Transformation through Praise

Praising God is not only what we were created to do, but it is also what helps transform our minds into spiritual thinking.  As a result, we are able to walk above negative circumstances.  It seems scary, and perhaps strange, to praise God in negative situations.   Yet, the results can be miraculous.

When you praise God while going through tough times, you are inviting heaven to move on your behalf.  Demonic influences can not tolerate praise to God.  While they might turn up the heat of battle for a time, they will not last long under praise to God.

Jehoshaphat and Judah

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Jehoshaphat ruled Judah, the southern portion of Israel, before the Babylonian captivity.  During his reign, many enemies came against him.  The number was vast according to 2 Chronicles 20:2.

While I am certain that Jehoshaphat had feelings of fear, he did not allow these emotions to rule him.  He gathered the people and fasted.  Jehoshaphat prayed sincerely acknowledging that he had no clue how to act.  He stated that his eyes were on God.

Praise Comes with Victory

The Lord assured Jehoshaphat that victory was his because the Lord was in control. After talking to the people, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to walk in the front lines of battle.  Putting singers on the front lines is not a normal strategic tactic. However, when God is fighting your battles, He does not use orthodox methods.

The singers marched into the battle along with the others singing praise to God.  When they began singing, the Lord Himself sent an ambush against the enemies of His people.  Most of these enemies were annihilated.  The ones who survived the ambush became confused and slaughtered each other.  The people of Judah looked out to see all of their enemies dead.  They gathered the plunder from their enemies.

Praise in My Personal Life

When my sister passed away in 2002, a gaping wound was left in my soul.  I did not think I could ever deal with the loss.  Depression and despair entered my mind and took over my life.  The Lord dealt with me to begin praising Him even though it was the last thing I felt like doing.  When I began singing praise to God on a regular basis, the heaviness began to lift.  After a while, it was totally gone.

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Image Via Pexels by Luis Quintero.

Last summer, my husband went before a judge in a final attempt to get social security disability that he had been denied several times before.  The battle was long and hard.  Due to insurance struggles, much needed doctor’s appointments were challenging to obtain.  Without needed medical evidence, it was impossible to get the help we needed.

The Lord reminded us to simply praise Him that the work had been done because He was in control.  By faith, and I mean not knowing the results, we began praising God.  After doing this for a period of time, we both began feeling a strong presence of the Holy Spirit.  God began moving.  My husband’s hearing before the judge went favorably giving us a good outcome.

Praise Brings Change

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I did not tell you these two stories to make my husband or myself look super spiritual. Believe me, we are very human, and we experienced and yielded to very human emotions at various times.  I am telling you that praising God causes your mind to think differently which is vital.  Praise changes your outlook on life and increases your faith.  Why?  When you praise, your focus is on God instead of all that is wrong. Praise magnifies God while giving in to despair magnifies the problem.

What about you?  Are you facing an intense battle?  Lift up your hands, and by faith, praise God for His mighty work in your situation.  Continue doing this even when your emotions are not in agreement.  Heaven will move on your behalf.

Transformation in Progress

Perhaps I should explain why I have not yet published the book I was promoting.  The title of the book is Are You Ready for Transformation (It’s All in Your Mind).  As a practical guide to renewing the mind, I want the Holy Spirit to guide me through the process.  In my rush to complete the book, I found myself running off without Him.  That will never do.

At this time in my life, I am experiencing some great transformation spiritually, personally, and in my career.  I am excited about these changes although I can get a bit apprehensive.  Why? I am stepping out of my comfort zone.

Areas of Struggle

Weight

One of the areas of my life in which I struggle is with my weight.  Since my late teens, I have been on one diet or another.  When I was not dieting, I was going on complete binges.  This type of yo-yo method is not healthy and can mess with the metabolism.

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Image via Pixabay by 4653867.

The Lord began speaking to me about my weight.  I am following His leading, and I would love your prayers.  He is teaching me how to keep the pursuit of weight loss in balance, allowing Him to heal areas that led me to overeating in the first place.  However, the pursuit of weight loss must not become an idol in my life.  If I am not careful, I tend to pursue the blessing rather than the God giving the blessing.  Can you relate?

Giving Up Control

By nature, I have a type A personality.  I feel the need to be in control.  Part of that control is feeling that I have to do everything asked of me to show my capability.  When I surrendered my control to God’s control, I found that I can say “no” when I need to.  I do not have to do everything someone asks of me.  If I need to, I can politely refuse.  Jesus did not travel to every town.  He did not give in to the wishes of everyone around Him when those wishes contradicted the will of the Father.  (Balance alert:  While I do not need to do everything asked of me, I do need to consider the needs of others which, at times, can bring inconvenience.)

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Due to loving control, I have a certain zone I prefer to stay in. If that zone were God’s will, then it would be fine.  However, it is my own desire.  It had to be surrendered to God because wanting to remain comfortable was keeping me from the transformation I needed.  Understanding that God’s ways were higher than  mine liberated me to allow Him to lead and guide my steps.

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The Book

Are You Ready for Transformation will be out when I know God’s timing is right, not mine.  The transformations that I have been undergoing will be discussed along with scriptures that the Lord led me to.  I am willing to wait because I know it will be better and the annointing of the Holy Spirit will be more evident when I rely on God and give Him the glory.

What about you?

Are you undergoing transformation by the leading of the Lord?  Remember our transformation comes by renewing our minds.  If you belong to Christ, you have the mind of Christ.  Using the mind He has given us will cause us to tap into realms of glory that we have never before experienced.

Trust the process that the Lord is taking you through.  The end result is worth the means.  God loves you, and His plan is to give you more abundant life.

 

 

 

Book Giveaway

From time to time, I love to do giveaways.  In the past, it has been Bibles, but this time it will be a little different.  In order to show my appreciation to everyone for the support I have received on my blog and Facebook author page, I will be giving away two paperback copies of my book Overcomer.  

If you want to enter the giveaway, comment on this blog post or the Facebook post on my author page, Allison Mitchell Christian Author.  In addition to commenting, please share one of two posts:  this blog post or the post that  I will be sharing to my Facebook page.

Two people will be selected by a drawing next Friday, August 16.  I will announce the names of those two people here next Friday.

Add a headingFinally, I want to make you aware that I have a new book that will be available in late September or early October entitled Are You Ready for Transformation? (It’s All in Your Mind).

Are You Ready for Transformation

The following is the introduction to my upcoming book entitled Are You Ready for Transformation,  subtitled It’s All in Your Mind:

Transformation is a powerful word packed with meaning.  It brings true and lasting change, not just that which is in motion while you are “feeling it”.  True transformation surpasses your emotions and is known inside of your spirit.  It is a metamorphosis that requires your readiness.

Lasting change must happen in the realm of thinking before it can be seen elsewhere.  God gave us the powerful gift of the mind to process our thoughts and choices.  Until you change your mind, nothing else will change.

It’s All in Your Mind

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Desiring change and truly experiencing change is a matter of your thinking.  Romans 12:2 exhorts that we are transformed by the renewing of the mind.  Conforming and transforming takes place here.  It is in the mind that you decide if you will engage in certain behaviors, or, if you will walk in the spirit.  Battles are won or lost here.  It is this place that you must change.  It is here that destructive, habit-forming thought patterns must be torn down and replaced with the mind of Christ.

The transformation that takes place in the mind to bring victory that can be seen takes time and persistence.  Renewing the mind is not accomplished in one quick swoop.  Changing one’s thinking is a challenge, particularly if a certain mindset has been in place for a long period of time.  However, changing your thinking is not impossible, or God would not tell us in His word to renew our minds.

Victory Can Be  Yours

No matter how long you have been struggling with a thought pattern that keeps you in bondage, you can be free.  You can change the way you think.  God does not command us to do that for which He does not give us grace.  He assures us that we are more than conquerors, and He assures us that we can do all things through Christ who is our strength.

If you have lost hope of ever seeing true and permanent change in your mind as well as your life, this book is for you.  If you need motivation and encouragement to begin again, this book is for you.  If you have tried one million times and failed, this book can help you try one million and one times.  It does not matter how many times you have failed.  What matters is that you allow the Lord to take you through the process of transformation again, and it all begins in your mind.

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Image Via Canva by Allison Mitchell

Throughout the pages of this book, we will take an extensive look at destructive thinking patterns, even those that seem harmless.  We will also look at practical strategies to begin to tear down the lies and build up the truth in our minds.  After this process, you will see how change can take place.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7.

Busyness Versus Fruitfulness

It is amazing to me the extremes to which we as human beings tend to swing.  Many people are workaholics while others are lazy.  Others eat too much while some do not eat enough.  Some people need to learn how to have fun while others think life should only be fun.  Extremes are everywhere, and, unfortunately, the church is not immune to them.  One of the extremes I will be discussing is busyness.

Is Busy Better?

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There is a fine line between busyness and fruitfulness.  When the Bible tells God’s people that fruits of repentance or the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in the lives of Christians, many people misunderstand the meaning of fruitfulness in the spiritual sense.  Immediately, some begin looking for a job in the kingdom of God because they want to be busy for God.  The intent is noble in  most cases, and God does not want His people to be lazy and idle  However, there is a line that we can not afford to ignore.

Just because someone is busy does not mean this person is fruitful in the sense of bringing glory to God.  When a work is being done in obedience to God rather than just trying to appear godly, the results will bring glory to God.  In other words, we don’t get the credit.  When something such as a ministry is being done for the glory of God, people’s lives are changed.  People are set free, delivered, healed, and most importantly, people who did not know Jesus Christ come to know Him.

Being busy, even if it is a Christian endeavor, does not necessarily mean we are being fruitful, or bringing glory to God.  One way to tell the difference is to step back and examine your own level of joy.  If you are running back and forth, never catching your breath, and never spending time with your family and loved ones, chances are, you are busy rather than fruitful.

What is fruitfulness?

Before I answer the above question, I want to say that God never called us to live our lives so fast-paced that we forget to enjoy the people and things He has given us.  He did not call us to run like chickens with their heads cut off (an old saying where I am from).  He did call us to be about the Father’s business, and friends, when we are about His business, there is grace to do the work.  Joy accompanies grace in your work.

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Image Via Pexels by Bruce Mars.

That is not to say that everyone should leave their jobs and work in the church.  I am simply stating that we need to know what we are called to and operate within that calling God gave us.  The Lord did not call us to do everything.  We only need to do those things which God called us to, or, we will not do anything well.  It doesn’t matter if you can do one thousand things at once.  The question is, how well do you do them?  God called us to quality rather than quantity.

John 15 gives a clear picture of fruitfulness.  The one who is fruitful abides in the vine.  The vine is Christ.  We must be plugged into Him through a true, personal and intimate relationship.  This is the only way we will know what we are called to.  If we try to work for the Lord without truly knowing Him and enjoying time with Him, then we are simply doing dead works.

Take Time to Evaluate

In order to know if you are busy or fruitful, you might need to take time to step back from the hustle and bustle, and look at what you are doing.  Then, ask yourself why you are doing these things.  Prayerfully, consider if there are certain activities or tasks that you can let go, or, even delegate to someone else who would be willing to help.

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It could be that you are neither busy nor fruitful.  If you are idle, God is calling you to step out and do something.  Ask Him what that might be.  If you are constantly on the go and seldom have time to look up, you might need to let some things go.  Ask God what that might be.

God called us to live to please Him and do some things well, but we must face the fact that we can not do a million things at once and do them well.  Take time to be fruitful, not just busy.

Contending for the Faith

Jude 3 contains a well-known phrase that many ministers use for sermon titles.  This one-chapter book of the Bible exhorts us to contend for the faith.  Next, the brief epistle reminded its readers that many false teachings were spreading to a dangerous level during the time period in which the book of Jude was written.  False teachings and apostate doctrines are alive and well today.  Some of the most dangerous of those are prevalent in the western portion of the world, especially in the United States.

What does it mean to contend?

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The Greek word that is used for contend is epagonizomai meaning to struggle for, to combat.  The word is a verb indicating an action that is to be taken.  In other words, we are to be willing to fight for our faith.

When looking throughout the Bible concerning spiritual warfare, it is imperative to note that our struggle is not against people.  Unfortunately, people are involved when we have to stand boldly for the faith in loving disagreement.  Often, people take our disagreement with them to mean we lack love.  Although there are cases in which that may be true, a genuine child of God, learns to disagree yet still love the people involved.

Contending in Deed more than Word

Although standing boldly for the Word of the Lord often requires us to speak boldly, our actions should speak louder than our words.  If we say we believe in a certain principle, we should stand by it.  Saying one thing and doing another is one sure way to make faith-contending less effective.

When we have to speak against the actions of a person, or a group of people, it is important to do so in love.  In Ephesians 4, Paul admonishes his readers to speak the truth in love.  Speaking the truth without love often does more harm than good.  Truth coupled with love brings change.  However, it is important to note that if you have spoken the truth in love, and people are still offended, you have done no wrong.

Beware of a False Gospel

What I am about to write is without malice because I love my country.  I am thankful to live in the United States of America.  With that being said, it is vital that I make it clear that we in the western portion of the world often are used to being comfortable.  Confrontation and boldly proclaiming the gospel demand that we come out of the comfort zone.  The disease of political correctness is plaguing the Christian church in America.  Pastors and teachers will not speak out about controversial issues such as abortion, questioning one’s gender, and so on.

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By remaining silent, we are allowing the gospel of comfort to spread rather than the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  The true gospel saves sinners and sanctifies them.  The agape love of God loves the sinner, but when the sinner comes for salvation, He loves the individual too much to leave him in his sin.  I do not believe we have to beat people down, but I do believe we have to let them know that God has a much better way.

The book of Jude closes on a positive note.  Verse 24 reminds us that Jesus Christ is able to keep us from falling.  Our boldness and ability to contend for the faith comes from Him and not ourselves.  When I am reminded of that, it brings comfort because I am not able to stand boldly without Him.  Neither are you, but the good news is that you don’t have to stand alone.

For a more in-depth study on the book of Jude, check out the study guide I have on Amazon.

Rise and Shine

When I wake my children up in the mornings, I have been known to say, “Rise and shine.”  Of course, the phrase is nothing new.  For years, it has been used to get people out of the bed.

There is another wake-up call going out to the church in America.  When I reference the church, I am not talking about a building.  I am referring to people in America who have accepted Jesus as Savior.  The wake-up call that is going out is from the Holy Spirit warning the American church, and I will extend this as far the church in the Western part of the world, to get up and be at the ready.

The Night is Far Spent

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Image via Pixabay by jclk8888.

Romans 3:12-14 echo and confirm the call that the Holy Spirit is sending out to God’s people.  The first portion of verse 12 states that the night is far spent, meaning the time for sleeping is over.  The church, as a whole, has been asleep spiritually for quite some time.  While morals are rapidly decaying and America is sinking like the Titanic, God’s people are trying to find a way to blend in with the culture because they do not want to stand out.  This is a mistake.

There is not one scripture in the Bible in which we are commanded to blend in.  I am not suggesting that we make ourselves completely conspicuous by screaming at people with which we disagree, but I am declaring that God’s people need to lose the politically correct mentally, especially when that mentality is not biblically correct.

If you take issue with my words, then it is time for you to go to the Lord and ask Him to renew you.  Ask Him to light a fire in you that will make you bold as He wants you to be.  Boldness and love can go hand in hand.  You can disagree with wrong doing and remain in love.  1 Corinthians 13:6 says that love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.  In other words, love speaks out when someone needs help.  Our nation needs help!  We are divided over politics as immorality becomes more brazen.

The Day Is at Hand

After stating that the night is far spent, the passage goes on to say that the day is at hand.  The word “day” can have several meanings depending upon the context.  In the Bible, when the words “the day” is used, it is commonly referring to the coming of Christ or judgment.  Although no one knows the exact timing of the Lord’s return, there are signs we can look for.  The decaying morals of our culture is one of those signs.  There are many others, but I do not have time to go into those right now.

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What I find interesting is that “the day” refers to judgment in some cases.  There is a final judgment after the return of Christ, but often there are judgments that people and nations reap on the basis of what they have sown.  The day is at hand means that you and I no longer have time to fuss and argue over petty issues.  We need to spend that time in prayer and fasting for our nation and for the church in America.  We need revival.  We need to demonstrate the love of God.  People need to know that they have hope, and Jesus Christ alone is that hope. They will not know there is hope if you and I are too busy trying to blend in.  We have to stand out.  We need to rise and shine, taking our place in the body of Christ.

Wake up, people of God!  Wake up, church!  It is time to rise and shine.  It is time to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Finally, let that light shine.

Winner from the Drawing

The winner in the drawing for the NASB Ultrathin, Burgundy, Bonded Leather, Reference Bible is Lisa Ellis.  Congratulations, Lisa!  Bible Giveway 1

From time to time, I will be doing giveaways of Bibles, Bible studies, and other Christian resources so stay tuned.  Thank you for following “To Live is Christ”.  I hope to have a regular blog post later today.Bible Giveway 5

Is it What We Are For or Against?

Do not take the title of this blog post out of balance.  I understand that it is necessary to stand against evil.  I just want to make sure that I am not always standing against something but standing for something as well.  Often, Christianity is frowned upon because Christians often talk about what is wrong and name only the list of acts that are sins.

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Image via Pixabay by jclk8888.

Of course, the issue of sin is to be taken seriously and dealt with rather than swept under the rug; however, it is important to be reminded that none of us can overcome the power of sin in our own strength.  If we could do that, then, Christ would not have had to come and suffer and die for us.

You Will Know Them By Their Fruit

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In Matthew 7:16, Jesus stated that both false prophets would be recognized by their fruits.  Those who are genuine will be recognized the same way, so, it is important to know what types of fruit we should be looking for.  Galatians 5:22-23 explains what the fruit of the Spirit is.  In other words, if a person has the Holy Spirit dwelling in her, there are certain characteristics that will eventually manifest.  These are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Instead of always speaking out against hate, I should speak out for love.  When depression comes, I should speak up for joy.  I should seek out peace when strife comes instead of simply speaking against strife.  Does this make sense?

Although God deals with sin, it is important to remember that He also deals with us according to our righteousness.  In ourselves, there is no righteousness, but when we accept Christ, He is our righteousness.  Salvation is instant, but sanctification is a process.  When Christ is in me, He will begin to help me cultivate the fruit that is the evidence of the Holy Spirit being in me.

Are You Only ‘Against’ or Are You ‘For’?

With all that was just stated, I come back to my first statement:  Is it what you are for or what you are against?  Do you stand for righteousness, or do you simply stand against what you deem to be sinful?  It is important to give thought to this because if you only stand against what is sin without pointing people to the hope that is in Christ, then, you are in danger of developing self-righteousness.  That type of righteousness is no righteousness at all.

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Image Via Pixabay by skeeze.

When we speak out against the things that break God’s heart, it is also in the heart of God to point people to the solution.  The solution is always Jesus.  If we only point out sin, but fail to point out the way to righteousness, then our ministries have failed.

There are times when it is important to show righteous indignation, but there are also times when nothing but love will help.  Displaying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is what will make a difference.  People will take notice of that fruit which will bring glory to Jesus.  They will notice because it is something different from what they have seen before.

How about you?  Are you only talking about what you are against, or, are you letting others know what you stand for?