Messages of the Moment

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                                         Rev. E. Anderson

CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIOUR
by Rick Warren

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” – Proverbs 4:23 (GNT)

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One of the great psychological discoveries of the past century is that your thoughts control your actions. If you want to change the way you act, you must first change how you think.

Actually, thousands of years ago, Solomon pointed this out when he wrote, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 GNT).

 

The Bible says our thoughts influence six areas of our lives:

 

· My interpretation influences my situation. It’s not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth – a stumbling block or a stepping stone. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” – James 1:2-4 NIV.

 

· My impressions influence my depressions. In other words, my mind affects my mood; my thinking determines my feelings. If I’m feeling depressed, it’s because I’m choosing to think depressing thoughts – about my work, family, or anything else. While you cannot always control a feeling, you can choose what you think about, which will control how you feel. “Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught . . .”- Psalm 55:2 NIV.

 

· My beliefs influence my behaviour. We always act according to our beliefs, even when those ideas are false. For instance, as a child, if you believed a shadow in your bedroom at night was a monster, your body reacted in fear (adrenaline and jitters) even though it wasn’t true. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are operating on true information! Your convictions about yourself, about life, and about God influence your conduct. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” – John 8:31 NIV.

 

· My self-talk influences my self-esteem. You are constantly talking to yourself unconsciously. When you walk into a room full of strangers, what do you tend to think about yourself? To develop more confidence you’re going to have to stop running yourself down! “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7 NKJV.

 

· My attitude influences my ability. Winners expect to win. Your perception controls your performance. Mohammed Ali only lost two fights in his career. Before both of them, he said something that he hadn’t said before other fights: “If I should lose this fight […].”“All things are possible to him who believes” – Mark 9:23 NKJV.

 

· My imagination influences my aspirations. In other words, your dreams determine your destiny. To accomplish anything, you must first have a mission, a goal, a hope, a vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18 KJV.

 

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Illustrations that Light up Life

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                                             Rev. E. Anderson

CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE

 

A music professor with a well- trained voice usually sang the major male solo parts in the choir of a large church. A young named Bob with no training sometimes took a few shorter solos. As the choir director prepared for the Christmas cantata, she felt that Bob’s voice and style made him a natural for the lead role, However, she didn’t know how she could give it to him without offending the older man.

 

Her anxiety was unnecessary. The professor had the same thoughts as she did, and he told her that Bob should take the part. He continued to sing faithfully in the chorus and was a source Of much encouragement to Bob.

 

People who can set aside selfish ambition and genuinely seek the good of others have an attitude that pleases God.

 

Do you remember how John the Baptist reacted when the crowds left him and began following Jesus? He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30.

 

What did John the Baptist and the music professor have in common? They were able to set aside “selfish ambition”. They were happy to see others elevated above themselves when it was for the common good. Can the same be said about us?   – Herb Vander Lugi

 

This is the highest learning, The hardest and the best –

From self to keep still turning  And honor all the rest Macdonald

 

Taken from the Daily Bread

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Christian Testimony

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                             Richard and Claire Ashby

RESTORED BEYOND BELIEF

 

Former heroin addict Richard Ashby is back in prison, but this time for very different reason – Joy magazine reports

 

SITTING AT AN ORGAN LEADING Christian worship in the chapel at Doncaster prison, Richard Ashby can breathe a sigh of relief. Just six years ago, he was an inmate there serving a three-and-a half year sentence for armed robbery.

 

But Richard now has a full-time job, is married and clean from drugs – and it’s all thanks to finding God.

 

After being released from jail, Richard attended a prayer meeting at Father’s House Church in Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorkshire, where he experienced the power of God for the first time.

 

He was instantly set free from a ten- year drug addiction and has been able to rebuild his life.

 

As well as getting married two years ago and holding down a full-time job, Richard, 32, and wife Claire are hoping to share their stories with others. They have launched their own ministry, ‘Restoration Beyond Belief’, and regularly visit churches telling their remarkable tale.

 

And in an unusual move for a former jailbird, Richard was keen to get back behind bars last December, telling 80 prisoners at Doncaster how God super- naturally changed his life.

 

He told Joy, ‘ I choke up sometimes when l think that I’m now a Christian and I’m married. I can read my Bible and know that what’s mentioned in there happened to me.

 

‘God has taken us to Sierra Leone in 2007 to go on a crusade with Shake the Nations Ministries. We saw thousands of people and there I was, praying for people and seeing them healed.

 

‘Jesus has given me a new life. Words can’t describe how He’s transformed my situation’.

 

But life wasn’t always enjoyable for Richard. Growing up in foster care in Chesterfield he soon learned about life’s challenges, despite having loving foster parents and a good upbringing.

At the age of 15, his birth mother contacted him, which is when the slippery downfall began.

 

He recalls, ‘When my birth mother introduced herself I got carried away and didn’t know how to feel. Before I knew it, I was spending Saturdays drinking with her and the rest of my family. I remember one week doing nothing for the whole week but drinking. I’d walked out on my foster parents and when Social Services found out they put me in a halfway house. In a matter of weeds, I’d gone from having a normal childhood to drinking and smoking. At that point I hit a self-destruct button and it was downhill for the next ten years’.

 

Richard then started smoking cannabis, which he says became like food to him. He then dabbled in ecstasy, acid, speed and numerous other drugs, before finally being coaxed into taking heroin.

 

‘I originally started smoking heroin, which made all the other drugs seem like sweets. When you take heroin it’s as if the weight on your shoulders would instantly go, but before I knew it, I was rattling and needing to get my hands on its,’ he recalls.

 

‘I started injecting and that was it; heroin was my life. It caused me to be homeless, sometimes sleeping on benches and in bus stops; it led me to crime, theft and fraud. If someone put £500 in my hand I could easily spend it in one day on heroin and crack. I honestly believe that throughout my life I’ve spent at least £40,000 on drugs’.

 

During his years of addiction, Richard became notorious for fraud, deceiving hardware stores out of thousands of pounds.

 

‘I to used to walk in car parks and find receipts that showed items which had been paid for by cash. I would then go in the store, pick up the mentioned item and go to the refund desk and get the money back. I once took back “an internal door for £99.99’>

 

But after serving short prison sentences for minor offences, Richard’s mischief was about to catch up with him. After pulling a knife out on a shop assistant at the shop where he used to work as a paperboy, he was charged for armed robbery.

 

But little did he know, despite being put in prison, the God who he had previously given little thought to was about to enter his life. He started playing the organ at the prison chapel, as he was paid £2 per service, but this led to having frequent discussions about God. Eventually, following much questioning he gave his life to Christ after completing the Alpha course.

 

He developed a relationship with God, reading his Bible and praying, while he had regained contact with his foster parents. However, on his release from prison, drugs started to flash before his eyes, and he was soon back in his old ways.

 

That was until friend Matt Martinson, who was running a prison ministry Beyond Bars’ at the time, allowed Richard to move into his family home. It was then Richard found himself at an early-morning prayer meeting in Wath-upon-Dearne.

 

He recalls, ‘We went into an early morning prayer meeting where Matt had asked Nathan Morris, an evangelist at the church, and some of the other guys, including Nathan’s father Pastor Peter Morris, to pray. I was rattling because of the drugs and didn’t know what to expect.

 

‘I shared my story and moments later I learned about how real and powerful God’s touch is. I fell down on the floor, and they kept praying for me, asking God to deliver me and break me free.

 

‘Half an hour later I was in the back garden of the church with a shovel in my hand digging out a trench to lay a new path.

 

‘My body should have been on shut- down. There’s no way possible a rattling drug addict can function like I was doing. I was delivered instantaneously and was totally set free from drug addiction’.

 

Richard soon became a regular at the church, playing on the worship team. He still attends the church and as well as ministering with his wife, hopes to release his own worship album later this year.

 

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