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.

 

Erratic Emotions

Emotions are a natural part of our human makeup.  People, particularly women, can experience a variety of emotions in one day.  From elation to depression, our emotions can take us on a wild roller coaster ride through life if we do not find ways to manage them.

Types of Emotions

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Although human beings can experience a wide variety of feelings, some of the most basic types of emotions are happiness, sadness, pride, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, excitement, shame, and embarrassment.  The Bible even speaks of people’s various feelings.  Scripture never promotes suppressing emotions and refusing to deal with them, but we must learn to control them with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is seen as a positive emotion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being happy.  The problem comes when I expect other people to do for me what only God can do.  What I am about to state is certainly not popular, but the Lord never promised that we would always be happy.  He did, however, promise that we could have joy.

What is the difference between joy and happiness?  Although the two words are used interchangeably, happiness often depends upon circumstances while joy goes much deeper.  The joy we experience from God is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  In other words, joy is the result of having the Holy Spirit (given to us at salvation).  Happiness can only take me so far, but joy gets me through all circumstances, good or bad.

Fear and anger are considered to be negative emotions.  A healthy fear, such as being afraid to walk out in front of a moving vehicle, is not negative.  It is needful, but a terrifying fear, such as always fearing the future, is not of God.  In fact, His word teaches us to overcome such fears (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18).  Anger is not always negative. There are times when we need to have anger in order to act; however, anger that is not dealt with properly is dangerous and leads to other sins.  Anger is another emotion that the Bible teaches us to control (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26-27, and Proverbs 29:11)

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Emotions Out of Control

I must admit that I have days when I am easily angered, or, my feelings are hurt very easily.  Sometimes, there can be physical explanations such as lack of sleep or hormonal imbalance.  Other times, out-of-control emotions can be a symptom of something that is lacking spiritually.

Earlier, I stated that people often expect others in their lives to make them happy.  I have made the mistake of placing responsibility for my emotional well-being in the hands of my husband, children, friends, or family.  I am certainly not saying that the people in my life do not want me to be happy, but I am saying that it is not their responsibility to manage my emotions.  The responsibility is mine, and the only way I can assume it is to go to God for emotional healing when my feelings seem to be wreaking havoc.

Once you let others off the hook for your emotional stability, and you give this to the Lord, you will begin to see more balanced emotions displayed.  The things that used to irritate you or hurt your feelings will not have as much power over you.

Godly Response

When negative emotions arise, as they often do, you should not suppress them; however, you should not give full vent to them either.  First, go to the Lord in prayer about them.  He is neither surprised nor perplexed by your emotions. Next, find a trusted friend with which to speak.  Ask other believers for prayer.

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Most of all, you need to spend time with God on a daily basis, both in prayer and in His word.  I realize I sound bossy, but, trust me, I have had loads of experience in the emotional realm.  Unfortunately, I have given full vent to my emotions which have never brought about good results.  Thankfully, there are also times I take them to God and ask for His intervention.  The latter choice is always best.

As I mentioned earlier, happiness is a wonderful emotion, but if I believe I must always be on an emotional high, I will eventually bottom out to depression.  Emotions must be stabilized and balanced so as to avoid either extreme on the pendulum swing.  I am not suggesting that managing emotions is an easy feat.  I know better, but I also know that nothing is impossible with God.  He gives us grace for all areas of our lives, including our feelings.

Occupy

In Luke 19, Jesus told a parable that served as an illustration of His second coming.  Verse 13 leaves a firm command that says “occupy until I come.”  The parable was a story of a man who left to go on a trip, leaving his servants in charge.  They were to take care of his personal money matters until he returned.  One servant failed to do what had been asked of him.  The results were anything but positive.

The Second Coming

Occupy until I come, Luke 19_13As Christians, we hear often about being prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Although it is a soon coming reality, we miss an important part of what Jesus was saying in the parable.  He will return, but he wants us to occupy until he comes.  The word occupy in this particular text comes from a word that is speaking of an action similar to a military occupation.  In other words, we are not expected to sit idly by while looking for the Lord’s return.  We have work to do, action to take.

While we are waiting, we have life.  The life we have is by the grace of God, so, we should be living that life in a manner pleasing to Him.  Not only should we do our best in all our undertakings, but we should also point people to Jesus Christ.  Our job is not to be idle or careless, but we should be living lives obedient to the Holy Spirit, then, when He returns, we will not be caught by surprise.

What Should You Do?

The theme of my blog comes from Philippians 1:21 which states that to live is Christ and to die is gain.  When God calls us home, it will be gain.  In the meantime, to live is Christ.  Living my life is pleasing to Christ.  Even when it is mundane and appears to be of no significance, it pleases Christ for me to live to glorify Him.

When you demonstrate His love to others through acts of charity or mercy, it brings glory to Him.  Think about it.  You have at least one opportunity on a daily basis to demonstrate forgiveness.  There are opportunities on a daily basis to bring glory to Christ through the way you live.  Behold, I come quickly, Rev. 22_12

The phrase “to live is Christ” does not indicate a life that is perfect, nor does it indicate a perfect person.  You and I will make mistakes.  When we do, we should repent, then move on.  When those who do not know Christ see us repent of wrong doing and move on, it will speak volumes about the love of Christ.

While we are waiting on Christ to return, we do not have time to get into disputes over various end-time beliefs.  Trust me, I have my own views concerning how it will all take place.  We should spend our time spreading the good news of salvation.  We should live to make a small difference in the life of another person.  It is important that we occupy because Jesus might return during your lifetime or mine, but if He does not physically return, the time will come when He calls us home.  Either way, we need to occupy while we are here.

Upcoming Bible Class

On December 31, 2018, I will be leading a Bible class on a Facebook group.  The topic is “Emotional Eating”, and, along with the Bible, Barb Raveling’s study Freedom from Emotional Eating will be the resource.

If you are interested in taking this course, please click here and request to join the group.

You will need to purchase Barb’s study, Freedom From Emotional Eating, available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback format.  Either choice is inexpensive.  Click here to purchase the study.

 

Keep Your Confidence

Having confidence in your identity in Christ can be challenging in our culture.  Society often discourages people from seeking to live a life that is godly.  Society loves to encourage us to be moral, but the morality is set by the standards of people who do not know Christ.  It can make a difference.  Knowing who you are in Christ and maintaining your confidence of who Jesus is to you will be a key to living a victorious Christian life.

Do Not Throw It Away

Faith 2Depending on the Bible translation you are reading, Hebrews 10:35 states that we are not to cast away, or throw away, our confidence.  The same verse goes on to say that our confidence has great reward.  Knowing who we are in Christ and knowing that He is for us will keep us from falling when trying times come.

If you continue reading, you will find that the writer of Hebrews encourages the readers to keep the faith and encourages the development of patience.  The believers to whom the book of Hebrews is addressed had faced a great deal of persecution.  Their homes, property, and personal belongings had been confiscated by the government because they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many of them had been imprisoned.  Others had been martyred for the cause of Christ.  The writer of Hebrews commended these people because they had been through a great deal of persecution and remained strong and steadfast, but another trial of sorts had come upon them when the letter of Hebrews was written.

The Scriptures are not specific as to the trial these people were facing at that time, but the writer was encouraging them to keep their confidence.  They were encouraged to remember that God would reward them for their faithfulness.  They were reminded that the just must live by faith.

The Just Shall Live by Faith

Knowing who we are in Christ and keeping our confidence will require walking by faith.  God is pleased with our faith in Him.  He can and will do powerful works through us to bring glory to Himself if we will remain yielded to Him.

As you are reading this post, you might be discouraged.  You might be ready to throw in the towel, so to speak.  I am not necessarily talking about backsliding.  I am talking about giving up on your work for the Lord.faith 1

I am encouraging you to remain confident.  Be confident in Jesus!  Be confident in what He is doing in you.  He will continue the work he began in you when you first believed on Him.  Be confident in who you are in Him but aware of who you are without Him.  Living by faith requires more boldness than living a normal life, but you were not called to be normal.  You were called to stand out.  You were not called to throw away your confidence.  You were called to walk by faith and be confident in Christ.

Be Encouraged

Whatever you are facing, know that your faith pleases God.  Even when your faith is weak, keep pressing on, confessing it to the Lord.  He has ways of strengthening your faith.  He will not forsake you.  Do not give up because the Lord will bring you out victorious!  “The Lord is a warrior.  The Lord is His name (Exodus 15:3).”

Do not throw away your confidence.  There is much that would be thrown away with it if you did.  Keep going on this way because there is no other way that brings light and victory.

 

 

 

Just Ask

Are you unsure of the direction you need to take in a certain area of your life?  Do you need to know the best way to deal with a difficult person or situation?  There are a great number of situations in which we find ourselves that require divine wisdom from God.  The solutions to our problems are not always obvious.  Often, they require that we hear from the Holy Spirit.

If You Lack Wisdom

James 1:4 states that if anyone lacks wisdom, all that needs to be done is ask God.  There is a condition.  We must ask in faith without wavering.  In a previous post, I discussed wavering.  We all waver in faith from time to time.  Read that post if you need encouragement and help for a wavering mind.  Once you have your mind set, ask God.  He will not withhold what you need.  As a matter of fact, Psalm 84:11 declares that the Lord withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.

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Wisdom is a good thing, and it is a necessity to walk successfully in this life.  God will not withhold wisdom from you.  As for the part about walking uprightly, no one is perfect, but if you are placing your trust in Christ and walking daily with Him, then you are walking uprightly.  You will not be perfect, but you will not be living in a state of sin.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

After you have asked for wisdom, you must wait. Sometimes the answer comes quickly.  Most of the time, it comes rather slowly.

In my own personal experience, I have found that when I am waiting for God to show me what direction I need to take, or what I need to do about a given situation, the answer often comes when I am not even thinking about what I am needing.  For example, I have spent time praying about wisdom and for God to show me clear direction.  I have gone about my business to have the answer come to me when I was cleaning house or working on another task.

If you are waiting for God to show you direction in your life, do not give up.  He will guide you. Often, when you do not know what should be done, it means you should do nothing until you hear from God.  Now, I understand that some situations need an immediate answer.  I believe God will bring the answer as needed.  It is important that you seek Him everyday, and ask Him to prepare you for anything unexpected.  Then, when a need arises, God will show you the answer.

How God Speaks

Just Ask Blog 2When I mention that God speaks to me, I do not mean that I hear Him in an audible voice.  There are several ways I hear from God.  He speaks through His word.  That is why we need to read and study the Bible on a regular basis.  Another way He speaks is a knowing that you will have in your spirit (that is the only way I know to describe it).  He will speak through other people.  When He speaks through someone else, it is usually a confirmation of what you already know.  This is not always the case, but your spirit will bear witness if a word from someone else is from God.

In my own life, I have been seeking God for an answer to my own health issues.  He has been speaking to me for a while, but I was certain that I was not hearing from Him.  Finally, I got it.  The very answer I had been refusing was the one He had for me.  Suffice it to say, I have great joy and peace now that I have surrendered that to him.  (I will share more about this in the future.)

What about you?  Is your situation far from needing a cut and dry answer?  Our God has the answers that go beyond what is obvious.  Keep asking Him!  He will give clear direction.

Being Thankful

There are numerous verses in the Bible about being thankful.  I am not certain of the number of times that we are told to be thankful, but I do know the thankfulness concept appears throughout the entire Bible.  It is easy for me to get so wrapped up in stressful situations and grief that I forget to look at the numerous blessings God has given me.

Thankful for Jesus

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I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ.  This might sound generic, but I must be grateful for that relationship.  Without Him, I am unable to be wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher.  Without Jesus, nothing else works.  Through Him, I have hope beyond this life.  Faith in Jesus brings not only eternal life, but power to live this life through all circumstances—the everyday, the mundane, the challenging, the hurtful, the joyful, and heartwarming.

Thankful for Relationships

Most of us have someone in our lives that encourages us and to whom we can be transparent.  No matter who that person is for you, be thankful.  Where would be without that relationship?  My husband and my children are in my household with me, and it does not take much for me to take them for granted and simply focus on what is going wrong, what is not perfect.  That is when I need to step back and put life into perspective.   The people around me are some of my greatest blessings.

Other relationships that we have are meaningful as well.  We need friends, acquaintances, coworkers, family, and church family.  These people contribute many needful things to my life. Without them I would not be where I am today, so, it is important to stop for a moment and thank God for the people in your life.

Thankful for the Little Things

There are many cases in which people are thankful for what is obvious, but we forget to be thankful for the smaller things in life that we take for granted.  For example, I forget to be thankful for the luxury of showering in hot water.  Many people do not have the option.  Sometimes it takes plumbing and water issues that must be repaired for me to remember not to take those small things for granted.

The ability to move around and remain busy is a blessing.  It might not seem so at the time, but when I am sick and unable to get out and about, I am reminded of the blessing of health.  Although I might have physical sickness from time to time, I do not have it as difficult as I often think.  Sometimes God is using sickness or other tests to remind me that I need to be thankful for my health.

Thankful for Adverse Circumstances

Yes, you read that heading correctly.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to be thankful in all circumstances.  That includes the difficult ones. I can not say that I love adverse circumstances, and I would rather not go through them; however, they are what make me better. When I face the challenges of life, I find that I am a better person.  The trying and testing of our faith brings patience and purifies us.

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I am not saying that we are to love being stuck in a difficult time in our lives, but we can ask God to help us learn something from it.  We can know that God is working for our God, and we can be thankful for His mighty hand that is at work in our situations.

 

What about you?  For what can you be thankful?  Do you have adverse circumstances? Know that God is working in your trials, and be thankful that you have Him to intervene for you.