Being Thankful During Hardships

How does being thankful help me?  No one can escape hardships, it is part of living in an imperfect world.  We can’t choose our hardships either, but we can choose how we respond.  Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning.  The following is a quote, “Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl’s soul.”  Though your hardship may not compare to torture in a concentration camp, hardships cause you to focus on your loss, which causes stress on your mind and body.  I must admit, it is hard to be thankful if you are in an abusive relationship.  I will write more concerning this in the next post.  Please understand, Satan wants you to stay focused on your hardship and bring destruction in your life (see John 10:10).  To learn more, read: Four Realities of the Spirit World

No matter the hardship, we can be thankful for something.  Being thankful is an inner-life attitude that determines if we rise above our problems or sink deeper into despair.  You see, it is God’s will for you to be thankful in all circumstances (see 1Thes. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20).  If you find it hard to be thankful, call out to God for help (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  If you want to experience peace in the midst of your hardship, then do what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6,7Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I focus on my negative thoughts, I became anxious and stressed again.  The bible says God gives us hope, Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Also, peace and joy remove the effects of stress in our bodies and minds.

Hardships are the main cause of offenses and resentments, which come from wrong thoughts of unfairness. If you don’t capture and loose these wrong thoughts, they will generate negative feelings and your negative feelings will produce false beliefs, which then direct destructive behaviors like anger fits, drinking, doing drugs, hurting others or yourself, depression, etc.  Being thankful transforms wrong thoughts and results in peace and joy despite the hardship.  I heard from a missionary to China, that the Christian Chinese people are joyful despite their hardships when many times everything is taken from them and they are put in jail.

During my job loss, I focused on God’s goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness, and how He will cause all things to work together for my good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Abuse and loss through death is different because that involves a loss of love, which I will cover in the next post.  Being thankful and focused on God and not your loss will fill you with peace and joy.  Read my story called Trust God to Keep His Promises  and how I experienced many miracles despite my loss in my divorce.

So, what can we be thankful for?  You can begin with the following 15 promises.  To learn more about each promise read 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

  1. We are saved from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life.
  2. God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin.
  3. God will never leave you nor forsake you because He loves you.
  4. You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, and nothing will separate you from His love.
  5. God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  6. God will cause all things to work together for good according to His purpose for those that love Him.
  7. God will supply all your needs according to His riches.
  8. When we come to God and do what He says, we will dwell secure and will find rest, without the dread of disaster.
  9. God is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
  10. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear it.  With the temptation, He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  11. God gives power and strength and helps us when we trust Him.
  12. God is doing a new thing in your life, and He will make a way where there is no way.
  13. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind when you trust Him in every situation and pray with thanksgiving as you present your requests to Him.
  14. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know He hears us in whatever we ask; we know we have the requests we have asked of Him.
  15. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Practice makes perfect.  Practice being thankful every day so when hardships come you can be thankful and not let the hardship steal your peace and joy.

RELATED POSTS:

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Identify and Replace False Beliefs

Know Your Purpose?

My son asked me what his purpose was.  Have you figured out the purpose for your existence? I wondered what my purpose was for many years, but then I saw my purpose every day in how I treated other people. Websters dictionary defines purpose as to aim, intend, or resolve to do something good or something toward achieving a goal. But, did you ever think your purpose is to intentionally show love, be kind, be patient and gentle when annoyed, spread joy, ease a burden for someone, live in peace with others, be faithful to your family and employer, be trustworthy and not lie, and lastly to be self-controlled and not indulge your unhealthy feelings or desires. The following verses are well known to many concerning God’s purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (peace) and not for evil (calamity or harm), to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV)  Welfare is the state of being or doing well; condition of health, happiness, and prosperity; well-beingGod wants to give you a future and a hope.  This verse was a prophesy Jeremiah told the Israelites who were taken as captives into Babylon. If you are experiencing calamity or harm in your life and not welfare, please read EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”  Are you willing to hope in the good purpose God has for you though you may have to go through hard times?

Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  You may not understand what the good works are you are to do, but stay in prayer and submitted to God to continue to work in your life to fulfill your purpose.  To understand more, read Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Being patient when God’s purpose for you is difficult.  God wonderfully uses people to fulfill His plan to change history.  The purpose of God for each of us will have significance, no matter how insignificant we may think it is.  Working in the nursery at church has a significant impact for the kingdom of God as you show God’s love to the little ones.  I hope the following summaries will help you see that God’s purposes are different for each person.  Note how hardships prepared each person for their purpose.  We only need to obey, be faithful, and trust Him even when we don’t see the whole picture or results.

Adam’s and Eve’s purpose was to rule all the created creatures, birds, fish, and all the earth. They were to be fruitful and multiply and to obey God. So, when they disobeyed, then sin and its consequences entered the world which still affects us today. See Genesis, Chapters 1-4.  Your purpose is the same.  We should all do our part in caring for the earth God created.

Noah’s purpose was to build an ark which took over100 years to build. He obeyed God even though he did not understand what a flood or rain was. Everyone ridiculed him the entire time he was building the ark , but he steadfastly obeyed God’s purpose for his life. See Genesis, chapters 5-11.  You may have to go through ridicule when those around you do not understand why God wants you to undertake a huge task.  Don’t waver, just obey.  For example, God asked me to write this study.  I am not a writer and I did not know what to write, but I obeyed, though I didn’t understand why He asked me.  He knows something I don’t know.

Abraham’s purpose was to be the father of the Jewish nation, yet he had no children until he was 100 years old, when he had Isaac. God told Abraham to leave his family and go to a foreign land and settle there. He obeyed God and remained faithful, and God blessed him wherever he went. Because of his faith, he was known as the friend of God. See Genesis, chapters 12-23.  You may not understand why God asked you to do something, just believe and obey, because He wants to bless you.

Joseph’s purpose was to be the ruler of Egypt and save his family (the beginning of the Jewish nation) from starvation.  Before he could fulfill God’s purpose, he became a slave in Egypt and unjustly put in prison for three years.  After that, he was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and God inspired Pharaoh to make Joseph second in command of Egypt. Joseph did not know what his purpose was until he saw his brothers many years later, but he remained faithful to God. See Genesis, chapters 37-47.  Going through hardships is not fun but keep your eyes on Jesus and you will see later how your hardships were used to fulfill your purpose.  To learn more read Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

Moses’s purpose was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, where they were being oppressed and made slaves. God arranged for Moses to grow up in Pharaoh’s house until he fled into the wilderness when he killed an Egyptian for hurting a fellow Hebrew. After spending 40 years herding sheep in the wilderness and at 80 years old, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush to tell him to go back to Egypt and lead the people out. Moses obeyed but asked God for help because he did not speak well, so God arranged for his brother Aaron to meet him. See Exodus, chapters 1-4.  As God had to humble Moses, you may need to be humbled before God can use you for His purpose.

David was anointed king around 15 years old. He knew his purpose, but it was another 15 years until he became King.  Much of the 15 years he waited, he spent wandering the wilderness and living in caves while fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. But David remained faithful to God and is known for having a heart after God. See 1Samuel, chapters 19-22.  He also wrote many of the Psalms, which reflected his feelings during the 15-year waiting period.  God may have you waiting.  Trust He has a purpose for the waiting period which may be full of trials and difficulties.  Keep trusting God.

Daniel’s purpose was to be a ruler in Babylon then Persia and to pray for Israel. He was taken as a captive to Babylon at 16 years old and indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture.  Daniel remained faithful to God and continued to trust Him. God put into his heart the desire to pray three times a day for Israel, and he was faithful to this purpose even knowing he would be thrown into the lion’s den.  But God sent an angel to shut the hungry lion’s mouths. See Daniel, chapters 1-6.  Though you may not face being thrown to the lions, keep your eyes on Jesus through prayer and do not despair, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Esther was a Babylonian Jewish captive whose purpose was to save the Jewish nation from annihilation. The Persian King wanted another Queen after beheading the previous queen. So, there was a beauty contest, and Esther won. She was queen for many years before she became aware of the plan to kill the Jewish captives.  It took courage for her to approach the King to save herself and her people. At that moment she fulfilled God’s purpose for her life.

There are many other Old Testament examples. Here are two New Testament examples:

Jesus’s purpose was to redeem us from our sinful nature and eternal death, by offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty and debt for our sin. He was 33 years old when he fulfilled his purpose. John 12:27 states, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I came to this hour.” Ephesians 1:7-9 states, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, 8) which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight, 9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him”  God’s main purpose for mankind is to be in a right relationship with Him through believing and receiving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life in Heaven.

Saul, who was killing and imprisoning Christians, became Paul, whose purpose was to spread Christianity to the Gentiles.  God struck him down and blinded him for three days, then he received the call of God on his life. For the next three years he lived in the wilderness, being taught by God.  When Paul obeyed and remained faithful, God could use him for His purpose.  He spent most of his ministry in prison because of a wrongful accusation, where he wrote most of the New Testament, which was God’s purpose for him. Acts 26:16 explains Paul’s conversion.  “Get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I [Jesus] have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;”  In Acts 20:27, Paul wrote, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” According to this verse, the Bible defines our purpose; therefore, we must study the God’s Word to know His purpose for us.

In the examples above, they all had to go through some suffering and wilderness experiences to prepare them for their purpose.  Remember, hardships strengthen your faith and increases your perseverance.  Some people may never know their purpose because their purpose was fulfilled as they lived out their lives. And, some people will only know their purpose at the moment God calls, and they obey.

I always struggled to know my purpose.  God showed me in the Bible that my purpose was to live my life for Him and do what He has given me to do at that moment.  I want to encourage every parent to embrace the purpose to raise God-fearing children who know and obey God’s Word.  Do not swerve from that significant purpose.  The devil will try to distract you through worldly activities and idolatry

Reflections and Application:

What does it look like to surrender to God’s sovereignty and purpose?

How do you know what the good purpose is for your life?


Related Posts:

Being Thankful During Hardships

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Psalm 91 Posts

 

 

How to be Self-controlled in What We Say (updated)

A child has no filter when they speak. A child will speak whatever is on their mind. As adults, we think it is cute. When an adult has no filter, it is not cute, just offensive. Self-control begins in your mind. Your mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which influences your decisions and behaviors. Your mind stores memories of the past and present that controls your thoughts and feelings. So, to be self-controlled we must transform our minds.

My last two posts explain how and why childhood issues need to be transformed so we can be self-controlled. The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control   and Self-control and Maturity.

Do you know what is in your mind? What you think? How you feel?

To transform your mind, you first must become aware of what is in your mind. Since God is the all-knowing Spirit who created us, ask Him to show you, because He knows all your thoughts and ways. Psalm 139:1-4 state, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. Jeremiah 17:9,10 state, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Also read Revelations 2:23. If you do not want to be rewarded according to your evil thoughts, then you need to ask God to reveal them, so you can repent and put them out of your mind. Remember, we reap a lot more than we sow (see Galatians 6:7,8). Psalm 139:23,24 state, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!

How do we transform our minds?

The bible says a lot about how we are to think and be self-controlled in all areas of our life. In fact, Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transforming your mind happens as you look to Jesus for help as you read the Scriptures. Transform means to take another form and renew means to make new. The phrase, “that by testing you may discern” is also translated in the King James Version as “that you may prove.” The meaning of these two phrases is commonly applied to testing the quality of metals by fire. Spiritually, these two phrases indicate, as your mind is renewed you will be able to pass the test and understand the will of God, and what is written in the Bible. So, as your mind is renewed you will become more self-controlled and will be able to love well. My short-book on my website explains the scientific and spiritual research for why and how to transform our minds to achieve a self-controlled life.

How to control your tongue.

When we control how we think with the help of God, then we can control how we speak, and be mature. This can only be done by continually abiding with Jesus in the heavenly places through prayer, which can be accomplished by turning every thought into a prayer. See my post called, Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

The Bible says we are to bridle our tongue to control it, like we bridle a horse to control it. James 1:26 states, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” And, James 3:2,3 state, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle (control) his whole body. 3)  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.” Some people have problems gossiping, complaining, being critical, and arguing. Why?  How can we live blameless lives before God (Philippians 1:9-11)?

(Update:  I know I am being vulnerable, but I hope it helps you in some way.  A few days after I posted this, I wrote a negative venting email to my friend while under the control of my feelings, and spoke negative about my someone.  I felt the conviction to not write what I did (should have heeded the Holy Spirit), but I did it anyway.  At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, God put His finger on my heart about it.  I repented and ask Him what I could do to not let my feelings control my responses.  God said (paraphrase), talk to Him first.  A few hours later, I had the opportunity to do just that.  I prayed about a difficult situation I was getting emotional about and WOW, it worked.  I was able to respond logically and under the Holy Spirit’s control.)

It is one thing to know the right thing to do and say, but another thing to do it.  For example, I wrote a helpful post called Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without   so I know what I should be thinking, now I need to discipline myself to do this daily.  You can never be perfect at something unless you practice all the time.  You have my permission to print out my post on “Thoughts that Create Peace Within and Without” to practice training your mind.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:9: What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

When events don’t go as planned is stressful, and we sometimes, or often, lose self-control of our feelings and do and say things we shouldn’t.  The next time you are tempted to lose control of your emotions, excuse yourself from the situation and answer the following questions to bridle your tongue before your mouth spills hurtful words.

What is the expectation not being met? (Take a deep breath and accept the disappointment and the fact that not everything will go the way you want it to.)

  1. What are the wrong thoughts I need to capture and loose from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you.  It may not be right away, but He will.)
  2. What is the false belief or offense driving my thoughts, which need to be loosed from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you, and the memory that needs to be healed.)
  3. What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  4. What are some solutions?
  5. What are Biblical truths I can bind to my mind to renew it and transform my attitude.
  6. What can I be thankful for?

There is hope for complete transformation of your reactions when you depend on God to show what is in your mind and seek His help to renew your mind through the Holy Scriptures. You can be self-controlled in what you say as your mind is transformed by God’s love.

Helpful posts to read:

POSTS on Thoughts

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control

We are told to be self-controlled and disciplined. But why can’t we? What blocks us from being self-controlled and disciplined? As I pondered this question and reflected on my own self-control issues, God showed me it is because of my pride and resentment.

In the last post, I wrote of our need to give up childish thinking, which includes childhood resentments. So, how do we know if our thinking is childish? Children are emotionally reactive when they don’t get what they want. In fact, we are born with a prideful, self-centered, sin nature, that causes us to focus on our own wants and needs. To have a base understand for this post please read my last post Self-control and Maturity

What does healthy emotional self-control look like?

People who have emotional self-control do not over-react, but are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (see James 1:19). In the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, he describes what it means to be a principle-centered person and not reactive. Instead of being reactive self-controlled people are proactive. Principle-centered people stand apart from the emotion of the situation and from other factors that would act on them, and they evaluate the options.

Besides the Bible, this book was the next best book to helped me transform my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs.  Covey’s book describes how a healthy person should think and act. I wrote thought transforming truth statements for each chapter of Covey’s book and put them on my website called, Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

What is resentment and how do we develop it?

The dictionary defines resent as feeling or showing displeasure and indignation at (some act, remark, insult, etc.) or toward a person, from a sense of being injured or offended. A person who has resentment will show anger and ill will for any real or perceived wrong or injury, which they believe is unfair. If you remain resentful, you will become bitter, which will keep you self-focused and prevent you from maturing. The dictionary defines bitter as causing or showing sorrow, discomfort, or pain, and bitterness is feeling or showing hate or resentment. When people are prevented from getting what they want, they will show anger and resentment in how they respond. Resentment will control your reactions when triggered, as I explain later in this post.

Watch how you react to disappointment.

When we become depressed and pouty, or angry and unkind, it is because we have become offended by a disappointment. Disappointment creates an offense when there is a real or perceived sense of unfairness, and you feel wounded. Dealing with disappointment in a healthy way will prevent becoming offended and resentful. So, if you currently become offended by disappointment when someone or something does not do what you want, it shows self-centered immaturity. To learn more, read #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution.

I recommend the following actions to handle disappointment in a healthy way. First, capture (acknowledge) offended thoughts.  Offended thoughts are evident when you do not feel peace and joy. Once you acknowledge you are offended, then ask what disappointed me? Next, forgive the person who has disappointed you or accept the situation you are disappointed by.

For example, if you did not get a raise, or was demoted. You may feel disappointed or you may feel it was unfair and become offended and resentful. If you were honest, you will first feel depressed, angry, and resentful, which is very destructive. Remove yourself from the emotional response and seek to understand and learn why, then either develop a plan to do better, or accept it and move on to another job you can excel at.

A personal example. I was disappointed when my husband could not help me with a garden project that I wanted to get done that day. It so happened, my husband had lost his driver’s license, so he was focused on finding his license, then getting it replaced. Instead of understanding his situation, I became offended and let wrong thoughts control my emotions and spoke hurtful things in revenge for disappointing me. I know I am not the only one with this problem, and therefore, I am writing about self-control right now.

I began to capture my wrong thinking and loose them from my mind, next, I asked God’s forgiveness, and then replaced my wrong thoughts with truthful thoughts of thankfulness, see my post A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER. But I did not gain full self-controlled until I accepted my disappointment and loosed the false beliefs concerning my husband that controlled my destructive behavior. I have a great husband and I should be thankful. I repented and asked my husband for forgiveness. My husband put Proverbs 25:18 on the bathroom mirror, and I have been pondering that verse ever since. To understand how false beliefs control our emotions, read UNHEALTHY BELIEFS: What are they and where do they come from?

God showed me how my wrong thoughts were created by painful memories of resentment. When I was a teen, my mother made my sisters and me do all the chores, including laundry, cooking, and hand-washing dishes for five people. I developed resentment because I perceived my sisters did not do their part, and I felt this was unfair and became resentful. My mother had just divorced my father, and went off to college, so she was focused on getting her education and did not help either. I never saw my father again, which created a host of issues.  So, I did not have parental guidance to learn how to handle disappointments and the resulting resentment.

I went through the five steps to heal my heart and purify my soul to heal these resentments.  See; Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul. God also showed me I had current resentment toward my husband for not meeting other expectations when I needed help. I took those resentful thoughts captive and loosed them and then asked God to forgive me and asked my husband to forgive me.

Put away resentments so you can mature.

The bible says in Ephesians 4:31,32  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32)  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” To put something away is to no longer be emotionally invested in the negative or painful memory. Putting away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice involves asking God to reveal painful childhood memories that caused you to become resentful of a real or perceived wrong done to you. Many adults have subconscious bitterness that keep them stuck in self-focused childish thinking. To find these subconscious memories, begin reading my book here 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories to understanding the why and how for healing past issues to mature and love well.

After you put away any wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice from your heart, then bind in kindness and forgiveness to your heart.  See my post called; Relationship and World Changing Kindness and WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE.

There is hope for maturity and self-control as we put off resentfulness from disappointments we perceived as unfair. When we put off resentfulness and accept disappointment then we can be self-controlled.

Related Posts:

SELF-CONTROL Issues

HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Patience — Freedom from Strongholds of Injustice and Unfairness

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds

Self-control and Maturity

What happens when an undisciplined child does not get what they want? Yep, they throw a temper-tantrum. How many adults are still throwing tempter-tantrums? Why? In this post, I will share the why, what, where, and how concerning self-control. Often, people think self-control is self-discipline to eat right and exercise, but it is more than that. I want to go deeper and focus on healing the reason why we lack self-control.

Why can’t I control my emotions?

I asked God why because He knows everything (see Psalm 139:1-3). Several days later as I was writing this post, I realized I was still reacting to disappointment the same way I did when I was a child.  God led me to the following transformational truths. 1Corinthians 13:11 states, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became [an adult,] I gave up childish ways.” And, 1 Corinthians 14:20 states, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” Most of our self-control issues stem from immaturity. Maturity is to be fully developed, perfected, and able to control our thoughts, emotions, and desires. To be mature, we must put away our childish thinking and childish ways.  I will explain how to do this in my next post.

What is self-control?

Synonyms for self-control are temperance, sound mind, and discipline. The Greek meaning for self-control is “power over yourself or strength to govern yourself.” Self-control is our source of power over our will and not will-power. When we have self-control, we have the power to control our thoughts, emotions, and desires.

What is the consequence of not having self-control?

Proverb 25:28 (ESV) “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Modern King James states, “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken-down city without a wall.” The William MacDonald commentary explains Proverbs 25:28 as “A man who has never learned to discipline his life is like an undefended city, open to every kind of attack, exposed to every temptation.”  The Matthew Henry commentary says, someone with self-control rules their thoughts, their desires, their inclinations, their resentments, and keeps them all in good order. If they lack self-control, they are exposed to the temptations of Satan and will have many troubles. The key word is “rules.” To rule is to exercise authority over it. I explain how to do this in Bondage to Unseen Controls and ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

James 1:14,15 state, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. We must rule our desires and put-up boundaries to protect our vulnerable hearts against temptations and attacks. A boundary that keeps us from sinning could be a truth statement or a command such as “do not get drunk” (Ephesians 5:18). We know that those who give in to the temptation to get drunk make themselves vulnerable to many other temptations, troubles, or even death. With this boundary, we can choose not to drink alcohol or exercise self-control or temperance and not get drunk. In my Fruit of the Spirit Characteristics worksheets on my website, I define many truths that can be used as boundaries around your heart and mind. With the truth of God’s Word and His divine power, you can govern how you will properly conduct ourselves instead of giving in to your desires. For those who lose their tempers, you need to first give up to God your desire to control everyone or everything other than yourself.

Where does self-control come from?

Self-control is produced by the Spirit of God as explained in Galatians 5:23. A fruit grows from branches that are part of a main vine. For Christians to produce fruit, they need to abide in the true vine, Jesus Christ, for life and nourishment (John 15:5).  John 15:1-2 states, I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” So, if you struggle with self-control, yield to the Father’s pruning in your life.  Childish ways and thinking need to be pruned and removed from your mind.  I explain how to do this in my short-book on my website.

After we have pruned our childish thinking, we then need to rely on Jesus for our strength and righteousness and keep our minds focused on His truths.  When we rely on Jesus, we can draw from His divine power to produce spiritual fruit in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit are the characteristics or virtues of God, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. So, the more we transform our childish thinking with the truth of God’s Word, then we will exhibit more of these virtues of God. And, as we draw divine power from the life of Jesus in us through prayer, we will become partakers of His divine nature, and then we can rule our desires with self-control. The more we gain Jesus’s divine nature, the more spiritual fruit we will have to give to others. We will have more love to give, more patience, kindness, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

2Peter 1:3-8 state, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement (add to) your faith with virtue (moral excellence), and virtue with knowledge (of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word), and knowledge with self-control (self-rule and self-discipline), and self-control with steadfastness (patience and endurance), and steadfastness with godliness (devotion to God), and godliness with brotherly affection (kindness), and brotherly affection with love. 8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith in God’s promises, moral excellence, knowledge of God’s truths, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love, grows within us when we hear the Word of God preached and read our Bibles to transform childish thinking.

How do we put-away childish ways and rule with self-control?

When you were a child, what did your parents do to help you mature and learn self-control? They disciplined you? The Webster dictionary defines discipline as training that develops self-control, character, and proper conduct, which sometimes involves punishment. God also disciplines us when we do not practice self-control and then disobey Him (see Hebrews 12:7,11). Hebrews 12:11 states, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Note to parents, if you don’t correct self-control issues in your child, the lack of self-control will negatively affect every aspect of their adult lives. Disappointment is a fact of life and will happen daily. So, if you teach your children how to accept and process disappointment, then they won’t develop resentment and become emotionally handicap.

So, if there is an area in your life you lack self-control, ask God to show you the childish thinking you need to put away. We then must loose/put off self-centered desires to please ourselves or to control others. I explain this in detail in my short book called “Hope for Complete Healing.”

My next post will delve deeper into why we lack self-control and why we can’t rule our spirits and how to overcome.

There is hope for maturity and to be self-controlled as we transform childish thinking into Godly thinking.

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A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Do you wake-up grumpy or maybe dread going to work? Are you upset by what people do? Are you depressed and worried? Do you want to be joyful and positive? Our mood reflects the level we are offended by unmet expectations or someone. The more offended we are the more despaired or angry our mood is. You may have a good reason to be upset, like when you go through an ugly fight, a divorce, or job loss. I’ve been there and done that, I know. But, allowing those negative thoughts to control your life is not healthy, nor is it good for other relationships. The number one way to change your negative thoughts and negative mood is to be thankful.

You may be thinking, no way, I can’t do that.  Being thankful may be hard and sometimes impossible but with God all things are possible. Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Also read Mark 9:23 and Mark 10:27. And, 2Corinthians 15:57 states, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also read 2Corinthians 2:14.

How thankfulness changes a negative mood

When someone says thank you or doesn’t say thank you, how does that make you feel? If someone sends you a thank-you card, or you send a thank-you card. Do you feel positive or negative? The act of being thankful takes the focus off yourself and onto something positive. Have you noticed the more you focus on yourself, the more miserable you feel? My last post describes how sub-conscious negative thoughts affect our relationships and how to change your relationships and the world with one simple act. You can read it here if you haven’t read it yet: Relationship and World Changing Kindness

I was a depressed, miserable, angry, anxious person for a long time before I discovered the power of forgiveness, transforming painful memories, and being thankful. I discovered in my research that every thought has a life energy (positive) and a death energy (negative). Being thankful transforms a negative mindset into a positive mindset. A positive mindset makes you feel happy and at peace with yourself and your world. It is amazing how powerful thankfulness is in your life or circumstance. Being thankful is difficult to do at times because we tend to gravitate toward misery for some strange reason. I struggled being thankful my whole life.

What prevents a thankful heart?

First, PRIDE prevents us from being thankful people because a prideful person is only focused on getting their needs and expectations met! I was so focused on myself and having my expectations met, I couldn’t be thankful.  Not appreciating the things my husband did put a strain on our marriage.  Every person wants to be appreciated.  I wrote about how I became free from this roadblock to happiness in my blog called The Core Negative Heart Issue.

Second, painful memories prevent a thankful heart. Conscious and sub-conscious painful memories dictate our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, behaviors, and destiny. Read the following post to learn more: HOW MEMORIES INFLUENCE OUR THINKING, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR. Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home created a host of negative issues in my life. Read my post on how I transformed these painful memories: WHAT IS INNER LIFE TRANSFORMATION? My Story.  I also wrote a post on how I overcame the negative effects of a sadistic divorce and job loss: Trust God to Keep His Promises.

And third, unforgiveness keeps our mind focused on the negative, hurtful action that offended us and prevents us from being thankful. To learn why and how to forgive read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE.

How to be thankful

My husband heard we should think of two things we can be thankful for when annoyed or frustrated. Thinking a thankful thought instantly changes a negative mood. Try it. Think of something that is irritating you right now. Now think of two things related to the situation you can be thankful for. For example, if you are having issues with your co-worker. Think of two positive things about your co-worker and think thankful thoughts about those positives. Keep in mind, everyone has negative issues and trash thoughts that spills out of their mouth, that comes from painful memories or focusing on self-interests. If slow traffic annoys you, be thankful you don’t have to walk, you are comfortable, and you have extra time to pray and worship God. Upset with your partner? Find two to three positive traits or actions and be thankful for them.

(Take a few minutes and try this exercise.) How do you feel?  Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself to be thankful and for what.

Be sure to tell your partner or co-worker what the positive things you are thankful for in them. Telling someone what you are thankful for will powerfully and positively change attitudes. For a while my husband and I kept a little note pad around and we randomly wrote thankful or kind things about the other person. It was so much fun to see what my husband wrote, and I enjoyed writing thankful and kind things about him. It powerfully and positively changed our marriage. Try it.  It was recommended to keep the thankfulness notepad in the bathroom.

Scriptural command to be thankful

The following are Scripture texts commanding us to be thankful and give thanks. Remember, when you disobey God’s commands, you are in sin and will suffer the consequences of unthankfulness, which allows misery and despair.  God knew focusing only on ourselves was self-destructive. He commands us to be thankful so we can experience joy and peace.

Ephesians 5:20-21 state, “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21) submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How would your life, marriage/partnership, friendships, and work environment change if you gave thanks all the time and for everything? 1Theselonians 5:18 states, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Giving thanks in all circumstances is difficult, especially if you are diagnosed with cancer. The people who can find something to thank God for, are the most content and joyful people.  I heard a missionary to China say how joyful the Chinese Christians are despite risking the lose of their homes and being put in prison.

Ephesians 5:4 states, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Does the conversation at your family get-togethers digresses into gossip, foolish talk, and so on?  Next time, ask them what they are thankful for.  Other ways you can prompt wholesome conversations can be found in this post: Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I begin to focus on the negative issue, I became anxious and stressed again.

Colossians 3:15, 16 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” When I memorize Scripture, then I can teach and encourage others, and I can use those Scriptures to give thanks in my prayers. See my post on the things we can thank God for in Psalms 103: County Jail Study on Psalms 103. Also read, Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers Colossians 4:2 also states, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

The Old Testament gives us other reasons to give thanks to God:

1Chronicals 16:34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Also see, 1Chronicals 16:41; 2Chronicals 7:3,6; 20:21, Ezra 3:11; Psalm 106:1; 107:1,8; 118:1,29; 136:1-3.)

Psalm 9:1 A Psalm of David. I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Also see Psalm 86:12; Psalm 105:1.) Many times, I was so angry with a situation that the only thing I could be thankful for was the wonderful things God did for me in the past and will do in my current situation. By keeping my mind focused on Him, I was not focused on the negative situation or circumstance.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.” (Also see Ps. 50:14, 23; 107:22; Amos 4:5.) Sometimes we must give a sacrifice of thanksgiving even when we don’t feel like it. God is pleased with this sacrifice and will give you joy instead of misery.

Conclusion

Thankfulness is like guardrails that prevents your car from going over a cliff. So, thankfulness prevents your mind from crashing down the cliff of despair. Now, God commands us to be thankful so when we are not, we sin. Ask Him to help you be thankful when it is hard, and He will help you. You can be more than a conquer over negative issues in your life (see Romans 8:31-39), these verses also produce a thankful heart.

I wrote a short book called “Hope for Complete Healing.”  I describe how to transform negative issues in your life by taking the offending thoughts captive and loosing them from your mind.  Then to transform the associated negative, painful memories with truth to render them powerless. Transforming painful memories involves thankfulness to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts.  I describe this process in my book and in this blog post: Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul. I made this book available on my website and I can send you a paper copy. If you want me to send a copy of my booklet, please contact me and let me know.

There is hope to change a negative mood into a positive mood through thankfulness.

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Relationship and World Changing Kindness

What ever happened to kindness?  Most of my hurts and painful memories come from unkindness, beginning with my childhood to the present.  I would venture to guess that everyone has painful memories from unkind people.  These painful memories affect our thinking and beliefs, and they prevent us from being kind. We know being patient is hard, but have you considered your struggle to be kind?

For instance, I was not being kind to my husband, though he was being patient with me. Later, he said, if I treated my friends like I treat him, I would have no friends. OUCH! The next day, my husband asked if I was mad at him. I said, “I don’t think so.” So, I went to God and asked Him to show me why I was disrespecting my husband. The next day, as I was memorizing Ephesians 2:1-7, I read verse seven,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God quickened my mind when I read “grace in kindness.” And He revealed I was angry at my husband for what I perceived as his unkindness towards me. I had repressed my offense and was being unkind in return.

I began to think deeply about grace and kindness. What does kindness look like in action? God brought me back to the phrase, “grace in kindness.” Grace is getting what we don’t deserve and is demonstrated by God’s kindness towards us. Grace involves forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7,8 states, “In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” I asked God to give me insight whether I was holding a grudge?  I know when we hold onto an offense, we can’t show grace to the person who offended us. Do you agree?

If God is willing to forgive our sins, then we can forgive the sins of others (see Matthew 6:12). Please note, God’s grace is immeasurable which He lavishes on us richly. This is hard to comprehend.  How much better the world will be if we each lavished grace and forgiveness on those who don’t deserve it? If we can comprehend the immeasurable grace God has for us, how grateful we will be. Trying to wrap my mind around this kind of grace has made me realize how ungrateful I am.

For example, in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells a parable of a man who was beaten and robbed, then left naked on the road. Three men came upon the naked man, the two religious leaders walk by and the third man, a Samaritan, who is despised by the Jews, showed mercy and compassion and help the man. Jesus asked, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (Luke 10:36).  The good Samaritan was not selfish with his time and money.  He went out of his way to take the man to an Inn, and then paid for the man’s stay and care.  It is hard to be kind and show mercy to those who are not kind to us, but that is the love God wants us to show to the world.  Remember, love is patient and kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4a).

1 John 3:17-18 also says,  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  Love focuses on the needs of others.  But if our thoughts are only about meeting our own needs and expectations, then we will not be patient or kind, and we will not love others well. To love well and show kindness we must transform our self-centered thoughts and beliefs to reflect God’s immeasurable grace.

Yes, I was not kind to my husband because I became offended when my demands were not met. My thoughts of being offended created a false belief my husband did not love me, and I can’t depend on him. My false beliefs caused me to feel disrespected and disrespectful. My unkindness to my husband was the result of my wrong thoughts and false beliefs. To learn more read #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution.

The wrong thinking that my husband should serve me was transformed by a blog I read by healingmission, The Christian Healing Mission Daily Blog.  The author encouraged her readers to serve as Jesus served.  This truth is found in Matthew 20:28, which states, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  I was convicted of my sinful desire to be treated like a Queen and to be served.  I expected my husband to be my servant, for which he was not a willing participant. Satan wants us to live self-centered and selfish lives to keep us in bondage to misery.  Jesus wants us to follow His example and serve others in love.

I took out my “Hope for Complete Healing” booklet and looked up “Kindness Issues.” Using the list of offenses in the “Kindness Issues” worksheet, I prayed and asked God to show me why I was offended. He showed me I felt rejected when my husband didn’t do what I expected him to do. And, I was offended by how rough he spoke to me. I then went through the “Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul.

Next, I prayed and bound to my heart and mind the positive attributes of kindness and the transformation truths found on the worksheet. God then showed me I had painful memories of my mother speaking roughly to me, which triggered my response to my husband’s roughness. I went through the five steps of healing again to transform that painful memory.

I remind myself, I can only ask God to change my heart and correct my thoughts. And, I cannot expect God to change my husband because he has a will to choose how he behaves. Read the following post to know what is and is not our Authority in Prayer, Four Reasons Why We Have Authority in Prayer.

If you find you identify with my struggle to love well, then please go to God and receive healing and His immeasurable grace and forgiveness. Begin reading my short booklet today for guidance. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

There is hope for complete healing as we receive God’s grace and forgiveness, then show grace in kindness.

If you want a paper copy of the booklet on my website, contact me by email. I can mail a copy of my booklet for a small donation to cover the cost of printing and mailing.

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