How to Overcome Negative Thinking

Read Philippians 4:8

    Negative thinking can eat away at you like cancer. Scripture tells us that what comes out of man’s mouth is what is in his heart. Sometimes it’s negative, critical, angry, etc.. Perhaps my heart is not always black, but those times when it is, I feel sickened.
    But how can we change it? God tells us to repent, be holy just as He is holy; well that’s a tall order to fill. At times it seems downright impossible right?
    It is our obligation to study His word and learn all that He has given us about how we are to live. So just how are we to do that?
By focusing on godly things; “focus on what is pure, lovely, honorable, just, commendable, anything of excellence or anything that is worthy of praise.”
    I know that it is hard to do this sometimes, but v. 9 of this same passage goes on to say, “and what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”
    This sums it up; if we will not only learn what the Bible has to say, but APPLY it then the God of peace WILL be with us.  And what is it that Paul says? “Focus on pure, lovely…what you learned…do these things…God will be with you…”
    This is not a promise that things will be perfect, this means that we will change. We will be able to overcome the urge to be a negative thinker.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

Negative Image Of A Cotton Flower

Negative Image Of A Cotton Flower (Photo credit: Big Grey Mare)

 

 

How To Triumph Over Problems If You Have Walked Outside Of The Will Of God

 

1.    Repent. This is easier said than done, I know. If your sin has caused others to stumble ask for forgiveness. But also be ready to accept God’s forgiveness for yourself when you repent and ask Him to forgive you. Remember, God always forgives a truly repentant person, humans may not. This is not your battle to win, accept that if you have done the right thing and asked another for forgiveness you cannot make them forgive you.
2.    Rend your HEART and NOT your GARMENT (Joel 2:13). This is true repentance. To rend your garment (tear) is a public display of your sorrow, grief, etc.; but to rend your heart is a private matter that is done before God. He alone knows when a person is truly repentant (rending their heart) or just putting on a show (rending their garment). Be sure that when you ask God for forgiveness, when you ask another for forgiveness, that you are doing it from a changed heart. True repentance leads to changed behavior.
3.    Confess your sins. Confess them to God, confess them to yourselves and confess them to a godly person that will hold you accountable. Confession is hard because it calls to light those parts of us that we want to keep in the darkness. But when we confess our sins we own them, rather than them owing us. Confession is God’s plan for our freedom from the flesh. Without confession of sin we are slaves to our own flesh. This happens because we want to protect the sin; because if people know then we may be judged, and no one likes to be judged. After a time we condition ourselves to justifying the sin. Now the sin owns us, and it is our master. Confession brings about the freedom that we long for as believers. It allows us to conquer the flesh and its demands.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

 

How Do You Triumph When You Are Persecuted Because of Your Faith?

How Do You Triumph
When You Are Persecuted
Because of Your Faith?

1.    Thank God that you are seen by the enemy as someone who is a threat to him. Would he bother with you if you were living for him? NO! You are only a threat if you are living for God according to His will! So keep on keeping on!
2.    Make sure that what you are being accused of is not true!
We can make ourselves victims so easily. Sometimes we abuse our “title” of being a Christian. If you are not walking according to the word than guess what; you are not being persecuted for you faith! You are being persecuted for being a hypocrite of your faith! Make sure you get this part right before moving on! Because this is a whole other topic…
3.    Seek like-minded believers. You will need their comfort and strength to get you through. You must come together for prayer and petition the Father for wisdom.
4.    Spend time alone and seek God’s will. Where do you find God in the good times? That’s right where you will find Him in the bad! When we suffer we are idle. I say to you this, find God in your happy place, and praise Him in the storm. Worship Him with your brokenness as well as your wholeness 2 Cor. 12:8-10 tells us that when we are weak, then Christ in us is strong. Why? Because when we rely on our own strength we are using the strength of a mere human, with all our frailties and imperfections. But within us is the power of God almighty! We need to see ourselves for what we are, weak broken vessels that are held together by the grace of God. He is our strength, let’s rely on that strength.
5.    Enter His courts with praise and thanksgiving. Scriptures tell us to enter His courts with praise (Ps. 100), this means all the time, every time. Whether we are whole or broken, we enter into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.
6.    Pray with a true heart, not a conditioned one. If the only time we delve deeply into prayer is in the really bad times than by human nature prayer is conditioned within us as a bad thing. The human mind is a complex machine, a computer if you will. We can program this computer by repeating an action over and over. So if I never talk to God through prayer in the good times; but rather I only go to Him in prayer when things are bad than my mind is being programmed to think that prayer is bad by association. Same rule is applied to using prayer as a personal genie lamp. By this of course I mean that if the only time we go to prayer is when we need something, or want something, than we are conditioning our minds to thinking that God is our personal genie in a bottle. We condition our minds to thinking that prayer is a means to get something instead of it being our way to communicate with God.
    Let’s talk more tomorrow on this subject of conditioning and the human mind.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…
   

God Never Promised That He Wouldn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle!

Sarah Trimmer

Sarah Trimmer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

God Never Promised
That He Wouldn’t Give Us
More Than We Can Handle!

 

1 Cor. 10:13 “ No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (NAS)
This scripture has been misquoted for so long as, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” that we believe it. So what is wrong with that you ask? It’s dangerous; if we believe this than we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. And this type of disappointment could separate us from God!
First off God does not “give” us anything bad. To imply such is a lie. He may allow bad things to happen in our lives for many reasons. This is a very devious plan by the enemy to make God accountable for his schemes! And we fall for it! It is up to us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we can discern why things happen the way they do. But rest assured, it is not God that is doing it to you. We misquote this verse to comfort one another. Let’s look deeper into this verse so we can understand why we need to be careful.
What is this scripture saying? God says that He will provide a way of escape for us when we are tempted so we can “endure” it. Now if we are to believe the misquoted version of this verse, we are told that He will not give us more than we can handle. This implies that things will only get so bad and then poof; we will be delivered from the current situation! Not correct, we are given an escape so that we can endure. That means so that we can stand strongly and firmly rooted in our faith and hope. He provides the way for us to stand firm, but we still have to endure it! When our faith is tested in such a way it strengthens us, it grows us.
So what is this “escape route” that God gives us? Let’s cross reference this verse with 2 Peter 2:9 “…then the Lord knows how to rescue the “godly” from trials…” (NAS)
If we are “godly” we can escape temptations, in other words, we do not have to give in to them. They won’t go away, but we will be able to endure them. The word godly means to be devoted to God’s ways. The word rescue means to set free. So if we will be devoted to God’s ways He will set us free from temptations. Not take them away, but rather give us the ability, the tools to endure them. If we are never tempted or tested how can we know that we have faith? If I say I have the stamina to run a marathon, but never do then it is just words. Being a Christian is more than just saying it, being a Christian is an action. It is a way of life. Jesus (the one for Whom the title Christian is derived from) did not sit back, He did things, He was active in His time here. He set the example that we are to live by. So rejoice in the temptations and trials 1 Peter 4:13 “Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world….”(NLT).
God will free us from giving in to temptations and trials, but only when we choose to be godly. This is His free gift to us! Our escape route! But you may say I am not being tempted, I am being persecuted. So what are the choices you have in that situation? To stand firm or give in right? But I say this to you, isn’t the TEMPTATION to give in great? Of course it is! It’s easier to swim with the current than against it. It is human nature to want to be accepted not rejected. All of these things are temptations. We just don’t see them in that way. I implore you all; we need to start seeing things that way. In every trial there is a temptation; God has given us an escape route, to be godly. He has not promised that the problem will go away; He just gives us a way to be victorious. And that should be more than enough for us…
The next time you or someone you know is suffering, do not misquote this passage. But rather be reminded, and remind others, that if you are willing to be godly, than God has given you an escape route to be able to stand against temptation and trials.
Remember faith is only faith when it is put to the test! Otherwise it is just words that we speak. 1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;…” (NLT); James 2:14 “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (NLT); James 2:18 “Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (NLT)

 

As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

How Does Jesus Fit Into Your Problems?

How Does Jesus Fit Into Your Problems?
    When problems arise there are things, as Christians, that we must do to overcome them.
1.    Ask yourself where does Jesus fit into the problem?
Am I relying on His strength and teachings in my life to get through this; or am I relying on my own wisdom?
A.    Am I being persecuted because of my faith?
If the answer is yes, than rejoice! You are a threat to the devil and he is trying to stop you!
B.    Did I walk outside of God’s will?
If the answer is yes, then repent! Be honest with yourself and God and tell Him that you are a sinner that needs saving, mercy, grace and forgiveness every single second of every day.
C.    Is God allowing this situation to grow me?
This is a tough one for all people. We do not want to be uncomfortable. We do not like to be called out of our comfort zones. But if we are not growing then we are not active in our faith. Growing pains are a normal part of being a Christian if you are doing it right. Remember, no one wants to get water from a stagnant spring.
2.    Where does scripture fit into your problem?
Are you seeking guidance from the Bible or are you looking to the world for the answer to your problem?
A.    If you are being persecuted for your faith then get into the word. The Bible has the answer for every single problem you will ever face. Test this and see if it is not true!
B.    If you are suffering because of sin, find out what the Bible has to say and apply it to your life. Be obedient and honest in this situation, so you can receive God’s blessings.
C.    Paul talks about having a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7) so that he would be kept humble. Seek God’s wisdom and see if He is not using this situation to grow you into a more mature Christian. He uses trials of all kinds to help us become better warriors for His Kingdom.
Open your Bible and read Job, read the crucifixion account again. We are called to be warriors, we are called to be strong and to suffer for the Lord’s sake. The Bible tells us to rejoice in these times (Romans 5:3 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” (NLT)). To me the key advice that I can give to anyone that comes to me when they are suffering trials is to encourage them with words that God spoke to me years ago…
The devil must think that you are a threat to his kingdom if he is attacking you. So rejoice and stand firm because you are doing my will and I will bless you.
We do not serve a selfish and hurtful God. Rather, He is merciful and gracious to our sufferings. If we face trouble, He comforts us. He has given us a guide book for every single thing that we will ever encounter. AND He tells us how to overcome every single obstacle!
3.    How do people fit into your problems?
Are we fighting people? Because the Bible tells us that our battle is not with them, but rather the evil that is in this world that uses people.
A.    There are people that will target you because of your faith. You will be held to a different standard in this world. As Christians we say that we want to be set apart from the world. But the truth is, when we are called out for doing what the world around us does we get upset. Unless of course it’s for praise. We all struggle with this. We try to walk the fence, one side in the word and one side in the world. This is not how we should be. We are to live blameless lives before God and this world. If I act like the world than I am part of it. How can I be a witness for the holiness of God if I am carrying on like everyone else? I can’t!
So how do you overcome this? How do you handle these people that come at you because of your faith? Don’t just throw around the rubber stamp answer like “Pray”, “Read the word”, or  “Stand fast”. Apply them! If you say that you are going to seek God and His will then stop right then and do it! I understand that sometimes you may be in a place where it does not seem possible. But prayer is ALWAYS possible no matter where you are or what you are going through. Prayer does not have to be pomp and circumstance.
 It has to be from your heart, a broken and humble heart. Matt. 6:5-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (NIV). James 4:3 “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure.” (NLT).
 It is when we have deep awe and respect for God that He listens to us. Is. 29:13 “And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” (NLT)
Let Jesus be the solution to all your problems. You may not get immediate answers or comfort, but He promises us that if we will ask according to His will that He will comfort us in His time. Until then we must stand firm and believe that God knows what He is doing.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

The Selfish Scheme (The Trick of I) Part 2

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Selfish Scheme
(The Trick of I)
Part 2

 

Paul tells us to be poured out like a drink offering, Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. We are called to be longsuffering.
1Peter 2:19 “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” (NAS); 
2 Tim 2:3,9 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” “…for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained…” (NAS);
Ro. 5:3 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” (NLT);
Job 36:15 “But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.” (NLT);
 Is. 53:3 “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (NAS);
1 Thess. 1:6 “So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.” (NLT)
My point is that we are called to suffer for the sake of Christ. So when we tell ourselves and others that the only thing that matters is whether they are happy or not, it is not true. What matters is how we serve God! Serving God takes selflessness, not selfishness. If we focus on ourselves I guarantee that you will fail and fall in areas of your life. Let’s ask ourselves this, why did Jesus suffer?
FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS!
NOT HIMSELF!
Why do you follow Jesus? I think that we would be shocked to find that most of the time the answer is, “because of the gift of salvation.”
THIS IS SELFISHNESS!
God loved us while we were still sinners, 1Jn. 4:9-10 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV).
Jesus died for us even though we are unworthy, Ro. 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NAS).
He is forgiving, He is gracious, He is merciful, Ps. 78:38 “But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath.” (NAS).
Shouldn’t our answer to why we follow Jesus is because He first loved us when we were not worthy of that love? That Salvation is the gift that we receive because we love Him and want to serve Him?
Why would Jesus do all this? Why would He sacrifice so much for us? Because it wasn’t about Him! It was about saving us! It was about showing us how we ought to live. Don’t you think that Jesus could have come to earth and been a sacrifice without having to go through all of the trials and sufferings that He went through before the cross? Don’t you think that He could have been that perfect sacrifice without being treated badly by people? Why would He go through all that? Because He wanted to leave us with the example of how we are to live.
Heb. 10:10 “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”(NLT);
1 Jn. 1:3 “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (NAS);
2 Pt 3:11 “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” (NAS); 
1 Thess. 4:1 “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.” (NLT);
Ja. 4:15 “What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”(NLT);
1 Cor. 15:34 “Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.” (NLT); 
Ex. 18:20 “Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.” (NLT). SELFLESSLY, NOT SELFISHLY!
We make everything about us; even helping others. We don’t volunteer in ministry because it is not our “calling”, we won’t feel good about it. Sometimes we need to fill in the gaps till someone that is “called” can take it. But what about us? What if we are not happy? What if we are not blessed? The Bible has this to say;
1 Pt 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (NLT);
Pro 5:23 “He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” (NLT).
I hate to be the one to break the news to you but, IT DOESN’T MATTER! Your happiness is not important! Titus 3:14 “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.” (NLT). To meet the urgent needs of others so that we will not be unproductive (in the NAS it says so that we will not be unfruitful). It does not say meet your own urgent needs so that you can be happy. We are called to be selfless. This is the example that we are given throughout the Bible from OT to NT.
If you want to call yourself a Christian then I would suggest that you learn what it means. The word Christian means follower of Christ. Or imitator of Christ. This means to be selfless.
We are all called and gifted by God in different ways. We are all one body that is supposed to be working towards the same goal; to win souls for the kingdom of God. No one is more important than anyone else. 1 Cor. 12:4-31 lists what the gifts are and then goes on to say that all parts are equally important. Remember back in our study on the Armor of God, we talked about if one part of the armor is damaged or missing that the armor would not be able to function the way it was intended? Well it is the same with the body of Christ (the church). If we are all clambering to get to the top, if we all want that head seat than we are failing. We are all given gifts, talents and abilities. And trust me for those that are called to be leaders and problem solvers and advice givers, it is a burden most days. They stand alone, always wanted but never needed.
So when you call those people or person in your life time and time again for help or advice; SIT BACK, SHUT UP AND LISTEN! After all why are you asking them in the first place to help you or give you advice if you do not think that the advice will be sound or godly? If you see that the advice or counsel that you are receiving is not godly than walk away and do not seek them out again. If the advice is sound and godly than take it. Do not grumble about the words that are used because it may have convicted you, listen to the message. Perhaps the person that you have just gotten advice from has the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit. (1Cor. 12:28). Perhaps this person has been appointed by God to be a leader in a sea of followers. But we in our selfishness systematically tear these people down, we undermine the very message that God is trying to give us.
We stumble in darkness. We go to the people around us that emit light. We seek relief from the things that bother us. Then when the very light that you have sought out exposes the darkness that is within you (your sin) you criticize the giver of the message. You tear them down, you gossip, you talk behind their backs.
Let me give you an example here. Ladies when we look into a makeup mirror that is all lit up, and it shows all of our flaws what is the first thing that we say? “This light makes me look awful!” Not that the reflection that we are looking at is our true reflection, it has to be the lights fault for making us look that way. It cannot be the choices that we make in life, it cannot be the decisions that we make that have a negative impact on our lives; no it is the light. I can smoke for 20 years and look like an old handbag, but it is the fault of the cigarette maker, not me for making the decision to have picked up smoking in the beginning. Are you seeing the picture that I am trying to paint here? Pro 20:27 “The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.” (NLT). It is the Lord’s light that exposes us, not the giver of the message!
This is the very thing that we do to the people that we get advice from, that we seek help from. If don’t like what they have to say we make it about them. About how they are the problem, not that it is our choices that have gotten us into our situation. If they tell us what we want to hear than they are awesome! If not, then we sputter and grumble and complain about them. 2 Tim 4:3 “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” (NLT).
Come back tomorrow for part 3.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…

 

 

 

I Want to be a Scarred Warrior; Not a Wounded One!

I Want to be a Scarred Warrior;
Not a Wounded One!
    What is the difference between a scar and a wound? Healing! Our scars are there to remind us, of the things that we have been saved from, the things that we need not do again, and the things that made us victors or victims in this life. For some of us we are tearing open our scars and keeping them wounds instead. We do this every time we let hurts keep us from doing God’s will. We do this when we give in to temptation that God has delivered us from. We do this when we let the things of our past mold and shape our current life. We remain victims, we leave the wounds open and let them get infected. I want to be a scarred warrior for God, not a wounded one.
    If I am wounded I am in pain and am distracted by the pain, I am no good to fight. All I can focus on is the pain. When we are wounded we need to focus on healing. Of course I am speaking metaphorically here. The wounds that I am talking about are the hurts of this life, the distractions, and the attacks from the enemy. We can be victims or victors; it’s a manner of mindset. If I tell myself that I am a victim of Joe’s rumors, if I tell myself that I am a victim of Sally’s anger then I can make myself feel better about being mistreated. Also I can take the focus off the part I may have played in either situation. We make ourselves victims; this is the way of our culture. This person did this because their parents didn’t love them enough, that person did that because he was bullied 20 years ago. I am not saying that our past doesn’t mold us and influence us. What I am saying is that our past shouldn’t control us.
    I don’t want to be wounded by my past, because this would imply that it still has control over me. I want to take those wounds FROM my past and let Jesus heal them and be a scarred warrior for Him. My scars remind me of where I HAVE BEEN, NOT WHERE I AM. Scars remind, wounds bind. I do not want to be bound to my hurts, pains, rejections, and betrayals. I want to be reminded of all that God has done for me. I can look upon each and every scar I have in my life both physical and emotional and say, “God has been so good to me; He has delivered me from the lion’s den to His grace and mercy!”

    When you see men and women who have taken two, three and more tours during wartime you see people that are scarred warriors. These are people who have survived battles and learned each time from the wounds that they received what to do and what not to do the next time they are in battle. This is what keeps them alive. This is how the Christian warrior needs to be. We need to take each new day (tour) into the battlefield (our lives) and learn from yesterday’s scars. End each day with inspection of our armor and see where the armor may be weakened. We need to spend time in the word every day so that we have the sword (our only weapon) sharpened and ready to defend the gospel that we are to spread. We need to be prepared every single second of our lives to be able and ready for the battle. We cannot be effective warriors if we are tending to wounds.
It’s time to let God heal you and it’s time for us to let go. Stop allowing ourselves to be of a victim’s mindset, start claiming the victories that God gives us. Be bound to your deliverer, not your destroyer. When we focus on our wounds we focus on the things that wound us. If we are focused on those things then we are not focused on the One Who is able to heal us and deliver us according to His promises. So we ALLOW ourselves to stay wounded instead of scarred. This makes us wounded warriors.
Take this time and meditate on the words that have been spoken. Take the time to examine your life and see if you are walking around as a wounded warrior, or a scarred warrior. If you test yourself and see that you are still tender in areas, than ask God (with a true heart) to heal you. Galatians 6:9 “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (NLT)

As always, God bless you till we meet again…