Tag Archives: Christian growth

Changing Thinking

When someone suggested I call customer support about one of our office machines, I grumbled, “They’re never any help.” I added in my mind: I’ve had nothing but trouble with that stupid machine from the beginning! Also, communicating with tech support totally frustrates me.

Really? Am I thinking that people should immediately solve the problems and if not, I need to get angry? Or do I believe that because I’ve had difficulties before, things can’t change? Maybe faulty thinking is behind my irritation. How can I change?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation).

I can start with prayer. Lord, please help me! I have harbored anger and frustration in my heart. which have come out in angry words. I also felt resentful toward people who seemed to get better service than I did. I confess these things as sin. Please forgive me.

I could follow up with choosing God’s way over mine. I choose to “cease from anger and forsake wrath because it tends only to evil-doing” (Psalm 37:8–Amplified Bible). I will “put on” the new me which is being re-created in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Now I can forgive others and choose to overlook someone’s fault. I will walk in an attitude of generosity which rejoices when others are blessed.

As I follow Him, Jesus leads me to experience abundant life. What a relief to be able to accomplish my tasks without tripping over my old non-renewed mind!

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Source of Sabotage

In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.

I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”

Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?

Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.

I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).

(Picture by Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13083522)

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The Soul’s Delight

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3a NIV).

“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. [Other versions say, “and the unrighteous their thoughts.”] Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously” (Isaiah 55:6-7 New Living Translation or NLT). [Other versions—“freely pardon,” “freely forgive,” and “abundantly pardon.”]

Holy Spirit, I need Your help to forsake my old negative ways of thinking that I learned from the world and culture around me. I want to come and drink living water and partake of the bread of life. Please point out to me where I’ve chosen the wrong ways so I can repent. I will choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).

Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs me to get rid of my old corrupted nature—my ways of thinking and doing which aren’t under Your control. Instead, I am to “let the Spirit renew [my] thoughts and attitudes,” and to “put on [my] new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (NLT). So with Your help, that is what I’ll do.

I’m determined to quit feeding the old me with its negative thought patterns and behaviors which have no life. I want to start feeding my new nature which is becoming more and more like Jesus. He is life and the Giver of life. I will partake of Him and His Word, and I will grow.

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Too Late? (Journey Re-Blog 9)

 

2016 GNP falls A

Twisted thoughts and fears aggravated my anxiety in the journey toward wholeness. I suspected that so far, I hadn’t lived very well the life God gave me. I’d been tangled in self-focus and tripped up by mixed motives and other things displeasing to the Lord. I feared that now it was too late, and I was too old to be useful to God.

I argued with the anxiety. I said, “Moses was 80 years old when he started leading the people of Israel,” and, “Surely one is never too old or too young to serve Jesus.” But neither my trembling body with its sweaty palms nor my panicky mind seemed to be listening to my logic.

So I asked God what to say to the doubts and fears. I think He told me to call them what they are—lies. God’s promises in His Word contradict these mental messages. For example:

“They [the righteous] will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14). [I am righteous in Christ.]

“…I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16). [Thank You, Jesus, for appointing me to go and bear lasting fruit. Let me fit into Your plans.]

“[For] it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

“Because of the Lord ‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

“…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (from Hebrews 4:7, emphasis mine).

TODAY!  It’s not too late! It’s still today. I won’t let my heart get hard. I will choose to listen to God and believe and obey Him today.

Thank You, Lord, for another day—today—to serve You and seek to bring honor to Your name. Amen.

At that time I still didn’t feel better, but now that I’m out of the valley, I have some ammunition against those “too old, too late” fears that sometimes attack.

(All Bible quotes are New International Version.)

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Our Tailor’s Pattern

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern,…just so you shall make it.’” (Exodus 25:1, 8-9 NKJV)

God is shaping me according to the pattern of Christ.

Like a tailor, He cuts away the material that doesn’t fit the pattern. As I yield to His work, things like bad attitudes, jealousy, outbursts of anger, impurity, quarreling and other sins can be discarded. (See Galatians 5:19-21.) Also, all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander must be snipped off and trashed (Ephesians 4:31).

Then His Spirit removes and adds and shapes (when I obey Him) so I match Christ’s likeness. Colossians 3:9-10, Amplified, says, “Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

Finally, as a quilter would, He fits me together with other believers to make for Himself a work of both function and beauty. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Thank You, God. Amen.

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Unfailing Love

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14 NIV)

Yes, Holy Lord, please satisfy me with Your unfailing, eternal, love this morning! Your love fills my longing soul with Yourself. It oozes the oil of joy which begins to restore the broken places in my heart. Then I will sing because I can enter the day believing I am undeniably loved by You, Lord–amazing, awesome God. With a full heart, I can give instead of grab, serve rather than seek service, and love others, not try to use them. And because Your love never fails, I can be glad every day forever.

Thank You for Your unfailing love, Lord! I could never deserve it, but You offer it in Jesus. Please help me open my eyes to perceive more of it. Amen.

(Pinterest)

Psalm 89:1 NIV “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”

“Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,sing his mercy and his grace….”(From the hymn “When We All Get to Heaven”)

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Cast Your Burden

Today I remembered a couple of unconfessed sins from my college years. At first I went back to my old way of thinking: “Oh I wish I could go back and change my attitudes and actions so I wouldn’t be ashamed of them when I face Jesus at judgment.” Then I remembered a certain story a Christian leader told me:

“A man carrying a load on his back walked along a dirt road on his way to town. A farmer in a horse-drawn wagon offered him a ride. So the man climbed up beside the farmer, and they continued on. The farmer asked the man why he didn’t put his burden down in the wagon bed.

“The man replied, ‘Oh sir, you were so kind to give me a ride! I couldn’t ask you to carry my pack also.’”

Ah, yes. When Jesus died for me, He paid for those two sins also. And 1 John 1:9 is still true: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

I don’t have to carry around that shame. I can lay it down in God’s wagon bed of grace.

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (NIV)
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (NKJV)

 

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Journey Reblog 6 – More Stepping Stones

Reblogged 10/12/19

As I said in my August reblog, God offered spots of sure footing as I hiked through my valley of anxiety. In addition to those in that post, He gave me these:

 

  1. My enemies say, “There is no help for her in God.” If there is no help in You, then there is no hope. Only You can help. But surely there is hope and help in You, Lord. You are almighty, and Your Word is true. Your Word says You love me and will help me.  (Psalm 3:2-5)

I feel powerless, but I’m not. God has given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I will walk by the Spirit and be victorious.

  1. I am in the hands of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Nothing can pry me loose from His hands (John 10:28-29). Even my failures, sins, and poor choices cannot loosen God’s grip on me. When fears or insecurity block my view of God, He is still here (Ps. 139).

I need to believe God rather than fears and doubts and feelings. My anxiety feelings are lying to me. They don’t change the truth of God’s Word. The fears and doubts are lies. The “what-if’s” are lies. I will stand on the truth.

  1. Lord, Your delayed answer is better than the quick fix answer I want right now. Your ways are always better than ours. Help me please to trust You and Your love and mercy and to wait for the best answer. Help me believe You are holding me up even though it doesn’t feel like you are

Thank You most merciful Father and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).

 

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Chosen – Part 1

“Jacob…whom I [God] have chosen…You are my servant; I have chosen you….” (From Isaiah 41:8-9)
Lord, You chose Jacob (Israel) and You have chosen us also. You chose us to go and bear fruit for Your glory. Thank You. Please help me serve you well today. Amen.
Jesus said in John 15:8 and 16, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last…..”

In Colossians 3:12, Paul calls us “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Wow! Holy—set apart for His service—and dearly loved. Not just loved, but dearly loved. What encouragement to live seeking to please God and joyfully serve wherever He directs! Why do I forget so often and start whining? I want to form a new habit. When I hear myself whining or complaining, I want to remind myself that I’m part of a holy people, chosen and dearly loved.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” –1 Peter 2:9

How wonderful to be selected, called! And we’re called for a purpose—not to be pampered or play games. We’re called to serve God even in difficulties, fit into His plans whatever they are, and bring Him glory. It is the path to real life. I didn’t learn this when I was young, but I believe God gives me each new day so I can learn it now.
Thank You, Lord.

[All Scriptures are NIV]

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Journey Reblog 4 – God Sends Comfort

From the beginning of this particular struggle with anxiety, God sent me comfort in Scripture verses. For example:

Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Psalm 116:5 and 7 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.”  “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Romans 8:39 “[Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (All New International Version or NIV) I often went back to Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”

I wrote these and many others in my journal, but I also wrote:

“The feelings of anxiety are so strong that my mind can’t seem to grasp this comfort. In anxiety mode, I feel unable to believe or trust. I feel like I can’t hold onto truth.”

Maybe I couldn’t hold onto truth, but God held onto me. When I believed in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and committed my life to Him, God made me His child. (John 1:12-13 says that whoever wants Jesus and believes He is who He claimed to be—that person can become God’s child. God becomes their Father.) At that time, God took me in His hands and has never let me go. He has promised that He never will, and He keeps all His promises. Hebrews 13:5—“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”  Jesus said, “No one can snatch [My sheep] out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (from John 10:28-29). (Both verses NIV.)

My feelings can’t change the truth of God’s Word. Neither can my self-doubts, sweaty palms, trembling body or overwhelming panic change the truth of God’s secure hold on me. Because I had trouble believing that in my journey through Anxiety Valley, I’m thankful for our pastor who reminded me of the truth when I needed to hear it. And since I’m feeling better now, I offer it as hope to those who are feeling the way I did.

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