Saturday, November 1

You Are What You Think About

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design,
Thy dross to consume and they gold to refine.”

I can’t imagine my life without Christ! Not a day goes by without a need to press the reset button in my mind. I claim this verse often; “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;” 2 Corinthians 10:5

We are consumed with thousands of thoughts. On average, women think approximately 40,000 per day. That’s a lot to process isn’t it? The way we view life; what happens to us, and how we react to situations and circumstances, is determined by our thoughts. What we believe has a greater impact on our life than what anybody else believes. The Bible says; “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Proverbs 23:7

In Layman's terms: “Rubbish in, rubbish out.” What we think about governs how we view life and how we react to people. Our words define who we really are at our core level. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

How do I react toward my husband? How do I react toward my circumstances? Our ‘opinion’ of our husband, finances, quality of life, friends, aloneness, single parenting, addictions, church, health, clothes…; is directly linked with our thoughts toward God. What we think about all day long controls what comes out of our mouth and how we react. Sometimes nothing comes out of our mouth however, our attitude is clear through the body language we display. Our thoughts manifest themselves through our words, our deeds and our perspective on things. Our ’opinion’ about our life and the people in our life matters to God. How precious is God’s mind to me; what He thinks, how He feels, what makes Him happy? “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew 15:18

When I hear of oil ships that have ruptured their holding tank, my heart sinks for the trail of destruction left behind. The innocent wildlife and marine life that are killed or maimed through manmade error, leaves me heavy in spirit. The volume of death is devastating but the trail of pain and suffering to God’s creation, is catastrophic.

Our thoughts, words and body language are oil ships waiting to rupture and spew forth it’s contents. Thought precedes action. Thought, or purpose, or motive, gives its character to conduct. They leave pollution behind them. I think of hurt I have experienced and how I have dealt with that hurt. It has taken me a number of years and considerable wisdom to learn what to do with the blows to my brow. Words hurt more than we remember. If we did remember, we would take more time to select encouraging, edifying words rather than discouraging and de-edifying dialogue.

We all remember that childhood chant, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” It’s not true! Words sink deep into the recesses of our hearts and shatter us -sometimes into pieces.

We must be careful how we think about our husbands. The Bible says, we are our husband’s help meet. When we are a help meet to our husband, we are a helper to Christ. We were created to complete him and make him happy - not the reverse. What we think about our husband defines our relationship with God. Our marriage mirrors our salvation! We are the bride and Christ is the groom. What God thinks of our husband is what we must embrace.
God’s blueprint for marriage is described in Scripture with words such as honour, submit and reverence. This is God’s will and way! Let God decide the ingredients of life. There has to be a contentment with what God has given to each of us personally. It is imperative we find the zone of contentment and peace with the hand God has dealt. It’s a great place to reach when you can say, “I like what I have and I want what I have.” Wisdom is deciding whatever God does is good. Every good gift cometh from above. I don’t prefer things, but I don’t describe them as bad. Everything God does is good (including your husband, your finances, hardships, aloneness…) Bad days are the deliveries of good things from God and good always rides on the coattail of bad.

God is too good to be unkind. God is too wise to be mistaken. When you don’t understand, when you don’t see His hand - trust His heart!
By the grace of God, I am learning to balance out the wild extremes of my life. I’m tired of roller coaster rides. I like the smoother rides that godly maturity brings - much more. When you look at today and the circumstances that surround your life, regardless of the situation you face, you can be happy! God is our God and He is still in charge of every detail of our lives. This is a paraphrased version of a letter I sent to a friend I am mentoring, just a few weeks ago.

“I face a Dead Sea (which is a metaphor for the lowest point in my life or deepest valley I walk without rest), but I can be rest assured, God is with me every step of the way. The greater the problem, the more I cleave to Him. And that's the key! God will not bring about a change until I draw closer to Him and change my perspective. He keeps my Dead Sea going, He keeps me in the trial; you never come through it until you surrender to Him. Then He moves you on! Just as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, we will wander in our wilderness of grief until we appreciate God and His mercy, until we let go and have a different spirit and a closer walk with Him. The children of Israel never stopped murmuring about their situation and they died in that state. Anyone can praise God when all the bills are paid, when everyone is in good health, and there are no major problems to be solved. But the world sits up and takes notice when we rejoice in spite of the circumstances! That's when your testimony really becomes powerful!”

God delivers us over and over in miraculous ways. But the most miraculous event to date is the miracle in my life, my heart and my walk of obedience. God broke me beyond my imagination and I learned to let go! And I have made a promise to God; no matter how tough it gets, no matter the circumstances, I will not murmur; I will not point my finger, I will not be bitter, I will not give up, I will not grow weary of clinging to Him and serving Him.

It's not about me. It's about God and His purpose for me. It's about my faith and how it stands in the fiery trials.

I want to encourage you to start taking inventory. I look at my life over the past 5 years and I now know that God has a divine purpose and a perfect plan. And, after what I describe as another 'Red Sea Miracle' in my life, my faith is growing and my love for God and others - so much deeper.
There is no guarantee that God will ever move us on but He does give us an escape. The escape is in our walk of faith and how we respond day to day with the fiery darts and the pot holes of life. We must cling to Him, surrender our entire life and trust that His love and mercy will carry us through every agonizing step and through every joyful leap.

Our burden is lifted at Calvary. Jesus loves us more than we will every understand. I can't promise you any relief, but I promise your life will change and you will see miracles if you take your faith to the next step. Little by little - it's just like a baby. When you are born, you lay helpless, then you learn to sit up, then crawl, then walk and then run. We cannot go through any stage without stumbling. Finally, after many falls, we begin to run the race.

Beyond all human measure, Jesus felt hurt and knew personal pain. If I fill my reservoir up with God‘s words, it will overflow from my mouth and leave a ripple of grace in my pond. If we fill our tank up with resentment, frustration, bitterness and self-pity, it will overflow through our words and leave a trail of destruction. A wise woman builds daily. She develops her life with godly principles, she disciplines her character and denies her flesh. She walks daily with God!
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

I’m definitely in the construction business and the more I build, the sharper I keep my tools, the more skillful I develop my technique and the less prone I am to work related injuries. Carelessness, worldliness, and sensuality, seem right to those that walk in them, but self-deceivers prove self-destroyers. Of all sinners, backsliders will have the most terror when they reflect on their own ways.

As a mother, I would say to my girls, “You reap what you sow.” As God puts it, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 Sow a seed in your time of need! You must sow the seed first before you can reap a harvest.

We never rise above the image we have of ourselves, nor do others rise above the image we have of them. A poor opinion of the people we love affects them deeper than we care to understand. There is a wonderful Bible verse that applies directly to married women and indirectly to all others; “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” Proverbs 31:11 A good woman doesn’t do anything or say anything behind her husband’s back (or other’s backs). She is trustworthy, dependable, inspires confidence, reliable, honest and deserving.
Keep persevering! God will reward you in His due time for all the good seeds you have sown. I know it takes patience and courage to remain steadfast and to maintain a happy spirit, especially when your circumstances remain the same. God has you exactly where He wants you. Use your hardship as your crown of glory.

Run to Jesus on your good days and especially on your bad days. Get another perspective on what you think is a bad day. Recently, my daughter Belinda toured India for 2 ½ months. If you want a grateful and thankful heart, go to India. I saw pictures and heard an account of how tough India’s lifestyle is. Belinda reminded me of just how much I have and how good God is to me. I now have a different perspective on how good my bad is.
You will never arrive at a point where you can say, “I am completely content.” For when you feel content, your flesh sees more and wants more; Satan’s trapdoors to discontentment are wide open. It will always be a fight between your flesh and the spirit.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

Thanks to Calvary I’m not the man I use to be! And thanks to God’s grace, I’m learning to be content with my circumstances. Soldier on friends! It is a battle, but the victory is ours through Christ!

Start today with a new perspective on your situation. Ask God for His opinion on your thoughts. Research every Bible verse on discontentment and indoctrinate yourself with God’s wisdom. Not only will you have a ‘Master’s in Contentment,’ but you will major in another of life’s virtues - being content!

May God draw you closer.
I love you,


1 comment:

Nancy M. said...

This is so good. I am thankful the Lord has bought me through these past few years out shining like gold!
I think I may begin a new study.