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Stirring The Deep


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Victory Cry

Blog Talk Radio: Victory Cry: Part I

A PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on living in victory in our lives. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.

Overview: Many of us are facing trials and challenges. It can be frustrating for a believer because you see the promises of God and then look at your life and wonder why the huge gap. Or perhaps you have learned that trials do refine your faith, but wondering when will they ever end. I hope to encourage you by sharing the deeper purpose and reason for many of those trials by giving a different perspective on the situation.

In this two part segment, I talk about two main reasons for why we experience what we do. In part one, I cover the first reason and part two I discuss the second reason and how to journey through them victoriously.

Blog Talk Radio: Victory Cry: Part II


A PODCAST (click here to listen) covering the second part to living in victory is available. Also available through itunes.

Overview: In the previous show, I talked about one of the reasons we experience the trials we do as believers and how we can battle them and come out victoriously.

In this show, I cover another reason we face what we do and again, discuss how to come through it successfully as God intends. We’ve been given all we need in Christ, we need to know what we have, how to act on it, and act on it.


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Sister Wisdom PART II

Blog Talk Radio: Sister Wisdom Part II


A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on the second part on living in God’s wisdom.

Overview: This show continues the discussion on seeking and gaining the wisdom of God from the previous show, Sister Wisdom. I talk about how we come to know God’s wisdom and obstacles that we face along the way.

The source of our truth affects everything in our lives. To live in the abundant life that Christ Jesus came to give, we have to seek His truth and walk in it. As long as we are walking contrary to Him, we will be creating destruction in our lives. Seeking wisdom is a core act for every true believer.


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Victory Begins in the Mind

Victory Begins in the Mind

 

Where we are most spiritually compromised is in our minds. Believing lies destroys us. Like, the one who believes she deserves to be beat up emotionally, the one who believes God doesn’t care, the one who believes his life doesn’t matter, the one who believes in false doctrine, the one who believes her ability to control defines her, the one who believes work and success define him and the list goes on. Once we believe the deception, then WE are the ones to create the destruction in our lives. When you break it all down to where the battle really is – it’s in our minds, thus that’s where the path to victory begins.

Among our thoughts, it’s very difficult to fight the battle between truth and lies, because our thoughts are very close to us. They feel like us, and most of the time we don’t question if they are true or not we assume they are. But often they aren’t. Consider your thoughts throughout the day – do you think most come from the truth or lies?

This past weekend, there were several instances that I had to fight lies in my head. It is VERY difficult, because to us our minds are believable and when backed by emotion (pain, hurt, pride, need for acceptance, value, etc) they become even more convincing about what is true. Sometimes isn’t an easy battle. First we need to realize our thoughts are only ours if we own them – this understanding allows us to question them. For example, I can have the thought that I’m useless, triggered by someone’s comment and reinforced by a past of neglect, but unless I own it, it will pass. But if I hold onto it and support it with other thoughts and emotions, then I will start acting on that false belief. Once we are able to question them, then we can go to the next step, recognizing lies and fighting against them. BUT the only way we are able to recognize AND fight against them and the destruction they bring is with the Truth.

When we know and trust the Truth, lies have no impact. When one comes flying into our mind, we discard it and instead chose the wisdom from above that brings freedom, joy, peace, and love. James 3:15-17 But we can only chose what we know. And that is why a lack of LOVE for the truth is the downfall for many. They are living in deception that steals life and have no idea because they don’t have the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 The impact of our thoughts is why it is our work to believe the truth. John 6:28-29 Yet, we see many not really considering their beliefs but simply on acting on them whatever they may be.

Look at the lie Eve believed. Genesis 3:4-6 Look at the ramifications of acting on it. By falling for it, fallenness and hardship manifested in her life as well as those around her that was never suppose to be. On the other hand, look at Jesus battling the lies thrown at Him in the wilderness. Luke 4 Jesus didn’t fall for them because He deeply knew and trusted the Truth – – and that is the secret of not giving into lies, knowledge and trust in the Truth. We have been given what we need to stand strong, the Truth. When light (truth) comes immediately darkness (deception) flees.

The Bible says the whole world is under the sway of the wicked one 1 John 5:19. The “wicked one” represents the ultimate in pride, selfishness, lies, deception, and a seeking self-will not God’s will. Most people are living by lies not truth, and when we look around we see this is the case by all the destructive behavior that is in the world. Bound by deception, we create afflictions, troubles, hardships, pain, and destruction in our lives and the lives of others. Often we can see the false beliefs in someone else’s life because we are on the outside. But with ourselves, because of the nature of our mind and we are in our mind, it is much more difficult. The nature of deception is that you don’t know it isn’t true until you know the truth.

Not only do false truths create destruction in our lives, but on the flip side they rob us of the promises of God. There are MANY promises to those who TRUST in God. When we know and trust in those promises that truth becomes a powerful force. But if we don’t know those promises and don’t believe they are true and for us then they are stunted. Now God is merciful, so even in our lack of faith He often pours His blessings into our lives. But there is a clear correlation in the Bible between our trust in His Truth and the presence of His promises in our lives.

Knowing His promises is the starting place and it is a process. By abiding in His Word, His truth consumes our thoughts, and our beliefs are crafted on what is true. Only then can we act on them in our lives. Second, trust isn’t just something we decide to do one day; it comes from spending time cultivating a real relationship with God based on truth, which means spending time in His Word on a regular basis with a heart to know God as Lord in our lives. If we doubt God’s promises are for us, we are believing a lie being thrown our way. Don’t believe it. Abide in God’s Word and seek to believe on Him. Ephesians 1:3, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 31:19

When God’s Truth is ours then we are able to stand against the lies thrown at us on a daily basis coming from all directions; lies that derail His promises. In Ephesians 6, all the armor of God that the Apostle Paul instructs us to have either comes from the Word of God or is the Word because the Word provides a foundation of truth from which we can counter the deception we face. Without an outside source of truth to ground our beliefs in we have nothing to fight the vast number of lies that surround us. God gave us His truth to give us light to dispel the darkness of deception.

• “girded your waist with truth” – His Word is truth
• “breastplate of righteousness” – understand our righteousness is from Christ, who is The Word
• “shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” – gospel of peace, is the gospel of reconciliation which is the Word
• “taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” – faith comes from hearing the Word
• “take the helmet of salvation” – understanding of our salvation is gained from the Word.
• “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” – obvious

Victory begins in our minds. How are you going to gain it? What are you going to do to prepare yourself to be victorious? Most of us our battling the wrong thing, we are focused on the outside when we need to focus on what is happening in our minds. The epistle of our lives starts in our thoughts. To be victorious in our lives in every area, we need to know and trust the TRUTH.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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Reworking our Mindsets to be Spirit-Led

Reworking our Mindsets

to be Spirit-Led

 

For the past couple of months the Holy Spirit has been teaching me various mindsets to have in order to be able to listen and follow to Him throughout the day. When we learn to listen and follow the Spirit, our lives become truly powerful as we are consciously connected to Him, operate according to His will not ours, and act in His strength not ours.

Celebrate Each Day

The first mindset the Spirit taught me is to celebrate each day because it’s the only one we have. We will never have the opportunities we have today to love, give, learn, impact someone’s life and so on. We are to enjoy, embrace, and share what we have been given. We can’t go back and repeat a day, what we make of it is what it will forever be, and what we do today affects tomorrow. When you consider the impact and finality of a day, it’s amazing most of us live like we can repeat them. Today is what’s real, which leads me to the next lesson learned.

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay in the Day

In my early twenties I tried to live by the phrase, live in the moment. Back then, it meant to enjoy each day and not get caught up in the past or future. But the Spirit’s recent instruction brought a bit of a different slant and importance to this mindset. When we are in the moment or stay in the day, as a friend calls it, we are more connected to the Spirit because that is where the Spirit is, therefore that is how we have a spirit-lead life. When our mind is elsewhere we aren’t engaged with Him and not listening to His voice and instruction, which is what we need to live by. 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 John 2:27

The past is done and the future is unknown, but many of us live in one or both of these places mentally and emotionally. The past does affect our current moments because what we experienced and choose put us where we are today, but too often we are bounded by it. And one common way is through un-forgiveness. For years I had un-forgiveness in the form of “justified anger and pain” from things that happened in the past; it plagued my days sucking true life from them. When we don’t forgive someone and harbor ill-will against them, then that affects our current decisions, mindset and health. Un-forgiveness is a thief of life, freedom and joy. But how do we forgive truly? For many years I wanted to forgive but couldn’t. We forgive by the power of God working in us. As I cried out to God, He brought forgiveness into the depths of my soul, it was a process.

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

The flip side is dwelling in the worries of an unknown future. (Blog I wrote on worry, Irrational Worry )We get caught up in worry about what might happen that we live this present moment in a future that doesn’t exist and that also is a rancid thief. There is a balance between being responsible and making good decisions that affect the future, and being consumed with worry about it. The former comes from a mindset of trust the other from fear. To overcome consuming worry requires trust in God, the One who is sovereign over everything. Trusting God is the fruit of cultivating a relationship with Him. Only by spending time getting to really know Him, can we truly trust Him. When we do the worry begins to cease and trust takes over; trust in Him, His love for us and His promises. We need to be listening to the Spirit, not worrying.

Matthew 6:24 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

When we stay in the day, then we can attune to the Spirit’s active leading. When we engage Him it changes what happens in our lives as His direction is perfect and complete for us. Take time to invite the Spirit into your thought processes.

Mindset of Praise

The third mindset is to be praise-oriented, which means to praise God throughout the day for Him, His promises, the things around us, and so on. This mindset is the ultimate worship of God, because it is real, true, heart-felt, and active.

This mindset isn’t about denial of what’s happening. It’s looking at a situation from a different perspective. For example, many are in the midst of a financial trial. This type of trial is a tremendous test and refinement of trust in God’s ways not ours, His provision, and sovereignty. We can either dwell in the mindset of being frustrated and complaining, or recognize God’s control and work, God taking care of our present needs, and seeking the Spirit’s counsel. Praise isn’t to be forced or contrived, but real. God cares about the heart. And praise without denial glorifies God. It shows we know Him, trust Him that He is faithful to do what He promises. It reveals we understand His perfect love for us and working in our lives. To gain a heart of praise comes from truly knowing Him and trusting in Him and His promises.

When God is our God there is always a reason to praise because of His love and care for us. We may not feel that in the moment, but our feelings aren’t reality. They are the sum of a whole host of things. The truth is the former.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Connecting the Three Mindsets

A praise mindset helps us to celebrate each day and to stay in the day (so that we can be spirit-lead) because we are aware and thankful for what is right before us. We are outward focused not self-absorbed and therefore more readily available to listen to and be used by God.

Considering these new mindsets, how do you change your thought patterns? Have you ever tried? It’s very difficult on our own. We don’t do it; God does it in us. When God instructs us, and we heed His instruction then He enables us. God rewires our brains. He has done it many times in me. Our part is to pray and keep these truths always before us. Acts 5:32

Through this instruction, I realized how much I’ve missed out on by living in the past or living in the future. I realized how ineffective I’ve been by being absorbed in those and not listening to the Spirit because my mind was busy somewhere else. Those are powerful motivators to drive me forward in what the Spirit has taught me. God is amazing in how perfectly He instructs and leads us to walking in the abundant life He came to give.

These are some powerful New Years resolutions to consider if you’re looking for some.

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Power of Thought – Show Me the Money!??

Power of Thought

Show Me the Money!??

“Show me the Money!” A famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire reflects a state of mind most of us have experienced and perhaps are experiencing it right now.

In a previous blog, I talked about the power of our thoughts and how important it is for our thoughts to be aligned to God’s will and not our own will. Because only His paths lead to true life, love and the good for all and ours don’t. Only His wisdom ushers us into true abundant life. Only by being aligned to Him gets us where we truly want to be.

Money Focus

When it comes to the power of thought, for many people the focus of their thoughts, their pursuit, their motivation and their goals is money. And why not? Money is the means to certain opportunities and lifestyles. Money allows us to help others in ways we couldn’t otherwise. Money pays the bills and keeps our family safe and provided for.

Change of Focus

However, when we reside in God’s kingdom, God tells us money isn’t to be our motivation. Matthew 6:24 Yet money is necessary, so what do we do? We trust God for it, which can be very difficult. But there are great blessings in store for those who trust. We can pray about our concerns regarding money. Seek His wisdom in handling it (a very good idea for many of us), but our focus or our drive each day isn’t after money, but seeking His kingdom or His presence in our lives, which includes His will and wisdom. We seek His kingdom so we can walk in it. When we walk in it then we glorify Him, live in abundant life, and truly love others. As His family, this is the life He has called us to.

God’s will for us

Part of God’s will for us, thus part of our focus is the good works He has for us to do (not our own ideas of good works). Ephesians 2:10 Along with seeking His kingdom, these works are our focus – the goal we set for our lives, the purpose we strive for each day. Not money. Money is often the means to accomplish those goals. He will abundantly provide if we focus on the higher goal, and trust Him with the provision.

Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

A Perfect Father’s Provision

God has a higher calling for His children and we don’t need to focus on provision because that is God’s role, as He told us in verse above. God is the perfect Father. Like an earthly father, we don’t worry about money – we live and enjoy life in each moment. We focus on Him, the people He puts in our lives, enjoying life in gratitude, and doing the best with what He has given us to do in complete trust like a kid. A kid doesn’t think about the money. He knows his father will provide for all his needs therefore he lives an enjoyable worry free life. And sometimes he gets that shining new truck his been asking for. Kids often get far beyond their “needs” and God is the same with us.

There is a false notion and thus an inherent fear that keeps us from trusting God in this area – that God is a bare-minimum God. But that isn’t a characteristic reflected in His Word. God giving in abundance is throughout the lives of those portrayed in the Bible like David, Abraham, the Israelites, Solomon, Moses, and Job. The focus of these men wasn’t money or possessions – it was God and His will for their lives. They sought to follow the will of God and the abundance followed. Because God is a God of abundance. Solomon is a great example. 1 Kings 3:6-14 He asked for wisdom so he could lead God’s people, not wealth. Because He sought something higher God gave Him an abundance. God knows our hearts. He wants us to desire a higher calling and trust Him to provide as a Father who wants the best for His children. If we believe He is a bare-minimum God then that belief will manifest itself in our lives.

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Trust is the Key

God is so good to us it is mind blowing. Most of us just don’t trust it. The lack of faith keeps us focused on the wrong thing and in lack. He wants to give us a fulfilling and abundant life with a meaningful purpose far beyond money. Money is a means not an end. He promises to take care of the means so we are free to focus on a higher goal given to us by Him. If we chase money, we will always chase money and never fulfill that higher calling He created us to accomplish because we were attending to the wrong thing.

Trust is the key. We need to trust God to do what He says He will do. And trust comes from cultivating a personal relationship with Him. If we trust Him He won’t let us down. But we have to make the effort to trust – and that means with our thoughts and our actions. What will be your focus today?

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Our Thoughts Create Our Reality, BUT . . .

Our Thoughts Create Our Reality, BUT . . .

 

There is a great video on the truth, our thoughts create our reality, by Earl Nightingale.

However to be effective in harnessing this power in our lives there is a deeper layer we need to consider – the source of our thoughts. Where do our thoughts come from and how do we decide which thoughts are best? How do we make sure that what we are thinking or focusing on gets us to what we truly desire and what is for our good and the good of others? We often go after what we think is good, but it isn’t. There is a verse from Chris Daughtry’s song, Home, “Be careful what you wish for, ‘Cause you just might get it all” that speaks to this point. How can we be sure the focus of our thoughts will get us where we truly want to be? Often we are blinded to what is truly good for us, to what will truly fulfill. I know I was.

Our thoughts create our reality is the essence of faith. What we believe in and act on (or have faith in) affects of our lives. If it is God’s wisdom then we will experience the fruit of that belief. If it is the wisdom of the world then we will experience its fruit.

Titus 1:15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

In my previous life, I was an avid believer of the power of thought as I am now. However I lived without God’s wisdom, therefore all I thought was grounded in lies, deception, and wisdom of the world. Wisdom that doesn’t bring what we truly desire; wisdom full of empty promises; wisdom that doesn’t fulfill but creates more want; wisdom that leads to bondage. When we use our thoughts for our own selfish reasons, which we do when God isn’t our center, not only does it negatively impact us but also others. This is the life I had created, one of bondage and destruction to me and others.

I focused, visioned, and tried all sorts of “positive” thinking but deep down my soul remained tormented, thus I tormented others. No one lives in a vacuum. I figured I just need to try harder. When God isn’t our center, instead of being for the greater good our thoughts become a power for the sake of gaining our own power. When this happens we throw things off balance. Our faith is in faith for our own interests. And that kind of thinking leads to destruction because it is counter to God’s will which is for the good of everyone. The lie we have to overcome so that we will seek His will and not our own is that God doesn’t desire a good life for us. It is one we all battle, but it is a lie. I’ve learned the truth in my own life. God truly does desire fulfillment, satisfaction and good for us.

Only when I realized that lie and sought God’s will did my life start to change to become what I truly desired and beneficial to others. By abiding in the Bible, God’s words, His truth became the framework from which I started thinking. His words became my thoughts and started to manifest true life.

Sometimes we don’t realize what we want. The world’s wisdom tells us certain things will fulfill us, make us happy, but they don’t. God created us individually and uniquely. When we don’t align our minds to His will then we end up chasing what will never satisfy. Deep down we have desires instilled in us by God. Only God can lead us to the fulfillment of those desires that bring true satisfaction and joy.

Our thoughts create our reality. If we align our thoughts to God’s wisdom then we find what we were always looking for and everyone benefits.

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Connecting to Others’ Souls

Pets seem to be very in tune with us – more than most people.

It fascinates me how my two cats respond to my real thoughts or emotions. Despite my outward persona, it is my inner rhythm that they are connected to. What I truly think and feel impacts their actions. It is incredible.

Malcolm, my male Ragdoll kitten, was keeping his distance from me, and I thought that he just didn’t want my affection like his sister, Sophie. No big deal, they are just different. However, after a conversation with my brother, an animal lover, I realized that thought was causing him to keep his distance. At that moment I changed. Instead I thought – he wants my affection just as much as Sophie. Almost immediately he acted differently; hanging around me, wanting to be picked up, and cuddling with me. Since then our relationship has been totally different – and needless to say much more satisfying for both of us. And all I did was change my thinking.

Our thinking affects our attitude, emotions, temperament, and actions. It is the sum of these that others pick up on. In speaking to others, 70% of our communication is non-verbal, so most of what we say is what we don’t. Others obviously don’t know what we think, but what we think affects what they receive from us. Our thoughts are very important. If we change them then it affects everything else. I think this is why Paul told us to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8, 1 Timothy 4:15

Our thinking impacts how people respond to us because it is the source to what we put out. To connect with others on a deeper level we need to be aware of our thoughts toward them and if they are hindering or helping, and second we need to be willing to look past their exterior to what is really going on.

The other day I was feeling a bit down. Malcolm tuned into how I was feeling and followed me around and sat down with me on the sofa. His affection was a bit different than normal – he knew I was upset even if it was subtle. Pets are amazing animals. For those who have a good relationship with them you know what a comfort they can be. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when I talk to other pet owners they experience similar interactions. They seem to pick up what’s beneath the exterior.

If we do these two things, attend to our thoughts and look beyond the exterior, a more meaningful connection can be established with others.

However, there are things that can interfere with looking beyond the exterior.

Often we have so much of our own stuff in the way preventing us from truly focusing on someone else. Fear, self-focus, pride, unforgiveness, living in the past, and worried about the future all affect our ability to be fully engaged in the moment and love others in such a compassionate and real way. And often when we do pick up on what is going on underneath we don’t respond to it for various reasons – at least I don’t.

Imagine if we were in tune and responsive to one another like our pets. . . how different our relationships would be? We wouldn’t respond to each others masks or defense mechanisms; we would look into the soul and respond accordingly. Several years ago, Larry Crabb wrote a book, Soul Talk. It was about connecting and talking to others at this deeper level. It is a great concept, but I have found it is easier said than done. Focusing on my self, how I am perceived, trying to please others, fear of rejection, reacting to the surface level of defense mechanisms that anger and hurt me, and pride all get in the way. But interestingly, as I abide in God’s truth and He frees me from my own issues and fills me with His love, I am finding that looking past the exterior is coming naturally.

We are here to love God and love others Luke 10:27 – if we aren’t clued into each other’s deeper needs then we can’t love and have compassion like we could otherwise.

Malcolm & Sophie

Malcolm & Sophie