There are days I struggle with thinking right thoughts about others. Even with all the growth that I’ve experienced and the grace that God pours out on me, I have found myself unable to stop mentally berating a co worker, or chastising a hurting friend with thoughts of how they could do things differently.
While the words I spoke out were as encouraging as possible, the thoughts still lingered behind the scenes.
Please know that these thoughts aren’t what most people would consider horrible. It’s things like “well bless his heart, if only he could see that what he did last night is why he is feeling so bad today” or “if only she could see her part in this, she would understand why her life is in chaos”… But in this latest season of my journey I have been praying that God remove even the smallest character defect. I want His heart. His thoughts towards people. His Grace in ALL things. Even the smallest, tiniest negative, controlling thought.
In asking God for this, a few months ago I found myself thinking those thoughts once again with a friend. Feeling her pain yet frustrated at her actions which I promptly began thinking of things she should be doing.
Having just finished an encouraging text message to her, trying to lift her up, I found myself allowing my thoughts free reign as I discussed with a family member my personal thoughts on the situation.
Unbeknownst to me, somehow my phone started recording the conversation and for 9 seconds, captured forever, the lack of patience and understanding spilling from my lips. And before I knew it, my friend received the text message with the recording.
I immediately called her to apologize and to explain the context of what was said and while at the time she hadn’t even listened to the recording yet, and even once she did, she was filled with grace as she always is and our friendship remains strong by the grace of God.
Having that happen and having to experience the pain of knowing that even the smallest thought could potentially ruin a relationship, I was reminded that God disciplines His children. I asked Him for His help and He gave it to me by reprimanding me. A friend of mine says “you were spanked by God” and she was so right. And I am forever grateful.
Today I try to hold onto that lesson and any time I begin to even think like that, about anyone I ask myself, if 9 seconds of these thoughts were recorded and given out, how would that affect the person and would God be pleased?
Praising Him that He loves me enough to take away ALL things that can detract from my purpose He has for me. Praying that I continue to see His discipline as loving guidance and continue to strive to be the person He is calling me to be.
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
This is my Bible.
I am what it says I am.
I have what it says I have.
I can do what it says I can do.
Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess:
My mind is alert, My heart is receptive.
I will never be the same.
In Jesus name. Amen.
I remember watching Joel O’Steen during some of the darkest times of my life. I would hear him say the above words at the beginning of his talk and while I really enjoyed saying it with him, I am just now coming to understand the power of that proclamation.
Today, as I strive to not only believe IN God, but wholly turn my heart to BELIEVING God, these words mean so much to me every morning as I pick my bible and begin my morning study time.
Coming to understand that the words of the Bible are true. That the promises are true and available to me, has been life changing .
I pray that today, as you find time to spend in The Word, that you will be convinced that when you boldly approach God with an alert mind and a receptive heart, believing that you are what the bible says you are, that you can do what He says you can do and that as you are taught The Word of God, you will never be the same. In Jesus’ Name!
2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Over the past few days I’ve been asking God to shine light on to His Word as I continue my journey in understanding more about who He is and who I am in Him.
And not only who I am in Him, but asking Him to show me His love and grace for all of us who acknowledge His presence in our lives even in the midst of less than perfect choices of word, thought and deed.
This morning in my quiet time as I began to break down the above verse, I was instantly reminded that in the beginning when we cried out and asked Christ into our lives, it truly was only the beginning of the journey.
I love that as I began to define specific words, God reminded me again and again that He does not expect perfection and that to become the person He wants us to be takes time.
In reviewing the definitions below we can see that making the attempt and having the desire to obtain (more of God) is how it begins. Yet it is only the beginning. We are told to turn from our sinful ways, however that too, takes time. It is not instantaneous. At least for me it wasn’t. When I think of moving in a circular motion, I can’t help but picture my phone as I download music -the image of that little circle, filling up, with what seems like ever increasing slowness. That’s how my journey has been and still continues to be. My turning is done in a slow, ever curving way. One of the things that I love about God’s beautiful faithfulness is during this process He loves me unconditionally, He forgives me and pours out blessings on me (and heals the land) through it all.
God is asking us to make the attempt, to put forth some effort to get to know His Son and when we do that He will begin to turn our hearts towards Him, guiding us through a beautiful journey of Grace as He transforms us from the inside out.
attempt to find (something).”they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”
search for, try to find, look for, be on the lookout for, be after, hunt for, be in quest of
“they sought shelter from the winter snows”
attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).”the new regime sought his extradition”
try to obtain, work toward, be intent on, aim at/for More
ask for (something) from someone.”he sought help from the police”
ask for, request, solicit, call for, entreat, beg for, petition for, appeal for, apply for, put in for “he sought help from the police”
make an effort to achieve or complete (something, typically a difficult task or action).”she attempted a comeback in 1989″
try, strive, aim, venture, endeavor, seek, undertake, make an effort; More
a long or arduous search for something.
verb: turn; 3rd person present: turns; past tense: turned; past participle: turned; gerund or present participle: turning
move or cause to move in a circular direction wholly or partly around an axis or point.
2. change in nature, state, form, or color; become.
“Emmeline turned pale”
become, develop into, turn out to be; be transformed into, metamorphose into, descend into, grow into
“their honeymoon turned into a nightmare”
become, go, grow, get
“Emma turned red”
convert, change, transform, make;
adapt, modify, rebuild, reconstruct
“he turned the house into apartments”
So many times the encouragement has been “be strong in the Lord” but what I found was that I usually took it to mean -I can do this, I’ve got this, I can do anything… yes I know He’s with me, yes I know He can do all things…but somehow I missed the point of IN the Lord … if I am not IN Him – meaning, IN the word, IN the truth of the Bible, purposefully aligning my thoughts to His, learning His Word, studying and growing IN His Word, then I am just being strong in myself.
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
We all need the milk -the things in the Bible that tell us who we are in Christ and build us up and build others up and allows us to feel good about ourselves but there comes a time when we need solid food when we get up in line with God His thoughts and His actions and His purpose for our life.