Change your thinking

2017-10-12
Philippians 4:8 NLT

In order to change your life, you must first change your thinking. And that’s not easy when you’ve spent your life thinking a certain way. Minister and columnist Dr. Frank Crane said, “Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts.” King Solomon put it this way: “As [a man] thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7 NAS). To change your thinking, you must do it – one thought at a time. That calls for discipline and determination. But it’s worth it. If you wanted to compete in a marathon you wouldn’t go on an all-candy diet, would you? The fuel you put into something determines its performance. Yet we disregard this basic piece of wisdom: What you feed everything else is nothing compared to what you feed your mind! Here’s a truth that will transform you: Think excellent thoughts! What enters your mind repeatedly, occupies it, shapes it, controls it, and in the end expresses itself in what you do and who you become. Your mind will absorb and reflect whatever it’s exposed to. The events you attend, the relationships you build, the materials you read or don’t read, the music you listen to, the media images you’re exposed to, the conversations you engage in, and the thoughts you entertain all shape your mind, and eventually your character and your destiny. So what should you do? Start each day by praying: “Lord, I want the kind of mind Your Word describes. One that’s filled with excellent, admirable, honorable, praiseworthy thoughts” (See Philippians 4:8). Can you imagine what your life would be like if you constantly prayed that way and programmed your thinking accordingly?

Soul food: Exo 22-24; John 2:12-25; Ps 89:15-37; Prov 26:20-22

Conflict

2017-07-12
James 3:16 NIV

Paul wrote: ‘Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand’ (Philippians 2:2-4 MSG). Conflict can cause problems in our relationships. When we start to think higher of ourselves than we should, we can end up in relationships that are full of comparing, competing, and condemning. So when disorder starts to appear, we need to counteract what’s causing it with love, humility and selflessness. The Bible says: ‘Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many’ (Hebrews 12:15 NLT). Even though it can be really hard, we need to be trying to live in harmony with others. When God prompts us to ‘turn the other cheek’, or be the first to apologise or put someone else’s needs above our own, He’ll give us the grace and wisdom we need to be able to do it. ‘The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and…good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness’ (James 3:17-18 NLT). While some conflict can be constructive, conflict that is rooted in selfishness and jealousy needs to be avoided. Instead, we need to be peacemakers.

2 Sam 3:22-7:17; Mat 25:14-30; Ps 118:1-9; Prov 18:4-6

Avoid strife


James 3:16 NLT

The apostle Paul writes: “Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:2-4 TM). Strife wreaks havoc in relationships. It often stems from an inflated ego and leads to comparing, competing, and condemning. James points that out: “Where…strife is, there is…every evil work.” So be a strife-spotter! The moment it rears its ugly head – uproot it! “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:15 NLT). If you want to walk in God’s blessing today, try to live in harmony with others. Is that always easy? No, but the sooner you learn to do it, the better things will go for you. When God prompts you to “turn the other cheek,” or “take the short end of the stick,” draw on His grace and do it. Pray: “Lord, give me Your wisdom in this situation.” He will. “The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18 NLT). Bottom line: If you want God’s blessing on your life – avoid strife.

Soul food: 2 Sam 3:22-7:17; Mat 25:14-30; Ps 118:1-9; Prov 18:4-6

Know your calling (1)

2017-06-20
Exodus 4:2 NIV

When God called Moses, one of the first questions He asked him was: “What is that in your hand?” Moses was holding his shepherd’s staff – the one he used each day to lead and protect his sheep. But God had a different plan for it – a greater one! He used it to part the Red Sea and lead Israel into the Promised Land. When God asks you, “What is that in your hand?” He wants you to think about your talents, experiences, relationships, education, resources, your mind and your temperament. Dr. Martin Seligman talks about our “signature strengths.” They fall into six categories: (1) Wisdom and knowledge. These include things like curiosity, love of learning, sound judgment, and social intelligence. (2) Courage. This includes perseverance and integrity. (3) Humanity. The capacity for kindness, and the ability to express mercy. (4) Justice. The ability to bring about fairness and leadership. (5) Temperance. Qualities like self-control, prudence, and humility. (6) Transcendence. An appreciation for beauty, the expression of gratitude, the ability to hope, and the capacity for joy. We all have the capacity for each of these strengths, but the ones that resonate most deeply within you are your “signature strengths.” Once you identify these you begin to understand your calling. But be careful; the Enemy wants to convince you that God can’t use you because of your weaknesses, when in fact the opposite is true. Who can speak to those who are grieving better than those who’ve suffered loss? Chuck Colson was the chief White House lawyer until Watergate. But only when he became a convict was he equipped to begin his ministry, Prison Fellowship. So, know your calling.

Soul food: 2 Cor 1-4; Mat 19:15-30; Ps 144:1-8; Prov 16:1-3

Know your calling (1)


Exodus 4:2 NIV

When God called Moses, one of the first questions He asked him was: ‘What is that in your hand?’ Moses was holding his shepherd’s staff – the one he used each day to lead and protect his sheep. But God had a different plan for it – a greater plan He used it to part the Red Sea and lead Israel into the Promised Land. When God asks us, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He wants us to think about our talents, experiences, relationships, education, resources, our mind and our temperament. Psychologist Dr Martin Seligman talks about our ‘signature strengths’. They fall into six categories: 1) Wisdom and knowledge. These include things like curiosity, love of learning, sound judgement, and social intelligence. 2) Courage. This includes perseverance and integrity. 3) Humanity. The capacity for kindness, and the ability to express mercy. 4) Justice. The ability to bring about fairness and leadership. 5) Temperance. Qualities like self-control, prudence, and humility. 6) Transcendence. An appreciation for beauty, the expression of gratitude, the ability to hope, and the capacity for joy. We all have the capacity for each of these strengths, but the ones that resonate most deeply within us are our ‘signature strengths’. Once we identify these, we begin to understand our calling. But we need to be careful; the enemy wants to convince us that God can’t use us because of our weaknesses, when in fact the opposite is true. The things we’ve struggled with and the things that have happened to us, put us in the perfect position to help others who are going through similar things. God uses our strengths and our weaknesses to advance His kingdom and to bring Him glory.

2 Cor 1-4; Mat 19:15-30; Ps 144:1-8; Prov 16:1-3