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Tug of war (a Timeless Truths blog post)

tug of war 1

When you were a kid, did you ever play the game tug of war? Perhaps you were on the end that pulled that rope across to the winning side and you enjoyed the excitement of having won a victory! Or perhaps you were on the other side … the side that suffered the agony of defeat … only to be taunted by your peers and having to deal with it until the time finally came when you could be the one to overcome and win the war. In any case, you can probably relate to how it feels to be tugged in two different directions. First one side gets pulled one way, then the other until finally one side prevails. In the spiritual realm we (perhaps unknowingly) go through the same thing in the battle that we go through in our minds. We may know God wants us to “move out” in one direction, but our flesh is resistant and wants to go in the other direction. That tug of war that goes on in our minds can be just as brutal as any real-life tug of war on the playing field. The question is, who will win? Isaiah 43:16 (NIV) tells us, “This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Here, scripture is talking about something the Lord did for his people in the past … a time they could look back on and see how faithful he had been to bring them through their trials and challenges … however, it encourages them not to (just) dwell on that but, instead, to look forward – to look ahead to what God was getting ready for them to experience next. God’s people (including us today) need to continually move forward into the plans and purposes he has for our lives. God doesn’t want us to live in yesterday’s victories, he wants us to experience new victories today as he leads and guides us in the choices and decisions we make today. Yes, it is good to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past and how he brought us through all the trials and challenges from the past … but the past is just that … the past. So, the timeless truth for today is to allow Jesus to “pull you” to his side in that tug of war in your mind. Allow him to win, and, in so doing you will be on the winning side … you will gain the victory … for it is only as we come into agreement with God’s plans and purposes for our lives do we truly win … it is only as we continually move forward that we win the battle that brings all honor and glory to the Lord. Remember, as others see how faithful God really is to bring us through (not only in the past, but in the present as well) will others be inspired to trust in him themselves … and that will be where the real victory is won!

 

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Thoughts (a Timeless Truths blog post)

Do your thoughts tend to run away from you? Do you find yourself thinking about one thing, then another thing comes to mind, then another, then another, then another … and before you know it you’re stressed out and overwhelmed trying to think of everything all at once? Well, the mind is like that … it wants to have a “mind of it’s own” and dictate what you do or do not think about. Fortunately, as children of God, we have power over our minds, over our thoughts … we don’t have to allow them to control us, but, rather, we can “take authority” and “take charge” and actually choose what we are thinking about (or not thinking about). It’s a little known fact … we do have that power. When Jesus died and then rose again, He gave us that power … power over sin, power over negative thinking, power over worry, power over anything that would try to control us. Is it easy? Of course not! But it is possible! Remember, with God all things are possible … including getting a handle on our thoughts. After all, our thoughts determine our actions. Most often, we first think about something before we actually do it. If we’re careful, we will pay attention and choose those things that are beneficial to both us and others. Want more proof that we can actually choose “right” thinking? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Now, if scripture instructs us to do something, we can trust that God will enable us to do it. He won’t ever ask us to do something that He wouldn’t also give us the ability – the power – to do. 2 Peter 1:3 (ICB) tells us, “Jesus has the power of God. His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him …” So, the timeless truth for today is that we have the ability – the power – to choose our thoughts. With that knowledge, we can make choices that will help, rather than hinder, our walk with the Lord as well as our relationships with people, and, last but not least, our relationship with ourselves (the things we tell ourselves in our own minds that no one else is aware of). As we do this, we will notice our lives improving. After all, as we focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (all positive things, by the way), we will be focusing our thoughts on things that will build ourselves (and others) up, we will be combating all the negativity in the world, and, most importantly, we will be coming into agreement with what God has to say in his Word … a sure-fire way to be blessed, not stressed!

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