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Thoughts to Live by

Feelings, thoughts and words are intricately interwoven. As soon as you feel hurt - whether real, or a perceived snub, your thoughts go to work, don't they? Oh boy, the hairs on your back start to bristle as it were, and before you know it there's a full-blown war going on inside your head! If they are mulled over, they will bombard you from all directions and start to manifest in your words and actions. You may suddenly find yourself being short-tempered with a co-worker, spouse or child. Maybe you react adversely to a driver who cuts you off or to a child who has just whined for something once too often.

In Matthew 7 Jesus was talking about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who asked why the disciples were eating with unclean hands - unlike the tradition and rules which they, the law-makers, had imposed. The Lord went into much detail explaining that whatever goes into a man does not make him dirty; but only that which comes out of him. He explains in verses 15-23 that whatever we eat will go its natural way and out again. None of the food will go to the heart! But what comes out of our heart - any evil thoughts, words and actions - these will corrupt us! Wow, those are hard words to digest but they are "food for thought," aren't they? It's easy to apply those scriptures to wicked men scheming to do evil deeds in the middle of the night. But.

all sin starts with a little seed. This seed could be a fleeting reaction of envy, lust, jealousy, or pride. Therefore, what you do with your feelings and consequent thoughts is what counts. Feelings are just emotions; they are neither right nor wrong.

However, if they are given too much attention and negative, destructive thoughts take over, then it's important to pull the reigns in and take command of all vindictive thoughts in your head. It is not easy keeping your feelings in check, your thoughts from reacting to our hurts, and your words and actions from lashing out in the wrong way at the wrong time. All day every day "stuff" is being thrown at you from all sides.

Even friendly, joyful chats with friends may bring to mind painful memories you had not thought of for many years. What do you do about them and how do you keep from getting hurt? Luke 6:45says that "of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks." The more you allow "wrong" thoughts to grow from tiny seeds into full-grown festering hurts, the harder it is not to have your actions and words be influenced by them. However, you have a forgiving Father who not only understands and listens, but He gives you a way out of the situation every time. Isn't it wonderful that you can come to Him every single day and tell Him where you've missed it again and again, and ask for His forgiveness? When you do this, His peace will flood over you and empower you to forgive the person/s who hurt you and let go of the issue.

Give it to Him. Your mind is renewed with the Word of God! He gives you the grace to be able to get angry without sinning, speak words of comfort and encouragement despite personal pain, and be kind and forgiving regardless of your feelings. (Ephesians 4:23-32.

) God did not leave you on your own to accomplish this. He gives specific instructions how to direct your thoughts! He tells you not to worry about anything, and to ask, thanking Him in advance for giving you the grace to overcome. Remember, His most important antidote is to re-direct your thoughts to all things that you know are true, honest, just, pure and lovely. (Phil.: 4: 6-8) Therefore, it is so important to be thankful of your blessings.

Always be mindful of all the good things, times and people He has given you, and think about them with a grateful heart.

Ann Stewart is the author of "With Wings As Eagles," An autobiographical account, it motivates, inspires and encourages others to stand victoriously in their trials.

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