Focused on Purpose

Luke 4:42-43 – And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

You need alone time to decide what your priorities are; go to that desolate place for a moment. If someone is demanding too much of you, even hunting you down in your quiet moment, not respecting your time or decision making skills, but instead pressuring you – then even Jesus told them too bad; He just said it all nice and gentle like, ‘I am going to do this thing that I have determined to do.’ He did not tell the people what they should do, and he did not turn down the people; He simply stated what He was going to do.

If people in those days were anything like people today (which they were), then the majority of them got in a tissy about his response. It’s your job to set your goals, boundaries, and have self-control of your decisions. If you don’t want to have control of your decisions, there are plenty of people who would love to take control of you and make the decision for you; they will abuse your time and take you off track of your purpose. If your decisions make someone upset, then it’s up to them to deal with that, and to learn to make the most of the time that they do have with you. This is great advice for work, home, or life in general.


Luke 5:1-5 – On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Simon had already put up for the day and closed shop. If Jesus was wrong he’d have to redo everything he had just done. It took an act of faith to throw those clean nets back in the water to pick up weeds, and grime, that would rot the old-fashioned (non nylon/non polyester) ropes if he didn’t clean them again. Do you have the kind of faith it takes to do the job twice if it doesn’t come through, and hasn’t come through all day?

When you feel like you’ve failed. When you feel like you’ve already given it your all. When you’re ready to call it quits. Jesus says put out the nets.

Keep your boundaries and purpose, yes, but never avoid something hard. There are those clients who will be nightmares and eat up your time. Set boundaries, but don’t quit on them. 50 designs later, are you still working with all your heart?

– Matt. 18:22 – Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

– Col. 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

– Eph. 6:7 – Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people

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Anxiety & Depression – Distorted Thinking Patterns

crazyMany of us have distorting thinking patterns. We haven’t yet renewed our minds. We have stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps us in anxiety, depression, negativity, and sickness.

Below are 10 types of distorted thinking patterns.

Negative feelings come from negative thinking, so by monitoring your feelings you will eventually be able to figure out which thoughts and beliefs trigger your anxiety. The first step is to identify the trigger. Most people have thought these ways their whole lives, but God says, ‘Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor.10:5).’ Put your thoughts on trial, convict them, and reprogram them with God’s Word. The mind set on the Spirit brings life and peace. ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on the new nature created to be like God–truly righteous and holy (Eph.4:21-24).’ Your thinking is vital to your spiritual life as breathing is to your physical life.


Distorted thinking patterns:

think1. ‘What if’ thinking

What if I lose my job? What if I lose my home? What if my children get hooked on drugs? What if my spouse is cheating on me?

‘What if’ thinking breeds anxiety and fear. Sometimes this even turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. If you treat someone like they are cheating on you, they might eventually just start doing so. If you focus on ‘what if’, your fear grows. If you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes. Learn to replace ‘what if’ with what God’s Word says: God always causes me to triumph. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

2. Catastrophizing

worryThe mind magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are. Making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s like spending $10 dollars on a 2¢ problem.

Like pouring lighter fluid on a flame, they use extreme words like hopeless, terrible, unbearable, devastating. These words fuel the anxiety. The only way to put out the fire is to eliminate inflammatory words from your vocabulary and replace them with more practical, realistic, and less emotionally charged words, such as unfortunate, inconvenient, or difficult.  Stop the drama. I choose faith-building words because ‘we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Rom.8:28)’. Practice this pattern of thinking until it becomes automatic, making it a habit and mind-set.

3. Habitually expecting the worst outcome

worryThey usually think if something can go wrong it will, and it will happen to me. ‘My boss didn’t acknowledge me today, so I’m sure she hates me and will probably fire me.’ ‘My husband is late for dinner, I’m sure he is having an affair.’

Realize that when you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulling. Especially if you treat someone as if they are already doing what you fear, it makes them more likely to go ahead and do it. Instead of expecting the worst possible outcome, begin to expect something good to happen to you. Confess God’s Word, ‘No evil will befall my family or me, nor will any plague come newer my dwelling (Ps.91:10).’ Expect God to do something good, and your faith will release a blessing.

4. Leaping to conclusions

needsThey mistakingly believe that they know what another person is thinking without having any facts to support it. They repeatedly and habitually make negative assumptions that fuel depression and anxiety.

You walk in a restaurant and find two friends eating lunch; you see them whisper and immediately assume they have abandoned your friendship and are badmouthing you.

Begin to identify when you are jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to expect the best of the other person. Instead of becoming anxious about things you don’t even know are real, determine to wait until you have more information before drawing a conclusion. ‘I am ever ready to expect the best of every person (1Cor.13:7).’

5. Black and white thinking 

perfectionismYou can’t see grey. You are probably a perfectionist that thinks their work is flawless or worthless. You see average as complete failure. You think first place is the only winning spot and every thing else is a loser.

This distortional thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety. You will work endless hours to make something perfect, or will procrastinate and never finish because if it’s not perfect, you feel worthless. Also, if you struggle with perfectionism, you will need to watch that you don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. ‘Learn to be content with whatever you have (Phil.4:11).’ Quit focusing on what you don’t have, and start thanking God for what you do have. Choose to love yourself, forgive yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, even if you make a mistake.

6. Unenforceable rules

nowTrapping in anxiety, they make rigid rules about what should, must, or ought to be done, and tries to put people in a box. The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointment. ‘They should stop cutting me off in traffic.’ Situations, people, and society aren’t usually going to turn out in your favor. The only should statement you need is ‘I should practice mercy and forgiveness’. ‘Love keeps no records of wrongs’, so I throw out my record-keeping book. Eliminate should statements and use I would like to or I prefer.

7. Labeling

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely false. We need to eliminate labeling words from our vocabulary, such as idiot, loser, klutz, failure, stupid, pathetic, pitiful, jerk. Labels destroy self-esteem, self-worth, and as a result many never accept love. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ Choose to see yourself and others the way God sees them. He calls me ‘the apple of His eye,’ ‘His beloved,’ ‘His child’.

8. Negative Filter

capableThis person usually discounts all information that is positive. They discredit compliments. They remember mainly criticisms and negative information. They focus on the bad while the good slips away. These ‘pit thinkers’ usually overgeneralize, taking one bad circumstance and believing its it the trend of how your life will proceed. They use words like always and never. ‘I will always be like this.’ ‘I will never change.’ Stop using absolute words that set you up for failure. Try to enjoy the next compliment you receive. Practice eating the meat and spitting out the bones. Remember that God Himself forgives and forgets our failures. ‘Think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).’ Filter the news, tv shows, music you listen to. If anything falls short of every criterion, refuse to watch, think, or speak it.

9. Emotional reasoning

graceThis person feels like their feelings are facts. If they feel hopeless about an exam, they might not even show up to take it. They give up because their emotions make them feel defeated. The healthy thinker separates emotions from their overall self-worth. They realize that despite how they are feeling, they can change the outcome of the situation.

Realize that negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts. You need to immediately tune in to the thoughts or beliefs that are at the root of the emotion and simply change the channel of your mind to the one of gratitude. I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because ‘the just shall live by faith (Heb.10:38).’ ‘Let us not weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:9).’

10. The blame game

Many are stuck in a trap of blaming others or God. This creates a vicious circle of thinking and feelings that leads to anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, and anxiety. People with a victim mentality fit within this group of faulty thinkers. They feel like everything bad that happens to them is someone else’s fault. Blame locks you into the past; it prevents you from examining yourself, recognizing, and removing thought patterns and mind-sets that continue to sabotage your life. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, forgive yourself and others, and refuse to blame anyone. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ Refuse to rehash any hurt or pain.


mistakeTestimony: I remember when I started trying to reprogram my mind. Every single thought I had was negative. I put a list of these 10 concepts on my dashboard, and memorized them. I started pinpointing them and trying to refuse the negative thoughts. In the beginning I could hardly keep out a negative thought for a whole second. Just like any goal, you have to do some work. Lifting weights will wear you out, but the next time you go, you are stronger. You can work your way up to 2 seconds without negativity. Maybe you can start to think one positive thought; try to convince yourself that it is true. At least believe that God’s Word is true and quote those over yourself. Keep going! It’s been a year, or two, and I am completely changed. I can’t stand hearing a single negative comment. After coming out from under nearly 25 years of negativity, I truly have a distaste for it. I am free, positive, and know God’s plan for me is good. I can see myself through His eyes, and I can see bad situations through His eyes. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. Don’t give up.

distorted thinking

healthy thinking


Worship: Emma, by Jason Upton: Trusting The Angels

facePrayer: God, thank you for creating us and saying ‘It is good’. Restore us back to our factory settings. Help us once again submit our will, ways, and thinking to your ways which bring health and wholeness. Thank you for being the great physician, our healer, and therapist. Thank you Spirit for being our counselor and teacher. Thank you Jesus for setting the example and giving us authority. Help us take dominion over our own minds and submit them to your kingdom instead of this world which bring such distorted thinking. Everything out from under your authority is in rebellion and chaos. We want to overcome the enemies of anxiety and depression. Go to this generation now and tear down the spirits exalted above it. Let the knowledge of you cover the earth as the sea. Stay the death angel and deliver your people from their slavery; free their minds. Bring them out of bondage. Let this generation x, that the world thought would be the dog, rise to be the head and not the tail. Bring transformation to their minds, and to the world. Wrap them up in a cocoon of your Words and see them through this transformation where they will no longer crawl, but sprout wings, in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic get the book:

Bible Cure for Anxiety

Meditation

Meditation is practiced in many religions, such as Sahaja Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many others. Their traditional basis of meditation is the act of clearing the mind; emptying the mind is the goal. The Bible is expressly against this! The Bible teaches meditation and encourages it, but it is meant to be the exact opposite of the other religions. The Bible says we should never empty our minds, but that we should fill them with the Word of God (Jesus).

– Jos. 1:8 – Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

– Gen. 23:63 – He (Isaac) went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.

Here we see two of the founding fathers of Judaism, and Christianity, meditating. Just as we see Joshua say: meditate on the Book of the Law day and night and let it ever be on your lips, the new testament also says:

– Matt. 12:44-45 – When it (an impure spiritarrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.

The house refers to the mind, or the body. We know that we are supposed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God was supposed to always be in the temple. God should always be on our minds! This verse shows us that it is in the emptying of our mind that a perverse spirit can enter. This is why we do not meditate the same way as other religions. Emptying the mind allows the enemy in. Filling the mind with Christ, the word of God, fills us to the brim with the Spirit of God. We are to be the temple of the Spirit.

– Eph. 5:18 – be filled with the Holy Spirit

– 1 Cor. 6:19 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

When we choose to follow God’s plan for meditation we see many results. Joshua already told us that meditating on the word helps us live by the word and stay in obedience to Christ. He also said that we will prosper and succeed in our lives by doing so. David, another forefather, repeats the principle:

– Ps. 1:1-3 – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

– Col. 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Dwell:
1. live in; reside; lodge; stay
2. think, speak, or write at length about

We can keep the word of God in our hearts and minds by: 1)reading it and taking it in like daily food, 2)thinking about it all day (dwelling, or chewing, on it), 3)singing it in worship to God, 4)talking about it in our conversations and teaching it to others, 5)praying it back to God to remind Him of His promises.

– Heb. 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active.

– Gen. 1:3 – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The word has power. We bring that power into our lives when we dwell on it.

– Ps. 119:130 – The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

– Col. 2:3 – Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The word gives us wisdom and understanding; it is Christ, the Word of God, that gives us the knowledge of who God is, and how to live our lives in a fulfilling manner.

– Matt. 4:4 – Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

The word nourishes us; it gives us health and life.

– Is. 55:10 – As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

–  Heb. 6:7-8 – Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed

The word helps us grow and develop; it satisfies our needs and produces good fruit.

– 1 John 2:14 – … I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

The word strengthens us; it gives us the power to overcome.

– Eph. 5:25-26 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word

The word cleans us; it purifies our hearts and minds.

– Acts 20:32 – Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

The word encourages us; it gives us hope, life, and builds us up, giving us the riches of inheritance.

– 2 Tim. 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The word teaches us and helps us see when we are in the wrong; it shows us how to live righteously and equips us to do good works.

– John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

– John 14:26 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The word, and the Spirit of God, shows us the truth about God; it teaches and reminds us, as we need it, of everything Christ, the Word, says.

– Is. 59:21 – My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips

Living a life before God, in a state of constant meditation on who He is, is the best way to live your life. It gives you success, prosperity, wisdom, understanding, power, growth, nourishment, strength, encouragement, equipping, hope, correction, purification, health, fulfilling life, and brings forth a bountiful harvest from our labor. It invites God to participate in every part of our lives, and walk with us as He did with man in Eden.


– John 1:1-5,9-14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Christ, the Word of God, dwell in me!
 Make your home, and stay.
Remind me of the love you are,
 Each and every day!

Meditate on that!


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