It really helps one to read and focus on the topic to really understand one’s own thoughts on the subject. To me, excellence is really who you are when no one is watching (but our God, of course). That is really the yardstick by which we are measured. When we do shows I am struck by many of the comments we receive about us coming across as “very spiritual” or about how we touch people. It helps me to understand the importance of how you live your everyday life and how that comes across to other people you come in contact with. Excellence is striving towards godliness in all we do-it will reap the finest rewards!

  23. Seralynn Lewis says:

    God Bless! This is an EXCELLENT way to utilize the tools today to spread the gospel and to connect with “family” members.

    I REALLY liked the analogy of having been given a “bag of gifts” from God (reminds me of Christmas). That we are not to look into other people’s bags. But too often, as humans, we do that. Everyone has their own gifts. The key is to maximize the gifts God has given us for His glory. Since we are human, we have weaknesses, so we should work on them to make those weaknesses less weak. If that makes any sense.

  24. Sarah says:

    Today’s sermon was awesome.

    *********

    Thank you, Sarah, for your encouraging message. I appreciate it. Praise the Lord!
    Greg :)

  25. Chuck May says:

    Pastor Greg:
    Here’s the results thus far of my doing the homework you gave us at church regarding Philippians Chapter 4, in two parts, Shalom I and II:
    Shalom I
    Written by Chuck
    Wednesday, 29 April 2009
    Cognitive therapy:

    God’s cognitive therapy, in brief, is getting you and I to experience this:

    (F) Father’s caring love,

    (R) Removes sin,

    (E) Ensures growth by grace,

    (E) Effects His ministry of reconciliation,

    (D) Delivers abundant life.

    Cognitive therapy is getting “Freed” up by God’s Word, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to thoroughly enjoy loving God and His people by participating in the Messiah’s transforming ministry of forgiveness-reconciliation-peace. Rabbi Yeshua said:

    “If you are a disciple in My Word you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

    Being freed up through God’s Word is only a developmental beginning. Applying the presence of God in our moment-to-moment conscious life requires a continuous focus on God’s transcending truths.

    Focus is powerful:

    Light can cut through steel when focused through a ruby or diamond.

    Focus can be beauty enhancing.

    Focus can enhance the aesthetic qualities of an object. The hidden beauty of invisible light can be revealed through the aid of a glass prism.

    Meditating on God’s divine virtues is an effective way to ally and powerfully attune one’s self to the breathtaking beauty of God’s invisible presence in the here-and-now.

    Shalom and the six divine virtues:

    Rabbi Paul strongly encourages those who are disciples in God’s Torah (His Word) to regularly meditate on six core virtues that he promises will effectively guard your mind and heart with God’s peace (Shalom):

    “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:7-9).

    1. Shalom:

    The overriding virtue in Paul’s cognitive therapy (the theory that right thinking leads to healthy relationships and lifestyle) is peace (Greek: Eirene; Hebrew: Shalom).

    Shalom is a personified presence in Paul’s teaching.

    Shalom is a Sentry.

    Shalom is the Holy Spirit (Qodesh Ruach).

    The Holy Spirit acts as a sentry who vigilantly guards the hearts (karthia) and minds (noema) of all who are disciples of the Messiah.

    The Holy Spirit is personified peace. He is Shalom!

    The Holy Spirit is the “God of Peace” who is with us (Romans 15:33).

    1. The Holy Spirit guards the believer’s neurological and spiritual being.

    2. The Holy Spirit personally assures the believer’s well-being. In this secure relationship with the Holy Spirit the believer is to learn to be “wise in matters of good and innocent in matters of evil” (Romans 16:19).

    3. Thereafter, the Holy Spirit, “the God of Peace,” guarantees He will (“soon”) crush Satan “under the believer’s feet” (Romans 16:20).

    2. Truth:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    The virtue of truth here, indicated by the Greek word “alethes,” means both what is real, true, and genuine and what cannot lie.

    Truth is a specific efficacy (ability, virtue) that supports Shalom.

    In psychiatry reality is precariously balanced on two measures: cognition (logic) and affect (emotion). There is no actual consensus as to what frame of reference or point of reference psychiatry should use to base its understanding of reality upon.

    The philosophical problem is that an “ultimate frame of reference” can only come from an all-knowing source.

    Only an omniscient being can actually claim to possesses truth and truth-conferring powers (truly know and declare what “Reality is”).

    God is the only being who possesses such powers of perception and communication.

    God alone is our only point of reference and frame of reference for all truth.

    Therefore, reality must be defined as: “Being in harmony with God’s cognition (thoughts), affect (feelings) and volition (will).”

    God’s truth “empowers” those who follow in His Torah (Teaching) to discern between good and evil.

    The Messiah declares that He is God’s Truth personified in human form (John 14:6; 17:17). The Messiah also declared that those who speak the truth about Him are to “speak the truth in [His] love” (Ephesians 4:15).

    3. Nobility:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    Nobility is another positive virtue that serves as a supportive element for what makes for a state of peace, first in the conscious awareness of the believer specifically and second, in the kingdom of God generally.

    The Greek word for nobility is semnos.

    Semnos is derived from the root word sebomai, which literally means to “fall back before” (seb). One acts nobly when prompting the mind to worship and adore God through the Messiah.

    The regular exercise of awe and reverence toward God in one’s mind and behaviorally in one’s relationships with others promotes shalom.

    The apostle Peter affirmed this when he told believers, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him” (1 Peter 2:9).

    Contextually the noble person being referred to is not a person of “self-derived” nobility.

    The word semnos indicates the person is made noble by association. The person is ascribed nobility by virtue of his or her association with another of higher distinction.

    The Noble One of higher distinction who is being referenced to here is God Himself.

    God has conferred on the believer adoption into His family. He has made all those who believe in the Messiah Yeshua a nation of royal priests.

    Hence the One conferring nobility on you and me is God. He is King of the Universe. Yahweh is the Eternal One who is being worshipped by you and I as is indicated by the word semnos and its root word sebomai.

    This makes the Noble Person a Sebomenos, a worshipper of the one true God.

    Continued in “Shalom II”

    Shalom II
    Written by Chuck
    Sunday, 26 April 2009
    Cognitive therapy:

    God’s cognitive therapy, in brief, is getting you and I to experience this:

    (F) Father’s caring love,

    (R) Removes sin,

    (E) Ensures growth by grace,

    (E) Effects His ministry of reconciliation,

    (D) Delivers abundant life.

    Cognitive therapy is getting “Freed” up by God’s Word, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to thoroughly enjoy loving God and His people by participating in the Messiah’s transforming ministry of forgiveness-reconciliation-peace. Rabbi Yeshua said:

    “If you are a disciple in My Word you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

    Being freed up through God’s Word is only a developmental beginning. Applying the presence of God in our moment-to-moment conscious life requires a continuous focus on God’s transcending truths.

    Shalom and the six divine virtues:

    Rabbi Paul strongly encourages those who are disciples in God’s Torah (His Word) to regularly meditate on six core virtues that he promises will effectively guard your mind and heart with God’s peace (Shalom):

    “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:7-9).

    4. Righteousness:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    Righteousness brings life into conformity to what is right.

    The Greek word dikaios supports peace by getting the believer to understand and do what is expected of him or her by Almighty God.

    Dikaios defines the believer as one:

    1. Who lives his or her life in keeping with God’s purposes (Ephesians 6:1);

    2. Who lives before the Lord in faithfulness (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11);

    3. Who obeys God’s commands (Romans 2:13; 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:9),

    4. Who lives a good, upright, virtuous life (Romans 5:7; Philippians 4:8, Titus 1:8);

    5. Who exercises fairness and justice in his or her daily living (Colossians 4:1).

    God is dikaios in His nature and action. He is the Righteous One who always does what is right and will administer justice that is in accord with His perfectly just nature (Romans 3:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:8).

    The Plan of God is to transform human beings from their sinful state to a righteous state through the dikaios of the Messiah.

    This work of putting right the believer through the righteous work of Messiah is called dikaioo, “justification.”

    God’s ultimate plan is to make the believer conform to the image of the Messiah Yeshua (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    5. Purity:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    In meditating on shalom, on the restoration of the believer’s calm during the storms of life, Paul is practicing Peace:

    “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:5-6).

    Rabbi Paul, whose name means “Little” (indicating one who practices Humility before God) is teaching us about his right and the right of every other believer to continuously abide in the Shalom of the Holy Spirit.

    Abiding in the presence of God, the Holy Spirit provokes an overwhelming calming within one’s self.

    This regular attention in audience before the King of Righteousness inevitably will affect moral purity in the believer’s life.

    The Greek word for purity is hagnos, which indicates freedom from defilements. Confession cleanses the believer of defilements, not just over easy to discern sins but the subtle and nuanced ones.

    It is a sin to displace God’s shalom with busyness and the anger provoking tyranny of the urgent.

    If followers of God can regularly learn to set aside time to practice the Shalom of God there will be less transgressions and therefore, defilements.

    The immature weak and anxious Marthas would finally grow up to become mature strong and confidant Marys. As Messiah Yeshua said:

    “Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things but one thing is needful and Mary has chosen it and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

    All believers start out their developmental journeys anxious about many things. It takes the Holy Spirit a great deal of time and effort to grow all of us up to the “one thing that is needful” that will never “be taken away from us.”

    Cleaning up the defilements of the mind is more than an act of the intellect and the will. It is sacrificing to God one’s emotional life and letting Him replace that fallen emotional life with His perfect love.

    This trade-in of our fallen worldly love for God’s perfect love, through receiving forgiveness and the gift of the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit, puts the believer in a state of “pure shalom.”

    This is an emotional state that Rabbi Paul wonderfully describes as “transcending all understanding.”

    The word understanding in Greek is nous. Nous means operation of the consciousness. Paul is saying God’s Shalom is capable of overwhelming man’s consciousness.

    God’s Shalom is so distinctive and overwhelmingly powerful that Paul could wholly devote his mind to the shalom of God and never intellectually and emotionally exhaust its meaning.

    This alone is what true pure consciousness is.

    Pure consciousness is filling up the mind with God’s presence and being caught up in the unending joyous state of intimacy with God (Philippians 4:4).

    What makes this exercise of meditation in God’s shalom even more incredible is that Paul is writing us about having these wonderful experiences while he was incarcerated in a dark, cold prison cell in ancient Rome.

    6. Loveliness:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    The Greek word for loveliness is prosphiles (pros: toward, phileo: to love).

    The word phileo indicates the sharing of common interests. Common interests engender friendship and “tender affection.”

    The preposition pros indicates movement toward another-in-friendship.

    Prosphiles is about relational loveliness and friendship with God and others. Such friendship, friendliness serves the cause of peace.

    God’s Shalom requires an object-relations approach to others that cherishes others with high veneration, great affection, and constancy.

    This high value for the lives of others is what it is to project loveliness into relationships. God’s Shalom is lovely.

    When consciously aware of God’s presence the believer should ordinarily feel that he or she is wholly cherished, special, an audience of one.

    (However, in the not so exceptional cases of extreme hardship and medical disability it is not medically possible for believers, except by God’s miraculous hand, to experience positive emotions such as those just mentioned. Medical anxiety, medical depression, medical delusions cannot be treated as if they are spiritual shortfalls alone. These afflictions often involve medical hardware (biochemical) problems and are rarely just simple cases of failed spiritual sensitivity. Our Messiah is also the world’s Great Physician. He is the Lord of all Science and Medicine; as well as theology. Therefore, these ailments oftentimes do require medical as well as spiritual assistance).

    This word prosphiles, loveliness is quite special and is only found “once” in the entire New Testament (in this passage).

    7. Graciousness:

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

    Shalom continues to provide transcendent insight into what really matters in the eternal scheme of things: relationships.

    Relationships that dwell in peace, in shalom are what God is affecting. In every day life it can become disheartening to observe (immature) believers fighting over the most ridiculously small things.

    (At least ninety per cent of those who are true believers today are “very immature;” this does not cancel out their salvation, any more than babies making messes cancel out their relationship with their parents. What makes a believer a true believer is their eternal DNA. The Holy Spirit is God’s DNA. No matter how good persons may think they are, if they fail to receive the Gift of the Father that is received through faith in the true Messiah Yeshua, they will not be made perfect on the day of resurrection and they will not dwell forever with God as their Father. In the meanwhile, immature believers continue to be anxious about many things and make big messes; this does not nullify their adoption. Once the Holy Spirit takes residence in your heart you are sealed. You will in good time be perfected. God does not have miscarriages. God does not have abortions. The DNA of God is immortal, invincible and incorruptible. His Seed cannot die. However, it should also be noted that the most miserable people on this planet are not unbelievers. They are believers. Those believers who are behaving disobediently and are not in right fellowship with God are constantly living under the unhappy disciplining hand of God. They are hounded painfully by the interventions of their Righteous Father who will give them no sense of true peace until His discipline yields the peaceable fruit of His righteousness in their lives. Some true believers go to their deaths miserable for the reason of their foolishly and wastefully resisting the wise discipline of our heavenly Father; cf. our articles, “Lot and the City of Fire” and “Heart of David”).

    In such cases, it is not a sharing of God’s interests that is present. The immature, bitter, selfish warring believers are defining themselves by their worldly interests.

    These believers are temporarily out of right fellowship with their heavenly Father.

    The world’s pursuits and disobedience do not bring Shalom.

    The world’s pursuits bring enmity, anger, hostility, and discord.

    True Shalom brings right thinking.

    True Shalom brings gentle consciousness that is grounded in God’s intellect, will and wondrously joyous emotional life.

    Rabbi Paul, the Little One, the Humble One is exhorting believers to:

    1. Get a grip on their daily thought and behavioral life;

    2. Make their life’s central point of reference God and His Shalom;

    3. Enter into God’s own cognitive and affective domains;

    4. Maintain an eternal perspective;

    5. Enjoy forever being satiated with God’s awesome Shalom through abiding in His Spirit.

    True Shalom produces God’s truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, and graciousness.

    The Greek word for graciousness is euphemos (eu: good, phimi: affirm, say).

    Euphemos is affirming, saying what is good, as opposed to what is bad in one’s communications within and without the mind.

    There is no battle for the mind when God’s Shalom is in charge.

    Shalom is present when the battle has been fought and won. Shalom is about good-will and good thoughts toward others.

    In the eternal scheme of things shalom among believers is inevitable. Seeing others as God sees them in eternity makes it easier to assign incredible value now to others and speak goodness to them now.

    Graciousness supports shalom because it effects righteous treatment to all whom one comes in contact with; this includes efforts to forgive and reconcile with one’s enemies (loving one’s enemies), as well as friends.

    What is Excellent and Praiseworthy:

    Paul no doubt could have mentioned several more virtues than the six he mentioned. It was sufficient for him to describe for us what he knew to be the dominant virtues associated with shalom.

    In summarily addressing all the divine virtues Paul uses the twin Greek terms of excellence (arete) and praiseworthiness (epainos) to describe the whole spectrum of God’s virtues (for more information about God’s divine virtues and attributes cf. our articles, “Perfect Parent I and II,” in the archives).

    Paul is declaring that God’s Shalom has transformational power.

    God’s Shalom effects complete transformation of every believer’s thinking processes.

    The end result is a mature believer who is preoccupied with what is intrinsically excellent (the intellectual, volitional, and emotional life of the Perfect Man, the Messiah) and extrinsically praiseworthy (the behavioral and interpersonal outcomes of abiding in the Holy Spirit).

    The intrapersonal and interpersonal life of God, the Messiah, dwelling in and among His people is what is in view in affecting true “forgiveness-reconciliation-peace” in the world.

    Almighty God has promised that forgiveness through faith in the Messiah Yeshua will ultimately effect true reconciliation with God and each other for all who will believe in His Torah (His Teaching, His Gospel, New Covenant of Grace).

    Then the God of Peace will usher in His kingdom of Eternal Shalom!

    CHM

  26. Pat Pestoni says:

    Sounds like a message I need to get. I went to Lake Almanor with family. Boy, I know I need more EXCELLENCE in my like. I get bogged down with the issues of life, and with family issues, and I choose to try to wrestle through the muck and mire on my own. Bad choice. But our loving God always pulls me through and picks me back up and encourages me to keep on looking to Him for He is my EXCELLENCE. What a loving, merciful God we serve. Excellent comment Ms. Marilyn Girl. I will talk to you soon, just got home from camping. We missed the fires, but what a lightning storm it was. I have never seen one quite like it, so long. Pray for the firemen and families in the areas being affected. Love, Pat Pray for Sandy Johnsom and family, they are in Shasta near the fire too.Thanks

  27. Paul Kranz says:

    Killer!

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