One of the early indicators that revival and reformation are
coming to the Church is when we begin to realize God is renewing the way we
think. Each new season requires an adjustment in our thinking in order to move us
forward into a fresh expression Kingdom life and revelation.
As we approach the threshold of 2016 the Lord is inviting us
to take inventory of our thoughts to help align our thinking with His heart and
Kingdom purpose. Normally, I calendar a
time at the end of each year to process these things with the Lord before the
New Year comes, but this year an event took place that began that process a
When the Paris terrorist attacks occurred our daughter,
Anna, was completing a month-long teaching trip that began in Morocco and ended
in Paris. She was part of a team helping people learn how to become storytellers.
On the day of the attack, Anna had walked through the very neighborhood the
terrorists first struck only hours before. When Anna and her team heard the
first reports of the attack they gathered together in an apartment only a
quarter of a mile from the café that experienced the first assault. The nation
of France went into lock down. The
borders were closed. Anna was scheduled to fly home the next day. Her return
home did not look like it would happen.
Jan and I knew nothing of what was taking place in
Paris. We received a cryptic text message
from Anna saying, “I am OK. We are all together.
Safe.” I immediately went to a European news outlet to find out what was
happening and watched the developing story as it continued to unfold.
When we first heard the news, Jan and I began to pray. We also took our initial thoughts captive and
submitted them to the good God who loved our daughter and in whose hands she
was held. Anna and her friends remained
safe throughout the night and the next morning were able find a taxi driver
willing to take them to the airport traveling along the deserted and fearful
streets of Paris. They made it to the airport in time to board their return flight
home. Anna’s text message sent from the
seat of her return flight brought us great relief.
The attacks in Paris caused me to pause and reorder my
thinking for the coming year earlier than normal. I believe the Lord had a
purpose in this earlier review of my thoughts. As a result, I came away with
several points of reordered thinking I feel were not only words for me, but for
the larger Church as we consider how to represent the Lord to our families, our
nation and the larger global community in the coming year.
to Reorder Our Thinking for the New Year
Taking the higher road of faith in seasons of intense cultural stress will
always seem foolish to those on a descent into fear.
The higher road of Kingdom thinking is
always up – up and above our current understanding of reality. The road of
descent into despair and over-reaction is an easier road to take because it is
navigated downward by human emotion and logic without the uplifting effect of
the Spirit’s wisdom. The higher road
will require faith to navigate because it is paved with things not yet seen
with the natural eye. Those who are descending may call you a fool for
following this higher path of faith, but in the end its destination will be
your testimony of God’s faithfulness.
“For just as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher
than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
An image of goodness has the power to displace an image of sorrow.
Today, take a break and turn from the
images of sorrow and the overwhelming struggles taking place in culture. I had
to do this with the repeated images of horror I was seeing from Paris. Reset
you sight to heaven where you now sit with Christ at the right hand of the
Father. This is your current reality and
God’s preferred future for each broken person and every painful situation you
will encounter in the coming year.
your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)
Forgiveness is the highest form of spiritual warfare.
Jesus was sent to set the captives free. He died and rose again to offer all of
humanity the gift of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the starting point of all He does in our lives. Without
forgiveness a new beginning is not possible.
Every new thing God does in our lives can trace its
beginning back to an original work of forgiveness. As you consider the possibilities of 2016 make
sure you have allowed that work of forgiveness to have its way in each of your
relationships. This will be a fight, but well worth the effort. You will know
you have forgiven when you no longer desire to punish the offenders in your
“So if the Son sets you free, you will
be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
A captive thought can no longer move with unrestrained freedom.
Every thought we entertain requires the Lordship of
Jesus Christ. A thought not submitted to His Lordship will represent another
kingdom and its failed disposition for the affairs of life. Jan and I had to repeatedly take our thoughts
captive because our distance from Paris did not allow us to help our daughter
in any tangible way. In these moments of
disconnect it is easy to feel helpless and grow desperate.
Do not allow any thought to linger without
requiring its submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As this process of
Lordship deepens in your life you will begin to evaluate your thoughts with the
mind of Christ. This renewed thinking will bring freedom and peace.
“We demolish arguments and every
pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2
Hope is always present in each and every circumstance of life.
The fear currently invading the minds of our culture
wants to invade the thinking of the Church. Fear comes when hope is absent. Our
hope is not anchored in political resolutions or the temporary alignment of
earthly kingdoms. Our hope is secure in
heaven beyond the influence of earthly matters.
Our faith is a tether to that anchor.
Each time we choose faith in response to fear we will feel the tug on
that line reminding us we are not flailing about in life unattached to
something eternal. We are always secure in Christ no matter what takes place in
“We have this hope as an anchor for the
soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)
Our minds are being filled with an
increasing display of images fueled by despair and grief. I saw a lot of those images coming from Paris
as I waited and prayed for my daughter to return home. In that personal drama, I discovered once
again the power of prayer, worship and words of hope. These spiritual
disciplines have the ability to transform how we see the events of this life
and give up hope in times of uncertainty.
The power of reordered thinking allows us to see
this life from heaven’s perspective. That is the perspective of reformation and
revival. God has a distinct impact planned for our lives to make in the coming
year. That impact will be traced back to how we allowed ourselves to think.
Our cooperation with the Spirit as a renewed
thinker will yield supernatural results in 2016. Get ready! The goodness of God
is coming in force to displace the works of darkness. The reality of this
goodness requires a renewed mind to believe in its possibility.