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“Our memories are not enemies of forgiveness. Memories are simply memories.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Locations 2101-2102). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

He then says, “What we do with them determines their impact. Our memories are opportunities to renew our minds to what we know is true. Our memories are opportunities to rejoice in our own forgiveness. Truly forgiving does not always entail truly forgetting. If you will renew your mind, painful memories can become reminders of God’s goodness and grace and healing power in your life. What were once negative memories can become a source of joy as you experience the healing power of the Father.”
Isn’t that great?An experience that the Enemy has set up to hurt us the rest of our life can be turned into an opportunity to once again see how great God is and how He can make such a difference in our life.Please don’t waist the opportunity.Let Go…

“When memories of past hurt flood your mind, go ahead and face them.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Locations 2095-2096). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Andy then says, “Allow yourself to remember the incident. It’s even okay to feel the emotions those memories elicit. If necessary, be angry but do not sin (see Ephesians 4: 26). But instead of reopening the case against your offender, instead of rehearsing images of retribution and revenge, use it as an opportunity to renew your mind.”
I’m not sure who it is that needed this thought today.All I can say is that God loves you and wants to release you from your past hurts.Go ahead and face it and then let God help you deal with it through forgiving you of the part you may have played in it and then forgiving the part that the other person played in  it.
How do you really know that you have truly forgiven them?You know it because when you thin…

“Pain sets us up to become self-centered.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Location 1982). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And that is true emotionally and physically.Think about the last time you had some real physical pain.I’m mean you were really hurting.Who were you thinking about? You.And the same is true emotionally.
Andy says, “Emotional pain works the same way. And like physical pain, the more intense the emotional pain, the more self-centered we become, and self-centeredness is the archenemy of character. Men and women of character are committed to putting others first.”
But the Enemy knows how to sidetrack us doesn’t he?I mean I’m in pain.Take care of me.But the golden rule says, “To do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”And pain is a way of learning how to minister to others and to show people how God can make a difference when we are in pain.But it is really difficult to do isn’t it?
I’ve been thi…

“Forgiveness is not a gift for someone else.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Location 1942). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Now it does have some benefit to the one being forgiven.I mean it really makes us feel good when someone shows they care enough to ask us to forgive them for something we did to them.The gift of forgiveness to someone is a very meaningful gift but the real gift is to the one doing the forgiving.
As Andy says, “We have a tendency to view forgiveness as a gift to the one who offended us— as a benefit to that person.”That is why it is difficult for us to do.We see it as letting them off the hook for what they did to us.
But he then goes on to say, “For the most part, it’s a gift that was designed for us. It’s something we give ourselves. Because when you consider everything that’s at stake, the one who benefits the most from forgiveness is the one…

“Our feelings are wonderful followers, but they are terrible leaders.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Locations 1540-1541). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I almost did that today.I wasn’t feeling very inspired and I had a lot of other things getting my attention and I just about convinced myself to not write a new post.I could wait and write it tomorrow.I just don’t feel like writing today.
Do you ever get to that point?I heard of this guy who got up on a Sunday morning and told his wife, “You know, I just don’t feel like going to church today.I was up late last night and I just feel like staying home.”But his wife brought him back to reality.She said, “But you are the Pastor.You can’t stay home.”
Maybe that is the way you feel every Monday.“I just don’t feel like going to work.I think I will just stay home.That is what I really feel like doing?”But you get up and get ready and head in to work because you realize that feelings are terrible leaders.

“False assumptions make any temptation seem worth entertaining for the moment.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Locations 1369-1370). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What tempts you?What is it you want to do and you have great trouble in not giving in to doing it?Does something come to your mind?
Andy says, “Analyze your temptations. What exactly is the appeal? What is the promise of sin? What sort of mental gymnastics do you go through to justify it? Think through the conversations you have with yourself as you talk yourself into something you know is wrong.”
This is so important.Figure out what the lie is that is drawing you to the temptation.
Back when Jesus was first starting His ministry Matthew tells us in chapter 4 verses 1-3 (CEB), “Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, comma…

“It is imperative that you begin identifying those things in your battery of beliefs that are not true.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Locations 1248-1249). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Andy uses as an example of a false belief that was controlling the world at the time of Christopher Columbus that the world was flat.That was a false belief that Columbus rejected and by that found the New World.And there are many false beliefs that we need to identify and deal with before we can step out into our new world.
As Andy says, “Every single facet of our behavior is somehow tied back to something we believe. When you and I believe the wrong thing, it works its way out in the form of wrong behavior.”
Here are a couple of these he gives, “If you believe happiness is found in the accumulation of possessions, you’re not going to be very generous. If you believe that people cannot be trusted, you’re not going to have many close friends.”But you have your own false beliefs that control your …

“Imagine your potential if you were to work with Him rather than working around Him.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Location 1175). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I don’t think any of us really can see the potential in us if we would let God work in and through us.Even the best Christ follower at times holds back from letting God work on us.I mean we fight those circumstances that are there to make us in the image He wants for us.
You see as Andy says, “When the two of you are in alignment, there will be unleashed a whole new dimension of His power in your life. And as you renew your mind, you will begin to understand and cooperate with God’s purposes for your life, rather than fighting against them.”
And that is where the potential in us is realized.I mean all that is happening to us and in us is for our good.We just need to relax and let Him work.Don’t waist the circumstances accept and see what He is doing.
What could happen if we would quit fighting Him?

“We have a tendency to assume that if our spiritual experience is real, it will produce instant change.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Locations 1054-1055). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We have a tendency to think that if I am a Christ-follower then longevity means maturity.That when I accepted Christ into my life that I have arrived and that is it but that isn’t true.Oh there may be some things that changed in that moment but there are other things that come from growth.We grow in our character.
Now I am a 67 year old retired pastor who has found a ministry through writing.I take other people’s thoughts and from my experience I give my thoughts, I just continue that thought.Now it can come across that I have arrived.I no longer have a need to grow, I just need to show.And there is great spiritual danger there.I have not yet arrived.I am still going through the process and I have to constantly live with that fact.
And God is still very faithful to show me where I need growth in …

“We have a natural propensity to change the rules on God.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book,Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Locations 912-913). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

He then continues and says, “We tend to change His commands to fit our personality, our present lifestyle, or our current circumstances.”
Now I read that and thought about some of the stands politically that I read on Facebook of the things that Christians are up in arms about that in reality go against the character standard that Christ shares in His Word.And I was ready to use this as an opportunity to lash out at our inconsistencies but it then hit me of the character stands He takes on this matter of judging others and that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t believe that if I am a man of character that I can be judgmental.I can’t and I won’t.
But we must each as individuals determine where we are going to set the standards by which we live…

“If God answered all of our prayers, our character would suffer.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Location 836). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He qualifies that with “For in most cases, our prayers center around the removal of the very circumstances He is using to conform us to His image.”
Somehow we need to come to grips with the fact that God’s plan and purpose for us is different than ours.You see God is an investor and He only invests in those things that will last.Our outside will not last.Dust to dust and ashes to ashes but what lasts is what is inside of us, our spirit, our soul, our character.  That is what He invests in.He wants us to become like Him.
I love the story of the sculptor who was looking at a big piece of granite and someone asked him what he was going to do with it?And he said that he was going to create a sculpture of an elephant.And they asked, “How are you going to do that?”And he said, “I’m going to chisel off everyt…

“Self-image constitutes one of the most important relationships in life.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Locations 511-512). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I know from a Christ follower perspective anything with self in it is a problem.But Andy says, “The way we view ourselves determines how we will interact with God, family, friends, loved ones, and even those we consider to be our enemies.”So this is an important relationship in our life.
I was just walking back from my time of read and I walked past a group of middle schoolers who were in summer school.And as I was walking by a young guy was practicing hitting a ball into a floor hockey goal and he missed it by a mile.Now I didn’t look up so he would notice he had missed it because I know how embarrassed he would have been.I’m sure he was telling himself that he couldn’t do it maybe because he was a loser and I felt his pain.
And that is wh…

“The instant we knowingly compromise our character, a change takes place deep inside us.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Location 497). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You have experienced that haven’t you?Andy says, “In that moment we become keenly aware of a disparity between God’s standard and the one we are living out. We are filled with a gnawing sense of unworthiness, and we feel distanced from Him. We call this feeling guilt.”And that guilt affects my relationship with God.
I know that God hates pride.I just was at Whole Foods Market and I put the checker on the spot on something that I thought she had done wrong.As I was walking out I had this feeling inside that I had mishandled that.I saw that my pride had reared its ugly head and that it had the potential to hurt my relationship with God.
Now I could have just ignored the feeling and rationalized that she was trying to jip me out of some of my money and that I had the right to stand up against wrong.And I …

“There is no clearer measure of our character than the health of our relationships.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book,Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living(Kindle Locations 446-447). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Now to Andy, “Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.”In reality having character is other’s-oriented.“As we subscribe to God’s absolute standard of right and wrong, we are directed to focus on the needs of others instead of ourselves.”
Here are some examples that Andy gives.“It’s that one-in-a-million friend who never says anything negative about you in your absence. It’s the guy who quickly owns up to his mistakes instead of blaming others. It’s the woman who is quick to give credit to the person who originated an idea rather than taking credit herself. It’s the husband who has only positive things to say about his wife in public. It’s the wife who allows her husband to lead when everyone knows she is more gifted in that area than her spouse.”I w…