How do we take our thoughts captive?

Pr. 23:12: “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

I was told that my blog from yesterday was really sad.  It is sad that I chose not to take my thoughts captive, mostly because that was the start of a downward spiral in my life that lasted about a year.  I struggled more than I ever needed to and even had thoughts of suicide.

So, how do we take our thoughts captive?  It starts with the Word.  We have to know it.  We have to know Him.  Instruction and knowledge are available to us all, and we need to apply ourselves to them.

Let’s look back at Eve in the garden.  The Lord told Adam that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  When satan came to tempt Eve to eat it, she told him that the Lord said they could not eat it nor touch it.  (That’s not what He said)  Then satan subtly convinced her that the tree was good for food.  We must know the truth of God’s Word, and we must trust it.

Satan even used God’s word when tempting Jesus after His 40-day wilderness experience.

He does the same with us…subtle shifts in God’s word.  Nothing that seems too alarming, except that instead of growing us closer to the Lord, it pulls us away from Him.  Nothing grossly misrepresented, just enough word play to cause us to begin focusing more on ourselves than we do on the Lord.  After all, just as satan wanted to be like God, he tempted Eve with being like God, he tempted Jesus with power and pride; he tries to distract us away from the One true God.

We have access to the Word of God today like no other time in history.  Before we accept anything as truth, we need to consult the Word and find out what it says…word for word.

Jesus took His thoughts captive when tempted by satan, when He accurately quoted God’s Word to satan.  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.  Mt. 4:11

I believe that when we follow Jesus’ example, and do the same, that God show will Himself strong for us, and help us through those tough moments, as well.  We don’t have to struggle and head for the downward spirals, but can be lifted up in His Spirit to draw ever closer to Him.

Taking our thoughts captive, we can regain control in our lives, declaring who the Lord of our lives truly is, and trusting that He will do what He said He will do.

He spoke the light, sun, stars, plants, and animals into existence.  Whatever He speaks comes to pass.  The promises in His Word cannot be lies.  What He says has to be.  Do you believe it?  Claim it!

Believing on His Word,

jamie

Advertisements

Month of Prayer, Day 23

Lord, the theme in my scripture reading this morning is that regarding Your Word is wise and will lead to eternal rewards.  You warn us not to envy sinners, but to be zealous for the fear of You, reminding us that there is surely a hereafter, and that our hope will not be cut off.

You remind us not to overwork to be rich, but to set our eyes on eternity.  You remind us to correct and discipline our children so that they may be delivered from hell.

In Pr. 23:23, we are told, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”  We are reminded throughout this chapter about wisdom.  We are encouraged to remember that while temptations may look good for the moment, they lead to bad results.  Help me to remember these verses when I am tempted to focus on earthly pleasures more than eternal rewards, Lord.

Like the writer of Ps. 119:125, I say, “I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.”  I do not want to regard Your Word as void, Lord, but to love Your commandments more than find gold, or any other earthly treasure.

Help me to hate every false way, but to focus on Your precepts, and Your promise of eternity.  Lord, You loved me so much that You allowed Your only Son to be killed so that I could live with You in eternity.  Do not let me trample on that gift just to ‘feel good’ here on earth.  I want to be with You forever.

Thank You, God, for the gift of salvation.  Thank You for the promise of an eternal reward.  Thank You for Your love that is sacrificial.  Please help me love the same way.  Thank You for Your Word, which gives me wisdom.  Please help me to live a life according to Your Word, that I may please my Father in Heaven.

I pray and ask these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

What was I trying to say?

Pr. 23:20:  “Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.”

Last night I had a dream where I was with a small group of people who was encouraging a broken person and witnessing to them about Christ.  One of the people in our group was one of the Pastor’s from my church.  We wound up at a bar, which was the place where that person was most comfortable.  And then, my Pastor ordered shots for us all.

I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable being in the bar, but when my Pastor ordered us shots and then eagerly drank his, I was worried that he was crossing a dangerous line.   (Reminder…this was only a dream)

We were called to tell others about Christ.  Paul said that he made himself a servant to all, that he might win the more.  To the Jews he became as a Jew, to those who were weak he became as one weak, etc.  (1 Cor. 9:20-23)  He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

Paul did what it took to witness; however, this same man also reminds us in the chapter before to be cautious of our liberties in Christ.  He tells us that our decisions could cause a weaker brother could stumble.  He was ever-mindful of the reason he was witnessing in the first place, disciplining himself as to not become disqualified.  (1 Cor. 9:27)

We exist to win people to Jesus Christ and the best way to do that is to make Jesus so attractive that others cannot resist. While doing so; however, we must be careful that we don’t begin to mar our own credibility and risk becoming in bondage ourselves.

This is definitely not a blog about the right or wrong of drinking, but we have something so much better to offer others than a profitless shot of alcohol, and we have to demonstrate that by our actions.  What can be found in Jesus is far beyond any outside lift.  When becoming a servant to all, we must be ever mindful of the One whose servanthood we are first called to emulate.

We must keep in mind that being a witness for Christ means we must give evidence of the hope that is found in Him, and not allow ourselves to forget what we were trying to say in the first place.

Sticking close to the Savior,

jamie

Are your walls secure?

Pr. 25:28:  “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”

This verse causes me to think about Jericho.  The reason destruction of Jericho was amazing was that it’s walls made it basically impenetrable.  The walls were made of thick stone.  They were high.  They were well-guarded, and Joshua 6:1 says the gate was securely shut because of the children of Israel.

When a city is securely protected in this manner, it takes either an act of God or a well-planned attack by a heavily-armed battalion to get over or through those walls.

This verse tells us that when we have no rule over our own spirit that we are like a city broken down, without walls.

What happens when a city has no walls, or walls that have been broken down?  Invaders can enter and take over.  The defenses of the city are weakened.  Those inside the city are vulnerable to any type of attack.  Anyone or anything can come in to the city and do what they please.  Unwanted guests can make themselves at home or even take charge.

How is this like us?  When we have no rule over our spirit, we are vulnerable to attack.  When we are allowing ourselves to be ruled by our desires, passions, emotions, or those of others around us, we make openings for the enemy to attack.  He can make himself at home or even take charge of our lives and our decision-making process.

Boundaries in our lives are walls of protection.  Examples of boundaries:  refusing to watch movies with nudity; not ‘playing around’ with black magic; guarding ourselves against worldly teachings that exclude Jesus or His grace; deciding never to be alone in a bedroom with a member of the opposite sex (who is not our spouse); making a pact with ourselves to tell the truth no matter what; making time each day to read God’s word; only listening to songs that remind us of Christ if we have found that songs about worldly passions cause us to veer away from God.  The list could continue, but you get the point.

If we don’t have walls/boundaries in place ahead of time, we leave ourselves vulnerable to any type of attack that may come our way.  We do not have to give in to attacks, invasions, or temptations.  We can guard ourselves, and secure our gates so that we are not allowing just anyone or anything to take over.

When we rule our own spirits, we take charge.  We decide what we believe, do, say.  We do not allow whims to blow us about like the wind.  We stand firm on the foundation, which is Christ Jesus, and we stay put.

I feel the need to remind us that prayer, praise, and time in the Word are the things that fortify and strengthen our walls the most.  Without these our walls will crumble.

Fortifying my walls,

jamie

Worrying about those riches

Pr. 23:5:  “Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”

Solomon was telling his son not to overwork to become rich.  With our citizenship being in heaven, and the fact that riches will fade away, there is a time to cease.  There are many types of “riches” on which we can set our minds.

Until 4:00 a.m., I was lying in bed for an hour or so trying to “be anxious for nothing.”  I had recited Ph. 4:6-7 several times, offering thanksgiving to God and praying, in order that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, would guard my heart and mind.  Sometimes I guess I expect that the peace will fall heavily upon me and I will no longer think about my anxieties, but it didn’t necessarily do that this time.  I do believe; however, that it is guarding my heart and mind, and the moment a forceful attack comes, the protection will already be in place.

I am anxious because at 8:45 this morning I will be having the x-ray that will let me know how the fracture in my shin has healed.  This could go 1 of 3 ways, and after 7 weeks of putting no weight on my leg, I feel ready to get back to “normal life.”

Will I set my eyes on that which is not?  That’s what anxiety is.  In Ph. 4:11, Paul writes, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  Anxiety is me not being content in my current state.  Anxiety is me worrying about the future, when I’m still in the present.

Now, I recall Jesus in the garden the night before His betrayal.  He said that His soul was deeply sorrowful, even to death.  It does give me peace in knowing that even Jesus became sorrowful and asked that the cup be passed from Him.  Understanding what He faced, I am not comparing my level of sorrow to His.  I do, however, take comfort in the fact that He truly does understand what it means to want an impending event not to take place.

I do not want to hear the doctor say that I am not healed.  Even before I go; however, I must decide, if I will set my eyes on those uncertain things?  If I am not healed, will God still supply my needs?  Of course.  The “riches” I desire do not ensure a perfect life.  Jesus gave Himself to God’s will in order to glorify His Father.  That’s the point of our lives, and if I cannot glorify my Father with on crutches, then perhaps I never can.

I am a child of God, and no matter what state I am in, He will still provide.  Setting my eyes now on things above, reminds me that peace comes from knowing and trusting in God.  With Him, I am complete, and can now cease over-worrying about my riches.  It’s God’s riches I’m counting on!  🙂

Resting in Him,

jamie

Because of your own understanding, cease!

Pr. 23:4:  “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!”

A month after Donnie and I were married, I accepted a higher-paying promotion at work.  I soon learned; however, that promotions are not always worth accepting.  Although my manager promised to fill the position I previously held, there was a significant amount of stalling and I worked both positions for over a year.

I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make the long commute to be at work at 6:00.  Most days I would arrive back home between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.  Add to that the numerous times I had to fill in for another shift, arriving home at 2:00 a.m., only to get back up and start over.

I averaged 65 hours a week during that time, eventually beginning to break down physically, and also missing out on critical time with my new husband.  When did we have time to enjoy one another?  What should have been our “honeymoon period” was entirely too difficult for us.  That experience is definitely one of those I would go back and do differently, if given the chance.  No amount of money or supervising experience was worth all that I sacrificed during that time.

If we really take God at His word, believing that, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” then we can see that no promotion, position, company, or paycheck will ever be what gets us through.  Our provision comes from the Lord, and no matter where we work, or what our title, that will always be true.  What’s more is that if we tithe a portion back to Him, He will faithfully rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and not allow him to destroy the fruit of our labor.

Worrying about what we will eat, what we will wear, what car we will drive, what we will buy our kids for Christmas…those worries are just a waste of our time.  Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (our basic needs) shall be added to you.”  Mt. 6:33.  He said, “what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”  Mt. 7:9-11

If you are faced with the decision to over-work to become rich, remember the Lord’s promises and His enduring faithfulness, and choose to cease.  It is not worth the sacrifices of family relationships, health, your relationship with God, or your time to be able to do God’s work.  Understanding God’s faithfulness, and the effects of your sacrificing choices, work as unto the Lord, and then cease!  Allow God to show His hand of provision in your life.

Content,

jamie

 

 

 

 

Stop speaking

Pr. 23:9:  “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

The Bible describes a fool as one who has said in his heart, “there is no God.”  For those of us who deeply love and believe in God, knowing that someone we love does not also believe can be deeply painful.  We do not wish that our loved ones would pass away not believing, and not going to their eternal life in heaven.  It is also sad to watch loved ones not living this life empowered by the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, we understand the power that comes from surrendering to the Lord, and we wish that for those we love.  It is natural for us to talk about the Lord on a daily basis, but when faced with an unbeliever, these conversations can be seen as offensive or even turn into hurtful debates.  I think we can gather from Solomon that although we have much wisdom within us, there is a time when we must simply cease our speaking.

This is where it become imperative that we are walking in the Spirit.  If we simply trust in the Lord, love Him with all our hearts, walk in His power, and allow His Spirit to guide us, it will be evident to those around us.  We must be the example of the reasons why believing in and trusting in the Lord is the best option.

I am not saying we shouldn’t witness to others.  I believe we should be full of the wisdom of the Lord and ready to offer praise and answers about Him at all times.  There comes a point; however, when our words become despised.  Our words, when heard over and over, can begin to grate on the nerves of one who does not believe.

So what do we do?  We walk in the Spirit.  We live a life that honors God.  We pray.  This is where prayer is truly an imperative.  We must bring our loved ones before the Lord, who is the One who has given salvation.  The word says that the Holy Spirit is the One who convicts sinners.  (John 16:8)  The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.  (John 16:13)  The Holy spirit also teaches all things and brings to remembrance the things the Lord has spoken to us (and to our loved ones).  (John 14:26)

Notice that the Holy Spirit does the teaching, the truth-telling, and the convicting.  Yes, we must be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope we have, but an answer requires a question.  If the hope of God shows in our lives, someone may just ask us why.  We can then answer their question.  If we don’t show any hope and only try to do the convicting ourselves, our words will be despised.

We must let go and let God do His job.  He does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance.  Our job is to continue in the truth, in His wisdom, in faith, in hope and in prayer, showing the love and meekness of Christ.

Praying with you,

jamie