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Get It Right When Your Thinking Is Wrong

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A recent situation brought me face to face with the life-giving power of right thinking and the potential destruction of wrong thinking. An individual before me wrestled with a wrong thought pattern that threatened to derail her and her group. Thankfully, she managed to realign her thoughts and live a robust day.

However, this encounter provoked reflection. A simple illustration reveals the heart of my conviction developed over years and years of engaging with this topic.

Wrong thinking lurks menacingly to destroy personal and relational happiness.

If lost on a dark road on a stormy night, aware of my erroneous turn off the interstate, would I just keep driving down the wrong road in the mistaken direction? No! Rather, as soon as I located a safe spot, I would STOP, turn around, head back, and enter the on-ramp for the correct highway.

Wrong thinking lurks menacingly to destroy personal and relational happiness. Yet how often do you and I make a timely effort to STOP and turn around? Over time I have learned to recognize warning signs and make course corrections as soon as possible. So, here are three suggestions I use when awashed with wrong thinking.

1. Acknowledge my circumstances

For a few moments, I pause and calculate my circumstance. Facts, perceptions, and realities all go into my summation.

2. Acknowledge my feelings

Personally, I enjoy the ability to feel deeply, but not when my feelings are destructive. While the way I feel is valid (to me), I know that the way I feel may not be healthy or even accurate.

So, once I acknowledge my circumstances, I then acknowledge my feelings.

After thoroughly calculating circumstances and feelings, I know at this juncture, the time has come to acknowledge God.

3. Acknowledge God

He wants desperately to involve Himself in my life on every level, in every relationship, and through every situation. His resources are available, but as Ney Bailey says in Faith is Not a Feeling, “I must choose to believe God’s promises over my own personal feelings.”

Individuals who have learned to turn wrong thinking into right thinking experience a different and dynamic quality of life.

These suggestion I offer here are not a formula but a process; not a recipe but a recommendation. Why? Because I am thoroughly convinced that individuals who have learned to turn wrong thinking into right thinking experience a different and dynamic quality of life. I long for you and me to stand in their ranks.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture offers a great place to begin the journey of traveling on the right mental interstate:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

What do you think?” is actually a loaded question, isn’t it?

How would you evaluate your spiritual journey regarding right thinking?

What helps you to transform your wrong thinking toward the right direction?

Who has been a spiritual guide for you in this developmental process?

God Met Me in My Communist Kitchen

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Looking out the kitchen window, only the dim streetlight illuminated our surroundings. In Kraków, Poland, night descended early these cold winter evenings, and the darkness reinforced our sense of isolation.

Peering into the cold night, I searched for Larry’s bundled up figure. His return home—our upstairs space in the house we shared with a Polish family—marked the end of another grueling day in cross cultural living.

At long last, his form emerged trudging up the hill.

As he walked in the door, he left behind the demanding life of language study, and climbed the stairs, to engage fully as husband and dad. Within the context of our clandestine lives behind the Iron Curtain, our upstairs nest and our evening routine provided a cozy feeling of safety and security, albeit it fragile. Ironically, this season of our lives would be looked back upon as one of the sweetest in our marriage.

After tucking our little one into her bed, Larry and I sat down at our table. A pot of steaming black tea and a simple meal of bread and cheese awaited us. If the line waiting outside the meat store had not been too long, there might even be salami for our open-faced sandwiches.

The shortwave radio stood nearby like a sentinel on the windowsill. In these frigid days of the Cold War, isolation from the outside free world, forced us—as part of our safety protocol— to rely on the radio and BBC for news of world events.

Our forbidden possession sat hidden on the floor during the day. But for clear reception, we carefully brought it out at night, and reverentially placed it on the ledge. Then We. Held. Our. Breaths. The Communist government menacingly sought to jam the reception, thus we never knew for certain if the signal would come through.

On this particular evening, using only my thumb and index fingers, I delicately turned the radio dial. Going back and forth (forth and back) I painfully listened for the faintest evidence of a verbal lifeline to my familiar world far away. Yet, only the painful screeches and shrills of the government’s jamming mechanisms shouted back at me.

Touching the dial with the deftness of a butterfly, I made one last attempt.

But I refused to give up. Leaning over and leaning in, I prayerfully begged the ionosphere to have victory over the Communists. Touching the dial with the deftness of a butterfly, I made one last attempt.

Then, wouldn’t you know! The Hand of God—not BBC, not Voice of America, not Radio Free Europe—broke through to deliver the shocking, booming voice of our dearly beloved Bible teacher, Dr. Manford G. Gutzke! This is the voice of Manford G. Gutzke and you are listening to The Radio Bible Hour. With that familiar introduction, marching right into my Communist Kitchen through our illegal radio, Dr. Gutze launched into teaching one of his spiritually rich lessons from the Word of God.

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Don’t ask me how it happened. Don’t ask where it originated. Never again did we hear Dr. Gutze; never again did we stumble upon the station. But for one night, with one voice, for one couple on Kingdom assignment behind enemy lines, God broke through with spiritual nourishment for their needy souls. Thank You, Sweet Jesus.

No, never alone, No, never alone, He promised never to leave me, Never to leave me alone. (Anonymous hymn lyrics)

"I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

“My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NKJV).

The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us. I know; God Met Me in My Communist Kitchen.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When has God surprised you with the reality of His Presence?

What were the circumstances?

What Scripture describes your situation?

My Communist Kitchen: I am studying Polish with my notebook and tape recorder, and my little girl is studying English with her    Richard Scarry    dictionary.

My Communist Kitchen: I am studying Polish with my notebook and tape recorder, and my little girl is studying English with her Richard Scarry dictionary.

Who Prays Like That?

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Thoughts on Ephesians

Guest post by Yulia Beatty

Where do your thoughts go when you find yourself by the sea? The vastness and power of the sea make me think of how small and frail I am. But I also think of peace, boundlessness, a mystery hidden in the deep that can only be revealed if I walk further in and dive down deep to see them.

Walking with our God is like walking into the sea. The prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1 calls me to go deeper.

Paul prays that through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation we may know:

• the nature of the hope to which He has called us (1:18)

• the true and imperishable riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (1:18)

His incomparably great power for us who believe

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Jump in!

Paul does not pray for an abundance of new things we are yet to learn and experience, but for depth in our understanding and obedience to the things that were revealed to us when we first believed.

Paul knows I am in the water and can swim, but he prays I will take a dive deeper into the ocean!

What treasures we find!

Paul’s prayer also reveals to me how he himself focused on God and His work. He models to me how to fill my prayer with the truth about who God is – Who for the sake of His grace made me alive with Christ, Who is King over all heads and principalities in all times in every place! Paul reminds me to pray in the power of the Spirit to continuously strive toward getting to know Him better.

Attention, strong current!!

The incomparably great “POWER” which raised Jesus from the dead, is for us who believe. This means that in my internal and external struggles I am never alone and I am never powerless. The Spirit of God is in me. God empowers me for “…when the day of evil comes, to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to still stand” (Eph 6:13).

God’s armor enables me to overcome my impatience, to defend my unpopular Christian opinion, to unapologetically teach my kids to follow the gospel regardless of the social pressures around them, seek conflict resolution, walk away from temptation, and share the gospel with courage.

A new way to pray!

We tend to pray for friends who are in trouble, but rarely pray for those who are doing alright. Indeed, it’s unusual to pray for them as Paul did. But this kind of prayer is eternally significant for our spiritual well-being, as well as for the well-being of our coworkers, church members, and our spiritual and physical children! (Eph 6:18-19).

Let’s be honest!

Even though the presence of God and His consistent love in our lives does not change, I’m sure you would agree that at times we get distracted. Instead of surfing with joy on the waves of our spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph 1:3-14), we act like children who don’t know how to swim—so we play in a puddle or worse yet decide to take a walk into the desert!

When I realize I’m out of touch with the Lord, I am also reminded how apart from Him I can neither grow nor serve Him well. That moves me to walk deeper into the sea. Even if the water seems really cold at first, I keep walking forward—that is, I return to studying and meditation on Scripture. And as I take steps deeper into the water, Paul reminds me that in Christ I am chosen (1:4), saved by the grace of God who raised me and made me alive in Christ (2:4-9). He insists my life in Christ has a different look (5:1-2, 5:8-11) and a new purpose (2:8-10; 5:8-11, 5:15-16).

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

Where do you think God would have you dive in for greater depth of understanding from these Thoughts on Ephesians?

How have you experienced God’s strong power in the face of opposition?

Using the promptings from Let’s Be Honest! describe your current walk with the Lord.

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Yulia is Belarusian by birth and a linguist by training. A mother of two boys, she speaks five languages, and is an accomplished TEDS graduate. Since 1999, Yulia has been with Cru, initially ministering to students in Belarus before following her husband David to Albania, where he had lived and ministered since 1991. Currently, the Beatty family lives in Hungary.