Clear Thinking about Your Problems

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Your mind is an amazing creation of god.. It stores billions of pieces of information. It can record 800 memories per second … for 75 years without wearing out. No computer, not even a Mac, will ever match that capacity and you will only us a fraction of the capacity of your brain.
Proverbs 23:7 NKJV
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
Your thoughts shape your life more than anything else… more than what happens to you...
You are what you think about.
What you think about is more important than your heredity or your background.
If you want to change your life, you have to change your thinking, and if you are serious about changing your thinking, you have to begin with
Romans 12:2 NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
So I want us to get some clear thinking on some things in the coming weeks, and to do that we have to allow God to change our thinking.
family… finances… future… relationships… problems…
Life is a series of ups and downs … mountains and valleys… highs and lows… obstacles and opportunities…
One thing is certain.... life will have problems and we will encounter them
Depression - fell disappointed or discouraged
Defeated - overwhelmed and feeling like a failure. Feel like giving up
Darkness - feel like you are all alone.
But the good news is that with God’s help, we will not only overcome them, we will thrive while we do it. So how can we get through these difficult times?

How can we get through difficult times?

How can we get through difficult times? By changing the way we think!

Your perspective is your biggest problem. Some people seem to be able to handle almost anything while others can’t handle anything, and a lot that has to do with perspective. If you see this world as all there is, you will worry about everything. If you see this world as practice for heaven, you won’t worry near as much. When you have the right perspective, you can handle almost anything.
Look at what Paul said,
2 Corinthians 4:8–9 The Living Bible
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. 9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
Paul was going through some difficult times that threatened to kill him. What was the secret to his endurance in these difficulties?
It was clear thinking! Look at verse 18
2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
fix your gaze means to deliberately focus on things that can’t be seen… IOW God. He saw things from an eternal perspective, not from an external perspective.
We want to learn how to have clear thinking and one book that’s good for that is the book of Psalms. David encountered every kind of problem you can imagine. But whenever he would encounter a problem, he would talk to God.
From Daivid’s example, we can learn three keys to clear thinking.

How to think clearly

1. when your situation looks depressing think about the goodness of God

Depression is a warning light that you are focusing on the wrong things. You are focusing on the negative things, the external conditions.
It also means that you have forgotten about all the ways God has blessed you and come through for you in the past.
This is often caused by all or nothing thinking.
If criticized - no one likes me....
If I make a mistake - I am a total failure
If there are delays and difficulties - Everything is wrong…
Faucet clogged - If I were to go home today after church and turn on the faucet in my kitchen and no water came out, it would be kind of silly for me to go outside and yell in the street, “The world is out of water!” No, the world isn’t out of water it’s just that my faucet isn’t working. Yet you do that all the time with your problems and that’s what leads to depression. All-Or-Nothing thinking. You forget the good things in your life
Psalm 27:13–14 NASB95PARA
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Get your eyes off of what you have lost and onto to what you still have. Get your eyes off of how you feel and onto how God has blessed you.
Gratefulness is the healthiest emotion you can experience. If you fill your life with gratitude you will be healthier and emotionally. If you are depressed, you need to focus on the goodness of God in your life. It’s a change of perspective.
Make a list of things you are grateful for...
Thinking about the goodness of God means remembering what God is really like.
Listen, not everything that happens in your life is good. There are bad things that happen bit God is alway good and he can and will bring good things to your life from the bad things that happen in your life.
Story of Joseph … Joseph told his brothers… you meant it for evil, but God mean it for good.
Question -

What have others meant for bad in your life?

Surely others have mistreated you.... mistreatment of you… putting you down… cheating you… using you… stab you in the back… lie…cheat…
They mean it for evil, but God will bring good out of it.
Have you ever stopped to think about how God has brought good out if those times? If you will stop focusing on how people have hurt you, you will stop being depressed. Instead think about how God has worked good in your life during difficult times and what he wants to do in your life as you go through it.
Here is the principle. Focus on the goodness of God when life doesn’t make sense.
Life is full of disappointments… full of them. So when you face these disappointing days… these depressing days, what do you do. You focus on the goodness of God.
example of when you have gone through disappointment… When things don’t make sense, remember that God is a good God and worthy of your trust.
Psalm 31:19 The Living Bible
19 Oh, how great is your goodness to those who publicly declare that you will rescue them. For you have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence you.
Life is filled with disappointments… some bog some small.
But for a Believer, NOTHING is by accident.
We use this verse all the time.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God has good plans for you because he is a good God.
Romans 8:28 NLT
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
He is always working for your good.
The oldest tactic of the devil is to get you to doubt the goodness of God. That’s what he did to Adam and Eve in the garden. He said, If God really loved you he would let you eat from every tree in the garden.
In 2022 if things are not going your way, Satan is still trying to get you to doubt God’s goodness.
Sex - God says sex is for marriage… why? He knows what’s best for you. When you don’t do it his way, it causes you and others pain and you are saying that God isn’t a good God because he is trying to hold back on me.
Tithing - God says to give 10% of your income to him. You say, I can’’t live on 90%. You are doubting God’s goodness.
When things don’t go as you had planned… when there doesn[t seem to be ab explanation, Satan comes around and tries to get you to doubt God’s goodness. He will say, if God is so good, why did this happen. That’s when you need to focus on the goodness of God.
When you focus on the goodness of God, you will have an overwhelming desire to worship him.
Thank God for his goodness.

2. When your situation looks defeating think about greatness of God

The fact is that you will fail many times at something...
sometimes you run out of energy… feel like giving up… I’ve tried but nothing seems to change… It’s hopeless… Why try?
My marriage isn’t getting any better
My career is going nowhere
My kids are not going in the right direction
My prayers are not being answered.
Whenever you feel defeated, you need to refocus on God’s power.
Trapeze Artist - failure isn’t an option. when they miss the bar, they don’t focus so much on the bar they missed but they are grateful for the net that’s going to catch them.
Some of you feel like in your life right now that you’re working without a net. One more defeat, one more failure, one more fall and it’s over for you. That’s how you feel.
But I am here to tell you that you are NOT working without a net. The Greatness of God is that he is standing there with arms wide open and will catch you no matter what you have done… no matter how many people you have let down… no matter how disappointed you are in yourself… no matter how ashamed you are. God in His greatness will catch you.
Psalm 147:5 The Living Bible
5 How great he is! His power is absolute! His understanding is unlimited.
Stop focusing on your problem… focus on God’s power.
Stop focusing on your situation… focus on your Savior.
Stop focusing on what you can’t do… focus on what God can do.
God’s power is evident in creation. Have you ever watched a storm at a distance… or seen a rainbow after the storm. Sometimes you just have to slow down and look. Of course there will always be someone who will blow their horn and point a different finger because they are trying to get around the people who are looking at the beautiful rainbow. We are like that in many ways, we get so busy going and going and going that we don’t look up and notice the greatness of God.
The neat things is this. God’s power is not only visible, it’s available to you. All you have to do is ask.
Psalm 69:13–15 NCV
13 But I pray to you, Lord, for favor. God, because of your great love, answer me. You are truly able to save. 14 Pull me from the mud, and do not let me sink. Save me from those who hate me and from the deep water. 15 Do not let the flood drown me or the deep water swallow me or the grave close its mouth over me.
There are situations in life that make us feel like we are in quicksand. the harder we work the faster we sink...
What areas do you have that sinking feeling?
Marriage -
Kids -
work -
Your dreams -
Listen, if you are in quicksand, you need help from the outside to get out. It might be a friend, a counselor, but it has to include God’s mighty hand. There are things in life that will be impossible for you, but God specializes in the impossibles.
YFC trying to get into a school… trouble… began praying and asking God where he was working and how could we join him… all schools opened up to us.
If you are here or listening today, and you have that feeling that you are sinking, and you wonder how am I going to get out of this or through this. I am here to tell you that God’s mighty power is here for you.
Look at this verse…
Jeremiah 32:27 NLT
27 “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?
God specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too hard for him. Trust in the God who does the impossible all the time.
Jesus said many times something like this: According to your faith it will be done to you… When you put your faith in God, who can do the impossible, the impossible happens.
Here is what I want you to do. silently tell God right now… God I trust you. Instead of looking at my failures and my problems, I an looking to your greatness and the fact you can do the impossible.

3. When your situation looks dark think about the closeness of God

In those dark days, God is always with you. He is there every moment. guy who was convicted of 2nd degree murder… said he never felt the presence of god stronger than that day in court.
What are your Dark Days - loneliness… worry… financial difficulty … fear… illness
In Dark days, you often just put one foot in front of the other… it’s a victory just to get out of bed… You don’t feel any joy… you don’t have any energy.
Some of you are in dark days right now… illness… finances… relationships estranged… kids grown and gone
Maybe you have an overwhelming sense of dread. You are dreading change… what might happen…
How do you survive? Focus on the closeness of God. Read the Psalms. David had a lot of dark days. Look what he says to do.
Psalm 112:1–8 The Living Bible
1 Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing his commands. 2 His children shall be honored everywhere, for good men’s sons have a special heritage. 3 He himself shall be wealthy, and his good deeds will never be forgotten. 4 When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in. He is kind and merciful—5 and all goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly. 6 Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. 7 He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. 8 That is why he is not afraid but can calmly face his foes.
The antidote for dark days is focusing on the fact that God is right there with you and that He will take care of you. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just need to hold on to the One who does know all the answers. He has not abandoned you. He is right there.
Psalm 112 The Living Bible
1 Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing his commands. 2 His children shall be honored everywhere, for good men’s sons have a special heritage. 3 He himself shall be wealthy, and his good deeds will never be forgotten. 4 When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in. He is kind and merciful—5 and all goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly. 6 Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. 7 He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. 8 That is why he is not afraid but can calmly face his foes. 9 He gives generously to those in need. His deeds will never be forgotten. He shall have influence and honor. 10 Evil-minded men will be infuriated when they see all this; they will gnash their teeth in anger and slink away, their hopes thwarted.
The antidote for dark days is to know that you know that you know that God is going to take care of you. Some of you are going through these dark times now. God cares. He is with you. You are not facing this on your own.
In fact, the bible says that when you feel the most alone… the most broken… He is close.
Psalm 34:18 NLT
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
He hasn’t left you… he is right there with you. He knows what you are facing and He cares.
A lot of people are afraid of the dark… we can’’t see what’s around us, but when you know that Jesus is right there with you, you don’t have to be afraid.
Psalm 37:34 The Living Bible
34 Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing, and you will see the wicked destroyed.
Keep doing what’s right whether you feel like it or not… and he will honor you with every blessing.
It will take time to get through what you are going through.
You didn’t get the way you are overnight and you won’t change and get out of it overnight.
You may wonder why doesn’t God just deliver me instantly. I’ll tell you one reason. He is interested in developing our character more than he is interested in our comfort. There are some things that we can only learn in the dark… when you are struggling… when you are unhappy. You don’t learn these lessons when everything is good. You don’t become strong if you are never tested.
Keep traveling steadily along His pathway… that’s God’s plan. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Be confident that with every step of the way, God is with you. Look for His timing.
Altar and prayer time.
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