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Posts tagged ‘Mind’

3 Ways to Kill a Relationship.

Joyce Meyer
Joyce Meyer

Being unduly critical of others is a behavior pattern that not only destroys our relationships but also blinds us to our own weaknesses.

Much torment comes to people’s lives because of judgmental attitudes, criticism and suspicion. Multitudes of relationships are destroyed by these enemies.

In the area of judgment, the mind is the battlefield. Thoughts—just “I think”—can be the tool the devil uses to keep a person lonely. People do not enjoy being around someone who needs to voice an opinion about everything.

Being judgmental, opinionated and critical are three sure ways to see relationships dissolve. Satan, of course, wants you and me to be lonely and rejected, so he attacks our minds in these areas.

“Judging” Defined

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, one of the Greek words translatedjudge is partially defined as “to form an opinion” and is cross-referenced to the word sentence. God is the only one who has the right to condemn or sentence; therefore, when we pass judgment on another, we are, in a certain sense, setting ourselves up as God in his life. That puts a little “godly fear” in me. I have a lot of nerve, but I am not interested in trying to be God!

These areas were once a major problem in my personality. I was critical because I always seemed to see what was wrong instead of what was right.

Some personalities are more given to this fault than others. Some of the more jovial personality types do not want to see anything but the “happy” or “fun” things in life, so they really don’t pay much attention to the things that could spoil their enjoyment.

The more melancholy personality or the controlling personality often sees what is wrong first; generally, people with this type of personality are generous in sharing their negative opinions and outlook with others.

Thousands of things we encounter every day are neither right nor wrong but are simply personal choices—choices people have a right to make on their own without outside interference.

My husband and I are extremely different in our approach to many things. How to decorate a house would be one of those things. If we go out to shop for household things together, it seems Dave always likes one thing, and I like something else. His opinion is just as good as mine, and mine is just as good as his; they are simply different.

It took me years to understand that there wasn’t something wrong with Dave just because he did not agree with me. Of course, I usually let him know that I thought there was something wrong with him. Obviously, my attitude caused much friction between us and hurt our relationship.

The Problem Is Pride 

Judgment and criticism are actually the fruit of a deeper problem—pride. The Bible repeatedly warns us about being high-minded (see, for exampe, Romans 12:3).

Whenever we excel in an area, it is only because God has given us a gift of grace for it. If we have an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, it causes us to look down on others and value them as “less than” we are.

This type of attitude or thinking is detestable to the Lord, and it opens many doors for the enemy in our lives. We must have a holy fear of pride and be very careful of judging others or of being critical of them (Gal. 6:1-3).

Each of us belongs to God, and even if we have weaknesses, He is able to make us stand and to justify us. We answer to God, not to each other; therefore, we are not to judge one another in a critical way (Rom. 14:4).

The devil stays very busy assigning demons to place judgmental, critical thoughts in people’s minds. I can remember when it was entertaining for me to sit in the park or the shopping mall and simply watch all the people go by as I formed a mental opinion of each of them—their clothing, hairstyles, companions and so on.

We cannot always prevent ourselves from having opinions, but we do not have to express them. I believe we can even grow to the point where we do not have so many opinions, and those we do have are not of a critical nature.

I frequently tell myself, “Joyce, it’s none of your business.” A major problem is brewing in your mind when you ponder your opinion until it becomes a judgment.

The problem grows bigger the more you think about it until you begin to express it to others or even to the one you’re judging. It has then become explosive and has the ability to do a great deal of harm in the realm of relationship as well as in the spiritual realm. You may be able to save yourself future problems by simply learning to say, “This is none of my business.”

Judgment and criticism were rampant in my family, so I “grew up with them,” so to speak. I wanted to do things God’s way, but I couldn’t. It took many years of misery before I learned about the strongholds in my mind that had to be dealt with before my behavior could change.

Matthew 7:1-5 are some of the classic Scriptures on the subject of judgment and criticism. When you are having trouble with your mind in this area, use these Scriptures and others as weapons against the devil who is attempting to build a stronghold in your mind. He may be operating out of a stronghold that has already been there for many years.

Sowing and Reaping

The Scriptures plainly tell us that we will reap what we sow (Matt. 7:1-2; Gal. 6:7). This also applies to the mental realm.

We can sow and reap an attitude as well as a crop or an investment. Many times we are reaping in our lives what we have previously sown into the life of another.

The devil loves to keep us busy, mentally judging the faults of others. That way, we never see or deal with what is wrong with us!

We cannot change others; only God can. We cannot change ourselves either, but we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to do the work.

When we have our thoughts and conversation on what is wrong with everyone else, we are usually being deceived about our own conduct. Therefore, Jesus commanded that we not concern ourselves with what is wrong with others when we have so much wrong with ourselves (Matt. 7:3-5). Allow God to deal with you first, and then you will learn the scriptural way of helping your brother grow in his Christian walk.

Besides reaping judgment ourselves when we criticize others, the Scriptures tell us that we ourselves do the same things for which we criticize others (Rom. 2:1). The Lord gave me a good example once to help me understand this principle.

I was pondering why we would do something ourselves and think it was perfectly all right but judge someone else who does it. The Lord said, “Joyce, you look at yourself through rose-colored glasses, but you look at everyone else through a magnifying glass.”

We make excuses for our own behavior, but when someone else does the same thing we do, we are often merciless. Doing unto others as we want them to do to us (Matt. 7:12) is a good life principle that will prevent a lot of judgment and criticism, if followed.

A judgmental mind is an offshoot of a negative mind—thinking about what is wrong with an individual instead of what is right. Being positive and not negative will benefit others, but you will benefit more than anyone.

Be Suspicious of Suspicion

First Corinthians 13:7 reads, “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person” (AMP).

I can honestly say that obedience to this Scripture has always been a challenge for me. I was brought up to be suspicious and to distrust everyone. In addition, I had several very disappointing experiences with people, not only before I became an active Christian but afterward as well. Meditating on the components of love and realizing that love always believes the best has helped me greatly to develop a new mind-set.

When your mind has been poisoned or when Satan has gained strongholds in your mind, it has to be renewed according to God’s Word. You renew it by learning the Word and meditating on it—pondering, muttering to yourself and thinking on it.

We have the wonderful Holy Spirit in us to remind us when our thoughts are going in the wrong direction. God does this for me when I am having suspicious thoughts instead of loving thoughts.

The natural man thinks, “If I trust people, I’ll be taken advantage of.” Perhaps, but the benefits will far outweigh any negative experiences.

Trust and faith bring joy to life and help relationships grow to their maximum potential. Suspicion cripples a relationship and usually destroys it.

God condemns judgment, criticism and suspicion, and so should we. Love what God loves, and hate what He hates. Allow what He allows, and disallow what He disallows.

A balanced attitude is always the best policy. That doesn’t mean we are not to use wisdom and discernment in our dealings with others. We don’t have to throw open our lives to everyone we meet, giving every person we encounter a chance to crush us. On the other hand, we don’t have to look at everyone with a negative, suspicious eye, always expecting to be taken advantage of by others.

One time after I had been involved in a disappointing church situation, God brought John 2:23-25 to my attention. It speaks of Jesus’ relationship with His disciples.


Loving with all your mind…

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength.”
-Luke 10:27

To love the Lord to the best of your ability “with all your mind,” here are some tips in developing these three important areas of your mind:

1) The first mind is what we call the EMOTIONAL MIND. Stop and ask yourself, “What am I feeling, good or bad? How will that affect the decision I need to make?” If you do this for just one week, you will find that you’ll make better decisions.

2) The second mind is the RELATIONAL MIND. God made us to want to be with each other. God made us fundamentally relational people. God made us to relate to each other. People are one of the most important things that God ever made, so stay connected with others.

3) The third mind is what I call the GROWING MIND. The growing mind deals with the reality that God meant everybody to expand, to be better, to grow, to be the person he wants to develop in each one of us. We were built to grow, to expand. Challenge your brain with new learning experiences, games, hobbies, and passions.

God designed these three minds as tools to help you design yourself to be the person and the leader and the influencer you need to be. You were designed by God to get better, and to have a positive influence on others. Use your mind – don’t lose your mind. Use it in all its capacities to help you be the person that God wants you to be.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know you designed me to keep growing as long as I am alive on this earth. Help me to challenge myself always, keeping my brain agile and open to your leading. Amen.

Devotion: Which part of your mind – the emotional, the relational, or the growing – is the most challenging to you?

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor

Finding what is missing…

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Isaiah 26:3

God can help you with not only your life, but your success, as well, if you’re willing to grow and challenge your brain, your mind. There’s a lot more your mind can do.

I formed this skill that will help your mind grow, actually, as a prayer.

A prayer to God. This week, ask God this question: “God, show me a passion that I am missing. I don’t currently have a passion for music, or art, or sports, or worship, or helping kids in the streets, or moms in domestic violence shelters, or helping to mentor someone.

God, show me a passion where I currently have a blind spot.

God, show me a problem that I’m avoiding, a relationship that needs repairing, a financial challenge that I don’t want tackle, a challenge in my work or my relationships that I need to face.

Help my mind to grow by developing passions and confronting problems. God, show me a passion that I’ve been missing or a dilemma I’ve been avoiding.”

God has told us that He will be with us – by our sides as we struggle, seek, and grow – until the end of the age.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for being by my side as I seek to grow into the person you designed me to be. Place in me the passion you would have me pursue. Amen.

Devotion: Do you have a passion in your life? If not, which of those mentioned above interest you?.

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Willpower Is Weak

If you’re considering making some New Year’s resolutions this year, consider this: like other exercises of raw willpower, most New Year’s resolutions fail miserably.

According to research, 80 percent of those who make resolutions on January 1 have given up by Valentine’s Day. Nutrition experts say that two-thirds of dieters regain any weight lost within a year, and more than 70 percent of people who undergo coronary bypass surgery fall back into unhealthy habits within two years of their surgery.

“Most of us think that we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try even harder this time around,” says Alan Deutschman, the former executive director of Unboundary, a firm that counsels corporations on how to navigate change. “It’s exceptionally hard to make life changes, and our efforts are usually doomed to failure when we try to do it on our own.”

As we think about New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to realize something about human nature: people do what they want to do. The Reformation theologian Thomas Cranmer held this view of human nature (as summarized by Anglican historian Ashley Null):

What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. The mind doesn’t direct the will. The mind is actually captive to what the will wants, and the will itself, in turn, is captive to what the heart wants.

So making a resolution and summoning up all your willpower does little good if, ultimately, your heart isn’t in it. Does this mean you should abandon any hope of change? Not at all. If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Is It A Good Resolution?

Try to determine if the resolution is actually good. Are you planning on working out more? If so, is it because you want to be a good steward of the body God gave you or is it vanity? In reality, it is probably some of both. But what is the driving desire? Is it a good one?

2. Just Do It

If your resolution is actually a good one, just do it. Go ahead and work out more, smoke or drink less, read your Bible more, pay down your debt and save more for retirement, focus on your marriage, spend more time with your children. Every once in a while, people start a New Year’s resolution and it sticks. But most don’t. That’s because (1) you are sinner and (2) your heart is anidol factory.

3. Grace Actually Works

The reality is that your resolution is likely needed because, like everyone else except for Jesus, you are not loving God with your entire being and not loving your neighbor as yourself. These two failures lead to havoc, discord, pain, and destruction. Jesus gave us the basic requirement: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40).

That basic failure is why we need the gospel: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection deal with the guilt and the stain of sin. It’s also why we so often fail at our attempts to improve ourselves.

But Jesus also gave us the Holy Spirit, who can change our desires and empower us to love God and neighbor. As Paul tells us, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). With us and our willpower, Jesus says, change is impossible, “but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

God Gives Grace to Change

As Cranmer realized, our wills are captive to what our hearts love, and we are powerless to change ourselves without the work of God’s Spirit changing our desires. When you think through New Year’s resolutions, here’s a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer as you ask God to work on your heart:

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Justin Holcomb

Justin Holcomb is Theologian in Residence at Mars Hill Church, where he also serves as Executive Director of Resurgenceand the Leadership Development department. He is also Adjunct Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Justin wrote On the Grace of God. He and his wife, Lindsey, are the authors of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. He is also the editor of Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and  

Living growing lives…


“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, fix your minds on them.”
– Philippians 4:8

The growing mind deals with the reality that God meant for everybody to expand, to be better, to grow, to be the persons he wants to develop. You were built to grow. You were built to expand. Yet, some people never expand. They never grow.

The average lifespan of people in the world today is close to 70 and many live past 100. However, the number of years lived doesn’t necessarily indicate a growing life. It can actually indicate years of repetition of the same conflicts, the same stuck-ness, the same struggles, the same patterns.

That was never God’s intent for our lives. He wants us to live growing lives. And the growing life is just like regularly working out. Just like working out, if you don’t use your brain, you lose it. Just as you challenge your muscles in the gym, you have to challenge your brain. You have to push your brain to do things it now can’t do. Learning a new language is a way to do that. Or, taking a course, gaining some ability, or completing some training you’ve never had before. Or, you can play competitive mental game like chess.

We must get out of the patterns of the “same old, same old,” and challenge ourselves in a hobby, a course, something that pushes our brains, and our brains will respond to it. You can be doing this at 20, you can be doing this at 80, and it makes a difference in your growing brain.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me not to take my mind for granted. Like my entire body, help me to keep it healthy and strong. Amen.

Devotion: Of the brain-strengthening suggestions mentioned above, which one would best apply to you?.

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor

Brain power…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been at one of those dinners where the questions of “who’s the feeler” and “who’s the thinker” comes up? You’re with a bunch of people and somebody answers, “Well, she’s the feeler, and I’m the thinker.” Someone else says, “I’m the emotional one, and he’s the more logical one.” The whole thinking and feeling question is a very, very important one for how we operate in life.

God gave us this brain, this mind, as a gift. What we find is that we’re under-using this brain we have. Neuroscience has told us many things about all the potential and all the power our brains and our minds have.

I work a lot with leaders, successful people, and organizations. When I do, I study those with success to learn what I might do to help other people become more successful. One of the things I have discovered is that successful people use their entire brains – the feeling parts and the thinking parts. They’re not just limited to one aspect of their brain.

One of the keys to being a successful person is using your entire mind.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of a sound and growing mind. Help me not to be only a thinker or a feeler, but one who uses all the miraculous areas of my mind, heart, and soul. Amen.

Devotion: Would you consider yourself primarily a feeler or thinker?.

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor.

Time to take stock of who you are.

Gloria OgunbadejoGloria Ogunbadejo

We are living in times when we need to be both introspective as well as reaching out to support others.  But before you can reach out to others, you need to have a good and realistic knowledge of who you are. When was the last time you actually gave some thought to what type of person you are? Are you aware of what your values are? Do you like who you are? If you met yourself out in the world, would you like to be friends with you? Sometimes, we have a perception or ideal of who we think we are or would like to be; but in reality, we might be very different from that.

Fundamentally, our self-monitoring styles influence our social interactions and how we view the world. Knowing your individual self-monitoring style helps you realise there are certain pathways and life choices that suit you better than others. It helps you find your niche and to appreciate and value the diversity of others.

Sometimes, I listen to clients talk about how aggrieved they are about what various people have done to them and when I probe a little deeper to explore some of their own behaviours to others, it turns out they have committed some appalling acts of their own on others. It’s that old saying that when you point a finger at someone, there are four more pointing at you. Or, if you prefer something more biblical, he without sin should cast the first stone; or those in glass houses should not throw stones. I think you get the picture. A lot of times, we really are not who we think we are; so it’s time to take stock if you haven’t already.

When we are very young, we learn how to feel about life and ourselves by the reactions of the grown-ups around us. So, if you lived with very unhappy, angry negative people, then you tended to learn and grow up with a lot of negative about your world. Most likely, we would go on to recreate similar relationships we had with our mothers or fathers or what we observed between our parents in our own personal relationships.

In my line of work, it sometimes feels almost everyone I have worked with or come in contact with outside work suffers from some form of self hatred and guilt to one degree or another. Sometimes, it might feel as if we are not in control of the thoughts we have, because they may be all pervading and we habitually think the same thoughts; but when you think about it, we made the original choice to introduce the thought into our minds. We actually have the power and will to refuse to think certain thoughts. If you just consider how many times you have resisted thinking positive thoughts about yourself, you then realise how much power you have over your thoughts.

It is helpful to remember that thoughts, no matter how degrading, resentful, painful, or damaging, are just thoughts and are not set in stone. Thoughts can be changed. What we think about ourselves tends to become the truth for us – something akin to self- fulfilling.

What we believe about ourselves and about life become true for us. So, if your mantra tends to be that people are out to get me, that is what you focus on, look out for and ultimately attract towards yourself. You have the choice of thinking people are kind and helpful and looking out for the good in people.

I know there will be those who might think this is very simplistic and that there are many evil, mean people out in the world. After all, we just have to take a peek at the state of the world. But alongside all the wickedness and hating that’s taking place, there is also a lot of humanity, love and kindness. It may not be shown on the TV, but it’s happening in your home, your neighbourhood, in your office. In other words, it’s all around you, but most importantly, you have the power to make it happen, starting from you.

We all know there are good and bad people in the world and that bad things happen to good people. That’s a given in life; but it doesn’t have to be and it isn’t the whole story. The beliefs we have about ourselves and about life create different experiences in our lives.

Our subconscious minds accept whatever we choose to believe. When you think about it, we have unlimited choices about what we can think, so why do we choose to focus on fixed negative thoughts? When we know this, it makes sense to open up our minds to allow fresh, wholesome, life affirming thoughts in.

There are some very interesting studies coming through from scientists at the Institute of Heart-Math (IHM) in Colorado, USA. They have dedicated over 25 years to the research of emotional physiology, or the science of measuring moods, and how they impact on the heart and the rest of the body. Recently, they announced a breakthrough culminating from a series of studies which appear to show that the heart is capable of directing the activity of almost every cell in our body, helping to determine perception, emotions and health.

Their work was backed by a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, which found that “positive emotions boost the nervous system, which, in turn, enhances immunity, digestion and mental clarity.” The findings suggest that ‘positive emotions such as love or gratitude lead to coherent heart rhythms.’

It goes on to suggest that “when people are angry, stressed or anxious, the graphs waver up and down quite dramatically – the heart tends to beat erratically and the frequencies bounce all over the place. When the heart’s electromagnetic field (EMF) is erratic, a person experiences tension and an increased disorder in their nervous system, a factor that can lead to hormonal imbalances, lowered immunity, sleeplessness and depression.”

We have all heard of that wonderful chemical called oxytocin that the heart secretes when we feel loving feelings; this in turn triggers positive reactions throughout the body. This whole process of heart-focused positive feelings are said to “boost levels of particular antibodies in the immune system that fight viruses and bacteria for up to six hours at a time.”

With all this medical information about the power of the mind, emotions and the powerful effects on our bodies, it is safe to say that we have a lot to answer for a lot of the malaise we suffer from on a daily basis. What we feed our minds is as important as what we feed our bodies. We have the responsibility and commitment to ourselves to desist from harming our minds and ultimately being a part of harming humanity.

Have a loving day!



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