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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Breaking Free Part II.




~ Negative Thinking Part II. ~

Breaking Free

As we continue on with our Study; please allow me to point out something again for those just joining in. This is not a "Fast" in the traditional sense where we abstain from food and drink for a period of time- but a "Fast" where we will abstain from having these negative thoughts while the Holy Word and Holy Spirit speaks to us on these issues. So; as you find your mind wandering over to the "negative trail" then with purpose! we will stop our thoughts as they come up and replace them with this study. This is how yokes are broken!









1. I tried to forgive but I just don't feel it. 

Today we're fasting from the thought that says, "I tried to forgive but I just don't feel it." Many people are held back in life because they are waiting for the feeling of forgiveness before they let go. In the meantime, the unforgiveness continues its damage against them, while they wait for their feelings to change. The problem with this thinking is that it is backwards.

Let's overcome this today:

1. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision.  Whatever grudge, whatever bitterness, or resentment that you have toward someone will not go away without a decision; a choice.

2. Forgive by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we live by faith, we forgive by faith.  That means that when you forgive someone out loud, from your heart, you must believe that it is done.  Never let your faith follow your feelings.  Your feelings will catch up with your faith.

3. Don't be fooled by the feelings of resentment or anger when they try to come back. You'll be tempted to think, "I don't feel anything, so nothing must be different. I guess I must not have forgiven."   This is a lie!  This is the thought you must fast from.

4. Maintain an attitude of thankfulness that you have been set free from the pain and consequence of unforgiveness. Thank God that you are free and healed.  As you do this EVERY TIME that you feel those feelings, you will feel less and less of the pain, until it vanishes forever.

5. Understand the meaning of the word:  FOR-GIVE.  It simply means to GIVE, BEFORE.  We need to "give" forgiveness, BEFORE the person apologizes; BEFORE they change; and most importantly BEFORE you feel anything.  Just as faith works by believing God's promises BEFORE they show up, (Mark 11:24-25), forgiveness works BEFORE you feel it.  When you forgive BEFORE you feel good feelings about that person, you are living in the highest level of faith.  And this is pleasing to God. God is pleased by our faith, not our feelings. (Hebrews 11:6)

6. Meditate on what God has done FOR you, rather than what people have done TO you. Psalm 103:2-4 says, "Bless the Lord O my soul and forget none of his benefits-He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion."

THINK IT & SAY IT:

I accept that forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision. I expect the bitter feelings, the problems, the unanswered prayers to change beginning today because of the choice I have made. 

I forgive by faith, which means that as I act on the Word of God and declare my forgiveness out loud, I am pleasing to God, whether I feel something or not. I will not be moved by how I feel.  If the feelings persist, I will persist even more. I will not be fooled by my feelings.  They will catch up with my faith, and my faith declares that it is done.

I am forgiven and I am a forgiver! I choose to forgive others (AND MYSELF), BEFORE they change, before they deserve it, and before I feel it. I focus on what God has done for me, rather than what others have done to me, and therefore, I am free. In Jesus' Name!








2. If I forgive, I might be taken advantage of 

Today we are fasting from the thought that says: "If I forgive, I'll be taken advantage of, or mistreated even worse than before or hurt again." It is very tempting to give into this false belief, but don't give into that thinking. Forgiveness doesn't mean tolerance. If someone is hurting you; rather that is mentally,emotionally, physically, or spiritually you don't remain a punching bag for their mistreatment. The bottom line is that if you've been abused, you don't continue accepting it. You can most assuredly forgive someone their past behaviour and no longer have a thing in this world to do with them. Be practical and trust in God..

How?

1. Remember Joseph- thrown into the pit by his brothers; then sold into slavery.  Bitterness could have eaten him alive, and would have, but he had something BETTER going for him.

2. Believe God is with you in your situation.  Genesis 39:2 said HE PROSPERED BECAUSE GOD WAS WITH HIM.
 
3. Prosperity is about: who is with you. Joseph prospered because GOD WAS WITH HIM. David prospered because God was with him. Psalm 27:3 says, "though an army encamp against me, I will not fear..."  Why? Because Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord is on my side, therefore I will not fear what man can do to me."  God is with you and He is on your side.


4. Believe that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU CAN PROSPER. (Isaiah 54:17) This is why most people struggle with forgiving others. They think that what that person did can truly hurt them.  Yet the Bible says, "NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU. (Luke 10:19)
 
5. Declare with Joseph: "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good". I love those 2 words in the scripture: BUT GOD. You see, no matter what they did to Joseph: BUT GOD.  No matter what the devil tries to do to you: BUT GOD. No matter what mistakes have been made by you or against you: BUT GOD. See God as the INTERRUPTER of people's sins against you.  He is the interrupter of the devil's plots against you.


6. EVEN IF MAN DECIDES to hurt you or rob you of the best part of your life, nothing can prevail against what God has destined for those who love Him— Romans 8:28, 1 Corinthians 2:9. FORGIVENESS releases God's power to convert even the most sinister plots against you into good. JOSEPH BECAME 2nd in command to Pharaoh, saving the world from famine—because He forgave.

7. Believe that forgiveness, though it can't change the past, will open up an incredible future.

THINK IT & SAY IT:

I have something better going for me, than what others have done to me.  God is with me. I will prosper because He is with me.  He is on my side; therefore no weapon formed against me shall prosper. 

What others have done to me has no power over me or my future. My future is determined by my choices, including my choice to forgive. I expect open doors and incredible future. 

What others have done to me cannot hurt me. Nothing shall by any means hurt me. What they meant against me, God turns around for my good. I expect God to interrupt all plots, weapons and sins against me.

Through forgiveness, I release God's power to convert all wrong against me, into good.  I believe that my attitude and action of forgiveness will open up an incredible future for me, in Jesus' name!

 






3. I just can't forgive myself 

Today I want to share one more thought regarding the subject of forgiveness- however, this time, we are fasting from the thought that says: "I just can't forgive myself."

Who hasn't thought that at one time or another? The devil would love to keep us in self-condemnation for the things we have done or failed to do. He knows it paralyzes us and prevents us from making the kind of impact that God intended for us.

I think by now we have all read of the horror of the Steven Curtis Chapman family- the young teenager who accidentally struck his 5 year old sister, with a car, tragically killing her in their driveway.  And as tragic as it is for a child to die in that way at such a young age, the greater tragedy is the difficulty this young man will have forgiving himself.  Though few of us have faced something as dramatic as this, we all need to overcome the thoughts that try to accuse us for what we have done.  Hopefully, as well, this message will get to that young man and provide the encouragement he will need in this challenging time.

Let's beat this thought into the ground— hasn't it beaten us long enough!

1. Realize that we only deserve forgiveness because of the blood of Jesus. Not because what we did wrong "never happened," or it wasn't that bad.  Give up rationalizations and excuses. 

2. It was that bad, but God is even MORE good! James 2:13 says mercy triumphs over judgment.  His mercy toward you TRUMPS your judgment over yourself. Believe that God is bigger than what you did.  In Luke 22, Peter denied the Lord 3 times, and Jesus forgave him. Later, Peter preached the first sermon after Jesus rose from the dead, and 3000 people were saved in a day! Peter was able to forgive himself when he knew Jesus had accepted him.  In the same way, realize that you have been accepted by God, no matter what you have done— simply by believing in the work of the cross of Jesus Christ. 

3. Give up your right to hold against yourself ANYTHING that God Himself does not hold against you. If God can forgive you, you can forgive yourself. His standard is absolute perfection, and He forgives you.  Psalm 103:12 says, "As far as east is from west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." 

4. Stop rehearsing what you did. It's done. It's over. Now accept the 2nd chance that God offers. Philippians 3:10 says "forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward."

5. Believe that guilt doesn't come from God. He doesn't impose guilt on you to try to get you to stop doing something. Romans 2:4 says it is His lovingkindness that leads us to repentance. Since this guilt and shame doesn't come from God, there can be only one other source—the devil.  James 4:7 says, "Submit to God----resist the devil-----and he will flee from you." 

6. Give up the SELF-PUNISHMENT— some people have said to themselves: "I'll make myself feel bad to pay for what has been done." Why should we pay the price that has ALREADY been paid for what we've done wrong? Stop beating yourself up—no one beats us up better than ourselves.  The fact is whatever we have done that we can't seem to forgive ourselves for is already forgiven.  By trying to "pay for what we have done," we are insulting the very blood of Jesus that HAS PAID the price in full. 

THINK IT & SAY IT...

I receive mercy today, because of the blood of Jesus. Though I didn't deserve it, God proclaims over me, that I am "not guilty".  Where I have failed, God's mercy triumphs over judgment.

I give up my right today to hold ANYTHING against myself—I deserve to be punished, but Jesus took THAT punishment for me. I forget what lies behind and press on, moving forward in my life with God, even though I feel like I have blown it beyond repair.

I reject this guilt and self-condemnation that the devil is trying to put on me. God is the God of 2nd chances.

I will no longer try to make myself feel bad to pay for what has been done.  The price for what I did or failed at has been paid in full by God! In Jesus' name!








4. It's just not fair. God's not fair. (Part I)

Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks within, so is he."  Our life, our actions, our destinies are determined by THE WAY WE THINK. So, let's get to the root, thinking in alignment with God's Word, and we will experience the God-kind-of life—superabundant in quantity and superior in quality. (John 10:10)
Today we are `fasting' from the thought that says: "It's just not fair. God's not fair."

We've all wondered— why does one person prosper, while another struggles to just get by. One person lives to be 100, another tragically dies at 16.  One parent has a perfectly healthy child, while another has a child who is constantly ill or diseased.  What about some being born in a bountiful land such as America, while others are born in Burma?

Folks, we live in a fallen world, affected by the sin of Adam and Eve, and thrown out of kilter from God's original plan. As a result, imperfect health, weather, imperfect DNA, air, etc., has permeated the earth. We are all born with imperfect circumstances—some obvious, and some more subtle; but God gives us all a NEW BEGINNING, the day we are born again.  Until that time, unfairness and imbalance will remain.  But in JESUS CHRIST, God's goodness and fairness is made available to everyone.

Let's fast from the thinking that God is not fair, or life is not fair to us...Here's how: 

1. God's promises are available to whosoever believes. (John 3:16) It's been said, every cloud has a silver lining—well, every problem has a promise from God to overcome it.  (2 Corinthians 1:20.  1 Corinthians 10:13) There is a promise for every problem, for every tragedy, for everything we will ever face. Believe it! Trust His name: Jehovah Jireh—your provider.  

2. Overcome what's in front of you.  You don't have anyone else's battles.  You only have to win your own battle. Don't measure fairness by what others are going through or what others have.   

3. Recognize the nearness of God.  He is present with you. Psalm 73:28 NASB says, "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good…."   It wasn't fair what Joseph's brothers did to him; but God was with him, and he overcame. (Genesis 39:1-2) Your trial or trouble or tragedy is no match for God's presence. God's presence far outweighs what life has dealt you.  Trust in His name: Jehovah Shammah—the Lord is with you.    

4. Expect God will right every wrong. (Romans 12:19) He will avenge His children who have suffered unfairly—Luke 18:8.  

5. Overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) You must see the inequities (those things that have happened in life that weren't fair), as opportunities to make a difference.

Example: In 1999 missionary P.P. Job suffered the tragedy of his child being killed by fanatical Hindus in India.  This wasn't fair. And it wasn't God's will.  The father was devastated, but rather than getting bitter, he started an orphanage for girls in a location that persecutes Christians and has no value for girls.  But God!  Today, hundreds of girls have been rescued and saved, because this missionary overcame evil with good, rather than letting the tragedy define his theology and his future.

6. Don't be afraid.  Genesis 15:1 says, "Fear not Abraham, I am your shield, your ABUNDANT COMPENSATION.  Your reward shall be great!" Remember, you have a covenant with God (Galatians 3:29) If you belong to Christ, you are Abraham's seed.  Whatever He did for Abraham, He has promised He will do for you! 

THINK IT & SAY IT:


No matter what has happened in my life, God has given me promises to overcome it. His promises are to whosoever believes, and that means me!  I am a believer, not a doubter. 

I trust Jehovah Jireh, my provider. I refuse to measure what's fair by comparison to others. I overcome what's right in front of me with the Word of God. God's presence is with me and in me.  What I am facing right now is no match for the presence of God.  Since the mountains melt like wax in His presence, I expect this negative experience to melt like wax beginning today. 

I trust God to right every wrong. (Isaiah 42:16—He will make the crooked way straight).  He will avenge the wrong that has been done to me.  He will turn it around for good. 

I choose to overcome evil with good.  Therefore, no matter how unfair things may have seemed, God will make up for whatever has been lost.  He is my abundant compensation. I have a covenant with God and therefore whatever He did for Abraham, He will do for me as well, In Jesus' Name!

 







5. It's not fair. (Part II) 

Our concept of God shapes how we view ourselves, our life, and those around us. A wrong concept of God also shapes our expectations. If we believe He is weak, then we will not expect His power in our lives. If we believe He is distant and uncaring, then we will not expect His intervention in our time of need. 
When you discover what He is really like, you become invincible. Daniel 11:32 declares, "Those who KNOW their God shall be strong and do exploits." When you see Him for who He is, you realize there is nothing He wouldn't do for you. You realize that when life isn't fair, God is still good, and He knows how to make up for whatever wrong has been done by you or against you.

Let's continue to obliterate the thought that says "it's not fair."  And let's believe in a God who knows how to RIGHT every WRONG!

1. Believe in the God of restoration.  Joel 2:23-25 says, "I will restore to you the years that have been eaten." No matter how unfair life has been to you, God is in the restoration business.  He will make up to you for lost time, if you believe this promise.  Get this in your thinking: He will restore YEARS!

2. Meditate on Psalm 23:6 which says, "Surely goodness and mercy to FOLLOW you all the days of your life. Think on this word: SURELY. It leaves no doubt; no question. IT WILL HAPPEN.

3. See things through the eyes of eternity. (Colossians 3:1-4) In Luke 21:1-4, the rich Pharisees seemingly gave more money; but from God's point of view, the widow gave more than all of them, because she gave all she had to live on.  She saw eternity. She is being rewarded in heaven.  The poem goes: "Only one life will soon be past—only what's done for Christ will last."  Live with eternal purpose.  Measure your choices by how they will affect eternity, and how important they are to heaven.  The rest of the poem goes: "And when I'm dying, how happy I'll be, if the lamp of my life has burned out FOR THEE."

4. Realize misfortune and disappointment don't have control over you.  It's how you respond to these things that determine the outcome of your life—both here on earth and in eternity.

5. FOCUS on the good God has done in your life. (Psalm 103:1-5) RECOGNIZE what you've been given is a gift to serve others with. 1 Peter 4:10.  Use what God has done in your life to bring others to a higher place in God.

6. Promotion comes from above. (Psalm 75:7) No matter how far down life has tried to put you; no matter how far down the devil has tried to push you, God is the God of promotion.  He will raise you up, if you trust Him.  He will exalt you, as you humble yourself. It's pride—to accept defeat.  Humility accepts what God says. (James 1:21) Expect to be raised up above the unfair treatment this life brings.

THINK IT & SAY IT:

I believe in the God of restoration.  He will restore to me all the years that have been destroyed in my life, by the devil, by how I've been treated, and by my bad decisions. I expect goodness and mercy to follow me ALL the days of my life.  It will SURELY happen. 

I choose to live with eternal purpose.  What I do for Jesus is what will echo in eternity--that's how I choose to live. Whatever has happened to me will not control my life.  The outcome of my life is determined by the choices I make—and my choices will line up with God's Word. 

I expect great things to come to my life, because I humble myself and receive what God says about me.  No matter what this life tries to bring me, God will raise me up above it.  He is more than fair.  He is more than enough. And when life's not fair, God more than makes up for it in my life, in Jesus' name.