Renewing Your Mind

As we anxiously wait for the first day of summer, let us not forget this is the perfect time to reflect on the goals we set during the beginning of the year. We are halfway through 2010. Let us not to forget to evaluate our lives and what we plan to achieve by the end of the year. We are always reminded during Spring to clean out the clutter, so we may receive new things.

Let us not forget to clean out our minds which include bad memories and habits, defeated thoughts and attitudes or anything else that may be holding us back from receiving what God has promised us as His children. “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Old things have passed away. Behold, I make all things new.” II Corth 5:17

Refocus on Priorities

It’s important to take time to reflect on your life in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up for goals that you haven’t attained just yet. But, just learn to refocus on priorities and set small goals to work towards what you desire to achieve.

Build a Support System

Also, you must pay close attention to your social environment. You should build a strong support system of family, friends, neighbors, classmates and church associates.

What type of people do you surround yourself? Make sure you are surrounding yourself with positive people who will inspire, encourage and motivate you. Pay attention to the details of the heart of people that you interact with on a daily basis. What are their motives or intentions? Are their actions and words positive or negative? Take note of their behavior and decide whether you choose to be around them. You are valuable and so is your time.

You should spend time expanding your mind. If you don’t enjoy reading, make it a point to watch a movie or documentary that will give you a different perspective on life. You need to refresh your mind. Water your mind with knowledge and watch it grow. In scripture it states, “My people will perish for the lack of knowledge.” So, don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. Expose yourself to new cultures, races, creeds, religions or non-religious people. Be open to new ideas, opinions and thoughts. You can have a healthy conversation without having a debate or argument. That’s what makes life interesting. You do not have to agree with the person, but please make sure you respect them.

Guard Your Heart and Thoughts

It’s important to guard your thoughts. It’s so easy to dwell on negative emotions or words that will eventually influence your mind and behavior. Be mindful of what you allow to enter into your mind. There are many negative influences that surround us in the world and it doesn’t take long for a negative seed to be planted in your mind which eventually takes root. It’s much like weeds growing among beautiful, green grass. Weeds tend to multiply quickly and destroy the view. If you feed your mind junk, that’s exactly what you will eventually believe or think.

We are constantly influenced by images, words and stereotypes that influence the way we think. We have been so programmed that we often do not really learn to think for ourselves anymore. Don’t rely on gossip or rumors, but confront the source to get the correct information. Let’s be conscious of what we choose to listen to since this has a strong impact on how we see ourselves and others and can eventually influence our overall behavior.

Fill your mind with God’s word. It’s the most important thing you can do to withstand the attacks from the enemy. The only way to win the battles that come against you is to put on the armor of the Lord. To overcome the storms of life, you must read and study God’s word. It’s filled with power, truth, protection, guidance and His promises. Through daily mediation on God’s word, you will start to build faith, strength and courage to overcome the challenges and obstacles that you face. Through prayer, you will build a relationship with the Lord and will be shielded through your trials and tribulations. Even though bad things will still happen, hold onto your faith. You will have to endure many tests in life. Keeping your heart and mind grounded in the word of God, will eventually lead you to the harvest He has prepared for you.

How God Speaks to me

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I was really down this week. I’ve felt completely drained, discouraged, depleted and unmotivated. I was feeling overwhelmed with life. I was lying in bed with the Writer’s Digest Magazine on my stomach staring at the ceiling.

I was determined to finish reading this magazine before the month was over. It was one of my silent New Year’s resolutions–which I really don’t believe in because I never attain the goals….so I simply call it my daily or monthly plan.  Anyway, I was looking up at the ceiling in silence and then closed my eyes for about 45 minutes before I even decided to pick up the magazine.

I started reading page by page struggling  to gain focus and concentration. I was determined to read every page because sometimes I cheat and skip the minor details in anticipation to get to the big, “How-to” articles.  But then, it happened!  As my eyes skimmed the pages, I saw my name in print!!! “Yolanda Berry” as my eyes slowly looked above my name to see the piece I submitted back in December. It was a letter that I submitted via email to the editor in frustration about how difficult it was to be recognized as a new writer without samples of your work in the publishing industry. 

They published my clip in the February 2009 issue of the Writer’s Digest!!! The title, “Write Your Novel in 2009.” I remember picking up the mail the day after New Year’s and finding the magazine in the mailbox.  The title seemed to scream, “Write it Now!” It was a very subliminal message which I took acknowledged secretly.

I’ve subscribed to this magazine for years and have been more of a dedicated reader than a writer. I read my clip and instantly got a boost of motivation!!! This is exactly what I needed to start off my New Year!!! No more procrastination. This is it!  This is worth the “Fight of My Life!!!” I can put on my running shoes now!

Thank you Writer’s Digest!!!

 

A Cheese Danish Sunday

For most of us, the first thing on our minds in the morning is breakfast.

 My alarm went off at 6:50 AM. My stomach was growling but I chose to hit the snooze button until 7:30 to get the last few precious minutes of sleep. I showered, got dressed in a hurry and prepared myself to greet church members, faculty, new members and visitors for this was my commitment to serving the Lord on every third Sunday of the month. I didn’t have time to eat so I quickly made a cup of tea, grabbed a bottle of water and stuffed a cheese Danish into a plastic baggie and headed for the door.

 I thought of the lack of eating a hearty breakfast. I imagined hot, buttered pancakes drizzled with syrup, scrambled eggs, sizzling bacon, a hot cup of hazelnut coffee and big tall glass of orange juice. As the cold air slapped me back into reality, I turned on the radio and carefully sipped hot tea while I waited for my car to heat up.

 As I waited for the red light to turn, I eyed the cheese danish. It was the perfect color— a beautiful golden brown with whipped, cream cheese filling sandwiched between the pastry. My mouth watered so I decided to take a bite. It was better than I imagined. The crust was soft and flaky and the cream cheese was soft and mildly sweet. Just the way I like it. It made my taste buds dance. The light turned green so I slid the danish back into the baggie and decided I would finish it once I got to the church parking lot.

 When I made the right turn, the cheese danish slid between the passenger car seat and the car door. As I went to clutch the bag, the danish fell out of the bag and under the seat between the car door. I was furious.  My tea was cold and I only took two bites of the flaky, soft crust.  I could hardly focus on driving and I just wanted to turn back around and go home and call it a day. Suddenly, a favorite Christian song came on the radio that calmed me down and ministered to my spirit. I started to praise God as I went on my way to church.

 Unfortunately, I was still rushing and felt a little frazzled entering the Walker Center lobby. I greeted the team leader at the Welcome Center. I was to meet a new volunteer in the Sanctuary. That is exactly where I didn’t want to greet today because I didn’t want to be around too many people. I was still hungry and a little cranky.

Once I met the other volunteer, he told me to relieve a lady working downstairs near the nursery. It was very cold because it was near the door.  In some way, I didn’t mind because it didn’t look like a busy area. I normally like to greet everyone upstairs at the entrance, but today was

different. I was hungry and cold, not a good combination in the morning. However once I started greeting people, my spirit began to change. I actually started to feel a sense of  joy enter my heart again. I smiled and welcomed everyone I met. It was awesome.

 Once I got to church, my pastor spoke about the importance of praise and worship. It was the perfect sermon I needed to hear. I felt my spirit come alive again. My spirit began to dance. I consumed the word of God and received spiritual nourishment that sustained me. I wasn’t even physically hungry anymore.  

 Just how we crave food in our daily lives, we should have the same craving for the Lord. Jesus should be the first meal of our day. Jesus is the bread of life. He is the sustainer of all things. “In him, is where we move and have our being.”  Our minds should be focused on Him as we start our day. He nourishes us with His truth, love, mercy and grace. He feeds us with the fruits of the spirit:

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23).