Toxic Thoughts

22 10 2010

Identify  and Reject Toxic Thoughts

Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life. Proverbs 4:23

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Yet you know me, O Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter! Jeremiah 12:3

What thoughts do you struggle with: Negative? Fearful? Discontented ? Critical?

Replace Toxic Thoughts with God’s Truth

…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is truenoblerightpurelovelyadmirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Philippians 4:7-8

Do not conform any longer 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

Know Your True ID: Who You Are in Christ

Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) Ephesians 1:4-5


Sometimes You Have to Say “Whatever!”

25 02 2010

The GenX Generation coined a one word phrase that summarized reluctant agreement and indifference…WHATEVER! If you were born between 1965 and 1980, you know like me the subtle difference between the valley girl “What-EVer!” and the under the breath begrudging compliance “whatever”.

Paul must have been a GenXer, because right between his teaching in Philippians 4 on how to have real peace and real contentment, he says “whatever” six times. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

What was his point? In the middle of any challenging situation, the real question is where are you focused. Are you focused on what what’s wrong or what’s right? Are you focused on what you don’t have or what you do have? Are you focused on your complaints or what Christ has given you?

God is still good. I will be thankful. I will focus on “the whatevers.”

30/30: Regret. Worry. Live This Moment

31 12 2009

One of my 2009 learnings came this past summer during an Epic Day Away with Jesus at the Rochester Park. That morning I had two thoughts running through my mind: Regret and Worry. I had been dealing with regret over some decisions I had made in the past and at the same time I was worrying about what the future holds.

I sat down to pray on the shore of the river that runs through the park. It was a great spot right at where the water bends around the corner. As I reflected, I was wondering what was around the bend in both directions. Where did this river begin and where did it end? I could see neither. The only part of the river I could only see was this little bend right in front of me.

As I kept praying, it was like God was saying, “Tim, this is exactly like your life. You can’t see this whole river. You are spending your life regretting mistakes in the past. You are spending your time worrying about things in the future which haven’t been yet. You can’t go back to the past and you can’t see into the future, but you’ve got a clear view of this little stretch of river in front of you. That is the only thing you can see and the only things I am revealing to you. Your regret of the past and your worry about the future is ruining your life in the present. The moment you are living is RIGHT NOW. THIS is the ONLY moment you can live and the only moment you should live. Don’t miss what I’m doing right now!”

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7

Personal Peace in the Middle of Problems

23 12 2009

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 14:27

Jesus offers to us peace of heart and mind as a gift, because He knows that peace is something that we all desperately need. He doesn’t say He is going to take away all our difficulties so we can have peace. Life is always going to be a series of problems, but He promises something better: Peace IN the middle of your problems. But what holds us back from experiencing that kind of personal peace? There are four things Christ has been teaching me…

1. Accept What Cannot Be Changed

Acceptance is the key to personal peace. When you are struggling with a situation, do what God gives you the strength to do, but when you hit a wall and there is nothing more that can be done, accept what cannot be changed. Acceptance says “since there are many things that are outside of my control, I am going to put my trust in the One who is in control of everything.” (See SERENITY PRAYER post.)

2. Learn from Christian Mentors
When Mary heard she was going to be mother of Jesus, the first thing she did was to go spend time with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40, 56). Over the next three months, Elizabeth, who herself had been through a lot of ups and downs in life, mentored Mary spiritually to become the person God wanted her to be. We all need a Lizzy in our lives to teach us how to live at peace in the middle of problems. If you are struggling with peace, seek out a Christian mentor who you can learn from.

3. Focus on God’s Mercy
Did you ever notice how you can be perfectly content, but one trip to the mall ruins all that. What happened? Your focus changed. Instead of focusing on what you have, you begin to focus on what you don’t. If you are struggling with peace, focus on the things that God HAS done for you. Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. Philippians 4:6-7

4.Lean on God’s Faithfulness
A number of years ago, Jesse Ventura (formerly “the body” and governor of Minnesota) stated “Christianity is a crutch for weak people.” He was so wrong. Christianity is not a crutch for weak people; Christianity is more like a wheelchair for disabled people. We’re all disabled with sin and struggles. And relying on our own strength and faithfulness, will alway lead to more anxiety and more stress. If you are struggling with peace, stop trying to do life on your own and lean on the One who has always been faithful to you.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; 
 His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24

Serenity Prayer

23 12 2009

Last Sunday I mentioned this prayer from Reihold Neibor. Many people know the first couple lines, but few know the ending. For those of us who are on the path to peace, I believe the ending is where all the power is and makes all the difference in the world:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is not as I would have it. Trusting that You, God, will make all things right if I surrender to Your will. So that I may be reasonably happy in this life…And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

Moving from Worry to Hope

5 10 2009

life money hope boxDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. …No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:19-24

1. Realize the WASTE of Worry
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-27

2. BUDGET with What Christ Has Given you
We want God to intervene and help us financially, but maybe the bigger thing is that He wants to do teach us is wisdom in how to budget and plan with what He has already given us.
– Save: Build the “Oh No” Fund
– Give: Build the Discipline of Giving

3. PRAY Before Your Pay

“The spiritual root of America’s economic recession is our inability to delay gratification. We want it ALL & all of it NOW.” Rick Warren

The plans of the diligent lead to proft as surely as haste leads to poverty Proverbs 21:5

4. Put Your TRUST in Your Heavenly Father
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-34

7Days…the Worry2Hope Challenge

5 10 2009

The best way to move from a life of worry to a life of hope is listen to what Jesus has to say in the Bible. He really does want to transform your heart, and He wrote these scriptures with you and I in mind. This is the challenge from last Sunday.

Sunday – Psalm 46
Monday – Psalm 42
Tuesday –  Psalm  138
Wednesday – Psalm 91
Thursday – Psalm 116
Friday – Psalm 139
Saturday – Psalm 31