Saturday, November 28, 2009

Testing Comes from the Lord

Job 23:10; Jeremiah 17:10; Psalm 26:2; Psalm 17:3
When training a horse that has never been ridden, the trainer will purposely and for the horses’ good, bring that horse into the round pen to be trained and tested. A horse that is not broken is not useable. The tests the trainer puts the horse through are to bring that horse to the point of trusting that trainer and making him useable or fit for use.
When teaching the horse to accept ridding gear, the trainer will rub the bridle on the face and neck of the horse. He will put the leather reins on his ears and let the horse feel every part of the bridle. The trainer is encouraging the horse with soft words and gentle pats that he is safe and he won’t be hurt. Sometimes, the horse will rebel and the trainer must make the horse start running around the round pen again to get his attention. The horse needs to understand that when he does not obey there are consequences for his decisions which in this case, is running around and around in the pen. When the horse gets tired the trainer stops him with his body position with one purpose, to prompt that horse to yield and come to him.
As our Lord has us in the round pen of life, He allows us to keep running, to keep looking away from Him, until we tire of that kind of life. When we finally turn to Him and He calls, “Come here,” there is a great peace and security that comes into our hearts assuring us, everything is all right. The Lord’s encouraging Words are a great blessing and when we feel safe in His strength He move us on to the next test. All the testing, the trials and the trying of our faith are what is needed to bring us to the point of brokenness where God can use us for His glory and His honor.
Thought:

The greatest aspect in training a horse is that that horse learns to trust his trainer.
The greatest aspect for a believer in his walk with Christ, is to learn to “Trust in the Lord with all...” All trials, all tests, all that He has prepared for him. Then and only then will he come forth as gold fit for the Master’s use.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Battle is in Your Mind

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Do you ever remember being afraid of the dark as a child? I can recall waking up in the middle of the night fearful that someone was in my room. My heart would pound so hard I thought it might jump right out of my chest. One night, I thought a man was standing in the doorway of my room. He appeared large and monster like. I could not yell or even move because of the fear that had gripped my heart. Then I realized, when my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, it was only my dad’s shirt hanging on the door frame. Crippling fear comes to us in many ways and for just about any reason.
What is paralyzing fear? What do women fear most in their lives? Here is a list of a few things that women fear most:
  • Finances - We may loose our home, car, etc.
  • Children - Fear of baby development - Will our children love and serve God?
  • Life of Singleness - Will I be alone forever? I must have a husband to be happy. 
  • Divorce - Will my husband leave me for another woman?
  • Widowhood - Old age - Convalescent care - Loss of a loved one

  • Illness - Fear of suffering
  • Death - When will I die? How will I die? Will I die with dignity?

Have you ever asked yourself? “What if?”  That question could generate all kinds of fears about the future. What ifs? Are imaginations in the mind. This is why we know the mind is where the battle begins and where strongholds, images and knowledge that exalts itself above God, must be “cast down.”
Stronghold: A lie or false idea that a person believes to be true. It is so true to them that they are literally held in bondage to that thought. Picture a castle or fortress that is surrounding your mind with lies.

Imaginations: Are images made up in our mind keeping us from loving and serving God as He calls us to do.

If we want to overcome our fears, the strongholds and imaginations in our minds, we cannot think, “What if.”  Thoughts about the future are at best only guesses.  Everything is in God’s hands. The dread of the future is a thief of joy. Like our future thoughts about the “What ifs” the “If only” thoughts about our past can rob us of peace and joy in the present. There is only one thing we can do about the past and that is to forget it! Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Philippians 3:13

To forget means to not let your past affect or control you in the present.
Thought: How do I take every thought captive? Choose to trust what the Bible says about God and ask Him to replace any fears or doubts with the truth. Life is difficult and bad things happen to good people. When we know the truth of Scripture, we can lay before God our hurts, disappointments and the challenges we face. We can choose to think about God’s ability to handle problems instead of dwelling on them. Even when we feel the pain that life brings, we can rest in His peace that passes all understanding; the peace that only He can give. 
(Philippians 4:7)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do I Love God with my Mind?

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

I consider the above verse to be one of the most important verses in the Bible. What occupies your mind and what you think means more than anything else in your life. Your thought life will determine how much you love others, where you go to church, and what you become in life. Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today. Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinketh in his heart so is he... Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

A healthy thought life--a thought life that is pleasing to God--comes out of a closer relationship with Him. Reading God’s Word daily, praying and being obedient to what His Word instructs is essential. We need to be sure our ideas about God are accurate, biblical, and true. Inaccurate and unbiblical thoughts about God can block the power of God in our life. If we are to love God with all of our mind, our thinking must be right.
When we view ourselves through the lens of God’s Word, we can replace the negative, self-defeating thoughts with truths from His Word and see His great love and worth He places upon us. Whenever you find yourself thinking of yourself as useless or worthless, as a failure, a hopeless cause or looser, remember what is TRUE about you.
Romans 8:16,17 - The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. *You are joint-heirs with Christ

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. *You are His workmanship

I Corinthians 6:20 - For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 
I Peter 1:18,19 - Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: *You are bought with a price

Thought:

The power to think biblically is the power to live biblically. Don’t waver in your faith being tossed to and fro thinking negative and unfruitful thoughts -- Think on: things true, things honest, things just, things pure, things lovely, things of good report, things virtuous and praise worthy, so that the God of peace will be with you. 

Philippians 4:8,9 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is God Really Good?

Psalm 107:1-2,8-11,13-15

Because of the evils that exist in the world, the goodness of God is one of the most difficult doctrines to accept. Unless we wholeheartedly believe that, “God is good,” we will be paralyzed in our Christian growth.
Let’s look at the Garden of Eden where Eve was caused to doubt the goodness of God. (Genesis 3:4-5) Satan convinced Eve to believe that God did not have her best interests at heart--that He would hold her back from developing her full potential. Eve believed a lie.
How can God be good? If He were, He’d give me what I want. Doesn’t He know how lonely I am? If God loves me, why did He allow my parents to treat me like they did? A good God would never have allowed this to happen! If you are a worrier, you doubt God’s goodness. You will be afraid God will bring circumstances into you life that are not in your best interest.
In the garden, Satan focused on a restriction and used it to blind Eve to God’s blessing. Satan will urge you to focus on one issue, one aggravation, one restriction.  He will try to convince you that God’s way is not best for you and that he can offer you something better. If you doubt God’s goodness, you will not only resist change but you will also fear it.
If you accept the fact that God is good, you will experience two results:
  1. You will be able to surrender to Him without reservation or fear.
  2. You will have a strong desire for change, knowing God’s plan is perfect.
Thought:

Are you prepared to accept what you know to be true down deep in your heart, that God’s plan for your life is what is best for you? Affirm your belief in God’s goodness by reading the following verses: Exodus 33:19; and 34:6; Psalms 27:13; 31:19; 34:8; 65:4; 86:5; 106:1 and James 1:17. I pray you find how good God truly is in your life through the reading of His Word, the preaching of His Word, and in being obedient to His Word.