Weekday Devotionals

When I was reminded that this was the weekend I would be writing the devotional, and discovered the sermon was all about the way we think, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. “Yeah… I hear ya, Lord.” Because, I have been in a rut of “stinkin thinkin” for a few months now. My mental health has been an ongoing obstacle throughout my life. Sometimes it’s really good, and then sometimes it’s not. My thoughts can be my biggest enemy. Lately, they have not been too kind to me. It doesn’t surprise me that God would align for me to write the devotional when the sermon is all about our thoughts.

“Who we are is determined by what we think.”

What we think of ourselves, people, and the world around us, matters. Sometimes terrible things happen to us that are out of our control that play a major role in shaping who we are, how we view people, and the world. Although we wish bad things wouldn’t happen, God says He will use it for good and can transform it in to something wonderful… if we let Him. We must continuously surrender every thought and make it obedient to Christ because it’s then that He can take that willing mind and make it a new creation, piece by piece. Day by day. Year by year. This metamorphosis takes time and patience, but it can transform us to be more like Jesus. Our world needs more people who love like Jesus.

“The quality of our relationships is determined by what we think.”

If I view every person through a critical and negative lens, I will be one of those people who says, “ugh I hate people!” I actually know some people like this. I’m not referring to the introverted person who is drained by social interactions and needs separation from people sometimes (I plead guilty). I’m referring to the person who honestly believes people are inherently bad. Are people flawed and make mistakes daily? Yes. I know this because I am of one of them! God shows us endless compassion, grace, and mercy when we mess up and we are all for that! But, it’s a little bit harder when we are commanded to do the same for the people God has placed around us. Loving our enemies often times looks like forgiving those who claim to love us but have hurt us deeply. Difficult but not impossible with God. There’s a quote I think about from time to time that helps with this, “Love difficult people. You’re one them.”

“Our perceived quality of life is determined by what we think.”

I went to a third world country on a mission trip a few years ago. I was moved to tears multiple times by witnessing how joyful and grateful these people were who were living in complete poverty. I had a wake up call in regard to my life here in America on how lucky I am to live here, but with time that slowly wore off. I’m back to a “first world” mindset and unfortunately find a lot to complain about. So what’s the difference? I think simplicity creates space for gratefulness. When our minds are constantly focused on things such as material possessions, busyness, and the media, it’s easy for us to become distracted. It’s easier for us to miss the beauty of all that’s right in front of us. It’s vital for us to say “no” sometimes. To take a break or walk away from all the noise so that we can make space for our minds to breathe. To be able to have a perspective shift and focus on all that is wonderful and good in our lives and the world. It’s not about what we have, but who we have. If we have Jesus, we have all we need. That is something to be grateful for!

Hearing Sunday’s message and writing this devotional was another nudge from God for me. I hope it’s the same for you. It’s time for me to step out of this downward spiral of negative thinking. I’ve been hanging out here too long. I can’t snap my fingers and make all of it disappear, but I can make a conscious intentional effort to pray and surrender my mind to Him one day at a time. If this sounds like you, I hope you’ll let today be that day for you too.

- Raquel




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