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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Breaking Yokes - Part IV.




Breaking Yokes - Part IV.

We are moving on in our study of giving up thoughts that the Enemy has planted in each of our brains to drag us down. Each week as you look at these I want you to really think about each negative thought and then tell yourself (firmly!) what the Bible says about it. Yokes are broken when you plant the Good Seeds in the fertile soil of your mind. As Good Seeds grow then weeds are choked out.

Again; we are not "fasting" in the traditional sense of giving up food or drink but "fasting" daily from these thoughts, ideas and opinions of ourselves and our life that Satan himself has chained You to for long enough. You can break these chains. Jesus saw to that Victory when He hung on the Cross!


21. I'm stuck. 

We are fasting from the thought that says: "I'm stuck. There's nothing I can do about my situation. There's just no way out." 

The Bible says, "man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God." When you replace wrong thinking with right thinking, it changes you FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

We've all thought that at times. Sometimes we feel we've blown it, or we're at the end of our rope. There's nothing we can do, but it's a lie. There's always something that we can do. There's always a way.

Friends, the devil would love for you to believe there's nothing you can do about your situation. He wants you stuck! He wants you immobilized. He wants you defeated. And he achieves that by getting us to believe this lie.

This way of thinking keeps you from being decisive and taking action. Action produces results. But the thought that you can't do anything about your situation or you don't know what to do about it, STOPS ACTION.

Let's change that today!

A. Believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your every day life.
Romans 8:26 says, "We don't always know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit intercedes for us..." No matter what your situation is, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring about God's will for your life, as you pray and worship Him.

B. Think this thought today: PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.
There's nothing you can't impact with prayer. PRAYER gets you unstuck. It gets you moving again toward victory. Never see prayer as something that is weak. It is powerful. "And all things, whatsoever you shall ASK in prayer, believing, you SHALL RECEIVE." (Matthew 21:22)

C. Believe that FAITH FINDS A WAY.
In Mark 2:1-5, the four friends of the paralyzed man, could not find a way into the house where Jesus was. They were stuck. BUT THEY BELIEVED THERE WAS SOMETHING THEY COULD DO ABOUT THE SITUATION. Listen, by believing there was a way, they found one! They went up on the roof and lowered him down through the ceiling tiles, and the man was healed. Why? Because faith found a way! When we don't think it, we don't look for it.

D. Remember, Jesus is the 4th man in the fire.
When it seemed like the 3 Hebrew men were going to be burned in the fiery furnace, Jesus showed up. What was an impossible situation was made possible because Jesus was with them. AND HE IS WITH YOU, in your fire. John 14:6 says, "I am the WAY, the truth and the life." Folks, He is "the way", when there just seems to be no way. He IS YOUR WAY out of whatever situation you are in. EXPECT HIM to make a way.

E. Stop thinking you have to figure it all out right away.
When you feel stuck, just take one step forward. When Jesus was tempted to back down, and not go to the cross – the Bible says, "He went forward a little..." (Mark 14:35) When you feel paralyzed – like there's nothing you can do, just take a step. Don't think about all the steps. Just take the first one. In a relationship, the first step may be: saying you're sorry. If it's finances, maybe it's just cutting one area of spending, or giving one extra offering. If it's in your health, take the first step and have a salad. Just take that one little step!

THINK IT & SAY IT

I believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to intercede for me when things aren't working out. He will work through the situation to bring about God's will. He will bring me through.

As I pray, I believe things will change; they will improve. I walk by faith, not by sight, and faith finds a way.

I THINK AND BELIEVE THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY, even when it seems like there is none. And that way of thinking, opens the door. Jesus is the Way when there is no way.

He is with me no matter what fire I'm in; and no matter what the situation. I expect Him to make a way for me.

When I feel stuck, I will think about one step I can take that will move me toward healing, toward blessing, and toward God's will for my life.


22. It's just too late for me ... 

We are so "time conscious". We allow time to limit us and define for us what we're capable of; or what God can do in our lives.

It's often engrained in us that it's too late to change; too late to start a new career; too late to save your marriage; too late to recover from a major mistake; too late to start over again; too late to be forgiven or have a second chance.

Perhaps you just started with us in our FAST FROM WRONG THINKING, and you think it's too late to get involved and really see the changes you're looking for.

The truth is: IT'S NEVER TOO LATE!

We need to replace this wrong thinking with right thinking. I hope you're seeing the pattern that the thoughts we're dealing with are the ones that immobilize us. They are thoughts that get us to cave in and stay the way we are; to accept things the way they are. THIS IS what we're going after -mindsets that limit us; and keep us from the victory that God has for each of us.

When you realize that it's not too late, you have hope. You take action. You move forward. You stop thinking that it's futile and useless to do the right thing.

It's not too late...

* to turn your finances around.

* to recover from a tragedy or mistake

* to truly surrender your life to God and begin again!

* to take better care of yourself

* to apologize

* to start saving

* maybe you have developed a habit or dug yourself into a real bad hole. it's not too late to get out of it.

* to change the way you see yourself.

A. UN-DECIDE that it's too late for these things to change. Un-decide that you can't recover! Un-decide that the damage is irreversible.

B. Meditate on the fact that God created time, and He can multiply it.
The earth and sun stood still for Joshua 10:12-13, "And Joshua spoke to the Lord at Gibeon... and said in the sight of Israel, 'Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon in the valley of Aijalon'. So the sun stood still and the moon stopped."Joshua had control over time, for God's purpose. We need to start thinking that way - we have control over time. It doesn't control us!

C. Today, think about the great cloud of witnesses, for whom it wasn't too late:

* It wasn't too late for Abraham to be a father at 99 years old.

* It wasn't too late for Sarah to be a mother at 90!

* It wasn't too late for Peter after he denied the Lord 3 times.

* It wasn't too late for Paul after he had persecuted the church and killed other Christians! God later used him to write two-thirds of the New Testament after the book of Acts.

* It wasn't too late for the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34), or the man who was lame at Bethesda pool for 38 years. (John 5:1-10)

* In business, it wasn't too late for Ray Kroc, who at the age of 56 started the first McDonalds...(How did that work out for him?)

D. Meditate on God's mercy and grace.
Lamentations 3:22 says, "His mercy is new every morning..." Hebrews 4:15 says, "Come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in your time of need." Mercy is when God doesn't give us the judgment that we DO deserve. And "grace" is when God gives us the goodness that we don't deserve.

E. Adjust your thinking here: Stop making excuses for why it's too late.
God doesn't listen to our excuses. Realize, HE IGNORES OUR EXCUSES, and EXPECTS us to believe in His faithfulness. We claim we have low self-esteem or a disability. (Moses wasn't confident and he had a speech impediment, but God gave him chance after chance to be used by Him to deliver God's people.)

F. Meditate on the verse in 2 Timothy 2:13, "Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself."

G. Ask God for more time, and another chance.
Hezekiah did in 2 Kings 20:1-6. When Hezekiah turned back to the Lord, and asked for a second chance, God told him, "I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Surely I will heal you...And I will add to your days FIFTEEN YEARS." If he did it for Hezekiah, He will do it for you!

THINK IT & SAY IT

I believe that it is not too late for things to improve in my life, and radically turn around.

I believe in the God of 2nd chances. I can recover and there is nothing that God won't turn around in my life.

It is a fact that God created time and He can multiply it for me. I am not controlled by time. By God's grace, I control it!

It wasn't too late for Abraham or Sarah, Peter or Paul. It wasn't too late for the woman caught in adultery, and its NOT TOO LATE FOR ME.

I adjust my thinking, and accept that God ignores my excuses and inabilities - but He gives mercy and grace in my time of need. He is faithful even when I haven't been.

I think on His goodness and dwell on His kindness. God is no respecter of persons, therefore if He multiplied time back for Joshua and Hezekiah, He will do it for me!


23. It's just not working

People think "I'm trying, but I'm not really changing. My marriage is not working. Prayer is not working. My budget is not working. The Word is not working. Tithing isn't working."

When things don't go our way, we tend to THINK, that the good that we're doing is not accomplishing anything. The devil gets us THINKING that God's Word works for others but not us. When we believe that "It's not working," we adopt a mindset that blocks us from continuing to do the right thing. And that's when we lose our harvest.

You see, it's not that it's not working, but it's that we stop "working it", which is what stops our progress.

When we do the right thing, the devil loves to get us to think, that it didn't do any good, and nothing will change. When we forgive someone, the devil says, "that didn't do any good." When we give an offering, the devil says, "you won't get a harvest." When we pray, we hear the thought that says, "God didn't hear that; or He won't answer that."

When my kids were little, I would sometimes wonder, "Is praying over them every night working? Is disciplining them working? Are the kisses and hugs and long talks working?" But I kept doing it because I thought, "God's Word is true and IT WORKS." Today, my two grown, married children love God, love the people in their lives, and love each other, I realize IT WAS WORKING all the time. If I would have thought it wasn't working, I would have stopped acting on the Word. That thought would have defeated me.

Today we turn the tables on these thoughts.

A. Keep sowing the right seeds.
"Don't grow weary, in doing good, for in due season, you shall reap, if you do not faint." We need to believe that if we don't give up, we will get our harvest.

B. Understand that "growing weary", or "fainting"/giving up, begins in our minds.
Hebrews 12:3 says, "consider Him who has endured such hostility against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your mind." See, giving up starts in your head. As soon as we think that its not working, that's when our bodies respond to those thoughts and our life gives off negative energy, which defeats us. IN YOUR MIND, you have to start thinking, "IT IS WORKING!" And then, positive, life-filled energy is produced.

C. Believe that God is at work in you right now.
"He is all the while in work in you both to will and work for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) If He is working in you, things are going to work.

D. Let this penetrate your thinking: THE WORD WORKS.
Jeremiah 1:12 says, "I am watching over My Word to perform it." Believe in the integrity of God's Word.

E. Believe: PRAYER WORKS.
Jesus said, "Whatsoever things you desire WHEN YOU PRAY, believe that you receive them, and you SHALL HAVE THEM." Mark 11:24.

F. Don.t let the immediate feeling or appearance trick you.
Things start working the moment you act on the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we walk by faith and not by sight."

G. I love this verse in Ecclesiastes 3:11 which says, "He makes all things beautiful in His time." It's going to work out, if you trust and let His timing come to pass.

THINK IT & SAY IT

Things are working. I may not see them working right now, but God says they are.

I am sowing the right thoughts, therefore my life is changing. I am sowing the Word of God, and it will not return void.

I will not give up in my mind. I make up my mind to believe IT IS WORKING.

God is at work in me, and He is bringing His will to pass in my life, even now as I surrender my thoughts to Him. As I sow the Word of God in my heart and mind, God is watching over that Word, to bring it pass.

Whenever I have the thought that prayer doesn't work, I will replace that thought with Mark 11:24. I walk by faith - by believing what God says.

I will not allow the appearance of something trick me into thinking that God's Word is not working.

The Lord is making things beautiful in my life, no matter what things look like right now.
 


24. You just never know what the future holds 

Today, we are fasting from the thought that says: "You just never know what the future hold."

Thoughts that go with this: "You never know what's going to happen. You can't control what happens in your life. There's not much I can do about it."

Too many of us acquiesce our power and authority to do something about our situation, because we think it's all up to God or the future is already destined. And while it's true, that we can't control everything that happens in the world, we can control what happens in our lives.

Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap your character. Sow character, reap your destiny!

We have the power to create the future we desire.

Let's change our thinking. Let's replace the thought that "you never know what the future holds," with "I hold the future in my hands (based on the seeds I sow.)"

A. Believe what God said.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the thoughts I have for you - for good and not evil - to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE." God's future for us is good. Expect it.

B. Your life is a garden.
In Genesis 2:7 God put man in the garden. But in Luke 17:21 God put the garden IN MAN. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is within you." In Mark 4:13-20 Jesus said, the soil of the kingdom of God is in our hearts.

C. We determine our future by the seed we sow.
Galatians 6:7 says, "Don't be deceived. Whatever a man sows, is exactly what he will reap." I'm talking about sowing the SEED OF GOD'S WORD. The Word is the seed. Promises from God's Word contain the power to come to pass, when planted in the fertile soil of our heart.

D. You have the power and permission from God to grow whatever kind of life you want.
Proverbs 4:18 says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life."

E. Realize you are in control of the things that can choke out your desired harvest.
Mark 4:17-20 says there are 3 things that can choke out the harvest of God's Word in your life: the desires for other things, the deceitfulness of riches, and worry (which we dealt with on day 5 of our FAST FROM WRONG THINKING.)

F. Desire God's promises in your life.
2 Corinthians 1:20 says, "All the promises of God are yes, in Him..." Sow the seed of God's promises in your life. The answer is yes!

G. Meditate on the power God has given you.
God has given you the Power to choose (Deut. 30:15); the Power of your seed (Galatians 6:7); the Power of your tongue (Proverbs 18:21); the Power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, John 16:13)

THINK IT & SAY IT

I accept in my heart and mind that God has a good future in store for me. But he has given me the stewardship over the garden of my heart. I will watch what goes into my heart through my eyes, ears and mouth.

I determine my own future by the seeds I sow. The Word of God contains the seeds of God's promises, that God has given me permission and power to sow into my heart. The promises of God are "yes." They will come to pass, as I plant them in my heart, and guard my heart from worry, deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things.

I don't need to desire other things, since there are so many promises of God to feast on. I recognize and think on the power that God has given me. The power of choice. The power of my seed. The power of my tongue. And the power of the Holy Spirit.


25.  If I just pray hard enough...

Today we are fasting from a very subtle thought that will truly set you free: "If I just pray enough or live holy enough, I will get closer to God and enter into His presence." 

I want to bring your attention to the fact that some of the thoughts that we need to fast from and eliminate from our heads, SEEM LIKE RIGHT THOUGHTS. But they are subtle tricks and lies.

When the devil approached Adam and Eve, in Genesis 3, it says, 'he was subtle; more than any other creature.' It's these subtle thoughts that defeat us. They seem so godly and so right, but they are not right; because they produce a WORKS mentality and a LEGALISTIC approach to our relationship with God.

I don't want to create a theological debate, here. But I want to ask you a question: how much closer can God get than to LIVE INSIDE OF YOU?

* 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Do you not recognize that Christ Jesus is in you?"

* 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God?"

This is not a warning to be afraid. This is a promise. It is a fact when a person is born again. It is a picture of how there is no separation between us and God. Paul is saying in essence (and I am praying you will receive this with an open heart): "The reason your behavior has been sinful and negative, is because you have lacked the knowledge that HE LIVES IN YOU. When you realize that, it will change how you look at yourself, and it will then change how you live."

When we think we have to do more to get closer to Him, the focus gets put on us. But Hebrews 12:1 says to "Fix your eyes on Jesus." When you buy into this thought, you TRY SO HARD TO GET CLOSE TO GOD, and then get discouraged, until you give up or assume that that your relationship with God will always be: Distant. That affects your peace, joy, and of course your confidence in prayer.

This is what I call "an illusion of separation." The devil, and even religion has caused us to think God is afar off. "He's way up there, and we're way down here. And if we pray enough, fast enough, do enough, we can close the gap, and get Him to come closer." That's a lie. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Ok gang. This is a thought that we must deal with-- NOW!

A. We don't earn closeness with God.
It is a gift. Hebrews 13:5 says "He will never leave you or forsake you."

B. YOU ARE ALREADY IN HIS PRESENCE BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
Hebrews 10:19 says, "we enter into the Holy place by the blood of Jesus."

C. There is no separation between you and God.
When you are born again, you are united with Him, and one with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "The one who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him." In Acts 17:28, he says, "In Him we live and move and have our being." This is the reality that the early Christians had and lived by. There is no separation. (Yes, sin separated us from God, but Jesus removed sin, and re-connected us to God. There is no separation now.)

D. Stop thinking, "He's there, and I'm here."
I don't have to do something to get God into my situation. He is already in it, because I'm in it. "He is at work IN me, to bring about His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

E. I will fear no evil.
Psalm 23:4 says, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for THOU ART WITH ME!"

F. Reject the lie that He is out there somewhere.
Reject the lie that your answer or blessing is "out there" somewhere. Mark 4:20 says, "he who hears the Word and accepts it, will bear fruit." You have to accept this truth. There is no separation.
THINK IT & SAY IT:

I am not separated from God, anymore. I don.t have to earn closeness with Him. It is a gift. He will never leave me or forsake me.

I am IN HIS PRESENCE and HE IS IN ME. In Him, I live and move and have my being. I live in this reality.

I stop thinking that "He is there, and I am here." He is in my life and my situation right now. No matter what I walk through, I am not afraid.for God is with me.

I reject the lie that He is out there somewhere. I accept that there is no separation between God and me. Romans 8:38-39 says, "Nothing can separate me from the love of God!"