RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

The power of positive thinking

My oldest brother graduated from high school in 1963. One of the graduation gifts he received was “The Power of Positive Thinking,” a book by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.

Years later, I purchased my own copy. Peale taught that you can overcome any obstacle, internal or external, through scriptures in the Bible, psychology and medicine. He taught how to get rid of negative thoughts and replace them with “the power of positive thinking.”

We have no control of the thoughts that enter our minds; they come out of nowhere. There is some truth to the old saying “mind over matter.” We have to be focused and not allow bad thoughts to take over our health, our happiness and our existence.

Research has found that positive thinking can improve your health, prevent future health problems and help you to be successful.

There are many scriptures on thoughts and prayers in the Bible. Paul teaches: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, KJV).

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must live on purpose each day, be happy, bring joy to others, do good and live our best lives now.

When we exhaust all of our human resources and it is clear that only God can fix our thoughts and answer our prayers, we go to Him daily in prayer.

—  Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston

There are no shortcuts to God

In Matthew 19, a rich man came to Jesus and said, “I’m following all of the commandments. What else do I need to do?” And Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow Him. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus said in Mark 12:29-31, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

It’s important to know that, in the Christian faith, there is nothing a person can do to work his/her way into heaven. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. That’s because God already loves us, no matter what we do. All we are asked to do is accept Jesus as the Savior, and then spend the rest of our lives learning how to love God in Christ.

That being said, God still wants us to give our whole selves to Her/Him. SHe wants us to love Him/Her with all our heart, soul and mind. God wants us to pour ourselves into loving God, because God has literally poured God’s self into loving us. God poured God’s self into the body of Jesus so that God could be with us. And, in the form of Jesus, God allowed himself to be tortured and crucified as a final sacrifice so that humanity could once and for all be able to spend eternity with God here and in heaven.

The question above sounds a little like someone trying to find a shortcut to God: “What is the bare minimum that I can do for God?” If we ask the question, we’ve already missed the point. There is no shortcut in love.

— Rev. Laura Hutchinson, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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