Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Renewing Your Mind, Day 3

Today's guest post is by Marie of @spreadingjoy

Many Christians get so busy in service that we tend to forget the very wise instruction that we receive from Jesus in Mark 6:31 to get alone and rest. This isn’t just for the physical rest that we need; it is also for renewal and refreshment of our heart, body, soul and mind.

There are so many things that we can do to simply renew our minds, but my heart loves to quietly sit and dwell on the goodness of the Lord. I love doing this anywhere, but every single chance I get; I go to the ocean to renew.

There I can get a tiny picture of just how great our God is and dwell on how much He loves me. I will sit for hours and gaze at the vastness of it all and allow my mind to simply dwell on the blessings that I’ve been given. I try to keep all negative items out and ponder on the majesty that surrounds me.

We are sometimes "guilted" into thinking that we are simply wasting time, but this is not true. Some kind of daily renewal is needed. Staying in the Word of God, singing praises and giving thanks are all wonderful ways to renew the mind, refresh the heart and recharge the spirit…especially if it has been trampled on in recent days.

This is simple and effective – don’t let guilt keep you from renewing yourself daily.

Follow Marie on twitter and "join" her blogsite. She has a great and needed ministry.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Renewing Your Mind, Day 2

This post is by Christine Smith of She is a leading light on twitter @LifeVerse

Several years ago I was dissatisfied with my thoughts and relationships and I made a conscious decision to renew my mind. It happened on September 11,2001 as I was 9 months pregnant and watched many Americans die on live television. What grabbed my attention more than the horrific anger towards Americans was the way we united as a country and helped one another. After the 9/11 attacks we started caring more about our neighbors and we no longer lived isolated lives of self-interest.

I became aware that Americans needed to depend on one another rather than compete with one another. Instead of cussing at the driver who goes too slow I started to see the driver who was going the speed limit, or the elderly man driving his bride in a car as old as their wedding vows. I realized that these people, my neighbors, were also the ones helping families recover from the terrorist attack. I started noticing people assisting those affected by hurricanes, tornados, wildfires and natural disasters. What became clear to me is that they united in love and cared for one another. They were not divided by race, wealth, education or accomplishment. They stopped competing and started loving.

When I saw the hand of God in the midst of this I realized that I too wanted to love my neighbors. I had been absent from church, absent from reading my bible and hiding in self. God placed it in my heart for a renewed mind focused on His will, not mine.

At first I went to the most obvious place to renew my mind: church. I went to the church of my childhood and then started exploring new churches until I found one I connected with. I participated in small group bible study and found encouraging women who prayed over me during a family illness. Women I did not know, sharing the love of Christ with me. What captivated me most were their eyes: as I looked into the eyes of these women I saw something I did not have. It seemed to me as if their eyes glowed or sparkled, and I craved to have “the look of Christ” in my own blue eyes.

Seeking God I found Him in my bible, in my new Christian friends and in my new mind. Over time I replaced negative and toxic thoughts with love and peace from knowing God. I released myself from the bondage of shame and claimed the crown of Jesus as my attire. I recognized that I’m an heiress to a massive Kingdom in heaven and I stopped seeing myself as a victim on this side of eternity. With my renewed mind…I saw Christ in me.

Every human on this planet has the choice to renew their mind and mend their hearts through Jesus. God allows us the free will to know Him, or to turn away and hide. When Satan tempts us to sin and covers us with shame, many of us give up on God and ourselves and seek a prodigal journey. At some point you will have a life experience or a series of events where you pay attention and hear the whisper of God say “Come home to Me. I still love you and you are mine.” Make it a journey to come home and know Him- you will be blessed with a renewed mind. My life verse is Luke 10:27 NIV “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Jesus.

Christine runs the #1 Women's Bible Studies on the internet. Hope you will visit her site and also 'follow' her on twitter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Renewing Your Mind

Today our guest blogger is Brittany Hudson. You can reach her on twitter at @WidowedWalk or her blog>

“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12: 12 NIV

What does it mean to renew the mind? We spend time putting things into our mind to improve it, don’t we? We go to school, read books, we stimulate our thoughts by engaging in conversation with our friends and colleagues, and we attend classes and trainings, all in an effort to come away a better person than when we went in. We have our thoughts and our opinions that have been carefully crafted over the years. We know where we stand on the issues at hand and what right and wrong is. Don’t we?

How to go about attaining knowledge is a well-worn pattern in this world. We pay good money; thousands of dollars to have a person with at least a master’s degree if not a PHD tell us what the truth is about what we want to know. If your science professor told you that E=MC2 why would you challenge him?

According to the bible, worldly knowledge can be a stumbling block to achieving godly wisdom. You have to admit, there are some rather unscientific recordings in there. If you ask most people if it would be possible for a day to be extended by a day simply by praying for it, the answer would flatly be “no”. But Joshua did as recorded in Joshua 10:12-15. He prayed and it happened. No mathematical formula for that one.

In order to renew our minds it is going to take some effort, some pain, letting go of old ideas instead of clinging to aging beliefs. For you to “re”new something, it figuratively means to make new again. The question you may be asking is “why would I want to?” According to the scripture, you need to in order to know what God’s will is. How does one make this happen? In Colossians 3:2 we are called to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things”. The things that would set your mind on the things of above can only be found in the bible. 1Thessalonians 2:13 says “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us (meaning the disciples), you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God…”

Want to know what God thinks and what His will is? His own word is clear, seek His word in the bible and pray for His direction according to it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Have been thinking about the lack of true and deep humility in my own life so I went and listened to a John MacArthur sermon on the beatitude in Matthew: Blessed are the poor in spirit....

The classic Psalm on repentance and a humble spirit is found in Psalm 51, written by David after his tragic sin with Bathsheba. (It would do your spirit good to read this once a week in your devotions).

Particularly Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."

Look up "broken" and "contrite" in a dictionary and think about it for a while. Does this describe you and your attitude to God and others? I had to answer, "sometimes."

For further understanding see Isaiah 66:2 and Psalm 34;18.

MacArthur listed 7 test questions to tell you if you are humble. Here they are:

1. Are you weaned from obsession with your self--self love?
2. Are you lost in the wonders and beauty of Christ?
3. Do you never complain about your situation?
4. Do you see only the excellencies in others and weaknesses in yourself?
5. Do you spend much time in prayer?
6. Do you take Christ on His terms and not yours?
7. Are you constantly overwhelmed with gratitude to God?

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is certainly an informative one for your devotional time and time of self examination. Hope you will give it some time in prayer and quiet.
"Be still and know that I am God."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dead Sea Christians

How many of you know why the Dead Sea over in Israel is called 'The DEAD Sea'?

Nothing grows in it. No fish or wildlife. And for a very simple reason: there is a river that flows into it and feeds it, but there is no outlet--no river running out of it. So it stagnates.

Perfect illlustration of some Christians I know (and unfortunately it fits me too often). I have a couple friends (they are brothers) who are at church every time the doors open-- choir practice, bible study, prayer meeting, church plays, sunday school, church service, etc. Am I criticizing them for this?

Sort of.... the problem is how "self"-ish it tends to be. All that good stuff flowing in but nothing going out. When I invited them to a homeless ministry my wife and I are involved in to help out, they were too busy with "church". Just seems a bit pharisaical to me.

What is the message of James? "Be DOERS of the word, and not hearers only." We all need to evaluate our use of time and make sure we are serving in the way we as Christians are called to serve, not just becoming theological swellheads.

Jesus didn't say, "I was ignorant, and you enlightened me" or "I was theologically a little off, and you corrected me" but rather "I was hungry, thirsty, naked and in prison".

"Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me." Psalm 139:23-24

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quiet Time

"Be still and know that I am God." Isaiah 46:10

"We have all heard the saying, Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. " But how often do we really do this? Are we just too busy being busy? Too busy even for God?

Be honest, I can't read your mind: how often do you sit down and just listen to God? LISTEN. Not pray, or ask for His help, or even pray for others. Just quietly listen for His still, small voice.  Ask Him what His will is for you this day? Or just "commune" with Him.

Isaiah also says, "In quietness and in confidence will be your strength."

This "quiet time" with God is where all our spiritual strength and fortitude comes from, yet we neglect it regularly.

I love this:

I'd dare to make mistakes next time, I'd relax, I would limber up. Would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers, I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual problems, but fewer imaginary ones. You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, and day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I'd travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies. I had my life to live over, I would laugh more, love more and tell them. What would you do?

We spend so much time preparing to live the Christian life, studying, going to church, "doing" things (most often very good things) but do we ever take the time to simply enjoy God. Meditate on who He is and His great love for us, and what it will be like to spend eternity in His presence, His immediate presence.

I think we would come  back from quiet sessions in His presence with a renewed ability to handle all our lives busy-ness and challenges.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Living a Joyous Life

"The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." (Ps. 19:8).
"The joy of the Lord is my strength." (Nehemiah 9:10)

What brings you joy? Your answer will reveal much about your priorities and the direction your life is heading spiritually.
The psalmist wrote, "How blessed [happy] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers". Psalm 1:1-3
That psalmist knew that true joy and happiness come from knowing God and abiding in His Word. That was David's confidence when he wrote, "The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" (Ps. 19:8). "Precepts" in this verse speaks of divine principles and guidelines for character and conduct. God created you and knows how you must live to give glory to Him. And He revealed in His Word every precept you must know to do so.
Every divine precept is "right." It shows you the path that is right and true. What a wonderful confidence that is! While many around you may be discouraged or despondent because of their lack of direction and purpose, God's Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (
Ps. 119:105).

It guides you through the difficult mazes of life and gives your life eternal significance.
Don't live simply for your own pleasures. Your life has a high and holy purpose, and each day can be filled with joy as you see that purpose unfold.