Change Your Thinking. Change Your Life

How is your thinking?

When approaching your spiritual endeavors, do you expect to succeed? You should. Every son or daughter of God is very capable of doing great things. Your potential for good is unlimited. God will equip you with the power to impact others and make your life a living testimony of His amazing grace. If you will surrender to Him, He will stretch and grow you into a larger reflection of Himself.

Your thoughts are critical to your success. Satan knows this. This is why the battle for your soul is waged in your mind. If Satan can influence your thoughts, he will. He wants to discourage you and make you distrust God. Don’t listen to him. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4.7-8.

Do you want to change your life? Change your thinking. Go forward optimistically, knowing that:

God is always with you. See Ephesians 3.16-17. God intends to:

  • Strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
  • Have Christ dwell in your heart through faith.
  • See that you become rooted and grounded in love.

When Satan does approach, the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one, 2 Thessalonians 3.3. You can move forward in confidence and faith.

You are equipped for success.

  • You have the strength God supplies, Colossians 1.29; Ephesians 6.10.
  • You can endure all things, Philippians 4.13.
  • You can escape temptation, 1 Corinthians 10.13.

Since all these things are true, raise your personal expectations. Expect the best and never settle for less. Demand a higher standard for yourself. Rick Pitino has said, we must remember that the same level of thinking that brought us to where we are today will not take us to where we want to go tomorrow. God enables you to think big things and do big things. Do you believe?

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen, Ephesians 3.20-21.

God is Listening!

Do you pray expecting to receive an answer?

When life brings a problem, trial, or temptation, resist any doubt that makes you question God’s attentiveness to your situation. You can trust God. When you pray – He listens. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, James 1.5-7.

There is nothing you cannot bring before God. Tell God about your hopes, fears, triumphs, concerns, and friendships. Talk with Him as you would any close associate here on earth. Call on Him in faith.

Isaiah 36-37 contains the story of King Hezekiah’s prayer as the Assyrian King Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem. The most powerful and violent army in the world was poised to take Jerusalem apart, piece by piece. Judah’s meager forces did not stand a chance against the well trained and disciplined warriors of Assyria. Before going to battle, Sennacherib sent a letter to the people of Judah taunting God and urging them to surrender. Hezekiah took this letter and spread it out in the temple before God. While Hezekiah knew God was fully aware of the situation, he opened up his heart to God and prayed for deliverance. Because of Hezekiah’s trust, God saved Jerusalem from annihilation, Isaiah 37.21, 36-38.

Even with such assurances, we need to be constantly reminded of the power and effectiveness of prayer. Perhaps the clearest statement on what prayer can accomplish is seen in the book of James: The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much, James 5.16b.

What is meant by effective prayer? When you pray earnestly in faith, you are tapping into God’s great power. There is undeniable power in the prayer of the righteous!

The eyes of God are upon the righteous. God will supply you with all your needs, Philippians 4.19, and will provide you with love and care. This is why the Christian can hold his head high and lead a life filled with optimism – even during trial and adversity. Take time today to praise God that He listens and personally cares about you. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you, 1 Peter 5.6-7.

It is the Active Faith That Saves

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

– Ephesians 2.8-10

In American religion, properly defining salvation by grace through faith is a serious challenge. While the concept is clearly taught in Scripture, an informal survey might reveal many varying definitions. Manmade doctrines have led some individuals to reach very different conclusions from what has been divinely revealed. Part of the problem results from how some define faith.

What has the Holy Spirit revealed? A proper understanding of the meaning of faith in Ephesians 2.8 will go far in clearing up the confusion that encompasses our world. Is the faith here only a mental acknowledgement of the Lordship of Jesus? Or is more involved? The faith mentioned Ephesians 2.8 is defined in Hebrews 11.1, 6: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. These two verses are a presentation of the Biblical definition and essentialness of faith. In the original language, faith implies an emphasis on trust in God’s power and His nearness to help. There is much more to faith than belief that God exists and that His word is true. Faith involves our conviction to act in response to God’s expectations, in humility and total dependence on the power of God for providing the blessing.

This is the meaning of faith in Ephesians 2.8: a faith that works. It involves a full surrender to Christ and this genuine faith will always be accompanied by the evidence of obedience, James 2.14-26. If a person claims to believe, but does not obey, he or she will not  be saved, Luke 6.46.

We work from grace, not for it. Our work is the response to God’s work in us.

In Matthew 9.20-22, a woman with a discharge of blood was healed by touching the fringe of Jesus’ garment. She was told, your faith has made you well, 9.22. Was Jesus referring to her mental assent that He was the Messiah? Or, was He speaking of her deep conviction and trust in His ability to heal? She acted with full conviction that only He could provide her with the help she needed. It is the active faith that saves. The Hebrew writer says God rewards those who seek Him, 11.6What are we seeking from Him? Salvation! He is the only one who can provide what we desperately need! Salvation rests in our faith in His power to save – not in ourselves. God, not our own works, is the object of our faith!

The Real Art of Communication

It has been said that the man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words.

Today presents itself with incredible opportunities.

Let your words and actions reveal your relationship with Jesus. Let what you say be true, and let your words be motivated by love. If a stressful situation presents itself, remember you do not have to say everything you think, and you do not have to have the last word in every conversation. Harsh words stir up anger, so whatever stays unexpressed in your mind is a victory. Dorothy Nevill has said, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Challenge yourself today to live by the Spirit: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4.25-29.

Three Things You Need to Know About Repentance

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.

– Joel 2.12-13

What can you learn about God from this passage?

The opening chapters of Joel let readers in on a locust plague sent by God. At their most vulnerable moment, God stood by with His hand outstretched, hoping for their repentance.

Here you can discover three important things regarding genuine repentance and the nature of God. For example…

True repentance moves with a sense of urgency. “Yet even now,” declares the Lord… A person who truly repents will realize that time is precious and one moment spent outside a relationship with God is just one moment too long.

True repentance involves a desire to return to God. God said, “Return to me with all your heart…”  On the day of your salvation, you made a covenant with God. If you have turned your back on that covenant, know that God is calling you back so that you can be fully restored. Think of the story of the prodigal son: Luke 15.11-32.

True repentance comes from the heart. Rend your heart and not your garments. This is something that goes farther than fear of punishment and confession of sin. God wants your heart. Will you give it to Him and bear fruits of repentance? See Matthew 3:8.

How great and awesome the God is that we serve! He is full of grace and mercy. He is slow to anger. He abounds in lovingkindness. How close is your relationship with God? Do you need to return to Him? He is holding out for you!

Three Ways You Can Overcome Profanity

What’s your take on profanity?

If you use it, what does it say about you?

Cursing is an easy trap in which to fall. It’s everywhere. From television, co-workers, family, at the mall, or in the gym, there may not be a day go by where you do not hear some form of it. There are a number of words associated with profanity. They are:

  • vulgar
  • coarse
  • irreverence
  • contempt
  • impious

You should work to steer clear of this language. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, Ephesians 4.26. Paul condemned filthiness and foolish talking, Ephesians 5.3. Jesus said, for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned, Matthew 12.37.

Why is this issue of vital importance?

Profane words are always evidence of spiritual heart trouble. Don’t listen to Satan’s lie that says profanity will make you look more forceful and really emphasize your point. Profanity is a cancer of the soul. The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart, Luke 6.45. If your words are vile, profane, false, envious, and malignant, it is evidence your spiritual heart is in serious trouble.

Profanity does no good. No one is richer, wiser, or happier for it. In fact, many have been ruined because of their speech. The use of curse words will not help you develop morals or mannersProfanity is insulting with those with whom we associate; degrading to the mind; unprofitable; needless; and injurious in society.

How well are you fighting this battle? You can enjoy success—with the help of Jesus. Here are some suggestions that will help you win this fight:

  • Resolve to overcome and focus upon good and wholesome things, Philippians 4.8. Eliminate bad influences that will lead you to this language.
  • Associate with good Christian people who will help you, 1 Corinthians 15.33. This really works. You’ll be amazed at how a Christian environment will help you.
  • Trust in God. He will help you overcome the toughest of battles. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, Ephesians 3.20.

You can win this battle.

Have you turned this over to God?

How to Find Certainty in an Uncertain World

These are times of great uncertainty. Depending on what you listen to, it is hard to hear anything positive. The media continually reports on more government gridlock, job losses, social turmoil, and crime. This negativity will affect your life. While it is important to be aware of what is happening in the world, discipline yourself on what type of information you take in. Schedule time away from television. Turn off your computer. Change the radio station. Find spiritually uplifting things to concentrate on, Philippians 4.8.

But, as you know, uncertainty is a part of life. Tomorrow, your life may be completely different from the way it is today. At any time, there could be a sudden change in your health, family, or career. Everything is subject to change. It’s just part of the reality of this world.

So, where do you find certainty?

God. For I the LORD do not change, Malachi 3.6. Your assurance, confidence, and strength comes from trusting in that which is spiritual, not physical, Ephesians 6.10. Your assurance is based on the quality of your relationship with Jesus.

Remember that:

Times of uncertainty are an opportunity to increase your faith. Unpleasant times present you with an opportunity to grow in your dependence on God. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4.12b-13. Move forward in trust. God will get you through, James 1.2-4.

You are assured of eternal life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life., 1 John 5.13. No matter how “bad” things get, no matter how great the uncertainties you face, as God’s son or daughter, you are assured of eternal life. One day you will be with Jesus in glory. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself, Philippians 3.20-21.

You are the possessor of every spiritual blessing, and have been adopted as a son or daughter of God by grace, Ephesians 1.1-8. Broaden your perspective so you can see more than the problems you face. When you see the big picture, you’ll be amazed at the richness of the way God has blessed you.

In this world of fear, doubt, unbelief, and uncertainty, God’s people have blessed assurance. There is never uncertainty in Jesus. Have you placed your trust in Him?