Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

The girls in my county jail Bible study struggle to live successful lives.  Most of their problems and troubles result from their wrong thoughts.  The progression of thoughts to results are as follows.  What we think affects our emotions.  Our emotions control our behavior.  And, our behavior directs the events of our lives.

For example, destructive thinking is to think of things that offend you, which causes you to be angry, fearful, or sad. When you are fearful, angry, or sad, you will act out these emotions in aggressive or passive-aggressive ways. Passive-aggressive behavior varies, but can be silence, avoidance, harming yourself by cutting, using drugs, turning to alcohol, etc.   When you act on your negative emotions, then there will be strife in yourself and with others.  Strife destroys relationships in partnerships, jobs, churches, etc., which will often negatively affect your life and the lives of your family.  Review my post on the one thing that destroys relationships.

To be healthy emotionally, think positive and thankful thoughts.  When you think positive thoughts, then you will act or behave with kindness and grace.   Showing gratitude and grace will strengthen your relationships.   Showing grace is saying a kind word or forgiving someone when they may not deserve it.  See my post Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without.

The first step to victorious, sucessful living is to be spiritually healed.  Spiritual healing begins by confessing we are sinners in need of a savior.  Then believing Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died and rose again, forgives our sins, and frees us from sins control (See Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 1:14; & Gal 5:1). When we confess this with our mouth and believe it with our heart, then God the Holy Spirit and His love, life, and light enter our hearts (See Gal 4:6 & 1 Cor 6:17). If you have not made this confession, then do it now to experience spiritual healing (See Rom 10:9-13 & Eph 2:1-10).  Next, practice the following actions to live a victorious and successful life.

1)  Live through Christ Jesus: See 1 John 4:9-12, 17; 2 Cor 13:4; Gal 2:20.  Live through Christ by doing the following actions.

  • Keep your mind on Him and transform your thinking: See Col 3:1-4; Is 26:3; James 1:21; Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8
  • Seek His help when you struggle with temptations and wrong thinking: See Heb 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 1 Cor 10:13
  • Abide (stay; dwell) with Him, and His words abide in you: See Jn 15:1-8; 1 John 2:24; Jam 1:21-25; 4:6-8; Matt 7:24-26
  • Forgive as He forgave (key to successful relationships): See Matt 6:12-15; 18:21-35; Col 3:13; Mark 11:25
  • Be humble as He was: See Phil. 2:3-11; Matthew 11:29; 1 Peter 5:5
  • Love as He Loved: See John 15:9-14; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; 16:14

2)  Rely on the Holy Spirit as your Helper:  See John 14:26 and John 15:26. To renew us See Titus 3:3-7 & 1 Cor 6:11. To put off your old life and put on a new life: See Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-15; 2 Cor 5:17

3)  Die to sin and be free from it’s control, then do what is right by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit:  See 1 Peter 2:24; Rom 6:10-14; 8:4-11; 1 John 1:7; 3:5-8, 14; Col 3:5-17, Eph 4:17-32; 5:8; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:11; James 1:21; Gal 5:22-25. Deny your fleshly desires (sin/evil) and avoid the consequences:  See James 1:13-15; Gal 5:16-21; 6:7-8; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 8:7-8, 13-14; Mark 7:20-23; Rev 21:8

4)  Pray continually: See Phil 4:6-7; Rom 12:12; 1 Thes 5:17 –Turn every wrong, sinful thought into a prayer of repentance and renewal immediately.  The longer we think wrong thoughts the further down the wrong path we will go (1 John 1:9; 3:21-24).

5)  Submit to God and stand firm against the enemy of your mind and your faith:  See James 4:7,8; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-17; 1 Peter 5:6-10; Heb 11:1, 6; 12:1-3; 1 John 5:4-5

6)  Persevere through trials; trusting God is at work, and put your hope in Him: See John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12-14, 19; Matt 6:33-34; 8:28; James 1:2-4, 12; 5:11; Heb 10:36-39; 12:5-7; Rom 5:2-4; 8:18; Lam 3:21-25; Is 30:18; Ps 62:5-8; 147:11; Luke 6:22; 2 Cor 4:17-18; 12:10

7)  Do the Will of God, found in the Word of God:  See James 1:21-25; 1 Peter 4:2; Matt 3:35; Rom 12:2; 1 Thes 4:3; 5:12-18; 1 Pet 2:15; 1 John 2:17; 5:14-15

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

We learned in the last two posts that our thoughts control our destiny, and we can control our thoughts. Please read my previous two posts if you haven’t already. In this post, I want to share more specifically how to control your thoughts. In the post called ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL, I explained how I tend to let my thinking go to extremes of anger, and then to worry.  I use the Bible for my inspiration because it is the authority for how to have success in everything, especially how we should think, which affects everything in our lives. How we think dictates how well we relate to people.

To break my negative thought cycle, I change it by practicing the Scripture to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  To rejoice always is to choose to focus your thoughts continually on things that make you glad, happy, or delighted. Next, praying without ceasing is to turn every thought into a prayer. If you think about someone, pray for them. If you are upset about something, ask God to help you or whatever you need God to do, then think of something praiseworthy. Rejoice in the fact that God is faithful and nothing is impossible with Him. Then give thanks or show gratitude in everything, which does not leave anything out. Imagine, if you rejoice, pray, and be thankful all the time, you would never be depressed, miserable, angry, etc.  When I focus my thoughts on these three things, I do not feel miserable, so I don’t act miserably and make others miserable.  Breaking negative thought cycles takes work and discipline, but it is well worth it.

The Apostle Paul also taught the Philippians how to safeguard their minds. In Philippians 4:4-8 he lays out four ways to create a healthy thought life.

  1. Have an attitude of praise and gratitude. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NIV) – To rejoice in the Lord always is to worship the Lord and all He is with thanksgiving. Philippians 3:1 also states, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. …it is a safeguard for you.” A safeguard is a protective stipulation. Rejoicing protects our minds from destructive thoughts of anger, malice, envy, worry, fear, etc. Things to rejoice and be glad for, and be thankful for, can be found in Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers, I encourage you to add this page to your favorite list and visit this page daily.
  2. Let prayer occupy your thoughts all the time, especially during times of emotional stress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6 NIV). Also, Ephesians 6:18 states, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions (all the time) with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How do we pray in the Spirit all the time?  It is our spirit with the Holy Spirit in us that prays through our minds to God. Read Four Realities of the Spirit World to understand the interactions of the spirit world. Prayer is a way to productively channel your emotional energy. If you tend to worry or be angry, then read the following posts to learn how to be free to choose different thoughts and break the cycle: Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds and ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds
  3. Choose where you let your thoughts dwell. You have control of your thoughts, so use that control to your benefit and the benefit of others.  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble (honorable), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV emphasis added) – Be proactive about your thought life! Choose to think true and positive thoughts described in this verse. Write down an example for each type of thought that would pertain to your life. For example:
  • True thoughts are based on what you read in the Bible, so focus on scriptural truths about yourself, others, God, and the world around you.  My short book on this website has over 100 true thoughts to think on.
  • Noble or honorable thoughts could be thoughts about what you can do to help others or to show kindness to a crabby person, or show love to someone who is difficult to love, etc.
  • Right thoughts could be thoughts about what is good and what you like about a person or something. For example, I have to walk a ½ mile to my office building from where I park.  When the weather is crappy, it is hard to have right thoughts.  Right thoughts are to think of the good exercise I am getting that I wouldn’t get otherwise, the fresh air I am breathing to detoxify my lungs and body, more time to pray, etc.
  • Pure thoughts could be thinking good about people and not judgmental thoughts. Choose to think pure thoughts about the opposite sex, instead of obscene thoughts. Choose to view movies and TV shows or read material that generate pure thoughts. In Psalms 101:3a, King David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;” Make this verse your priority to protect your mind from wicked and evil words and images, so your thoughts remain pure.
  • Lovely thoughts could be thinking about someone you love or thinking about how much God loves you that He would send His son to die and atone for our sin. And how His son, Jesus, would willingly do this for ungrateful people who reject Him.
  • Admirable thoughts could be thoughts that marvel at God’s creation, goodness, and mercy. Or, think about things that are done excellently, like a beautiful garden or some other good works.
  1. Your thoughts determine the beliefs and attitudes of your heart. When you practice thinking the thoughts listed above your mind is at peace, and you will be at peace with others and life. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NIV) – This verse is conditional and is based on following the previous principles of thinking. So, when you rejoice, pray, be thankful, and think good thoughts, you are inviting God into your thought life and valuing yourself and others.

Thoughts come from all directions, but most thoughts come from the words we read and hear. I wrote two posts about the power of our words.

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Has this ever happened to you?  My son finished his fourth year of college out of five and it is not cool to talk to his mom.  I find out from my husband that he received two awards, one was for having the highest GPA in Architectural Engineering.  So, I took offense and I thought, well, why didn’t he tell me when I asked what has been happening in his life.  Why wasn’t I invited to the awards ceremony?  Who was invited instead of me?  My thoughts kept going like a fire.  I could not sleep; I woke up depressed.  All my muscles were tense with anxiety.  I had the unhealthy belief that my son did not love me.  I believed he will shut me out of his life, and I will never see my grandchildren.  Poo Hoo.  This example is only a smattering of how my thoughts quickly got out of control.

I know that all thoughts are within my control.  So I told myself to STOP thinking those wrong thoughts and taking an offense.  I talked to myself and acknowledged that I was disappointed because my expectations were not met, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of our relationship.   The Bible teaches us to forgive, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything.  I refocused my thoughts on good thoughts and what I can be thankful for.  I prayed and asked God to take my anxious thoughts and unhealthy beliefs from me and the resulting stress energy.

I decided to text my son to let him know I was disappointed about not being invited to the awards ceremony and how proud I was of his achievement.  He called me right away and told me to get over myself and stop my pity party because the awards ceremony was not open to family and friends.  I had a good laugh at myself.  By that time I was over my obsessing because I accepted that those we love will disappoint us, and we will disappoint them.

So, where did those wrong thoughts originate?  I asked God to show me where those thoughts flowed from.  He showed me that I was feeling insecure about my relationship with my son, and my insecure feelings generated my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs.   Could an unseen evil spirt have planted the thoughts that make me feel insecure?  What is generating your thoughts?  Hurt feelings, insecurity, dissapointments, unmet expectations, etc.  My short book on my website helps you to discover the sources of wrong thinking.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

I know the topic of thoughts is vast and mind-boggling, but my research is specific to the influence of unseen spiritual forces that affect our thinking.  Thinking about what controls our thinking and how our thoughts influence us is hard enough, now I have added the unseen spirit world.  The Bible records many instances of how the devil influences people’s thinking.  I use Biblical accounts because the Bible was written by God, as He influenced men’s minds to record His words.  Therefore, the Bible is the authority on spiritual and relational issues.  To learn more about who God is and the unseen spirit forces around us, read my post called, Four Realities of the Spirit World.

The following Biblical account is the first example of planted thoughts, which most of you already know or have heard of it.  God created Adam and Eve in a garden and told them not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden.  Satan (evil spirit) takes the form of a serpent and climbs the forbidden tree.  He causes Eve to doubt what God told her is the truth about dying.  The devil tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit by enticing her to desire it and then persuaded her that if she eats it, she will be like God, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:4).  This thought appealed to her pride.  Interesting, the devil’s sin was pride because he also wanted to be independent of God, which broke his relationship with God.  The wrong thought then caused Eve to look at the fruit and desire to eat it.  Her desire then compelled her to sin and eat the fruit.  This process shows how unseen wrong thinking led to disobedience and separation from God.

Temptations also create thoughts of offense, which then generate unhealthy, false beliefs.  Satan’s temptation may have caused Eve to think and believe:  “How could a loving God keep such a beautiful piece of fruit from me?” and “Why should Adam and I not know good from evil and be like God?”

??  What were Eve’s mistakes? 

Her first mistake was to reason with the serpent (the devil).  Her second mistake was to consider disobeying God.  The third mistake was to entertain the wrong thought and be enticed to look at and desire the fruit.  And the ultimate mistake was to give into her fleshly desire and disobey God’s good and just command.  The devil still uses the same temptation of living independent of God on all of humanity.

Until we recognize our thoughts and rule over them, they will continually control our beliefs, feelings, behavior, and destiny.  We daily face temptations that appeal to our self-centered desires to live independent of God.  Satan has not changed his tactics since tempting Eve.  All unseen battles begin as a thought that is within our control.  The girls in the prison system were told that if they withstand temptation for seven seconds, they can overcome the temptation.  I encourage them to replace the wrong thought creating the desire for the harmful activity with a healthy thought based on Scriptural truth.

??  How do our thoughts dictate our actions?

My mind used to be controlled by thoughts of fear, which would cause my adrenaline to go up.  Before I could stop it, I was in a panic—over nothing—except thoughts that needed to be taken captive.  And because of all the conflicts from my past, I realized I was constantly in a flight or fight mode, which created stress in my body.  I would sometimes imagine a confrontation with someone that would never happen.  I would get all upset and angry because of wrong thoughts, which needed to be taken captive and loosed from my mind.

To learn more about dealing with unhealthy beliefs read: Identify and Replace False Beliefs.

 

What Controls Your Thoughts?

Just like this waterfall, we are constantly thinking, but where do our thoughts come from?  We know thoughts control our behavior, but what controls our thoughts?  If we can control our thoughts, then we can control our behaior.  I have been pondering this question for several years, and I came up with five scenarios of what controls our thoughts and where they come from.

The first scenario: Does knowledge affect our thoughts?  For instance, I know that eating certain foods create health problems, yet I mindlessly eat them.  Why?  Apparently, knowledge does not control our thoughts, but they should.  However, paring knowledge with a feeling will affect our thoughts and decisions.  For example, I knew corn was not good for me to eat, but I loved eating corn chips with salsa and also eating tacos.  It wasn’t until I associated eating corn products with my severe joint and back pain that I changed my thinking.  Now when I see anything with corn, I have no desire to eat it because I associate pain with this knowledge.  To learn more, read my post about becoming free from infirmity.  Or, you may have knowledge that so-and-so lies, but it means nothing to you until that person deceives you, and you associate feelings of distrust to that knowledge.

The second scenario: Words and images create and control thoughts because they create and control our feelings, both good and bad.  Feelings then create memories, that then create beliefs and the corresponding behavior.  For example, when you see a beautiful sunset or hear beautiful music that makes you feel good, you will remember it.  And for instance, watching the news, a movie, or a TV show that causes you to feel happy or sad, security or fear, peace or anxiety, etc., which then cause those thoughts to become a memory.  For example, I watched a movie where two women were abducted, and bad things happened to them.  After watching this movie, I became fearful of being abducted. This fear was irrational because the fear was not credible. See the post about becoming free from anxiety to learn more.

The third scenario: Unseen spirits putting thoughts in our minds, which then direct our feelings, beliefs, and behavior.  You may have seen the image of a devil figure on one shoulder and an angel figure on the other shoulder.  The devil figure is telling you to do something bad, and the angel figure is telling you to do something good.  You can’t say, the devil made me do it, to avoid punishment because all thoughts are within our control, which I will explain in another post. This scenario may sound funny, but I have studied these phenomena and have written a book (now editing) about this topic.

The fourth scenario:  Do our habits indirectly create thoughts?  Have you driven somewhere and out of habit you turn at a certain place even though you did not intend to turn there?  How often do we automatically or mindlessly do things out of habit?  Habits can be beneficial, i.e., brushing your teeth or harmful, i.e., not brushing your teeth.  Because bad habits generate automatic responses to do something harmful, they need to be reprogrammed.  For example, I have a bad habit of eating candy from the candy dish at work.  I know this is not good for my health or weight (senerio one).  So why do I do it?  Some bad habits are controlling addictions, e.g., smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, watching too much TV, eating too much food, etc.  Read my post on becoming free from addictions to learn more.  The next time you automatically do something, ask yourself the question, why?  And, “Is this what I really want to do?”  “Is this good and beneficial?”

The fifth scenario:  Do our thoughts come from subconscious memories?  I can testify that this is true.  Conscious and subconscious painful memories generate poor behavior when triggered by the current feelings.  Read my post about memories to learn more.

I would love to know what your thoughts are about thoughts.

Also, read my short book to learn how to transform thoughts: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Identify and Replace False Beliefs

A false or unhealthy belief is a lie about the true nature of reality about ourselves, life, and God. For example, if you believe you are not worthy of love, you believe a lie. These lies come from words spoken over us and from memories of offenses done against us. For example, I grew up in a very dysfunctional angry “Christian” home, and I developed a lot of false beliefs about myself, other people, life, and God. I share my story in more detail in the following post: My Story.

The following nine categories of unhealthy, destructive beliefs distort the way we view everything in life.

1. I am unlovable. I am insignificant. I am flawed.

2. I am hopeless. I am worthless. Life is hopeless.

3. Something bad will happen. The future will be like the past. I’m not OK.

4. Something must change right now for me to be OK.

5. People will take advantage of me. People are too sensitive.

6. I am bad. I am not good enough. I am unforgivable.

7. People are out to get me. I must be in control. It’s not fair.

8. People must think well of me for me to be OK.

9. I can’t do it. I am not capable. Others should do it for me. It’s not fair.

The Healing Codes Manual by Loyd and Johnson, p. 55

We internalize these unhealthy, false beliefs at a subconscious level.  And, they cause us to live in self-destructive ways. There are many self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, alcohol and drug abuse, uncontrollable anger, self-debasing comments, anxiety, etc.  The beliefs mentioned above may result in addictions to cover over the painful feelings these beliefs generate.  To learn more about addictions, read my post called Addiction Strongholds. Unhealthy beliefs also create stress in our bodies that lead to illness and disease, which is explained in detail in my book on this website.

Do the following to uncover your unhealthy beliefs.  First, pay attention to your thoughts and reactions and write down strong emotional reactions. Second, ask God to show you the unhealthy belief(s) that is generating your wrong thinking in your reactions.  Third, trace backward from negative fruit in your life, and prayerfully ask God to show you the answer to the following question, “what is the root of this fruit?”

Wrong thinking creates negative feelings, which directs unloving, destructive behavior so ask God to show you the link.  Also, look for a link to a trauma memory, offense, and word curses because they also create unhealthy belief(s).  Some examples of word curses are: “I will probably fail. I will most likely end up in divorce. Nobody likes me. All politicians are evil. A godly person can’t succeed in business.” Have you thought these?  He will show you so you can then remove it through prayer and repentance, which I explain how on my website, 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Reading self-help books will also reveal unhealthy beliefs and wrong thinking.  I especially like the book called “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  I encourage you to read my adapted summary of the right beliefs and thoughts we should have according to Mr. Covey.  Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Read each of the Issues Worksheets to learn about other subconscious unhealthy beliefs we can have and the truth to replace these unhealthy beliefs.  LOVE Issues, JOY Issues, PEACE Issues, PATIENCE Issues, KINDNESS Issues, GOODNESS Issues, TRUST AND FAITHFULNESS Issues, MEEKNESS, HUMILITY, AND GENTLENESS Issues, and SELF-CONTROL Issues.

Read, who God is and what you can be thankful for to replace the lies you believe about God and yourself.

Be Blessed or Be Cursed

How can we be a blessing to someone or be a curse to someone.  Do our words encourage or discourage?  Do you want to be blessed by God or be cursed by God?

Being blessed is being encouraged and made joyful with good things.  We are blessed when someone is kind to us or is patient and gives us grace when we screw up.  The Bible says we are blessed when we remain in the presence of God (see John 15).  We are also blessed when we trust and obey God.   We will be blessed even in our trials and distresses, because He is with us.  The word blessed occurs 306 times in the English Standard Version (ESV).

To be cursed is to be made miserable and destitute because of our own sin or the sin of other people.  So, what is sin?  The short answer, sin is disobedience to the truth and commands in the Bible (i.e., love others, be kind, patient, etc.).  We are also cursed when we do not trust and obey God and when we turn our hearts away from Him.  The word cursed occurs 74 times in the ESV.  Our words are the most common way we curse God and each other.  Read my post called: WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

Meditate on and journal your answers for the following Scripture:

Jeremiah 17:5-8 states, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6) He is like a shrub in the desert and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.’  7) ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  8) He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.‘”

??  How are we cursed when we trust in man and find strength in our flesh (verse 5)?

??  What happens when we turn our hearts away from the LORD (verse 6)?  Does your life feel like this?

??  What happens when we trust the LORD (verse 8)?  In what areas of your life can you trust God more?

Deuteronomy 28 also defines how we will be blessed or cursed if we choose to obey or not.

All these BLESSINGS will come upon you and accompany you
If you OBEY the LORD your God:

1. Your children will be blessed.
2. Your land and livestock will be productive (e.g., your life work will be successful.)
3. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed (e.g., you’ll have plenty to eat.)
4. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
5.  Your enemies will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
6. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns (wealth) and on everything you put your hand to.
7. The LORD will establish you as his holy people…
8. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity…
9. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.
10. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail IF you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God… you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Also, read the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 and Luke chapter 6 to learn more on how to be blessed.

However, IF you do NOT obey the LORD your God…
ALL these CURSES will come upon you and overtake you.

1. Wherever you go, you will be cursed.
2. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed (e.g., you will not have enough to eat.)
3. Your children will be cursed.
4. Your land and livestock will be cursed (e.g., your life work will fail.)
5. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
6. The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. (2 Chronicles 12:14 states, “He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.”)
7. The LORD will plague you with diseases… with a wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew…
8. The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder…
9. The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies…
10. The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured.
11. The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.
12. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do…

There are 17 more curses listed in this passage. Would you not agree that it is better to obey than disobey?  To know more about what evil is, please read the following post: EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

?? How do the verses in Jeremiah compare with the verses in Deuteronomy?

?? Are you experiencing any of the above curses? If you are, then seek God to show you the sin of disobedience that is blocking God’s blessings.

??  What changes do you need to make to be blessed?

To learn how you can live a blessed life read: Living a Victorious Life

Another type of curse that causes misery are word curses put on us by family members, teachers, and those who hate us. I became free from many curses, and I encourage you to read my short book on my website to know what curses are and how you can become free too. Many times we bring curses on ourselves when we do not trust and obey God. If you struggle to trust God, you may have false beliefs that prevent you from trusting God. I encourage you to read my short book to be free from these unhealthy beliefs. Go to Hopeforcompletehealing.com

?? Do you want to be blessed or cursed?

?? What do you need to do to be blessed?

#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

Let’s explore the reasons people break off a relationship, quite a job, or divorce. When we know a cause then we can find a solution. I was the kind of person that was upset about everything though I wanted peace. I was quick to get angry. Why? After many years of research and thinking deeply about causes, I figured out the solution. After trying the solution I can testify it works.  I chose the picture above as an example of what is destroying relationships today and why,

Think back to a time you were upset about something. Why were you upset? What caused you to get upset?  Does the picture of this post upset you?  In this post I want to challenge you to think deeply about what causes arguments and strife. It is helpful to journal your thoughts concerning causes for strife in your relationships.

Let’s begin our exploration with the following understanding. Most of us are self-centered people, and we live and work with self-centered people, who want our own way.  And, we don’t know how to love well. Would you agree?

Whatever the reasons for strife, it always comes down to someone becoming offended, then getting upset. An offense is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, being ignored or not getting what they want.  Becoming offended can happen many times a day, especially when you have to share the road with other drivers or space with another person or watching the news. So, be mindful of the times you are annoyed, angry, miffed, irritated, frustrated, etc. Why? Really think about why. Why do you think you got offended?

A major cause of strife is pride. Pride caused me to be offended most of the time.  I would think the following thoughts: “How dare someone (fill in the blank).”  “They had no right to do that.”  “Who do they think they are?”  If you were honest as to why you get upset, you too would recognize a pride issue.  Please read my post on pride to learn more: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

Another cause for strife is when someone says something hurtful that creates an offense in our hearts. Often words hurt our pride. A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from offenses they have stored in their hearts. Read the following posts for a better understanding:  WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words  and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Another cause for strife is unrealistic expectations. For example, I became upset with my husband because he did not take care of me when I was sick like his father takes care of his mother. This is an unrealistic expectation because my husband is not like his father, and it is not reasonable for me to expect him to be. Once I realized why I was offended, then I could deal with it rationally. But before I rationally thought through why I was irritated with my husband, I said a hurtful things to him. My hurtful words caused him to become offended, then he said hurtful things back. Do you see how this situation could escalate quickly and dissolve the relationship?

Unresolved negative issues also causes strife. For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  The card reminded me of an unresolved painful issue with my first husband.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  When I dealt with the negative issue with my first husband that caused me to be offended, then I could resolve my offense and live in peace. To become free from the control of our past negative heart issues and painful memories, I invite you to visit my website and read my short book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

As soon as we recognize we do not have peace, we should ask if we are offended.  When we become offended, we enter the fight-or-flight mode. The fight-or-flight stress response stimulates the lower brain and we enter survival mode. Survival mode stops us from thinking rationally about the situation, which is why relationships dissolve quickly. You know you are in survival mode when you become upset when a goal or expectation is not met.  If you see yourself losing control of your emotions, walk back your emotions and ask, why am I upset? Why is this important to me? What is my part in this disagreement or unexpected negative situation? What solution do I need for a win/win? What am I willing or not willing to do?  Consider if the concern causing you to lose peace is within your circle of influence.  If it is not, then let it go or pray about it.  These are only suggested questions to help you think rationally and not reactively. 

Think about the last argument you were in or the last time you were frustrated. Using the definition of an offense, which is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from (fill in the blank), can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? As you may have already figured out, being offended is the single most destructive force in any relationship. But, once you discover the cause of the offense then you can work to solve it. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can have stronger relationships.

Follow these seven actions for a great relationship; eight for SUPER GREAT!

1) Always stay in forgiveness and do not hold grudges. Expect that your partner/spouse/friend will let you down and may not meet your expectations from time to time. Being offended blocks love, kindness, peace, joy, and patience.
2) Be thankful for strengths and abilities and focus on these. It is easy to focus on what you don’t like and tell them about it.
3) Be committed. Genuine commitment is to be wholly focused on what is best and what will strengthen the relationship.
4) Communicate complete thoughts.  Don’t assume the other person heard you or understands. Have a respectful discussion to help you convey your meaning and expectations.  Don’t mind read and make assumptions.  Seek to understand what the other person is thinking without being critical.
5) Resolve conflicts using the “pen method.” The person holding the pen explains their perspective and logic. Then hand the pen to the other person, and they reflect on what they heard you say and explains their perspective and rationale. Go back and forth until you come to a win/win for both people.
6) Create a relationship vision or mission statement. Ask yourself and each other this question: “How do I want our relationship to be in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years. Write out a plan to accomplish your vision or mission.
7) Work through past issues, so your reactions and expectations are not controlled by your past.
8) Make the Lord and the Word of God a priority in your life and relationships.  The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if you want to be wise, then God needs to be your source.

If you ever get a chance, go to a Mark Gungor marriage seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  My husband and I went to one of Mark’s seminars and he is funny and to the point. https://markgungor.com/.  On this website is a test that determines what motivates you the most.  He calls it the Flag Page, because it determines what country you are from: Control, Perfect, Peace, or Fun.  Finding out what motivates me is very helpful to understand why I do what I do.  It was also very helpful to know what motivates my husband.

I also encourage you to read about the adapted summary of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People