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January 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

What Motivates Your Habits


“The chains of habit are to light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Warren Buffet

   Habits are powerful patterns of thought that affect both the shape and health of the brain. More importantly, habits reveal our spiritual condition. It is possible for all sinful and emotionally debilitating habits to be broken. Now, don’t let some of the scientific terminology scare you from reading. It’s important to understand that science is catching up with principles that God placed into action thousands of years ago with words that everyone can easily understand. Dr. Caroline Leaf wrote, in her outstanding book, The Switched on Brain (2013), “This scientific power of our mind to modify the brain is called epigenetics, and spiritually it is as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). The way the brain changes as a result of the mental activity is scientifically called neuroplasticity. And spiritually, it is the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1) (p.56).

   This is absolutely wonderful to me! Through obedience to the Word of God (Bible) and becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17), the former habits of our mind can be brought into captivity and our minds are transformed with new habits of a Christ centered mind. It has been proven that the human brain can rewire itself as one Harvard study documented, “…the formation of habits affects the physical properties of the brain. For instance, a subset of neurons in the brain called mirror neurons, fire when an action takes place actions take place and when the same action is observed in others" (Humor, Laughter, and Those Aha Moments. 2010, Spring).

   Basically, what one sees and listens to produces a desire in the brain of the observer to act out (mirror) what they see and hear. This begins a transformation of their minds for good or evil. Just as laughter often produces laughter in the physical mind, the ‘mirror neurons’ of the spiritual mind respond accordingly. The Christian strives to imitate Spiritual habits that Jesus Christ left for us to follow and create new ones that coincide with Biblical principles (1 Pet. 2:21). Consequently, the spiritual motivation for the change of habits only occurs through repentance and submission of the human spirit to Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

   Conversely, carnal motivation leads to the pride of self will or addictive-like habits. For instance, a person might stop the habit of smoking because they do not want to die and yet, they continue cursing.  The motive behind the changed activity is not to please God (spiritual formation) but to live longer and accomplish more of what the self-will desires. The ability of some to ‘kick a habit’ often compels them to be prideful of their accomplishments and to become contemptuous of others who cannot or will not change similar habits or addictions.

   People that become addicted to drugs, pornography, gambling, and such like are according to Duhigg, C. (2011), “Moving from ‘wanting’ to an obsessive craving can cause people to act in self-destructive ways even if it jeopardizes personal reputations, family relationships, and financial security" (p.50). This is the condition of the world and even some that claim to be Christians.

   The psalmist David begged God to test him so that his heart and thoughts would be known (Ps. 139:23), and Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). The testing of the heart-soul-mind by the Word of God and the Spirit of God reveals the spiritual motive of the thoughts and habits performed by the body.

   In summary, habits reflect the spiritual imaginations and thoughts of each person.  This is called the ability to be self-determinate and according to Wilson Ed.D., N.J. (2003), “Choosing to start, or accept, the process of bringing spiritual form out of one’s potential is an act of the will and requires courage-courage to act, to decide, to choose, to emerge” (p.79). “Jesus said unto him, If thou can believe, all things are possible to them that believe” (Mark 9:23). These words were spoken to a terrified father that was tired of spiritual habits of the mind that controlled his child. The mental condition of the boy was such that he could not speak or hear and was controlled by the demonic spirit. But the words of Jesus were stronger than the mental instability caused by spiritual darkness.  

   Once a person has been born again and begins to choose to change self-destructive habits of the mind and spirit through the power of God that works in them, all expectations of what was initially asked or thought can be exceeded(Ephesians 3:20). Therefore, all past failures, emotional baggage, and sinful nature means nothing to God. What matters most to Him is that we will allow Him to transform us by receiving the Holy Ghost and allowing our minds to be transformed by His Word, the ministry, and personal devotion to Jesus Christ. And that, is exciting!

References

Duhigg, C. (2011). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. New York, New York: Random House.

Humor, Laughter, and Those Aha Moments. (2010, Spring). On The Brain, 16(2), 1-3. Retrieved from https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/HMS_OTB_Spring10_Vol16_No2.pdf

Leaf, Dr., C. (2013). Switch On Your Brain. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

Wilson Ed.D., N.J. (2003). Ultimate Leadership Volume 1: The Defining Moment. Sacramento, California: Reach Worldwid, Inc.



Comments

06-13-2018 at 10:21 PM
Kevin L. Nix
So good!!
02-04-2018 at 3:38 PM
Brent Crosswhite
Great words! One man said the mind is like a wild horse that has to be restrained by the will that is in cooperation with the Spirit. Thanks, Bro. Savala!
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November 11, 2017, 7:17 PM

They Ran Out The Front Door



     It started when I was about 9 years old. In the early 1980’s the popular evangelistic fads were Prophecy Crusades and Rock and Roll Seminars (maybe I should write a story about the Rock and Roll seminar) – anyways this story revolves around the prophecy crusade.

     What’s that you might ask? Well, it’s a series of service preached by an honest hearted minister attempting to put a date on when Jesus is returning. They do this by relating events of the “last days” to Bible scriptures and then scaring all the listeners into the altar. Don’t laugh – it worked – for about two weeks. Then the people that repented realized that the world didn’t cease to exist and that Jesus didn’t come back and so, the majority went back to their worldly ways. And that is what happens when folks are scared into starting a relationship with Jesus rather than repentance in love and humility.

     So, here’s the set up: On the last night of the Crusade, the speaker showed a picture of a nuclear mushroom cloud and then made the following statement, “If you are not ready to meet Jesus and you miss the rapture, this may be the last sound you hear you face Jesus at the Judgment Seat” – and then, over the PA system, came the sound of a nuclear explosion. Hundreds ran to the altar weeping and crying out to God in repentance.

     Well, how about that? Now, a boy of 9 or so that lives in the hoods of Highland, CA doesn’t understand all of the dynamics of altar services and such like. He saw how folks responded to the crusade and figured that must be how it’s done.  Now, I didn’t have the PA system or a fancy projector - but, I had some Time and Newsweek magazines and a tape recorder. With the addition of listening to the prophecy tape several times, I was ready to teach my first home Bible study.  

     That’s right! On the day in question, I invited about 10 or so of my neighborhood friends into my bedroom. And did I ever teach about prophecy…they watched transfixed as I showed them cut out pictures of nuclear missiles. To further illustrate the point, I had made a warhead out of Popsicle sticks. No doubt, it would have been the greatest spiritual outpouring since Azusa Street…

     If only I hadn’t played the taped explosion.  I used the same lines as the prophecy preacher and was expecting the same results, which I did receive only in reverse…Eyes grew large, breathing quickened, and they all ran out the front door! Yes…that’s how my first Bible study ended. My first evangelistic excursion was a dismal failure – some of them may still be running. Who knows? It was said in the neighborhood, “You may play outside with that boy but you may not go back into his house.”

     Well, it’s been 36 years since then and many more Bible studies have been taught, many of them successfully resulting in someone being born again unto the Lord Jesus. However, I’ve never forgotten my very first Bible study – nor I have I taught about Bible prophecy again.

May you be encouraged to keep on trying in spite of any percieved failure. God bless!



Comments

01-05-2018 at 2:58 PM
Rick McGuffey
Funny post...
11-19-2017 at 9:16 PM
Steve
Sorry, I meant to post that to article five! “They ran out the front door” is great too! Very funny story
11-19-2017 at 9:13 PM
Steve Walker
Very powerful article Bro. Savala! “We the People” need real Holy Ghost revival very desperately in this hour. The unashamed spiritual blindness of this world - it’s no wonder the Lord asked Luke 18:8
11-19-2017 at 1:41 AM
Peter Connell
Loved the story! May we all teach another Bible study and see fruit that remains.
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October 20, 2017, 5:05 PM

Who's On First



     Who’s On First is considered to be one of the greatest comedy routines of all time. It was performed by the premier entertainment duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, stars of vaudeville, radio, and early television. They had a great respect for their audiences, and wanted nothing more than to hear the laughter, as a result of their hard work.

     November 4th, 1943, Lou Costello was rehearsing for the evening Abbott and Costello radio show at the NBC studios when he received the tragic news that Butch, his soon to be year old son, had drowned in the family swimming pool. “Although Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney and Red Skelton volunteered to take his place, Costello insisted that the show must go on. He returned to the studio and did the radio show with Abbott and Lana Turner. At the end of the program, Costello rushed from the stage, his face streaked with tears. Then Abbott announced Butch Costello's death.”  

     The show must go on – a phrase most often used in show business, particularly the theatre. It means that whatever has been planned or scheduled must be carried out, regardless of the current circumstances, including any problems or disruption. To Lou Costello, even in the midst of unspeakable tragedy, keeping his commitment to fellow artists and entertaining millions of listeners was what came first to Mr. Costello before his personal grief.  

     Isn’t it interesting that entertainers often have a higher regard for what is important than many who claim to serve the Lord Jesus. Sure, they are ultimately serving their own self-interests (wealth, stardom, etc) but the commitment they have to their ideals often compels them to go beyond what they desire to do themselves. What hinders the Jesus show in your life from continuing as scheduled (1 Peter 2:9)?

  • Are you sick? Don’t skip church, call for prayer (James 5:13-15)
  • A loved one passed away? There’s a blessing in mourning when you allow yourself to be comforted (Matthew 4:4)
  • Discouraged by those that reject God but seem blessed? I understood their end when I went to God’s sanctuary (Psalm 73:1-17)
  • Too tired or busy to go to church and be involved in the work of God? Seek first His kingdom and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33)
  • Feeling lonely and depressed? Find another brother or sister and encourage them. Remember, you can do all things through Jesus, which strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)

     “Jesus said unto him, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Matthew 22:37). The things we make time for tells everyone around us what is most important to us. So, Who’s on first in your life?   

 

References

https://ladailymirror.com/2013/11/05/lou-costellos-son-drowns-in-swimming-pool/

The show must go on. (n.d.) Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. (2015). Retrieved October 20 2017 from https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/The+show+must+go+on



Comments

10-23-2017 at 12:19 AM
Cassandra Savala
Pops— As usual, a very well written and thoughtful post... Thank you for always making me think. The church must go on, it is up to me whether it will continue with or without me.
10-21-2017 at 12:15 AM
David Pittenger
A very poignant analogy and well spoken. Hope to hear it preached some day.
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September 12, 2017, 12:00 AM

We The People



WE THE PEOPLE...I've been thinking a lot about the church of Laodicea (laity rules) and the foundation of America - we the people.
 
I have never bought into the America is a Christian nation concept...at least not to the degree that some folks believe. However, there was a basic respect for Biblical principles however skewed their application may be. The respect of and tacit desire for those principles is gone.
 
As I traveled today from Ohio and into TN, I pointed out the "Lions Dens" to my wife - they are Adult Porn Shops and difficult to miss. They are also prominent in the south. It caused me to chuckle in a rather sarcastic manner - America's Bible Belt (we the people) a bastion of Bible proliferation built upon alcohol, tobacco, and porn shops - the fingers are usually pointed at the coasts as the purveyors of all that is evil.
 
While it is arguable that the colonies were initially founded for the purpose of religious freedom. Without question, the Union of the United States was established upon rebellion. The idea of freedom of speech, especially against government is antithetical to the command of NT scripture (Jude 1:8). If America can be found in scripture (I do not think so), it won't be long before "we the people" are dominated by another king - the anti-Christ.
 
Which is what happens when "we the people" believe they can govern themselves without the aid of supernatural authority.
 
The worst state an individual or group of individuals can be in, is to be without a king. Because every man does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6). And that is the same condition that Laodicea was plagued with -and they would not invite the King into the house of their hearts (Revelation 3). Therefore, they will not be welcome into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:7-8).
 


Comments

11-20-2017 at 8:15 AM
Steve Walker
Very powerful article Bro. Savala! “We the People” need real Holy Ghost revival very desperately in this hour. The unashamed spiritual blindness of this world - it’s no wonder the Lord asked Luke 18:8
09-26-2017 at 10:48 AM
Brent Crosswhite
Liberty, a priceless commodity but with no boundaries it becomes a detriment.
09-13-2017 at 12:38 AM
J. Thompson
Just to add from Ezekiel 16:49:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
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April 23, 2017, 12:00 AM

America, Christianity, and Eternity


Most of you will never read (although you should) the book called "The Family" - Jeff Sharlet. In it he discusses the way Christian Fundamentalism has sought for power under the guise of religious humility - using the name of Jesus Christ. The book challenges and explains the rise of Fundamentalism in America and how it became perverted by an elite group of men particularly in the 1920's into the present.

The Family is a secretive society however, they have an annual publicized gathering called the National Prayer Breakfast. "Some 3,000 dignitaries, representing scores of nations and corporate interests, pay $425 each to attend" (p.22). According to an internal planning document, "the Koran could even be read, but Jesus is there! He is infiltrating the world" (p.24).

The roots of The Family are firmly planted in Buchmanism and Abramism - Dr. Abraham Vereide was the initial founder of The Family. The Fellowship has recast the language of empire into theology.

Interestingly, it is Republican presidents that so often speak of nation building in theological terms. When one includes the code words "safety", "Christian responsibility", and "Jesus" into the political dialogue, the Christian movement by and large goes along. However, "...it is Christianity itself that has prevented fundamentalists, America's most authoritarian demographic, from embracing the cult of personality around which fascist states are organized" (p.133).

That is a remarkable statement but one that will soon be incorrect because America and the vast majority of "Christians" are looking for someone that can save them - never before have e been so ripe to accept the anti-Christ.

"The NAE saw socialism and separatism as opposite ends of the spectrum of the beast known as secularism." At the second convening of the National Association of Evangelicals, "personal legalisms" - church standards of separation (holiness) - were relegated to none issues in view of the larger goal, making a Christian nation. Therefore, all were okay so long as Jesus Christ was embraced for the greater good of the nation and a select few in power, "Come on in, said the populist front, whether you speak in tongues and wave your hands on Sunday or sit on them and tsk, tsk at the sweat and tears of the holy rollers. Its fundamentalism was not theological; it was American. The totalitarianism of God, unlike that of man, welcomed all true believers" (p.155).

For these reasons and more, the American political and religious upheaval exists today. Jesus is coming soon and it would behoove us as Apostolic brethren to not be so enamored with the cause of America, as much as the cause of Jesus Christ. The political world is not extolling the same Jesus we do. The extent that it is doing so today is for the same purposes that Constantine embraced the concept of Christianity in his day - power and world domination.

Luke 21:7-9 (KJV)  And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?  And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.  But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV)  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Jesus is coming back again - not for Americans, Russians, Japanese, Iraqi's, Africans, Israeli's, and such like. He is returning for His bride. Those that have been born again of water and Spirit ( John 3:3-5 & Acts 2:38) and that have made themselves ready to see Him (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). For all others that reject His gospel and authority, only judgment, everlasting punishment, and hell await (Revelation 21:8).  As for me, I am, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" Titus 2:13-14 (KJV)



Comments

06-13-2017 at 1:43 AM
David P
Finally got a round "to-it" and enjoyed reading the blog. Will order the book.
04-30-2017 at 12:56 PM
Brian Enochs
Thoroughly enjoy your cd, "Oh, Say But I'm Glad," our "after church" jam sessions and your ministry to us at Life Tabernacle. Thank-you for being sensitive to the Holy Ghost and pouring out your heart to us. I can't wait to see what God has in store for Life Tab, between now and His return! God bless you my friend!
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