Making life Matter: The Thoughts Challenge

FB_IMG_1490683717547

Photography by Melinda Maidment

 

The other day I was thinking, after looking at my thoughts: how else can I make my life matter? And it was as if God just pressed pause. Pause on making my thoughts matter. Pause on making it practical, and implementing it in my life.

So here is the Making Life Matter – Thoughts Challenge:

In the previous post we looked at Philippians 4:8 (NKJV):

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

This will be the focus verse in my process to detox my mind and thoughts. Let’s briefly look at the meaning of the word meditate: (This is not a post about meditation, so I will not go into detail about it.)

To meditate (on Google) means to focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting (praise and worship), for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation, think deeply about (something). Let’s break it down a bit for the challenge:

  • Focus my mind
    • What will I focus my mind on?
      • “Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, any virtue and anything praiseworthy” – Philippians 4:8
  • For a period of time
    • How long will this be?
      • Set aside specific time in my day for this, and (“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” –  Matthew 6:6)
      • Continue to practice throughout the day. (“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • In silence
    • Why in silence?
      • This will help me block out other things that might take my attention away from hearing God’s voice. (“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalms 46:10)
  • Or with the aid of praise and worship music
    • How can praise and worship music help?
      • Sometimes it is harder to be in complete silence, some people find it better to rather have gospel music playing in the background.

The challenge: practice kingdom thoughts in the time you set aside every day (you can also use your ‘quiet time’ for this), and choose to have kingdom thoughts about people, events, work and tasks you do every day. Push out any thoughts that aren’t Philippians 4:8 thoughts.

The second part of the challenge is: what you put in you get out.

What do I mean by this? What you see and hear will influence your thoughts. Evaluate the things you see and hear against Philippians 4:8. Is it true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy? If no, remove it from your day as much as you can. It is not always possible, as we often find ourselves in situations where we cannot control the inputs. What you can do in situations such as these, is to change your ‘lenses’. My father sent me a short piece that he read in an airline magazine about changing your lenses with which you view or observe situations/people/things. By just changing the lenses or filters, you can change what you let into your mind. Our human perspective versus God’s perspective. Choose God’s perspective.

The Word urges us to renew our minds – to think what and how God thinks, we start doing that by changing:

  • What we let into our minds – using a different filter/lens
  • How and what we think about – using Philippians 4:8 to guide us how to think about situations, people and all the other things that occupy our minds.

Easier said than done, but that is why God challenged me to make it practical. There is no quick or easy fix. Having a relationship with God takes time and input from my side. God did His part, now it is my choice, and I choose HIM! I want to make my life matter, and I will start doing so by making my thoughts matter and following God in this journey. So let’s make our thoughts matter in this Philippians 4:8 thoughts challenge!

Making life Matter: Thoughts

FB_IMG_1490684031867

Photography by Melinda Maidment

 

The Lord is still busy talking to me about making my life matter, so I am continuing with the theme of making life matter (click here for the previous blog on treasures). A while ago I read Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) again:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

When I read this, I realised that in making my life matter, I need to make my thoughts matter. You may be thinking:  How do I make my thoughts matter? What do thoughts that matter look like? Where do I start?

Well we start by looking at the Word. We all know Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) very well, this is about the thoughts God has for us:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God has thoughts of PEACE to give us a future and a hope. NOT evil. Lately I am especially challenged with this, because when I look at my own thoughts they are not always of peace. If we look at our Father and we want to follow His example, we should have thoughts of peace.

It is also very easy for us to think of others in a negative way, we remember and focus on their mistakes and flaws. We criticise, condemn, and think the worst of others. Whatever the reason for your thoughts – jealousy, your own insecurities, their actions or the past – these thoughts are definitely not of peace. The word also tells us what God’s thoughts are on this in Hebrew 8:12 NKJV:

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

So God doesn’t think about our sins and lawless deeds anymore. This is such great news for us! But if we want to make our thoughts matter, yet we keep ourselves prisoners in our minds by not letting these thoughts go, we miss the point. If God doesn’t think about the sins of the people around you (or your own), why do you? And what gives you the right?

So what would thoughts that make life matter look like? Let’s look at Philippians 4:8 in more detail. Here are the meanings of the words in this verse:

Whatever things are

  • True                             – in accordance with fact or reality, accurate or exact
  • Noble                          – having or showing fine personal or high moral principles
  • Just                              – based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair
  • Pure                             – not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
  • Lovely                        – very beautiful or attractive
  • Of good report         – a person’s high standing among others: dignity, good name, honour, prestige, reputation, repute, respect

If there is

  • Any virtue                           – behaviour showing high moral standards
  • Anything praiseworthy  – deserving approval and admiration

MEDITATE on these things     – focus one’s mind, think deeply, plan mentally, consider

These are the thoughts God wants us to have! I knew what all of these words meant, but looking deeper into it, it got me thinking… All of the things mentioned in the verse and the meanings of the words are values that remind me of the kingdom of God. Therefore Philippians 4:8 is about kingdom values – basically this verse says that we should have kingdom thoughts.

Matthew 6: 33 (NKJV)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

A life seeking the kingdom of God, is making life matter. How do we seek the kingdom of God? One of the ways is to have kingdom thoughts. What are kingdom thoughts? Anything that is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy. This will become easier the more we practise it, the more we spend time with God, hearing His voice and the more we are in continuous conversation with Him.

Let’s meditate on God’s word and all the things that is of kingdom value. Let’s think of others and ourselves the way God thinks of us. Let’s make our thoughts in our lives count, let’s make our lives matter by having thoughts that matter.

Daily Inspiration: Renewing of your mind

Text Over Photo1489411814725

“You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start changing what’s going on within you” ~ Unknown

This quote reminded me of Romans 12:2. How often do we try to change what is going on around us – the things, the situation, the people? Change has to come from within – by the renewal of your mind. If this seems like a far fetched, airy fairy saying or something that people just say – then think about it this way: how can you expect/want others to change, if you are not willing to do so yourself.

Change frightens us. Change makes us feels uncomfortable. Change is something we try to avoid as much as possible. So maybe we should change the way we see change and rather say  “transform” and “renew”. The word transform means to make a marked change in the form, nature, or appearance of. And the word renew means to resume after an interruption or to give fresh life or strength. Continue reading

Good News: You are Free!

quote

This quote is applicable to most people’s lives at some point. We often let it happen without even knowing it.

The GOOD NEWS is however that we are FREE!

In John 8:34-36 (NKJV) Jesus is talking to His disciples:

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Continue reading

Daily Inspiration: Never leave us

i-will-not-leave-you

Photography by Melinda Maidment

 

Last night I watched the movie Heaven is for real and the father said to his son that he had to go to the hospital to pray for people and that it might be too sad and scary for him to go along. The little boy then said, “As long as I am with you, I will not be afraid.”

It was such a WOW moment for me. God is our Father, and He says that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. NEVER! God is always with us, no matter where we are, what we are doing or what is going on in our lives. God will never leave us. Become aware of His presence in your life – every moment of every day.

We can also say, “Lord, as long as You are with me, I will not be afraid.”

Dear Lord, thank you that You promise us that You will never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you that You are a loving Father and that I am Your child. Thank you Lord for Your promises in the Word. Thank you that the Holy Spirit is alive and living in me. Father, I praise Your faithful Name, You are always faithful and always there. Let Your Spirit make me aware of Your presence every moment of every day. I declare today Lord, that as long as You are with me – which is ALWAYS – I will NOT be afraid! In Jesus Name. Amen.

Daily Inspiration: Joyful shout to God

praise-the-lord

Photography by Melinda Maidment

When we talk to God we often only ask and complain. We often only focus on what we do not have and what our life is not like. We miss what the Lord has done for us. We need to focus on His greatness and His love and in doing so, we will not be able to do anything but praise Him. I would like to rather dedicate my days to praising God! I want to bring glory to His name!

 

Dear God, You are my King. You are the great I am. I praise Your Holy Name, oh Lord. Your greatness knows no end. You are the everlasting Father! You are the Almighty! You are LOVE forever! Thank you that You show me Your love every day. To You all the glory! In Jesus name, amen!

Daily Inspiration: Perfect love

perfect-love-2

Photography by Melinda Maidment

This is a verse that means a lot to me. Last year I spent a lot of time talking to God about fear, I would just like to share this part about 1 John 4:18 with you again:

Torment means severe physical or mental suffering, so fear involves severe physical or mental suffering. Jesus died for us to do away with physical and mental suffering and so much more. He died for our fears so that we may be set free – free from fear. This scripture says that if we fear we have not been made perfect in love – Jesus dealt with fear on the cross through God’s perfect love. If we hold on to fear, do we not in a way deny what Jesus did – we deny ourselves of this perfect love! We can live fear free and even more so – in perfect love and we can experience this if we let go of our fears. God who is LOVE, loved us first, all we have to do is love Him back!

Let God’s perfect love cast out all your fears.

Dear God, thank you that You sent Your Son to die for me. Thank you Jesus, that you paid for everything including my fears! Your PERFECT LOVE is what I seek. I no long want to be a slave of fear. I will no longer be tormented by fear! I choose Your perfect love! Thank you for loving me first, Lord. I love you my Father! In Jesus name, amen! 

If you would like to read more about the series I did on fear click here, and to read the entire post about God’s perfect love click here.

Daily Inspiration: Love one another

love-one-another

This verse is part of a passage in the Word with the heading “The Imperative of Love” (1 John 3:10-15). The word “imperative” means of vital importance, crucial, giving an authoritative command. This is how important LOVE is to God. It is of utmost and vital importance to God. It is a simple task – love one another. The word doesn’t say you have to agree with one another all the time or be best friends with one another. Just love one another. Let God show you His love for others, let Him love others through you. This will change your life!

Dear God, thank you for Your love. Thank you for sending Your Son to show us what love looks like. Thank you that You love me, unconditionally. Lord, let me be a vessel to let Your Holy Spirit love others through me. Open my eyes Lord, so that I may see others the way You see them. Here I am Lord, I am Yours. Thank  you for Your mercy and love for all people. I praise Your name. You are my Father and my God. Your name is above all names! Almighty is Your name! Thank you Lord, for showing me Your love everyday. I love You, LORD! In Jesus Name, amen.

 

Daily Inspiration: No greater LOVE!

text-over-photo1487076857000

Photography by Melinda Maidment

 

In John 15:9-17 Jesus is talking about love and joy. The greatest act of love that there will ever be is when Jesus died for us. What a mind blowing thought! Something that is too big for our minds to fully comprehend. Yet, God did it anyway, because of how much He loved, loves and will always love us.

Jesus didn’t just lay His life down for some people, He did it for everyone! And what is even more amazing – He calls us His friends! We are all His friends.

Thank you Jesus, for what you did for me and for loving me so much that You died for me. Thank you for calling me Your friend and for making me part of Your family. Thank you for not only dying for me that I may be set free, but also for rising from the grave! Jesus is NOT dead! God is NOT dead! The Holy Spirit lives inside of me and I thank you for this, Lord! Let Your love overwhelm me! In Jesus name! Amen.