Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

colossians3_1-2

Colossians 3:2 (NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on
earthly things.”

God tells us to think about things above. To me that means to think
about Heaven and what it is going to be like for us someday. Those are
good thoughts. In Heaven there will be no more tears, sorrow, death,
sickness, panic attacks, fear, anxiety, or diseases. We will have strong, healthy,
brand new bodies.

God doesn’t want us to dwell on our feelings. Do you know that your feelings
can’t hurt you? When we dwell on them we increase the amount of adrenaline
that is released in our bodies and other uncomfortable feelings crop up. God
doesn’t want us to go over and over again in our minds how someone has hurt
us. He doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow and the things we will have to
face. He doesn’t even want us to be consumed with getting material possessions.
God knows that these things are not healthy for us to constantly think about.
Setting our thoughts on things above also means to think about Jesus, what
he is like and all about his life while he was here on earth.

Many times in the past when I could not go to sleep, I’d make myself think
about Jesus instead of concentrating on the noises outside. I’d start with his birth
and try to remember all I could about him; how he taught and healed people,
how he died and rose again. I never got through his whole life because
somewhere along the line I’d fall asleep.

You see, that was far better for me to think about then to fret over the next
day, or about myself and my feelings. Isn’t it wonderful how God helps us to
know how we should think?

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Ephesians 3:16-17  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...

Paul, the Apostle, wrote this  prayer for the believers at Ephesus, and for us today also.  When we become Christians we are  new creations.  We are born again.  Our old dead self  (we were dead in  sin) is raised to new life.   The Holy Spirit comes and lives within us.   It is truly a miracle work of God.                                               Ephesians 3;17a

We are studying Ephesians 3 in church, and I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot this week.  What was very interesting to me, as our pastor unpacked this verse, was the word “dwell.”   In the Greek this word means settled down in you, or comfortable there, or at home in you. It also indicates a permanent residence. Is Christ at home in you?  Is He comfortable, or do we make Him feel uneasy and unwelcome?  Those are good questions, so I’ve been pondering what would make Christ NOT feel at home in me.  The short answer:  sin.

Even though I’ve been born-again and am now a new creation, I still live with the old flesh. I can still sin. And as the Bible tells us the heart is very deceitful. I might think I’m a pretty good person as I haven’t committed adultery, and I’ve never murdered anyone. But, in reality, I actually sin every day. I think we sin mostly in our minds and attitudes.  Sin is born in the mind. Temptations surround us all day long in this world.  We hear gossip and even partake in it. We watch things on television that corrupt our minds.  We need to be careful of what we watch and listen to.

Jerry Bridges wrote an excellent book for Christians called, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins we Tolerate.  Some of the sins he tackles are:  Ungodliness, anxiety and frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience and irritability, anger, judgmentalism, envy, jealousy, sins of the tongue, worldliness.  That is quite is list isn’t it?  I see myself  there do you?  I highly recommend this book.  It will help you see things that are sinful that you might not have never thought of before.

So, what happens when a Christian sins?  Well, we don’t lose our salvation, but Christ does not feel at home in us that is for sure.  I wonder how many times a day I make him feel unwelcome.  It makes me sad to think that I offend Christ in me.  When I realize it I do pray and ask forgiveness.  In order to have victory in our lives we must keep that connection with Jesus open.

When I know I’m having company I work hard to clean up my house and have everything in order.  Then, when they are with me I try very hard to make them feel welcome.  I entertain them and don’t do or say things that might upset them.  But,  just think, the God of all creation, the King of Kings, comes and resides within us. He doesn’t just come for a visit, but he sets up a permanent residence in us.  What an awesome thought!

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

I need to work on making our wonderful, blessed, Savior at home.  We are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Is my body fit for a King?  I think it needs cleaning up on a daily basis in order for the King to feel at home.  What about you?

Maybe that is why we don’t feel like we are living the victorious Christian life. Maybe there are things blocking us from having an intimate relationship with Christ.  We lose our power when we grieve the Holy Spirit.

You may be asking:  “This all sounds great Bonnie, but what can I do to make Jesus welcome in me?”

You can start by taking inventory.  First think about what you think about. Sounds kind of odd right?  Take a look at Philippians 4:8 and you will see that God has already told us how we should think.

Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Check yourself this week and determine what you are thinking about.  Are they things that this scripture tells us we should be thinking about, or is your mind full of other things.  You might be spending a lot of time with thoughts about someone you are angry with rehearsing over and over what you would like to tell that person if you got a chance.  Or, you might be letting your mind wander into impure thoughts.  Maybe you watched something on television that started your mind in that direction and now you are dwelling on them.  There are so many things we think about that we shouldn’t really.  They are things that tear us down and don’t build us up in the Lord in any way.  When we struggle with our thought life and entertain thoughts that we shouldn’t sooner or later we give birth to sin.  Our Precious Lord cannot feel at home in these kinds of situations.  I don’t think we realize how much of an effect we have on Christ in us.

Other ways we hinder God’s power in us include:  not yielding to Him, not studying the Word on a daily basis, and neglecting prayer,

Someone has said:

 “Some of us only have visits with our Lord that are short and far between.  We drive Him away.  How? Our hearts are foul with sin.”

Oh Lord, please help me to understand the deep things Paul is trying to teach me, and help me to have a clean heart, so that Christ can dwell in me and be comfortable.  Help me not to offend Him.   In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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Worry is another word for anxiety.  Do you worry?  We can worry about the past, the present and the future.  What do you worry about?  All of them?  I did at one time, but I’ve come a long way in that department, and pray you will too. 

For a long time I blamed my mother for my worry.  You see she was a great worrier, and I figured it was in my genes.  My mother’s sister was also a great worrier, and you know what, she died an early death because of it.  She literally worried herself to death.  She had every disease you can imagine. (At least she thought she did.)  She went to doctor after doctor and I’m aware of at least a couple of doctors that refused to see her because she was such a worry wort.  She would not take their advice, and took all kinds of medication, which of course, she knew more than the doctors about how much and how to take it.  I feel bad she died relatively young, but she did it to herself.  She was very hard to be around, as she was always crying over her kids problems, and worrying about everything.  She was so very self-centered and was a nervous wreak most of the time. 

My mom worried a lot too, and I think for me it was a learned behavior.  When you live with someone like that for 20 years you just kind of pick it up.  So, I started out that way.  Most likely that is what lead me down the trail to panic attacks.  The actual attacks started in my early 20’s.  But, all my life I remember how nervous I felt all the time and how I would worry over everything. I had to take care of my little sister a lot growing up while my parents worked, and that was a lot of responsibility for a kid to carry. 

It’s sad to think that people have to live that way.  In fact, the older I get the sadder it becomes.  I see people everyday who are ruining their health just because they worry.  It is such a waste of the time that the Lord has given us. 

Here is something I learned that is very important and I hope you will take to heart.   People in the world (unbelievers) have to worry.  Why?  Because they have only themselves to rely on.  Everything is all up to them.  They have to fight their way through life, figure all the angles and make sure things are going their way.  They have to worry about their jobs, food, clothing, health, and everything else.  They are just “out there” on their own.  Have you ever thought of that?  I hadn’t until recently. 

Christians, on the other hand, DON’T HAVE TO WORRY!  We really don’t!  We are living in an entirely different spiritual realm than unbelievers.  We have been adopted into God’s family.  He is our Father!  He is our Provider!He is our Savior! He is our Comforter!  He is our Guide!  He is our Counselor!  He is our Healer!  He is in control over everything in our lives.  We do not have to figure out every detail in life, and fret and worry about them.

So, why then, do we worry?  We shouldn’t.  It is because we were raised in this world and worry has become a habit we have learned along the way.  We need to learn new habits and put off the old habit of worry and anxiety.  We think we have to be in control of everything that effects our lives.  But, is that true?  No!  Not when we are a Christian.  God has bought us with a price and He controls us.  He is our Lord and Master.  We are His children and need to look to Him for every need. 

When we become a Christian we do not realize that God will take care of us in every way.  We still hang on to the worldly way of thinking.  That is our mistake! We need to stop thinking like unbelievers!   They have to worry.  We don’t!  We have been set free from worry when we were saved because Christ died and rose again and in doing so enabled us to become new creations.  We are actually new persons inside.  

2Co 5:17 NASB Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

But, we still live in the old fleshly body and are constantly bombarded with it’s desires and feelings. Those old feelings lure us into the trap of worry.  We have a certain physical feeling, like rapid heartbeat, and right away our mind takes off on a worry trip.  We start with the “what if” thoughts.  “What if I’m having a heart attack?”  What if I’m going to have a panic attack?”  “What if I pass out?”  And, on and on it goes.  We are worrying and causing ourselves much anxiety.  Finally, if we don’t know how to stop this process we will end up having a full-blown panic attack.

Is there an answer to this?  A war rages as the old flesh fights our new spirit.  But, God says, He is greater. 

1Jn 4:4 NASB You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

God is more powerful.  He has given believers the Holy Spirit to live in us and gives us power to overcome. 

2Ti 1:14 NASB Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to

you.

 

Eph 3:16 NASB that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

2Pe 1:3 NASB seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

God has given us everything we need to live our Christian lives in a God honoring way. 

Gal 5:16 NASB But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Rom 8:13 NASB for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

God calls us to stop living according to the world.  We are to die to that when we become Christians.  The Holy Spirit which indwells us gives us the power to put to death the deeds of the flesh.  In other words, He gives us the power to stop worrying.  We can do it!

Below is part of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians believers:

Eph 1:19-20 NASB and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Just what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe?   Paul is emphasizing that the extraordinary divine force by which Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the same power at work in and through believers.  Isn’t that wonderful?  We have that same power in us!  We can overcome anything!  Believe it! 

to be continued….

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April2007 021

We’ve looked at several things that Paul and Kim, the people in our examples had to understand to conquer fear and panic.  Remember that Paul was afraid to cross bridges and Kim was afraid to drive or ride in cars. We started to look at some important facts that Paul needed to understand and consider in order to conquer these problems.  They will help all of us.

1.  His fear was real.
2.  His fear was wrong and sinful.
3.  His fear was not of bridges; it was a fear that had become associated with bridges.
4.  Paul’s real fear was of the experiences.  (The cause of fear)
5.  Here is the key to becoming an overcomer.
6. There is not some mysterious thing going on.

Let’s move on to some other matters to consider:

7. “The devil made me do it.”

Many people think and have been taught that the devil gives us these fearful thoughts. So, we speak to the devil and rebuke him and tell him something like this:  “Devil, (or evil spirit, or spirit of fear,) I command you in the Name of Jesus to get away from me and leave me alone, you have no right over me as I am a Christian.  In the Name of Jesus, depart from me and go to where God sends you.” 

I’ve done this myself, and it seemed to me that it worked for the time being.  But those unwanted fearful thoughts did keep coming back and I’d have to rebuke the devil again. It was a never-ending battle.  When I wrote Panic Buster: Learn to Conquer Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia, I included something like that.  Now, I know that was an error.  At the time I thought it was good teaching, and even had support from a pastor about it, but since then I’ve learned differently.

I can not find anywhere in the Bible where it tells us to “rebuke” the devil.  It does tell us in James to “resist” the devil.  These are two different things.

James 4:7 NASB   Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

I do believe the devil can give us unwanted thoughts.  But, it is up to us to not entertain them.  We resist them and thereby resist the devil.  I believe blaming the devil for everything is overblown today.  It can get so we see the devil behind every bush.  I’m sure he has more important things to do then pick on me all the time.  He is not all powerful like God.  He cannot be everywhere at once like God, and he does not know everything like God.  So, he must be busy working on bigger things than myself.  Yes, he does have hordes of demons working for him and he can send them to pester us.  But, we know that God is greater then any of them and He is with us all the time to protect us.  So, we need not let them bother us any more. 

You will see by the scripture below that even Michael the archangel did not rail against the devil but turned him over to the Lord to rebuke.

Jude 1:8-9 NABS Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Note from John MacArthur Study Bible: “railing judgment: Rather than personally cursing such a powerful angel as Satan, Michael deferred to the ultimate, sovereign power of God following the example of the Angel of the Lord in Zec 3:2.  This is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons.  Believers are not to address them, but rather to seek the Lord’s intervening power against them.”

We can pray to God and ask Him to rebuke the devil for us.  We can also ask God to help us control our thoughts and get them where they should be.

It is easy to blame someone or something else for our anxious thoughts.  When we say, “the devil made me do it,” we are skirting the real problem.  We need to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.  Actually, this may be a trap by the devil.  If we focus on him and not the real problem then we will not win in the end.  He will continue to have us in his grip of fear.

Eve blamed the devil in the Garden of Eden. 

Genesis 3:13 NASB Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

But, she was the one that made the decision to sin.  The responsibility fell on her and then God cursed us in allowing her sin to be carried down to each of us.

So, let’s not be like Eve and blame the enemy.  Let’s take a closer look at how we think.  I believe that most panic attacks can be stopped if we learn how to think correctly.  It is so important to realize our thoughts can control us and even effect us physically.  I pray you are seeing that.

Blessings,
Bonnie

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Morning Sunrise  

A New Day

When we become Christians we can aquire a renewed mind.  Just as dawn bursts   forth with a new day, we can have a mind that is at peace with the world.

Philippians 4:6 (NASB) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

God doesn’t want us to be anxious about anything.  Our minds are precious to Him and he wants us be at peace.  He tells us not to worry but to pray. We can ask God for anything that is in His will.  He also, say that we must be thankful in our prayers.  We have much to be thankful for.  When we pray and give thanks and then petition God we will want what He thinks is best.  Then, we can leave the problem at His feet and rest in peace.

When we do He goes on to say: 

Philippians 4:7 (The Amplified Bible) “And God’s peace (be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Wow!  I think we’d better meditate on that for awhile, don’t you?  These verses are loaded with help and hope for us who are anxious and worry warts.

Wouldn’t you like to have that peace deep down in your soul?  We can be assured that we are saved through Christ and know that He is in control of all things.  We can learn to be content in whatever situation we are in.  This kind of peace can’t even be comprehended in our own finite minds.  This kind of peace will actually guard our thoughts when we are in Jesus Christ.

If we can attain to these scriptures, and we can by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be living in peace with God and with ourselves.  Anxiety and fear will not have a grip on us anymore!

Then he goes on in verse 8 of Philippians  to tell us what we should think about instead of worrying and fretting.  I will quote this too from the Amplified version of the Bible, as it is so good.

“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things—fix your minds on them.” 

When it says, “fix” you mind on them means to get a tight grip on them.  Hang on to them, don’t let them go.  They are actually a good prescription for our mental health. 

Do your thoughts line up with the above?  We have to examine our thoughts and practice to think God’s way in order to renew our minds. It always amazes me to contemplate the fact that God loves us so much that he even cares about what we think.  Isn’t that amazing?  I mean do we really care about what others think?  Or, if we did, do we have any way to know what someone else thinks?  I’d like to know what my husband thinks sometimes, but then again it is probably better that I don’t.

God tells us to “renew our minds.” 

Romans 12:2 (NASB) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

You see if you work on what you think about you will renew your mind.  And if you keep reading and studying the Word, you will renew your mind.  We all need a mind makeover.  We don’t need to worry and be anxious.  That is not a part of what God wants for us.

Philippians 4:9 (NASB) The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul says to practice what you have learned, received and heard and seen in Him.  He had taught them and was an example and role model for them.  And he says to model your way of living in it and then the God of peace—which is of untroubled, undisturbed well-being–will be with you. 

I think the key word in the above verse is “practice.”  You see it doesn’t happen automatically.  We must practice just as an athlete practices and trains for an event.  Practice what you think about and how you think and it will become a habit.  You will be truly blessed by God with peace that passes understanding.

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           Our Cardinal Friend

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Proverbs 4:20-27 (NIV)

My son pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to the those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
  Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
  Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. 

 

There is a wealth of good health in this portion of scripture.  This is advice given to a young man, but it can be applied to any one of us.  First he tells his son to really pay attention and remember what he is about to say as it is very important.  We should do the same. He says to keep these words in our hearts.  The wisdom of these Words make a man’s whole body healthy.  They are life to him. 

When the Bible speaks of the heart it is speaking of the center of the human spirit, from which springs forth our emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and actions.  If we store up good things in our hearts, our words and actions will flow forth with good things.

He says, “above all else,” or most important…guard your heart, because our life springs forth from it.  The heart “is the wellspring of life.”  All these things flow out of it as an overflowing water well springs forth water.

Then he tells us some things we need to do to achieve this good health. 

1. We need to watch how we talk.  How we talk reflects what we’ve been thinking about.  It also shows what is at our core.  Christians are not to talk trash as the world does.  It is very interesting, but if you listen closely while someone talks you can pretty much discover their relationship to God.

Matthew 12:34 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

2. We need to be careful what we look at.  Are the movies we watch honorable to the Lord?  What about the T.V. programs we watch?  Would we be comfortable if the Lord Jesus Christ was sitting right there with us? There are many examples such as magazines, Internet, and even watching other people that we can include here. 

3. We need to take heed to where we walk.  We are not to swerve to the left or to the right in order to keep us from walking into evil behavior.  Are you mindful of where you hang out and if it is pleasing to God?  Sometimes we need to avoid certain places and friends so that we won’t be tempted.

4. We need to watch our thoughts also.  Our minds are fragile and we must protect them.  Are you aware of what you think about most of the time? 

(Philippians 4:8)  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

These are the things we should be thinking about.  You can examine your thoughts against the above scripture.  If they are out of line you can pray and ask the Lord to bring your thoughts where they should be.

Attaining to these things is not automatic or even easy.  But, If you make a serious effort the Lord will help you and then you too can have a healthy and happy life.

 

 

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