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Protecting Your Mind

When I think of the Armor of God, I don’t think it was an accident that the first piece of armor is the Helmet of Salvation. God knows we need to protect our mind from both outside and inside influences. Our minds are so powerful that if we don’t learn to control the outside influences and our internal thoughts, we can lose sleep, stress out, get sick, get stuck in a rut and invite all kinds of negativity into our lives. Our thoughts determine who we are and how we act. Without that helmet, there’s no protection for our minds. Without understanding the power of our thoughts, we may let our minds run free to jump to all kinds of conclusions. It’s imperative that we guard our thoughts and bring them captive to the obedience of Christ.

How do we do that though? The biggest thing we have to do is recognize when we’re following a chain of thoughts that are leading us down a rabbit hole. We must then disrupt the thoughts and challenge them. Are these thoughts true? Do they line up with what God says? If not, then replace them with the truth of God’s Word. When we change those thought patterns with God’s truth, we will begin to become renewed inwardly and that will reflect in our outwardly life. When we receive salvation, God transforms who we are. We become a new creation from the inside out, and it starts with how we think and see ourselves. Don’t fall back into your old way of thinking. Put a stop to the enemy by putting on the Helmet of Salvation and letting God finish the work He began in you.

Here are some Bible verses on protecting our mind.

1. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

Romans 12:2 GNT

2. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

3. You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

ISAIAH 26:3 AMP

4. Since a great price was paid for your redemption, stop having the mind-set of a slave.

1 Corinthians 7:23 TPT

5. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Ephesians 4:23-24 GNT

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Troubles, Pressure And Pottery

Have you ever watched a potter with their wheel? It’s truly magnificent. They take a lump of clay, and with wet hands they begin to shape it into whatever they’re making. Then, they stick their scalpel in the middle that begins to follow it out. After that, they begin shaping the outside by removing more clay with the scalpel. If they want to, they add lines and other designs the same way. Once it is what they are looking for, they place it in the fire so it can be usable. After it cooks, they paint it and glaze it to continue the process of bring beauty out of what was once a lump of clay. Every part of that process must seem to the clay that the potter doesn’t love it, or is even against it, but the potter knows what the clay needs to go through to bring out its full potential.

I’ve never met anyone who loves going through tough times. We all enjoy good times and pray our lives are filled with those. However, God allows us to go through troubles and extended periods of pressure to produce in us things that can’t be produced any other way. He is constantly looking out for our good and will use whatever means necessary to form and shape us into the people He created us to be. Like the potter, He’s not afraid to use His scalpel or to put us in the fire for extended periods of time. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, God is working in our lives to create something beautiful. Most of the time He’s doing that though, it can feel painful and like He’s picking on us. Hang in there. He’s working things out for your good and turning your life into a thing of beauty.

Here are some Bible verses on how trouble can be good.

1. When things are going well for you, be glad, and when trouble comes, just remember: God sends both happiness and trouble; you never know what is going to happen next.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 GNT

2. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4 MSG

3. Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4 AMP

4. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 NLT

5. Yet, as God’s servants, we prove ourselves authentic in every way. For example: We have great endurance in hardships and in persecutions. We don’t lose courage in a time of stress and calamity.

2 Corinthians 6:4 TPT

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Building Your Life

When I was 16 years old, I took a job working in new home construction. I remember it being very hot that summer. As we would begin a house, we would go back to the blueprints nonstop in order to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. I started out being the stud guy. I had to go around all the base boards, measure out 16 inches and put an “X” on the board. Later, as the frame was being finished, the guys had me look at the boards they were using on the roof to tell them if the crown was up or down. Everything we did as framers mattered because the other crews were going to be using the same blueprints to do their jobs in order to complete the house.

God has put it in each one of us to be builders. Most of us are never going to build a house, but we build businesses, families, a life, etc. It matters how we build those things more than it does in building a house. The materials, the layout and the quality with which we build our lives on will one day be judged. Are we building with eternity in mind? If not, the things we build won’t last. We are to build our lives using God’s blueprints found in the Bible. We are to build on a strong foundation otherwise the things we build can be wiped out by life’s storms. It’s no fun starting over, but I’d rather have the opportunity to rebuild here than to wait until eternity to see if the things I’ve built are structurally sound.

Here are some Bible verses on building your life with quality materials.

1. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 NLT

2. So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

MATTHEW 7:24-25 AMP

3. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:7 GNT

4. Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

Luke 6:46-47 MSG

5. But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

Jude 1:20-21 MSG

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Blessing The Poor

Much of Jesus’ ministry was directed to the poor and the helpless. The Early Church followed His example. When the met with Paul, they recommended that he remember the poor. They even created a group of seven individuals to make sure to feed the widows so they could continue to preach the Gospel. They never wanted to sacrifice people for the ministry, nor did they want to sacrifice the ministry for the people. They understood that the Gospel is all about giving of yourself to other people, so they did all they could to find the balance in helping people spiritually and physically.

Today, we still have the poor with us, but helping them isn’t always at the front of our minds or ministry. Nearly 3/4 of the population of earth lives on less than $10 a day. Millions of people in these poor countries are offered jobs, but when they show up, they are captured and are forced into the sex trade. Christine Caine’s A21 organization is one of the leaders trying to stop this. There are other organizations as well like Daughters of Cambodia. I have friends who are out right now trying to raise awareness of the sex trade there and are working to create one in the Philippines. Some are working to eradicate the orphan crisis, and others the homeless crisis. What are we doing to for our part as individuals? We must return to our spiritual roots, take the blinders off our eyes and remember to help the poor once again.

Here are some Bible verses on helping the poor.

1. God always blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. They’re the first ones God helps when they find themselves in any trouble.

Psalms 41:1 TPT

2. Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.

Psalms 72:1, 4 NLT

3. In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive. ”

ACTS 20:35 AMP

4. Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble.

Psalm 41:1 GNT

5. God’s righteous people will pour themselves out for the poor, but the ungodly make no attempt to understand or help the needy.

Proverbs 29:7 TPT

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No Excuses

One of the things I’m really good at is making excuses. I can come up with them quickly and effortlessly. We all make excuses for why we did something we shouldn’t have. They are used to deflect responsibility for the wrong we’ve done. In the Garden of Eden, Adam made the excuse that it was Eve’s fault, and she made the excuse that the snake tricked her. God wasn’t happy with creating excuses back then, and He still isn’t today. Part of repentance is owning up to our mistakes and taking responsibility for our actions. If we can’t do that, how can we truly be sorry for our actions?

We need to determine to live our lives with no excuses. It’s a habit that is hard to break because our brain doesn’t like to be in uncomfortable situations where we take full responsibility for our actions or inactions. We must choose not to make excuses to justify our actions. I like to say, “If you have to justify it, you shouldn’t be doing it.” Justifying is just an excuse with wrapping paper on it. When we cut out excuses in our lives, we will see tremendous growth in every area. Our inaction turns into action, and our actions turn into right actions. Think about the excuses you’ve been giving to God and yourself, then make a conscious effort to live a life with no excuses.

Here are some Bible verses on living with no excuses.

1. By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without. Poverty will pounce on you like a bandit and move in as your roommate for life.

Proverbs 6:11 TPT

2. And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

1 John 2:28 MSG

3. Now we know that everything in the Law applies to those who live under the Law, in order to stop all human excuses and bring the whole world under God’s judgment. For no one is put right in God’s sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make us know that we have sinned.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭GNT

4. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.

ROMANS 1:20 AMP

5. As for you, my friends, you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another.

Galatians 5:13 GNT

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Spiritual Cravings

Almost every woman who has a child can tell you what she craved while she was pregnant. It’s interesting to me to hear some of the things that their bodies were asking for. When my wife was pregnant, I remember the doctor telling us that she may experience cravings for some crazy things including dirt. She said that the body will crave and create intense hunger for the things it needs. There are plenty of husbands who will tell you what time of the night they had to run to the store, and what crazy food they had to get to satisfy their wife’s hunger craving.

I believe our spirit is very similar. It hungers to find God. Inside each of us is the desire to know and understand why we are here and what our purpose is. It creates a holy curiosity that is truly a hunger to know God. The problem many of us experience is that after we find Him, we often dismiss those hunger pains to know Him more. We give into the cravings of the flesh rather than the spirit within us. God’s desire for each of us is to continue to hunger to know Him more. Our spirit’s cravings are not to be ignored. Just like a pregnant woman’s body craves what it’s lacking, so does our spirit.

Here are some Bible verses on hungering for the things of God.

1. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

Matthew 5:6 MSG

2. Those who hunger for him will always be filled, but the smug and self-satisfied he will send away empty.

Luke 1:53 TPT

3. “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “When I will send hunger over the land, Not hunger for bread or a thirst for water, But rather [a hunger] for hearing the words of the LORD.”

AMOS 8:11 AMP

4. Lovers of God hunger after truth, but those without understanding feast on foolishness and don’t even realize it.

Proverbs 15:14 TPT

5. God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.

Psalm 63:1 MSG

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Continuing To Grow

One of the things I’ve learned is that my growth should never stop. When we accept Jesus, that’s the beginning of our relationship with Jesus, not the end goal. Too many times I see people who feel like once they’ve received salvation, that’s it and there’s nothing more to do. That’s like getting married and then deciding to do nothing about the relationship going forward because you made a vow. Marriage is more than a wedding, it’s a lifetime commitment to grow together. If you don’t continue to invest in that relationship, that growth will never happen.

Our faith is very similar. It’s not a one time experience, but rather a lifetime of daily commitment to continue on even on the days you don’t feel saved. You must persist in the process of being made new constantly. God’s desire is for you to know Him and the power of resurrection that He gives. That power helps us to overcome obstacles and to continue pushing on in the hard times. There’s more to God than we will ever know in this life, so we should continue to explore the depths of who He is and how He wants us to live. The Christian life is not about a moment in time, but rather a continuation of knowing God.

Here are some Bible verses on continuing in the faith.

1. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.

Colossians 2:6 NLT

2. So everyone should continue to live faithful in the situation of life in which they were called to follow Jesus.

1 Corinthians 7:20 TPT

3. But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 GNT

4. It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2 MSG

5. But as for you, continue in the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced [holding tightly to the truths], knowing from whom you learned them.

2 TIMOTHY 3:14 AMP

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