Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whatever is true... think about such things...

James Allen, born in England in 1864, is considered to be the founder of motivational, inspirational self-talk. One of his 19 books has caught my attention of late - and i'm finding much truth to ponder on in its pages. He wrote with a style that is easy to comprehend but evokes the reader to sit with and press into --- because deep truths are embedded.
Here are a few of his quotes:
"All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts."
"Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him."
"A man is literally what he thinks."
"For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?"
Many recent authors have written chapters and even books based off of some of Mr. Allen's initial writings and intricate insights. 
As i began reading his book, The Way of Peace , i researched him a bit to see if he was a follower of Christ. His writings address deep, overarching concepts and refer to the teachings of various religious leaders. So i personally did not want to invest brain energy and mental focus on words that could misguide me. My concerns were allayed when i read words his close friend spoke at his funeral ----
"He overawed us all a little because of his appearance,
his gentle conversation, and especially because he
went out to commune with God on the hills before dawn”  
So i settled in to his writings and have been very moved by his wisdom and insight -- it is surely a result of his time "with God on the hills before dawn". 
We're all seeking --- aren't we?
Does anyone think they have "arrived"?
If we're not seeking --- then we're standing still aren't we?
Still waters become stagnant ---- so do still souls.
It's vitally important to pursue that constant change ---- our days here this side of Heaven will produce change --- pursuing the right change is KEY.
We can change and be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ.
That transformation looks different in each of our lives. But when the change is in progress --- we can see it, we feel it, we know it. When we see that transformation taking place in others we are inspired by it, we are drawn to it.
Unless of course we've chosen NOT to change. Then we are pricked by it. If we have chosen to just remain as we are and not seek Christ's transformational work in our daily lives, then we become irritated by those who are paddling by in the waters of life change. We may even want to become critical of them. 
May that not be so in our lives please Lord. May we be children who seek change, your change, in our lives.

James Allen does a lovely job of putting this into words as a constrast between Truth and self. My "kindergarten" level of processing and thinking sees this as ---
pursuing Christ's transformation in our lives 
as opposed to 
remaining as we are and seeking nothing more. 
Christ's transformation = Truth. 
Remaining as we are = self. 
One of my favorite verses --- words that have turbo charged my pursuit of change  ---- 
John 3:30 - 
"He must become greater; I must become less."(NIV) 
"He must increase, but I must decrease." (KJV) 
"This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines." (Message)

He must increase = TRUTH
If that is not happening = self

I believe this transformational power can be effective in our lives, promoting much change, decreasing self, increasing Christ ---- until the day we breathe our last breath. 
It's unending. We may lose the ability to walk, talk, or even take care of ourselves, but the mind can still be pursuing Christ's transformation until the moment we move from here to Heaven. It's just a matter of our desires. Do we really want --- more of HIM and less of ourselves? 
Do we sincerely want more of -- His thoughts, His plans, His ways, His desires?
Or do we secretly want more of --- my thoughts, my plans, my ways, my desires?
Do my feelings matter more than His ways?
Do His plans matter more than my comforts?

We can act one way but deep in the marrow of our bones, in our hidden, secret thoughts ---- we each know the truth to these questions for us --- personally. No one else may know ---- and we may try to avoid facing it ---- but we can be certain --- our Lord knows.

James Allen wrote:
"The light of day is not hidden except to the blind, and the Light of Truth is not hidden except to those who are blinded by self. You can not perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through the eyes of self. If you are vain, you will color everything with your own vanities. If proud and opinionative, you will see nothing in the whole universe except the magnitude and importance of your own opinions. There is one quality which pre-eminently distinguishes the man of Truth from the man of self, and that is humility. To be not only free from vanity, stubbornness and egotism, but to regard one's own opinions as of no value, this indeed is true humility."
"If you really seek Truth, and not merely your own gratification; if you love it above all worldly pleasures and gains; more, even, than happiness itself, you will be willing to make the effort necessary for its achievement."
"Whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will untilmately become selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish.
Tell me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think, that to which, in your silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I will tell you to what place of pain or peace you are traveling, and whether you are growing into the likeness of the Divine or the bestial."
Our Lord conveyed this to His Children profoundly through Paul in Philippians 4:8-9:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
And again --- God sends us this message through Paul in Romans 12:2:
"Do not conform 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."
Once we've tasted the "change", once we realize how sweet it is to no longer live enslaved to self ---- once we've felt the shift from self to Christ's ways ---- we no longer want the former, but we crave for more of Him. 

And it's in those transformational changes we realize our DEEP NEED to just touch His Robe.

I've got a handful this morning dear friends ---- hey -- is that you beside me holding onto His Robes as well. :)
May WE be transformed into the likeness of our Christ --- by the renewing of our minds --- as the God of Peace is with us.

Photo taken by Steve in Kenya. (Flowers transform beautifully - God's plan for us all i believe.)


  1. Allowing the "self" to die, by asking Christ to allow us to truly know Him, and searching deep within, to develop the ability to detach our "self" from the very earthly things we think we cannot live without = God's truth and real love. Some days I am closer to this than others, and that's when I feel the peace that transcends all understanding, that can only come from Him. Thanks Donna.

  2. Donna, your husband was right when he said you are a great writer! God has given you a gift! You had me in tears and praying that as I continue through the seasons of my life that I will continue to seek to transform to His character and not that of my flesh! Thank you for blessing me today. In Him, Cher

  3. Such beautiful inspiring words. I am always striving to die to myself each and every day. I love the caption you put at the bottom regarding the beautiful transformation of flowers. I think about that transformation in a butterfly and I've seen God do that transformation in my life in so many ways and He continues to do so each new day with the sun rise. Thank you for these inspiring truths and words. I am always so blessed by your writing.