Day #29

Isaiah 52:7

I felt fortunate in the fact that I had no addictions until I realized one day I did. I was several decades into my life by that time, and I realized I’d basically been addicted for most of that. Hello, my name is Jennifer and I’m a negaholic. 

So many decent families of decent, responsible people have a problem with negativity. Relationship experts say that in order for a relationship to stay healthy, every criticism or negative interaction should be balanced by six affirmations. That six-to-one ratio keeps a relationship thriving. But so seldom do we keep that ratio, especially in close relationships. Once interactions between family members become characterized by negative focus and criticism, even a decent home quickly becomes a toxic place. Watching family interactions as I grew up, I’d learned how to be critical and problem-focused. And I myself had become that way. Now, I saw, God called me to learn to identify and accentuate the positive. 

Positive patterns of thought must be cultivated; they don’t just happen. What does just happen is negative patterns. The lower part of the brain which engages more quickly, tends to be biased toward negative information. The higher brain is more capable of holding positive information, but it engages more slowly, and with more effort. Negative information is stored almost instantly in long term memory. Positive information must be kept in mind for 12 seconds to be recalled long-term. 

The gospel is good news. Not bad news masking as good advice. In Jesus, God has given us an infinite gift in Jesus and as we focus on that unspeakable gift, God will rewire our brains toward gratitude. 

When was the last time you truly appreciated the good news? Think about it. Because of God’s gift of Jesus, we have eternal life. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He did not loan Him, rent Him, lease Him, or merely offer Him. He gave Him to become one with humanity for the rest of eternity. And by simply believing that good news we will live forever in uninterrupted bliss. Think about that for a moment. 

And let us pray. Lord, fill our hearts with the good news, then make us ambassadors for your kingdom. Make our feet beautiful as we follow you to places where we can share the good news. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7

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29 thoughts on “Day #29

  1. Sandy

    This has my name written all over. My spouse says I’m nag, that I should be grateful I have a husband. Wow! While that is true I had to give him some well needed advise to get out of that headspace. Because I don’t need him, I want him but he did get my attention about the negativity i spewed into our relationship and my unmet expectations. I struggle with the balance so I tend to not say anything. Which spews out after having been bottled up for so long. One extreme to the other I soon realize. The struggle goes on so I tentatively give positive affirmation which is his love language but he does have a tendency to say I know. I had to be honest and told him this tendency shuts me up. Why tell you something you already know. Thankfully he’s working on that and I’m working on mine. We create a weird dynamic I realize. I focus more on my side of the fence and pray Gods work in me & my husband. I’m grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice, I’m grateful my spouse has a heart for ministry as he goes around spreading the good news in urban ministry in our community. As he does this and as I take my place beside him spreading the good news we’ll meet in the middle glorifying You always.

    Reply
    1. Donna

      Something I’ve done that’s helped me remember my “tendencies”( and my husband appreciates) is writing, “nc”, on the palm of my left hand. It stands for “no complaining … no criticizing”. Your post reminded me that I need to do this again. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Simone

    How does gospel help me…Jesus took all my trauma and abuse. I cried a lot about your recurring dream in episode 8. But my step dad made me go to school in my pajamas when I was 10.. which was a ragged t shirt and long underwear.
    When traumatic memories come up, I remember Jesus’words,” Forgive them for they know not what they do” That puts forgiveness in my heart. But I still have a thinking pattern and I am so glad I can ask a Christian professional. If I am neurotic or crazy please tell me so as I want to get totally healed.
    I am a self hater (that is the only way I can describe myself) as I hate taking care of myself. Every one else comes first.
    Am I practicing a weird self righteousness?

    Reply
  3. Bonnie

    The gospel means love, life and hope to me. Having a difficult childhood I remember reaching out to God, out of darkness, at a very young age. He helped me navigate through family disfunction and eventually my parent’s traumatic divorce. His love and all that He gave up to rescue us(me), has made all the difference! I would not be here today if God had not cared to reach down and comfort a young girl’s heart, all alone and broken. Though I fail Him at times, He never fails me. Regardless of what life brings to me, I always know that I have a constant Companion, Savior, and Friend. I don’t have to ever be alone because I have a God that loves, comforts, and saves me. One day all that He has gone through, will result in a glorious heavenly reunion with Him and His redeemed! Until that day no matter how weak I am, I want to choose to hold onto the hope, love, and strength that only comes from Him, and to share that with those around me.

    Reply
  4. Lisa Reynoso

    Recognizing the truths in this meditation—that God has done everything to save us—is so powerful. I do need to ponder this more.

    Reply
  5. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    Before the gospel I felt lost, lonely, confused. But now I’m His beautiful budding flower with so much potential.
    The gospel is my all in all!
    Peace

    Reply
  6. Cheryl

    The good news of Jesus dying to save me is just starting to sink into my heart. I have known of Him all my life. But I’ve never really “gotten” the message that He loves me no matter what. That I am His child. That He love me and forgives me. That He loves me so much that He doesn’t want to leave me or leave me the mess that I am. I look forward to the day that I let Him into my heart to stay. Today may be the day. I hope He will use me to share the good news with others.

    Reply
  7. Valerie

    God through the gospel has delivered me from an unbalanced view of God and who He is. I’ve always had a relationship with Him since I was small, but I tended to view Him most as Lord. I’ve always been good at keeping rules, and it was natural for me to apply that to my relationship with Him too. Even though I understood the plan of salvation in my head, I was missing a few things. Over the years I’ve learned that my relationship with God and my identity is not based at all on what I do — even if it is ministry for Him or following all the rules. It is entirely based on Him and who He is. At one point He saved me from the kind of surrender that has a tinge of fear baked in. He was glad for my willingness to do His will, but He wanted me to understand that obedience is a response to Him accomplishing absolutely everything concerning my salvation and the work He wanted to do through me to save others. A response to His love in saving me. A response to the One who has redeemed me and wants to be more than just Lord, but Father, Brother, Husband, Shepherd, Friend. I still have much to learn, but I am so thankful for the freedom found in knowing that He is the one who takes care of me and my salvation, and I am but a humble tool in His hands to bless others and do good.

    Reply
    1. Sabrina

      I can relate to your experience a lot. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments throughout the past 28 days, as I connect a lot with what you share. Despite growing up Seventh-day Adventist, I also had a fear-based relationship with God, and it’s taken me time to come to know God for the loving Father that He is.

      Reply
  8. Vanessa

    The gospel has been my center. It’s grounded me when everything around me has been shaken up. It brings peace like no other. It’s home.

    Reply
  9. Shirley Mann

    When I think of the gospel I think of the good news of the gift of eternal life made possible by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. I gave a short devotional recently about gifts. When I am given a gift I do not really consider it mine unless I say thank you and actually use it. In this case I am thankful for what Christ has done for me and I want to use that gift of eternal life starting now by living the life He wants me to live and sharing this good news with others. I was born into and grew up in an Adventist home where there was a lot of love and acceptance. I believe that has made it easier for me to accept salvation as a gift even though at times I can get side-tracked into a works mentality. I have always been a keeping the rules kind of person, but if I keep the rules because I love Jesus and want to please Him I think that is the right response to what He has done for me. Plus I want to be an example and not a hindrance to others.

    Reply
  10. Sarah

    The gospel gives me hope. A hope without which I think I would have withered away in utter despair. Hope that God loves me. Hope that He forgives me. Hope that He is with me. Hope that He knows and understands all the darkest and most painful experiences of my life. Hope that He is working in my heart and mind and life to make me more and more into who He wants me to be. And knowing all that fills me with the ability to love others and share with them this beautiful hope.

    Reply
  11. Kristina

    Before the gospel I didn’t know who I was and felt like I was groping around in the darkness. After the gospel I realize that I am a daughter of God, called out of that darkness into His marvelous light and now I can share that light with others. Thank you Jesus!

    Reply
  12. Jane

    Well, if Jesus hadn’t paved the way for me to be rescued from my dysfunctional thinking and resulting behavior, there would be no hope that I could or would ever love someone with any level of pure love. Every “good” action would be motivated from selfishness. I’d like to think I don’t “love” like that anymore, but the truth is far too evident. I’m grateful, however, that God has me on His “To Do” list, to do for me what I cannot do for myself – which is pretty much everything;) It’s definitely a gospel of grace! Praise God!

    Reply
  13. Colleen

    The gospel changed everything for me. I really did not hear the “good news” until I was in my late forties. It answered the biggest questions about life I had that no one had sufficiently been able to answer and unraveled so much of what I had learned and thought was true. It set me free from all the lies, misconceptions, false human ideologies, incorrect theologies, guilt, shame, bad habits and unhealthy thought patterns, the cultural system of beliefs and the heard mentality. The truth as it is in Jesus, and the plan of salvation is liberating and life changing and dynamically continues to encourage me to trust my loving, merciful, forgiving, gracious, righteous God who gave everything and the best of heaven to redeem me from destruction. When the world offers nothing that really is worthwhile, Jesus offered me the best gift that will never end, His presence with me now and throughout eternity. It renewed, and keeps sustaining, me with hope, meaning and purpose. To meditate upon and to share the gospel with others keeps it alive in the heart and makes gratitude increase. God is sooooo very good!

    Reply
  14. Nowelle

    The gospel changed my life by giving me hope. Jesus saved my life! Now, all I want is to be close to Him and help others get close to Him too.

    Reply
  15. Sharon

    I have been thinking about this all day, and I’m still not sure what to share. I don’t get the gospel. Really. I don’t. It was never portrayed to me as good news, just “this is what you’re supposed to believe.” There’s a part of me that knows Romans 1:20 is true, and therefore, the rest of the Bible should also be true. There’s another part of me that simply doesn’t “get” love. It’s a black hole. In some ways, it’s like I’m two different people. I don’t know what it will take to put the two parts together. Yet I keep coming back to the Bible because the first part of me says the second part is wrong, so the answer must be in there somewhere.

    Reply
    1. Donna

      Oh my, how I can relate to you. I don’t “get” love either. This has been brought up throughout my life. I came out of my family-of-origin not having a clue what love is. The man I married became a pastor, and he wanted to control my beliefs concerning God and what the Bible teaches. I became confused and never really found my own belief system. I “performed” and the only ones who really knew the confusion and lack of relationship with the Lord were me and God … and my husband to some extent. I kept it all inside and suffered greatly. I don’t have years left to become extremely “learned” in Scripture; but I would at least like to know that Jesus loves and accepts me. And that He’ll get rid of the “darkness” in my life when I’m “change in the twinkling of an eye”.

      Reply
  16. Mel

    Wow – keep positive things in your memory for at least 12 seconds before it is encoded into long term memories whereas negative things are encoded immediately! That is shocking, and yet not surprising at the same time! This sure shows the value of taking the time to really think about things rather than just passing over them quickly. The gospel is continuing to teach me to stop striving….for approval, to be the best, to be loved – because I’m already accepted, the apple of His eye and loved. It’s also helped me to find forgiveness for some negative experiences that occurred in my childhood – things I vowed I would never forgive. Praise God!

    Reply
  17. Ann

    The gospel is good news to bring us to Christ. When I look at Christ and then my life, I see negative tendencies in my life. This week before this meditation, He reminded me of how arrogant I had been before truly seeking Him. I felt embarrassed and ashamed at how I treated people. I asked for forgiveness for my behavior and assistance to never repeat that ugly behavior. The gospel is powerful to heal not only anxiety and depression but arrogance too.

    Reply
  18. Amy

    The gospel is what keeps me going. I don’t think I truly understand or experience it fully yet, but it is what allows me to keep from falling into despair. I believe it is true and therefore somehow my story can end well. One step at a time. Really need God’s help with the negative thinking. Tell myself I’m just being realistic. It is time to give the reality of the gospel first place in my thoughts. The gospel is good news even when my present situation is not.

    Reply
  19. Karen

    This deeply touched me and I wanted to literally absorb the truth that ‘My God Reigns’!
    My God Reigns in ALL of my life; the good, the bad, in all circumstances, in my past, present and Future. He is there to carry and comfort me as I praise Him through my trials. The gospel changed my life when I realized God is my Heavenly Father and that there is no relationship on earth that can compare. I no longer want to be tied to this dying planet. Instead, I want to spend eternity thanking and loving my Savior.

    Reply
  20. Daniel Parsons

     In today’s post, tell us in a few sentences how the gospel has changed your life.

    Jesus saved my life 2 times. I was almost killed in a car accident at age 16 and then in an apartment fire at age 29. Both times alcohol was involved. I was trying to fill the God space inside of me with spirits. Alcohol is referred to as spirits. I had false ‘spirits’ trying to do what the Holy Spirit seeks to do.

    Around age 46, I had been studying the Bible with my neighbors. They were all Seventh-day Adventist Christians. I felt peace and comfort in my mind for the first time in my life. All of the bad decisions and choices in life were forgiven because of who Jesus is. HE is the Creator and Redeemer. Gospel news has restored me to being a somewhat functional adult at age 61. Thank you Jesus !

    Reply
  21. Sabrina

    The gospel for me means receiving freedom and my true identity in Jesus. I don’t have to try harder and harder to earn God’s favor; instead, He loves me and accepts me as His child and empowers me to walk in my new identity.

    Reply

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