Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Your Eyes Off The Circumstances

by Donna L. Watkins

Our thoughts can certainly direct and control our lives. This was "proven" by the Bible in the verse that says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). Now the inventions of amazing new ways of being able to view the brain and see what's going on proves how much our thoughts have to do with the direction of our lives. Quantum physics is an amazing and fascinating field to study.

For those who get headaches, have you ever noticed that the more you focus on the headache the more the pain increases? If you get your attention off the headache and on to something else to distract you, the pain seems to lessen.

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Gorgeous Great Blue Heron
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Whatever we focus on in life gets magnified. That's why the Bible tells us to magnify the Lord. David was so good at this. If you've read many of the Psalms, you will notice that David begins by focusing on his circumstances, but then he turns to focus on God and all that He is and how amazing the things are that He has done. When he begins to focus on the Lord, he magnifies Him until he closes out the Psalm with praise and glory and seemingly no circumstances to notice.

We have to direct our eyes off the circumstances. It seems Jesus needed to do the same thing. He came to earth as the Son of Man. Yes, He was God, but He emptied Himself and became a man. Sin came into the world through one man and sin had to be atoned by one man.

Philippians 2:6-7: "Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being." (AMP)

He lived on this earth to show us how we could live our lives on this earth, amidst difficult circumstances and relationships, and through His death and resurrection provide for us an abundant life that can be experienced only through our hearts by faith. Every promise is already in the heart ready and waiting to be activated by faith.

Jesus had to use His faith for the situations He had while on earth. Remember the story of Jesus feeding 5000 men and their families? The disciples told Jesus to send the people away from the remote place so they could find food, but Jesus said, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat. They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. He said, Bring them here to Me. Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve [small hand] baskets full of the broken pieces left over" (Matthew 14:15-20 AMP).

Notice I underlined "looking up to heaven." It made me think that I always say grace at my meals by looking downward at my plate of food. I dug into a concordance and didn't find another mention of Jesus looking up to heaven when He prayed other than when He arrived at Lazarus' gravesite. Can you imagine the grief and sorrow of the situation and the scene there that day? Did He look up to avoid looking at what His physical senses were declaring to Him?

Could it be that Jesus looked up so He wouldn't be looking at the extremely difficult situation? We think that Jesus could do anything He wanted, but actually when you put the Gospels together you find He couldn't heal without the person having faith of their own. In His hometown He said He was unable to do nothing but heal a few sick people, whereas everywhere else there were always crowds around Him. It now makes sense that as a man who Had emptied Himself of His divinity to be the Sacrificial Lamb, He had to make choices, as we do, for His entire life on earth.

Growing up He grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). He wasn't born with it. He had to choose to connect back to God, to do only what His Father told Him to do and say through the Spirit. That means He also had to choose to allow the soldiers to take Him. He had to choose to let them nail His hands and feet to the Cross. He had to choose for His Father to place the sins and diseases of everybody that would ever live into His body. "This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah (53:4): 'He took our illnesses and bore our diseases'" (Matthew 8:17).

I was studying about meditation and how often it is mentioned in the Bible. In the Western world we've come to think of meditation as some New Age or Eastern mysticism practice, but the Bible has much to say about meditating, pondering, and absorbing the Word of God. Knowing what the Bible says is good information, but it doesn't come alive until you experience it in your heart.

The word "imagination" is also referenced a lot in the Bible when you go back to the Hebrew and Greek definition of words.  We tend to bury our imagination after childhood, as if it was something childish. If our life is created from our thoughts, wouldn't it prove beneficial to have an imagination so we could "see" ourselves walking through this life the way God intended us to?  Healed, in love with Him, always knowing God will provide and has only good things for us.   When we can see it on the inside, we'll be able to see it happening on the outside also.

When we go to bed at night, our mind begins slows down to alpha wave state in the moments right before we go to sleep. It's interesting to note that there are other things that bring us into this state: worship music, bowing (like Jews do at the Wall in Jerusalem), rocking, singing repeated rhythmic songs, and also rolling your eyes up to look at the sky or ceiling without tilting your head. This is of great benefit when we want to control our thoughts.

When we have that initial thought that we know does not match God's word, whether it's a judgment or anger or bitterness, etc. we are to take it captive. We don't allow it to take us into that deep pit of emotions that we have to repent of later or that drags us into depression and despair and lack of hope.

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Great Mormon (Papilio memnon)
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
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So ... looking up puts a STOP on the negative thought (temptation to sin). Many times our ego wants to be in control and we want to have our OPINION MADE KNOWN (oh! how easy it is to go there). Maybe our lack of self-worth or rejection issues makes us want to control or simply be "right" about something and down we go on that slippery slope to the pit of emotions.

Look up and begin to say whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to begin with (but choose a phrase you can always start out with so you can be choosing against the temptation as soon as your eyes begin to roll up to see the ceiling - with your head facing ahead). My first thought is always, "Look up, Donna!"  I want to command control of my mind in an instant. Every second weakens our chances of victory.

Proverbs 27:28 tells us that "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."  That kinda sums it up, eh?

You could begin with "Father, You are glorious and in You I have peace and not strife. In Christ I have joy unspeakable. I trust You to take care of this situation. I will not seek to control or be right or have to express my opinion and allow my mind to be in control instead of my heart. You are a heart God and You meet with me in my heart. I do not want my heart contaminated and cluttered with all this junk."

This is how Paul took all those tribulations and persecutions of beatings, stoning, etc. He looked up and was on another plane of life. Stephen died looking up in Acts 7:55: "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."

Once you get going it's easy. It's grabbing that choice when first presented. It is hard, but it becomes a natural reaction that will keep you in more peace than you could ever imagine. If you have the same problem continually, find a Scripture to focus on and repeat it as being done.

Every time we allow our minds to take control, we miss the opportunity to open our heart, trust Him and bring the provision/promise one step closer to us. I love this definition out of the original Greek for the word "receive": " (a) I receive, get, (b) I take, lay hold of." It simplifies it a lot and gives a visual picture of how you reach out and bring it to yourself and that's doable.

I think one of the problems we have is wanting to understand everything and get into so many details that we get lost in the process of wanting to know what to DO. All we DO is to reach out to God's Word and take hold of the promise and as we implant it into our heart.  Eventually our heart's belief changes and so does our self-worth. I must abide in the reality of what was promised until my emotions change. Reality is what God's Word says ... not what we seeing with our limited five senses.

Give it a try. Right now choose the thing that most gets you into trouble, grab a Scripture about it, write out a beginning speech of distraction from the wrong thoughts, so as you're looking up, you are taking away the power that those thoughts or accusations or offenses have had over you. Let God work in your heart! Don't give the devil any satisfaction of glory in leading you away from trusting in your Father who loves you so much!

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