Are Your Thoughts Destroying Your Happiness?

Just as it is important to realize that nobody can make you mad, it is also important to admit that flowing thoughts don’t control what you think. You do.

When I say, “You do,” I mean you and Holy Spirit, working in a partner-friendship, do; with Him as the Senior Partner. That is why it is essential to acknowledge your connection with Him as a daily-life protocol. The mental pressures of the flesh life are more than you can handle alone. You and Holy Spirit must be in conscious connection for you to succeed in your thought-life.

“Holy Spirit, it is my will that You and I are of the same mind today (or now).”

The Passion Translation says (Philippians 2:5, And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mind-set become your motivation.”   (Let the mind-set of Jesus become your motivation).

“Holy Spirit, how would Jesus be thinking about this (or that)?”

Of course, Philippians 4:8 reveals the heart of the Christ-like mind-set.  I will, again, quote the Passion Translation:

So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.”

To experience the abundant life in the present, it is essential that we have a protocol for the way we allow ourselves to think.

Remember:  No other person or situation can make you mad, stressed-out, or fearful.  Those are the choices that you  (and I) allow.

I will close this article with a quote from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy,
“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”

Independent human reason of the flesh-mind focuses on fear.  It tells us that this or that issue, that generates feelings of fear, anxiety, and anger are rational and reasonable.  But, the only perspective that is reasonable is God’s perspective.  I urge us all to establish the protocol of choosing God’s perspective as our ruling thoughts.  Abundant life follows.

Gary

 

 

 

Jesus: Just Like Us

In the days of His earthly journey, Jesus was known as the Son of Man.

Did you know that, in His Middle Eastern Culture, Son of Man was an idiom meaning one of us?

As we apply that to our contemporary thinking, some folks, unfortunately, make two erroneous applications:

  1.  Some are afraid that thinking of Jesus as the Son of Man and meaning one of us devalues His Lordship.
  2. Others also feel that thinking of Jesus as one of us means a sinner like us.

But, both of those trains of thought are erroneous.  The idea of Jesus being one of us meant that He perfectly related to us as a man of this earth.  He lived His earth-existence as a human being.  Without the core of a sin nature; but as a real person.

Think with me.  Make sure to, at least attempt, setting aside pre-learned religious thinking.

Matthew 11:19 (NLT), “The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

One day as I was praying, Jesus said to me, “Call Me brother.”  At first, I wondered, “Am I  making this up?”  However, Romans 8:29 immediately came to mind confirming the fact that Jesus was the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  Although I would still know Him as my Lord, I didn’t to also know Him in a more “human” way, like my brother.  Since then, I call Jesus my brother often.

Note:  I realize that the term ‘firstborn’ literally refers to the importance of the person and not a numerical birth order.  But, it is also accurate to recognize that it is legitimate to think of it numerically.

Several thoughts can be emphasized on this subject, but the main idea that I would like to convey in this article is the following:

For us to mature in an accurate and satisfying relationship with Jesus, it is essential for our experiences with Jesus to have the added dimension of ‘normal humanity.’  We have suffered (yes, I said suffered) under the gray cloak of religiosity in our communication with, and feelings about Jesus.

Jesus wants to communicate with us on a full level of ‘brotherly’ expressions.  Instead of the whole of our prayer life being to receive a healing, the solution to a financial need, or solving some other critical issue we have, the building of friendship is essential to what Jesus desires; He with us, and us with Him.  That includes all kinds of light conversation.  He even has a playful mood with me.  I reciprocate.  He loves it, and I love it.  Since I’ve been on this new journey of a full friendship with Jesus, something remarkable has developed.

When I pray, it ‘feels’ like I’m talking to the most amazing big brother.  This feeling has not diminished a sense of His Lordship in my life.  It has made it much stronger.  My faith has accelerated!

My prayer for you is that you’ll discover a fresh revelation of what a personal relationship with Jesus includes.  One day it will happen to the fullest measure in heaven, but there’s much more most of us can realize now.

“I no longer call you servants….Instead, I have called you friends…”
John 15:15

There was a time when I thought I already understood friendship with Jesus.  I sang songs like the old time, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”, and Israel Houghton’s, “I Have A Friend In God”.  However, I discovered that there is a much more profound depth of experiencing that reality.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Form Of Highest Praise

I was gazing at my favorite painting of Jesus while soft music played in the background.  This posture is what you might call a standard protocol for my morning quiet time.

The words seemed to form in my mind, “It is ultimate praise to me when you function as I made you.  I enjoy that very much!”

Then, a short time later as I was “soaking” in that thought, another impression arose in me, “The seeds of inspiration are mine.  Taking dominion over the seeds is yours.”

Note:  The Lord designed me with the calling of writing.  The same truth can apply to any person’s function in life applied to their talents, desires, and motivations.

Therefore, we give ultimate praise to the Lord when we function as He designed and gifted us.  I am reminded me of a quote by former Olympian runner, Eric Liddel, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast!  When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

Jesus said to me, “The seeds of inspiration are mine.  Taking dominion over the seeds is yours.”  An example of me, as a writer, taking dominion over the seeds would be the finished thought,

“I give you the seeds of inspiration, not the mature plant.  You take dominion over the seeds of inspiration by fashioning and transforming them into thoughts of truth, power, and beauty, that, in turn, breaths life into others.”

This complete thought is a demonstration of what might be called, ‘inspirational partnership.’  I encourage you to develop your relationship with Jesus by opening your mind and heart to those seeds of inspiration that apply to your own life.  It is one of the highest forms of praise and brings joy to both you and Jesus.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Seeking You And Finding Me

This morning, I was sitting quietly.  Soft instrumental music was playing, and the focus of my mind and heart was on fellowship with Jesus.  I was merely talking to Him.  In the process, I could feel that a two-sided conversation was taking place.

I have begun to recognize that, as I am focused on worshipping and talking to Jesus, His thoughts and my thoughts often mesh together sounding alike.  I have to learn to pay attention to, what seems like, random ideas taking place in my mind.   In so doing, I’ve begun to recognize when a conversation between us is taking place.  Without sensing the distinction, I could come away thinking that it had just been me doing all the talking.

“As I pursue You, I find myself”

I said those words to Him, but it then dawned on me that, although I was speaking to Jesus, He was also speaking them back to me:

“As you pursue Me, you find yourself”

I understand that every desire and design that is “Me” was initially in Him.

As a people, Western society emphasizes the pursuit of individual purpose.  We have been influenced to believe that discovering our mission is the Master Key to happiness and fulfillment.

I would not deny the importance of knowing what makes you…you.  It’s important to realize what ‘makes you tick.’  However, I also believe that we often have our method of discovery backward.  Instead of pursuing our purpose as the most important discovery to realizing abundance in our lives, seeking out our fullness in Jesus needs to be at the top of the list of pursuit.

In so doing, I realized one day (well, actually over a period of time), the most fruitful method was not as a theologian.  Although learning about Him has essential value, getting to know and experience Him, with the attitude of a child, is the starting point. In the process, I often find myself curious about researching meanings of words and culture; especially if, during my conversations with Jesus, I’m impressed with specific scripture verses and passages.  Otherwise, a much more straightforward, child-like attitude is my goal for those more relational morning times — or whenever in the day, or evening I pursue a relationship with Him.

“As I Pursue You, I Find Myself.”

As I invest time in developing my own relationship with Jesus, as I would with anyone I really want to know, I am discovering an increasing sense, deep within, of what motivates me, and what gives me a sense of satisfaction.  In other words, what makes me tick; what gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, peace, and joy.

Is it valuable to use other tools to discover our gifts and talents; our design and God-given purpose?  Sure.  The highest priority, however, is realizing who we are in Him.  As we pursue a relationship with Jesus, we increasingly sense where and how we harmonize together.  Experiencing His personality reveals our personality.  It is a marvelous mystery that brings inner clarity.

This truth is something learned by wrapping your heart around it, by faith,  rather than attempting to wrap your head around it rationally.

I invite you to find yourself by pursuing Jesus.

Gary

 

 

Encouraging Journey – Episode 6 – Dealing With Closed Doors

(You May Listen To Youtube Audio Below)

I have a question for you:

What are you doing with the closed doors in your life?  How are you responding?  If you spend all of your time mourning the doors that are closed, you may well miss the coming door that opens up.

I was recently visiting a man in the hospital.  There was a lot of renovation taking place in the building.  After the visit, as I was making my way back to the exit to the parking garage, my attention was fixed on what I thought was the only exit.  It was freezing, and windy outside and I didn’t want to spend much time in the frigid conditions.  Staring at the door that had been blocked, I was upset.  Why would the renovation crew block the exit that led directly to the protected parking lot tunnel?!

Suddenly I realized that if I stopped obsessing over the blocked exit, and shifted my attention a few feet to the right, there was actually another exit door…and it was not blocked.  Happily (and feeling a little foolish for my bad frame of mind) I made it to my car all inside the tunnel and out of the freezing wind.

Where is your attention right now?  On the closed door, or on the belief that God is fully capable of opening another door…an even better door.

Don’t be angry over what you may actually be loosing.  Instead, choose to hope in what God will be providing!

Gary

Encouraging Journey – Episode 5 – “The Mystery of Encouragement”

(To Listen, select the YouTube Audio Version Below)

Motivational speaker, Les Brown, is quoted as saying, “When life knocks you down, try to land on your back.  Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

The New International Version of Hebrews 3:13  instructs us to encourage each other daily.  Not just once in awhile, or when we feel like it; but every day.  In other words, make it your life-style to be one who encourages others.  Speak to each other in ways that refreshes, or re-strengthens.  This is something anyone can do, and it’s vital ministry.  There’s plenty of discouragement out there.  Be an atmosphere changer…just with the kind of words you broadcast.

You might be thinking, “What if I’m discouraged, myself?  How can I give what I don’t have?  Good questions.  The answer would fall under the category of taking steps of faith.   One description of faith is, ‘Believing a kite can fly even when there’s no wind’…or give encouragement when you, yourself, are discouraged.

And so, feel like it or not, we learn to speak simple words that carry the power of encouragement to others; whether you think the person deserves it or not; whether they seem to receive it or not.

Then you’ll discover something mysterious beginning to happen.  Your own feeling of discouragement begins giving way to a fresh breath of strength within yourself.

Discover, for yourself, the power of encouraging others.

Encouraging Journey – Episode 4 – Prayer: “When You Don’t Know What To Say”

(To Listen, select the YouTube Audio Version Below)

I read a post on Instagram recently that caught my attention.  It said, “Dear God, I don’t know what to say to you, right now, with words.  So, could you please listen to the feelings of my heart, instead.”

Romans 8:25-26 (NIV), “If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, (while we are waiting) but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

If you are of a Pentecostal persuasion, you will assume that I’m going say that this is referring to praying in tongues.  Now, I’m not denying that interpretation.  I believe in praying in tongues.  However, there’s more to be understood.

Up until the 1700’s, prayer was also a matter of heart communication and not just the product of a rational construction of words.  The prayer took the form of heart feelings that were focused, with minimal words, toward God.  Sometimes the pray-er would see and feel the “as if completed” answer as their heart feelings poured out before the Lord.

When Paul was speaking to the Romans, he indicated that the Holy Spirit would partner with the person using – what he called – deep groans, or sighs.  Those are words describing the heart language of emotion.

When you don’t know what to say with words, let the feelings of your heart talk to God.  Don’t put so much confidence in the right words.  Let the deep feelings and visions of your heart articulate your request.

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