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Watch your Imagination
Story: A man named Jack was driving on a dark country road one night when he got a flat tire. He saw a cabin in the woods and began to walk towards it. He told himself that the person who answered the door would be angry and irritated for the interruption. In fact, the person would probably harm him. He was probably a truly terrible person. Who else would live out in the woods away from people? Jack convinced himself that the person who lived in the cabin was a menace to society, so when the door opened, Jack punched the man in the nose and ran away.
Verse: "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast” ()"
Verse: "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast” ()"
Point: We take situations and replay them in our minds. We have conversations in our heads with people, and build a case against them, though we don’t really know what they are thinking. We tend to “nurse, curse, and rehearse” stories like Jack. What things do you play in your head all day? What are you meditating on? Get rid of the “oppressed and wretched” forecasts!
Point: We take situations and replay them in our minds. We have conversations in our heads with people, and build a case against them, though we don’t really know what they are thinking. We tend to “nurse, curse, and rehearse” stories like Jack. What things do you play in your head all day? What are you meditating on? Get rid of the “oppressed and wretched” forecasts!
Accepting Others
Story: Paul Tournier was a brilliant thinker and writer, and an influential Christian therapist during his time. Doctors from around the world traveled to his home in Switzerland to learn from him. He wrote, “It is a little embarrassing for students to come over and study my ‘techniques.’ They always go away disappointed, because all I do is accept people.”
Verse: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” ()
Verse: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” ()
Point: Accepting is not the same as approving, condoning, or even tolerating bad behavior. Acceptance is an act of the heart in which we recognize that, despite someone’s behavior, he or she has value in God’s sight, and we honor that. But this can be a hard thing to do! There are many ways to communicate acceptance to people. One of them is to listen to them with patience and compassion and receive them with love in the name of Jesus. Another is to refrain from mental condemnation and judgments, from constantly evaluating and analyzing (those things keep us from loving). We must take captive those thoughts of condemnation toward others, and submit to God. As we draw near to Him, we ask Him to love through us.!
Point: Accepting is not the same as approving, condoning, or even tolerating bad behavior. Acceptance is an act of the heart in which we recognize that, despite someone’s behavior, he or she has value in God’s sight, and we honor that. But this can be a hard thing to do! There are many ways to communicate acceptance to people. One of them is to listen to them with patience and compassion and receive them with love in the name of Jesus. Another is to refrain from mental condemnation and judgments, from constantly evaluating and analyzing (those things keep us from loving). We must take captive those thoughts of condemnation toward others, and submit to God. As we draw near to Him, we ask Him to love through us.!
Watch your Negative Thoughts
Story: A Trappist monk was allowed to say only two words every three years. After the first three years, he said to the Brother Superior, “Bad bed.” Three years later he came back to say, “Bad food.” After three more years of silence the monk said, “No TV.” Another three years passed. This time the monk appeared with robes and sandals in hand and announced, “I quit.” The Brother Superior answered, “It’s no wonder. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here!”
Verse: ”He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin” ()
Point: Instead of complaining, you have had to be retrained to think differently. The Bible says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It also says, “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable, think on these things.” It doesn’t say, “Try to think on these things.” Would God tell us to do something that is impossible to do? You can choose what you let your mind dwell on. Battle the thoughts that don’t line up with Scripture through prayer, saying Bible verses instead, and by speaking truth out loud when negativity, lies, and agreements with untruth swirl in your brain. Try it. Don’t let things in your life “come to ruin.” Pray this verse and begin to set up guards.
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