Be forgiving on Thanksgiving

13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013
13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013

As my family gathers around the dinner table today with family and friends, I tend to be thankful for those friends of mine, for those people that touch my life everyday that bring happiness and joy to my life.  I am thankful for those that love me, support me and live life with me.  I feel this is important enough that we should really do it every day.  God provides so much we should be thankful for the good things and people that He puts into our lives.

Love your enemies!  Do good to them! Lend to them!  And don’t be concerned that they may not repay.  Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  -Luke 6:35-36

Jesus says we should love our enemies as well…..What???  Why would I want to do that?

It’s easy for us to love those who love us, but God calls us to love those who don’t as well.  God love and forgave each and every one of us, even though we are still sinners and don’t deserve his love.

Here’s what I’ll be trying to do:

  1. Be difficult to offend.  This thought comes from Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts, that I’ve been reading through recently.  Being a person that is difficult to offend will make my life much more pleasant.  I never know what people may say or do, but why give the control of your day to other people?  Being hurt and offended does not change the other people, it changes us!

  2. Look at family first.  Is there family that have harmed us in some way by their words or actions?  I’ve been a firm believer that family comes at the top of the list of priorities in life (right behind God).  I hate to see families that have split over some argument that often after many years, no one really remembers what the argument was (or if they do it was really pretty petty), they just remember the hurt that was given…that’s something they never forget.  I want to look at family members and bring them back together.  Life is too short to not forgive those people that should be easy to love.
  3. Look outwardly at your circle of influence.  Perhaps look at people you work with, go to school or church with, or who are in your social media circles.  I want to look at those that have offended me in the past and be forgiving of them.  I also will look at my own actions and be cautious that I don’t give anyone a reason to be offended.  Not that I should back down and be passive or not share my opinions….but I will realize that others have different opinions than mine and that’s ok.  I need to be also careful with those that I hold a position of power over in some way, as they may not even express their offense, which would cause it to fester within them.
  4. Be giving and forgiving to those on the margins of society.  This should just be an extension of my being.  It could be as simple as giving to the local food cupboard, or perhaps saying a kind word to someone in need, or helping someone who struggles to provide for their family.  There are so many ways to be giving, that this should be the easiest of all to do, but I find sometimes it’s the last we want to do.   I want to put this in the forefront of my mind moving forward so that it is not an ‘exceptional’ act of kindness, but a ‘normal’ one.

God bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day and enjoy and be thankful for all that God has given us.

Nothing is too difficult….

….for you if God is leading you to do it.

For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.  -Philippians 4:13

As I’m sitting here going through my late Sunday reading (as an aside, I must say I’ve become much more diligent in reading my Bible.  I’ve struggled with that over the years, but the last few weeks I’ve been pretty consistent and I’ve noticed a difference in me even in that short time), I came across the verse above from Philippians 4, that I bet has been misconstrued greatly over time.  It’s interesting to note that this verse does not say anything about doing anything we want through our own power, in fact it leaves no room for human effort at all.  We only can do it through Christ, who gives us strength.  Nothing is too difficult if God is leading you to do it.

I was reading through some more of Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts again and this verse is the focal point of her first power thought.  She suggests that when challenges arise, immediately say to yourself, “I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength.”  I suspect that if I keep those thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I won’t be as easily overwhelmed when difficult situations arise.

One important point to make, this verse does not mean that difficult situations won’t occur or that they will resolve quickly, but that God will give us the strength and endurance we need, when we need it.

Renewing Your Mind

Renewing Your Mind

One of the more challenging verses in the Bible I think is Romans 12:2.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Reading through Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts I came across her section talking about this verse and her comment that I want to share verbatim.

An unrenewed mind is one that is never changed after receiving Jesus Christ as Savior.  The spirit is regenerated but the mind remains the same.  This condition furnishes fertile ground for the devil to operate.  It is for this reason that Christians often have a reputation as being hypocritical.  They say they believe something but their behavior does not match their so-called beliefs.

And then we see one of the consequences of this:

Many people who need Christ in their life are hindered from accepting Him due to the poor witness of others they know who say they are Christians.

That’s some powerful stuff there.

His Thoughts are Above Our Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’m re-reading through Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer.  I’m not even out of the introduction  yet and I’m finding some powerful stuff.   On page 5 of her book, she says:

Our minds must go through a process of renewal in order to experience God’s plan for us. His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9), so in order to walk with him and experience His good plans for our lives, we must learn to think as He thinks. (Romans 12:2)

Let’s look at those scriptures for a moment.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher that your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  – Isaiah 55:8,9

We can’t hope to understand what God has planned for us.  He sees the big picture where we are just given a little slice of it and even that slice is often tainted with how we think the picture should look.   We can though, trust that that great plan that God has, is awesome.  It is powerful, it is perhaps so complex and far reaching that we can never understand.  But I believe that each and every one of us is an important cog in that wheel.  God has it all laid out and we can trust that it is good.  We are foolish to try and fit God into our mold.  We must strive to fit into his plans , because we are a part of them.

We can learn to think as he thinks.

The great promise is that God wants to transform us so that we can think the way He thinks.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.  -Romans 12:2

Joyce say’s it is impossible to change our lives unless and until we change our thoughts.  You have the ability to control your thoughts and choose what you want to think.  The enemy uses our thoughts to control us and keep us from God’s will.

How do we become transformed?

While I’m no pastor, I’m just a Christian family man trying to become transformed myself so that I more fully know God’s plan for myself, i do believe that the best way to become transformed and to think like God thinks and to protect us from those negative thoughts that the enemy puts in our heads, is to full study God’s word.  I’m guilty of not spending as much time as I should in in His word, but even 5-10 minutes a day is a good positive way to grow.  If you read perhaps just that one verse of scripture, with the prayer to fully understand what God is trying to tell me in that scripture, I believe that God will begin to reveal it to you.

“The mind is the battlefield,” as Joyce puts it, “the place where we win or lose, where we become victors or victims in life….It is the battlefield where we make decisions that lead to frustration and defeat or to strength, health, joy, peace and abundance.”

Here are some other posts in this series talking about Joyce Meyers book Power Thoughts

Power Thoughts – Winning the Battle of the Mind

Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer
Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

Back in late 2010 and early 2011, I wrote a few posts here on this blog as I was reading through a book my wife had on the shelf, Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.  I remember it being quite a life-changing book for me back then.  As in most things, life goes in cycles and I feel life is cycling back to the point where refreshing myself on this book is worthwhile.  As I was perusing through the book again this morning, I recalled how powerful the ideas in this book and the scriptures that are pointed to truly are.  And I’ve realized how much I’ve forgotten or neglected to follow.

One of my favorite quotes from this  book actually comes from the introduction of this book.

Where the mind goes, the man follows.

How true that is.  Our thoughts are often self-fulfilling.   If we think we are a failure in some aspect of our lives, we often become one.  We believe we are not good at something so perhaps we don’t try hard enough or work hard enough at something.  When you can change that attitude the energy changes and you often succeed where you may have failed otherwise.

Links to past posts

  1. We are what we think
  2. The Power of Positive Thoughts
  3. Thoughts are Powerful

Maybe I’ll post some more in this series of articles but I won’t promise anything, but I do recommend getting this book (Amazon link) and having your Bible handy as you read it through as there are plenty of Biblical references throughout.

I can say that after I read this book initially, I was winning the battle of the mind.  This book and the scripture involved helped me through some tough times….but as a lot of things, you have to keep strong and diligent in fighting that battle or old habits may sneak back into your life.  I’m finding that this is not just a book to read and forget, but one that you can reference back to over and over.

 

Thoughts are Powerful

Previous posts in series:

  1. We Are What We Think
  2. The Power of Positive Thoughts

 

Thoughts are powerful.  Reflect and you will realize how much your mind and what you’re thinking will affect your entire life.  When thoughts are dark and gloomy, you tend to feel bad.  When your thoughts are happy and go lucky, you will feel full of life and energy.  If a person thinks to themselves, I will never get a job, they are not likely to get one.  If you convince yourself that you are a failure, then you tend to make more mistakes than others.

This is the third in a series of posts on what I’ve learned in reading Joyce Meyer’s : Power Thoughts (ISBN: 9780446580366).  The topic for this post is simple, Thoughts are powerful.

Joyce gives us Romans 14:14 to focus her discussion around.

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

The keyword in this passage is “thinks”.  In the Greek, this word is given as logizomai, which means to reckon, decide, to conclude.  This was more than a passing thought, this was a conclusion.  If the person that Paul was talking about in Romans, thought something was unclean, then they concluded without a doubt that it was unclean to them.  That doesn’t mean that there was anything inherently wrong with the item, but the person concluded that it was to them.

Joyce uses this to illustrate to us the power of thoughts.  The people in Paul’s day thought that certain foods were unclean and to them it was a spiritual stumbling block.  There was nothing physically wrong with the “unclean” foods, but the conclusion that they were unclean was enough.

How does this apply to our lives today?  Let me quote Joyce on this as I think it states clearly our problem today.

We can never move beyond what we think and believe.  Many people today don’t even bother to think rationally about what the believe and sometimes end up building their entire lives on beliefs that simply are not true.  For them, whatever “they” say becomes truth – and “they” may be the news media, a celebrity, a group of friends, or others who enjoy sharing opinions, but may or may not really have any idea what is true.  When we believe lies, our minds can actually limit us and even keep us from doing what God created us to do.  But, if we will contend for the truth, embrace the truth, and build our lives upon the truth, we will succeed in every endeavor.

How true that is.  How many times do we a celebrity talking on the news on a subject they have little qualification to be an expert on, yet we consider them an expert simply because of their star power.  What Joyce is saying here is we hold responsibility to find the truth and embrace it.  We will be bombarded from all sides with competing truths, the enemy of truth is clearly identified as a liar (John 8:44).

We need to take responsibility for our thoughts.  We have the power to resist the enemy by choosing to think on things that are good and positive.  We can be assured of a better life by thinking good thoughts.  Don’t let negative thoughts be your conclusion. 

Becoming a habitual positive thinker takes practice and time, but if you let God work on you in this area, the dividends that you will reap are tremendous. 

The Power of Positive Thoughts

This is my first post, other than the introduction, in my series reviewing and discussing the book Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyers

The power of positive thoughts really is the main point of this entire book.  The power that positive thoughts releases in your life is truly incredible and can be seen even in small portions.  Even practicing a few of the concepts presented throughout this book has resulted in an amazing turnaround not only in my own attitude, but indeed in how circumstances occur around me.  Positive thoughts breeds positive results.

Joyce gives us five rules to make an attitude adjustment that allows us to think positive thoughts and in fact make it habit forming.

  1. Maintain the right attitude when the going gets rough.  This is very difficult for me and I imagine it so with others as well.  You have to make a conscious effort to maintain positive attitudes throughout your trials and tribulations.  The trick I found is to begin positive at the onset.  As soon as a negative pops into your head, stop them.  Stop them right in their tracks.  Determine right from the start that you will not agree with the negative thoughts and that you will not listen to them anymore.  Stand strong with your positive thoughts in all circumstances.  It’s not difficult to recognize that negative thoughts have entered your mind, but it is difficult to keep them from taking over your thought process.
  2. Realize the rough times won’t last forever.  Again this is a difficult one to work through.  When you are in your deepest, darkest seasons in life, it’s tough to remember that all seasons pass.  Winter becomes spring, spring becomes summer.  God uses trials to produce good results in our lives.  He always wants to bless us.  Remember as you go through your tough times that this probably isn’t your first challenge in life.  You survived the last one, probably learned some valuable lessons and you will survive this one too.
  3. Don’t make major decisions during a storm.  This can be tough to do because often the storms in life bring life changing decisions that need to be made.  But try to stay as still as possible.  Our thoughts often run wild in the midst of chaos, but we need to be still and know that He is God.  We need to trust God that He will do what we cannot.
  4. Stay in touch with the “control tower”.  The analogy that Joyce uses here is the air traffic control tower.  The air traffic controllers are the only people who can see the whole picture of what is going on in the sky and who have the knowledge to tell planes where to go and how to fly.  They see the storms and can tell you how to fly around them or take alternate routes.  Just as airplane pilots maintain contact with the air traffic controllers, we must stay in touch with God.  He sees the big picture and can help direct our lives around and through the storms of life.
  5. Try to keep things in perspective.  We tend to look at our situation as the worse possible situation we could be in.  We tend to view minor crisis as major events (and in fact often do the opposite as well).  It helps to keep a proper perspective.  Try to make a habit of looking at the whole of life instead of centering on the one problem we are dwelling on at the moment.  Try to remember all the good that has come in your life and thinking about the good that will come.  Doing this makes problems seem so much smaller.

A positive attitude enables you to make the best of every situation and keeps circumstances from having power of your life.