Reboot Your Joy by Revamping Your Thinking

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We’ve talked about 3 ways to reboot your joy. We reboot our joy with gratitude, we reboot our joy by changing our perspective, and we reboot our joy by changing our words. However, none of these changes are really achievable without renewing your mind – you gotta revamp the old thinking patterns to line up with what God says – that’s our topic today.

Everything starts with a thought.

Question?

How often do you stop to check if your thoughts line up with the Word?

Bondages start in the mind, the Bible calls them strongholds, and God wants to set us free from thoughts that hold us back from becoming all God created us to be.

2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT sums this thought up well

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” 2 Cor 10:4 NLT

Let’s talk for a minute about the word STRONGHOLD.

Definition: A place that has been fortified to protect itself from attack.

From our earliest years, we all develop wrong thinking in areas because of our experiences.

As time goes on, these become strongholds that the enemy fortifies in our mind; and they become the filters through which we view ourselves and our world.

But God . . . has given us the weapons we need to bring down these strongholds.

You and you alone have the power to change your thinking.

Romans 12:2 “(YOU) Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” ISV

This is not a suggestion: it’s a command

RENEW’, v.t. L. renovo; re and novo, or re and new.
1. To renovate; to restore to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair.

I like to say it overwriting our bad programming.

Bondages start in the mind and God wants to set us free from thoughts that hold us back from reaching our potential.

Hints your thinking is off: If you use words like always and never frequently.
If you tend to assume you know what others are thinking.
Does your mind always go to the worst case scenario first?
Do you entertain self degrading thoughts?
How about having a knock down drag out in your mind with someone that in reality has never happened?

If you could answer yes to any of those, try applying these tips.

1. Think about what you’re thinking about. Catch it at the first thought.

2. Use negative emotions that seem to hit you out of no where as red flags to check your thinking.

3. Run your thoughts through the “Does what I’m thinking line up with what God Word says filter?” Phil 4: 8 is this thought true, lovely, worthy of praise?

4. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This is called the Law of Replacement and few people ever do this, because it seems too easy.

5. We all need accountability to stay on track. We also need someone who loves us enough to point out our blind spots.

The best way I know of is to get involved in a small group with people who love you and will help you keep your focus on those things that matter most. If you don’t have access to a small group, find an accountability partner.

Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams – Part 2

Joseph's Dream

What principles can we learn from Joseph if we want to make our God-given dreams reality?  Today, we’re continuing this series and looking at the first key to achieving your dreams.

1.  Don’t let your past determine your future.

I’m going to ask you to hang with me here this is going to take a little time to develop. We’re going to focus first on Chapter 37 of Genesis.

As our story opens we find Jacob settling once again in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 37:1-4

“So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived.

This is the history of Jacob’s family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks with his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Now Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day he gave Joseph a special gift—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because of their father’s partiality. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.”

So let’s give a little background to this story because I really want to camp on this first key because I think it is so vital in our culture today.

Joseph is the son of the Bible Patriarch Jacob.  Jacob had just spent 20 years in Haran where 11 of his boys were born. He had 4 wives Leah, Rachel who had died giving birth to Jacob’s 12th son Benjamin on the way back from Haran, Bilhah and Zilpah who were originally Leah’s and Rachel’s handmaids.

So we have here a gigantic blended family.  That all still lived at home!

We have a father who tried to bring God’s plan about in his life by lying, cheating, and conniving.  A trait he had passed on to most of his boys.

And talk about dysfunction – these guys could write the book.  Jerry Springer would love this family!

Reuben the oldest son slept with one of his father’s wives,

Jacob’s only daughter Dinah had been raped by the Prince of Shechem, so Jacob’s sons deceived the men of Shechem and then Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed every man in the city and then the rest of the sons went in and looted and plundered all the wealth of the city and took captive all the kids and women.

Besides his other stellar qualities, Jacob showed total blatant partiality to Joseph.

Scholars differ on why this was, it could be that he spent more time with Joseph than his other kids, or that he was Rachel’s son that they had believed for for so long because she could not conceive for a long time, or it may have been because he was a good kid unlike his brothers.  But no matter the reason Jacob made no attempt to hide the fact that he like Joseph the best.

So, as if there was not already enough tension in the family, Jacob gives Joseph what is commonly known as the “coat of many colors.”  Scholars believe that it was most likely an ornate robe that was not suitable to work in that denoted royalty.

Many scholars believe that the coat that Jacob gave Joseph was a coat that designated that Joseph had been selected by Jacob to assume the family leadership.

So it’s not rocket science that his brothers hated him and trash talked him.

Here’s an interesting note:  the brothers couldn’t say a kind thing about him, and yet Joseph is one of 3 or 4 characters in the entire Bible, one of them being Jesus, that God does not say one negative thing about through the writers. In fact, later we’ll see that Joseph is actually a type and shadow of Jesus.

As our story continues, Joseph has a dream.  He dreams that he and his brothers were out in a field tying up bundles of grain and suddenly his bundle stands up and all the brothers bundles gather round him and bow low before him.

So what does Joseph do?  . . . He goes and tells his brothers.

Do you think they were happy about this dream? no . . . .

They responded, “So you think you’ll be our king do you?  And you think you’ll reign over us?”

And the Bible says,”They hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.”  Genesis 37:8

First, it’s not always wise to tell everything you know!  Some things are better kept between you and God.

Second,  not everyone is going to be excited about your dream.  The odds are that more people will try to discourage you from achieving your dream than will believe in your dream and help you achieve it.  In fact, we’ll see in a minute that some will even try to sabotage your dream.

Then if things weren’t bad enough, he has another dream, this time the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed low before him.

So has Joseph wised up?  No . . . this time he not only tells his brothers about the dream, but his dad as well.

His dad gets on his case “What kind of dream is that?  Will your mother and I and your brothers all bow down to the ground before you?”

The word goes on to say while his brothers were filled with jealousy, Jacob ponder what it could mean.

Soon after this Joseph’s brothers took Jacob’s flocks to Shechem to pasture them. After some time, Jacob sends Joseph from Hebron to Shechem to check on them.

So Joseph arrives in the hills of Shechem and a guy sees him wandering around looking lost and asks him what he was looking for and he tells him he’s looking for his brothers.  Now this guy tells Joseph, “They aren’t here any more, they have gone to Dothan.”

Let’s stop for one minute and look at this:  Jacob didn’t send Joseph across the street to find his brothers.  From where he lived he had to travel about 50 miles to get to this place.  Also, what were the odds this guy would know where his brothers were?  Remember, this was the city where Simeon and Levi had killed every male and trashed the whole city.  You’d better believe that when these boys were in town someone would be keeping a close eye on them.  This was also probably one of the reasons Jacob was concerned enough to send Joseph to check on them, as they had been gone for a while.

So then, Joseph had to go another 20 miles to get to Dothan. Which was right on the trade route to Egypt.

Joseph’s brothers see him coming from a ways off and say, “Let’s kill this dreamer.  Then we’ll see what will become of his dreams.” Genesis 37:19-21 So they devise this plot to kill him and throw his body into a cistern and tell their Father he was eaten by a wild animal.

Reuben intercedes and says, “Hey, let’s not kill him . . . why have his blood on our hands, we’ll just throw him in the empty cistern, then he’ll die without us having to do it.”  And all the brothers thought it was a great idea.

Reuben was secretly planning on rescuing him and taking him home.  Possibly in an attempt to regain first-born status with his father.

So Joseph arrives, they strip off his coat and throw him in the cistern.

Then they cook dinner like nothing happened.  At this point in the story, there is nothing recorded about Joseph’s reaction to all this, but in Genesis Chapter 42:21 some 22 or so years later, we’re privy to a conversation the brothers have after they have come to Egypt to get grain and are accused of being spies.

Genesis 42:21

“Speaking among themselves, they said, “This has all happened because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his terror and anguish and heard his pleadings, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why this trouble has come upon us.”

So we see that Joseph must have been terrified and begged and pleaded for his life and they heartlessly ignored his pleas.  And 22 years later they are still plagued by the guilt of what they did.

Then a caravan on it’s way to Egypt comes along and they sell him as a slave.  So they not only don’t have to kill him, they make a profit off the deal.

Let’s stop here in our story and go back to Point 1.  Don’t let your past determine your future.

Would you agree that if anyone qualifies as a victim, and has the right to play the blame game it would have been Joseph?

But the truth is, No one can keep you from your God-given destiny but you. Others can’t keep you from your dreams. We are the keeper of our own dreams.

No one can limit you, except you . . . its a choice

You can be a victim and remain a spectator for your entire life, or you can get up and make the world your dance floor.

No excuses – just do it.

Your past can’t stop God’s plan, your circumstances can’t stop God’s plan, your education, your color, you are the only one who has that power.

If you will trust him, God will take even your worst day and use it to your good.

Romans 8:28

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

While God did not cause all those awful things Joseph’s family did to him, it was playing right into God’s plan.  God got him right on the trade route to Egypt exactly where he needed to be to complete his assignment.

About 35 years ago, my husband and I went through a horrible separation.  It devastated our family.  After a year of being a complete knucklehead, I surrendered my heart back to the Lord.  I had the distinct impression that the Lord was telling me that He was not through with Kip and Sandy Lawson yet, unlike Joseph, I had no one to blame but myself and my own poor choices for the situation we were in.  However, God is so good that even though our circumstances looked impossible, God’s goodness reached down and brought healing to a truly hopeless situation.  Today, we’re happily married for over 48 years.  My husband is my best friend, and our family is healed.  God is the God of the impossible.

Since that time, God has used us in the lives of literally thousands of kids and he has used our son in even greater ways as well as our other kids.  We just had to get to the point that we desired God’s highest more than anything else.  We also had to get to the point that we truly believed and received that His blood had truly cleansed us of past sins and by His grace we got a do over.  We didn’t let our past determine our future, we used it to help others from falling into the same traps that we did.  God made all things work together for the good as he promised in Romans 8:28.

God does not want us to be trapped by outward circumstances, I think this is one of the beautiful truths in this story.  Joseph was a man who lived above his circumstances as we will see as the story continues . . .  He didn’t let his past determine his future.  Back to our story . . .

So Joseph arrives in Egypt and gets sold to Potiphar the head of Pharaoh’s Palace guard.

We are now in Genesis 39

At once he goes to work with all his heart and immediately Potiphar starts noticing that everything Joseph touches gets better!

Genesis 39:2

“The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.”

I believe that God was able to work on Joseph’s behalf to bring about his destiny because Joseph kept his heart right.  He didn’t allow bitterness or unforgiveness, or a victim mentality to occupy his heart.  The only one who had the power to rob Joseph or his desitny was Joseph.

Sometimes we can see delays and detours as defeats.  Maybe God is using them to refine our character, or maybe what seems like a detour is God’s rerouting to get us to our divine destiny.  We can’t always avoid delays and detours, but we can control our heart response to them.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1: 2-4 NKJV

How can Joseph’s story help you change the way you view your circumstances?

Reboot Your Joy by Changing Your Perspective

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This is the second in a series on Rebooting Your Joy.  Last time, we talked about how gratitude reboots your joy.  Today, we’re going to find that elevating our perspective also reboots our joy.

So, what does rebooting your joy have to do with leadership?

I wrote a book called “Parenting through the Mirror.” It’s not so much about kids as it is about allowing God to change you.  Your kids become who you are, not what you tell them to be.

Just as parents reproduce kids who are mirrors of who they are, leaders produce followers who look like them.

If you want better followers, become a better you.  Remember Paul said, follow me as I follow Jesus,”?

So why is joy so important to a leader or anyone for that matter?  

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”  We all need strength to fight the fight of faith.

Joy is simply a product of our thinking – It is a choice.

I love this quote

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” 

Do you ever wonder if you’re seeing life through a clouded lens?

So how do we make sure that what we’re seeing is what God is seeing?

Here’s the cure for cloudy vision.

 Change your perspective.  

Exchange your perspective for His perspective.

If you’re like me, to do this you have to change your thinking.

Last time, we focused on 2 of our 3 key Scriptures Romans 12:2 and Philippians 4:8.

Today, we’re going to zero in on Ephesians 2, because when you get this one, it’s easier to get the others.  The chapter opens

up like a Dicken’s novel  . . . ONCE YOU WERE DEAD

Picking it up in verse 4.

BUT God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much,

that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6 NLT

Notice:  Past tense – done deal – already happened . . .

One of the easiest ways to lose our joy is to forget our true spiritual position. This happens when we are sucked into our circumstances.

Circumstances are the devil’s playground.  If he can get our eyes on our circumstances instead of our answer, he’s got us.  Then . . .

This causes us to lose perspective.

When we try to fight in our circumstances, we are fighting in our own strength and in the devil’s territory.  No matter where we turn, we are trapped in our circumstance. It’s all we can see!  Circumstances everywhere, oh my!

Plus we are right in the line of fire for his firey darts. You know him, the liar.  If he can manipulate our emotions he can defeat us.

However, when we take our designated seat, our rightful seat because of what Christ did for us, then we can see things through the eyes of the Father for what they really are and not what they feel like.

Here’s the amazing thing about God . . . It’s OUR choice . .   

Rightful seat – child of God seat or . . . 

Circumstance seat – slave seat

I never do anything right seat vs righteousness of God in Christ seat

Why is this happening to me seat vs I am more than a conquerer seat

This is too hard seat vs I can do all things through Christ seat

I suggest you pick your rightful seat – it is already bought and paid for.

It is an elevated perspective. God’s perspective.

Instead of being locked into our circumstances, we can see beyond them because we have God’s elevated view.

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Circumstances are sight – they are in this realm and want to make us their slave.

Seeing from God’s perspective is faith beyond circumstances – we’re in God’s realm.  By faith it sees the options, God’s big picture, and our answer.

When we are seated spiritually speaking in the heavenlies, it has lots of perks!

5 Benefits of Taking Your Rightful Seat

and I’m sure you can think of many more.

1. The enemy’s firey darts can’t pierce us, because our emotions are safely out of his reach. 

2. We see things the way they really are from God’s perspective – and His view is perfect – his lens is not clouded.

3. We see beyond the circumstances to our answer.

4. Our thinking becomes renewed – Romans 12:2 & Philippians 4:8

5. Our joy is rebooted, because our focus is on the eternal and not locked into our circumstances.

So if you want to change your life to one that is filled with joy, just choose to change your perspective.

What are some things you do to keep life in perspective?

 

How to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

th “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone—a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”  John 12:24

Just the word dying sounds like it’s the end of life.  The end of anything that’s good.  Jesus is telling us here if we want to find real life, we need to put others ahead of ourselves.  We may be thinking, “I am comfortable and I enjoy my time off and frankly, I don’t want to change anything.” I totally understand that! I love my time off!  I love relaxing and just spacing out!

When we moved from California to Oklahoma in 1989, it was to get involved in ministry.  I jumped in and started helping out in bus ministry and with the 4 and 5 year old class.  My husband on the other hand, felt he had not heard from God on what he was supposed to do, so he did the logical thing . . . nothing!  He just kept praying about where God wanted him to get involved.  He felt with something that important he surely didn’t want to make a mistake. In the mean time, he was really enjoying his time off.  You see, we had owned a business and sold it along with our home, so we had enough money to take a long rest and really get God’s heart on what we were supposed to do.

At least until the day I conned him into helping me out in the 4 and 5 year old class.  After the first day, he realized that “he hated working with kids!”  His feet hurt and he felt like it was a total waste of his time.  He felt his time would have been better spent in the adult service or praying about where God wanted him to get involved. However, I was pretty persuasive and before he knew what hit him, he found himself helping out again the next week.  He kept telling himself that maybe it would be better this week, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know how I did it, but there he was in class again for week three.  I wish I could tell you how amazing I am, but I’m pretty sure the real credit belongs to the Spirit of God; He was setting him up for his destiny!!

Sure enough, this day was different.  There was a young boy in the class who never paid attention to anything or anybody. He would crawl around the classroom or lay under the chairs and totally ignore you when you spoke to him.  He would never look anyone in the eye. This particular day would be a turning point for my husband and Clarke.  Kip got down on the floor with him and asked him if he could help him listen to the lesson.  He got up into his chair and helped my husband listen to the lesson.  From that day on, Clark and Kip were buddies.  He was hooked!

The last time we saw Clarke he was in fifth grade leading an altar team and praying with a group of kids to receive Christ. Kip’s life was never the same from that fateful day.  The rest is history that led to Bible School and 20 years as a Family Pastor.  Before this time, he lived on the emotional roller coaster.  One week, he’d feel great about life and the next he would be depressed.  The cycle was a downward spiral that repeated itself over and over again. It turned out that when he got his eyes off of himself and onto others his life leveled out. He has never been on that emotional roller coaster since that day!  Plus, it opened the door to God’s plan for his life.

The key was just what Jesus said, “You find your life when you lose it.” Many people think that only the pastors make a difference.  The truth is, everybody has the power to make a difference.  Get off the roller coaster and really start enjoying the ride!

How to Have the Family You Always Wanted – Part 9

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Keep First Things First

“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life. ” ~ David Jakeilo

Sometimes life controls us instead of us controlling our life.  It is vital to periodically stop and take an accounting of our priorities lest we fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.  When we allow this to happen it is usually effects those closest to us in a negative way.  Your priorities will be determined by your value system.  However, I would encourage anyone to think long and hard before they put their career at the top of their priority list.  Life passes all too quickly and you know the old saying, “You never see a hearse towing a Uhaul.”  The “stuff” stays behind.  Our real legacy remains behind in the lives of those we impacted along the way.

For me, my priorities are my faith, my marriage, my family, then my career.  It seems when I keep things in that order, my life is really great.  When my priorities shift, my life can go into a tailspin in nothing flat.  When I see the very first tell tale sign that I’ve gotten myself out of sync, I stop and do a quick self evaluation and invariably I find that my priorities have gotten misplaced.

Keeping your priorities in order is like a pilot keeping his eye on the Altitude Indicator to make sure that the plane is flying level.  Remember to do regular “Priority Checks.”