Category Archives: Positive Thinking

Two Kinds of Expectations

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Does God want you to have expectations? Sure He does! In fact, Psalm 5:3 states, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

We are often taught to not have expectations or maybe experience tells us that “too many expectations lead to disappointments.”

The kind of expectation that leads to disappointment is the anticipation of the way things “should” be or “how” they should happen.  We have a picture of the process in our mind and expect that things will occur accordingly, and when they don’t go the way we want it to go, we get terribly disappointed. It would be better to think of “your way” as a general blueprint for your plan but allow for flexibility so that God will still work it out — His way. If it does happen the way you wanted it to, great! But if not, the key is to not insist on making it happen your way. That’s what it means to “surrender your will.” It’s a power struggle between you and God. God always wins so the sooner you surrender, the happier you will be.

The other type of expectation is mentioned in Psalm 5:3. Ironically, it is easier to have expectations of the way things should be than to believe that the “impossible” can actually be possible. Do you believe that God actually wants you to have expectations so He can fulfill them? The difference lies in “how” and “will” (as in the future tense of the verb, “to be.”). Put your expectations before God and believe they “will” happen, but leave the “how” part to God.

One last thing I want to point out. The operative word here is “wait.” The psalmist wrote, “…I wait in expectation.” There is no indication that God answered this person’s prayer the same day.  Honestly I have had to wait so long for certain things that I wondered if my desires were out of line with God’s plan for my life.  What if God didn’t want those things for me?  I think the more appropriate question is, why would God allow this to be written in the scriptures if He didn’t want to answer our prayers?

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

The psalmist was 100% confident that God would answer. Do you pray and wait with this kind of confident expectation?

#prayer #faith #expectations #disappointment #waitonGod #patience #prayer #belief #confidence #powerstruggle #waiting #happiness #hope #hopeinGod

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Moving Mountains with Your Words

mountains“Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” Mark 12:24

When the Sadducees were trying to test Jesus with all kinds of questions, their interrogation showed that they clearly did not know the scriptures, and yet they were the religious leaders of their day.  Yikes!  Jesus, the Son of God, received the most persecution from the elite, well-educated religious scholars of that time period but they did not recognize His identity.  Do you know the Word well enough to not miss the mark if Jesus decided to come back today?

Know the Word.

Knowledge has different levels.  Filling your head with book knowledge is different from knowing a friend.  You can “know” the Word and recite scriptures to anyone who asks for a verse, but do you intimately “know” the Word as in having a deep relationship with Christ through obedience and faith?  If you have obedience but lack faith, I dare say that you still don’t “know” the Word because part of walking with God is walking by faith.  Faith is receiving the scriptures in your innermost being and actually believing in the truth of the Gospel.

Experience the power of God.

“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

If you are looking for a bag of magic tricks, there is nothing grandiose or excessively ostentatious about following God.  In this passage here, you can see that transformation is a process.

  1. Someone teaches you the Word of God.
  2. You hear it and put your faith in the truth of the scriptures.
  3. You put off your old self.
  4. Your attitude is made new.
  5. You put on the new self.

Notice that a change of attitude precedes “putting on the new self,” which is visible to everyone else.  You have to change internally before you can project that externally.  Nobody knows your attitude except you and God alone.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”  Romans 10:17

The Word changes you, but you have to meditate on it day and night.  How long will it take for your attitude to change?  In other words, how long does it take to form a habit?  Contrary to the popular belief that it takes 21 days, researchers now say it takes 66 days to form a new habit.  We have to consistently read the Word, allow our faith to grow, align our thoughts with the scriptures and discard any negative thoughts that are not congruent with God’s truth.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” – Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Say the Word Out Loud.

In the book, Words Can Change Your Brain, leading neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg and Professor Mark R. Waldman of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles wrote, “A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”  Their research shows that positive words build resilience in other regions of the brain and have a ripple effect in the rest of the body.

When you come across scriptures like Psalm 34:19 or Proverbs 24:16, say them out loud.  There are plenty of golden nuggets in the bible that you can discover for yourself.  Recite every promise of God so you can hear yourself saying it, and if you feel uncomfortable at first, it’s okay because it takes at least 66 days for a habit to become part of your character.  Practice makes perfect.  The biggest mountain we have to move is ourselves.  Once you can move that, you can move any other mountain that stands in your way.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

#powerofwords #musingz4life #faith #believe #receive #sayitoutloud

An Open Door No One Can Shut

open-door“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” ~ Isaiah 22:22

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” ~ Rev 3:8

 

If God has something in store for you, no forces in hell or heaven can stop it.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:13

God’s will + your efforts = unstoppable

“…because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 16:9

No opposition can shut the door that God holds open for you.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21

God’s will prevails.

Do not worry about your future. What’s meant to take place will take place!

It’s not the walk but the way you walk that will determine if you receive what’s meant for you. Example: The Promised Land was given to the Israelites but they had to pass through the wilderness. They lacked so much faith and provoked God to anger again and again that only 2 people made it to the Promised Land. Not even Moses himself made it!

#GodsWill #fate #destiny #QueSeraSera #sovereignwill #meanttobe #dontworry #opendoor #musingz4life

The Difference between Desperation and Desire

boiling-waterHave you ever wanted something so badly you could taste it? How badly would your faith be shaken if you didn’t receive it in one, five or twelve years?  In the story of the Bleeding Woman (Luke 8:43-48), we see an example of a woman who was determined to get what she wanted.

Backstory of the Bleeding Woman

 “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.”  Luke 8:43

All we know about this woman is that she had been suffering for 12 years before Jesus came to the scene.  If you have a loved one who has been suffering from a terrible illness for which the doctors have not found a cure, or for which certain medications/surgery would not be an option because of comorbid conditions, you know the frustration of hopelessness and despair.  Yet the woman did not give up hope.

Amidst the crowds, Jesus felt her desperation.

The woman didn’t just desire to be healed.  She was desperate to be healed!  When Jesus came, she was so determined to meet him because she knew in her heart of hearts that He was the only one who could heal her.  Nothing was going to stop her – no sardine-packed crowd, no doubt, no hesitation, no one’s opinion – she was adamant about getting through to Jesus for His healing power.  Amidst the crowd that was packed so tightly that no one could breathe, this woman reached out and her faith made Jesus turn His head.

The difference between desire and desperation is determination.

When you’re desperate for something, there’s a sense of urgency that propels you toward your goal.  The crowds who surrounded Jesus wanted to meet Him, so they followed Him wherever He went, but this woman cut through the masses and made Jesus notice her.  They say that the difference between a winner and a loser is one’s character that will carry one through. Why does one achieve his goal while the other one doesn’t? Character.

  Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

You achieve character first through suffering, then perseverance, and then you get hope from the character that’s forged within you.

“A sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” – Proverbs 13:4

Waiting is part of that diligence. But what about faith?

Without faith, people give up, and therefore they allow their character to soften instead of fervently relying on God.  How long will you wait before you receive the desire of your heart?

I cannot even fathom what it’s like to be in the Bleeding Woman’s shoes, but I do know what it’s like to wait for something forever and never receiving it.  Oftentimes I wonder if I should just give up and chalk it up to “It’s not God’s will,” but if the Bleeding Woman caved into that kind of thinking, she would have never gone after Jesus because she would have believed that Jesus never wanted to heal her. 

Twelve years is an awfully long time to wait for something.  You don’t know the future; you can only hope for the best.  I wonder how many times this woman felt like giving up.  Will a miracle ever turn up?  Will the suffering ever stop?  Waiting year after year, waiting in the dark, not knowing the future – that does something to your soul.  In my despair, many times I have “surrendered” my desires to God with a hint of unbelief.

Will you surrender your desire to God with a spirit of resignation, or will you, like the Bleeding Woman, fight with urgency and desperation to get God’s attention?

#nevergiveup #faith #prayer #determination #God #Jesus #character #hope #perseverance #persistence #healing #miracles #fightofthefaith #keepupthegoodfight #musingz4life #dependonGod

Gold Miner

napoleonI don’t know about you, but on any given day, my mind is filled with trash – negative thinking, anxiety, self-doubt, overwhelming thoughts, restlessness, discontentment and the like.  Sometimes I have to dig – dig for those little golden nuggets of memories that make me smile and forget my troubles momentarily.  We’ve all heard the mantra “think positive,” but positive memories don’t always easily come to the surface when we need them; at least for me they don’t.

My mind is most idle when I’m driving.  I’m on auto-pilot, so my mind naturally drifts to the problems of the day; being the over-thinker that I am, I start analyzing everything and everybody to death before I reach my destination.  Today, I remembered a very positive thing that happened, and I realized how much effort and discipline it takes to stay focused on the positive.

What does the Bible say about positive thinking?

“Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things He does for me.”   Psalm 103:2

 “8 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

“My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.”  Psalm 42:6

 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”  Psalm 77:11

These verses certainly send a clear message: thinking positively means thinking proactively.  Remember this. Don’t forget that. Think about such things.  “I will remember the deeds of the Lord” sounds pretty determined to me.  Positive thinking means digging deeper into those crevices within your mind for a few golden nuggets that will make you smile for a while.

#remember #thinkpositive #musingz4life #RememberGod