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Where Is Your Focus?

Where Is Your Focus?

Have you ever seen these shows that star a person who is over 600 pounds? You watch the journey they are on to lose weight. Inevitably, they are sent to a counselor to help them work through their feelings. Why? What happened in their lives that sent them to overeating all day, every day? It was what they focused on.

They have feelings and emotions that have such a powerful hold on them that they cannot get out from under this dark cloud Satan has hung over their heads. The cloud grows and grows because the world, Satan’s world, has lied to them over and over again. They’ve been told to focus on feelings. To listen to their emotions above everything else. They’ve been taught that there really is no truth and that they are basically on their own to establish what is truth based on whatever feeling they are having at the moment.

They grabbed hold of the feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. And they spent hour after hour after hour zeroed in on those feelings. Then, they turned to food for comfort. Food became the thing that made them forget their feelings for a time. A very short time, it appears, since they resorted to food so much that they became morbidly obese to the point of searching for help to lose the weight.

I’m going to stop here and just say something so you don’t think I’m uncaring or cold-hearted. Many, probably most, of these people have been through terrible ordeals. I’m not making light of the circumstances they grew up under or the trauma they endured. I completely understand what happens to us when we endure extreme hardship. And, I understand why we sometimes simply cannot just turn off the hurt and pain. I’ve been there. I’ve endured a number of very hard circumstances. Some placed me in a world of hopelessness and depression. As I grew in the Lord and found the real Truth, I became better equipped to handle the hard stuff in a different way. A better way.

Here, I hope to help someone learn a different way to approach the torment of the circumstance they’ve found themselves in. Not to make light of it, but to learn a better way. A more Godly way so that they can live out what the Scripture says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Proverbs 4:20-23

Give Attention

Proverbs 4:20, “Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”

  • Make the Word of God, this great gift He gave to you, your focus. Don’t let the things of this world cloud over your vision of the Word. Stop allowing everything else to control where you’re looking. God’s Word is everything. His Word is the truth. It doesn’t matter what you see with your natural eyes – the circumstances of life you’re facing – if it’s not lining up with what God says, it’s false.

The remedy to the problem you’re facing is NOT to know the problem better, but to know the Problem Solver better.

Instead of staying up all night rehearsing the problem over and over, stay up rehearsing the Promise you found in the Scriptures over and over.

  • Money, it’s one of the most common struggles in the lives of Believers. Here’s what happens: let’s go with a big one here – the house payment is due in 3 days. Your bank account is at $7.93 and your paycheck, which comes in tomorrow, isn’t going to be enough for the house payment and food to feed your family, gas to put in the car, and the electric bill that’s already past due.
    • So, here’s what you do: while you are at work, you think about the problem. You go over and over how you’re going to get through this. Many ideas pop into your head, including robbing the liquor store down the street. This one you shake off after only a few seconds of imagining yourself attempting such a feat. But, you hold onto some of the others, because you MUST figure out what you’re going to do.
      • Borrow from your parents?
      • Ask a friend what they think?
      • Make the need known to people, hoping someone will help out?
      • Talk, talk, talk some more. Think, think, think some more.
    • What if you replaced that thinking with what God says in the Word? What if you started speaking Scripture and building your belief? What if, instead of trying to figure things out with your own brain, you got God’s brain in on it?
      • Psalm 35:27 says He takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.
      • Romans 8:31-32 says that God is for us and that He gave up His own Son, so how would He withhold anything from us?
      • Luke 12:31-32 says that it’s God’s good pleasure to give to us the Kingdom (what is the Kingdom? There’s a series to help you with that. And there will be more because I’m learning so much about it.)
      • 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us that God wants us to always have everything we need so that we have an abundance for every good work.
        • It’s important to know that God isn’t a genie answering wishes, but He is a miracle worker. And if you need a miracle, speak and think the Word and promises of God, rather than that other nonsense that solves nothing.
        • After the immediate problem is solved, get into the Word and learn to live in the blessings of God; which is far better than always looking for a miracle.

Where is your focus?

Self or Others

Proverbs 4:20-23

Most of us are more self-centered than we think. Do you pay attention to how often you complain over your fellow co-workers? I know the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about this one, because I’m guilty.

  • If your go-to conversation is based on how no one really works at work, except you, of course, then your focus is on you.  “I’m doing it for God” doesn’t really mean anything if what you’re doing is going to work looking for a reason to judge and belittle other associates.
    • Can I just say, your job is a place to serve… if you go to serve, what other’s do will not affect you. Even if it means you have to do more work. If you’re angry about your work load, you’re concerned only for yourself. Do you realize that every time you are offended by someone, it’s you being selfish? Selah – stop and think about that.

I work in the bakery at Walmart. It is located beside the deli. I often have to jump in and help when they get busy, because they are often very short staffed. One day, I was walking by and I smiled at them. One of them said, “We need more Cindy’s.” What was the context? Why did they say that? Because, I set aside my dislike of deli and jumped in, with a smile and a willingness to serve where I was needed. We joked how “more Cindy’s” would ruin the deli’s negative reputation and all had a good laugh out of it, but I was touched by the exchange. I have a reputation at Walmart, as we all do in our workplaces.

My reputation is the happy, kind, giving associate who people want to be around. There’s a guy in another area known by everyone as, “The grumpy man in CAP.” I don’t know if anyone knows his actual name, because he is simply known by his behavior.

  • I say all this to put forth a thought – if your focus is on God, you’ll be a servant and not be offended by co-workers who don’t work the way you think they should AND you’ll be a light to the world. People ask why you’re so happy, kind, etc. and you get to say something like, “God in me” and perhaps have an opportunity to share the Gospel. Whoop!!

Where is your focus?

Responsibility

Proverbs 4:21, “Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.”

If you will give attention to the Word, it will come alive in you. It is your responsibility. – Barry Bennett

  • I have 2 favorite apps on my phone that help me with my focus. One is Blue Letter Bible, and the other is Bible Verses, a Bible memory app. I don’t use it to necessarily memorize verses, but rather to easily locate the ones that help me get my mind where it should be. I’ve created categorized folders for when Satan – or just life circumstances – try to put my focus on them. These apps help me a lot in regards to keeping my eyes on Him and keeping the Word in my heart.
    • I want God’s best for my life and yours. Staying focused on Him and His Word to us is what gives us that.

Proverbs 4:22, “For they (God’s Words) are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

  • Most people really do not take this seriously, nor fully believe it. If they did, they’d be full of life and walking in health. Pure and simple.
    •  Pay attention to His Word. Listen to what He says. Keep it in front of you. Settle it in your heart and you’ll have life and health. (That means spending quality time with Him.)

“Life to those who find them.” FIND THEM.

  • Let’s just be honest here; one of my biggest pet peeves is hearing someone say they want to be more spiritual, or more like so and so (the person they see as soooo spiritual), but they’re unwilling to do what “so and so” did to get where they are.
    • You have to go FIND the Words of God. You are responsible to open it up and read it. Study it. Let God speak to you through His Word.
    • Luke 12:31-32 – It is His good pleasure to give to you the Kingdom. (Kingdom = wherever God is ruling/reigning.) The Word and what it gives you are part of the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

  • You are responsible for where your heart is. You determine which way you’ll go; where your focus is going to be.
    • The next few verses tell you how to guard your heart:
      • watch your words
      • keep your eyes forward – on Him
      • think about where you walk
      • don’t stray off the path of God
      • remove yourself from evil

So, Where is your focus?

 

Encounters

Story Time

Tormenting Dream

Daniel 2

King Nebuchadnezzar is pitching a fit because he has this dream that is tormenting him. It’s keeping him awake at night and basically never leaves his mind. He refuses to tell anyone the dream because, in his way of thinking, the only way to know for sure the wise men are interpreting it correctly is for them to first be able to tell him what the dream was. (Dan. 2:5-9) Well, no one can do it, so he orders all the wise men to be killed. I can just picture it, he just kind of waves his hand and says, “Okay fine, just kill them all. They’re useless to me.”

Then Daniel pops into the story asking the king’s captain what is going on… because Daniel and his three buddies are part of the group about to be killed. So, he pops in to King Nebuchadnezzar (which will now be referred to as “Nebby”) and says, “Hey, give me a few and I’ll get back to ya on this whole dream business.”

He goes home and seeks the Lord. He doesn’t expect to be able to do it on his own. He even gets his buddies to pray with him. (2:17-18)

God answers by giving him a dream revealing Nebby’s dream. Daniel gets up, praises the Lord, and then goes in to tell Nebby the dream and the interpretation of it. The king honors Daniel by making him ruler over the province of Babylon.

The 3 Buddies

Daniel 3

Looking on in Daniel 3. King Nebby gets his statue built and tells everyone to worship it … I’m guessing that statue looked a bit like the king, himself. Nex we get to see the 3 buddies in action. Their focus is on their King – the One True God – and they say, “Nope! Not happenin’ dude! Our God is God and we ain’t bowin’ to that thing. You see, our God – the Real One – has the ability to deliver us from that stinkin’ hot furnace. You can’t stop Him. And dude, even if He chooses to let us fry, just let people know we refused to bow to your lame statue that has no power. We only serve the One True God. Your gods, well, they simply do not measure up!”

Nebby orders the fire to burn hotter and then for them to be thrown in. His soldiers cannot survive the heat from outside of the furnace. Then the miracle happens.

They stepped on out of there like, “See dude, no bonds, no burnt hair, not even the smell of smoke. That’s our God! Now, what’s your god, I mean statue, got?”

Dreaming Again

Daniel 4

Next, Nebby has another dream which Daniel interprets. Basically, King Nebby is going to learn who the real God is. You’d think he would’ve already gotten it, but he was a little hard-headed and it just didn’t stick.

The dream this time tells Nebby that he’s too full of himself. Since he’s just not getting it, he’s going to lose his mind and go live with the animals – even act like them. Then, after 7 years, his kingdom will be given back to him – after he finally comes to know that the Most High is the True God.

Next we see Nebby looking at Babylon being all proud of himself for the great job he did in building such a grand place… by his own might and power. (4:30)

And God said, “I warned you. Now here goes.” And the king is out eating grass with the oxen. Until finally, he lifts his eyes toward heaven and blesses God, praising and honoring Him.

Nebby’s First Encounter

King Nebby is about to kill a bunch of super smart guys, including Daniel and his 3 friends. Daniel steps up and gives him the answer he needs – showing him the power of God.

Bringing it home…

Mark 4:3-9, 14-20

So, you’re listening to a sermon and the teacher mentions Romans 12:2 – how you are transformed by renewing your mind. You think about it for a minute, “I need to remember that. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to change this thing about me. If I get into this mind renewal thing, it’ll help me overcome it.”

You spend 5 minutes and a paragraph or two in your head and then realize you’re missing the sermon. Ten minutes later, the service is over and you go out to hang with your friends for a few minutes before heading to lunch. Then you head home and the message you heard is forgotten.

And then Nebby praises God.

Nebby’s 2nd Encounter

Nebby immediately turns his focus back to his own greatness and builds himself a golden statue. Which turns out, is just a dead monument to himself, and God comes on the scene.  Nebby praises God and gives the 3 guys a promotion!  (3:28-30)

Home Again:

Mark 4:18-19

You’re just sitting around killing time on your phone and realize you haven’t done your devo for today. Maybe it’s even been 3 days … so you switch apps and the devo title is “Mind Renewal.” Suddenly you remember what you heard on Sunday. You look up the verse – after searching “renew” because you have no idea where the verse is. After finding it and reading it, you go back and read the devo – realizing Romans 12:2 was in it. So you did all that unnecessary work to find it. You screen shot the verse so you don’t forget. Even make it your wallpaper so you can see a word or two of the verse behind all your app icons.

Then, it’s time for the show you were waiting for to come on… the cares of the world…

Nebby’s Third Encounter

Another dream. He gets Daniel immediately … he knows Daniel’s God … yet, even after the warning, he just cannot look past himself and how awesome he is. Finally though, it is settled within him that God is God. (4:34-37)

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Mark 4:20

After several encounters with Romans 12:2, running into it through sermons, devos, friends, bumper stickers, etc. It begins to sink in that God is trying to get you to renew your mind and be transformed. God isn’t shy about encounters. He will give you as many as you need to get that thing settled in you. He isn’t going to stop pursuing you and there’s nothing, NOTHING, you can do to get Him to stop because He loves you.

That’s a Wrap!

There have been many times I’ve talked to people who are, in a sense, torturing themselves over where they are. Beating themselves up because for a few days they get super fired up – being sure to chase after God and that thing He revealed to them. Then, they slip back into routine and a week later, God is speaking to them again. It’s okay.

You know that person you’ve watched and admired for the relationship with God they have? They slip too. In fact, at several times in their life, they’ve looked back and said, “Why did I stop pursuing God regarding this?” or, “Why, when I know how wonderful it is to sit and talk with God, do I not do it more?” “Why do I often find it difficult to go to that place?”

So, relax. You’re not going to be perfect. But, when you hear Him calling – instead of wasting precious time beating yourself up for not going yesterday – just go today. When suddenly you remember that you’ve missed three days of the studying you promised yourself you would do, just go do it.

The Take Away:

  • It usually takes many encounters to get a word from God settled within you.
  • Beating yourself up wastes time. God isn’t mad at you, so don’t be mad at yourself. Just get back in there!

Name It Claim It?

Name it and claim it

There’s a difference between the “name it and claim it” belief and in believing what the Bible says and receiving it from God.

I have led many Bible study meetings and sometimes certain things stick out that people say; either during the study or some time after. The one I’m thinking of right now happened the Sunday after the Tuesday morning Bible study.

Do you know how frustrating it is to have someone form an opinion about you based on something you said, but without knowing the context of your words?

Context matters!

I was teaching a series about healing at this particular time and the regular attenders knew it was a series. They would come with questions from weeks before and such. The thing is, it was a series and if you missed one, you probably missed something important. Anyway, this person had been to no prior teachings on the subject and missed out on important things like believing to receive from God what He had already provided through Jesus. On Sunday, she came up to me and I’ll never forget what she said because it labeled me – and I’m not that. She said, “I don’t believe in that name it and claim it stuff. You’re one of those people.”

So, let’s talk about the difference between a person who believes what the Bible says and receives it into their life and a “name it and claim it” person.

Doing the research

I looked at several articles on what people think about the “name it and claim it” movement. Basically, what I get from it is that people who believe in name it and claim it think they can pick some random thing out of the air and if they claim it using their words,  it will be theirs. So like, I want a new car so I’m going to just go lay hands on the car I want and say it is mine – without me having to actually purchase it – and I will get this car!

Now, this same attitude can be applied and related to money or even health, “If I just speak these words, I’ll have all kinds of money… or perfect health.” I read articles that took verses and showed how they were used out of context and then the person writing the article used the same verses … out of context.

For instance: Name it and claim it people believe they should never have any pain. Then the person trying to refute the name it claim it says that Jesus died the most excruciating way possible. So, Jesus had pain. Well, do name it claim it’ers believe in pain from persecution? Jesus wasn’t sick. He was being persecuted.

Believe and Receive

To believe and receive is to look at what God says He has already provided for you and receive it into your life. And here’s where it gets interesting – you cannot learn to receive from God without renewing your mind to the Word of God. In other words (Romans 12:1-2), you have to get to the place where you completely believe what the Bible says. And sometimes, that means you have to name it.

I think this is the reason that person said I was of the “name it claim it” movement, because I talked about how it is our responsibility to renew our minds to what God has already provided to us. And, in order to renew our minds, getting rid of false thoughts and unbelief, we need to speak. Speak the Word of God over and over until it erases the lies in our minds and replaces it with truth.

Words and Power

Our words do have power.

We can use our words to grab hold of Biblical truths. Our mouth will help the seed planted in our soul to grow. I read the books by Dr. Caroline Leaf (a brain specialist) called “Who Switched Off My Brain” and “Switch On Your Brain.” In these books we find out a lot of sciency stuff (that I struggle to understand) about the brain and how it works. We all know that without the brain nothing in our body can function, but do you know the power within the brain to heal itself? Dr. Leaf tells many stories regarding patients with various degrees of brain damage and how, through her process, they have recovered completely. Even autistic kids who have been healed.

The premise of the process is to build new trees to replace the bad ones. Each thought process produces a start – like a seed – and depending on how far you take that thought will determine if it plants itself and develops into a blooming tree. (The picture taken and magnified through sciency stuff actually look like trees!)

Part of the process of replacing the bad trees with good ones is using words to force yourself away from the toxic thoughts that have taken root. Hmmmm, I think the Bible tells us the same thing. She explains that it takes like 21 days to get a root established. Another 21 days will get it budding, and still another 21 to get it looking like a tree. (Sounds like seed-time-harvest to me) Words have power, but it takes time to get the words to really sink into your soul – your thoughts becoming closer and closer to what God wants for you.

Renewing the mind

We must renew our minds in order to see the power of God working in us and through us. And we must use our words to do it! Our words speaking His words.

So don’t be someone who thinks if they just claim it as there’s they’ll get it, look at what the Bible says and believe it. Then you will have what it declares you can have. Just one final thought, think about this verse. Ponder it for a while. Let it speak to you deep in your heart and see what God speaks to you regarding the words written.   Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2

Prepare your heart for what He has for you!

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety – Trust God

Overcome Fear and Anxiety

“Arachnophobia.” Have you seen that movie? Before watching it, I had no fear of spiders.

Seeing a spider in my house was not cause for anxiety, the unwanted pest simply met it’s demise — typically with the bottom of my shoe. After viewing the movie however, I developed an irrational fear of sitting on a toilet without checking it first. It was years before I could go without turning lights on and looking around. Silly, I know.

Irrational?

In Matthew 8:23-27, we find the disciples facing a similar problem. An irrational fear of a storm. Why was it irrational? Because when they got in the boat, Jesus had said specifically, “Go to the other side.” (Matt. 8:18)

Jesus had just finished performing many miracles and teaching about the kingdom of God and life as a child of God. Plus, He had given them a command to cross right on over to the other side.

How easily we forget all we have seen Jesus do — in our own lives and the lives of others — when a storm arises and stirs up fear within us!

Who is in that boat?

Jesus did not say, “He guys, let’s go about halfway across and then drown!”

When a storm arises, do you forget who is in the boat? God Himself was hanging out with those men, as He is always hanging out with us… Sure, He was napping, but so what?! He knew what was going on and He wasn’t the least bit concerned. If He didn’t have a plan to get through the storm, He wouldn’t have gotten in the boat.

It would be like God saying, “Oops! I had a plan for the salvation of the world, but then Jesus drowned in a freak storm. Sorry about that, my bad!”

He had a way out of that storm and yours as well!

The disciples allowed the fear and anxiety of that moment to take over and bring them to a place of doubt and unbelief. If you don’t take captive the fear filled, anxious thoughts and emotions, you will quickly spiral into the place the disciples found themselves, “We are perishing.” (Matt. 8:25)

How to overcome:

  • Keep your eyes on Who is in the boat with you!
    • Jesus is INSIDE of us and therefore His power to overcome the world is there… all the time.
    • 1 John 5:4
  • Choose to focus on and believe the Word of God more than you believe in your storm. Be it a troubling circumstance, sickness, feeling, or emotion. Make the main thing the main thing!
  • Cooperate with God in order to receive His best
  • Take yourself off the menu!
    • Satan, “May I devour you?”
    • You, “NO!”
      • 1 Peter 5:8 – after all, he’s not a ferocious lion… I picture his roar like that of the young Simba in the Lion King when the hyenas made fun of him. Just jump in and roar like Mufasa! Satan doesn’t have any power over a believer unless you give him the reigns through allowing fear and anxiety place in your life.

I’m happy to say, I have no problem sitting on my toilet anymore – even with the lights off at 3 in the morning. (Now rats.. that is a story for another time, lol.)

I’m sure I will face things that frighten me in days and years to come – in fact, this big adventure we are on can bring some of that – but God is God and I know Him and trust Him. He’s got me and He’s got you … and do you know why? Because He absolutely loves you with an everlasting love.

There is a list, I call it, “The List” on my site. This list is a group of confessions you can use to help you grow in faith and really know who you are in Christ. Click here and print it out! Use it regularly, with faith, and I promise your life will be changed for good.

Heaven and Earth, God’s Will Be Done

On Earth as it is in Heaven

Often, when I read through Scripture, I will find myself reading the same words over and over again. I get stuck on a passage when questions flood my mind. I must find the answers, and until I do, the verse or passage will keep coming back to me. Even if I go ahead and read on, I’ll find myself going back to the verse that had me pondering and continue seeking God for what He wants me to get from it. When I was reading through Matthew 6, I got stuck on verse 10. It says,  “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Questions

What is the significance?

This isn’t just Jesus saying those words, this is Jesus giving the disciples directions in how to pray. We cannot take lightly the things Jesus said.  Jesus is telling us that we must pray that God’s will is done here, on earth. This means that God’s will isn’t just automatically done, not in this fallen world. We have to pray for it.

Have you ever really considered the words, “Your kingdom come”? In my study Understanding the Kingdom, I talked about what the kingdom really is, and how it applies to everyday life. Included in that post, is the definition, “The kingdom of God is wherever God is ruling and reigning.” You see, if you allow Him to rule and reign over your life, surrendering all your personal kingdoms to Him, you’re living in the kingdom of God and therefore live in victory.

Why is this in “The Lord’s Prayer”?

Have you ever just taken a few minutes to think about some of the things Christians have said for years? Things that have become just habitual and not even thought about? For instance, we end our prayers with “Amen”, or “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” I have experienced someone getting angry with me for not closing a prayer in the traditional way.  I inquired as to why they ended every prayer the same way. The answer, “It’s just what we do, it’s in the Bible.” I hope my question got them to think about what they believe and why they believe it.

It’s not that I am against these things, but I do think people ought to consider the reasons they use certain phrases, and realize that such phrases often lose their meaning over time simply because it has become habit. Such as the words Jesus said we should pray. The whole passage should be carefully considered, but this is the part that I am stuck on right now,  “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What is Heaven like?

We all have ideas and imaginations about what heaven is like. Most of us imagine a far off place where everything is perfect and wonderful. Where there is “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. No more pain.” To be honest, when I consider heaven and what it may be like, I look more toward the beginning of creation here, on Earth. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you read on, you find out that everything was good, and perfect, and wonderful… until man turned the world over to Satan. Man was fooled into believing he was missing out on something and therefore ate of the forbidden fruit.

As you read in the first few chapters of Genesis, you find that Adam and Eve had an amazing life. They had all they needed in regards to food and water. Had complete peace with themselves and their surroundings, including all animals. They were healthy and strong.  And, they spent time just hanging out with the Creator of it all. Since God started creation in that way, isn’t it safe to say it is His will? In my imagination, heaven is pretty much like that.

God takes care of us. He meets all of our needs.  We are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. And, we hang out with God, the Creator of it all in a world free from sin, darkness, and shame. In a world where no harm can come to us and beauty surrounds us everywhere we go.

What is His will?

With that in mind, I consider what Jesus tells us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What is God’s will? Put simply, that we live as He first desired us to live. Our needs are met, we are healthy and strong, we are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings, and we meet with God regularly. Hanging out with Him and allowing Him to draw close to us, and guide our steps through this broken, dark, and sinful world so that we become all He intended us to be and help others do the same.

God is a giving God, but I have found, with every offer from Him, we have a part. We are partners with Him, He isn’t just a genie in a lamp or a man in a red suit waiting for that one day a year he can answer our letter.

What is our part in God’s will being done?

  • Pray for it, as we stated before. Jesus said to pray that His will would be done.

It is important to take the time to question and find the answers when you read the Bible. When you make God the main thing, He helps you learn. He guides you step by step, lesson by lesson.

Join with me in praying God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. If it couldn’t happen, Jesus would not have told us to pray that it would!

 

 

God Rocks

Focus, Being Intentional Matters

Cross PinkFocus is a part of our day to day lives. We must combat our thinking quite often, and if we do not, we find ourselves walking down a road in our mind that can put us in a place of destruction. Destruction the enemy wants for us. Things like sadness, anger, anxiety, and depression are all things that can stem from not taking that very first negative thought and bringing it captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) We must be intentional about our focus and getting it back to God and to good. (Phil. 4:8)

Sunday morning I found myself realizing the words coming out of my mouth during the song service at church. How often have we sung those words, and yet, this week was the first time they really became real to me.

Now, I have reason, well really, an excuse for having not really paid attention. I am usually focused on playing the notes and that particular song, I easily get off beat if I don’t remain focused during the verses. This week, however, I was playing acoustic guitar instead of piano, and I didn’t play during that part, so I took into my mind and heart what those words were. And, oh man, the impact it had on my heart, and therefore, in my worship.

I was busting at the seams. It felt like I couldn’t possibly express all the love and gratitude I felt in my heart at that moment.

There was this moment the words came alive to me, and it’s funny because I already know exactly what it said. Like, I know the truth in those words. I don’t say it the same way, but I know the truth in it. And at that moment, my head and my heart, my soul, blew up with praise. God is so amazing in our lives.

The first part of the song basically says this. Far worse things have happened than this thing you’re facing right now. Multiple times. And God took care of each one of them with a word. He is able and He will calm the seas for you. Just for you, because He absolutely unreservedly loves you. You just keep your focus on Him each moment of each and every day. Him. Because He alone is worthy of your praise. He alone is worth being at the forefront of your mind constantly and consistently.

And then it goes on to tell you that you shouldn’t dare to not believe Him. How dare you not believe what He says in His word. It doesn’t matter what you see with your natural eyes, the truth found in Him is what matters. And, hang in there, just keep on believing Him above anything else, and you’ll see that mountain in front of you being destroyed. So, just focus on Him. Don’t let your thoughts, your words, your heart be drawn into a place where you care more about the mountain more than you do about the One who created it. He’s got you. Be strong in your faith and in Him.

Now, that’s not to say you have no part in moving that mountain. I have read the Bible many times and it is very clear that with every promise of God, you have a responsibility. I’m not going to go into that here, but look at Matthew 17:20. If you had no part, Jesus wouldn’t be telling you to believe and not doubt and the mountain will move.

So, here’s the thing, you must believe God. And in believing Him, intentionally  get your mind on Him. There is no reason to fear or even to doubt, though we all do sometimes. And when it happens to you, get your focus back, everything is going to be okay!

Isaiah 43:1-2 says this, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Experience or God, What Do You Believe?

Believe God Cross

Interpreting God’s will in light of Human Experience.

What we experience in life can and will influence what we believe. A child of God should not allow the experience that we’ve had to dictate what we believe God’s will to be.

In this series, I am asking you to take a close look at what you personally believe, and whether or not it lines up with the Word of God. In the first post, I let you know the topics I would be covering, giving you an idea of what I believe and showing you the reason behind that belief.

In the second post, I covered the sovereignty of God, the definition of sovereignty and the truth about what God can and cannot control because of the limits He placed on Himself and the spiritual laws He must abide by.

Is it possible you believe a lie?

Often times the enemy, Satan, puts thoughts in our heads, or in the heads of others and that thought will sway what the person believes. It even sways what churches believe, to the point of doctrines being made by man that God never intended to become part of His church.

One such influence is human experience. We have circumstances that come into our lives, and the enemy whispers into our ear, “See, you believed this way, and it happened this way. Is the Bible true? I don’t think so, just look at your circumstance.”

For example, several years ago I was having knee problems. It was fairly routine that I’d have to push my knee cap back into the groove because it had been pulled out again. It was very painful and I was using crutches pretty regularly as a result. One day, my friend asked me if I wanted to go to this revival service with her.

In the course of the evening, the minister asked for anyone with a knee injury to come up to be prayed for. So, I went up. He spoke over me and I found myself lying on the floor. When I came back from that place, the pain had left. Completely. It was a great experience with God and I walked out with the crutches in my hand.

Within two weeks, I was back to having severe knee pain and ended up at the doctor, again. This time I was sent to a specialist and then eventually had surgery to burn some tendons off, causing my knee cap to stay where it needed to be, as well as have the ligament tear sewn up.

How did I receive that healing and then go right back to the injury?

Some of you would say I was never healed, or it couldn’t have been God. I don’t believe that for a second. I know how bad it was when I went into that service, and I know how I came out. God healed me. I experienced His power in my life. Here is what I’ve learned.

I felt a twinge of, I wouldn’t say actual pain, but I felt something happen in my knee when I got up a couple days later. Then, a thought that I wasn’t healed and it was just a hoax came to me. I followed that thought to the point of receiving the problem and the pain back into my life. Why? Because I didn’t know any better. I let the enemy tell me the opposite of the Word of God. I was believing my experience over the Word of God.Jesus

In 1Peter 2:24 it says that by His stripes, I was healed. It was done. My leg was absolutely fine, but I let unbelief, in the form of doubt and fear, grab hold of me. I believed it was not God’s will for me to be healed in that way, but to instead be healed through the doctors.  I didn’t know the Truth about God’s will to heal, and so, I put my faith in the doctors and then had to have surgery. I was interpreting His will based on what I saw in my life at that time, not based on the Bible.

When we interpret God’s will based on our own experiences, we miss out on the power of God.

In John 17:17, Jesus says, God’s word is truth. We need to keep the Word in our minds and in our hearts so that when the enemy, or the world, or our circumstances try to tell us something that opposes it, we know the truth. It shouldn’t matter what we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel. God’s Word is true, period. Romans 3:4

The power of God cannot manifest in our lives when we are not believing in that power. If our experience is allowed to dictate what we see as God’s will, how can we believe?

Here’s the key:

  • Get the Word of God sown into your heart. You can’t really believe Him, if you don’t know Him and what He says.
    • Learn what God’s will is. Much of His will is given to us in the Bible, if we will look for it, we will find it.
  • Hold on to what you know, what you’ve sown, and do not be swayed. You will see His promises fulfilled if you have faith and do not doubt.

 

I have a printable document you may have. It is a declaration page, something you can look at often to be reminded who you are in Christ and what He has given you, because He loves you. Click here and download it to your computer and print it! No strings attached, but please, when someone else wants the same list, refer them to this page, or this blog. Thank you!

 

 

The Sovereignty of God, What Do You Believe

Belief in a LieBelief in a lie …. or What you believe is not the truth about God.

 

The Sovereignty of God

Upon reading the actual definition of sovereignty (supreme power or authority), I began to question where the doctrine I grew up with came from.

What did we believe? What do most of the people I know believe? God is in complete control and whatever He wants to happen will happen. “Everything happens for a reason.” — making God responsible for literally every single thing that happens in the world, good or bad. Making it appear as if we are all just puppets on a grand stage, performing for the master of it all.

The thing is, God isn’t able to do anything and everything. One thing? God is not able to lie. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:18, “It is impossible for God to lie…”  Another thing, He cannot break a covenant. Psalm 89:34, “My covenant I will not break.” Big one here, He cannot force anyone to follow Him, though He wants so badly to see all of mankind to be with Him. 2 Peter 3:9

God has limited Himself in regards to what He will control and not control on this Earth. In Genesis 1:28, God gave mankind dominion over the earth and everything in it. Then, Adam and Eve condemned mankind to the rule of Satan on this Earth. They turned the Earth over to him, through their sin,  and now he is ruler. If you believe God controlled all of that, then why would you believe God loves mankind?

Now, the enemy has dominion over the Earth, but not over those who receive Christ as their Savior. Jesus took care of that problem, but we still live in a broken world. That being said, God provided help for us. James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” See Matthew 16:19

I think we put up with more than we have to because we do not truly believe what God tells us. When was the last time an attack came, that you recognized as the enemy, and you stood firmly rooted in the Word and fought him off as Jesus did? You know, when Satan came and tempted Jesus. Jesus simply stood on the Word of God until the Tears of Love Jesusenemy left. He resisted the devil. Matthew 4:1-11

There are a lot of things that happen in our lives. Hurtful, horrible things. There is not a single person in this world that can say they’ve never had to deal with really difficult circumstances, but I do not believe that God causes them or sends them our way. And, I do not believe in the stand-by, “God allowed it.” Unless, we are talking about God allowing us free-will. Free-will causes our problems, and yes, God gave us free-will. So, in that sense, you can say He allows it. But, I do not believe God allows each circumstance. God isn’t up there saying, “Yes, I will allow those teenagers to drink and drive and cause an accident that kills that wonderful family.” or “Yes, she can have cancer, that’s cool with Me.” “Of course it’s okay with Me that he becomes a sex offender and molests multiple young ladies over the course of 30 years.”

By saying that God is in control of everything, that He allows everything to happen, we are saying He is not good. Mark 10:18. That He is not love. 1John 4:8. I believe a lot of the responsibility for the continued falling of mankind is on the Christians. We are not taking up our spiritual authority and living as God wants us to live. We are not resisting the devil. Mostly, we just submit to him and to the ways of the world. And then we pass it off as “God’s will.”

The question I have is, will you take the time to consider what you believe? Will you check out the Word of God for yourself and let Him soften your heart to Him and to the knowledge of who He really is? If you will, it is more than worth your time and effort.

Do You Believe A Lie?

Cross Blue Skies

Unbelief = Belief in a lie, or what you believe is not the truth about God.

Over the years, as I’ve drawn closer to God and spent more time studying the Bible, I’ve had to take a close look at what I believe. All my life I’ve been involved in church, and each church I’ve been to has held to the belief that they teach from the Word of God. I believe they do, but I also believe that there are times we miss things. Times when we teach what we’ve grown up believing, without really considering if our teachers had it right or if they missed something.

I’m not saying I know what’s right, but I do see things I use to believe, and after doing my own studying, my thoughts have changed.

John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

3 John 2-4, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”Feed Faith Starve Doubt

There’s a reason God provided the Word for us. So that we could be aware of the devil’s schemes and be able to stand on the truth He declared. The enemy is a liar above all things, and he knows how to twist things to make us believe his way instead of God’s. And it’s innocent. We don’t even recognize it a lot of the times.

This series will give you things to ponder. Some things you will have to decide what you believe. Study the Word of God. Let the Holy Spirit help you understand His Word. And He will, because He wants you to know Him better, to know the truth. It’s the truth you know that will set you free. John 8:32

This is the list of topics I will cover in separate posts, with a basic summary included. If you want to learn more about a given topic, stay tuned. Once they’re up, over the next few weeks, I will include a link here to each one.

  1. The Sovereignty of God.
    • In our world, today, we have changed the meaning of sovereign in regards to talking about God. In the dictionary, we see that sovereign is simply “a supreme ruler, especially a monarch, or possessing supreme or ultimate power.” Somehow, that has been construed to mean, “completely in control of everything that happens.”
      • God is all powerful. He is completely able to anything and everything He wants to do, but He limits Himself. When He created man, He made man as ruler of this world, the Earth. He gave man dominion and took a step back. He gave man the ability to choose, and man chose to turn this world over to Satan. So, yes, God is possessing supreme power. But, He loves us too much to rule over everything with an iron fist. He allows us to choose whom we will serve and the result is a lot of bad things going on that He did not cause to happen, nor desire to have happen to us, His children.
      • Look at Genesis 1:28, Genesis 3, 3 John 2-4
  2. Interpreting God’s will in light of our own experiences.
    • Our circumstances do not change God’s will. Much of His will is spelled out in the Bible and His Word doesn’t change.
  3. Old covenant vs. New covenant
    • God never changes, but He gave us redemption and is now not holding sin against us.
  4. Paul’s Thorn
  5. I need more faith
  6. Healing
    • There are several parts under this topic that we will discuss, things like God heals some, but now all, If God wants me healed, He will just do it, and other very intriguing things.

I hope you’ll join me as we dive deep into the Word and make decisions on what we believe about God, about Satan, and about our lives as we are here, in this world.

I Am A Hypocrite, And So Are You

 

Grace CrossI am a hypocrite, and so are you.

I am a hypocrite. You are a hypocrite. No one can escape it. We all have things we hide from the world; struggles we deal with. In front of others, we tend to try to appear all put together, but inside, we know where we really stand. We know the areas God is trying to change within us, the areas we struggle hard core to become victorious in living. Here are a few things I struggle with.

You see, I know many of the truths found in the Bible, and I try to live by them. Sometimes, I let people believe I’m better at it than I actually am. I don’t purposely lie to them, I just let them believe what they believe, without setting them straight. I mean, how can I teach others to do these things and not be perfect at living them?

Here’s all I have to say about that, if you can find one preacher, teacher, mentor, mother, father, etc., that follows everything they teach perfectly (besides Jesus), let me know and I’ll just stop teaching. No one is perfect, and no one 100% of the time shows or talks about the areas they struggle with.

So, here I stand, admitting my failures. Admitting that I could be considered a hypocrite.  I hope you’ll still hang out with me. Keep reading to find out some areas I know how I should live, according to the Word of God, and still struggle to do so.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:1

Have you ever spent time beating yourself up over doing the opposite of what you know to do? For instance, I know it’s important to fill my mind with good things and take every thought captive. (Philippians 4:8, 2Corinthians 9:5). And yet, I’m really good at allowing negative, discontented thoughts fill my mind and stay there far too long.

  1. Thoughts
    • Ever heard the phrase, “You can’t stop a bird from landing, but you can keep it from building a nest there.” We have the ability within us to keep our mind clear of things that are detrimental to our walk with Christ. We just have to make the choice  … every single time, but do I? No. Sad to say, it’s something I struggle with. And then, my mouth opens and the words I speak don’t line up with what I know the Bible says.
  2. Words Mercies are new every morning cross
    • Too many times to count, I have said the wrong thing, or responded the wrong way when circumstances have seemed overwhelming. It’s like, for that moment, I completely forget the things I know to be true. It does no good, however, to beat myself up for the mistakes I make. It doesn’t change it, nor does it help me to do better the next time. (Proverbs 18:21)
      • I remember a time in my life that I wouldn’t even recognize that what I said was harmful. Now it is more obvious to me when I make a mistake. Sometimes, when I’m quick to realize that my words are detrimental, I have the courage to apologize and speak a blessing, but most times, my pride gets in the way.
  3. Pride
    • Pride is merely self-centeredness, which is really the reason I have so many struggles. I care about myself too much, as most people do.
      • “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
      • “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23
    • I am on the praise team at church. I play every instrument we have on the team, except for drums, so I am very active. Basically, I move around week to week, depending on which instrumentalist needs the week off.  There are times I get offended because I feel like I shouldn’t just always be everyone’s back-up, but instead I should be considered the “number one guy” on an instrument. Even as I type this, I am realizing how silly that thought is, but regardless, I get offended because I don’t ever get to hear the words, “You’re my number one on bass guitar.” Something like that.
      • When my focus is on serving God, I don’t get offended. It’s when my mind gets focused on me and what I think I deserve, that I allow myself to get hurt.
    • When we keep the Main Thing the Main Thing, when He is what you’re living for, pride isn’t getting in the way.

So, there you have it. Three things I struggle to live, and am therefore a hypocrite. God is still working on me, and I know it. I’m thankful He is a God of mercy and grace, that He allows me the time I need to become closer to what He created me to be.

Who I am, in Him, is more important than how the world views me. If you want help learning, and remembering who you are in Christ, print yourself a copy of “The List“.