Accepting The WorstSeries: Voices. James Dewhurst January 10, 2021
Accepting the Worst
21 Days of Fasting & Prayer – Starting today, Sunday, January 10th, and ending on Sunday, January 31st, our church will be fasting and praying together. What is fast? It is the voluntary abstinence from food or drink, for a spiritual purpose. While we never tell people what to fast, we encourage you to fast something costly. Why are we fasting? We are fasting for God to bring a refreshing and revival to us personally and to our church and nation as well. Our private disciplines will bring heavenly rewards!!!
Reading Plan – Along with our 21 days fast, we have included links on our website (realchurchohio.com) and the Live Notes section of our App, for you to follow. This reading plan is designed to take our church through the entire Bible this year. We feel an urgency like never before to make sure the church is reading God’s Word!
*This Bible reading plan includes videos, visuals, and Scriptures to help us learn!*
Until Christians know the truth, we will continue to be susceptible to Satan’s lies!
How many of you have ever been bombarded with negative thoughts before? (i.e. Thoughts about yourself, thoughts about your current circumstances, thoughts about your family, thoughts about your future?). The million-dollar question is, what do we do with these thoughts? Do we try and ignore them? Do we try and numb them? Do we just concede and agree with them? The truth is, we have to disagree with them!
Waving the “white flag” and giving in to the unrelenting negative, dark or dreadful voices in our minds, is one of the most unhealthy things we can do for our minds!
2 Timothy 1:7
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (ESV)
What is this saying? In Christ, God has given us the power to have healthy minds!
While mental health certainly has chemical and physiological factors, the majority of our mental health is our choice.
19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, (ESV)
7 for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. (ESV)
Notice this passage doesn’t say “think in his mind” it says “think in his heart”. When the voices in our minds move to our hearts, it’s because they have been accepted as truth!
The outcome of our life is not determined by what we hear but by what we accept!
Wherever our MINDS go, our BODIES will always follow!
We’re not victims of our biology or circumstances. Our mental health includes choice!
Love, Joy, and Peace aren’t biological traits passed down genetically, they are choices!
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)
Now and then we meet someone who is “different”! You know, the kind of people who see and respond to the world differently. They’re calm. Nothing seems to shake them. Ever! They’re almost impossible to offend. They listen much more than they talk. They love everyone, even their enemies. They always find good, and their joy and peace are infectious to everyone. When we encounter someone like this, we leave wondering what awesome sauce they must be drinking, and where we can buy a jar!
Do you want to know what this awesome sauce is? Choice! People who are different understand Philippians 4:8. They choose to Love! They choose to see the Good! They choose to Forgive! They choose to ruthlessly eliminate negativity in their mind and heart
What we choose to see determines our reality. Our boundaries exist in our minds!
Hal Elrod in his book “Miracle Equation” said – “The moment you take responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life is the moment you change ANYTHING in your life.”
The biblical reality is – You aren’t stuck where you are unless you choose to stay!
Dr. Caroline Leaf says this in her book Switch On Your Brain, “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts. When you think, you build thoughts, and these become physical substances in your brain.”
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
Changing what you think changes your perspective, which changes how you act!
Until your mind changes, you will just continue imposing your biases and labels on life!
The central theme of Jesus’ very first sermon in Matthew 4:17 was to change our minds.
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (ESV)
Paul is a warning – If you don’t capture your negative thoughts they will capture you!
Whatever we allow living in our minds determines our reality and our destiny!
This might be a New Year but you cannot receive new miracles with old mindsets!
The word “thought” in the passage above means our perceptions. What often happens in our minds is that whatever we perceive we tend to believe! But Paul tells us that to have a healthy mind, our perceptions, whether true or false, have to become obedient (become enslaved) to the knowledge or truth that we find from God’s Word!
The things that I’m perceiving and believing must be challenged by biblical truth!
Unchallenged PERCEPTIONS become unhealthy CONCLUSIONS!
> I already know what they think about me!
> I already know how this is all going to end!
> I already know I’m going to be overlooked!
> I already know I’m not good enough to do it!
> I already know I’m going to fail, so why try!
James 3 clearly states you were created in the image of God, full of love and grace. What might happen in your life if you started believing this instead of all the negativity?
13 And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, (ESV)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (ESV)
After all, our perspectives are crafted from our life experiences. Without outside perspectives that challenge the status quo in our minds, it is all-but-impossible to just “change our mind.”
Every individual on the planet has what counselors call ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). These thoughts are reoccurring cycles and often become mental habits. When we allow negative thoughts to ruminate and be rehashed over and over in our minds, it is not only unhealthy, it is crippling. Those automatic thoughts can become a negative fixation, preventing you from moving on or solving problems. What’s worse, is the habit of ruminating leads to anxiety, hopelessness, and deep depression.
In the most extreme cases, prolonged negative thinking can lead to a mental state that counselors call a Double-Bind. Although people always have options, many conclude that all of their options are either too painful or hopeless, and the only way of escape is suicide. 4,000 suicide attempts happen every day from negative thinking!
If life ever gets dark, I would rather listen to your story than attend your funeral!
Today, I want to close with 2 action steps to combat negative thought patterns:
1.Challenge the Cycle!
(Whatever goes unchallenged will remain unchanged!)
Paul tells us to challenge our minds: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Since we’re in a spiritual battle our minds must be challenged with spiritual truth!
We have to renew our minds and replace poor coping skills with healthy ones!
2. Rewind the Tape!
(Since history repeats itself, you need to look at the past!)
There are things right now you are convinced you can’t overcome, that you’ve already overcome in your past. So far you have overcome every battle you have ever faced!
Satan works overtime to speak hopelessness in hardest the seasons of life!
If your past is any indication of your future, you are going to make it!
(Lift your head!)
In a dark moment, David declared in Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord…”
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Take your eyes off of what you are facing and rewind the tape!)
You can trust God with your tomorrow because he was faithful with your yesterday!