The theme of a scarcity thinker is, “There’s never enough!”
Is the glass 1/2 empty or is the glass 1/2 full?
Are your thoughts focused on what you HAVE or what you’re MISSING?
God is able to make all grace abound toward me, that I, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
SCARCITY THINKING is the new buzz word for what we formerly called a POVERTY MENTALITY. This line of thinking focuses on what you don’t have instead of being thankful for what you DO have. It’s an underlying panic that you will run out and you better “get all you can and can all you get!”
Scarcity thinking is much broader than finances. This theme of thinking discolors every thought. Brene Brown says in her book, Daring Greatly, “we live in a culture of ‘perceived scarcity’ that says, there’s never enough.
“We start off the morning thinking we didn’t get enough sleep, go through the day thinking we don’t have enough time, and fall asleep thinking we failed to accomplish enough tasks. Whatever we have, do, or get, it’s never enough.” (Brene Brown)
We know how to SET the thermostat to cool the house in the Texas heat.
We know how to SET the GPS for our road trip destination.
We know how to SET the oven temperature to cook the brownies.
We recently watched the Rio olympic volleyball teams SET the ball for the killer spike.
We can SET a date for the big event.
We SET the alarm clock for the next day.
Why is it so hard to SET our minds?
As a society we are busier with more potential distractions than ever before. We’re dinged with notifications, we’re buzzed with texts, we’re targeted by marketers, we’re lobbied for votes, and hustled by unsolicited emails.
Just as we focus our thoughts to God’s calling and commit to follow through with serving our neighbor, loving our spouse and staying positive–SQUIRREL! (You know this inside joke if you’ve seen the adorable movie, Up! Dug, the yellow dog is wholeheartedly committed to the adventure, until…you guessed it, he sees a squirrel and then all attention is diverted and the mission is abandoned.) Continue reading…
How’s your mind renovation coming? Can’t you just see the Father, the master designer and architect, walking through the rooms and smiling over the progress?
We built a house a few years ago. It was a grueling process, but my favorite thing each week was walking through hunting for improvements and rejoicing over each little completion.
Be patient. Mind renewal takes time. We’ve had bad thought habits for years (some of us decades), so it’s a process of daily faithfulness to renew those old patterns. I love what Kris Valloton says about process.
“If you embrace the promise without the process, you are living in a fantasy.” (Kris Valloton)
I wish it was possible to take BEFORE pics of our minds to see the progress we’ve made in just one week! How are your thoughts begin to shift?
Life Begins with God’s Choice
Life begins with God’s choice; he choose you! (Ephesians 1:4) Then out of his love for us, he gives us our turn to choose.
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Ephesians 1:4 Message
If you’ve ever watched any home renovation show, then you know how exciting DEMO DAY is! Well…IT’S DEMO DAY! (The crowd goes wild!) People go crazy swinging sledgehammers and shattering outdated bathroom fixtures in a cloud of glorious dust. All caution is thrown to the wind in an attempt to remove the old and prepare a fresh palette for the new.
It’s demo day for our minds! Instead of a sledgehammer, we have a sword and it’s time to clear out everything that’s not in the original design. Our powerful “God-tools” aren’t purchased at the corner home improvement store and exerted with physical force, but with spiritual strength through the blood of Jesus!
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10: 5-6
Second Corinthians chapter 10 gives us our DEMOLITION list of items that must go. (Note: Regrettably, many times in demolition old things can’t be torn out and renewed because the budget doesn’t allow. GOOD NEWS! The renovation of your mind has been funded and spared no expense! Woohoo–better than Carrara marble and shiplap!)
ochyrōma = a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness; anything on which one relies; of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent
Put simply, a stronghold is anything that has a STRONG HOLD on your mind, pulling it away from God. Notice the Strong’s definition, “anything on which one relies.”
“A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, “pretending” to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered.” Beth Moore
2.) Arguments or Imaginations
logismos = a reckoning, computation (to count or reckon); a reasoning that brings a verdict
You remember the original argument the enemy brought to Adam and Eve in the garden?…Did God really say not to eat from the tree? (Genesis 3:3) These arguments start with a hint of truth (or else you’d never listen) and then pervert and distort against the knowledge of God. God has given us a creative imagination, but the word used here is a bullying quarrel that tries to dishonor God’s authority.
3.) High things that exalt itself against the knowledge of God
hypsōma = thing elevated, height / an evil spirit or principality
There is no remorse in taking these enemy thoughts captive. There will be NO MORE negotiating with these mind terrorist. If you’ve ever renovated a house, you know the joy of getting rid of pea-green tile, 60’s orange toilets and moldy floors. What joy to be free from the strongholds that have HELD your STRENGTH? Pick up your sword and swing! It’s DEMO DAY!
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
What STRONGHOLD is causing you to rely on it, instead of the strength of God?
What argument or vain imagination has been wearing you down in your head and talking you out of victory?
What “high thing” or principality threatens or whispers in your mind?
What is your DEMO DAY plan? Is there any physical things you need to trash (or give away) as a symbol of your freedom? (Many times in home renovation shows the designer secretly gives away the owners old ratty chairs and beloved ragged sofas so they won’t sneak them back in later.) What do you need to physically do so you block access to the old strongholds?
Do you ARGUE with other people in your mind? How would they respond if they could see your thought bubbles? Pray about adjusting your self-talk towards others.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
In the name of Jesus, I tear down every stronghold, argument or high thing that’s been built in my thinking. I exalt the knowledge of Jesus as my Lord and savior over every lie and declare that the TRUTH will make me free. I receive freedom from ______________(insert your own). I declare I am set from from the power of any EVIL thoughts or spirits by the blood and power of Jesus. I break any agreements or vows I have made with these thoughts. Lord, demolish them out of my life. Holy Spirit empower me to take them captive when they try to reason their way back into my mind. The peace of God stands watch and will not let them enter! I am free!
Growing up we had this awesome toy similar to Play-Doh, called Silly Putty. It came in a plastic red egg and could stretch out, conform over shapes and (the most fun) copy the images of any picture it was pressed upon. I saved the colorful Sunday comics to impress my putty on. (Maybe we were easily amused before tablets, but we thought it was entertaining.) What images are being IMPRESSED onto your mind?
Romans 12:2 encourages us NOT to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It’s easy and comfortable to conform. Every culture and generation has systems and strategies to stereotype and limit. The devil’s plan is to use outside forces of circumstances, media, popular opinion, and fear to push and pressure you into CONFORMING to the shape of this world. Continue reading…
Have you ever had a friend who says all the right things, but you still wonder what they really think about you? Or, if you’ve ever been estranged from a parent, the question is always pressing, “do they ever think of me?” We can’t control anyone else’s thoughts, but I have amazing news for you. Someone’s thinking about you all the time; yes, you might say he’s obsessed with you and has been known to do a bit of stalking!
If you’ve ever wondered what God really thinks of you, here’s your answer.
Have you ever had a guest stay past their welcome? Twenty-four seven we are hosting a party in our mind. There’s an A-list of approved guests, but PARTY CRASHERS scheme to sabotage your celebration. They try to sneak in unnoticed or promise they will only stay a few minutes, but before long they’ve moved in, invited friends and trashed your house! Lust knocks on the front door of your mind and says, “I just want to show you something. Can I come in?”But before you realize he’s invited shame, anger, addiction and anxiety and turned your fun soirée into a nightmare.
Philippians 4 gives us the A-List celebrities invited to reside in the walls of our mind. Here are their names, are you ready? (drum roll)
TRUTH / NOBLE / JUST / PURE / LOVELY / GOOD REPORT
The Bible says to mediate on these things. No you don’t have to assume the downward dog yoga position, meditation is older than yoga. God created it. He created our minds to work this way, processes and learning with repetition. Sadly, we are just more familiar with the opposite action—Worry!
Meditate: “to mutter, to muse or to speak to one’s self.” It is the process of mulling something over in your mind and mouth.
Worry: (Meridzoe in Greek) used most often for worry & anxiety, “to be divided, to be pulled in opposite directions, to choke” / (Wyrgan in Old English) to cause anxiety, like a dog gnaws a bone; to disturborinterferewithsomeone’scomfortorpeaceofmind
Chances are you are either meditating or worrying about something in your mind most of the time. Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life. Notice the definitions of worry. “To be pulled in opposite directions, to choke, to cause anxiety like a dog GNAWS a bone. Isn’t this what worry feels like in your stomach–a gnawing aggitation? Joyce Meyer says, “Worry is like a rocking chair, you stay really busy but it gets you know where.”
40% = things that will never happen
30% = are about the past, which can’t be changed
12% = about criticism of others, mostly untrue
10% = about health, which worrying makes worse and adds stress
8%= are about real problems that can be solved.
There’s good news, Jesus has sent security to guard your mind party; it’s called PEACE. Peace is the bouncer at the door that checks the true identity of a thought to see if it’s allowed entrance.
Peace is like the umpire in baseball that stands behind the plate and announces if it’s SAFE or OUTTA HERE!
This peace isn’t like the world gives (like a magic number in the bank, perfect circumstances, or a respected diploma), it “will always be with us” (vs. 9) and it passes understanding (vs. 7)—it’s beyond our mind—tapped into God’s mind!
Okay, I know you’ve got a burning question. If we’re only supposed to “think” about the good stuff, what about the annoying bad stuff ? Notice the word says to MEDITATE on these things–those high truths in Philippians 4. Yes, we have to address the “not so lovely things” too, but they are not the TOP PRIORITY. Negative thoughts need to be addressed and evicted, but positive thoughts get to stay and hang their pictures on the wall. Cheers! With the A-List thoughts to hang out with, it’s going to be a party to remember!
Evict negative thoughts that are crashing your mind party!
Recollect your thoughts from yesterday, are they on the A-list?
Have any evil thoughts crashed your party and forced you to serve them? Plan your eviction notice!
What are some ways PEACE can protect your mind? (Ex. When my husband is traveling I never watch shows about plane crashes or loved loves tragically dying because it can invite fear and worry.)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 6-9 NKJ
Jesus, I thank you for your blood that cleanses my heart and mind. Right now I ask you to clean out an evil thought or spirit that does not belong in me. I send fear, shame, insecurity, (insert your party crasher) an eviction notice that they do not belong in my mind and I will NOT entertain and obey them any longer! I pray for PEACE to come be the security guard of my mind. I invite things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report to attend my thoughts and decorate my walls.
Big God Thought: Peace that passes understanding guards my heart and life.
We think of the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” when given a handful of dandelions or a homemade potholder, but the truth of this statement far exceeds a gift. YOUR THOUGHTS COUNT EVERY SECOND AND ARE SHAPING YOUR LIFE!
Until the last thirty years, scientists did not consider a significant connection between our mind and our physical brain. But new technology for research proves what many Christians believed for centuries: there is a physical link between our minds and our body. Thoughts are electronic impulses feeding our brain with positive or negative energy. These impulses affect the body’s chemistry, hormones and mental well being.
Taking this to a deeper level, research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. As you think those negative thoughts about the week ahead that hasn’t happened yet, or that person who hasn’t actually said or done anything yet, (even in the absence of the concrete stimulus) the toxic thinking has changed your brain wiring in a negative direction and thrown your mind and body into stress. According to Dr Herbert Benson, MD, and president of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute (http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/research/), toxic thoughts lead to stress, which affects our body’s natural healing capacities. Toxic thinking literally ‘wears down’ the brain and the rest of the body. – Dr. Caroline Leaf www.drleaf.com
What shape is your mind in? Is it in need of some updating, refreshing and cleaning out the junk? Romans 12:2 encourages us to RENEW our mind. Our mind or our SOUL (mind, will and emotions) is the part of us that makes choices affecting our physical brain and well being of the whole body. Our MINDSETS (habits and automatic responses) are called to look and smell like God’s Spirit and Kingdom–no “STINKIN’ THINKING!
Is it possible to experience PUSH BACK and not be “set back”?
YES! We finally experience the breakthrough we’ve been praying for, and then comes…the PUSH BACK! We should’ve expected it, right? Shouldn’t we know there’s a Red Sea after the Egypt victory strut? The thief always comes to see if the seed can be stolen. Around every promise a new Goliath bullies progress. We sniff victory. We can glimpse the promise ahead…and then, the opposition pushes back. Just when we’re running faster and gaining momentum, the big foot of difficulty trips us up.
2 Corinthians 4:8 – “We are pressed in every way, but not crushed.”
Recently, I’ve have seen some huge breakthroughs and miracles this summer. God always does astonishing things during youth camps, missions trips and the annual LTS course we have every summer.
One breakthrough was with an inspiring lady in our church who adopted a special needs child about 15 years ago. The little girl had been neglected and abused, but this amazing couple opened their big hearts to give her a home and the love she deserved. It’s been a roller coaster throughout the years caring for her and trying to understand her needs. This year a new faith rose up in their hearts to see a breakthrough. They believed God’s purpose for her was greater than confusion and anger, and started actively asking God to bring healing and peace–and He moved! We were seeing God do remarkable things. The angry outbursts lessened, she started enjoying worship and coming to church, she was making friends and getting along with the other people in her home. They were standing up against the limits. PROGRESS…MOMENTUM. Slow, but steady…AND THEN, the PUSH BACK. An unforeseen traumatic event occurred that caused her to regress.
Sadly, I’ve heard this story of opposition many times this month…
A mentor and friend made huge strides through a surgery…and then the push back came, which caused her to end up in the hospital again.
A couple made huge progress in their relationships and then…PUSH BACK, a massive fight.
People testified about financial miracles and how God had blessed them with two cars for the first time in their life…PUSH BACK, a lay off and car accident.
My husband was making huge strides in his health. He met the sunrise for his morning run every day, organized a connect group to run and encourage others and ended the day with push ups and sit ups. He made huge progress and then…the PUSH BACK! He developed bursitis in his hip to the point that he needed a wheelchair to help him off the plane in Canada last week.
There’s only one word to describe the initial feeling that comes with the push back…FRUSTRATION!
Frustration = the feeling of being upset or annoyed especially because of inability to change or achieve something; prevention of progress, success or fulfillment (Oxford dictionary)
Deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfilled needs. (Webster’s)
Frustration exists when progress toward a desired goal is blocked. Frustration is a threat to one’s feelings of adequacy and can be an obstacle to reaching a goal…How we REACT to frustration determines in large extent whether or not we reach the desired goals. (Understanding Human Behavior)
That frustration arises because we see the potential in front of us. We know we are capable. We’ve seen the possibility, tasted the reality and then suddenly…the rug is pulled out from under us in an attempt to stop us. Frustration makes it clear the potential is there, but annoys because it’s not realized. Is there a way to harness the power of the push back to actually thrust us forward?
Three Things to Harness the Power of the Push Back:
Don’t doubt God’s goodness. It is always the enemy’s ploy to twist the plot, and despise the hand that helps us. In all of life’s opposition and obstacles, we cannot let our hearts be torn from our refuge and rescue. Whenever those lies start to invade our mind, we have to take them captive. Thoughts like, “Does God really love me? Why would He let this happen?” Voices determine choices. In times of struggle, we have to hear God’s voice closer and louder than the lies and doubts of the enemy. (In times like this, who we hang around is crucial. Are they feeding my frustration or feeding my faith?) Dr. Graham Catto always reminds us during the LTS course how, “We only feel the resistance of the wind when we stand up against it, if we’re just lying down we don’t feel the opposition.” If you’re swimming upstream, yes–you’ll feel the push back of the opposition, but don’t blame God for it! He is there to guide you and give you strength. Psalm 118:13, “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.”
Push back in the opposite spirit. We’re not going to quit and go home. There’s more to us than that. We win if we don’t quit–because He has already won the war! As 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 7 says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”We don’t fight back in natural strength or in logic and reason. We don’t counter back with attacks that resemble the enemy’s–revenge, anger and pride. We fight with supernatural strength that opposing doubt with faith, depression with hope and disappointment with grace. As chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians continues, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Maybe you’re on the sofa recovering physically today, but your spirit can soar in His strength. Many theologians believe that we place the wrong emphasis on the phrase “like a flood” in Isaiah 59:19. We are used to hearing, “When the enemy comes in like a flood (meaning the enemy is overwhelming with a huge PUSH BACK), the Lord will raise up a standard against it.” While this is a great promise of the Lord’s response to the enemy’s attacks, many theologians believe it is better translated like the Amplified and many other versions read. It places the emphasis on the LORD being the FLOOD that will push back on the enemy! Picture a tsunami. His strength makes the enemy’s PUSH BACK attempts look small. Praise can unlock this strength. (Psalm 118:14-16)
So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun. For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream, Which the breath of the drives (overwhelming the enemy). Isaiah 59:19 (Amplified Bible)
3. Let the push back be your sling shot. Without Goliath there was no David. Without Pharaoh, who would Moses be? There are no great stories without an antagonist. There are no great victories without PUSH BACKS to overcome. God uses our enemies to reveal his glory. The resistance grows our faith muscles. The opposition makes us stronger.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 Message
Let the PUSH BACK cause your TAKE OFF!
If you google “push back,” you’ll see another popular way of using this phrase. When a loaded aircraft is ready for take off, it has to be “pushed back” from the gate. A small tractor or “tug” pushes the several ton aircraft away from the terminal and toward the runway. You are like that 737 — packed with potential and ready to take flight and see the places and faces of your calling. If we can change how we see our obstacles, we can let the PUSH BACK propel us to our destiny, instead of setting us back in frustration. Maybe instead of setting us back, God’s purpose all along was to “set us up”.