The Power of the Mind

One of the greatest weapons that you have to combat challenges is your mind.

Psychologist Archibald Hart once said, “Research has shown that one’s thought life influences every aspect of one’s being”. Jesus once said that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. There is a link between our thoughts and the outward results of our lives. Proverbs 23:7 says – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” How we think determines how we act. If you want to change your life, you will have to change your mind.

A lot of the problems that we face in life comes from wrong thinking. Negative thinking can lead you to experience fear and depression, blocking the light of God’s joy and peace, so that you are mired in darkness and unable to receive God’s loving guidance and wisdom. Positive thinking leads to faith and hope, a trust that God will take care of things, no matter how bad it seems.

The mind is like a battlefield, Satan is actively trying to plant thoughts that will make us feel anxious or discouraged, thoughts that tempt us to sin, so we need to be vigilant regarding our thought life.

In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Paul writes:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Our thought life is subjected to spiritual warfare, we have to fight to keep our thoughts holy and pure, obedient to Christ. One of the dangers with negative thinking is that if it becomes a habit, then it becomes a stronghold that Satan uses to keep you in misery.

Romans 12:2 tells us – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Our thoughts should be radically different from how the world thinks. As Christians, we are to change, transform ourselves by filling our minds with new, Christ-like thoughts. Then we will be able to know what God’s perfect will is for our life.

 

Do something spectacular

This week’s blog post reflects on the story of Peter walking on water.

The passage is found in Matthew 14:22-33:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

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I want to encourage you to follow Peter’s example, to get out of the boat and walk on water.

I see walking on water as a metaphor for the spectacular dreams that God plants in our hearts. Peter sees Jesus walking on water, performing a miracle and this miracle of Jesus inspires Peter to want to experience a miracle as well. Likewise, when we read about Peter walking on water, it should encourage us to step out in faith and do something spectacularly miraculous.

Too often, we are satisfied with lives that are average and ordinary. We settle into a routine that is mundane, and feel our spirits drained by boredom and stagnation. This is what happens when you don’t have a great dream in your heart, something spectacular that lights a fire in your soul. Peter felt safe in the boat, but when He saw Jesus walking on water, something stirred inside him. He wanted more than just a safe, ordinary life, he wanted to do something as amazing, he wanted to go on an adventure with Jesus, stepping out of the comfortable boat to join Jesus in the stormy water. Peter walking on water can be seen as an encouragement for us to leave our safety and security behind, and to pursue new life goals that are adventurous, amazing, magnificent, astounding – truly spectacular.

So I’d encourage you to reflect on your life. What would be your equivalent of walking on water? Perhaps it’s leaving your boring job and becoming your own boss, creating a business selling products you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s screwing up the courage to share the gospel with your friends, or going on a mission trip with the intention of touching thousands of lives. Maybe it’s a dream of raising a massive amount of money for your favourite charity.

I want to encourage you to dream big. In Ephesians 3:20, Paul tells us that God can do immeasurably more than what we can imagine. Just as the disciples fell down and worshipped Jesus after they saw him walk on water, ask God to fulfil a dream that is so big that when He brings it to pass, you’ll fall on your knees and worship Him.

Favour of God

Do you want to experience success in every area of your life, being blessed in your career, health and relationships?

Do you want to see your dreams fulfilled?

If so, it’s time for you to discover the power of the Favour of God.

When you have the favour of God, good things will start happening to you – both big and small. You might experience great blessings like landing your dream job, or more mundane good things like landing a good parking spot in a crowded lot. Your son will get a place in a top college, or your family will get your favourite table in a packed restaurant. When these things happen to you – that’s the favour of God!

Below are some Bible verses that talk about how we as Christians have been blessed by God’s favour.

In Isaiah 30:18, the prophet writes:

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious(chanan) to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”

God’s favour is an amazing thing and the good news is that we don’t have to beg Him for His favour. Favour (chanan) is translated as “gracious” in Isaiah 30:18. The verse tells us that God longs to show us His favour. His passion is to be good to us! We can claim the favour of God because God enthusiastically wants to bless us!

In Psalm 35:27, the Psalmist says

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

We can be assured that God wants to bless us because it gives Him pleasure when we prosper. Nothing delights God’s heart more than to see us happy, successful, healthy and doing well.

In Psalm 30:5, the Psalmist sings:

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

As Christians, we not only have favour, but His goodness to us will last our entire lives.

In Psalm 84:11, the Psalmist writes:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

God not only gives us favour, He gives us all good things! God gives us good things, not just in the spiritual realm – like love, joy and peace, but also things in the material realm, like wealth and good relationships. He gives us all good things!

In Jeremiah 31:2, the prophet writes:

This is what the Lord says:

“The people who survive the sword
will find favour in the wilderness;
I will come to give rest to Israel.”

We can expect favour in the wilderness. That means even if our circumstances look bleak – for example, if you are looking for a job during a recession – God’s favour will be with you through the tough times and you can expect success even when the situation looks like you’re likely to fail.

In Ezekiel 36:9, God tells us – “ I am concerned for you and will look on you with favour”. We have God’s favour because He loves us.

In Isaiah 60:10, God says –

Though in anger I struck you,
in favour I will show you compassion.

Have you experienced God’s discipline because of your sin? Take heart – God tells you that His favour is with you if you repent and receive His compassion.

The favour of God will help you overcome challenges

When you have the favour of God, good things will happen to you, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t have problems. As it can be seen from the lives of Joseph, Ruth and Esther, they all faced great challenges. What is true though, is that the favour of God will help you overcome great challenges. When we face problems, we have to not get discouraged or give up, but wait for the favour of God to make us winners, just as it did for Joseph, Ruth and Esther.

God promises to deliver us from our trials. As it says in Psalm 34:19 –

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivers them out of them all.

When you have the favour of God, it doesn’t mean that everything will always go your way and your whole life will be a bed of roses. You’ll still face difficulties, sometimes even problems that knock the wind out of your sails. When that happens, you may feel that you have lost God’s favour. Fight that thought! Even though something bad has happened, continue to believe that you have God’s favour and that this favour will help you overcome your problems. When you feel that God’s favour has left you is when you have to make extra effort to believe in God’s favour. Don’t be discouraged. Put a smile on your face and put your faith in God – his favour will deliver you.

 

In Isaiah 54:17, God promises us that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper.” We may face weapons from our enemies but in the end, through God’s favour, we will defeat these weapons. Our enemies’ downfall and our victory is guaranteed!