POWER THOUGHTS: To Change How You Act, Change the Way You Think

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“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT, second edition).

Change requires new thinking. In order to change, we must learn the truth and start making good choices, but we also must change the way we think.

The battle for sin starts in your mind, not in your behavior. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, you start by changing the way you think. In addition, if you want to change the way you feel, you must start with changing the way you think.

For instance, I can say, “I need to love my kids more,” but that isn’t going to work. You can’t fight your way into a feeling. You must change the way you think about your kids, about your husband, about your wife, and that will change the way you feel, which will then change the way you act. The Bible says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT, second edition).

Let me sum it up this way: You are not what you think you are. Rather, what you think, you are. The battle to deal with those defects in your life that you don’t like starts in your mind. If you want to change anything in your behavior or anything in your emotions, start with your thoughts and your attitude.

The renewal of your mind is related to the word “repentance.” I know repentance is a murky word for a lot of people. They think it means something you don’t really want to do or something painful. They think of a guy standing on a street corner with a sign that says, “Repent! The world’s about to end!”

Repentance has nothing to do with your behavior. It’s about learning to think differently. “Repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn. It’s something you do in your mind, not with your behavior. Changing the way you think will then affect your emotions and your behavior.

When I repent, I turn from guilt to forgiveness. I turn from Hell to Heaven. I turn from purposelessness to purpose in life. I turn from no hope to new hope. I turn from frustration to freedom. I turn from darkness to light!

That’s the kind of change I need to be able to change the rest of my life.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: God Can Use Dark Times for Good

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“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 NLT, second edition).

Did Jesus suffer? Was he sometimes lonely? Was he tempted to be discouraged? Was he misunderstood, maligned, and criticised unjustly?

Of course! None of us are exempt from suffering, loneliness, discouragement, or unjust criticism, because God is developing within us the character of Christ, and, in order to do this, he must take us through all of the circumstances in life which he took Christ through.

Does this mean God causes tragedies? No. God is good, and he will not cause evil or do evil. But God can use dark and stressful times for good. He’ll use them to teach us to trust him, to show us how to help others, and to draw us closer to other believers.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (NLT, second edition).

So, what should you do when you’re going through difficult times?

First, refuse to be discouraged. Then, remember God is with you. Finally, rely on God’s protection and guidance.

We all go through difficult times. The difference for those who believe in Jesus is not the absence of the shadow but the presence of the Light.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: Why You Need a Church Family

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“[Christ’s] love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center” (2 Corinthians 5:14 MSG).

You cannot fulfill the five purposes (worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism) on your own. Life is not a solo act. You were created for community. The only way you can fulfill God’s five purposes in your life is with people in your life who are giving you spiritual input. You need a church family!

Why? Because the church helps you center your life around God.

God didn’t put you on Earth to live a self-centered life. His purpose for you is to build your life with him at the core. You were planned for God’s pleasure. He made you to love you, and he wants you to love him back. God says, “I want to be the hub of your heart. I want to be the focus of your attention. I want to be the center of your life. I want to be the axis of your existence.”

The Bible says, “[Christ’s] love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center” (2 Corinthians 5:14 MSG).

How can you tell when Christ is at the center of your life? You stop worrying. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” There’s a word for this: worship. Whenever you focus your life on God, that’s called worship. And worship is the antidote for worry. If you want to worry less, worship more.

When are we supposed to worship? The Bible says, “You have six days when you can do your work, but the seventh day of each week is holy because it belongs to me. No matter where you live, you must reston the Sabbath and come together for worship” (Leviticus 23:3a CEV). God says once a week I want you to come together to re-focus, re-calibrate, and re-center your life on me.

Where are you supposed to do it? Acts 2:46 tells us that “they worshipped together regularly at the Temple” (TLB).

Can you see that God meant for you to be a part of a church family? When you are, it helps you focus and center your life around God so that you can fulfill his purpose for you.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: Fill Your Mind with Truth, Not Poison

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“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (Proverbs 15:14 NLT, second edition).

If you want to become wise, the first thing you have to do is listen to God’s Word every day.

Proverbs 2:6 says, “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding” (TEV).

You don’t get it from television. You don’t get it from the internet. You don’t get it from magazines. Wisdom comes from God.

The Bible says in Proverbs 15:14, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (NLT, second edition). You can either feed on truth, or you can feed on trash. Whatever you fill your mind with is what’s going to come out — garbage in, garbage out. If you want to be wise, you’ve got to feed every day on truth, not trash.

There are three kinds of things you can fill your mind with: You can fill your mind with poison, you can fill your mind with junk food, or you can fill your mind with health food.

Poison is stuff that poisons your system. It’s bad for you. It takes you down. Pornography is poison. You should not be reading “Fifty Shades” of any color! Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out. They say, “I can watch that stuff. It doesn’t bother me anymore.” That’s the problem! When you can watch and read stuff that is profane, blasphemous, evil, vile, and abusive and it doesn’t bother you, you have a problem. You have become a fool.

Wise people protect their mind. They put on the helmet of salvation. They don’t just allow anything into their mind. They keep the poison out.

Junk food is neither good nor bad. It just has no nutritional value to it. Most of the stuff you see on tv is not evil. It’s just junk food. It’s what I call stuffing. But the problem with stuffing is that when you stuff yourself with stuffing, you have no hunger for truth. If you watch TV for four hours, your mind is full of empty calories that don’t help your body or your mind.

Health food is nutritional food. It helps you grow and maintain your health. It is truth, and the wise person feeds on truth. It makes you wiser — in your relationships, your time, your money, your business, your parenting, your marriage, and every other area of your life.

The first place you need to go to fill your mind with truth is God’s Word. The more you develop the habit of spending time each day reading and studying the Bible, the wiser you will become.

Talk It Over

  • What kinds of junk food do you allow to fill your mind?
  • What difference do you see in your day when you spend more time watching TV and on the internet than you do in God’s Word?
  • What practical step can you take today that will help you make your quiet time a priority?

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

MOTIVATE ME: Let God Take the Driver’s Seat

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Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (Matthew 16:24 MSG).

How do you let go and let God? First, you have to make Jesus the manager of your life.

The problem is, we usually want to be the manager of our own lives, and so we argue and disagree with God. We think we know what’s best. The reason you’re under a lot of stress is that you’re constantly fighting God in your mind — “I know God says to do this but I want to do that instead!”

Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment-by-moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress.

Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (MSG). Here’s what Christians tend to do: When we become believers in Christ, we give him the driver’s seat and then promptly hop into the backseat and become backseat drivers. We’re constantly giving him “advice,” like, “No, turn this way. Stop. Wait. Faster! I want to go that way. I want to see that sight.”

Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.

Talk It Over

  • What are the details of your life that are most difficult for you to surrender to God?
  • How have you been quarreling with God without saying a word? What do your actions reveal about who is managing your life?
  • Determine today to give God control of the areas of your life where you have concerns and stress. What will that look like? What difference will that make in your life?

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Be blessed,

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POWER THOUGHTS: It’s Time to Redefine Failure

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“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”(Proverbs 29:25 NIV).

Satan’s favorite tool to diminish your faith is the fear of failure. But you cannot serve God and be constantly worried about what other people think. You have to move forward. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (NIV).

So how do you get rid of the fear of failure?

One way is to redefine failure. What is failure? Failure is not failing to reach your goal. Failure is not having a goal. Failure is not failing to hit your target. Failure is not having a target. Failure is not falling down. Failure is refusing to get back up. You’re never a failure until you quit. So if you’re attempting something for the glory of God, that’s a good thing. Failure is not trying and not accomplishing anything. Failure is failing to try.

Another way to get rid of the fear of failure is to never compare yourself to anybody else. You’re always going to find somebody who’s doing a better job, and you get discouraged. And, you’re always going to find somebody who’s not doing as good a job as you are, and you become full of pride. Both of them will mess up your life. Discouragement and pride will keep you from serving God’s purpose for your life.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:4, “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others” (GW)

Did you notice that the Bible says there is a legitimate pride? There’s a good kind of pride and there’s a bad kind of pride. The bad kind of pride is comparing: “I’m better than so and so!” The good kind of pride is, “God, I’m proud of what you’re doing in my family, my business, my life, my walk of faith.” That’s the good kind of pride.

When you get to Heaven, God isn’t going to say, “Why weren’t you more like so and so?” He’s going to say, “Why weren’t you who I made you to be?”

Let go of your fear of failure, because anything you’re attempting for God in faith is a good thing, regardless of the results.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: To Get God’s Power, Admit You Need His Help

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“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT, second edition).

A right relationship with Jesus is foundational to every area of your life. Your physical health is no exception.

Through a secure relationship with Jesus, you can grow and change in ways it’s impossible to do without one. In truth, we can’t accomplish anything having to do with our health without God: “I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT, second edition).

Getting healthy, like any major change we make in our lives, can seem like an impossible challenge. Of course, it is impossible for those who try to do it on their own! But in our inadequacy, God’s strength for the person of faith is made perfectly evident.

That’s why it takes faith to maintain your health the way God desires. You’ll never be able to do it on your own. You were never intended to be able to! Anything you can do in your own willpower doesn’t require faith, and when faith is not required, we’re living faithlessly.

When you come to Christ in acknowledgement of your weaknesses, he often turns your greatest weakness into your greatest strength. God loves to turn our greatest weakness into our greatest strength. If you feel you have a weak faith or even no faith, depend on God, and let him turn it into your greatest strength.

But that only happens through God’s power. The Bible tells us there’s a direct connection between faith and power. The more faith you have in God, the more power and the more blessings you will have in your life.

Jesus illustrated this in Matthew 13, where he went for a visit in his hometown, Nazareth. The Bible says Jesus “did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (verse 58).

God blesses people who are not afraid to trust him completely. When you give him your trust, God fills you with his power. In the Bible, Abraham is considered the father of faith. It says, “He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God for the promise, he became strong because of faith” (Romans 4:20 GW).

Without God’s power in your life, you’re just running on your own energy. And God never meant for you to do that. It’s like having a laptop that’s unplugged; the battery will eventually drain and all the power will be gone. Why would you live like that?

Think of it like this: You’ve got a small battery in you. You can run through life on your own power, which means you’ll be tired all the time.

Or you have access to God’s power plant, provided you just plug in and admit you need God’s help.

It’s really a pretty easy choice.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: Embracing God’s Best for Your Body

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“Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him” (Romans 12:1 MSG).

Taking care of your body is a spiritual discipline, like prayer, worship, or Bible study. God wants you to succeed at this in 2016.

The apostle Paul says, with God helping you,“Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1 MSG).

When you take care of your body, you worship God. And it’s never too late to start this important journey in your life.

Before you ever start your journey of getting healthy, you need to realize that it’s a step of faith. Like Peter stepping out of the boat, every step you take toward better health increases your trust in God. Every step helps you expect the best from him. The same verse also says, “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”

The Bible embraces three incredibly important truths about the journey of getting healthy. Grasping these truths before you begin will change everything about the journey before you.

God made your body. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (NIV). Physical health is as much about stewardship as where you give your resources.

Jesus paid for your body. The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT, second edition). On the cross, Jesus paid not just for your soul but also your body. You honor God when you take care of your body.

The Holy Spirit lives in your body. If you’re a Christian, the Bible says your body is God’s temple and that the Holy Spirit lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). Good health is one way you take care of God’s temple. You’d never let your church building get into poor shape, and God wants you to think of your body in the same way.

When you fully embrace these truths from God’s Word about your body, you’re ready for your body’s brand new 2016. Knowing the truth about your body makes acting on that truth a step of faith. It means you’re no longer getting healthy just to live a few more years, fit into a particular item of clothing in your closet, or look more physically attractive. You’re getting healthy as a way to worship God.

That’s a terrific and empowering reason to get healthy in 2016.

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Love and joy to you all,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

MOTIVATE ME: Settle Your Destiny So You Can Help Others Do the Same

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“For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (Hebrews 2:14b-15 NLT, second edition).

One of the things Jesus came to Earth to do is take away your fear of death. How? By dying on the cross and being resurrected to show that there is life after death.

The Bible says in Hebrews 2:14-15, “For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (NLT, second edition).

God wants to break the fear of dying in your life. Instead of looking to your pain here on Earth, God wants you to look to him and the hope of Heaven. And, he wants you to help those who are dying to do the same.

When someone is dying, you need to encourage him to do what David did: “Death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord (Psalm 18:5b-6a). Have you ever done that? Have you cried out to the Lord for his grace and mercy and accepted his offer of salvation? You can’t offer to other people what you haven’t received yourself. If you haven’t settled the issue of your salvation, you’re gambling with your eternity.

If you were to die today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to Heaven? If you’re not sure or answered “no,” you need to settle the issue right now so that you can be assured of life after death and point your friends to the hope of Heaven.

Pray this prayer today: “Dear God, you are God, and I’m not. You sent Jesus to be my Savior, so I must need to be saved. I need you to forgive the things I’ve done wrong in life. I need you to give me a fresh start in life. I need you to help me know my purpose. I want to begin a relationship with you. I ask you to come into my life. I want to learn to trust you. I want to learn to love you. I want to learn to love other people the way you want me to. So I ask you today with humility and honesty and sincerity to please save me as I put my trust in you. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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Be blessed,

e3zejc7nn7jgkf9qte2u

 (Source: Rick Warren)

POWER THOUGHTS: The Path to a Miracle Goes Through Uncomfortable Territory

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“Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (1 Kings 17:8-10a NCV).

When you’re scared to death and vulnerable, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how long it’s going to take, and you don’t know what’s going to happen when you get there, what do you do?

You remember that the path to a miracle often goes through uncomfortable territory.

The Bible gives an illustration in 1 Kings 17:8-10: “Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (NCV).

God told Elijah to walk more than 100 miles during a drought through dangerous territory, where everyone knew who he was and that King Ahab had a price on his head. When Elijah finally made it to Zarephath, he met a poor widow who was going to feed him. But how could she help defend or protect him from a pagan town full of people who wouldn’t hesitate to kill him?

Miracles don’t happen when things are comfortable. Miracles happen when things are uncomfortable. Elijah didn’t say, “God, there are three things wrong with this plan. One, you’re sending me in the wrong direction. Two, you’re sending me to the wrong location. And three, you’re sending me to the wrong protection.”

Elijah just obeyed.

God’s path to a miracle often takes us through uncomfortable territory because it forces us to depend on him.

For instance:

  • When Moses led the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land, they had to go through the Red Sea first.
  • Before David could slay Goliath, he had to walk onto the battlefield.
  • God told Jehoshaphat to put the choir before the army, and he’d win the victory. How much faith do you think that took?

Miracles never happen in your comfort zone, when everything’s great and convenient. You don’t need a miracle when everything is settled in your life. You only need a miracle when you’re on the edge, when you’re scared to death, when you’re insecure, when you can get hit at any angle.

Are you at a place right now in your life where things are a little uncomfortable — financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically? You’re a little nervous, a little on the edge, a little insecure. Congratulations. You’re on the path to a miracle!

Just like Elijah, God wants you to obey so you can see his miracle at the end of the road.

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Love and joy to you all,

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(Source: Rick Warren)