Archive | December 2018

Changing the Way You Think

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Ever feel like your thinking is off? Maybe it’s just a general sense of something not being right or that you’re missing something important. I’m not talking about the forgetfulness that comes with aging; rather, I’m talking about the feeling of being off track in some way.

If you ever feel that way, like your focus is not where it should be or maybe like your thoughts are just too negative or critical about yourself or others, perhaps it’s time to change the way you think. In fact, I would argue that we must continually assess our thinking and make sure it lines up with what God desires.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

How?

When life is overwhelming, when discouragement comes in waves, and when the world just seems like a very depressing place? How can we dwell on the positive, as Philippians 4:8-9 encourages us to do?

  1. Study Scripture. Reading the Bible daily is a start. Really getting into Scripture and studying it is where mind renewal really begins to become permanent.
  2. Pray often. As with reading the Bible, daily prayer is a start. Consider, though, a goal of chatting with God throughout your day. Bring Him into all your situations, and talk to Him about what’s going on. This is all prayer, and it gets at the idea in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”
  3. Seek more. Get around Godly people who want to renew their minds too. Whether through the company you keep or the books you read, let the interaction of those seeking God regularly influence you. Of course what the Bible says trumps what all others say, but God does encourage and teach us through other Christians too.

While there are certainly others, these three habits have served to focus my mind on what God desires better than anything else I’ve tried or have heard others try.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas.

Pick a book of the Bible and focus on a chapter a week. Read that chapter every day. Outline it, and consider it’s purpose and context. Look at what it teaches you about Christ.

Get an accountability partner. Find someone else wanting mind renewal and tell them what you’re doing. Ask them to join you, and then check in with each other regularly. 

Consider supplementary material. Many, many books and other material (videos, for example) exist that can help you grow. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer are two that immediately come to mind.

Focus Determines Reality

“For as the thoughts of his heart are, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

What we think about regularly determines the focus of our lives, and our focus determines our reality. Make Jesus the focus of what you think about, and the reality of your life will be transformed.

Looking for Peace?

The Book of Isaiah

The book of Isaiah has been called “the fifth gospel” because of how much it foreshadows the coming of Christ. In addition, it’s consistency with the New Testament is another of the many fascinating aspects of Isaiah.

Isaiah also has quite a few different themes that it touches on. Those include salvation, judgment, holiness, punishment, captivity, the fall of a nation, comfort, hope and salvation. Another prominent theme is that of peace.

The Theme of Peace

While we always want peace, it seems to be more of a focus during the holiday season. Isaiah actually focuses on the peace we talk about during the holidays, but it goes into several other facets of peace as well.

The following is a list of scriptures on peace in Isaiah

  1. Prince of Peace (6:6, 7)
  2. Perfect peace (26:3)
  3. Peace from God (26:12)
  4. Ask for peace (27:5)
  5. Peace through righteousness (32:17)
  6. Peace through obedience (48:18)
  7. New of peace (52:7)
  8. Peace because of Jesus (53:5)
  9. Peace through God’s word (55:12)
  10. Peace through Godly repentance (52:7)

Take a few minutes to go through these Scriptures and let them expand your view of peace.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7)