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

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On loving instruction…

Pr. 12:1:  “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Stupid is considered a ‘bad word’ in our house, but here it is, right in my Bible.  I’m just typing what it says.

It seems I’ve been reading the words of instruction in Proverbs so intently that I have caused damage to my Bible.  This page, and a chunk of others have come loose from the binding of my Bible.  When I was reading these words this morning, I was holding just the pages in my hand.

Although, it was shocking when they first came out, I take it as a sign that I have not hated correction.  I have been reading these instructions enough to have worn the pages right out of the book.  That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Now, let me admit that I don’t really always love correction.  I absolutely love to learn, but correction can sting.  I guess, like these pages, it pulls something out of me that maybe I’m a bit unwilling to give up.  Or maybe it’s just pride.

I don’t want to be considered stupid.  (Gasp!  I typed it again.)  I want to learn more and to grow more mature.  I want God to teach me what is best and good for my life.  I want to pull as much instruction out of His Word as I can.  Even if I am literally pulling out the pages from use.

God gives us instruction for our good.  He also gives it so that we can pass it on to others.  We owe it to those around us who aren’t “in the know” to pull out as much as we can, so that we can pass it along to them.  God has enough for us all!

Being instructed,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 17

Lord, in Ps. 119:81-88, I see the author is being persecuted and crying out for You to execute judgment upon his enemies.  In Pr. 17, Solomon warns over and over about lying, gossip, spitefulness, quarreling, deceitfulness, and evil intentions.  He even says, in vs. 12, that it would be better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs, than to come upon a man in his folly.

It is clear that other people’s decisions, intentions, and actions can greatly affect our lives here on earth.  But You, O Lord, test the hearts. Judgment comes from You alone.  Solomon tells us that, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Knowledge and understanding of You, O Lord, can keep our spirits calm here as we endure the circumstances that present themselves in our lives.  Our hope, Lord, is in You.  Indeed, we do hope in Your Word and long for eternity with You.

No matter what happens around us, Lord, we can continue to pursue our relationship with You.  We can continue to trust and hope in You.  We can keep Your testimony in our mouth as You revive us according to Your lovingkindness.

Thank You for being the One upon which we can call.  Thank You for being faithful to hear and to provide.  Thank You for being the Wise King who is just and honorable.  We can certainly trust in You.

I love you, My King.

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 5

In Ps. 119:20, the psalmist declares, “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.”  Oh, God, his desire to know more of You was so strong that it overcame him and ‘broke his soul’.  His desire for You exhausted and wore on him, zapping his strength in the best of ways.  God, that I would allow that type of desire to take hold in my own heart.  Oh, that my desire to know You would consume my thoughts as much as any unfulfilled desire ever could.

Lord, in Pr. 5, Solomon pleads again with his son to pay attention to his wisdom and his understanding.  He instructs his son not to be enraptured by an immoral woman.  He warns him of the dangers of being seduced by desire towards her.  Lord, Your Word tells us the same things.  We allow our desire for so many things to take our steps away from You, but all the while, we should be so consumed with a desire for You that nothing else will satisfy.  Forgive me, Lord, for placing my desire in other places.

Help me to hear Your Word as the instruction that will truly keep from reproach and contempt.  Help me not to depart from the Word of Your mouth that was given to keep me from being caught in the cords of sin, and quite literally from death.  Do not let me despise Your instruction, nor let me be consumed by anything other than my desire for more of You.  You alone are worthy of my life.  You alone are worthy of my desire, my longings, my devotion.

Oh, that Your Word would give me more delight than any other thing could even imagine to bring.  Awaken in me a new desire, Lord, for more of You.  Awaken a longing such as I have never had before.

Let my longing for You be passed to my children and my children’s children.  Let the generations to come long for You so strongly that it also breaks their souls.  Oh, that our longing would produce works that will glorify You and You alone.  You are worthy of all that and more, Lord, our Creator, our Savior, our Deliverer, and Strength.  Your power and might, Your faithfulness, Your peace…all these things and more make You more desirable than all else.  Keep that in our hearts and in our minds.  Help us to meditate on these things above all other things.  Move in us and use us for Your glory, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Month of Prayer, Day 2

Oh, Lord, let Your Word change me.  Let it seep into the deepest parts of my heart and my soul and renew and transform me.  Let me receive Your words and treasure Your commands within me, so that I may incline my ear to wisdom.  Help me to seek for Your wisdom and understanding as though I am seeking for hidden treasures, so that I will understand the fear of You and find the knowledge of You.

Help me hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  Help me to cleanse my way by taking heed according to Your Word.  When I seek You, Lord, I will want more of You and will not want to wander from Your commandments.  Oh, Lord, that I would seek You more.  Lord, that I would look for the wisdom You have stored up for me.

Lord, let me hear the wisdom, the knowledge, and the understanding that comes from Your mouth.  Then, Lord I will understand righteousness and justice, and every good path.  Lord, when those things come into my heart, they will preserve and keep me.  Those gifts from You will deliver me from the way of evil and keep me to the paths of righteousness.  With Your Word hidden in my heart, Lord, I will walk in the way of goodness and dwell with You forever.

I love you, Lord, and I long to know You more.  I want to be close to You now and forever.  I want You alone to be my God and my King.  I want You alone to be my Father and my Savior, my Redeemer and my Guide.  Guard me as a shield as I walk on Your paths, Lord, according to Your Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let love lurk

Pr. 1:11:  “If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;”

1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

There is a striking difference between the attitudes in this proverb and in 1 John.  Without God, love is not shown to others.  In fact, as is demonstrated in this verse, there may be complete disregard for others well-being.

What’s lurking beneath our surface?  Are we ready to pounce on others and cause harm; or are we so saturated with God’s love that it overflows and gushes onto those around us?

When we are born of God and know God, we show love.  The love in our relationships is a very clear indicator of the knowledge of God and His love within us.  If God’s love is revealed through us, what is our love for others saying right now on His behalf?

Paying attention to my ambushes,

jamie

A treasure worth the search

Pr. 2:4:  “If you seek for her [wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures…”

Last week my kids were able to spend time playing outside with some cousins their age.  They found some bones in the woods, and suddenly there was a mystery in play.  They began talking about the origin of the bones, desiring to get to the bottom of why the bones were there, and searching for clues.

When we went home later that day, my kids were still talking about the bones.  In fact, they came up with plans for tracking down the secret of the mystery.  They also packed extra supplies to use the next morning when we went back.  No provision was overlooked.  There were magnifying glasses, binoculars, field journals, walking sticks, ropes, flashlights…you name it!

On the way back to see their cousins the next morning, my kids were brimming with excitement as they discussed their plans in depth.  When we arrived, they got right to work.  They spent the next 5 hours setting up traps, walking the property looking for clues, and searching for the answers to the mystery.  At one point I saw them walking around with a bone attached to a rope.  (It would later become the bait for a trap)

None of us adults ever told them that the bones were from a Thanksgiving turkey thrown out earlier that week.  It was much more fun to watch their minds and imaginations at work.

Now bones aren’t much of a treasure to most of us adults, but the concept remains.  Those kids spent a total of 7 hours on those 2 days searching for the hidden answers to the treasure they found.  My kids were exhausted by the time we got back home the second day, heading straight to the couch to lie down for some rest.

This proverb tells us that when we search for wisdom as one searches for hidden treasure, that we will then understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  I saw illustrated with those kids, that it sure takes some persistence when searching for hidden treasure.  Their thoughts were focused on it, their planning time was consumed with it, and their time searching was spent solely on that purpose.

If we can be as persistent, we will find the treasures that await.  Will we have to answer to every question we’ve ever wondered?  Not just yet.  But we will find the knowledge we need for now, the fear of the One who gives it, and find the peace and satisfaction that can only come from Him.

We will know Who we are living for, and why we do what we do.  We will be more determined than ever to persist in using our lives for Him.  And then, one glorious day, we will be with Him for all eternity!  🙂  Now that’s a treasure worth our time!

Happy hunting!

jamie