It’s a New Day

We all have those days that are completely horrible!  You know the type of days I am talking about.  You’ve made the same mistake over and over. You’ve sinned in one of those ways that you thought you had overcome.  Your co-workers seem frustrated with you.  It does not seem that your family appreciates you.  Before we get wrapped up in self-pity, let’s stop and assess these situations through the lens of God’s word.

Learn to be Content

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In Philippians 4:11-13, the Apostle Paul tells his readers that he has learned to be content in all circumstances.  He goes on to list some hardships suffered.  Trust me, Paul did not have it easy.  Not only were people angry with Paul, but many of those same people were also trying to kill Paul.  When he penned the book of Philippians, Paul was in prison.

What was the secret to Paul’s contentment?  Philippians 4:13 (MEV) gives the answer: “I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me.”  The secret should truly be obvious to those of us who know Christ.  Jesus is our answer in all things!

In Christ, we can learn to be content even when the day is a mess.  We can be content even if everyone seems against us.  Did you notice I used the word seems?  I realize this is not always the case, but, more often than not, our minds play tricks on us to cause us to think that particular situations are worse than they truly are.  Even if it is as bad as you think, you can still be content in Christ.

 

New Every Morning

His Mercies Are New Every Morning
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Whenever you have had a bad day, take the time to remember what the word says.  When you sin, go to the Lord in repentance immediately.  When you make mistakes, own them, and move on.  We all make them, even those who attempt to pretend otherwise.  We all have those days!

Remember that God’s mercies are new every morning.  We can begin again.  Every day is a new day, another day to learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Whether you work at a nine to five job, or you are a stay-at-home parent; whether you are unemployed, or working more than one job, the Lord’s mercies, compassion, and faithfulness are new every morning.  As a matter of fact, they are available throughout the day.  Simply stop and take a breath, then ask God for them.  He will not refuse!

“Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.  Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:19-23 (MEV).

 

What about you?  Do you need a fresh start?  All you need to do is go to the Lord and ask Him for it.  After all, it is a new day.

Quiet Time

quiet time
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Most Christians know what is meant by “quiet time.”  We all need that time in which we are alone and going before God.  This precious time is meant to be spiritually refreshing.  What does a “quiet time” look like?

Not a One-Size-Fits-All

As people, God created us all with different qualities and personalities.  Although many of us have much in common, we still do lots of things differently.  Why in the world would we expect our relationships with Jesus to all be exactly the same?  That expectation is completely unrealistic.

Not everyone has the exact same schedule.  Some people love to pray, read the Bible, and spend time with Jesus early in the morning because that is the time when they feel fresh.  Others do not prefer mornings and operate at a much better capacity late in the evenings.  In my humble opinion, I do not believe the time of day is what matters.  I believe it is going before the Lord giving Him our best time which looks different for everyone.

What does a person do at this time?

While it is fine to look at what others do during their times with the Lord simply as an example, it is important to be led by the Holy Spirit for yourself.  Some people spend that time just sitting quietly before God enjoying the gift of simply being with Him.  Others spend that time praying for others as well as themselves.  There are many people who use the scriptures as prayers, and there are people who do a combination of these things.

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Personally, my quiet time does not always look the same.  There are some days that I spend a few minutes in prayer concerning my day and other requests.  Next, I will spend time reading and studying the Bible.  Other times, I will simply give praise to God while listening to praise and worship music.  Then, there are times when I do all of those things as time permits.

Keep Communication Open

It is vital for a Christian to keep communication lines open with the Lord throughout the day even when the quiet time is over.  I have sat quietly before the Lord waiting for an answer I needed only to go on about my business and hear from Him when I least expected.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing, so we can still speak to God while we are going about other activities.

If we can always speak with God, why have a quiet time?  The answer is simple.  We need the time of rest in His presence.  We need a time of simply being still physically speaking so we can tune out other distractions.  This precious time gives us spiritual strength and refreshing, and that is something we cannot afford to go without.

 

What about you?  What does your quiet time with God look like?

A Weak Mind Versus the Mind of Christ

How Can I Have the Mind of Christ
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The following is a portion of my book, Overcomer, that will be published in September:

 What in the world does it mean to have a weak mind?  To be weak-minded in biblical terms can have a vast array of meanings some of which will be discussed in this chapter.  Any Christian can be capable of having a weak mind, just as we can become weak spiritually, or even physically.

Not a Lack of Intelligence

To have a weak mind is not to insult one’s natural intelligence.  To fail to allow yourself to be transformed by the renewing of the mind is a sure way to become weak-minded.  To allow any thought to go unguarded leads to a path of great destruction.  Victory or defeat begins in the mind.  Attitude, positive or negative, begins in the mind.  Adultery begins in the mind.  Coveting begins in the mind.  Do I need to go on?  I think you get the point.

James 1:8 speaks of being double minded, or wavering.  The context was speaking of asking God for wisdom then doubting that He would give it to you.  The Children of Israel wavered back and forth between doubt and belief when they were in the wilderness after having left slavery in Egypt.  It cost some of them their lives, or at best, not being able to enter the Promised Land.  What is your wavering mind costing you?

Mind-of-Christ-Pic
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My Own Wavering Mind

When I graduated from college with my Bachelors’ Degree in Education, I believed God for a job to come quickly.  Instead of enjoying the summer, I spent it worrying about working.  During the middle of the summer, I got a job at one of the schools I in which I completed my Student Teaching.  It seemed the perfect job!  It was an English-teaching job!  The only drawback was that I would have to travel forty-five minutes one way.  A few weeks after accepting this job, another teaching job came open at the school my children attended, which was only a five-minute drive. If I got the job, I would be teaching Kindergarten.  I prayed fervently about this decision, and even decided I wanted the job, but I procrastinated when I realized I needed to notify the Principal at the other school.  Why was I putting this off?  Although God was leading me to bid on the job at the school closest to my home, I did not want to forfeit the other job.  I wanted to keep my eggs in two baskets so to speak.  I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.  I wanted to have my way, yet I wanted to trust God.  I was being weak-minded, or double-minded.  I was unstable!

Despite my wavering, God worked in the situation for me to have the job closest to home.  My husband and children were happy, and at last, I was happy.  I was only ashamed that I had not trusted God more fully.  Thankfully, He is merciful!

How can one overcome a weak and wavering mind?  If you said that we need to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, you would be correct.  Romans 12:2 covers a vast array of mind issues.

You Can Overcome!

If your mind is wavering with doubt, unbelief, or you are just going back and forth on any issue, it is time to remember that God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is time to evaluate your thoughts on certain issues and ask God what His thoughts are concerning it.  He will guide you if you will wait on Him.  You might not receive the answer, immediately, but accept His peace and trust that He will lead you to the answer when the time is right.  Often God does not reveal certain things until He knows you are ready.  If you are simply doubting God Himself, confess this to Him and ask Him to help your unbelief (Mark 9:24).

Developing the Mind of Christ
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The following is an example of how you could pray when faced with a weak, wavering mind:   “Father, I know You are not the author of confusion.  The wavering I am leaning to is not of you.  I confess any unbelief to You, ask You to forgive me, and help me overcome this.  I am more than a conqueror in You.  I receive Your peace right now, and I tell my doubts to be gone in the name of Jesus!”

Once you have went to the Lord, you must replace your doubtful thinking with thoughts of faith.  You might have to stay in the scriptures for a while or listen to a praise and worship song.  You can even engage in an activity that you enjoy such as reading a good, clean book, or playing a game with your family.  There are other activities you can be involved in to keep your mind from drifting to thoughts that weaken.

Our loving Father understands that we are human, but we must deal with wavering and double-mindedness immediately and allow Him to transform our thinking.  Nothing is impossible with Him, even the strengthening of our weak minds.

What about you?  Do you go back and forth on certain issues?  Are you confused?  Are you in doubt about what God can do?  You can renew your mind and be totally transformed!

Don’t Give Up!

In Jesus name, we press on!!Have you tried and tried to get a plan to work yet to no avail?  Does it seem that the harder you work to alleviate a problem the more difficult it becomes?  Trust me, I know how this feels.  I have been through it, and it seems that I am being tested in this area at the present time.

Seek God First

Whatever your goal or expected outcome is, seek God!  Pray about it.  God cares about the smallest minute details of our lives.  If we seek Him, He will guide us as to the steps we might need to take as well as the timing of those steps.  Sometimes, we only need to back off and take a brief rest then go back to working on our goals.  To be honest, if some of our goals are not what is best for us, we have to be willing to acknowledge that before God, and we have to be willing to change direction if need be.

During the summer, I have been setting personal goals for writing.  I have made progress by the grace of God, but it seems that I am not making the progress I would like to see.  This morning, I was reminded that I have to trust God with the progress.  If I am doing my best and trusting in Him, He will do what I cannot.  Maybe that sounds elementary and cheesy to some, but it is the truth.  Whatever we are working for, acknowledging God is the best course of action.  The goal will not be achieved properly without His guidance.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

 Work At It

Once you have peace about the direction you are going in with your goals, whether it be a new job, writing, singing, becoming an artist, ministry, becoming a better person, or other pursuits, work at it.  Do not become lazy!  Stay motivated by seeking God and talking to other people who have achieved the goal you are pursuing.  That is not to say you should not have a break from time to time, but do not stop altogether.Keep moving! Don't give up! (1)

Since I have decided to become involved with freelance writing, I have been excited, but I have been disappointed, at times, because the progress is slow.  I followed the advice I gave in the previous paragraph and began speaking with people who have already achieved many goals in this area.  Hearing their struggles motivates me to keep pressing forward.  As much as I love teaching and writing, there are moments that I want to throw in the towel, but what good would I accomplish?  The Lord always speaks to me in some way to keep going. He will speak to me in a still small voice, the Bible, or through someone else.  I just have to be willing to hear His voice.

What about you?  What goals do you have?  If your goal is to become a better spouse, parent, co-worker, or a better Christian, do not give up when times become challenging.  Meeting adversity and overcoming it is what makes us grow.  Keep going!  Do not give up!

“And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up,” Galatians 6:9 ESV.

 

It’s Time to Change Your Thinking

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God,” Romans 12:2 (NKJV).

Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I began truly meditating on it when I became a part of a particular women’s Bible Study. Mind transformation is a total necessity if we are going to walk in victory concerning any area of our lives. Victory for me not only applies to my issues with overeating, but it also applies to other areas of my life.Only you can change your thinking.
Struggling with major insecurity for many years, I knew that as a teacher, I could not go on in defeat and expect to help others to victory. I began to apply the mind transformation scripture to my insecurity which, by the way, has contributed to other issues in my life.

Recognize the Lies

One of the first steps in mind transformation is recognizing lies from the enemy of our souls. We can fall for his lies and not even realize that we are wearing a cloak of deceit. For example, I believed the lie that I was not good enough to work in my church, witness to people, or have successful relationships with people. The source of much of my insecurity was wounds I had suffered from relationships with men before I met my husband, people in the church who had lied about me, and friendships that had seemed to dissolve rather quickly. What was wrong with me? Why could I not maintain relationships?

I had to recognize the lie Satan had put into my mind that I was not good enough. Of course, I am far from being the perfect person, but if I am a child of God, I am made worthy through the blood of Jesus. Recognizing this truth took time because the lie was engraved in my mind for such a long period of time. Once I recognized this lie, I could begin tearing it down through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tearing Down the Lies

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing EVERY THOUGHT (emphasis mine) into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV).

I had what I needed to tear down these lies, not in myself but through the Holy Spirit. I had to participate in my mind transformation. I say this because we often want God to just pour victory on us without our participation. He must have our cooperation in the process, or we will just as easily return to bondage.

Replacing the Lies with Truth

Now that the lies were torn down, I did not need to stop at that point. My mind was now empty and something had to replace those thoughts or the lies would return with a vengeance. Luke 11:24-26 is proof of the need to fill the empty places. Jesus spoke of an unclean spirit leaving a man and returning to find the house empty so the unclean spirit brought more with him causing the man to be worse off than before.

Mind BattleI believe this is where we often miss the mark in mind transformation. We begin to recognize the lies and tear them down, but we fail to replace the thoughts with God’s thoughts concerning the situation. 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that we have the mind of Christ so we can think his thoughts toward our situations. Philippians 4:8 describe the thoughts we should dwell upon. Let me give you an example of the process. When I felt I was unworthy of ministry and relationships, I had to recognize the lie. Many lies will have some degree of truth which makes deception come into play. Without Christ, I am not a good person or a good friend, but with Christ, I can do all things. I have made a major step in the process, but I am not finished. I must realize that although I might have been at fault in previous relationships, those people had issues of their own so I could not be blamed for all of the failure.

Now that I had recognized a bit more truth, I needed to replace the lies. When replacing lies with truth, you must have scripture that applies to your situation. Some scriptures that I used in my battle were 2 Corinthians 5:21 concerning being the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. I read Ephesians 1 and 2 aloud concerning my spiritual blessings in Christ. I read Proverbs 18:24 claiming that I was able to show myself friendly. Philippians 4:13 about being able to do all things through Christ works in many situations. Aside from these, I found scriptures on the love of God. Recognizing His love made me able to have healthy relationships and a godly ministry.

The process was not easy but had I not participated in my mind transformation journey, I would not be able to tell you about it. You have to participate and cooperate with God in your own mind transformation. He is more than willing to be your strength, but He will not force His will on you. Your willingness to work through tearing down the lies and replacing them with truth is a must.

What about you? How can you cooperate with God in your mind transformation? What lies need to be torn down? What truths need to replace these lies with truth?

 

Where Do You Find Joy?

(The following is a piece I wrote for another blog in 2014.  I have updated and revised it for this blog.)

JoyWhere a person finds joy can encompass a great deal of areas. We all have activities we enjoy, people we with which we love to have fellowship, children we adore, spouses we love, ministries we want to flourish, and dare I say: foods we love to eat. All of these activities and objects are wonderful in and of themselves, but when taken out of perspective, we will find they often rob us of our joy rather than bring us joy.

What is joy? Among all the bible dictionaries and collegiate dictionaries, joy is defined in many ways, but the most common definition I found is this: a feeling of pleasure or happiness; a calm delight. Biblical joy is the result of a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The joy of the Lord is evident in our lives even when we are facing trials. How can this be? How can we have joy in the midst of trials? The answer is simple. The Holy Spirit is living inside every believer, and according to Galatians 5:22-23, joy is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in an individual. Of course, we have periods of sadness and mourning, and no one finds joy in these periods to begin with; however, when the Lord begins the healing process, after brokenness, joy cannot help but spring forth.

Far too often, we try to find our joy from sources other than the Lord. I know I have! Looking for joy in eating what I want when I want it, my husband doing everything I want him to do, my children behaving perfectly, or, my job having no problems, causes me to lose focus rather than looking to Jesus, the source of all joy. When I find my joy in Him, life’s hardships and challenges come into proper perspective, and I no longer look to any other thing to bring joy.Joy 2

Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Wow! There is no other place to find true and lasting joy than in the presence of the Lord, and this joy is full and complete. Knowing that joy comes from His presence and not in an idol, I need to spend time in His presence, sitting at His feet, or better still, getting in His face so I can know His heart.

Take notice of  the last portion of Psalm 16:11 which says, “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” When I am spending time in His presence to find fullness of joy, I will experience pleasure. God never meant for us to avoid the enjoyment of this life He gave us. He meant for us to enjoy the food we have to eat. He meant for us to enjoy our ministries, friends, church family, and many others placed in our lives. He gave us all these people and things for enjoyment. Our joy disappears when any of these things or people become a god to us because we are no longer going to His presence for the fullness of joy only our Lord can bring. Instead, we expect people to fulfill us. We expect food to bring us fullness of joy. We tend to think that if we just had a little more food, a little more money, a little more of this or that, we would have joy and happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth! Fullness of joy comes when we are tapped into the source of joy—the presence of the Lord!

Joy 3Nehemiah 8:10 says the following: “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” We love to quote that last part which tells us the joy of the Lord is our strength, and it is true! Without the fullness of joy that comes from the Lord’s presence, we will be weak and powerless to fight our battles. However, notice the first part of that verse which says to go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks. God gave us pleasure including food. We are told to enjoy what God has given and be thankful for it. What happens is like I said before, we look to the food and drink for joy rather than getting in the presence of the Lord for fullness of joy.

It is no wonder that Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to seek the Lord first then everything else would be added to us. He knew that if we didn’t know the source of joy, nothing or no one else could bring us that joy. Jesus is awesome and like no other!Joy 4

What about you? Where do you find your joy? Do you attempt to find joy in any other avenue but the Lord? Do you need to tap into the right source for joy today?