The Battle Is In the Mind

TODAY’S VERSE
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
II Corinthians 10:5

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Philippians 4:8

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When it comes to the many struggles in life, the real battle is often in the mind. James writes, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1) That is why Paul tells us to demolish those thoughts that stand against what God wants for us. We are in a Spiritual battle and need to take every stray thought captive and repent, correct it the way God would have us correct it. If I am hating someone, I need to capture the hateful thoughts, realize that they are wrong, ask forgiveness and choose not to hate. Paul also gives us a second way to win the victory in the battle for our mind. He instructs us to discipline our thinking so it focuses on thoughts that are worthy of praising God for. Those thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent. Anger, bitterness, hate, jealously, fear, anxiety; these negative emotions can literally kill us. They are joy robbers. The suck the life right out of us. Greed, selfishness, pride; thoughts that are worldly, keep us from living for God. The good news is that God has not left you powerless. You have a choice. Take responsibility for your thought life. Capture the negative thoughts and focus on the good ones. Today, choose your thoughts wisely.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, so much goes on in my head. Help me today dear Jesus, to bring every thought captive and realign them to where they are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent. In Your name I pray.
AMEN

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Make Every Effort

TODAY’S VERSE
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Ephesians 4:2-3

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Can you imagine if everyone in the church would take these words to heart? What a witness of God’s love we would be. Paul is sharing how we should behave as a church. He writes that we are to always be humble, gentle and patient with each other. This is not easy. That is why he says that we need to make allowance for each other’s faults and to make “every” effort to be united and bound together in peace.
How about today? Who is it that bothers you? Who gets under your skin? When you catch yourself talking bad about someone, who is it? What commitment can you make to be humble, gentle and patient with that person? What efforts can you put forth in the next week to keep yourself united with them in the Spirit? This is where it needs to start. May God grant you the courage and strength you will need today to step up and make every effort to be united and at peace.
 
TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I desire be to humble, gentle and patient with those that bother me. Help me focus on your love so I can make allowances for the faults of others. Help me Lord to make every effort to be united in the Spirit, binding myself with others with the bonds of peace.
AMEN

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Anxiety or Peace?

TODAY’S VERSE
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
I Peter 5:7

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
Isaiah 26:3

TODAY’S THOUGHT
As hard as we try, we can’t control everything. Circumstances happen, situations arise, consequences catch up with us. Anxiety or peace? Because of God we do have a choice. God makes all the difference in the world! Peter tells us to cast all our care on God. I love the imagery. You throw something light. You cast something heavy. We are to take our heavy load of worry and anxiety, use all our strength and faith and cast it onto Jesus. Let Him take it. Why? Because He cares for us. Why? Because He is able to keep us in perfect peace. Isaiah shared the secret to peace. He said to fix our thoughts on God and trust Him. What is it that you are worried about today? Cast it onto Jesus. Trust Him with it. Fix your thoughts on His love for you.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I thank you that I can cast all my cares on You. I thank you that you care for me and that you are able to keep me in perfect peace. Take my situation, I trust you with it. I choose to take my focus off my worries and fears and put it on you and your love. Give me your peace today.
AMEN

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To Do Today

TODAY’S VERSE
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Not sure what to do today? Don’t know which direction to go in or where to start? In today’s passage Paul has given us a tremendous “to do” list. In fact he is emphatic about our doing it. He uses the words, “always”, “continually” and “in all circumstances”. Look at what he says we should do. “Be joyful always!” We think of joy as an emotion but in fact many times joy is an act of the will. We choose to see the glass half full, the trip almost finished, hope right around the corner. We see hope and experience the presence of Christ in our life and choose joy! “Pray continually.” Prayer is more than an occasional ritual. It is the communication that comes out of a vibrant real relationship. It is a conversation with the living God that goes on all day. God really is with us and we talk to Him continually. “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Giving thanks is that expression of gratitude we give to God when we decide to give Him the glory for the good around us and trust Him with the bad. When things go right we praise and when we are not sure about our circumstances and are upset, it is the voice of reason that says, “I thank you God that you are trustworthy.” Today add to your list of things to do; being joyful, praying and giving thanks. 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, above all else today, I choose to be joyful. I also commit myself to pray throughout the day as things come to my mind. And Father, today I will deliberately be conscious of giving you thanks in all my circumstances. Help me to this end I pray in Jesus name.
AMEN

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Choices

TODAY’S VERSE
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:4-6

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 1:1

TODAY’S THOUGHT
There are many choices to make in life. How do we integrate our faith into the major life decisions we make? First we see in this passage that we are to “trust in the Lord with all our heart.” This is more than “head knowledge.” It is experiential knowledge. This “knowing” has gone past our brain into our experience so that it has finally resided in our inner being. It is not a “blind faith” rather it is what the author of Hebrews calls “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” It is out of our relationship with God that we “seek His will in all we do” and God is faithful to lead us and show us which path to take. 
What is it that you need help with? What is it that you need to decide? Seek God’s help today. Pray over the issue at hand. Seek counsel, apply wisdom, pray much and then allow Him to guide you. Let Him work in your heart and mind. He promises He will.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, some decisions are so hard. I find myself so many times baffled at what to do. Situations where I have dug myself into a hole, consequences of other peoples sins, circumstances beyond my control, all of these have often left me rocking. Father, help me trust in you with all my heart today. Increase my faith. Impart your wisdom to me and lead me in the way I should go. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus.
AMEN

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No Condemnation

TODAY’S VERSE
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is one thing to forgive someone else. How do we forgive ourself? How do we get rid of a guilty conscience? Conviction is one thing. We need conviction. The job of the Holy Spirit is to help us live the life that God created us for. Jesus said that He had to leave the earth. His job of dying for our sins would be over but then the Holy Spirit would come and convict of sin, righteousness and judgment. When we feel convicted, we repent, ask forgiveness and accept the forgiveness. At least that is how it is suppose to work. But for many it doesn’t stop there. Instead there is a nagging condemnation. An ugly worthlessness, a sense of hopelessness that we can never be loved, let alone forgiven. A shame that is so hard to overcome that our soul becomes numb.
My friend, let me assure you, God does not use shame. He does not condemn. Lift up your head, go ahead, lift up your head and look into the eyes of Jesus. You will see nothing but unconditional love for you. Hear these words of Paul today, let them resound deep into your heart, breathe them in; “There is no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus.” Know today that you are forgiven, you are loved. So forgive yourself, be healed, be free from any false guilt. Accept His unconditional love.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, today I quit trying to earn your love. I let go of all the thoughts, all the negative self images, all the nagging doubts and condemnation that is stopping me from accepting your unconditional love. Instead, as I sit here, fill me with your forgiveness. Overwhelm me with the joy you have over me. I thank you that you are not ashamed of me and that I am precious in your sight. Today I wash myself clean in your grace, forgiveness and love. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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Forgiveness

TODAY’S VERSE
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Colossians 3:13

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Forgiveness is at the root of Christianity. It is the cornerstone of our beliefs. Christ came so we could be forgiven of all our sins. So is it any surprise that forgiveness is the basis of a healthy human existence? No one gets through life unscathed. All of us have to forgive someone at one time or another. And it can be very difficult. But we need to understand that the consequences of unforgiveness can be worst that the offence we need to forgive. Sickness, mental illness, stress, poor life choices can all be the result of a bitter unforgiving spirit.
Are you hurt, bitter, angry, gripped by the inability to forgive? Leanne Payne, in her book, Listening Prayer, says, “We do not forgive evil. We hate evil. But we find the grace to forgive those in the grip of evil, those who did the evil against us.” According to Neil Anderson in his book, Bondage Breaker, “Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened. Rather it is agreeing to live with the consequences of another persons wrongdoing, it is acknowledging the hurt and hate.” When you do, something deeply spiritual happens. God is able to suddenly help you see His deep love and forgiveness for you and His Holy Spirit gives you the ability to forgive, even when you won’t feel like it. He will help you make the choice to forgive. Set yourself free, choose to forgive today.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgiving those that have hurt me is hard. Bring to my mind today, those that I need to forgive. Then help me, by your grace, to be honest about my hurt and hate and then to deliberately choose to forgive them, just as you deliberately died on the cross and forgave me. Set me free today from the bondage of unforgiveness.
AMEN

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Don’t Give Up Doing Good

TODAY’S VERSE
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Galatians 6:9

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is hard work doing good. It seems like there is always a shortcut, a reason to delay, an easier way. It is easier to complain than to fix something. It is easier to quit than to go the extra mile. We find ourselves asking, “If this is so good, why is it so hard?” Besides, there is no way you will ever get paid for all you are doing, most of the time your efforts will go unrewarded. And yet we do good because it is the right thing to do. It is His will, it is what Jesus would do. Nobody knew this more that the Apostle Paul. So he pens these words for our encouragement, “Don’t get tired of doing good! You will reap a harvest of blessing, just don’t give up!”
What good are you doing? What have you started but need to get back to? Are you discouraged? Do you feel like giving up? Talk to God about it today. Let Him know. Ask Him for strength and joy. Ask Him to give you a glimpse of the possibilities and then get back up and continue on. You will see the end, there will be a blessing, don’t give up.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, you know where I am at. You know the good I am trying to do. You know my struggle. I cannot see the end. I need your help. I need your strength. I recommit myself today to doing the good that you have called me to do. Lord, I want to see the harvest of blessing.
AMEN

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Tongue and Temper

TODAY’S VERSE
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
James 1:19, 26

TODAY’S THOUGHT
James doesn’t pull any punches. He knows how easy it is to pretend we are living for Christ. We have all the right outward behavior. We know the right phrases, go to the right programs, and do the right ministries. But James doesn’t talk about any of that. Instead he get right to the heart of Christianity. He says that we MUST be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. How different would this world be if all would heed what James has said? How many fights, feuds and even wars have been fought because people would not control their tongue or emotions? How worthless has our Christianity seemed to others because we did not allow James’s admonition to permeate our behavior. If Jesus would be Lord and Master of our life then He must be Lord and Master of our tongue and temper. If this has been a weakness, confess it to Christ and ask for the help of His Holy Spirit. He will guide you. Today might we give our emotions to Christ. When given an opportunity today, might we be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you know how many times I have been so swift to speak and get angry. You how I have not listened to others the way I should. I confess my poor habits and ask dear Lord Jesus that you would forgive me and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Give me the discipline I need today to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
AMEN

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Focus on Him

TODAY’S VERSE
“Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
Colossians 3:5-10

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Just say no! Okay, maybe it’s not quite that easy. But you have to admit that the attitude you take into a situation helps shape the outcome. If we can read this list that Paul gives us and determine that with God’s strength we are going to say “No” before we get into a challenging situation it will help. Paul uses phrases like “Have nothing to do with” and “get rid of”. This indicates that God expects us to take some initiative. What I like the best about today’s passage is the phrase, “Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.” So do we get victory over these sins because we focus on them and fight diligently to overcome or because we focus on God and try to be more like Him? Sure it is some of each, but I really believe that a positive focus will always win over the negative. Try what Paul suggests, focus on God, get to know Him, let Him mold you more into His likeness and He will help you take care of any negative behavior. It’s like the old saying, “Love God and do as you please.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord you know I want to live a life that pleases you. I don’t want to be sexually immoral, evil or greedy. I don’t want to be angry or full of slander or dirty language. I don’t want to lie. Help me today to focus on you. Help me to know you, to love you, to commune with you and I will trust you with all the other behaviors. Help me today, be more like you. In Jesus Name.
AMEN

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