How to Conquer Negative Thinking

thinking_27584846_s“I Am The Sum Total Of My Thoughts.” This is a sign I had posted on my fridge door years ago. Beneath that quote I noted the following scripture:

“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” Phil 4:8 AMP

To this day, I still remember those words even though I no longer have that sign posted anywhere in my house. It keeps me from thinking negatively and reminds me to focus on what God thinks of me rather what I or others would.

I realize that thoughts are very real and that thoughts have power. They are just as present as our words or actions. What you think has the power to become what you experience in life. What you think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you allow that thought to become a prevailing thought-habit that results in the life you live. Your thoughts have the power to rule your life. Therefore, be careful what you think!

The danger comes when you have negative prevailing thoughts. Your negative persistent thoughts are:

  • A reflection of low value you have about yourself, your present circumstances and your future. How often many think they are undeserving of God’s goodness like the Roman solider thought at first? “Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Luke 7:7)
  • Sinful thoughts within your heart which you will degrade, corrupt or pollute your life. Such thoughts produce fear anxiety, doubt, unbelief, worry, depression, skepticism, and all things ugly. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:11, 15-20). The truth is sin begins in the mind.
  • Deceitful in that you say one thing with your lips but think another. This speaks to the integrity or lack of integrity of the person. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.” (Proverbs 23:7)

In the Christian walk, you battle daily the thoughts you think about yourself more than in another area. The more frequently your thoughts towards yourself are negative, the lower your confidence level goes and you think that no one including God loves you. If this persistent, the possibility of achieving your goals or reaching your destiny becomes close to impossible. It’s like Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you are right.”

But negative persistent thoughts don’t have to be the constant in your life. You can overcome.

Your thoughts come from what you put into yourself – from your environment, from your immediate circle of friends and family. Hence, it is important to renew your mind with the word of God.

  1. You can feed yourself good thoughts by studying with the word of God. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) The power of God’s word is enough to change your thinking about yourself. Let the word of God become more necessary than food. Feed yourself on it; “eat” the Word. In other words, meditate on it and your faith will grow and the power of His word will change your thought and change your life. Since your thoughts have the power to drive the course of your life. Therefore change your thoughts change your life.
  2. Refocus your mind as soon as your realize that your thoughts are taking a downward spiral. Recently I had a boot of bad thinking. I wasn’t happy about the progress I was making on a particular project. As I continued I starting thinking that my efforts were futile and that I wasn’t reaching and positively impacting others as I should. Hmmm, does that sound familiar? Anyways thankfully I realize that this wasn’t the way to go and then I wrote this thought in my prayer journal; “Lord, help me to see this from your perspective?” The moment I did that I paused to hear what God would say. I realized that although my efforts seem small they were gradually adding up to have greater impact and in fact there were readers added to my blog in the past two months that in the past two years! I still have a way to go but I was making progress. If I didn’t change my thinking pattern the rest of my day would have been totally miserable. Thank God I did.
  3. Use technology or a creative way to keep your mind thinking right. You can get a smartphone app to text you inspiring quotes or scripture verses or you can listen to or read the Bible. I use the memo application to keep my goals and prayer list readily available as well as to write quotes or thoughts of inspiration that I receive during the day. You can use index cards – write Bible verses or affirming words on them and at least twice a day read them. This will build your confidence, eliminate your fears and strengthen your faith in God. This way you fill your thoughts with faith and you’ll find yourself able to make bold steps towards your goals.

As you continue towards your goals, there may be times when the negative thought attack comes. Conquer it! Turn your thoughts toward God. If you have faith thoughts, nothing shall be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20) So have faith in God because according to your faith-filled words or prayers you will have what you say (Matthew 9:20).

One other Word I want to leave with you is this, if God be for you who can be against you. (Romans 8:31). There is nothing stopping you when God is on your side. Isaiah 41:10 is a word that I summarize it like this: “God is with me. God is strengthening me. God is helping me. God is giving me victory.” Yes, God is with you and is helping you. This is not only a verse of comfort but it will help you boost your confidence levels and help you realize that with God helping you. You are destined to win. Meditate on this Word and accept it as truth. With this Word you change your thought and God’s power release in you through this word will cause you to do great things!

It’s your turn, what do you do to conquer negative thinking?

The Benefits of Rest

Take a break. RelaxAnd on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.Gen. 2:2-3 (NKJV)

“Rest? Relax? Who has time for that?” Honestly that is what I often say to myself. I recently took a vacation with family but it wasn’t much of a rest. I had planned that on that time away from my job I would do other stuff – finish a course and write a few posts along with go on a shopping spree (yes, I’ll say more on that in a future post). As much as I knew I needed the rest, my vacation had much activity. Although I enjoyed spending time with my daughter and my sisters, at times during that “vacation” I was concerned that I did not do the things I had planned to do. My vacation wasn’t really a rest at all.

On my return, I found it hard to get back into the routine of work, blogging, writing and other projects I had started. I did what I had to do but eliminated a lot from my schedule – especially writing – including posting anything to my blog (sorry about that but it was necessary). During that time I read a lot more, prayed and asked a lot of questions about my future plans and got some much needed rest. Now I am slowly getting back to blogging, writing and developing online course.

Biblically, rest means to repose, to desist from exertion, to cease, to celebrate, to keep (Sabbath), to leave, to put away (down), (make to) rest, to be still. Rest is such a necessary part of our lives. Often times we think that have to keep going but there is a reason God introduced rest (Gen. 2:2-3). If God rested after His work of creation, then it must be important to rest. Knowing that this eternal God rested after His work of creation and blessed the day of rest, then you and me (who are mortal) should follow God and incorporate rest into our lifestyles.

I don’t know about you. But I can sometimes get caught up with the things that have to be done and lose track of time and the need to rest. Yet, this great God though He has given me a purpose and all the resources I need to accomplish it, expects me (in the time I have) to rest. God does not want me to be worn out or burnt out but to function at my best while carrying out His purposes.

Recently I read a book about the importance of taking personal retreats which as a timely reminder for me about the need to incorporate rest into my life. There are benefits to be gained when we make resting a necessary part of our lives. When you rest, relax, sleep, you…

  1. Rejuvenates the body. When you sleep at night and you arise in the morning you feel refreshed and energized for the day ahead. A few stretches and up and out and you’re ready to go for the day!
  2. Boost your creativity. Whenever I have to write on a particular topic and I find it hard to put my thoughts together, I take a few hours or days away from it and then start again. In other words, I rest my mind from that topic and when I return to it I have a fresh new outlook and I am able to write freely.
  3. Brings clarity. When life gets a bit much and your mind is bombarded with questions and you’re wondering what the next steps you should be taking. Consider a rest, a personal retreat and you’d be amazed at how getting away with help to bring clarity and direction to your life.
  4. Have peace of mind. Rest also involves stepping back mentally from the negativity that comes from all directions. It involves letting go of your problems – not worry – and instead giving them to go. This is where you need to be still (body, soul and spirit) and let God do His work on your behalf. This kind of rest can be the most challenging. It involves prayer and feeding the mind with the word of God and good thoughts (Phil. 4:8). It’s a rest from the negative mental, emotional and even physical act of worry to a place of peace and faith in God.
  5. Improve your overall health. To name of few, you experience improve memory, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress levels and keeps the heart healthy.

How can we rest in this productivity driven world?

  1. Have a day of rest.  Take one day of the week to rest from you regular activities. Yes, go to church, spend more time in the Word of God, have quality time with the family, do an activity that you don’t normally do, put in a few extra hours of sleep. Recently, I started taking this more seriously and between Saturday 6pm and Sunday 6pm I limit my activity to church, family time, bible study and rest and avoid internet activity, writing or any of the normal activities of the week. The rest is quite refreshing.
  2. Take a daily fifteen minute break and do nothing but relax. Hmmm. Not impossible. Carve out that time in your calendar and eliminate the distractions of cell phones, internet and find a quiet place to rest. I’ve done it and need to start doing so again. It does boost your energy levels and stimulates the mind.
  3. Have a personal retreat. Sometimes you need to get alone with God and no one else. Choose a place and time and let your family know you’re off on a personal sabbatical. Take a book to read, spend time in prayer to connect with God more. Even consider journaling your thoughts and prayers. Retreats are not only times of rest but of refreshing for your body, soul and spirit. You will gain a clearer perspective on your goals and what the Lord wants you to do with more certainty.
  4. Rest mentally. Take a break from the news. Stop worrying about today’s issues and tomorrow problems (Matt. 6:34). A good mental break involves meditating on the word of God, speaking and confessing His word concerning you, thinking positively, and being thankful (Phil. 4: 6-7)
  5. Do something different outside of your normal routine. Yes, you can take a Sabbath day or a personal retreat but this kind of rest involves activity outside of work that you love to do. Do you have a hobby? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had to time? What about going to the beach and basking in the sun (providing you live a place with this kind of climate)? Maybe you could take a road trip with your family. That would be a nice break from the norm, wouldn’t it?

The important message here is that rest is necessary. In this hustle bustle world that can be hard to do at times. Everything and everyone seems to be calling out for your attention. But you have to strike a balance between work and rest. There will always be a demand by someone in your sphere of influence for you and your time. If however, you don’t take care of yourself and become worn out, you won’t be able to help your loved ones and others.

Consider today how you can incorporate rest into your routine.

What do you do to relax and enjoy resting without worrying out the to-do list?

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part II

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-2

4. Be willing to wrestle with God all night.       —Gen. 32:22-32

Jacob wrestled with God all night to receive his breakthrough. For him it wasn’t about money; he was wealthy. He needed a transformation in his life. His breakthrough was about getting a blessing that would change him from the inside out.  Jacob held unto God all night until He blessed him. And God blessed Him and changed him from being known as a trickster or swindler (someone who couldn’t be trusted) to being a prince with God.

What life transformation do you need? Are there areas in your life that remain stagnant or become worse? Do you have character issues or a reputation that stains you wherever you go? Are you willing to stay up all night seeking the Lord to receive your breakthrough? To wrestle with God is to passionately pursue Him and have an encounter with Him that changes your life and perspective. Maybe seeking God in the night season when there are no distractions and you can fully focus on Him is the answer to your breakthrough. Don’t let go until God blesses you.

5. Your heart must hold onto the promise. Speak God’s word over your life not matter how bad it looks.         —Joshua 1:8

Abraham believed God for his breakthrough – to have a son and become the father of many nations. In Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abraham (then Abram) promise that he would be the father of many nations. Years passed and in Gen. 15:1-6, Abraham confronts God about the promise because the only heir in his house was his servant’s child and Sarah wasn’t pregnant yet. God assured him of the promise, made a covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (father of many nations). God also gave him a visual – the stars – to help him understand the vastness of the promise. Then Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22), God reiterates His promise with two visuals – the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. All those years, can you imagine, Abraham had to hold that promise but God gave him the tools to do it: his new name along with the visual of the stars and sand. In everyday conversation he was being reminded of the promise every time someone called his name. He was being reminded of the promise when he felt the sand under his feet and gazed at the stars at night.

To get the breakthrough you have to hold unto the promise (the word God gave to you). You have to hold to the Word – meditate on it day and night and live it out in your life (Joshua 1:8). You have to keep speaking in faith what God promised you (Heb. 4:14) – be it healing, deliverance, or another promise He has for you. Jesus’ ministry to you is to bring to past the word you speak concerning yourself that is according to the will of God. Therefore be careful what you say – not only in the prayer closet but in your daily conversation. You must hold fast (keep speaking) that confession until your breakthrough happens.

6. Examine your heart (rather ask the Holy Spirit to examine you) and ask for forgiveness where you have fallen.       —Psalm 51

Nothing severs our relationship with God like sin. Sin not only brings a barrier between you and God but it stops the blessing (Deut. 28:15-68). David is an excellent example for us. He wasn’t a perfect man, yet God calls him a man after His own heart. I believe one of the reasons he says this of David is because he was quick to repent whenever he faltered (2 Sam. 12:1-15).

Today, though we are under a better covenant than David was we too sin at times. However, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (give you the ability to overcome the temptation) from all unrighteousness (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 1:9). Don’t let sin come between you and the wonderful relationship you have with God. Be quick to forgive and be quick to ask for forgiveness. It is needed to continue in right relationship with God and to experience your breakthrough.

7. Don’t just call on Jesus but believe that you will see the glory of God.          —John 11:1-44

Mary & Martha called on Jesus for their breakthrough; they wanted their brother to be well again. However, as scripture points out Jesus delayed his visit for a few days and by the time he reached there Lazarus was dead. But His intention was still to restore Lazarus though dead. He encourages Martha – at her objection to have the stone removed from the tomb opening – to believe and she will see the glory of God (vs.40).

Often times we accept our sickness or problems quickly and are ready to give up. But your sickness or problem is not meant to end you but to honour God and promote His glory. (vs.4). How? When God gives you your breakthrough you will by all means praise Him and tell others what He has done for you. Ask God to show His glory in your life. Why His glory? Because the God of the breakthrough can make the impossible become possible and real to you. He can destroy the works of the enemy and bring you the breakthrough you need.

8. Step outside the norm or the status quo. Ignore what others may say.          —Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus needed a breakthrough – he wanted what he never had before – the ability to see. He was known for who he was – a blind man begging on the road side. Vision is something we take for granted but for him not being able to see meant living below standard and having to beg at the wayside in order to live. No vision was darkness over him – no work, begging all the time, being out in the scorching sun, being snubbed and ridiculed. Bartimaeus wanted more and saw the opportunity when he heard that Jesus was passing by. He was not willing to let this moment pass him by. He yelled out to Jesus until he got his attention. He ignored the naysayers and kept shouting until Jesus took notice of him. Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus … “What do you want me to do for you?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve never had before? Have you thought about how your life and those around you would be better if you could have your breakthrough? Maybe you need a clearer vision your purpose and help to get you started on that road but it’s hard to see or conceptualize and you need God’s direction. Hmm… What do you want Jesus to do for you? What breakthrough do you need from Jesus today? What is it that will get you on the path that God has ordained for you?

What are you willing to do for your breakthrough?

Will you pray and weep until your voice isn’t even heard or wrestle all night with God (pleading in desperation) to get your blessing. Maybe you need to mix your prayer with regular fasting, or make a vow to the Lord in advance of the breakthrough. For you, it may be as simple as asking God for direction or strategy or it may require boldness and faith doing to do what you’ve never done before.

Whatever the need, we all need a breakthrough – our countries, our churches, our families, and ourselves. Let’s pray to get the breakthrough coming….

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part I

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-25

What is a breakthrough?

David described his victory over the Philistines like the powerful force experienced when water breaks over the banks of a river or like a tsunami that washes away everything in its way. In honour of the Lord he renames what was once called the house of the giant (Valley of Rephaim) to the Lord Who breaks through (Baal Perazim). Where the enemy (the Philistines) thought they were strongest because they had their baals (gods) with them, God proved even stronger!

Today you don’t fight the physical war against people but a spiritual one against the enemy of our souls. We fight against the attacks of the enemy – sin, sickness, failure, lack or poverty, defeat or oppression of any kind. These problems are like the enemy’s floods that are meant to carry you away or to destroy you (Is 59:19). However, when God is the Lord of your breakthrough for you, He advances over and above the enemy’s flood. The Lord pushes back the enemy’s flood of trouble, sickness, lack, and all negativity with the flood of His blessing, goodness, love, favour and every good thing you need in life.

** God wants to give you a breakthrough in those areas of your life that the enemy appears to be the strongest.

Do you need a breakthrough?

  • Is there a need that is long overdue?
  • Have you been waiting on the Lord for a long time and nothing seems to be happening? Do you need God’s hand on your life?
  • Are you pregnant with a vision, dream or desire that seems to mock you?
  • What is your need? To be healed, to have a house of your own, to be relieved of the burden of financial debt, to have a positive income stream to help provide for your family, to see family members come to the Lord…?

Whatever the need, the Lord your God, is the Lord of Your breakthrough. The Word shows us what others have done to receive their breakthrough from God. Let’s see what you can do to receive for your breakthrough?

1. Ask the Lord what to do. Be prepared to seek the Lord.         —2 Sam. 5:17-20

David needed to fight and win the battle against the Philistines who had come after him. So David (as he often did) asked God what to do before going out to battle. He realised that he was in a better position whenever he consulted God. He not only asked what to do but he did as God directed. God gave him strategy on how best to defeat his enemies.

For you to receive your breakthrough you need to ask God and then step out in faith and in obedience to do as God said. God is the Master Strategist and has the upper-hand over the enemy, follow His leading and you will be victorious and rejoice.

2. Make a vow or commitment to do something for the Lord. —1 Sam. 1:1-20

Hannah desperately wanted a child. Being taunted by her rival about her barrenness didn’t make it easy to bear. Hannah poured her heart out to God. She wept her prayer and made a vow to the Lord to give back when she received her breakthrough. She offered to God the thing she wanted the most – a child. What a commitment!

What about you? Don’t be reserved. If you have to cry, then cry but let God know your burden and express your desire to Him (vs.10). If you are as determined as Hannah was about receiving her breakthrough, maybe you too need to make a commitment to the Lord. Is there an area in which you’ve been meaning to serve but haven’t yet? Is there something you will sacrificially vow to give to the Lord? I’ve seen friends vow their first pay check to the Lord when they needed an income stream and God blessed them. What can you vow? Make a vow to the Lord and when you receive your breakthrough be sure to follow through.

3. If you want to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before and fast your prayer.         —Esther 4:13-17

Esther fasted and prayed to save her life and those of the Jews. She did something she never did before – she risked her life for the sake of her people by going before the king uninvited. However, before she took that risk, she and her people prepared themselves – they fasted and prayed to God for three days. Why? She knew only God could touch the heart of the king and give her favour with him.

Do you need to take some risk? Do you need to mix your prayers with fasting? As Jesus said there are some situations that would need prayer and fasting to bring deliverance, to be resolved or for breakthrough to come. Examine your life and the circumstances you are experiencing? Have you tried different ways to deal with your problems but they still prevail? Consider spending time in prayer and fasting. Even a commitment to skip a meal for a season would help bring light to your situation.

Next week, I will share the second part of this message.

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

Pray: The Way to Change Our World

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.                          —Matthew 18:19 (AMP)

Day after day we are constantly hearing and seeing terrible news accounts of wars, bombings, disasters, killings, etc.  around the world. Before we are able to deal with the effects of one devastation event another one comes up. There is a feeling of hopelessness that invades the world and more intensely the lives of these who suffer the loss of loved ones on account of someone’s heartless and evil act. There is feeling of futility to all the fighting and killing, and sickness and disease we see permeating throughout our world. At times it causes us to wonder if there is any point to doing the good works that we do. And often wonder if prayer does make a difference.

One thing I have also noticed is that as Christians and most people generally tend to react to the problems as they occur. We call for prayer and for all work together in any way possible to help the hurting souls struck by these misfortunes. That is very good on our part. Yes, Jesus has called us extend His love to others (Matthew 25:31-39). We should by all means not fail to do good works and show the love of God to others.

However, there is another aspect to this that is often missed. When we help others during their difficult times we are being reactive. But as Christians we must be proactive. Why? The word of God tells us that the devil is going about seeking to find people to devour (1 Peter 5:8)! He is busily about the work of stealing, killing and destroying lives. Somehow, we don’t get that. It is only when we face trouble that we remember that we need to pray and to work to counter his works. But we should be many steps ahead of the enemy to destroy his works before he destroys us, our loved ones and those who haven’t yet come to know Christ as their Savior and Lord. When we are proactive prayer warriors, we stop evil in its tracks.

How can you be proactive in this fight against the enemy? Pray, pray and more pray. Paul instructs us to always be rejoicing and praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We must be unrelenting in prayer because the enemy will go to any means to steal from us, kill us or destroy us. We need a 24/7 connection to our Father God. Wherever and whenever, we can talk to God about what’s happening in our world. We can pray that His will be done on the earth. As we do this more and more, we will begin to see more of God’s hand in our lives for our good.

At times we fail to recognize the power of the words we speak in prayer and in our daily conversation. If we always speak contrary to what the word of God says we will for sure reap bad results (Proverbs 18:21). If we agree with the word of God about every detail of our lives, we will experience an abundant life.

Very closely intertwined with what we say is our belief system. We don’t believe that prayer can positively impact our world. We don’t believe that God can forewarn us of trouble and that through work of prayer we can prevent it. Often we silently tell ourselves that we are not seeing any change as quickly as we want to, so we give up and give into accepting everything that is not good. We faint or lose heart when Jesus wants us to keep praying. I have experienced for myself and heard of testimonies where prayer saved lives and restored broken families. I have seen people’s lives transformed because others were willing to pray until change came.  I have known of those to whom God brought revelation which led them to pray and thus save others from accident and death.

Jesus’ outburst in the temple when He found people conducting business there bears an important truth for us. He certainly was not pleased by what He saw. One thing He expects is that we would be temples of prayer.That we would gather into His house to pray and be in constant communication with Him. We often think we gather with the main focus of worship – of course, we must worship this great God. Yet we have another important responsiblity when we meet – to pray. We must pray for our needs, for our country, for our government, for those who are sick, for peace throughout the world. We must pray for anything and everything because we want to set up God will and purpose on the earth. When we pray we must take authority over the wicked principalities and powers and establishing God’s rule in our lives and in this world. For certain, as we prayer in agreement, God says that He will honor our requests (Matthew 18:19).

I want to urge you, pray more. Pray without ceasing. Pray for the needs you see all around you whether near or far. Pray for protection and safety of yourself and others. Pray and believe that the Father will respond to your requests and send help. Pray proactively, don’t wait for trouble to come (Matthew 6:10). Pray and rejoice even before you receive the answers. Pray and change your world.

9 Ways to Defeat Fear

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”            —Judges 6:12

Fear is such a debilitating emotion. It can overwhelm you emotionally and paralyze you physically. It can cause you to make irrational decisions. Have you ever experienced moments before you about to do something your heart starts beating heavily or the palm of your hands sweating and your mind starts racing with all kinds of negative thoughts that you are about to fail?

Recently I experienced that and it was such an awful feeling that I laid my hand on my chest and started to pray. I didn’t even have the strength in me to pray out loud but as I whispered a prayer God assured me that He was with me. I was able to stand up and speak without fear but instead with great boldness.

It’s interesting that the feeling of fear often comes when you are about to step out and do good, follow your dreams, do the work of the Lord or do something purposeful or meaningful that would bless others. Fear often comes when you need to step outside your comfort zone.

The account of Gideon shows us how God dealt with the problem of fear before He could bring victory to Israel over Midian. We can learn from this, how we and God can together defeat the spirit of fear that tries to derail our lives.

 

Remember That God Is With You (Judges 6:12)

God tells Gideon even before giving him his assignment that he is a mighty man of (fearless) courage and that He is with him. Even in the midst of your fears or troubles, God calls you fearless or mighty. You are commanded to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10). God was speaking into Gideon life and now into yours. He is saying you are even though you are not yet.

 

God Thinks Highly You, So Should You (Judges 6:14-16)

God does not address Gideon’s complaint that the Lord has given up on Israel but proceeds to give Gideon his assignment. Gideon’s fear is heard in his response. Fear make you feel small and disqualified and lacking in the ability to do what you need to do. Gideon’s excuse clearly shows this but God address this. God assures you and I that He will be with us in our doing (Judges 6:16) and that we will do great things.

 

Tell God Your Concerns (Judges 6: 17-24)

Even when God speaks, fear will cause you to question whether God did speak to you or not. Like Gideon you may ask for a sign. Gracious, loving and patient is our God to give us peace that He’s the One who directed us. God calms your fear when you tell him about it and gives you peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

Take Baby Steps of Faith (Judges 6:25-27)

With a little assurance, confirmation and direction from the Lord, you may begin to take little leaps of faith. Gideon destroys the gods but in the night and with the help of others. His faith wasn’t yet strong enough to do it openly but he did it anyway. Sometimes you have to take baby steps towards what God has called you to do. But step toward the right direction nonetheless. Move forward, no matter how small a move it may seem to be.

 

Rely On the Holy Spirit (Judges 6:34-40)

The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you and that’s where boldness comes from. God will also propel you forward. When the time of war was approaching Gideon moved forward when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. But even with that step, Gideon still had his reservations and asked God for a sign twice. Where fear linger, self-doubt exist. Like Gideon, there are times you will question and seek confirmation God that you are the one to do what He has asked you to.

 

Work to Eliminate Fear (Judges 7:2-3)

On the battle field fear also had to be banished. Out of 32,000 men, 22,000 were afraid and God release them. It is difficult to fight the enemy when you are afraid. The odds are against you because you have stacked them up against yourself. Defeat is predictable when you fight in fear. As children of God, we face a daily battle against the enemy; we have to defeat fear or the enemy will devour us.

 

Accept God’s Ways, Though Different (Judges 7:4-8)

God further reduced the number of warriors to a meager 300 men. God wanted Gideon to experience the power of diminishing numbers (Judges 6:11, Judges 7:2). In Christ, less means more.

 

Seek the Support of A Prayer Partner (Judges 7:9-11)

However, Gideon still had thoughts of fear. But God in his great love and understanding; graciously tells Gideon that if he was afraid he could take Purah with him to spy out the enemy’s camp. At times you will need support of a friend or a prayer partner – two are better than. You need help to go through the battle until you receive what is rightfully yours.

 

Receive the Word to Build Your Faith (Judges 7:13-25)

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation; he received the extra gumption he needed to go forward and boldly fight the Midianites. There is a word you need and I hope that it’s from this blog post today that will give you that push forward towards your goals and into your destiny.

 

Just as God understood Gideon’s concerns and daunting fear, He understands yours. God worked with him until he overcame it.  God assured him, moved him forward every step before and into the battle and at the right time fear was fully defeated and victory won.

You may fear doing God’s will or something new or different but God is with you. If you fear and yet move forward, step by step, God will be with you. He will anoint you. He will give you peace. He will put His Spirit upon you. He will give you words of comfort and the promise of success. He will make you bolder than a lion and you will move forward and do something great. Fear not, for the Lord is with you.

How do you deal with fear? Do you give your fears over to God and believe that He is with you at all times?

3 Ways to Keep God’s Word Close

We are very fortunate in this century to have the Word of God so near to us. The Word is near us in terms of accessibility. The Word can be in hard copy; in audio or video formats; on television; on the internet; on your cell phone, e-reader, or computer. There are also different translations available to study from. Compared to the biblical times when the Word of God was read at specified times when the people of God gathered, we have it available at all times. The nearness of the Word of God leaves us with no reason for not knowing it.

Unfortunately, sometimes we become distracted with life and don’t keep God’s word as close to us as we should. However, Deuteronomy 30:14 offers us some insight on how to keep the Word near to us.

1. READ THE WORD

At home, early in the morning, in the afternoon, late a night, anytime or anywhere we can read the word. I usually read in the early morning and prayer before breakfast. While driving to work, I may listen to a sermon or I pray the scriptures I read earlier that morning. Depending on the activity of the day, I may be able to slip in a short message or read. At night l enjoy having a cup of tea J and reading either a book or the Bible just before sleeping. Other times, while doing other tasks I would listen to the Bible on my Blackberry using You Version – it’s a great tool.

2. SPEAK THE WORD

If you know the Word you will speak it.  I would purposely make an effort to repeat certain scriptures I read as go through the day. During prayer, I would confess in faith specific scriptures I have written out. I have seen the Lord faithfully honor these promises that I have held to. If we take God’s instruction, the word of God should constantly be in our mouth. We should be talking about the Word morning, noon and night; when we lay down to rest and when you get up (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). As we do this we are not only edifying ourselves but we are teaching our children.

3. THINK THE WORD

If you are constantly speaking the word – whether in prayer, in daily conversation with friends of family, occasionally meditating on it throughout your day – then it becomes embedded in your mind and heart. You would be thinking on good, lovely, profitable, wonderful thoughts because the Word is of God and God is good. This for sure will help to erase negatively from your thinking. You will grow from grace to grace and see life from God’s perspective and not the world’s.

LIVE OUT LOUD THE WORD

Once you’ve got the Word in you – mouth, mind and heart – you will know God’s desire and you will act in a way that pleases Him. When you walk in obedience to His Word, then you will see God’s many blessings in your life (Deuteronomy 28: 1-14). When you keep His Word, your soul will prosper and so will all other areas of your life (3 John 1:2).

Therefore, keep the Word of God near to you always and treasure them more than your necessary food (Job 23:12).

What do you do to keep the Word of God close to you? Share and encourage someone.