1. When it's Good to Change your Mind
2. I Shall Not Want
3. Need Soul Restoration?
4. Walking Right
5. When Life is Difficult
6. Enjoy the Feast
7. Smeared with Oil
8. More Than Enough
9. Pursued by Grace
10. Living in the Presence
Happy New Year to old friends and new visitors!
May 2022 be filled for each of you
with the presence and blessing of the Lord.
For huge numbers around the world, 2020 was a year of loss and anxiety. Countless people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, severe weather destruction, financial stress, and a host of other issues—many of them faced in isolation—and so numerous individuals of every race, culture and social strata are embarking on this new year with trepidation.
To be able to stand in the storm, we need to make sure we are on a firm foundation; to tackle the fear which can overwhelm, we need to change the way we think.
In addition, a new year has traditionally been a time of self-examination and new resolutions; unfortunately for some this turns to morbid introspection and self-disgust; while for others it is all about self-denial and a renewed attempt to deal with bad habits.
Maybe the surprising answer to both situations, in the Bible, is ‘repentance’. This is because the root meaning of the Greek word for ‘repentance’ in the New Testament is to change the way you think; which is why Paul says we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds [Romans 12:2]. If we align ourselves with God in our thoughts and words, what we think and say about ourselves and our circumstances has spiritual power to effect change.
Gospel repentance is about transformation, not modification. ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he’ says Proverbs [23:7]; what we believe about ourselves and our lives, effects how we act, which in turn effects our situation. If we want to change our behaviour or reactions, we must deal with our old thought patterns. Modern psychology has found this to be true, using behaviour modification techniques to retrain old mental patterns.
However, the Bible got there first:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,
and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
ALIGNMENT WITH GOD
Alignment with God means choosing to agree with Him, think like Him, talk like Him, and believe what He says—whatever our circumstances. This is not about refusing to face reality, disregarding the facts, or living in a make-believe world, (nor is it about discarding medication, making crazy ‘faith stands’ or jumping through hoops in order to ‘receive’); it’s about choosing to put our trust in the One who has said He’ll never leave us or forsake us [Deuteronomy 31:]—even when we don’t understand.
Scripture makes it clear:
Without weakening in his faith, (Abraham) faced the fact that his body was as good as dead
– since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God,
but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
This is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
Choosing faith when circumstances are difficult; choosing to trust in His word when our experience contradicts; choosing not to blame God when we don’t understand; choosing to speak out His truth in the face of adversity—this is the way of the Cross. But if we persevere, we will receive the rewards.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
With these things in mind, over the next few weeks, I will be exploring Psalm 23 in this blog. An all-time favourite, this beautiful song is David’s declaration of his faith in a good God; the challenge to us is to go beyond quoting familiar words and make it truly our own.
NEXT WEEK: I SHALL NOT WANT!
‘I shall not want!’ This was David’s joyous declaration; ‘I shall lack no good thing!’ Yet during the days when this 'chosen one' lived as a fugitive, when he was hungry, betrayed and hunted, this statement didn’t look like it was true...
GET IN TOUCH!
[Photo credits: Isabela Kronemberger (2022); Paola Aguilar (woman thinking);
Brett Jordan (mail sign) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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