Where Change Takes Place

The following is a portion of a booklet I wrote entitled Are You Ready for Transformation?

Repairing the Breach

Once you begin to recognize destructive thought patterns, you have to begin to repair the place in which they entered your mind. If a breach occurs in a dam, water can begin leaking out, or the dam could break down which would be detrimental to those in its path. It is the same with your mind. If you do not repair the spiritual door or wall of your mind, the destructive thoughts will continue to gain access. Repairing the breach is what will begin to bring about permanent solutions.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a breach is a violation. When demonic forces sense a weak spot, they will pounce with all their might to gain access. What we entertain as far as movies, television shows, books, and conversations have the potential to weaken our spiritual walls which can eventually cause a breech. This gives easy access to demonic forces to play games with your mind.

The following quote is from Kelly Minter and her Bible study on the book of Nehemiah: “Have you ever wondered if ‘mindless entertainment’ might be a wide-open gate in your life by which many hurtful and deceiving ideas are sliding straight into your thinking? What about the friendships you keep, the magazines you read, the conversations in which you choose to engage? Are your doors open to the uplifting, truth-telling, and life-giving, or to what corrodes your soul? All day long we choose what goes in and out of our hearts and minds, and if you’re like me there are some doors, bars, and bolts that need tightening.”

When I went through the portion of that study, I was convicted. We are not going to be perfect, but there are certain entertainment such as conversations, movies, and reading material that we need to avoid if they continually cause a problem. On the other hand, there might be some entertainment in which we should take part if it brings life to our hearts and minds.

Now is the time to insert one of my disclaimers. I am not saying that you should not watch television or read books. There are television shows and movies that I greatly enjoy. I am simply saying that if it breaks down walls in my thinking and brings ungodly thinking, then I need to find another type of entertainment.

Our conversations with others are a part of our “entertainment”. When a friend or acquaintance gives you the “low-down” on someone else, you will begin to entertain negative thoughts about that person even if you do not know her. That is why the Bible gives instruction as to the types of conversations that we should, or should not, be taking part in.

Let me say that when these thoughts invade, you can and should take them captive and renew your mind; however, renewing the mind might not be such hard work if we refuse to allow certain things into our minds beforehand. Sometimes, it will mean changing the subject in a conversation, or turning off the television if needed.

You might be thinking that I sound extreme at this point. If your thought life is in extreme trouble, it will take extreme measures to break free. Remember, in most cases, you did not get into the mess in your mind overnight. It happened over time. It is the same with taking your thoughts captive and renewing the mind, it will take time. It will also take time to survey the walls of your mind to find places that need repair. It took Nehemiah the exiles time to survey the walls of Jerusalem to determine what types of repair would be needed and where. Allow yourself to utilize the grace God has given you. Philippians 1:6 reminds us that the work God has begun in us will be completed. Some jobs take time to complete, particularly if you want the work to be thorough and complete. You cannot afford to leave breaches in the walls of your mind. You must guard what you are allowing in your mind. Even in doing this, there will be things come through our walls that are not godly. We are only human. It is then that we hold the thought up to the light of God’s word and allow it no further entrance if we determine it is not what we need.

At this point, I feel the need to warn you about stubbornness. There are times when stubbornness can be a good quality to have if one is taking a stand for what is good. However, stubbornness as a refusal to change a negative behavior is dangerous. Refusing to take thoughts captive and refusing to take care as to what you will allow into your mind will be detrimental to you.

Repentance is the cure for stubbornness. By turning to God in repentance for ungodly thinking patterns that we have allowed to become strongholds, we invite freedom. We are allowing God to come in and help us repair the walls of our minds which will lead us to victory.

James MacDonald had a Bible study entitled Think Differently. He addresses the issue of stubbornness. An example of stubbornness is thinking or even saying that you can repent when you are good and ready. Some people want to hold on to their sin because it brings a sense of comfort. Refusing to repent when God is dealing with you is dangerous! Yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. There is such peace and joy that results from repentance.

In many churches today, the word “repent” is almost considered a by-word. God is saddened by this because it puts up a dangerous wall between Him and His people. Strongholds of destructive thinking patterns will result in destructive behavior. The results of destructive behavior are a ruined life. Sadly, these results can spill over into the lives of others. If the Holy Spirit is convicting you to allow Him to work on a destructive thought pattern, behavior, or both, yield to that conviction. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

There are some people in the bible who refused to repent when given the opportunity. As a result, they suffered dire consequences. Cain, the son of Adam, was one of these people. In Genesis 4:7, the Lord assures Cain that he will be accepted if he does what is right. Another example is Esau, the son of Isaac. Esau was at odds with his brother, Jacob, from childhood. Sibling rivalry can be ugly. Esau allowed his fleshly appetite to cause him to sell his birthright to Jacob (see Genesis 25). Yielding to our fleshly desires rather than to the Holy Spirit will cause us to reap unwanted results. We might shake our heads in disbelief at Esau’s foolishness, but we are guilty as well. When we decide to listen to the latest gossip, we are selling our peace. When we are entertained by people who blaspheme God’s name, we are forfeiting what we have with God for something that is temporary. Let’s learn from these examples. Certainly, we will not be perfect, but we can be more mindful toward the eternal.

Before closing this chapter, I must address another type of situation. Often, destructive thinking patterns form as a result of abuse suffered at the hands of another person, or, by someone who has offended or hurt us in some way. If you have suffered abuse, I urge you right now to seek godly counsel. For those of us who might struggle with other types of offense, we must take captive thoughts of bitterness and lack of forgiveness. In our minds, we must choose to forgive our offenders. The process might have to be repeated a number of times. Forgiveness does not mean that your offender was right in harming you. It simply released you from bondage and puts the situation in God’s hands for Him to deal with. Trust me, He can deal with others much better than we can.

The following are scriptures that relate to what we have discussed in this chapter:

Acts 3:19, “Therefore, repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is any praise, think on these things.”

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 3:2 (NKJV), “Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth.”

What Are You Thinking About?

Our thoughts matter.  While I cannot control every thought that comes into my mind, I do not have to entertain it.  I can choose to entertain it, or, I can choose to refuse it entry to the gate of my mind.  You have the same choice.

I am not promoting a mystical, new age experience.  What I am presenting to you is a Biblical practice.  Controlling my thought life is part of allowing my old nature to die and my new nature in Christ to come alive (Romans 6 and Romans 12:2).

Guard Your Thoughts

rust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Image via Canva.

1 Peter 1:13 instructs me to gird up the loins of my mind.  In other words, guard my thinking.  The verse continues instructing me to be sober.  In this case, sobriety is not just an absence of alcohol, but it is being alert.  You and I must be alert to the type of thinking we entertain.

For example, I can be convinced that a friend is upset with me because she has not called or texted in a few days.  My mind can roll back through conversations that I had with her when we last spoke.  I can convince myself that she has misunderstood something I have said or done.  At this point, I have a choice.  Either I can continue the irrational thinking that leads to illogical conclusions, or, I can call or text her to see if she is okay.

What if she is upset with me?  Even if she is angry at me, entertaining the worst possible scenario only leads to torment which is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.  The fruit the Holy Spirit brings is peace (Galatians 5:22-23).  Continuing on a path of this type of thinking leads to confusion, and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Checking on my friend through a visit, call, or text message is the best approach.

Thoughts Determine Actions

A cold-blooded murderer does not simply wake up one morning and decide to take a life with no thought beforehand of the deed.  He or she has devised and calculated a plan.  Time has been taken for careful preparation.

A person having an extra-marital affair does not suddenly cheat on his or her spouse with no sign of trouble.  Thinking about how much better life would be with someone else, magnifying one’s faults, and other thought patterns lead to acts such as these.

rust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understandin
Image via Canva.

Taking ungodly thoughts captive at the onset will prevent much heartache later.  Unbelievers do not know to practice this biblical concept, but believers should know what to do.  Do not allow such thoughts to take hold.  Take them captive and replace them with biblical thinking as soon as possible.  If needed, seek help from a trusted Christian friend or pastor.

You Have a Choice

If you notice that you are out of sorts or that your attitude is horrible, it is always a good idea to assess your thinking.  What has been on your mind?  What occupies your thinking?  How do you feel when you entertain this type of thinking?  Asking these questions can give you a quick answer as to the reason for most negative attitudes.

Certainly, I am not suggesting that changing your thinking will bring everything you want in life, I am suggesting that allowing God control of your thought life can change your attitude and outlook on life.  Changing the way you think, if that change is needed, can change relationships.  You can develop more peace of mind and joy in the Holy Spirit by refusing to give just any thought access beyond the gate of your mind.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee_ because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26_3

Renewing of the Mind Project– Book and Bible Study

Beginning Monday, April 20 to June 1, I will be doing an online book study of The Renewing of the Mind Project by Barb Raveling.  Bible study will be involved in the book study as well. You can choose what your project will be. Some examples include weight loss, procrastination, overcoming worry or fear, etc. Ladies, please feel free to join the Facebook group by clicking on the following link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/985637161832375/

You will need to purchase a copy of the book (Kindle or Paperback)  here:  https://www.amazon.com/Renewing-Mind-Project-Habits-Emotions-ebook/dp/B00TDSMW4C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=renewing+of+the+mind+project&qid=1586460401&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Ready for Transformation? (Bible Study Section)

I know you have all heard me speak of my upcoming book, Are You Ready for Transformation? It’s All In Your Mind. Originally, I had planned to have the book ready for publication this month; however, unforeseen circumstances have delayed me a bit.  I do promise to have this ready in October.

The first ten chapters of the book discuss various types of thinking while the last ten chapters go into an in-depth Bible study of chapters one through ten.  Today, I am posting chapter eleven here.  It is a Bible study for chapter one.  It is my hope that you enjoy this reading and study, and I hope you will consider purchasing the book once it is available for publication.

 

Chapter 11 (Bible Study for Chapter 1: It Is in Your Mind)

Change Your Thinking
Image Via Canva by Allison Mitchell

Thank you for finishing chapters 1-10.  If you are with me in this chapter, you are serious about your transformation.  The following chapters will correspond with chapters 1-10.  You may or may not need to refer back to chapter readings.

Now that you have read about the various types of thinking that we often deal with, it is time to work on the transformation of your thinking.  In chapter 1, I stated that the mind is different from the brain.  Your mind is a part of your soul.  You process both natural and spiritual matters here.

Turn to Romans 12:2 and read our theme verse from your favorite Bible translation.  Write the verse on the following lines.  After writing the verse, please record the Bible translation you are writing from. (I have a reason for this.)

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Thank you for humoring me.  I will explain at the end of today’s lesson the reason for writing your translation choice.

Now, back to Romans 12:2.  First, we are instructed to avoid being conformed to the world.  When the Bible refers to the world in this sense, scripture is not referring to the earth.  The Bible is referring to the system of the world.  Sadly, many people are controlled by Satan or their own fleshly desires.  Most do not even realize this.  The world system is predominately evil.  Now, I am not saying that everyone in the world is evil. I am simply saying that the overall world system (government, secular entertainment, etc.) is not surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Change Your Thinking! 1
Image Via Canva by Allison Mitchell

Let’s look at the word “conformed”.  Most translations use the word “conformed” in this text. Some of the other wording might be different though.  If you have a translation that does not use the word “conformed”, I truly would like to know what version you are using simply out of curiosity.

Use an online dictionary to look up the word “conformed”.  Write a brief definition in the following lines.

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Now, we will look at Strong’s definition from the Greek text.  If you ever wish to look up word meanings, you can go to www.blueletterbible.org and use the free resources which includes Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and lexicons.

The Greek word for “conformed” is “syschēmatizō” meaning “to fashion or shape one thing like another.”  We are not to be fashioned like the world.  We are to be different from the world. It is sad to say that many Christian people blend in with the world, so, unbelievers often are unable to see Christ in many Christians.

What do the following verses say about the way we are to conduct ourselves?

Matthew 5:13-16  ________________________________________________

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1 John 2: 15-16 __________________________________________________

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John 15:19 _____________________________________________________

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John 17:14-16 _________________________________________________

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Now, let’s look at the words “transformed” and “renewing”.  Look up these words in an online dictionary or hard copy if you have one.  Write the words with their definitions on the following lines.

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The Greek word for “transformed” is “metamorphoō” meaning to change to another form, or to transfigure.  The root word for transformed is the root for metamorphosis which describes the process of a caterpillar as it is changing to a butterfly.  The Greek word for transfigure was the used in Matthew 17:2 when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples.  Therefore, the transformation our minds go through is powerful.  Take a few moments to visit Matthew 17: 1-8.

The change that will come to our minds after continual renewing is not to be taken lightly.  It is a powerful transformation.  When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we can think with the mind of Christ.  That is some truly transformed thinking!

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Image Via Pexels by Pixabay.

In conclusion, we will look at the word “renewing”.  If your translation uses a slightly different word, the Greek is still the same so have no worries.  The Greek word for “renewing” is “anakainōsis” meaning “renovation, a complete change for the better.”  When a house is renovated, old items are replaced with new ones.  When your mind is renewed, your old way of thinking is totally replaced with God’s way of thinking.

I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I think about the change of thinking that we can undergo through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Renovation takes work.  It can be painful as old mindsets are torn down, but the pain is worth the victory.

Write a brief prayer in the space below asking God to help you as you prepare to renovate your mind and tear down what is not of God and wallpaper your mind with what is of God.

 

Overcoming Burnout

Most people suffer from burnout at one time or another.  The most dedicated worker, the “best” Christian, the awesome parent, the most loving spouse, and so many others have times of feeling a lack of motivation. Burnout comes from being in the same situation or bad relationship over a long period of time.

Feeling burnt out about your job, church activities, and other situations does not make you an unloving person.  It is perfectly natural to feel this way about various situations, particularly if you’ve had no rest or reprieve.

No Rest

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Image Via Pexels by Pixabay.

If you are not sleeping well, or if you never take a break, you are setting yourself for burnout, perhaps sheer exhaustion.  Too many people run their bodies on empty for long periods of time.  As a result, they eventually come crashing down.

You were not meant to do it all.  If you are suffering burnout due to a lack of rest, take a break!  You might have to say “no” to some activities or people.  You might even have to say “no” to activities that you would really like to do.

During your time of rest, seek God.  Ask Him what activities would be best for you to do.  Ask Him what you might need to let go.  He will give you wisdom.  According to James 1:5, all you have to do is ask.  Proverbs 3:6 tells us that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths.

Stress

Being in a stressful situation for a long period of time causes burnout.  Perhaps, it is a circumstance at work, a family crisis, or a spousal relationship gone wrong.  Whatever the case may be, stress affects your body leading to fatigue and illness.

Besides finding a way to resolve your stressful situation, you also have to find a way to deal with the stress itself.  Learning to renew your mind with God’s word and seek peace from Him will help you cope with stress.  As a result, negative circumstances will not cause you to stress out nearly as much in the future.

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Image Via Pexels by Ken Ozuna.

I am not at all suggesting that you might not need a change in your circumstances.  If you seek God, He will provide that change when the time is right.  If He is leading you to take action, then do so at His direction.

If you are in a stressful situation that can not be resolved in a timely manner, begin renewing your mind with scriptures and singing praise songs. I can tell you from personal experience that your heaviness will lift when you begin praising the Lord.  Mind renewal and praise must be repeated often, so, don’t expect your negative feeling to dissipate just because your renewed your mind once or spent time in praise and worship once.

Signs of Burnout

The following are signs that you might be suffering from burnout:

  • Lack of motivation.
  • Inability to cope.
  • Physical exhaustion.
  • Mental exhaustion.
  • Apathy.
  • Lack of creativity.
  • Overall feeling of negativity.

Everyone has days in which they might display the above signs.  There is no need to be alarmed unless these signs linger for a long period of time.  If they do, take action quickly.  Get some rest, or find someone to talk to such as friend or counselor.

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Image via Pexels by Public Domain Pictures.

Matthew 11:28-30 promises us that Jesus Christ will give us rest spiritually when we bring our burnout to Him.  He will renew and refresh us.  If you are suffering from burnout, go to Him in prayer.  He will guide you to deliverance.

 

If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have one right now.  Romans 10:9-10 says that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart, you believe to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made into salvation.  Romans 10:13 tell us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

It’s All in Your Mind

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s all in your mind”?  This can be annoying depending on the nature of your problem. Surprisingly, the fact is that in many cases, it is true.  No, that does not mean you are crazy.  It simply means that many of our battles are either won or lost in our minds.

Change Your Thinking

Change Your ThinkingOften, the changes we wish to see can only come about when we change the way we think about the situation.  If I want to change the way I feel, most likely, I need to change the way I think.  Many of you reading this post might ask me if that is truly possible. According to the Bible, it is totally possible.  In fact, we are commanded to do just that when our thinking patterns do not line up with the Word of God.

Romans 12:2 states that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can live out God’s will in our lives.  I find it interesting and not at all a coincidence that we are instructed in verse 2 to renew our minds after being told in verse 1 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.  Such a feat could only be accomplished through changing your thinking.

What Needs to Change in Your Life?

Everyone has weaknesses and faults that they have to address in some way.  Everyone has situations they would love to be able to handle in a more effective way.  It will not happen until you change the way you think about the given situation.  For example, if I am angry at a co-worker, yet I know I need to forgive this person, I will be unable to do so until I change the way I think about the situation.  In order to make this change, I need to know what God’s word says about forgiveness.  Once I am familiar with scriptures concerning forgiveness, I put those into my mind and allow the transformation process to work.   God’s word says that I must forgive as Christ forgave me.  I would remind myself that Christ forgave me for so much more than what I must forgive my co-worker.  Next, I would repeat the process with other scriptures until my thinking is changed.Change Your Thinking! 3

Taking time to journal through the process helps in two ways.  It helps the process as I am going through it, and it serves as a good reference should I face the problem again.  Barb Raveling has a process that she calls Truth Journaling.  It works very well.  Visit her website for further details.

I realize that this sounds like a great deal of work.  Truthfully, it is, but if you desire the change strongly enough, you will be willing to do the work.  True change comes from within, within your mind, that is.  Being transformed by the renewing of your mind will not happen overnight or through trying the process once.  It is a process that is ongoing, and it will take time as well as patience.  However, it is worth all the work.  Most of all, it is worth giving God the praise when the work is done.

Disclaimer:  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your mind cannot be renewed until you come into a relationship with Him.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.