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/
I am writing to you, my precious reader, because the Lord has called my attention to errors in some of the teachings I have set forth. He has made these errors known to me through His Word. If you have noticed that my blog posts have become less frequent, it is because I have been seeking the Lord through prayer and His word.
Often, Bible teachers have to evaluate their teachings. If they are not scriptural, they must be changed. During the past few days I have been going through previous posts. On some posts I completed edits. Others were deleted altogether. James 3:1 reminds believers that bible teachers are held to a strict judgment. I do not want judgment so I choose to make biblical changes.
The teachings to which I am referring are not salvation issues, but they could be misleading to people who are trying to mature in their walks with the Lord. I do not want to lead people into error neither deliberately nor unintentionally. I will be discussing these teachings in future posts and videos, but for now I want to discuss the sufficiency and authority of the scripture.
A Sure Word of Prophecy
While the Lord uses the gifts of other people to encourage and help us, it is the duty of each and every believer to search the scriptures for themselves. Having a solid knowledge of the Bible is essential, especially in the day and time in which we now live. Far too often, Christians want a minister or other believer to give him or her a “word”. The true need is for the word seeker to get in the Word and get a word.
God makes it clear throughout the Bible that His book is the primary way that He speaks. I am not suggesting that God does not give us wisdom and knowledge that we need on matters not discussed in scripture such as the following: What job should I take? Where should I live? Who should I marry?
Certainly, He will give wisdom, but if you are not a student of the Bible, you will find yourself confused on every turn. In 2 Peter 1:19, we are told that we have a more sure word of prophecy. Peter was speaking of the Word of God which you will see clearly if you continue reading the rest of that chapter. If you need God to speak, read your Bible. There are 66 books with loads of scriptures and true stories that will inspire you, challenge you, and correct you.
The Bible is Sufficient
Hebrews 1:1-2 speaks of various ways God spoke to His people in the Old Testament. The writer of Hebrews (maybe Paul, maybe not), makes it clear that in our time, God is speaking to us through Jesus Christ. In John 1, it is made clear that Jesus is the Word in flesh. Now, we have the written word, His words.
I make this clear so you will understand the importance of pouring over the scriptures for yourself and pouring over them prayerfully. Ask God for wisdom to rightly divide His word. You will find the Word is sufficient.
I heard a lady make a statement that made me sad. She said she knew she had the Bible, but she needed more. Wanting more than the scriptures can lead you to dangerous places, and from what I have seen, this lady has plunged headlong into New Age teachings which are opposite of the scriptures. When people say they need more than the Bible, it is a clear indicator that these same people are not reading and studying the Word on a regular basis or no such statement would escape their lips.
The Bottom Line
Please do not take my words to an extreme. The bible is clear that we need preachers and teachers as well as assembling with other believers. I am blessed greatly by the gifts of others. Just know that what we are told in the words of other people cannot exceed scripture.
Let’s pray for others and ourselves as we study the precious Word of God that we rightly divide it. Read scriptures in context and avoid making a doctrine from one single verse. Be a good Berean and study the scriptures to see if these things are so.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we are reminded of the wisdom of God’s timing. He knows when various purposes and plans must be carried out, and He knows when they must halt. There is a time to plant and time to pluck up what is planted, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
We are in an uncertain time in our nation and world. The Coronavirus pandemic has many in panic and fear which is completely understandable. However, as Christians, God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. Certainly, I am not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind, but God never told His people to cave and cower to fear.
Time to Pray
I understand that we are constantly being told to pray, but it always should be our first step in any endeavor. Prayer is a beautiful design given to us by God the Father for communication. Prayers strengthens us. Prayer changes our situations. Most of all, prayer changes us.
Not only do we and others around us need prayer, our nation’s leaders need prayer as well as various state and local authorities. As a matter of fact, the Bible instructs us to pray for them. Sadly, I see many that want to bash and say what he or she would do if in leadership, but the fact is you do not know until you are in the situation. The decisions they are making press heavily on them. You can see this in the faces of many of them. They need our intercession.
Rather than hitting up social media to gossip and rant, hit your knees and cry out to God for our nation. Cry out to God for all people! Cry out for those who are lost without God! People’s lives and souls are at stake. What we do matters.
Time to Sanctify Yourself
I am a firm believer in God’s grace and mercy. He has been so patient with me during seasons of willful sin and in my failings in general. However, the time has come for many of us to grow up in the Lord. It is vital that we open our Bibles along with our prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom to rightly divide His word.
When reading His word, you will discover areas of your life that need to change. I have discovered the same. Instead of trying to change what the Bible says or justify ourselves, let’s surrender to Christ and allow Him to change us. It is not pleasant to the flesh, but it is vital. The world needs to see a people on fire for Jesus and so in love with Him that we allow His love to radiate through us so others can see.
Time to Fast
Christians, it is time for us to push the plate back to show our true desire for God’s will in our lives and for the salvation of our lost people. I love to eat as good as anyone, but I find that fasting has turned the heart of God. It is His desire to show mercy. It is His desire to save. It is His desire to heal and deliver, but we have to allow Him to drive out that which is not godly in us so He can put more of what is Him in us.
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Read the book of Esther and Jonah. Fasting turned away God’s wrath and brought mercy and healing to Nineveh. Fasting turned God’s heart to pour out divine favor on Esther as she went before the King without being summoned, which could have led to her demise. Jesus instructed us to fast. When giving instruction concerning fasting, He said, “When you fast…” He did not say “If you fast…” How you go about that process is something your should seek the Lord about particularly if you have diabetes or some other ailment.
Time to Act
The time to do more than talk the talk has come. It is time to walk the walk. It is time to demonstrate God’s love and faithfulness to those with which we come in contact. For some, it might be to stay in to keep from spreading the pandemic. For others, it is to be on the front line bringing aid. For all of us, we can pray. We can look after the elderly. We can encourage each other and pray for our leaders.
Yesterday is gone. The time is not tomorrow or next week. The time to do God’s will is now.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, 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).
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.