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Posts Tagged ‘mind’

Prayer & Perspective

A verse that I’ve thought of on and off lately is the Lord’s Prayer – or as I like to call it ‘The Disciple’s Prayer’ – since Jesus gave the prayer to his followers as a guideline of how they should pray; Jesus already knew how to pray. I’ve always thought of prayer as something more than “special wording meant for Jesus.” It’s a personal thing; and that’s how God intended prayer to be – he wants your true thoughts and word, coming straight from your heart. A prayer shouldn’t be something you memorize and recite each night; it shouldn’t be like a script for then it loses its whole meaning.

I am only using the first four verses of the passage (Matthew 6:5-9), but the whole passage can be found in Matthew 6:5-18. I use the ESV version for verses.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward,” (vs. 5).

Pause there for a second. Before I go on, I want to point out these lines alone, are the first verse. This is a crucial verse. For oh-so-often, too many Christians get caught up in themselves – believing they know it all. The modern day “Little Christ” is not like the early, first Christians. “Little Christ” is what Christian means – it was coined when the first disciples were teaching, and actually the word Christian or “Little Christ” was meant as an insult.

The modern day Christians often think highly of themselves; thinking of how much better off they are because they know Christ and others don’t. They don’t care about the poor and needy – their focus is on money, while they teach Jesus’ sermons on how to care for the poor, broken-hearted, and lost souls. This is wrong, wrong, wrong; the opposite of how a Christian is supposed to act. Sadly, by preaching and having people look at them and either marvel or scoff, they get their reward of satisfaction. They are not true Christians – they do not live up to the definition of a “Little Christ.” Because these Christians are so caught in themselves they do not receive or get to experience the amazing wonders, things, and feelings that Jesus has to offer us.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who is in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him,” (vs. 6-8).

It is true, often it is the short, simple things that work best. Long, drawn ouutttt things make people lose interest, especially if they aren’t to the point. When people ramble on and just add “fluff,” they really don’t know what they are talking about. As it says in (some concordance to) verse 7, they are just wasting their breath and their words are “heap[ing] up [like] empty phrases” – they have no meaning.

God knows what is on our hearts and minds, he’s more than aware of our needs – but he also knows that we need a way to communicate our feelings, needs, and what is on our minds and hearts to him (not just other people). He gave us a way to do so: prayer. This, to me personally, meant so much, knowing I had a way to connect to my Father in heaven. Knowing there was someone, someone who was so powerful and perfect, was always there for a sinful ridden and hurting person like me… is just indescribable. He always listened. He always comforted in some way. He won’t tell anyone. And to me, that meant a lot, as my trust to certain people has been cut. I know that when I can’t find the words to express how I’m am feeling – he knows exactly what I’m feeling and going through. All I have to say in my mind, in the quiet of my room, is: “Father, help me – you know my heart and thoughts. Please help me to get over this painful feeling that’s tearing me apart in an indescribable way.”

He’ll always listen to you in your hardest moments.

It is comforting to know that my Father knows what I need before I ask him, that relationship between Father and daughter (or son) is unbreakable and imaginable by people who don’t truly know what it is like to know such a force. Those people who stand on the streets proclaiming out loud don’t hear when God calls them, like we do, they don’t hear it because of all the noise they’re making. For God doesn’t normally communicate in the form of a thunderstorm (per-say) – loud and noisy, but he comes like a soft wind, blowing gently. Only those who are quiet and listen can hear it.

When God calls to those lost people out proclaiming on the streets or elsewhere, they don’t hear him, or if they do, they ignore him. Even when fellow believers try to humbly point out that their ways are wrong or try to kindly help them in the right direction, they most often push them off. They point their finger at them, saying they are the wrong-doers; they are the false believers. And it is sad, but it is reality. We live in a fallen world and we are waiting desperately for our Savior to return to take us home.

Our Lord is like a shepherd – he calls and pulls us back when we are lost. He is most persistent and never gives up, even with those who are stubborn. But there are cases when flesh must die and their time to be redeemed runs out or the sheep don’t want to live under the wing of their shepherd. They believe there is something better; they get lost in the ways of the world.

I hope you all got as much as I did out of this verse – if not more.

I am no longer eager, bold, and strong

  All that is past; I am ready not to do

At last, at last, 

  My half day’s work is done,

And this is all my part,

  I give a patient God

My patient heart.

p 265, March by Geraldine Brooks

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Our mind is one of the most complex units. It controls a lot of things, from remembering things, processing ideas, analyzing situations, to controlling how whole body. For something that weighs less than five pounds it sure has a lot of impact! We can break down our body into three segments, heart, flesh, and mind. When you are saved your heart (also known as soul) is washed white as snow. Your heart is how you can hear from the Holy Spirit; God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us. People say our emotions come from the heart. If you fall in love, you gave your heart to that person. If you hate someone, you hate them with all your heart.  But is it really your heart doing all this? Do all our emotions come from this? No, if the HS is guiding you and you are listening is he going to tell you to do wrong? Of course not! That would make no sense. So as a Christian, where do these things come from? The Mind.

To understand why we battle our mind is pretty simple and could be answered in one word, Flesh. But to understand the full effect and how to control our mind, we need to understand our emotions better also and who they relate too. Where do these amazing things called emotions come from? Feelings are the bane and blessing of our being: a blessing, for example, as they create a great joy as we look at our achievements; or a burden as we go through times of grief and loss. At those various times our emotions match the delights and disasters of life. The source of emotions is a surprising place. This ability to feel comes from our being made in the image of God. What is true of our bodies is true of our emotions: God did it! Our body is a creation of wonder. But it is also true, that the Devil will try to steal, kill, and destroy them; just like he tried to kill Jesus.

Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent thought. Common attributes of mind include perception, reason, imagination, memory, emotion, attention, freewill and a capacity for communication. A rich set of unconscious processes are also included in many modern characterizations of mind. In the book of Romans says- “ Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” So our mind is two faced in a sense… if we are saved it can be governed by our Spirit, which is white as snow, or by our Flesh, which is what the Devils clings to the most. So after we are saved we should be able to throw away our flesh’s desires. The Holy Spirit guides us to only do what God knows is best for us, you can sometimes refer to this as your conscious.

So while you’re conscience AKA: the Holy Spirit is telling you not to steal, your flesh is saying you should. So maybe stealing isn’t a huge struggle for you, therefore put it into your terms. Cutting yourself, drugs, porn, etc… So what helps us decide which to choose? Our Mind is used for reasoning and thinking things through. We reason that if we cut ourselves, for that moment, we will feel better and it will clear our mind of our pains. But we also can reason that, if we do it, we could have scars and in the long run could harm us. In our society we like everything fast and quick. Fast Food for when we are hungry, online cloth shopping for if we don’t feel like spending time looking around the mall, we even can buy everything we need at the grocery store and pick it up! Are we really that busy?! No. we think, it’s faster this way so I have more time to do something else later. So when you cut yourself (and please remember this is an example) you think, fast and easy, talking to someone about your issues would take forever or they might judge you, so you can just take care of the pain for now and get on with your so called “life.” But see, in the long run, it doesn’t work. The shirt you ordered doesn’t fit right, your fries are all greasy and limp, and your eggs somehow got broken before they even reached your car.  And within the next few days you’re going to have to either cut yourself again or suck up for pride and get help.  The problems keep calling.

That is how our minds reason, but look; most people only get to the ‘quick and easy’ then stop. They don’t want to see the long run of issues to follow; they control their mind to only see what they wish to see. This is when your mind is governed by your flesh, you can kind of see the true light but the quick and easy path is just so close! So our mind could go either way at this point, right? It’s the real determining factor between your spirit and flesh. Even the Strongest Christians battle the mind.

So how do we make sure our mind chooses the right choice? Simple, we speak only the right choices. People get won over to religions, cults, and even jobs by words. The Bible says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Your words and what you speak control your mind and thoughts. The music you listen to all the time is what usually plays over and over in your head. The artist Ke$ha (who isn’t a good role model) wrote a song, featuring 3OH!3, and part of the lyrics go like this: “My first kiss went a little like this…” then you’re going to start thinking about kissing. So once kissing is stuck in your mind for awhile you feel like you may want to kiss someone (your boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever). See how it happens? May be a lame example, but it holds a lot of truth. When you get into a fight words are said; comebacks shoot out as fast as you can think of them and anger fills the air. Then whenever you think of that person you start feeling angry all over again. If you’re like some people I know, you might stand in front of a mirror firing of f the comebacks you wish you had thought of. But it all starts at the same place, your mouth. You sang that song; you stimulated that fight with your words.

Speaking the right thing isn’t always that easy, but as with anything, it gets easier with practice.  Have you ever meet a person who is constantly down? You probably have, they are always speaking about their problems and issues, how bad life is, what is wrong with everything. Then you probably also know someone who is constantly smiling and happy, they are always trying to cheer people up, helping with everything, and constantly talking about how wonderful things are or will be. Now which person would you prefer to be? Sounds simple right? Who would want to be depressed like that? But maybe your already depressed and you don’t see how to change the way things are.

Winning the battle of the mind starts with one easy step; speaking the truth. The Truth is also known as The Bible. So what now? Memorize every piece of scripture? Well, that would be nice, but I know a lot of us are busy. So you can start this winning streak by learning one verse a week that has to do with your problems, something uplifting. For example:

“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.”

Malachi 1:4-3

This is a good verse for healing, but sounds kind of out there right?

“For when I hold his name in highest honor and due respect, he will send healing, and I will go out completely whole again!”  – That is my version of this verse and after studying it for a bit, you’ll probably come up with the same thing.

See what I did? I made that verse my own. That’s what you need to do every week, find a verse, make it your own, and repeat it constantly, even more when you’re going through a trial.

Please remember, when I say, “make a verse your own.” I do not mean change the meaning, take away things, or add to it. I simply mean bring it into your style of speech. And example would be: When I normally make a comment of, “I am healed,” I literally say “I am healed,” not: “I am now like a well-fed calf!”

Step two- Remember Your blessings!

We live in the blessing and not the curse. So when the curse tries to grab you, hold against it. Don’t you dare even try to think of what is going wrong.  We live on the world, not of it. The fact the government is failing or your jobs business is going bankrupt. It doesn’t have any effect on the children of God unless we let it! So whenever you start to get down or feel upset, stop, and write out ten blessings. It doesn’t matter if it’s as small as; I saw a cute puppy today. By the time you reach ten you should be thinking more upbeat. If not. Keep going. Write as many as you need too.

“Does it seem like a hopeless battle at times? Well here is something- But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing.”

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

“But whoever is firmly established in his heart [strong in mind and purpose], not being forced by necessity but having control over his own will and desire, and has resolved this in his heart to keep his own virginity, he is doing well.”

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

Virginity doesn’t mean, you have had sex or anything in this verse. Instead it is referring to keeping yourself pure in heart and mind. Pure not only from sexual desires but from everything the flesh tries to throw on us. This doesn’t mean we won’t sometimes stutter, but we need to set our hearts and mind on God’s will and strive to fulfill it. This means guarding our minds and winning the battle.

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