Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Breaking Free Part I.
~ Negative Thinking ~
Breaking Free Part 1.
Today we will begin a Series on Combating Negative Influences and Breaking Free of Negative Thinking. And we are going to do this based on Scripture and Fasting.
We will not be Fasting in the traditional way of withholding food from our bodies- although if you feel lead to do that too you most certainly can- No; our fasting will be to withhold certain thoughts from our minds. Thoughts that keep us bogged down and held in bondage.
Each day as you read through this I propose that you say to yourself (and then follow through with!) that you are NOT going to allow certain thoughts to enter your mind. You are Not going to entertain negative thoughts, not going to serve them a daily dose of refreshments, not going to offer them a bagle and cream cheese. You are going to learn to treat them for what they are. Dangerous to your spiritual life and a tool of the Enemy. Let's begin.
1. Fast From Thinking: I feel Powerless.
One of the greatest truths I have ever come to understand is that a "sense of powerlessness" is the root to all negative emotions. If you feel powerless to do anything about your past, you feel guilty. If you feel powerless to change your future, you feel afraid. And if you feel powerless to change your present, you feel depressed. When you feel like the people or circumstances of your life will not change, you feel angry.
Think about this for a moment— depression, fear, guilt and anger are four of the most powerful negative emotions you will ever experience. And ALL of them stem from a sense of powerlessness. The thought that there's not much we can do about the economy or our weight or the allergies we grew up with, etc. imprisons us to accept and tolerate a mediocre and weak life.
Most people want to be powerful but have tolerated a powerless existence, just because they never realized how powerful they really are. Power comes from the Greek word: "dunamis"— which means ability, enablement.
Let's fast from the feeling of powerlessness.
Embrace the truth that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND. (2 Timothy 1:7) This is already done. You have this power in you. BELIEVE that power is in you. Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think ACCORDING TO THE POWER that is at work within you. There is power in you that enables God to do beyond what we can ask or think.
Give God something to work with. You have to THINK and ASK. Since He can do BEYOND, we have to at least give Him a base to begin with. We limit God when we don't think big and ASK big.
Recognize and honor the Holy Spirit in you. Acts 1:8 says, "You shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you..." Again, this power (dunamis=dynamite) is already in you. Thank God for the Holy Spirit in you. Romans 8:11 says, `the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.'
Take the limits off. Don't limit God. Psalm 78:41 says that the children of Israel LIMITED the Lord. They limited Him, because they DID NOT REMEMBER His power (verse 42). We free God's hand to bless when we REMEMBER HIS PREVIOUS BLESSINGS. Psalm 103 says to not forget His benefits.
EXPECT! Never underestimate the power of expectation. Expect today for God's power to strengthen you; expect to be led by His Spirit today. We limit what God can do in our lives, when we lower our expectations.
Embrace your power: the power to forgive and be forgiven (John 20); the power to heal (Mark 16:20); the power to speak the Word and get results (Job 22:28)
Think It and Say It:
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind.
I have POWER in my life right now. Through the Holy Spirit in me, I have the power to overcome sin; the power to change my life for the better, the power to be healed; the power to forgive; the power to praise God no matter what; the power to speak God's Word and see His promises show up in my life.
I will think big and ask big, and therefore the POWER OF GOD'S SPIRIT WITHIN ME, will bring it to pass in my life.
I choose to remember what God has already done which takes the limits off of my life and my expectations. I expect favor today, wisdom, understanding, and God's blessing!
2. Fast from Anxious Thoughts about Money
It's been on my heart lately to fast from thoughts of anxiety where finances are concerned. When you feel powerless to get out of financial trouble, it will lead to anxiety, uncertainty, and worry.
I read in the paper that crisis hotlines and therapists are being flooded by the surge in anxiety over finances. Studies show a strong connection between financial distress and emotional stress, depression, insomnia, migraines, and increased suicidal thoughts. Perhaps the economic downturn hasn't affected you--praise God if that's the case. However, thousands of people are asking us what to do.
Well, today we are going to fast from anxious thoughts about money. How?
1. Identify the specific things making you anxious. Write them down. Pray - giving them over to God. (Philippians 4:6-7)
2. Believe there is a solution to whatever financial challenge you are facing. BELIEVE there is a way out. You have to start by thinking this. Faith finds a way. There is a way!
3. Ask God for wisdom. (James 1:5) The Bible also says that wisdom is MORE VALUABLE THAN silver and gold. (Proverbs 8:11, Proverbs 3:15)
4. Meditate on the people of scripture who God provided for. In Psalm 37:25 David said, "I was young, but now I am old, and I have NEVER seen the righteous forsaken or His children begging for bread." Also, Genesis 24:1 which says "and the Lord blessed Abraham in ALL THINGS." Expect this blessing in all things in your life. Why? Because you are the seed of Abraham! (Galatians 3:29)
5. ASK GOD TO PROSPER YOU. Folks, we have not because we ask not. (James 4:1-2) Ask specifically for God to prosper you. Psalm 118:25 says, "O Lord, I beseech You, send prosperity now."
6. Be covenant-minded. A covenant is an agreement between 2 parties that says everything either has, is available to the other person. God has more than enough! And He says, "All that is Mine, is yours!" (Luke 15:31) Fill your mind with this covenant-thinking. You have a covenant with God. He swore in His blood that He would provide for you. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others."
7. Continually think: "I have the power to get wealth." Deuteronomy 8:17 says, "It is He that gives you the power to get wealth, SO THAT He may establish His covenant in the earth." Notice the PURPOSE of the POWER is to establish God's covenant in the earth. When that is your motive, great things are going to happen in your life. Again remember, powerlessness leads to anxiety. But as we replace these anxious thoughts with the truth that WE HAVE THE POWER TO GET WEALTH, anxiety, stress and fear, are going to leave, and the power of God in us, will lead us to financial abundance.
8. Focus on God's Kingdom and His purposes. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you!"
THINK IT & SAY IT:
I surrender my specific anxious thoughts to God. I believe there is a solution to my financial challenge. I am convinced that there is a way out.
I receive the wisdom of God, and expect that wisdom to empower me more than silver or gold. God provided abundantly for David and Abraham. Therefore He will do so for me, because I am of the seed of Abraham. I will never need to beg, because God will provide.
I ask God to send prosperity, and I expect that He will. God will generously provide all that I need.
I choose to be covenant-minded, always expecting God, as my covenant partner, to find a way to get blessing in my hands.
I have been given, by God, the power to get wealth. That power is in me; therefore I'm free from anxiety, worry and fear. I don't have to add blessing to my life. It will follow me, as I focus on God and His kingdom!
3. Thoughts of Uncertainty
I want us to deal with thoughts of uncertainty. "What's going to happen in the world?" "What's going to happen in the economy?" "How's this going to affect my finances?" "I don't know what I'm going to do."
These thoughts of uncertainty in an unstable world must be dealt with.
The devil wants you uncertain and afraid. The world's system of news, government, and business wants people in uncertainty and fear to make us dependent upon it.
In Genesis 26, there arose a great famine in the land. The first thing that God told Isaac was: DO NOT GO DOWN TO EGYPT.
"Egypt" represents the world's system apart from God. As long as we depend on this world's system, we will be uncertain and insecure in trying times.
Thinking that things will be ok if the "economy" turns around will breed uncertainty as well. We must not depend on this world's "economy." Listen to the original meaning of this word: "rules of the house."
Well, we're not playing by the rules of the world's house. We're playing by the rules of God's House! When we do, we will have absolute certainty and assurance.
Let's revolutionize our thinking and fast from thoughts of uncertainty:
Renew your mind to God's system of doing things— the kingdom of God means: His government, economy, system, rules of the house! Mark 4:26 says, "The Kingdom (system, rules of the house) of God is like a man who casts seed into the ground." Live by the system of sowing and reaping.
Realize that you can determine your future by the seeds you sow. Sow faith seeds. Sow word seeds. Sow praise seeds. Sow financial seeds. As you do, assurance and confidence will fill your heart.
Expect God to lead you by the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says the Spirit of Truth will reveal to you the things to come. Just as God showed Joseph that famine would come; just as He showed the Magi to go a different way because Herod would try to kill them in Matthew 2:1-12; He will show you as well.
God is no respecter of persons. What He did for others, He will do for you. You must fill your mind with this truth; and expect Him to lead you. (Acts 10: 34, 35; Eph. 6: 9; Col. 3: 25; I Pet. 1: 17)
You can be certain that He called you and chosen you, therefore you will not stumble. (2 Peter 1:10) Tell yourself that.
Pray in the Holy Spirit. When we don't know what to pray, the Spirit helps our weaknesses and prays for us in our inner man, as we yield to His language. Romans 8:26 tells us praying in the Spirit means praying the Word, praying with praise, and praying with the beautiful gift of tongues. Look at this awesome verse in the Message Translation: Romans 8:26-28 says, "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."
Think it & Say It:
I can be certain in uncertain times. I am not connected the economy of this world—the rules of their house. I am connected to God's economy—the rules of His house. I live by the system of sowing and reaping. I can be certain about the future by sowing the seeds of God's Word.
I am led by the Spirit of God. He will reveal to me the things to come, so I can prepare accordingly; and be victorious no matter what comes. Just as He led men and women in Scripture, He will lead me, since He is no respecter of persons.
I am called and chosen by God and therefore I will not stumble. When I don't know what to do, I will trust the Holy Spirit and allow Him to pray through me—bringing me into the perfect will of God no matter what is going on in this world, in Jesus' Name!
4. Dependence On The World's Economic System
One of the rules of the world's house that we must fast from is our dependence upon people and the economic systems of this world.
Remember, the word "economy" means "rules of the house." we are either living by the world's "rules of the house" or by God's.
One of the rules of the world's house is that we must fast from - is our dependence upon other people.
We need one another to complete the purpose of God in the world, but we don't need to depend on other people coming through for us for our physical and emotional needs.
Let's fast from the thought of depending on others to provide for us.
God will provide. Philippians 4:19 says He provides all our needs according to His riches and glory. Renew your mind to the fact that He provides for ALL our needs, not just finances.
Dependence upon others is NOT humility, it's misplaced trust. Psalm 43:5 says, "Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God." David is saying that when we put our hope in people, in government, in the world's `rules of the house,' we will wind up depressed and downcast. Shift your trust and hope to God. Trust that He will direct your path.
Meditate on Romans 5:5 ...'Hope does not disappoint (let you down) BECAUSE the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.' There is a hope that will never disappoint you— Hope in God's promise and provision.
Realize that over-dependency upon others keeps you from loving them. When you depend on someone doing for you, providing for you, coming through for you, you can't love. Therefore you can't succeed, because love never fails. You can't love them, because you need them too much. Love gives. Love doesn't wait for others to give.
The second set of the rules of the world's house is that we must fast from - our dependence upon the world's finacial institutions.
Whereas it is true that we need a certain amount of money to make it from day to day; we do not need to be debt riddled to the point that we can't think beyond making monthly payments to a system that was designed to keep us in bondage.
Stop striving to get the things you need. God wants to provide for YOU! Realize God humbles you by FEEDING YOU. Deuteronomy 8:2 says "He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know..."
Don't trust the provision, trust the provider. Deuteronomy 8:3 says "...that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone..."
USE THE WORD to REALLY LIVE! Deuteronomy 8:3. "...but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."
THINK IT & SAY IT:
God will provide for ALL MY NEEDS. I live by God's ECONOMY—the rules of His house.
I free myself from dependence upon others, and I will depend on God, empowering me to love others freely. My trust and hope is in God. And THAT hope will never let me down, because God's love is in me, and He will never disappoint me.
I stop fighting to get the things I need. I believe God wants to provide for me. He will feed me and I choose to receive it and fully accept His help.
I will not put my trust in what I have, but in the One who provides. My every need comes from every Word that comes from the mouth of God, in Jesus' Name!"
5. Forgiveness Is Not That Big of a Deal
We are fasting from the thought that forgiveness is not that big of a deal.
I know we don't come out and say it, but in our minds, I believe many people allow unresolved conflict and bitter feelings to reman in them, without realizing how much it robs us of the life God wants us to enjoy.
Forgiveness is the gateway to so much of God's blessing in our lives, just as unforgiveness is a gateway into so much negative in our lives.
An unforgiving heart is poison to your spirit, soul and body. Hebrews 12:15 says that a root of bitterness springs up and defiles many. It doesn't just defile many other people, but it defiles MANY OTHER AREAS OF OUR LIFE.
The thought that forgiveness is optional or that we can get around to it when we get a chance has to be eliminated from our mindsets.
Let's do so today!
1. Faith works through forgiveness-- One of the most important verses about faith is in Mark 11:24 which says, "All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted." But notice what it says next…
2. Mark 11:25 says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him..." So you see, forgiveness is the gateway to answered prayer.
3. Deal with it today. Ephesians 4:29 says, "don't let the sun go down on your anger." There's a reason that we need to forgive and be forgiven BEFORE the sun goes down. Our hearts are not designed to carry grudges longer than a day. This is why so many people are weighed down with stress, anger and depression. A relationship is unresolved. A heart is hardened. A bitter feeling is being carried into our tomorrow.
4. Accept the fact that you were forgiven BECAUSE of the blood of Jesus. Therefore, forgive others for the same reason—not because they deserved it. Forgiveness is a gift.
5. Forgiveness is the gateway to our inheritance. (Acts 26:17) As we realize we are forgiven, we experience His blessing and inheritance in our lives. As we forgive others, we empower them to experience it too.
6. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO FORGIVE. God gave us the Holy Spirit, so that we could forgive as He did. In John 20:22-23 it says, "He breathed on them and said, receive the Holy Spirit. Whoever sins you forgive are forgiven, and whoever sins you retain are retained." This is as much a part of the great commission as preaching the gospel—it's the very act of forgiving people. When you forgive, cancel, someone's sins, then you shine light of God's grace upon their darkened heart, enabling them to see that God really IS good; that He loves them; that He wants to share His life with them.
THINK IT & SAY IT:
My faith works because I refuse to hold anything against anyone. When I pray, I choose to forgive because forgiveness is the gateway to answered prayer.
I refuse to let the poison of unforgiveness defile me and others around me. I will not let a day go by where I hold bitter feelings in my heart toward anyone.
God loves me, and wants me to pour out my heart toward Him. I can confess it all to Him, and be cleansed from unforgiveness and resentment.
I accept the blood of Jesus as the only way to be forgiven, and I extend forgiveness to others through that same blood. I have the power to forgive and cancel someone's sin, through the Holy Spirit in me. I release, this day, every person who I have ever held anything against. I am free and so are they! In Jesus' Name.