Sunday, November 11, 2007


Discipleship.. Bringing Every Thought Captive, Particularly Our Thoughts About Us.


Proverbs 23 15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will indeed rejoice.
16 My innermost being will cheer when your lips say what is right.
17 Don’t be jealous of sinners;instead, always • fear the Lord.
18 For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise; keep your mind on the right course.
20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat.
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe [them]in rags.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy—and do not sell—truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
Who do you think you are? Who you think, you are!
One of the interesting questions I enjoy asking people is “Who are you?”
I’m an Australian. No, that’s where you live.
I’m a pastor. No that’s your job.
I am Lorelle’s husband. Yes that tell s me something of who you are.
But what do you think of who you are?
One of the great psychological discoveries of this century is that your thoughts control your actions. If you want to change the way you act, you must first change how you think. Actually, thousands of years earlier Solomon pointed this out:
"Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts." (Proverbs 4:23 GN)
Our past moulds how we think of ourselves. And the way we think of ourselves moulds our actions.
Do you remember the old saying: Sow a thought, reap an act; Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny.
So often the ways we think of ourselves are governed by various factors outside of ourselves. It si very difficult to have a true picture of ourselves.
The way we feel about ourselves often depends on our response to the “feedback” we have gotten from the important people in our lives.” (Martin R. De Haan II, How Can I Feel Good about Myself?, 4) Parental rejection, abuse, alcoholism, addiction, divorce, adoption, and/or being part of a minority group are the types of past experiences that contribute to my picture
of myself.
Our culture moulds how we think of ourselves.
Generally, in our society those culturally valued traits upon which our self-worth is based include:
Beauty (physical appearance)
Farrah Fawcett-Majors said, "The reason that the all-American boy prefers beauty to brains is that he can see better than he can think." - Farrah Fawcett-Majors
Brains (Mental ability)
Brawn (Athletic ability)
Bucks (Money)
We cannot base our worth on values of brains, bucks and brawn. “If those are our values, we are in trouble. Regardless of how they are described, they are superficial, short-lived, and extremely misleading. Your net worth is not equal to the sum total of your appearance, your abilities, or your affluence.”

Historically, the depth of this issue really began with the divorcing of God from the study of humanity. Darwin taught that man is not created in God’s image but simply a product of the evolutionary chain. The study of man became an end in itself and thus “self” became the gauge of life. The meaning of life was to be found in “self”. Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs in which self-esteem was at the pinnacle of the triangle. In the 1930’s Alfred Adler stated, “just being human is to feel inferior” and in the 1950’s Adler first coined the term “low self-esteem”. The issue began to escalate with Erick Erickson in the 1960’s. He began to promote identity formation because the key question was “Who am I?” The assumption was that self-esteem was the most critical problem people have.
Whatever the reality, many struggle with feelings about themselves that deeply influence their lives.
Our Problems of the past mould how we think of ourselves today.
“Satan is particularly adept at using your past to ruin your future. His weapon is the illegitimate use of guilt feelings. Sins multiply in the soil of discouragement. One offence easily leads to another. You are caught in a vicious circle until you realize that your past need not control your future.”
Freudian psychology basically says we are and we will be what our past makes us. We are what we are because the experiences of our past determine who we are today and what our future will be.
Our past has tremendous influence on who we are today. Both for good and for bad our past has a powerful impact on who we are today. Our past can have us chained to who we are today and put us in bondage to what will become in the future.
Because what we think we are.
So often we replay the old tapes in our brains of what our parents have told us we are. We think over on our past failures and think that this is the sum of what we are.
If we could control our thinking we could control a lot of our feelings and thoughts about what we are.
“Your enemy wants you to believe that since the past cannot be reclaimed, there is no way to break with its power.” The realty is that the chains of our past can be broken and we can be free. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” …So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36

One of the greatest challenges in our world is to keep your thinking clear.
One of the greatest challenges is thinking clearly - above the clouds. So how can I clear up my thinking? How can I think so that my decisions I make are not only logical but wise?
How can I think in such way that I don’t live in this constant haze and fog?
How can I keep my mind clear so that I can focus on the good things in life, the productive things and not get bogged down in the swamp muck? How can I get the cobwebs out of my brain?
I. Pay Attention To Your Thinking Patterns BecauseWe think in patterns. It’s just like choosing the best route to travel to work.
Unless you do you are going to experience all kinds of traffic jams, or even worse dangerous driving conditions. If we don’t think about our thought patterns - negative thought patterns can control us. "They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them." Psalm 77:12 (NLT)
1. Guilty Thoughts Can Torment You.
"A murderer’s tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don’t protect him!" Proverbs 28:17
Guilt problem. "But we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins." Romans 5:16 (NLT)
“(M)y experience leads me to believe that this is the single most significant boulder damming the living waters of spiritual vitality in the lives of most believers. An anemic theology leaves them shackled by the chains of guilt and shame.”
“The extent of our guilty feelings is determined by many factors – family background, the surrounding culture, our general sensitivity to spiritual things, and the consequences of past experiences.”
2. Worried Thoughts Can Trouble You.
"I am deeply troubled, LORD." Psalm 116:10 "Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away." Romans 8:38 (NLT)
3. Painful Thoughts Can Traumatize You.
"Their hearts are troubled like a wild sea in a raging storm." Jeremiah 49:23
Memories, "How painful it was to write that letter! Heartbroken, I cried over it. " 2 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT)
Difficult painful experiences that some of you have gone through.
4. Angry Thoughts Can Terrorize Others
"My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words." Psalm 39:3 (NLT)
Words can come pouring out like missiles.
5. Selfish Thoughts Can Track You.
"Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!" Galatians 6:7 (NLT) Just thinking about what you want. Your own interests. Your own stuff.
Try These two tests to see how you are affected by your past. (fear of rejection test and Shame Test below)

B. Prevail Over Your Thinking Patterns.
The way you think will govern your actions, so
1. Invite God To Test Your Thoughts"Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself?"1 Corinthians 2:10 (Mssg.)
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts." Psalm 139:23
I heard this comedian say, "Last night I fell asleep in a satellite dish. My dreams were broadcast all over the world. "
Checking out your thinking is like asking: What files are on my hard drive? Or for those of you who used to keep a Roledex - what index cards are in my files system?
2. Get God’s Perspective On You (responsive reading 671)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
You are forgiven!
Chuck Colson tells the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson. In 1969 Nathanson co-founded the National Abortion Rights Action League. In 1970 he began running the largest abortion clinic in the USA, the Center for Reproductive Sexual Health. His intentions, in his eyes, were not only right but righteous. Three years later he became the chief obstetrician at St. Luke’s Hospital Center. One of the most exciting developments at the time was the ultrasound, opening the window to fetal development. During the course of an ultrasound scan he noticed that his mind had dropped the word fetus in favor of the word baby. He soon became convinced that human life began in the womb and confessed presiding over 60,000 deaths. He produced the ultrasound movie entitled the Silent Scream that depicted an actual abortion. Internally, the Silent Scream began to dominate his life. Off and on during the late 1980’s Nathanson contemplated suicide. He could not sleep. He turned to books that spoke of the soul’s tormented search for answers to guilt. “I felt the burden of sin growing heavier and more insistent…I had such heavy moral baggage to drag into the next world…I was afraid.” In 1996 Bernard Nathanson was baptized for the forgiveness of sins.
You are redeemed!
- purchased at a great price, valuable enough to be bought back.
You Are a Child of God
-provided for, disciplined and considered
You Are More than the passing herd.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

3. Add God to your thoughtsIgnorance of God’s ways and of communion with him lies at the root of much of the church’s weakness. This arises from two trends: being conformed to the modern spirit which spawns great thoughts of man and small thoughts of God and confusion arising from the skepticism of the modern naturalistic worldview. (12)
The Study of God
“Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.” (quoting Spurgeon 18)
What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God.” (Jn 17:3) What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective. What higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?” (33-4)
“Knowing God is a matter of personal involvement—mind, will and feeling. It would not, indeed, be a fully personal relationship otherwise. To get to know another person, you have to commit yourself to his company and interest, and be ready to identify yourself with his concerns.” “Knowing God is an emotional relationship, as well as an intellectual and volitional one, and could not indeed be a deep relation between persons were it not so. The believer is, and must be, emotionally involved in the victories and vicissitudes of God’s cause in the world….” (39

As J. I. Packer reminds us, "To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it."
Furthermore, Packer correctly reminds us that we are indeed to be urgently concerned for theological orthodoxy and biblical truth, but "not as ends in themselves, but as a means to the further ends of life and godliness." In other words: "Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God's attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are."
You cannot think of you without thinking of Him!
“As you listen to what God is saying, you find yourself brought very low; for God talks to you about your sin, and guilt, and weakness, and blindness, and folly, and compels you to judge yourself hopeless and helpless, and to cry out for forgiveness.” “You come to realize as you listen that God is actually opening his heart to you, making friends with you and enlisting you as a colleague….”
He is Gracious
Trusting God.
"God's unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God's love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, Who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son. But the experience of that love and the comfort it is intended to bring is dependent upon our believing the truth about God's love as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures. Doubts about God's love, allowed to harbor in our hearts, will surely deprive us of the comfort of His love." Trusting God by Jerry bridges

He is Merciful

He is Pitying towards you

C. Allow Your New Self understanding To Affect your PerspectiveYou are not “unlucky”
You are not ugly
You are not useless
Winners expect to win. Your perception controls your performance. Mohammed Ali only lost two fights in his career. Before both of them he said something that he hadn't said before other fights: "If I should lose this fight..." I was watching the surfing World Championships last Saturday with Kelly Slater. For 3 or 4 years running he was not world champion, but was runner up each year to Andy Irons. The problem was he was choking on the last contest. He didn’t think he could win it. In fact, he said his problem was he was thinking much too much about the contest, and much to little about having fun surfing. When he forgot about himself and enjoyed what he was doing, he won easily.
If you think your are beaten, you are, If you think that you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but think you can’t, It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out in the world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will; It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out-classed, you are; You’ve got to think high to rise;
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins Is the man who thinks he can.
Let me give you two facts of life which are important:
i. I can't blame others for the direction of my life Society says the exact opposite. Society says it is not your fault. "You are a product of your environment." There has to come the day when you stop blaming who you are on someone else. No, you cannot control all the circumstances of your life, but you can choose how you respond.
ii. No one can ruin my life except me I can choose my response to the difficulty that comes into my life. It up to what kind of an attitude I want to have.
"Without a vision the people perish." Proverbs 29:18
"Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold, but let God remake you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed." Romans 12:2
So what’s the question? Who do you think you are? Who do you think God is?
"Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants."

Answer each question with a number from 1 to 5 where ;

1 - Always 2-Often 3-Sometimes 4-Seldom 5- Never

_____ 1. I tend to avoid certain people
_____ 2. When I sense someone might reject me I become nervous and anxious
_____ 3. I am unconvertible around those who are different from me
_____ 4. It bothers me when someone is unfriendly towards me
_____ 5. I am basically shy and unsociable
_____ 6. I am critical of others
_____ 7. I become depressed when I am criticized
_____ 8. I find myself trying to impress others
_____ 9. I always try to determine what people think of me
_____ 10. I don’t understand people or what motivates them

_____ Total your score


Read each of the following statements; then, choose the term from the list
which best describes your response. Put the number next to that term in the
blank beside each statement.

1 - Always
2 - Very Often
3 - Often
4 - Sometimes
5 - Seldom
6 - Very Seldom
7 - Never

_____ 1. I often think about past failures or experiences of rejection.
_____ 2. There are certain things about my past which I cannot recall without experiencing strong, painful emotions (i.e., guilt, shame, anger, fear, etc.).
_____ 3. I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again.
_____ 4. There are certain aspects of my character that I want to change, but I don't believe I can ever successfully do so.
_____ 5. I feel inferior.
_____ 6. There are aspects of my appearance that I cannot accept.
_____ 7. I am generally disgusted with myself.
_____ 8. I feel that certain experiences have basically ruined my life.
_____ 9. I perceive of myself as an immoral person.
_____ 10. I feel that I have lost the opportunity to experience a complete and wonderful life.
____ TOTAL (Add up the numbers of the items you have placed in the blanks.)

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