Ansell: Be careful about what you let get stuck in your thoughts
Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Be very careful about what you think. Your thoughts run your life.” In Proverbs 23:7 we are told, “As a man thinks, so he is.”
And still the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:8 for us to, “Think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” Not only that but in Ephesians 5:20 we are told to “always be thankful.”
What I’m saying is I’m working at controlling my thoughts, keeping them on Jesus and what I’m grateful for. It’s so easy to be robbed and our enemy knows the mind is a great battlefield. Can I share some things that are good in my life and are constantly bouncing around in my head and making me smile?
OK, here we go. Two of the four kids will be home for Thanksgiving along with the 23-year-old graduate student’s Brazilian boyfriend (Gustavo, I love Gustavo and I love him a lot).
The same “power” that Jesus talks about in Acts 1:8 is emerging in my ministry. I see God at work, transforming people, the Red Sea is parting and seeing God at work never gets old.
We do a Zoom Bible Study on Tuesday nights with some old friends and some new friends. This is one of the best things I do all week. I love these people the way I love the Brazilian soccer player (Gustavo) and last week part of the team was at their grandmother’s house when the study started so they got on Zoom with their 92-year-old grandmother. How cool is that?! Shout out to Mrs. Praesel! She blessed us all and it proves you are never too old to do new things. If you are looking for something to do on Tuesday nights, hit me up.
I’m writing this on Monday and I just saw what leadership guru Jon Gordon put on Twitter, “Mondays are great days to focus on what we GET TO do instead of what we HAVE TO do. Life is a gift, not an obligation.” I feel like that and I’m glad that God has blessed my life and it’s not a burden or a chore to live a God centered, “GET TO” life that has purpose.
I keep a prayer list in the front of my Bible and I pull it out every day to pray for the specific things on my list. I have three people, no, make that four that are listed as my enemies. I pray for them every day (the way Jesus instructed in Matthew 5:44) and what my experience is, is that as I intercede for these people I’m the one changing. My heart is growing fond of these people.
I see the hurt, the hang ups and habits in their life and those things are probably the catalyst for their behavior — in some sense they can’t help it. I’m asking God to bless them and that blessing is probably going to come through me so I’m always on the look out for how I can help and not hurt these people that are broken just like all of us.
Finally, it’s hard to not mention Jesus. This guy never lets me down and He loves me in all of my dysfunction. The other day a woman at church told me, “Thank you for being patient with us.” Ha! That’s a two-way street, I’m so glad people are patient with me.
OK, you’ve got your homework. Be careful about what you let get stuck in your thoughts. Take a regular inventory of what good God has put in your life and the good He is doing in your life. Let gratitude be a constant. God is good, all the time, so celebrate Him and His great love! He told me to tell you that.