Guiding Scripture:
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Romans 8:5-6 & 14-16“Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.”
Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children.”

Phil 3:13“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Guiding Points:
1. Inside our brain, we all have a lot of thoughts. In fact, our brains are so intricately wired that a quick internet search will tell you we have somewhere between 4,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. Our minds are made to think and those thoughts are powerful. So powerful that it’s been said that where we end up in life is a result of the way we think.

2. This is said because you will find that thoughts lead to emotion. Emotion leads to attitude. Attitude shapes actions. Actions shape character. Character shapes where you end up.
Our thoughts are powerful. They determine the course of life. And if you’re like me, you may have noticed an increase in your thoughts lately. Whether you have more time on your hands to simply think or intense changes coming your way have forced you to think. Whether positive or negative, you have probably laid in bed a time or two not able to sleep due to the excessive amount of thoughts running through your head. They can be overwhelming to say the least but remember…they are powerful as where you end up is a result of the way you think.

3. You have probably thought to yourself at some point, ”What in the world was I thinking?” You see a lot of times we ask this question after our thoughts and what we “think” has taken us to an action and destination.

There are times where each of us have spaces and faces that remind us of memories we would like to forget. For example:
That past relationship.
That financial descison.
That argument.
The time I said this or did that.
That huge mistake I made.
That sin.

Those spaces and faces can trigger reminders that leave us with powerful thoughts of:

Guilt.- Guilt says, “I’ve behaved badly. My action was wrong”.

Shame.- Shame says, “I’m altogether a bad person”.

Regret.-Regret says, “I wish I had done differently”.

4. Those thoughts of guilt, shame and regret are powerful…because your thoughts take you somewhere. Those thoughts can lead you to two places. They lead you to either hope or helplessness.

Helplessness says the guilt your feeling is only gonna end in despair and condemnation.
Hope says that the guilt your feeling can lead to Father and with the Father comes the opportunity for confession, forgiveness, and freedom.

Helplessness says the shame you feel is who you are. That you must be stuck.
Hope says that the shame your feeling was already taken for you on the cross. Hope says you’re a masterpiece.

Helplessness says the regret you feel will always be forever useless.
Hope says the regret you feel can be made new.

Helplessness shows you the end.
Hope shows you the beginning.

Helplessness leads to death.
Hope brings new life.

This changes everything. Hope changes everything.

5. In this world that can quickly take your thoughts to helplessness, remember that there is a God of hope.

A God that has made you on purpose and for purpose.

A God that calls you a masterpiece (Eph 2:10).

A God that in Romans 12:2 says wants to transform your mind and thoughts so you will know His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

A God that gives you the opportunity to change the way you think.

A God that takes your confession and offers sweet forgiveness and freedom.

A God that says he is with, for, and not finished with you.

A God that loved you so much he sent his son to die on a cross. Jesus, who knew no sin, God’s son experienced the guilt, shame, and regret so you don’t have to stay stuck in your own.

There is a God that gives you the choice to choose hope over helplessness.

The famous philosopher and author Dallas Willard says, “The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the ability to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon.”

6. Wherever your thoughts and actions of the past have dwelled and overwhelmed you lately…choose hope:
Hope that offers forgiveness over guilt.
Hope that offers beauty over shame.
Hope that offers purpose over regret.
Choose hope that is Jesus. Jesus found you…worth dying for.

This, my friends, this changes everything.