Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

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BOOK review
Started on: 27.February.2016
Finished on: 3.March.2016

Title : Power Thoughts
Author : Joyce Meyer
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Pages :  272 pages
Year of Publication : 2011
Price : Rp 198,000 (www.periplus.com)

Rating: 5/5
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"The battle in our minds will continue until our earthly lives are complete. We will never become so spiritual that the enemy decides to stop harassing us, but we can become stronger and stronger against him as we grow in our relationship with God and in understanding His Word."
A while ago, I was kind of bored reading fiction books (probably because I haven't found any that really blew me away lately); so I decided to pick up a non-fiction book to lift up my reading mood. I chose this book because I know it will be good for me and it's something that I wouldn't get bored with. Back in 2014, I read and reviewed Joyce Meyer's other book called God is Not Mad At You, and it was really life-changing for me. It changed my perspective about life and my relationship with God. So going into this book, I was hoping for the same life-changing effect—and it definitely did. I know I had a lot of wrong thoughts in my life, but this book pointed out even the ones that I never realized was wrong before. In this review, I'm going to briefly share half of the power thoughts in this book so you can have an idea of what's inside :)

"All of us have the privilege and responsibility of choosing our attitudes, no matter what circumstances or situations we find ourselves in. The key word here is choosing. Attitudes don't just happen; they are the products of our choices."
As an introduction, Joyce Meyer gave a foundation that will make us understand how our thoughts will affect our attitudes—and that our attitudes are based on our choices.We are reminded that we will always have an option to be miserable, unhappy, and pessimistic; but we can also choose to be optimistic and happy despite our circumstances. I really love the part in which she said:
"Being positive does not mean we deny the existence of difficulty; it means we believe God is greater than our difficulties."
because there's no denying that life can be—and will be—difficult at times. But if we choose to believe the best out of our situations, we will be living with the right attitude. This book encouraged us to start making the habit of controlling our thoughts. Whenever bad thoughts started arising in our minds, we need to think about something else, think about something good until there's no more room for bad thoughts to sink in. Talking about it might make it sounds easy, but the author reminded us that bad habits will not be broken just with our desire to break it. Doing it will require determination and diligence over the course of our lifetime.


✦ 1. I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ. ✦

"God will not call you to do anything He will not enable and empower you to do. He will not allow you to go through anything that is impossible for you. Although God never authors bad things, He does use them for our spiritual growth."
The very first power thought introduced in this book points out our negative thoughts regarding our inability to do certain things. For a long time—I guess even until now, I always consider myself a quiet person who's not good at talking. I have a huge problem with public speaking and felt insecure whenever I talk in front of a lot of people. I always say that this is just how I am originally as an excuse; but that stops me from growing as an individual. Even though I'm still not a very good speaker, I constantly try to get out of my comfort zone because I want to be better. Self-pity and being jealous of other people who are better than us at something is a waste of time. It is better to take things at your own pace and grow towards our better selves with God's help.
"Stop making excuses and start doing what God is telling you to do. Stop looking at all your weaknesses because His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is through our weakness and inability that God shows His strength."
"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]."Phillipians 4:13

✦ 2. God loves me unconditionally! ✦

"No matter how many right things you have listed, you can never do enough to deserve God's love, and no matter how many wrong things you have listed on your sheet of paper, they cannot prevent God from loving you forever."
I'm not going to go in too deep with this power thought because the book God is Not Mad At You went much deeper into this topic. Basically, this power thought is used to defend ourselves against guilt, shame, and feeling that there's something wrong with us. We will never have a good relationship with God if we come to Him with the mindset of paying back our sins with good deeds. When we understand how much God loves us, we will have the desire to please Him with our lives. So every time we do something wrong, all we need to do is repent and receive God's forgiveness. Admit our mistakes and ask God to help us change.
"Is God ever displeased with us? Yes, He is displeased when we sin (this is our "do", not our "who") and He loves us enough to correct us and continue working with us to bring us into better and more godly behavior (Hebrews 12:10)."
"Good relationships must be based on love and acceptance, not on fear. All too often we are deceived into thinking that our acceptance is based on our performance, and this is totally unscriptural."

✦ 3. I will not live in fear. ✦

"Feeling fear is part of being alive.
We can only be cowardly when we allow our fears to dictate our actions or decisions, instead of following our hearts and doing what we know is right for us. Feeling fear is simply the temptation to run away from what we should face and confront; feeling fear is not equal to being afraid because being afraid means letting fearful feelings get the best of us."
The third power thought is really important to me because it pointed out a lot of my weaknesses. For one thing, I always have a fear of discomfort and fear of being misunderstood. Not to mention many other kinds of fear, which I'm sure all of us also have. This part made me realize that fear will prevent us from trying new things or stretching ourselves out of our comfort zones. Like I said earlier, I'm a very comfort-zone type of person. I'm always afraid of feeling humiliated or ashamed or regret. But I understand now that I should not be discouraged when my good intentions fail at times. We should not let our fear steal God's best plans for our lives. Here are some of the quotes that I need to remind myself over and over to get past my fear:
"Courage is not the absence of fear, it is progress in its presence."
"Do what you believe you are supposed to do even if you have to "do it afraid"."
"We may not know what to do in a tense situation, but God does. He is never surprised by anything. He knows everything before it happens and He has already planned our deliverance, so all we need to do is keep going forward. We simply need to take one step at a time and not worry about the next one because God will be there to guide us in the next step when the time comes."
image source: here

✦ 4. I am difficult to offend. ✦

"Why give the control of your day to other people? Being hurt and offended does not change the people, it only changes us. It makes us miserable and steals our peace and joy, so why not prepare ourselves mentally not to fall into Satan's trap?"
Personally, I'm not easily offended most of the time but I see how this power thought is important to remember in our daily lives. This section also discussed about forgiving others and that we should not convince ourselves that forgiving is hard to do. When we think too much on the thing that offended us, we didn't realize what we're doing to ourselves—it takes away our joy and makes us bitter. Temptations to feel offended will not stop, so we have to decide not to take the bait. The tips given in this part is to believe the best about other people, because it will help us stay peaceful and joyful. Here are my favorite passages from this chapter:
"Believing the best of people is very helpful in the process of forgiving people who hurt or offend us. As human beings, we tend to be suspicious of others and we often get hurt due to our own imagination. It is possible to believe someone hurt you on purpose when the truth is they were not even aware they did anything at all and would be grieved to know that they hurt you."
"Anything God has given us, such as forgiveness and mercy, He expects us to extend to others... When we are offended, we need to quickly call to mind the fact that God has freely and fully forgiven us, so we should freely and fully forgive others."

✦ 5. I love people and I enjoy helping them. ✦

"Real love has little to do with gooey emotions and goose bumps; and it has everything to do with the choices we make about the way we treat people. Real love is not theory or talk; it is action. It is a decision concerning the way we behave in our relationships with other people."
To help us get our minds off the wrong thoughts, it is better to constantly think about how much we can do for others. Through this chapter, I am encouraged to show more love towards other people; by caring for them, helping them, listening to what they have to say, give encouragement, and appreciate others. There are also several questions that lets us reflect upon ourselves; how generous have we been so far in our lives? And I certainly haven't been generous enough in my life.


✦ 6. I trust God completely, there is no need to worry! ✦

"Worry keeps us from living in faith and steals our peace. When we worry, we are actually saying, "If I try hard enough I can find a solution to my problem," and that is the opposite of trusting God."
The last power thought that I'm going to share in this review is something that probably everyone has experienced at some point in their lives: worry. I myself have a lot of worries; but this power thought reminded me that everything happens for a reason and that God knows about everything that I do not understand. When we worry all the time, it also means that we are not living in faith because we don't trust God wholeheartedly. Forming this new mindset might not be easy, it will need a lot of effort to brainwash ourselves by constantly repeating this power thought hundreds or even thousands of times; but remember that when we think and say the thing that agrees with God, we are making progress. Here are some of my favorite parts:
"Another form of worry is called reasoning, which takes place when we think about something over and over, trying to figure out what happened, trying to understand what people were thinking, or trying to decide what to do in a situation... Trust requires some unanswered questions, and being satisfied to know that God knows what we don't know. We know in part, but God knows everything. He is never surprised or without a solution."
"God is good even when our circumstances are not! He doesn't always give us our hearts' desires immediately after we ask, but He knows the right timing for everything and we can trust Him."
"Don't try to take on God's responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can't. So give yourself and your worries to God, worship Him, and begin enjoying the abundant life He has for you."
"And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?"Matthew 6:27


"I am going to live to please God, not people. I want to be accepted but I will not compromise my faith and moral integrity."
First of all, sorry for the long summary—but I'm also writing this review for myself, in case I need to refresh my memory about the details of this book. There are still 6 more power thoughts that I didn't mention in this book, which are not less important than the ones that I mentioned here. If you want to know more, of course I would suggest you to read this book yourself. I believe everyone can at least gain a thing or two from this book; because having negative thoughts is what everyone in this world has to go through every single day. Even though it will be a long journey to fix our thoughts, I think it is something worth doing. Because when our thoughts are renewed, our attitudes will be affected as well.

I've always loved Joyce Meyer's writing since I read her book The Battlefield of the Mind (which correlates with this book). She uses a lot of examples that are easy to understand and is very relatable. There are times when she repeated things over and over, but I do believe it is necessary to set a certain idea/teaching in the readers' minds. Overall, this book really encouraged me to change for the better by controlling our thoughts instead of being controlled by them. I've now written down all 12 power thoughts on my phone and decided to meditate on them every day. Failure is inevitable, but I want to be disciplined and keep making progress towards a better mind and attitude.

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"We are not bad people because bad thoughts come to us but if we don't resist them, we can become whatever we choose to focus our thoughts on..... Seek means "make an attempt". We also have to seek to think right thoughts. It takes discipline and training, but we can do it."
"You have to be relentless about thinking right thoughts. You need to think on purpose; you need to discipline your mind; and you need to make sure your thoughts agree with God's Word in every area of your life."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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