Satan wants to fill our minds with negative thoughts and worry about our daily circumstances. He wants us to mull over in our minds all the times we have been hurt. He knows that if he can get our minds full of self-pity and negative thoughts, we will not be able to experience the fullness of God’s power.

Satan wants us:

To doubt God and His sovereignty.
To make us think that we are in control of our own circumstances.
To make us think that we can live our lives independent of God.
To focus on ourselves and our desires for material things.
To inflate our egos and make us prideful.

If we could only see the schemes that Satan has launched on us to try to control our thoughts.

Before we accepted Christ, we all had negative thoughts and patterns ingrained into our minds. I have often wondered why God didn’t erase all those negative thoughts at salvation, but He didn’t make us robots. He wants us to choose to love and serve Him. The Bible tells us  in Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.

We still have to deal with old thoughts and habits. They weren’t erased at salvation. They are still a part of our flesh. But…praise the Lord, we are not just a product of our pasts. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we can get the victory over our old habits and thoughts. Moment by moment, we can choose to yield our minds to the Lord.

Elizabeth Brown in her book The Joy Choice gives a comparison of wrong thoughts verses right thoughts.

Wrong thoughts make you self-centered; right thoughts make you others-centered. Choosing actions and thoughts that build character is not always easy, for unhealthy thoughts come in through logical doors. Holes in our character are caused as we justify what we want to do when we know it is not what we should do. We are never tempted to do wrong by things that seem unreasonable. The first instinct against wrong is rejection, but if is nursed in the mind long enough, the mind begins to find ways to rationalize that it is acceptable.

Although Satan’s aim is to infiltrate our thoughts with his thoughts and promote his lies, we can experience more of the fullness of God’s power by allowing Him to control our thoughts and actions.

If you are struggling today with having a right attitude or thinking right thoughts, here are a few suggestions that could help you experience more of the fullness of God’s power.

Daily Steps to Maintain Right Attitudes and Experience God’s Fullness

1. Recognize negative thoughts and emotions as they come into your mind.
2. Confess them as sin and repent of them.
3. Give over to God all your past hurts and injustices.
4. Get into the Word and reprogram the truth back into the place where Satan has placed lies.
5. Now walk by the faith of God’s Word. Realize that He has cleansed you and restored you.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
6. Present your body to the Lord.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
7. Deny yourself.
Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
8. Be willing to do what God asks you to do. Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
9. Moment by moment, take every negative thought captive. II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Sometimes it seems impossible to experience God’s power, but history gives us personal testimonies of those who hungered for this power and experienced wonderful transformations in their Christian lives.

Is this power some miracle that God gives to only a select few? I don’t think so…I believe we can experience God’s power in our lives today?

Share

It happens every year in May, and pastors anticipate it expectantly. Mother’s Day promises a high energy, high attendance Sunday, with a smiling, eager congregation. There will be extra guests such as–sons, daughters and grandchildren attending worship services with their mothers. There will be new mothers, pregnant moms, substitute moms, stepmothers, foster moms, grandmothers. What an opportunity!

No pressure, pastor, but how will this Mother’s Day be different from last year’s celebration? How can your church esteem mothers, yet point the worship service toward God? It’s time to get creative. Need a few fresh ideas?

MOM & ME VIDEO: Ask the tech team to interview children and prepare a montage of testimony clips explaining why “My Mom’s the Best!” Or invite the youth group to prepare a short video to honor their mothers. Or gather dozens of photos of church members with their mothers for a slide show set to music. Use the video for pre-service viewing or play it along with an appropriate music special.

HERE’S YOUR DAISY: If your church presents gifts on Mother’s Day, it’s a good idea to give one to each woman present. (Many childless women have been like a mother to other children.) Each year’s gift can be unique and meaningful, such as:

A single flower.
A book. A CD. A pin. A pen.
Multi-ribbon bookmarks for her Bible.
A corsage made by children in your church.
Laminated copy of an original Mother’s Day poem.
A scripture bookmark with original art by a church youth.
Recruit a different group of people to present the gift each year, i.e. teen boys, deacons, fifth-grade girls, new members, elderly men or church staff.

OLD WOMEN, PLEASE STAND: Not to be a fuddy-duddy, but pointing out the oldest, youngest and most prolific mothers during worship is not always flattering. As an alternative, consider recognizing mothers with a new baby since last year, great-grandmothers, mothers of teenagers or mothers of military. Then include all mothers in a thanksgiving prayer.

I WAS BORN: One pastor announced a special prayer time for mothers, asking everyone in the congregation who had been born to a mother to stand. That’s everyone!

PRESCHOOL PARADE: Prepare signs for all preschoolers, such as, “I thank God for my mom,” “Honor your mother and father,” or giant MOM letters. While worshippers sing a chorus, the joyful Mother’s Day parade of preschoolers marches in one door and exits another. Delightful!

CHILDREN’S SCRIPTURE SHOUT: Choose an appropriate Scripture to teach elementary age children. Children march into worship during a congregational song, spread out around the worship center, then quote the Scripture in unison.

MOM’S BRUNCH: Youth can pamper their moms by planning and serving a lovely brunch. Men carry a towel draped across their arm and wear an eyebrow-pencil-drawn curly mustache. Plan a program of poetry readings, serenading and prayers.

NO COOKING: How about a catered picnic for a church-wide Mother’s Day lunch at the local park? The pastor of a Filipino church in New Jersey excitedly told me about their top-secret plan for Mother’s Day. The men of the church have reserved an entire local restaurant for lunch, and they’ll surprise their mothers and families with a special meal.

SENSE AND SENSITIVITY: Scripture instructs us to honor our fathers and mothers, but use discretion. Some in your congregation may dread Mother’s Day because of marital status, childlessness, death or problems with parents.

WORSHIP HIM, NOT HER: Many unchurched family members will attend worship with their moms. Tell them how Jesus can change their life! It’s a great day for a baptism, baby dedication or children’s choir song. Joyfully honor mom on Mother’s Day, but focus on the only One worthy of worship — our God.

This column was adapted from the forthcoming book, “Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving & Energetic Church,” to be released by B&H on June 1st. Diana Davis is the wife of Indiana Baptist State Convention’s executive director.

Poem to Give with Baptismal Certificates

For Your Baptism

You’re taking this step of faith
In obedience to the Lord
To be baptized in His precious name
And heed the Master’s call

To rise up with faith in God
And go where He may lead
To share God’s love to everyone
And touch them in their need

May God pour out His blessings
Upon your life today
So you may walk in His abundance
As you commit to Him your way

Keep on trusting in the Lord
No matter what you face
And keep your eyes on Jesus Christ
And live in His sweet grace

Missionary Skit

Summary

The basic premise of this drama is that the person is sharing with the group how the Lord led him to go into missions. This prompts the action of the two demons in trying to do everything possible to discourage the person from going.

It is important that the drama is set-up properly. It is good if it is possible not to let the audience know that this is a drama. Rather, try in every way to convince the audience that it is just a person who desires to share with them.

Characters

  • Person (normal guy or girl)
  • Demon 1 (wearing red and/or black with appropriate make-up)
  • Demon 2 (wearing red and/or black with appropriate make-up)

Script

Person:
I feel very privileged to be able to share with all of you this evening. Like many people, I grew up thinking that I was a Christian because I grew up in a Christian family and went to church every Sunday. Then, just a few months ago, a team from the Doulos came and stayed at my house for a week. I could really see that they knew God in a personal way, and talked about him as if they were talking about a friend. I also knew that I didn’t know God like they knew him. On the last night of their visit, I prayed to accept Christ into my heart. Ever since I asked Jesus to be my Saviour, I could sense that he has been leading me into MISSIONS… (Person freezes momentarily)
(In an immediate, violent reaction, Demon 1 and Demon 2 run out onto the stage screaming.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
MISSIONS?!! NOT MISSIONS!!!
Demon 2:
We must do something to stop him!
Demon 1:
We need a plan!
(Demons huddle together and scheme. As they do so, Person comes back to life and continues his testimony. As he begins to speak, the demons come up with a strategy and quickly move from the place where they were huddling in front of P to a place just behind him, from which they can whisper in his ear.)
Person:
I started preparations by looking into several missions sending agencies.
Demon 1:
But wait! What about your job? You need to build up a nest egg for your retirement. After all, if you don’t take care of your future, nobody else will.
Person:
(Nodding his head in agreement) Yeah, I never thought about retirement. If I go to the mission field, who is going to support me when I get old?
Demon 2:
And what about your training and your education? All of that time would have been wasted!
Person:
(Getting discouraged) That’s true! All those years of working my way up the ladder would have been a waste of time, and all that time and money that I spent at the university would be of no value at all!
(He stops to think for a minute. As he does, the demons look at each other with very satisfied expressions.)
Person:
Wait a minute. Jesus said… (As soon as Person says Jesus the demons react violently.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS!!! (As they say this, they move away and shield their faces in a frozen position.)
Person:
(Continuing on) …Jesus said in Matthew 6, “Do not worry, saying `what shall we eat,’ or `what shall we drink,’ but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself.”
(The demons come out of their frozen position and make new plans, again huddled in front of Person. As Person continues speaking, they move behind him again for another try.)
Person:
I will be joining Operation Mobilisation. This is a group that has work in over 35 different countries throughout the world.
Demon 1:
Well, I guess this means you don’t intend to marry, hmmm?
Person:
(With a puzzled expression) No, I’ve always planned on having a wife, and I’ve got some great names picked out for the children.
Demon 1:
Well, everybody knows that you’ll never find a decent wife on the mission field!
Person:
(Eyes get very big as he realises the implications of this) I never thought about that! If I leave home how will I ever find the right person to marry?
Demon 2:
Yes, and what would your brother and your sister think? Your friends and relatives would think you were crazy!
Person:
Oh no! They wouldn’t understand at all. They would think that I was joining a…a…(stutter) cult or something! (Again Person pauses to think. Again demons look pleased.)
Person:
Wait! I remember that in the Bible, Jesus said… (Again demons give immediate, violent reaction and shy away)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS! Not JESUS again!!
Person:
Jesus said in Luke 14, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” (Demons act very agitated as they again huddle Person continues)
Person:
So I will be joining Operation Mobilisation. In particular the Lord has been putting a real burden on my heart for the country of India.
Demon 1:
You? In India? You could never do that. You haven’t had enough training and what about the language?
Demon 2:
You can’t even communicate effectively in your own language, and you know what a terrible speaker you are.
Person:
(Acts very nervous as he begins to remember a bad speaking experience.) I remember that time in school when I had to give a speech I got so nervous that I couldn’t remember the first line, and then I froze and everybody started to laugh at me. (Demons give a very demonic laugh in the background) I never want that to happen again!
(Pause. Demons look wary.)
Person:
But, then again, Jesus said… (Demons react as before.)
Demon 1 & Demon 2:
JESUS!! I wish he would stop quoting JESUS!!!
Person:
Jesus said in Luke 21, “Make up your mind not to worry before hand about how you will defend yourselves, for I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
(Demons huddle together for one more try.)
Person:
I will be working in the northern states of India where there are literally millions of Muslim and Hindus who have never even heard the Gospel for the first time.
Demon 1:
But wait! Look at yourself. (Person looks down at self.) You’re young. You have your whole life ahead of you. (Demon 1 and Demon 2 both make a sweeping gesture forward showing Person how much he has in his future.) You don’t have to go to the mission field NOW, do you, hmmm??
Person:
(Rather flattered at these thoughts) No, I suppose not. Hey, you know, that makes sense. I’ve got my whole life to serve the Lord. If I just wait a few years, I can build up a little money just in case any emergencies come up. And, I could take care of the wife situation in the meantime. Then, I would be really ready to go. Why didn’t I think of that before? (Resumes testimony.)
Person:
So, as I was saying, I will be leaving for the mission field in just a few short years … maybe. Thank you.
(Person turns and walks of the stage With Demon 1 and Demon 2 following close behind, rubbing their hands and smiling with delight.)

This document copyright (c) 1995 by Mathew Pole. Reproduction and/or distribution for non-commercial purposes is permissible providing that the drama is left fully intact. Permission is given to modify the drama for personal use, under the condition that the changes are not redistributed. Please send additions or corrections to Mathew and Paulyn Pole (mathew.paulyn@iname.com)
Last changed: Saturday 12 August 1995

First, remember he is not trying, but trusting.

• He is trusting God to use your church to meet his needs.
• The local church is the place where God will meet his needs both financially and spiritually.
• He is a missionary (a world traveling evangelist), sent by a local church.
• Traveling expenses and a generous love offering should be given to him in consideration of his labor for the Lord.

Second, remember he is not running, but resting. He and his family have probably traveled thousands of miles.

• You must allow him to have time to rest and recover for the next journey.
• You must not ask him to rest where you yourselves could not rest.
• He is a missionary, not a Moochinary. He has a high calling of God.
• He is or will be somebody’s hero. You should treat him as one.

Third, remember he is not wondering, but praying. You need to take his prayer card and pray about the following things.

• The health of him and his family
• Problems he may have with the language.
• Relationships he will encounter with the nationals
• His children (MK)
• The mental and emotional health of him and his family
• The missionary’s family who is left at home
• The missionary’s material needs
• The doctrinal purity of the missionary and his stand on the Bible
• Problems of demonic opposition
• Pray for prepared hearts of those he will be ministering.

Mother, What Kind of Temple Are You Building?

Two Temples

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill
Pillars and groins and arches.
All fashioned to work his will.

Men said as they saw its beauty,
“It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye”

A Mother builded a temple,
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.

None praise her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder’s temple,
Crumbled into the dust
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.

But the temple the Mother builded,
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child’s immortal soul.

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the pastor stood up, walked over to the pulpit and briefly introduced a guest minister. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was his dearest childhood friends, and he wanted his friend to share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. The elderly man stepped to the pulpit and began to speak.

A Father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast one day, when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued with his story,

Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life—which boy would he throw the life line?  He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, but He also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the Father yelled out, I love you, son! He threw out the life line to his son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swell into the black of the night. His body was never covered.

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.

The Father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line He is throwing out to you in this service.

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit, delivered a brief sermon, and gave an invitation at the end. When no one responded to the invitation, the pastor closed the service with prayer.

After the service, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side, That was a nice story, politely stated one of the boys, but I don’t think it was very realistic for a Father to give up his only son’s life hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.

Well, you’ve got a point there, the old man replied. Glancing down at his worn Bible, a big smile broadened his narrow fact—he once again looked up at the boys and said, It sure isn’t realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see—I was that Father and your pastor is my son’s friend.

This was said to be a true story.

What are your goals for 2015?

Unless you attempt to do more than you are now doing, you will never achieve all that you can do. Aim at nothing, and you are sure to reach it. Setting goals helps you keep your eyes focused on something bigger than your problems and adversity. Remember, being average is just as near the bottom as it is to the top!

Here is sample of some simplified goals:

Physical goals: Lose _____lbs by December 2015. Consciously drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables; exercise at least 3 days a week.

Mental goals: Memorize 5 verses every month, take an on-line class, begin to learn another language.

Spiritual goals: Read/listen through the Bible, keep a prayer journal, fast one day a week, pour yourself into a new convert.

Family goals: Pray diligently for family members, have consistent family devotions, Say “I love you” more.

Financial goals: Consistently give tithes and mission offerings, cut down on frivolous spending, don’t charge anything this year, save $____by the end of the year.

Church goals: Pray more diligently for your pastor, your church leaders, and your church families. Send cards to the discouraged, shut-ins, and children; Look for opportunities to give alms (benevolence causes) Pass out more tracts and don’t pass up any soul-winning opportunities.

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

‘Twas the night before Jesus came
And all through the house
Not a creature was praying,
Not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain
On the shelf without care…
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus!! Returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late’
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if I only had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

An Open Letter to the Dad Looking at Porn

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well. I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman.

First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing. Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face. When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life. I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us. Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

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