Changing our lives, one step at a time…

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Psalm 108:12 – “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.” 
Where do we go first when trouble hits?  Do we rush to secure help from family or friends? Or do we take our problems and go directly to the Lord to ask Him for the help we need?

Psalm 109:4 – “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”

When someone betrays us, or turns against us, God instructs us not to seek revenge, but to seek His face in prayer.  He knows how to best deal with any given situation, and we need to hear from Him.

Only God has all the answers. He knows our DNA, our likes, dislikes, our very thoughts and knows our hearts.  He created our soul, He is our Father.  He is our Creator, and through Him all things are possible. He is our bridge that suspends us from the turbulent waters, and He is the shield from the storm.

The most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament is 
Psalm 110:1The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Lord Jesus Christ used it in Matthew 22:41-46.  It held significance then, as it does now.  His word never grows old or outdated like a milk container, nor expires with the passing of time.  It’s constant and stands today as it did then, and always shall.  His Word is filled with promises, guidance and it’s His love letter to us. His promises are the reward for His faithful followers.

For those who are lacking this type of relationship with God, my advice is, get to know His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Open His book and become acquainted with our LORD; you’ll never be the same …Now, the only question is, “what are you waiting for?”

BOD



“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.” Romans 12:2a (NLT)

My thoughts were running rampant, and I knew it.
The room was pitch black except for a trickle of moonlight peeking through the window blinds. It was the middle of the night, but my mind apparently thought it was the middle of the day.

The more I thought about my problems, the bigger they seemed to get.
New worries began to entangle themselves with old worries; both of which I was sure would devour me.
I’ve tossed and turned too many nights, stressing over difficult situations or problems, feeding negative thoughts until they grew bigger than I could handle. Maybe you can relate?

Today’s key verse is a popular one, but what many of us don’t consider is that God is not only telling us to transform our minds, but He’s also assuring us it is possible. In fact, many scientific studies have proven the way we habitually think forms physiological patterns, or paths, in our brains. So, when we change the way we think, we also change the physiological makeup of our brains. Amazing! Science has finally caught up with Scripture!
If we allow our minds to be shaped by negative thoughts, we are headed straight toward a life lacking peace, joy and hope. But, when we humbly admit our need for change and invite Christ to renew our minds — one thought at a time — we are blessed with the ability to enjoy life, despite its challenges.

Although it might seem difficult at first, it is possible to change the way we think if we commit to three easy steps:

  1. Recognize negative thoughts.

Each time a negative thought enters your mind, make note of how you’re feeling. Ask yourself things like: 
Does this thought help me in any way? Does it make me happy, or does it steal my peace? Is this a problem God can’t handle, or am I assuming it’s too big for Him? (Trick question: Nothing is too big for God!) Is it even true according to God’s Word? Asking God to make us aware of our negative thoughts is the first step to learning to control them.

  1. Reject negative thoughts.

Once you learn to be aware of your negative thoughts, you can begin to combat them and fight back. Each time you notice a negative thought, aim to pause and reject it. Remind yourself not to focus on the negativity, and instead, try to focus on something positive. If you’ve decided it’s not really true, don’t allow yourself to entertain it anymore. If that negative thought is stealing your peace, refuse to give it power over your joy, peace or happiness, much less your life. Take control of what you’re thinking, rather than letting your thoughts run rampant. Then, turn that negative thought around.

3. Replace negative thoughts.

If something bad happens to us, we don’t have to believe we have a bad life. When we experience something positive in the morning but have to deal with something negative in the afternoon, we have the choice to decide whether we’ve had a good or bad day overall. If someone hurts our feelings, we can forgive and refuse to let it fester in our thoughts and steal our confidence. If someone insults us, we can focus on our positive attributes and remember what God’s Word says about us is most important.
Each time we notice our minds are wandering to a place where discouragement, sadness, fear, anger or negativity reside, we have the authority and the power to choose to reject those negative thoughts and shift them to be more positive.
Friend, I’m convinced our lives would take a turn for the better if we were intentional to change the way we think.

Lord, how I long to break free from negative thinking and embrace peace and joy and optimism. I invite You to begin transforming my thought patterns and help me recognize, reject and replace thoughts that are not pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:23, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (NLT)

Many runners experience what is called a “second wind” or sometimes a “runner’s high.” Just when their bodies are feeling the most fatigued, a renewed energy comes over them. This happens because the body stops focusing on expelling excess carbon dioxide and begins taking in more oxygen. The result is a fresh confidence that runners will be able to finish the race, when just moments before they might have been ready to call it quits.

There are a couple of problems with the runner’s high, however. First, it’s unpredictable for most runners. It may come after 10-15 minutes of running, after five miles, or perhaps not at all. Also, the second wind is not renewable endlessly. Sooner or later the runners’ strength gives out completely and they are forced to stop running.

The Bible compares the Christian life to running a race. It began with our rebirth in baptism and it ends with our victory celebration with the Lord in heaven. But the race is long. For most of us it is closer to a marathon than a sprint. And there are so many unexpected twists and turns along the way. All the while the devil is a stitch in our side, trying to convince us to give up, to give in to temptation or fear or doubt. Left to our human strength alone, the distance and the obstacles would be too much for even the greatest of us and we would never reach our heavenly goal.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” Trusting our loving God, we are strengthened with a “second wind.” Through his Word and through the Sacraments, God gives us his Holy Spirit and assures us that our sins are forgiven. We can turn our focus away from earning God’s love and instead breathe in the good news that Christ Jesus our Savior has gone ahead of us to prepare rooms for us in heaven. Renewed by the Spirit we can keep running towards our waiting Savior’s arms and not grow weary. We can walk even through the valley of the shadow of death and not be faint.

Dear heavenly Father, I am weary and weak, worn out by the troubles of this world. But my hope is in your Son Jesus who became weak so that in him I might find strength. Amen.

NFM

In this day of instant news, we regularly see images of calamity in our world. And on a personal level, we experience seasons of hardship as well. The same is true of friends and family who encounter job layoffs, marital troubles, difficulties with children, and other challenges.

As Christians, we have a heavenly Father who has promised to be with us in our struggles. We can rely on Him—He knows what will happen before we do; nothing is hidden from His sight. He sees in the darkness of troubled times as clearly as He does in the daylight. Through His Spirit, He offers us the comfort, strength, and wisdom to persevere.

The story of Joseph illustrates this truth. After being rejected and sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused by his master’s wife and imprisoned. But in the midst of those terrible times, the young Hebrew man experienced God’s presence and favor.
I doubt Joseph comprehended the Lord’s intentions during his slavery and imprisonment. But later on, as second-in-command to Pharaoh, he understood God’s purpose in allowing those difficult years. In the end, Joseph testified to what he knew to be true. His brothers had meant to harm him, but God used all the hardship to accomplish His good plan.

When troubles hit, remember what is true and take heart. The indwelling Holy Spirit has the resources to provide what we need, equip us for the journey, and sustain us with His presence throughout the dark days. Nothing can stop the purposes of our Lord from being carried out.