Power of Belief
Power of Belief
When Jesus was crucified, it was an enormous shock to His followers. They secretly expected Him to establish His kingdom on earth when pushed against the wall! They saw how Jesus was mistreated. To the last moment, they waited for a divine manifestation of power to take care of Jesus, and prove to the world He was indeed the Messiah, the liberator of the Jewish nation. They figured out that if Jesus was able to heal the sick, provide food to crowds out of nothing, wine out of water, He could also perform a miracle in His behalf! But instead, He was beaten, spit on, ridiculed, and hung on a Roman cross. They heard with their own ears Jesus’ words, “It is finished.” Then they watched Him die before their very eyes. They went back home on that Friday evening thinking it was OVER! It was good as it lasted.
The power of God is manifested upon those who BELIEVE. Doubt is deadly to your relationship with God. Believing begins with gratefulness. You will never believe God with all your heart if you are not grateful for what He is doing in your life, now. It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that will give you altitude. Gratefulness is a transforming attitude. Why would you believe in God, if you feel negative about your life? If you don’t see anything to be grateful for? Believing is rooted in gratefulness. Perhaps, you need to ask God to change your eyes, your mind, to see how He is blessing you in the midst of adverse circumstances. Gratitude is a spiritual powerful habit. From gratitude you will move to joy, to worship, to adoration… and TO BELIEVING in the power and the love of God.
Shift Your Mindset
Your thoughts shape your reality.
Whenever you think you can achieve something or whenever you think you will never be able to, you are right in both instances. When you decide that you are useless that’s all you’ll ever be. But if you choose to believe you were meant for greatness, most likely you will be driven to look for resources that will assist in becoming what you chose to be.
How you feel about yourself is what you project into the world and although your thoughts cannot be seen, they can be felt by others. If you see yourself as ugly or unfit that’s exactly how others will perceive you too.
Your thoughts will either generate positive energy or negative energy. If positive, you will attract people towards you. If you generate negative energy rooted in a negative thoughts, you will push people away.
Your emotional state doesn’t just affect the ones who surround you but it drastically affects your own quality of life. What you believe to be true about yourself will always remain so unless you choose to change your thoughts! I do meet people who tell me, “change is impossible at this age. Or, people don’t really change! Well, if you have those thoughts, guess what? You won’t change!
Everything starts with a thought! At the end of the day you are what you think about!
I read my Bible in the morning and seek God’s presence not because I think I am better than anyone else. I just know I need positive thoughts from God to live life one more day! This morning just in the middle of my devotional time with God, He shared a couple of ideas. I write them down on paper. They gave me the “oxygen” I needed to breath well all day long. It’s amazing what good, positive, healthy, dynamic thoughts can do for you.
Positive thoughts do not only bless you personally, physically, emotionally, but they create a positive presence in your mind that influence all your interactions with people.
You feel what you think! You do what you think! Research shows that 85% of physical illness and health is caused by emotions. What are emotions? We spoke about this last night. Emotions and feelings are deeper, non rational thoughts, rooted in the body, in your gut, in your tummy! The gut has often been called the second brain.
It turns out that both our gut and our brain originate early in embryogenesis from the same clump of tissue which divides during fetal development. While one section turns into the central nervous system, another piece migrates to become the enteric nervous system. Later the two nervous systems connect via a cable called the vagus nerve – the longest of all the cranial nerves whose name is derived from Latin, meaning “wandering.” The vagus nerve meanders from the brain stem through the neck and finally ends up in the abdomen. There’s the brain-gut connection.
Now we know that the brain is not the only place in the body that’s full of neurotransmitters. A hundred million neurotransmitters line the length of the gut, approximately the same number that is found in the brain. If we add the nerve cells of the esophagus, stomach and large intestine, there are more nerve cells in the gut than there are in the entire remainder of the peripheral nervous system. Nearly every chemical that controls the brain in the head has been identified in the gut, including hormones and neurotransmitters.
Why Am I sharing this with you? Because most of your life is driven by “thoughts” that you are not always able to describe with words. We call them “feelings and emotions” but in reality they are “thoughts.”
God wants to impact your brain (and your second brain), with His spiritual power and His views of the world you perceive and experience.
Today, I decided to share with you what I use with clients I coach, and in my own personal walk with God.
If you want to unleash the power of God in your life, your brain (both brains) must be aligned with God! If you want to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco you must drive North! If you choose the 10 Fwy going east you will end up in Tucson, Arizona. Don’t tell me you are shocked when you end up in Tucson! :-) Same is true with God! Do you want to experience the transforming power of God in your life? Do you want to experience the fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5) Then, go North, not East, nor South, nor West! Makes sens, uh?
Here are the 3 simple steps to shift from your natural tendency, from self, to God in order to experience His POWER.
- Surrender to God! Yes, surrender! No “Life Coach,” no motivational coach, no therapist will tell you this upfront. I do! Nothing else works, except temporarily! I believe God is the source of transformational power. Strategies are fine! Principles and steps are fine! But ultimately it all comes down to POWER. Take your struggle to God. Visualize the act of giving to God your pain, your suffering, your wounds, your conflict, your marriage, your relationship, your sense of emptiness.
Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28-30
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Fear and anxiety come from your gut! From your second brain! Memories from the past. Hurts, wounds, anger, resentment. These are all “thoughts” dressed up as feelings!
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we TAKE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST.”
God says, bring it all to me. Make every thought obey your choice! Make them go NORTH! :-) It is so counter-intuitive to what we humans do! You want to experience the unleashing of God’s power in your life? SHIFT from self, from feelings and emotions, from what obsesses you, from the circumstances you are facing, to a state of surrendering to God! Stop fighting! Surrender to God!
- Listen to God! If you surrender to God whatever troubles you, and move back into the noise of life, you will never hear God’s voice! You must commit to hearing God speak to you. Listen to and read your Bible, meditate, wait in silence, be on the alert… God will speak. God will give you direction. God will not leave you alone. Devotional books are OK to hear God speaks, but NOTHING WILL SUBSTITUTE THE DIRECT READING OF THE LIVING WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE. Whatever you fill your brain with, will ultimately be the voice you will hear back! Fill your mind with God’s Word, and you will hear God’s voice!
Jeremiah was an angry prophet of God in the Old Testament. He was so angry with God that he wrote an entire book of complaints against God. Imagine! The book is called “Lamentations.” One of the principles Jeremiah shares with us in the midst of his anger and frustration is this:
“God proves to be good to the man who passionately WAITS, to the woman who diligently SEEKS. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.” (Lamentations 3: 25-33)
“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. ENTER THE SILENCE. BOW IN PRAYER. Don’t ask questions: WAIT for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.”
“Why? Because the Master [God] won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard,in throwing roadblocks in the way.”
God will speak to you, if you stop to listen. He may give you another perspective on what is going on. (Romans 8:28) Part of the SHIFT we spoke about last night is the ability to hear God! Do you want to experience the unleashing of God’s power in your life? STOP AND LISTEN! God is longing to share His purpose for your life!
- Praise God in the midst of adversity. Cultivate the fine art of gratefulness. It must be cultivated and practiced to become second nature! Some of my homeless brothers and sisters have taught me this art the best! One of the best weapons to destroy and overcome negativity is reverse psychology. Praise God when you don’t feel like it! Find positive in the midst of adverse conditions. It just takes some creativity. Praise God even when physical reality defies your gratefulness. When you lose your job, when you are sick, when someone betrays you and stabs you in the back, praise God! Take it as an opportunity to pray for that person. In the midst of grieving a loved one, it is possible to rejoice in God, knowing that ultimately He will make things come around right, even when you cannot see it in the present.
Praising God, expressing gratefulness to God in the midst of adversity places you at a much higher level of consciousness. You are allowing God to fill you with hope, love and prepare you to see what you wouldn’t see in a state of negativity. Gratefulness, purposeful love, healthy food, and exercise are the four basics of a healthy brain!
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; THANK GOD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Do you want to experience the unleashing of God’s power in your life? SHIFT your mind! SHIFT towards God!
Dealing with Negativity
We all deal with negative emotions at one time or another. We may be having a “bad hair day,” we may meet someone that really irritates us, we may get hurt, ignored, or mistreated by someone. Some of us carry those negative emotions all the time because they have been buried so deep in our psyche that they almost totally shape our sense of identity.
What Are Negative Emotions?
I want you to think of emotions as ENERGY. That’s what they are! The emotions (energy) can be positive or negative.
- Principle # 1. POSITIVE EMOTIONS are nearly the same as NEGATIVE ONES.
If you are experiencing frustration and you are able to strip away the circumstances that caused the frustration, the RAW ENERGY of frustration feels a lot like enthusiasm. Are you with me, Friend? Think about it: frustration and enthusiasm are the same raw, primal energy (car) going in two opposite directions, negative which is frustration (north) or positive which is enthusiasm (south).
If you are experiencing intense feelings of anger/hostility and you are able to strip away the circumstances that caused the feelings of anger/hostility the RAW ENERGY feels a lot like passionate love. Have you heard of angry couples who make love like crazy after a very bad fight? Why is that? The same raw, primal energy can go in two different directions (north or south); negative or positive. Passion can serve the purpose of LOVE which will create intense bonding, or HATE, which will will destroy the relationship. By the way, love making after a fight is a bad idea if one or both spouses are into denial and NOT resolving conflict. Great idea, if you are good at conflict resolution! (You would be surprised how much I learn listening to marriages. Better than reading novels, watching any movie, or a reality show… :-)
Here is the bottom line of this principle. When you’re feeling negative, you’re actually quite close to feeling positive. Let me help you imagine this picture so you will understand the next step. The moment you are able to identify negative energy and toxicity in yourself, remember, (see it with your mind) you are just one step away from experiencing positive and healing energy! Have you ever dealt with negative and toxic people? Well, those same people are one step away from being incredibly positive, affirming, loving and encouraging.
- Principle # 2. To shift from negative emotion to positive one (Which is one inch, one step, one second away… Remember?) you must decisively turn in the opposite destination.
Most people look at me at this point and say… “Really? Is it that simple?” Well, yes!
Going back to the example of the car. The “car” is energy. The “car” is the same whether you go north or south.
If you are going north and you suddenly realize that’s not where you want to go (negative energy-negative emotions) don’t fight it! Instead, turn around and go south! (positive energy-positive emotions).
It’s the thinking that gets you in trouble, not the emotions. Why do you have to think about it? Hating hurts! So does loving! But the result is different! Determination to finish your educational goals will make you sweat! Determination to commit criminal and destructive acts will make you sweat too! The results are different. People get stuck in the thinking. Why Am I feeling this way? The moment you realize that self-victimization cost you exactly the same price as growth, but the results are different, why do you have to continue thinking and ruminating?
Three simple steps.
1. Suspend the thinking and just visualize the destination.
Hate and loving take the same energy. Right? The destination will be different. Why do you need a week to think about it.
Vengeance and forgiveness will suck the same amount of energy out of you. Destination? End result? Total opposites. One leaves you empty, full of toxic, sick, the other is blessed by God, it makes you a better person!
2. While you suspend the ruminating, the thinking, make a decisive choice!
Choose the destination you know is the best for you. If you want to talk about loving yourself… Do it now! Make the most beneficial choice for you.
The best way to DEAL with negative energy is not to fight against it but instead, CHOOSE to make positive use of that energy by redirecting it. No one can choose for you. That is your unique privilege. CHOICE is your ultimate right. Blaming, lying, excusing, cheating, justifying, explaining or reacting is just a symptom that shows you are not willing to CHOOSE and assume responsibility for harnessing your RAW ENERGY. It is very sad and even painful, to observe someone experiencing so much negative energy while knowing that the same person is so close to being a magnificent force for good. Some of the bitterest people I have dealt with are those who are just one inch from being the most loving people. Just one inch! One second away. One decisive choice away. The worst marital conflicts that often end up in divorce and wounded children were just one inch away from turning into magnificent marriages! What a waste! Personal choice is the one switch that makes a world of difference.
The law of replacement works this way: Your brain will never be inactive. Not for a split second unless you are dead! Your brain will never be on neutral. There will always be something replacing something. Even your “dream” system is meant to fuel your energy. Did you ever have a bad dream and you were filled with negative energy all day long? Did you experience the same with a happy dream? Have you ever finished a conversation with a negative person that doesn’t allow you to resolve a conflict and you end up with negative energy? Have you ever had a dialogue with a positive person that affirms you and you feel totally positive at the end of the conversation? Fuel is anything that enters your brain or emotional system. Fuel will produce energy!
But you see, you are always in control of what enters your brain and emotional system. Even when you face a negative person you can choose to fuel your brain with positive thoughts. That is the role of healthy spirituality and a relationship with God. When you walk with God, you are never alone. Angels are around you. The Spirit of God is talking to you! You are receiving a constant flow of positive energy!
The moment you see the destination, you must suspend thinking, make a choice to turn around, and immediately start feeding your mind with positive fuel.
REPLACE hate with love by an act of the will. REPLACE unloving actions with thoughts of affirmation. REPLACE hostility with forgiveness. REPLACE the raw anger and bitterness you experience with thoughts of God and His grace. REPLACE guilt and remorse with grace. REPLACE regret with hope. REPLACE fear with trust. REPLACE frustration with calmness. REPLACE victimization (“Poor little me!”) with personal responsibility and growth. REPLACE negative feelings by going into nature or going to the gym. Physical exercise works wonders by changing your brain chemistry. REPLACE selfishness with time spent with someone that needs help. REPLACE hostility with meditation and reflection.
No matter what’s coming your way, you can redirect the power of your life in a positive direction. Remember what you’re in favor of, and put your life into it. As long as you keep looking at what you don’t want, that’s exactly what you will get! Apply this to marriage, divorce, parenting, work situations, family tensions.
“Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21
In the power of God, you can turn negativity into positive! Give it a try. You will get totally hooked on it. I promise!
Simple thoughts to replace negativity into positive energy:
Pray. Talk to God. Visualize God. Raise the palms of your hands to God and give him the negative stuff. Put your kids on the palm of your hand… One by one, and watch God… Watch how he hugs them, talks to them…
Find a coach, a mentor that loves you, and is able to give you feedback… Ask your spouse to be brutally honest with you. Ask your kids. If you listen and open up, people will tell you what they see… You will harvest incredible support from people who love you!
Read your Bible in a version that speaks your language. You must hear God speaking to you. Read the Psalms. I can not tell you what the Psalms do for me when I face negative force in my life.
Choose to focus on the magnificent things happening in your life right now. Stuff you don’t think about. Roof over your head. A job. Friends. Marriage is not the answer to loneliness and boredom! A life of purpose and service is. Find your purpose in life. Your purpose will drive you to the most amazing people in the world!
Stop trying to be right all the time. Who needs that? Really… What about just listening and asking questions? It is so boring to be around opinionated, predictable, non creative people…
By God’s design, we all have a natural reflex. A natural reflex is just what you do when you face any situation. God made us that way! You don’t have to teach a child a natural reflex. If a child touches something hot, he will recoil. He doesn’t leave his hand there, but will pull it back. That is a natural reflex! Same when someone hurts you emotionally. Same when you face an unexpected problem. Natural reflexes are not bad. They could actually save your life!
Then there is a conditioned reflex. This is what you learn in time. It’s called “crisis management.” You learn how to respond to situations. When you learn to drive, for instance, it is not easy at first. You are conscious of everything you are doing. But after awhile, it gets easier. And before you know it, your driving has become a series of conditioned reflexes. The better you train yourself in the area of conditioned reflexes, the better you will be able to handle the unexpected.
So what should you do when you face a personal crisis? Running away won’t help! Repressing and denying reality won’t help either! Worrying makes it worse.
That’s when you need to resist your natural reflex, and exercise, and develop, the best conditioned reflex for the moment.
For example, in times of trouble, some people turn to other people. There is a healthy place for that conditioned reflex. That is certainly better than getting drunk, or doing drugs, or tuning out by pretending that a bad situation does not exist. But, you see, Friend, ultimately, people cannot meet all your needs. No one will be able to do that for you. There comes a time when you need supernatural power to manage a crisis successfully! And by the way, this is a huge issue in long term marriages that end up in divorce. Usually there are mountains of unmet expectations, unresolved conflict, and deep disappointment. No one, should be expected to fulfill all of your needs. It’s impossible!
So, here is the conditioned reflex that will become the best prescription against worrying, running away, stressing out, going crazy, or avoiding a crisis altogether!
Turn to God.
It is that simple, yet it takes a well disciplined conditioned reflex to do it. In the midst of unmet needs and expectations, turn to God! In the midst of a dark storm, turn to God! When sad, depressed, unable to get hold of yourself, turn to God!
Philippians 4:6 tells us: “Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
The best prescription for worry is prayer, understanding the promises of God, reading the Bible, praising Him, and placing everything in His hands. Let me share with you what I do every morning. I actually raise the palms of my hands to God while I pray. I place each one of my kids on those palms. One by one. I place marriages I am praying for. I place people I have not even met but request prayers for a particular issue. It helps me to visualize, the act of surrendering. That’s why I kneel. God is not impressed by that! No one sees me. It is my mental state that matters. It is good for my mind. It is good in order to create a conditioned reflex that says… “When anxious, when in pain, STOP, PAUSE and SURRENDER…” When freaking out abut something… stop all the crazy traffic going on in your mind, and in your tummy… and be silent before God. He was there before you got there. He was watching everything. He is in the crisis with you, and He has already decided what the best outcome will be, if you don’t fight back!