Chester is a DOG!!!

With every thought that comes into our minds,
we have a choice . . . accept it or reject it.

Too often, we follow along with an initial thought only to find ourselves buried with other thoughts that seem to tag along with it without stopping to consider that we have a choice to make at the very beginning—when it first enters our conscious sphere—stop it at the door before it gets completely in and “filter” it.

The choice should be made first not later when we have followed a thought to its resulting anxiety, worry, anger, frustration, depression, etc., and then wonder how we got there. The choice to accept or reject is either made at the first appearance or after we have suffered the consequences of acceptance. You cannot simply allow a thought to come in; “no decision” is a decision in itself. If you do not reject it, you have accepted it—your choice!

If I tell you that Chester is a dog, you will quickly reject that thought immediately! Why? Why would you not think about that statement?

What if I told you that you were being deceived because Chester is really a dog with cat fur on him. Would you be drawn to consider this potential deception and waste time wallowing among the thoughts that come after accepting the first one? After all, he has 4 legs—dogs have 4 legs. He is an animal—dogs are animals. Maybe you should be worried that you are not protecting yourself from some devious plot intended to lead you into some harmful situation. Whoa! This could be serious . . . maybe you were too quick to accept what you think you see, maybe he’s not really what he appears to be! Sure, you’ve been happy petting Chester and interacting with him, laughing at his ways and you’ve given to him, fed him and provided him with a place to live. But, he’ll die someday and what if he bites you, what if . . .

NO! You would not follow that first thought anywhere! Why??? Because you “know” Chester is a cat. In the same way, we need to “know” capital “T” Truths of God. This does not mean to just memorize some Scripture, it means to “know” God intimately and walk by His Spirit. Our flesh is in an ongoing battle with the Spirit for control of our thoughts, because thoughts dictate our actions, and can lead us to rob ourselves of blessings God intends for us.

Only as we walk by the Spirit, hold fast the capital “T” Truths of God, fix our eyes on Jesus, and pursue God-dependency will see that God claimed that battle and subsequent victory for Himself. He will allow us to struggle in the battle until we finally realize we can’t win it because He has not made us to be robots . . . He wants us to choose Him and His Covenant (protection, provision, identity). He calls us to a conscious choice: to walk by His Spirit because we trust Him.

So, it is back to “thoughts & choices” where at times the only answer I can give is—bottom line, trust God! Whatever thought comes into my mind must pass through this filter. I make a conscious effort, an intentional choice, to ask myself if this thought will glorify God and either show that I trust God or lead me to a deeper trust in God. If the answer is “no” or “well, I don’t know,” then I reject it and pull into my conscious mind a positive thought or Scripture—if possible, I relate it to the thought as Jesus did in His temptations in the wilderness where He gave God’s capital “T” Truth in response to the fleshly yearnings brought to His consciousness as choices.

It wasn’t that He didn’t feel the pull to follow the thoughts, it was that Jesus chose to state God’s capital “T” Truth—He did not argue with the thoughts or deny any element of truth, He simply chose to state God’s Truth as a response. We get into the most trouble when we try to “rationalize” or respond within the context of the thoughts. When the thought comes that I don’t have health insurance, followed by what if I get sick or need to go to the hospital? I don’t walk that path, I simply state that my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). When I awake in the middle of the night and can’t breathe, I no longer follow the thoughts that come to me of death and illness, I claim that by His stripes I am healed (1 Peter 2:24) no matter what my “little t” truth looks like—I’m not denying reality, simply choosing to focus on another reality—God’s Truth! My choice!

The hardest things are the simplest Truths of God—
to rest in the knowledge of His care and Love for us
without demanding that we be able to “think through” or
explain how or why,
rejecting any thought that doesn’t stand with God’s capital “T” Truth . . .
bottom line, Trust God . . . it is a choice.

Choices—”I call heaven and earth to witness against you, today,
that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.
So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
by loving the Lord your GOD, by obeying HIS voice, and by holding
fast to HIM; for this is the your life and the length of your days that
you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers . . .”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Focus—Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth
what is good; and the evil {man} out of the evil {treasure} brings forth
what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”                                                   Luke 6:45

Response—When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Thy consolations delight my soul. Psalm 94:19
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.                         Psalm 139:23-24

Contentment is a byproduct of focus . . .
and focus follows my choice of thoughts!       Hebrews 12

Jeanne Hicks Barnett • Saturday—July 21, 2007

About Jeanne

a work in progress . . . God's grace has brought me through many traumas of varying intensities and I am alive today (both physically & spiritually) because of Him and His work: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus"-Philippians 1:6. My childhood was spent living in many places in the United States due to my family's music or ministry—The Hicks Family, made up of Olan & Barbara Hicks, my younger brothers, Clint & Chuck & me, sang in different combos (put out an album), does so no longer professionally . . . but, visit a family gathering in Searcy & you're bound to hear some foot-tapping sounds (or catch my dad & mom on the road)! I believe that every moment of each life path (the good & what I perceive as the bad) God works together for my good as His child whether I understand it or not. MUSIC and MINISTRY are still primary aspects of the path God has me walking—so exciting! Words that have encouraged me since 1980: ". . . giving them a garland instead of ashes,The oil of gladness instead of mourning,The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting So they will be called oaks of righteousness,The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61:3
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