In the multitude of anxieties

 

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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

The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.

Don’t give up now

Pr. 27: 18:  “Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; so he who waits on his master will be honored.”

A workout buddy of mine once gave me some advice that stuck.  She said, “At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.”  Her advice got me through some intense (former) workouts.

However, the last time I felt like giving up the fight and giving into depression, her words rang again in my mind.  I realized how true they are, not just for working out, but for life.

The NKJV Bible that I read uses the word perseverance.  Let’s look at Ro. 5:3-5:

we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Peter 1:5-11 talks about fruitful growth in the faith:

giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Talk about eating the fruit of the tree we keep.

Peter also reminds us in chapter 3, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, [the day of the Lord] be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (vs. 14-18)

At the point where we feel like giving up the fight against temptation, sin, indifference, and justification…if we will instead choose to persevere, that is when our endurance is built.

What happens when we build endurance?  We are stronger in the face of the next temptation.  We have the stamina to go longer between moments of intentional, willing sin.  Our brains begin to think more clearly, and our justifications become baseless.  Our confidence in who we are in Christ will grow, and our confidence in His strength will not easily be shaken.

Building our endurance takes diligence.  Diligently growing in our faith while we wait on our Master will allow us to be honored upon His arrival.

The day is at hand.  We cannot give up now.  We must diligently keep ourselves to see the fruit.

Let me say it again so maybe it will stick in your brain like it has mine:  At the point when you want to give up, that’s when you’re building endurance.  And for that fight we put up, we will indeed be honored.  🙂

Waiting on Him,

jamie

Oh, and I heard this song this morning that reminded me of this.  He is worth it!

 

Confession time

Pr. 14:30:  “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”

My confession:  Last week I was envious and it almost turned ugly.

I have a good friend who just had a knee replacement in June.  She’d been feeling as though her progress was moving slowly; however, last Sunday, she was rocking some hot red cowgirl boots at church.

I knew that the fact that she could wear those boots was a huge moral booster for her!  I also knew that if she could comfortably wear those boots, she was WAY better than she knew.  I was immediately happy for her!  What a victory!

My next thought; however, was envious.  Here I am, 6 months out from having broken my shin, and I still can’t wear any “cute” shoes without immediate pain.

The speed at which my thoughts shifted was impressive, but scary.  One second I was overwhelmed with joy for my friend, and the next, I was almost eaten up by overwhelming discouragement about my own state of being.  I felt depression loom over me and try to block out happiness.  I felt the tears threatening to come, the struggle of wanting to feel ‘normal’.

This is all true.  During a 15-20 second conversation, all these things really happened.

Then, I remembered that my hope is in the Lord.  No matter the situation of my life, God’s plans for my life are for good.  When I trust in Him, I will be safe.

I gave my friend a celebratory hug, and walked away rejoicing for her.  Those thoughts tried to sneak back up on me a couple of times during the week, but I refused to indulge them.  God has different plans for my friend than He does for me.

No matter if I can never wear what I consider “cute” shoes again, I am here to do the work that He has planned for me.  Perhaps that work requires a slower pace and a more comfortable shoe.

Our hearts can be sound by trusting in Him.  We don’t need to trust in situations, things we ‘see’ with our natural eyes, or in comparing ourselves with others.  God is the foundation on which we build something that’s sound, and won’t rot our bones.

Rocking my cutest comfy shoes,

jamie

 

Scattering gladness

Pr. 12:25:  “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”

Newsflash:  not everyone who is depressed lies in bed with the covers over their head.  Most go to work, shop at the store, attend church and social events, and live their lives the best they can.

Just because we’re unaware of someone’s anxiety or depression, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  So, it seems that a good rule of thumb is to make sure we have a good word for each person with whom we come into contact.

We don’t have to be intimidated, thinking we have to always offer up some prophetic word from the Lord, or the best advice ever given.  We just need to give a good word.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but if good words can give gladness to a depressed heart, then it would be good for us to aim to distribute those words more generously.

We don’t have to pretend that we ourselves our happy when we’re not; however, I’m reminded of the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Still, I think we can do better than that most of the time.

Out of the abundance that God has placed within us, let’s make someone’s heart glad today.  🙂

Cordially,

jamie

Dreaming the very possible dream

Pr. 21:25-26:  “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”

The first example that comes to my mind pertains to losing weight.  How many times have we heard people wish out loud (or perhaps done it ourselves) that they would eat better and lose weight.

“Oh, it’s frustrating being overweight.”  “I need to start eating better.”  “I wish I could wear clothes like that, run a 5k, or have that much energy.”  The list goes on and on.

Stating the desire out loud can cause deep sorrow or depression when the one speaking it knows they will do nothing to achieve that goal.  It may seem like dreaming the impossible dream.

The reality; however, is that by making the decision to put forth the labor, the weight could in fact come off.  Deciding that the desire is worth the effort, one could finally begin to say no to unhealthy foods and yes to healthy choices.

There are lots of examples of this:  saving money, getting out of debt, reading the Bible more, taking time for ourselves each day, spending more time with family, learning that hobby we’ve been dreaming about, beginning a foundation, joining a ministry…the list could go on and on.

What is it that you’ve been desiring, but feeling as if it were an impossible dream?

Ask The Lord to help you.  Nothing is impossible for God, and with Him all things are possible.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

As Christians, we must remember that God did not give us a spirit of fear.  There is nothing we can’t do with God on our side.  God gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A sound mind.  When we decide our desire is worth the labor, and we ask The Lord to help us, we can grasp that desire with hands full of power.  We do not have live under the heaviness of unfulfilled desires.  We can reach out, through God, and see our desires come to life.

Today is the day when we can begin the labor that will see our desire fulfilled!  Ask God to help, and let’s get to work.

Laboring,

jamie