Archives For spiritual growth

The Way We Think

July 12, 2018
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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When I was a boy, I often lived with negative, pessimistic and narcissistic thoughts. I was quick to assume the worst, be anxious before asking questions and consider the negative before the positive.

I didn’t truly start dealing with all of those thoughts and feelings until recently, or as recently as age 28 (I’m 33 now at the writing of this blog post).

After a long talk with my wife about my emotions and my mindset, she recommended a book that addressed the fact that our mind is a battlefield, a spiritual war zone where we have to be on guard with the thoughts we think and be cautious with what we feed ourselves.

“Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer’s is pretty interesting. I don’t usually read her work but for the most part the writing and the Biblical points she made about the mindset we should have as followers of Christ is poignant.

Normally, I make sure to study for myself what the Word of God says after reading material like that. It is a habit that my wife and I have cultivated along the way.

After studying and reading God’s Word, the Lord began to show me that a lot of my thinking was negative and often defaulted that way because of not only past experiences, but, also because of some areas in my life where I lacked faith. Also, it was the result of what I was and was not setting my mind on:

Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

When I didn’t think and meditate on God’s Word, my anxiety and frustration would increase. I would become depressed. And it certainly didn’t help if I didn’t eat well or get enough sleep.

Psalm 1:2

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

The study on the mind over the past few weeks with my wife and I has gotten so deep, that we’re learning to help each other catch one another when we are thinking negatively, or doubting.

“Hold on, let’s see what God is going to say or do about this,” I would say.

“Can’t limit my God,” my wife, Rachel, would say. “We don’t know what all the Lord has for us!”

It’s been several weeks and I can’t believe that I got so used to having a mindset and a thought life that was not great.

As I learn to trust the Lord with my mind, I’m more able to trust the Lord with everything else.

Romans 8:5-6

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Instead of focusing so much on things of the world and concerns I have in life or on myself and “my abilities,” I am learning to trust the Lord and have Faith in Him, saying YES I believe that God can and will meet our needs. He has before and still is.

As I draw closer to Jesus through the reading of the Word of God and through prayer, I’m learning not only how to keep my mind on Him and on the Lord and His will for my life, but also about where those negative thoughts came from — thereby, receiving healing from the Lord in them. 

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You Were Made For This

August 19, 2016

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On Sunday, August 14th, I preached on the topic “You Were Made For This,” using the text from 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

The 3 points that came to mind in the movement of this text were the following:

You Were Chosen

You Were Set Apart

You Were Called Out

For those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him into our life and His gift of salvation, we no longer walk in disobedience and sin, but righteousness and life and holiness. This is huge for us because we have a “living hope” in Christ that reminds us that we are “chosen.”

As believers, we are a “royal priesthood,” which means we can go before God through Christ. We also have the opportunity to serve the Lord and serve other people in our lives through our talents and gifts all while being empowered by Christ.

We are a “holy nation,” which means that we are to embody the characteristics of believers in God and Christ. We are to operate as the chosen, holy people of God, set apart to do His will both in our lives individually and in the world.

We do this because He called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, whereas, we lived in darkness but through the shed blood of Jesus, we have become God’s possessions, whom he called out.

After writing the notes to my sermon, the Lord encouraged me to really think about my own story as it relates to the scripture. I shared with the congregation what it felt like to be outcasted, ignored and left behind.

I was often bullied and teased in the classroom, on the school bus and anywhere else that kids existed. I was also in Special Ed, which often made me the first one to take a test and the last one to walk out. Because I was different from majority of my classmates, I was often teased and picked on for what kids called “talking white” (speaking proper English) and for the way I carried myself. Being a precocious kid made me a target.

During the sermon, it got personal, as I shared my own deep hatred for others in my community, but how Jesus healed (and continues to heal) my wounds of the past and delivered me from that darkness. Also, the Lord forgave me, because after all, His own disregarded Him as well, and I couldn’t claim to love God but hate others.

Everything I went through…everything you are going through right now…you were made for this! The times we are living in…this period that you exist…you were made for this moment!

You were chosen, you were set apart and you were called out for this appointed period of time. That is not a coincidence! It’s an assignment!

And you were made for it!