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A few years ago, a young timid girl sat at the end of the row quietly before our regular weekly praise team rehearsal clinching a small piece of paper on her lap. Just a week prior, I had given our team an assignment. I requested that each of them write down a few ideas or thoughts that we could compose into an original song to be possibly included in our worship set one Sunday morning. My wife and I assured the team that this was not a quiz but more of an opportunity for us to learn from each other. As the team members one by one reluctantly walked towards the piano to submit their unconventional lyrics, the young girl at the end of the row sheepishly moved forward and released the tight grip on the paper. Little did we know from that moment, all of our lives would not be the same from a few little words written on a piece of paper.

Have you ever judged someone and labeled them over a moment of frailty? Or in the middle of frustration have you ever made a lasting judgement of yourself due to a lasting setback?

All of us have been guilty of using words to pass judgements on others but it doesn’t seem to have the same effect until judgements, labels and words are passed on you. This re- minds me of one particular disciple that we have seemed to casually label and rename “Doubting Thomas.”

The scripture never once called him “Doubting Thomas”. If anything I would say “discouraged”. This was the same disciple that desired to follow Jesus even to then end (John 11). Thomas did not deny Christ three times, nor did he betray his Lord for a little cash as a result of his own insecurity. Scripture never once reveals that he did not believe whole heartedly in Jesus, His power or message. However, for some reason this word has preceded him, which labels him as a “doubter”(one lacking belief). Could it merely be that what he thought was supposed to happen; didn’t go as planned? He heard the sermons and saw the miracles before his very eyes. If anything his belief was met with discouragement because it wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

Have you worshiped, praised and still lost your home and car? Have you prayed and served in ministry faithfully to still be staring at divorce papers? Don’t be too quick to label, using words that are not according to our purpose. Did you know that Jesus himself raised the dead, healed, proclaimed the message, went to the cross and still was in the will of the Father?

Words are powerful! Words are packed with the omnipotent sounds of life or death. Before there is an ex- pressed sound of any word, there is a thought or idea where that sound began.

In today’s culture where there are so many things going on around us, it is said that the average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. That’s 30,000 opportunities that can result in sounds or words that give life or death. One or more of those 30,000 thoughts caused Thomas to use words to state the level of his belief. Just as Thomas was at a moment of frailty and discouragement, that young girl that sat in that rehearsal was also.

She was longing for answers to her identity even though she was faced with pain everyday. Pain from her self- inflicted wounds on her arms and also pain from the sound of words spoken over her. Praise the Lord that Jesus is always ready to comfort us. When Jesus returned He addressed Thomas’ concerns to restore him with power (John 20:27). This reminded Thomas that Jesus did not call him “Doubting Thomas” or even “Discouraged Thomas” but called him along with the other disciples, “Fishers of Men” (Math 4:19)

It is very important that our minds are renewed (Romans 12:2) regardless to what goes on around us. Sounds all around us transmitting ideas. Ideas that create images that result in behavior (actions) and therefore developing a belief system for our lives.

For Jesus message has always been “Repent for the Kingdom has arrived”. Jesus brought a message that would change our thoughts.

During challenging times in ministry or even our personal lives, don’t be quick to label that phase in your life. Don’t be quick to identify that moment with any other label other than what God has originally called it. That young timid girl revealed the words to that song that changed my thinking forever. This girl was suffering from esteem issues and problems within the home that caused her to cut herself, but somehow she discovered the Truth and Jesus met her, addressing her concerns. The words leaped off the crumbled paper into the hearts of the entire congregation during worship, “He Loves Me”.

Regardless where you are in life, He loves you. Each of us are called with a purpose to perform His perfect will. For when you seek the Lord you will find Him. (Jer 29: 11-13, Proverbs 16 :1-4. A renewed mind will always result in peace. It may get hard and intense all around you but don’t let the pressure disconnect you from the Lord.

Don’t let the thoughts destroy your destiny! For everything has an appropriate time, even the rough times “They too will pass”. But Jesus said himself “Heaven and earth may pass away…but My words(expressed sounds) shall not pass away”. (Luke 21:23) Love always protects, trusts, hopes, preserves and Never Fails!

Allow these words to renew your thoughts…He Loves YOU!