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Our Thoughts

“Think good thoughts,” she exclaimed, when I asked what her secret was to living a long and happy life. This was coming from a woman wise in her years. She knew from her 89 years of life experience that it was key to a peaceful and victorious life. She had come to the point in life where she understood the harm that can result when we dwell upon worrisome, fearful, or disturbing thoughts. Our mind is the control center for our body. When our mind is upset so is our body. 

If we can commit our situations to the Lord, trusting Him for His very best purpose in our life, even when things are hard or scary, it will free us to think good and hopeful thoughts in the midst of the storm. If we can walk in peace we will live longer, happier lives. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

According to researchers at Penn State University, only about 8% of the things people worry about come true. This statement by Winston Churchill rings true. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” It is easy to fall into the worry of the what ifs in life. But, when we turn to God’s Word we are told to do the opposite. In faith, we are to think, trust, and expect God’s very best. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

We are actually not in control of our life circumstances, even though we struggle with wanting to be in complete control. We all want a certain outcome in life and we may even have a plan we formulated in our mind to reach that hope or dream. Perhaps we have even played out just what that dream looks like and how it should go! But when things don’t go as planned and life gets uncomfortable, scary, or stormy, we need to remember that the Lord has us.

If we are walking in surrender, embracing all that He is doing, it comes down to a matter of trust. He has His reasons for allowing hard or challenging times, which we just cannot fully grasp or understand while we are in the midst of them or looking at them in someone else’s life. But, Psalm 62:1-2 tells us, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.” He is always working things out for good.

In Matthew 11:28-30 we are told, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We are to keep our focus on God, being confident of who we are as we walk in truth.

If our minds are bent on thinking negative, unhealthy, worrisome thoughts, there is still hope in the transforming of our minds. This can be done through the redeeming power of our Lord as we believe and receive our true identity in Christ. When the mind goes down a rabbit trail of negativity, one thing we can do is STOP and do what I call a TRUTH check. Ask yourself, are these thoughts based on truth or are they based on fear and the what ifs of life? Anything not factual needs to be thrown out and our mind needs to refocus on the truth of God’s promises. I have found the following quote by Andrew Murray to be both powerful and life changing: 

In time of trouble, say, First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child. Then say, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow. And last, say, In his good time he can bring me out again, how and when, he knows. Therefore, say, I am here by: 

1. God’s appointment 

2. In His keeping 

3. Under His training

4. For His time

It is our hope in Christ that sustains us through the storms of life; Those things that don’t set right with us, cause us stress and unwanted drama, things we can’t change, things causing us pain or confusion, or whatever our worse fears may be. We belong to Christ and He is our peace. In Joshua 1:9 it says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

When we belong to the Lord, we can rest assured that He is keeping us for His purposes. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 tells us, “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” Through Christ we can overcome. Those lies from the enemy that are meant to break and destroy us, are just that, for 1 John 4:4 speaks of the victory we have in Christ!  “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The Lord is with us and He will fight the real enemy through us. We are victorious in Christ, always.

Ephesians 4:1 tells us we are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. If you are a child of God, saved by the blood of Christ and walking in surrender to Him then you are not your own, and, neither are you alone. You belong to the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. And, regardless of difficult situations, God is always there, taking care of you. You will never face a mountain on your own. The Creator of all things is helping you and He is faithful, forever, to the end. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We are empowered by God’s Spirit. We are to walk in faith and freedom, not being bound by fear of the unknown. We are to live life fully unto the Lord, following the leading of the Holy Spirit and being confident in His care and chosen purposes for each of us. And, we are to be thinking good thoughts of hope in Christ. We can transform our minds when we focus on the promises of God and stand on the truth, not the what ifs or lies of the enemy. 

Jesus Christ told us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you; do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Rest and trust in the Lord and He will give you the peace you need right here and now. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 

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How to Overcome Rejection

Like an ever growing snowball tumbling down a mountainside, picking up debris with great speed and momentum, so is the propulsion of rejection in the heart and mind of the one who believes this deception to be true. Hurt upon hurt, lie upon lie, until one’s life is perceived as continual rejection, be it real or imagined. 

The lies we believe about our lack of self-worth can seriously trip us up. It is a vicious cycle that snowballs. The more we believe the lie of rejection, the more we embrace it and make it part of who we are. Wearing the identity of rejection as our persona, insecurities grow and are seemingly affirmed when things go wrong in life.

Rejection and self-pity are from the pit of hell. They are not attributes given to us by the Lord. Don’t allow the pain and toxicity from real or perceived rejection ruin you. The fact is, we are God’s Masterpiece. We are made in the very image of God! Psalm 139:14 tells us, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

We are not responsible for the neglectful behavior we receive from others. However, we are responsible for our response. If you have wronged someone, apologize and make things right. Otherwise, your sin will cause a separation between you and the Lord. If your conscience is clear and without conviction, trust the Lord to take care of hurtful or toxic people in your life. His ways are always best. It may seem that people get away with wrong attitudes or hurtful behaviors, but that is a fallacy. We are all accountable to God. Nothing is hidden from the sovereignty of the Lord our God, as He sees the most hidden places of the heart. 

Pray for those who have hurt you or let you down. Lift them up to the Lord. This enables you to be proactive in a beneficial manner. Let the Lord do the convicting and correcting, if need be. Let go of hurts that can’t be resolved and seem unfixable. Focus in on Him and let Him heal unexplained disappointments or hurts in life. Having a heart of compassion and desire for others well-being will help. The Lord is merciful, and so should we also be. When we put the good of others first, we push down the selfish desires of our flesh. Do what is right before the Lord. There is peace in doing the right thing, as we rest and trust in Him. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Our purpose is not to aspire popularity or flattery from others. Seek ONLY to please Him, as our affirmation needs to come from Him. He will honor that desire. If we are serving the Lord first in our life, and He is our confidence, other things will also plumb up! Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We are loved and accepted by the Lord our God. He will provide comfort and peace, along with strength and new confidence. Isaiah 30:15 reassures us that, …In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

It is of utmost importance that you know your worth. Walk in the freedom of knowing who you are in Christ. Your identity is in Him. Having a correct perspective of yourself will be a complete game changer. Enjoy your life. Count your blessings. You belong, are worthy, and your are competent. I urge you to meditate on this. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Be the best you!

The following is a paraphrase model taken from a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley of In-Touch Ministries on The 3 Steps of How to Overcome Rejection:

1. Identify your feelings of rejection

They stem out of feelings of not belonging, not feeling worthy, and not feeling competent.

2. Reject them 

We are God’s children. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 

We belong to God!

He gave His son for us. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

We are worthy!

We can do all things through Christ. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” 

We are competent!

3. Affirm

We are unconditionally loved, forgiven, accepted, and complete in Christ. Live as a child of the Living God. LISTEN TO WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU!

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Childlike Faith

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My daughter had the recent privilege of attending a Vacation Bible School. As usual, she brought home her CD from her week at camp. Seeing that she is passionate about music we, of course, had to play it in the car most every trip thereafter. As these songs played, my spirit lifted as I began to hum and then actually sing along! Hours later, when off on my own, I found myself continuing to sing the songs I picked up from the children’s CD. Although geared for children with the pep and extra fun flair, the VBS CD is chalk full of God’s truth.

Here are the lyrics to one of the songs on that CD. They are so applicable and true!

Thank you God for saving me. Rescued from the middle of the ocean deep. You set my feet on solid ground. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Everything I have I owe it all to you, for everything you are and all you do. I could write a book, fill every single page with a million reasons to thank you, Lord. Thank you God for the big blue sky and birds that fly so high. Thank you, God, for all my friends. Thank you, God, for your awesomeness. Thank you, God, for all you’ve done. You gave your one and only Son. Now I can have eternal life. Thank you for my opened eyes. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.  – Million Reasons by Joy Stockler copyright 2018 Group Publishing Inc.

The Bible tells us we are to have childlike faith. In Matthew 18:3 Jesus tells us, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” What a beautiful example the Lord has given us. Children trust. They have soft hearts and are eager to learn. They forgive easily. They naturally look up to their Father and desire to please him. Their minds are like sponges soaking things up. We adults should also have such character traits but, as children of God. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.”

In Psalm 16:5-8, King David acknowledges the joys and benefits of a life lived in companionship with God. “… you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

My daughter’s VBS music is such a beautiful portrayal of childlike faith. The words of the song speak of the truth of Jesus Christ and what He did for us. There is also much thankfulness. We are to be thankful even in the things we can easily take for granted such as the blue sky and our friends. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 Yes, the Lord our God is the Giver of them all!

Based off our example of a child, how can we embrace childlike faith? We must trust in the Lord, keep our hearts soft, be eager to learn what our Father wants to teach us, look to Jesus, desire to please Him, and soak up the truth found in the Bible, which is God’s infallible, inspired, and inerrant truth. Childlike faith is to trust and obey.

To Listen to Million Reasons Click here

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Happy Father’s Day God

66201ba151a9717958f87070c5ac0245[1]Father’s Day in America is a day set aside to revere the dad in our life. It is a day we focus on our father’s and just how truly great they are. We rejoice in our Papa’s, give them gifts and words of praise, and barbecue in their honor. If we give this sort of praise to our earthly dad’s, how much more we should give praise to our Father in Heaven!

The Bible tells us that we are ALL children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 Think about what this truly means. What a heritage we have, as we are heirs of the One True King!

The scriptures reference our Heavenly Father as our Abba Father. The relationship we are to have with God is to be as that of a child to their dad. Abba is Greek for father and is used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; daddy or papa as cited in the Strong Concordance. We are children of the God of the universe who created all things. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

As we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s also remember and celebrate our Heavenly Father in heaven who loves us like no other. Matthew 23:9 says, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Let’s rejoice, and give praise and honor to our Abba Father this Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day, God!

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