Discipline Your Mind

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.
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Watch your thoughts because they can turn from thoughts to words you speak.  The words you speak can quickly turn into actions that before you now it have become habits and soon you have become what was at one time just a thought.

When thoughts of yesterday’s failures begin to play in your mind, change the channel.  When I was a child, my grandmother would always say get rid of stinking thinking.  I think many of us are watching reruns of our past over and over again.

Some are focused on the “What if’s” of the future.  Focused so much, that we can’t focus on anything else.  With worry and anxiety we replay over and over in our mind “what could happen.”  That scenario also plays over and over, occasionally having a different bad outcome.

Some people have become so familiar with the replay of the past or future failures that each day you pull out the folding chair, pop yourself some pop corn and settle in for the full feature film called “What if, Maybe and If Only”

Paul said putting off what is behind to focus on what’s ahead.  He said we should keep our thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.

When your movie of the past or future failures begin to play and they create fear, anxiety or worry you need to turn it off and remind yourself of a few things:

Your future is greater than your past.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself.

Stop mourning over what was lost.

God always has another plan. Start expecting Gods goodness. He had a plan for you before you were even born.

If God takes care of the birds in the air, how much more will He take care of you?

God forgives all your sins and throws them far, far away, and so should you.

Your past does not define your future.  You do.

You are created in God’s image.  How awesome is that?!?!

Turn the movie off and get a little sunshine today.  Better yet, get rid of the movie that is holding you back, read and meditate on God’s word and spend some time chatting with God instead.  You will be more inspired, motivated and stress free if you do.

 

Financial Infidelity

Enjoy today’s blog by guest writer, Kelly Bivins, CPA and Associate Pastors Wife of The Body Church, A Church For Anybody.

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“Two in Five Americans Confess to Financial Infidelity against Their Partner” according to the national endowment for financial education. Financial infidelity is when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Example: one spouse may hide a debt from the other spouse or one spouse makes large purchases without the input of the other.

Jesus said the following in relation to an inheritance: Luke 12:13-15- Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” I believe we can also apply this to married couples with combined money. What would cause one spouse to lie to the other about money? Does it boil down to wanting an abundance of possessions?

Money issues can lead to stress and divorce. Spouses should be willing to share with each other and discuss money openly. Genesis 2:24 – For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become of flesh. Married people are life partners. Money does not belong to her or to him. The money belongs to them together.

Tips for managing money in marriage:

  • Pray together for God’s guidance in handling finances
  • Learn what God’s word says about handling finances
  • Enroll in a personal finance class
  • Compile a budget together
  • Think of our spouse first before spending

Forgotten

When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. Psalm 27:10

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Forgetfulness hurts. We’ve all been forgotten and know the pain of expecting someone to remember — to show up, call, write, ask, make time — and coming up empty and alone.

One of the common things seniors deal with is forgetfulness.  I have always been a forgetful person to some degree.  I think my forgetfulness comes from being too busy.  I forget where I leave my phone, put my keys and sometimes, you will be shocked, where I put my last cup of coffee.  Oddly though, I am great at remembering conversations and details of things I write.  I remember the location in my notebooks of where I write things.  I can give you details of where in a notebook something was written, how far in the notebook it is, whether it is on the right or left page, top, middle or bottom of the page. The one thing that I try not to forget is people, especially those I love and call a friend or family.

Everyone reading this has probably felt forgotten at one time or another.  Maybe you were not invited to a special event, you were not included in something special or not informed of something that you wish you had known about.  I think it hurts us most when it is a family member or close friend whom you feel has left you out.

Our schedules are so busy that often these things happen, not out of spite or hatefulness but out of busyness.  I do believe that they dynamics of family has changed over the years.  Checking in on my mom, even dropping by each day was a daily event for me.  No matter how far away I lived, I called my parents every day just to check in, stay up on their lives and I never missed a holiday family get together. Now before you make excuses that this is because I am woman, my brothers did the same thing.  I think this still represents some families today, but even in my own family, I have seen a shift of how families interact with each other.

Maybe your family doesn’t “hang” with you like you wish they would.  Maybe you feel alone.  Maybe you feel like no one remembers you and you feel like you don’t matter.  God never forgets His children.  He doesn’t need a memory on Facebook to remind Him of you.  He doesn’t need to scan his box of old photos to remember you.  He doesn’t need to keep a picture of you hanging on the wall to remember you. He NEVER forget His children and that means you.

Though you may feel forgotten today, your Father will never forget you nor forsake you.  You can rest in the Lord today knowing that not only does He remember you but he loves you.

Agree to Disagree

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

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The Bible is the infallible word of God, right? To believe in God means believing everything in the Bible, doesn’t it? Then who can there be so much confusion on what people believe the Bible says?  Do we just agree to disagree or is there only one truth?

The phrase “agree to disagree” does not appear anywhere in the Bible. God’s word teaches that we are to agree. Paul wrote in Romans 16:17, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” To the Corinthians he wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Almost a year later he wrote to remind them, “be of one mind” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Paul did not “agree to disagree” with those who taught a different gospel message. John did not “agree to disagree” with false prophets. Peter did not “agree to disagree” with false teachers. Jude did not “agree to disagree” with ungodly men.

Learn how to speak the truth in love. The obvious issue being what if my understanding of the truth is not your understanding of the truth?

Is that what Paul was getting at when he wrote, Welcome people who are weak in faith, but don’t get into an argument over differences of opinion. Some people believe that they can eat all kinds of food. Other people with weak faith believe that they can eat only vegetables. People who eat all foods should not despise people who eat only vegetables. In the same way, the vegetarians should not criticize people who eat all foods, because God has accepted those people. Romans 14:1-3

If you’ve read a lot of Paul’s writings you know that he was not encouraging us overlook important biblical issues just to get along or to avoid a quarrel.  We are to stand firm on topics like the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ or Jesus was not just a great man but He was God in the flesh to just get along. He was telling us to get along with those who thought differently than us regarding non-salvational issues such as holy days and food. In these cases, Paul, Jesus, and other New Testament writers were quite clear. Additionally, agreeing to disagree is not equivalent to passively overlooking injustice or obvious moral wrongs.

The key to religious unity and agreement is for all to stay true to the scriptures. Time and time again the Bible tells us not to “add to” or “take away” from God’s word (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:8-9; Revelation 22:18-19). The various opinions of men will not provide unity. The Bible must be the sole basis for achieving true agreement. We must allow the scriptures to have the final say and we must be ready to abandon anything we believe which does not agree with God’s word. We cannot simply “agree to disagree” when it comes to matters of faith. We must “agree to agree” with the Bible.

It is also possible to love God and love people even while disagreeing.

D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

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I receive a daily email from a site called Mamapedia.  I am not sure WHY I get it, since I do not have small children.  The daily digest  mainly has a list of questions that struggling parents are asking.  One of the questions was from a desperate dad reached out to the audience for help and reassurance.  He had a 4 year old that was very disrespectful to him.  She consistently said mean things, such as “I don’t want people to see me with you”, called him names, hid from him when he was taking her to dance or school, and often stuck her tongue out at him.  He had tried timeout but she would not even stay in the time-out chair.

I do not want to lose any followers so I will not give you my advise on HOW to handle this child, but I will tell you that I am a believer of spare the rod, spoil the child.  The Bible is very clear that respect is good and disrespect is bad.  Respect is admiration for a person because of his or her position, abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect is associated with esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, and honor. In the Bible, respect is more specifically the act of acknowledging another person’s worth, especially because of position, honor, or age. Disrespect is the opposite of respect: it is failing to acknowledge another’s worth, withholding the honor that should be given, or actively demeaning someone.

According the Bible, respect should be given to those who are owed respect.  So who are “those who are owed respect?” The Bible gives us four categories of people to whom respect should be given: elders, authority figures, Jesus Christ, and mankind in general. Elders are owed respect because of their age and experience. (Leviticus 19:32, 1 Timothy 5:1). Since the experience that comes with old age to respect your elders is to respect the wisdom they can give.

Authority figures outside the church would be policemen, firemen, teachers, and bosses, to name a few.  Others listed in the Bible who are owed respect, include political leaders such as the President (1 Peter 2:17) and city officials (Mark 15:43).  The Bible continues to list people and positions Christians should show respect to; those in authority at the church (1 Timothy 3:2), spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12), good fathers who discipline their children (Hebrews 12:9), parents in general (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4), husbands (Ephesians 5:33), and the masters of servants or slaves (bosses). Interestingly, slaves are told to respect their masters not only when their masters are good and gentle, but also when they are harsh and unjust (1 Peter 2:18).

Finally, respect is something that is owed to people in general, from one man to another.  A parable is told about a wicked judge who did not fear God or respect man (Luke 18:2). The judge’s disrespect for people is a feature of his wickedness in the story. Christians are not only to honor their fellow believers (Romans 12:10), but also to respect those who do not believe. We are Christians and should be Christlike.  Christ respected others, even those who He knew were wrong in their thoughts or actions. (1 Peter 3:15).

First Peter 2:17 describes respect, perfectly “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  Many of you will not like, and may even disagree, with the Bible’s instruction on how to handle disrespect.  The Bible not only gives us instructions on what is good and wise but how to do what is good is wise.  We live in a culture that disagrees with God and the Bible.  The worldly experts tells parents that the way of the Bible is old and outdated instruction.  But the Bible is  timeless. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Many of you deal with grown ups who act just like this 4 year old to their family members, to the waitress, the sales associate, the pastor, the teacher and anyone else who tells them no or doesn’t do what they want. They are mean and nasty to people in authority, will not listen to wise counsel and use the excuse that the people they treat disrespectfully do not deserve their respect.  They have an excuse for everyone they treat badly and they are adamant that they are the victims.

Some of the responses to the father made excuses for the child. Some appeared to say maybe the things the 4 year said were true.  While others explained how to stop the disrespect and emphatically said, stop it now before it gets worse.  If I were going to give advice, I would encourage the parent to seek out the answer in God’s word.  God not only tells us that we should be respectful but He tells us how to handle people who are not, children and adults.  Churches don’t like his answer.  Christians don’t like his answer.  BUT HE GIVE US THE CLEAR ANSWER!

Disrespectful children grow up to be disrespectful adults.  Unfortunately, we have a lot of D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T going around.  God never said respect had to be earned, man made that up.  I will give respect when I get respect, is not in the Bible.  Again we made that up. If we want to change the world, we need to look at ourselves, look in our own homes, our churches and our schools.  God says there is blessings from obeying His Word.  Are you, your children, your church members, your employees receiving God’s blessings?? If not, you can.  Open the Bible today and make a commitment to live your life as God directs and tune out all the world experts who advice you to be totally contrary to God.  It may be hard, but it will be worth it.

Wanted Alive Not Dead

Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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I grew up watching country western movies and TV series like Gun Smoke, Bonanza, High Chaparral and anything with John Wayne in it.  We had one television in the house.  Yes I said one.   After dinner each night, we would watch something together as a family.  Since my dad was in charge of what we watched, we all knew it was going to be a western.

In most westerns “wanted” signs were posted on trees through the land of a mad gunman that the sheriff and his posse were looking for.  The sign would have a reward for the capture of the mad gunman and would say that the bounty would be paid whether the mad-man was brought in dead or alive.  Ultimately, the sheriff wanted to prove that the mad man was no longer on the loose.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

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Think about these scriptures!  CHIRST LIVES IN US!!!  If Christ lives in us what do we look like.  Do we look like we are alive?  Do we look like Christ in how we walk, how we talk and how we live? Christ doesn’t want to capture us so He can show the devil we have been caught.  He wants us alive.  As a matter of fact, we were dead, but now we are alive, transformed, because HE LIVES IN US.  Once we begin to replace our old self through personal sacrifice we start to look more alive than ever before.

Changing ourselves is not easy.  Currently, I am trying to change my diet to eat better, I have been trying to loose weight, to better care for my physical body, and I even began taking seminary courses, AGAIN.  Each one of these things have proven to be hard adjustments for me personally.  Most of them are slow going with little progress.  BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME and with Him I am stronger than I think.

God wants us alive.  What kind so life are you living?  One full of the things of Christ or one full of self.  Stop making excusing why you are not living life to it’s fullest and let Christ have full reign over you.  Today is the day to die to self and to live for Christ.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Neuropathy

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.

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If you know anyone who has diabetes you may be familiar with Peripheral Neuropathy.  Oxford Dictionary defines neuropathy as disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness. Frequently when patients suffer from diabetes, neuropathy is one of the early signs of the disease’s presence.  The patient can lose feeling or experience a tingling sensation as nerve damage grows and spreads; and, left unattended, amputation may prove to be the only solution.  The condition is usually at its worst in patients who haven’t acknowledged the seriousness of their condition and modified their diet.

My mother is a diabetic and she has this in her feet.  She is a true born and bred southern girl and walks around bare foot all the time.  Several times, when visiting with her,  I saw bloody foot prints on her floor. After a few questions, I realized that mom had cut her foot. The neuropathy in her feet had caused them to become numb and she did not feel the pain from the cut on the bottom of her foot.  She was completely unaware that her feet had been cut and she was tracking blood across the kitchen floor.

I think many of us are dealing with neuropathy on a spiritual level.  We have become numb to God and the things of God.  It came on gradually, we didn’t even notice it, until one day we SAW signs of our wounds.  Maybe you no longer experience joy or contentment that Christ promises.  Maybe you are unhappy, frustrated, overworked, and harried.  God promised that His yoke was easy and His burden was light but you are not feeling it right now. Some of you may be angry, bitter or depressed and some of you are living a double life, Christian at church and full blown sinner outside of it.  You don’t even know who you are anymore.

What happened?  You never intended to become this way.  It seemed like one day you were worshiping Jesus, raising your hands at church, crying when you prayed and now you are numb.  Emotionless.  Full blown Spiritual neuropathy.

Fortunately, while the physical reality of peripheral neuropathy is often a chronic malady that may never go away completely, there is a definite cure for the spiritual version.  Jesus comforted his disciples before going to the cross by saying, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

The problem with spiritual numbness is that it isn’t honest. We have no room in our hearts for the One we say we love most. If Christ is better than anything the world has to offer, why do our lives tell a different story?

In this lifetime, we will never be able to stop having pain, or trouble, becoming tired or weary or simply just sad or depressed at some point. We need to constantly assess our passions and desires, not to squash them, but to strengthen and realign them with God’s desires.

In communing with Christ, we move toward becoming our most authentic self, namely, dead to sin and alive to God. So let me encourage you to make just one change that will promote your spiritual health. If you are spiritually alive in Christ, then live. Reshuffle your priorities and become who you were meant to be. Maybe you are letting life run you and your schedule and not the things of God or God himself. The key to overcoming spiritual numbness is to “fill up” with the Holy Spirit.

Overcoming feelings of spiritual numbness is often not a mental or academic exercise; rather, we need the personal touch of another born-again believer. Here is where the church comes in, with brothers and sisters everywhere, Bible study and, of course, worship services and the preaching of God’s Word we can begin to heal, regain feeling.

You can begin to heal today by, sincerely desiring to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Confessing your sins and thanking God that He has forgiven all of your sins whether past, present, or future, presenting every area of your life to God for His gracious control, by faith claiming the fullness of the Holy Spirit according to His commandment in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14–15.  God loves you, even when you may not feel like you love him.  1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.