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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Taking control of the wrong thing

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is filled.”  2 Cor. 10:3-6

My tattoo caught my attention the other morning and got me thinking about the reason why I got it.  I recalled coming to the place where I had decided that I had no control over anything in my life and so, I resolved to take control of something…enter the tattoo.

Whether you’re for or against tattoos, I can tell you that, at this point, I’m generally pretty indifferent towards mine.   But today it’s going to teach us all a lesson.

I’ve written before about when I got sick in 2012.  I never had a moments doubt that the Lord would heal me.  I remember reading my Bible in the hospital, completely trusting the promises within.

As the inconclusive medical tests continued to come in, and my pain persisted, I began to grow a bit weary.  At a church service a few months later, I heard a lesson about prayer lives that I didn’t like, and it hurt my feelings.  It made me feel inferior and inadequate.  I thought about it over and over.  I talked to myself about it.  I fumed over it.  I resented it.

Looking back, I know that when Satan realized that the physical issues weren’t going to cause me to turn against God, he knew would need a new tactic.  I gave him exactly what he needed.  He whispered, taunted, and argued against my knowledge of God with that comment I heard at church.  I could have just brushed it off and moved on with my life, but I allowed him to get in that crack.  I didn’t take control of my thoughts.  I didn’t take them captive.  I allowed him to control my thoughts for me.

As the months went by I let it impair my prayer life a little at a time.  Anger set itself deeper and deeper within my soul.  And then, someone I trusted even more spoke about the same thing, and I remember that being the day I just quit.  I remember thinking, “I’m done.”

What happened?  Satan won.  And I ended up with a tattoo.  I fought in the flesh instead of using the mighty weapons I have in God.  I became weaker because I took ‘control’ with my weakest weapon…my flesh.

Instead of taking my thoughts captive and reminding myself of the faithfulness of God, I listened to the twisted “truths” of the enemy.  Instead of ‘taking control’ by getting a tattoo, I should have taken control of my thoughts, reading the Word for myself and asking the Holy Spirit to teach me and bring to my remembrance all the Lord has said to me.

Let my tattoo be a permanent reminder for us all…take control of your thoughts!  Take control of the “truths” you are listening to.  Stay in God’s word and let the Holy Spirit minister to and teach you.  Fight in the Spirit and not in the flesh!  God is on your side and He is fighting for you.

Marked,

jamie

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 24

Your testimonies are wonderful, Lord; therefore my soul keeps them.  The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.

Look upon me and be merciful to me, as Your custom is toward those who love Your name.  Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.  Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts.  Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.

I do not desire to be with evil men, but desire that my heart and my home be built by Your wisdom.  I desire that they be filled with the pleasant and precious riches of our knowledge of You.  I desire to be strong, in You, Lord.  Counsel me according to Your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Month of Prayer, Day 21

Lord, I’m glad I can trust You.  I can look back at the examples of Your faithfulness to me, to my loved ones, and to those in the Bible.  I can see Your hand at work time after time and know that You are still the God that is in control.

When I hear Your Word and apply my heart to Your knowledge; when I keep Your Word within me, then I can know and remember Your excellence and Your faithfulness.  My trust in You can continue and grow.  I hope in Your Word.  It upholds me, and guides me.  It gives me life.

I have been trained in Your Word since I was a child, and for that I am thankful.  Your Word says that I will not depart from that training.  No matter how many times I allowed myself to be distracted from You or chose to live outside of Your will, Your Word within me was a constant reminder that I was choosing foolishness.  It brought me back to You.

Thank You for being my hiding place and my shield, Lord.  I can trust and depend on You to protect me and keep me safe.  Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who guides, comforts, and empowers me.

I love Your Holy Spirit.  I love feeling Your presence upon me; knowing You are guiding me.  You overwhelm me with Your power.  I love knowing that You can use me for Your will.  Thank You for that gift.

Guide me today, Lord, so that my life reflects the trust and hope I have in You.  You are a good God, and You do not forsake us.  In that we can rely.

Thank You for hearing my prayers today, Lord, according to Your Word.  I am thankful that You are my God.  I am thankful for hope.

I love you, Lord,

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 3

Oh, God, let me not forget Your Word.  Let me bind mercy and truth around my neck and write Your words on the tablet of my heart, so that I might find favor and high esteem in Your sight and in the sight of man.  Let me delight in Your precepts and in Your statutes that length of days, long life, and peace will be added to me.

Help me, Lord, to trust in You with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding, as You direct my paths.  Help me not to be wise in my own eyes, but in the confidence that comes from following You.  Help me to depart from evil and to honor You alone with my possessions.  Thank You for Your provision; always ensuring I have exactly what I need for the moment.  Help me to trust that You will always provide and will not forsake Your own inheritance.

Lord, when You chastise me, as a loving Father, bring back to my remembrance that You do it because You delight in me, just as Your Word says.  Help me to remember that it is out of Your love that You correct and guide me.

Lord I thank You that You give wisdom freely to those who seek.  I thank You that Your wisdom, understanding, and knowledge keep my feet from stumbling.  I thank You for being my confidence and for keeping my foot from being caught.  No wonder the author of Psalm 119:14 said, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”  Truly nothing compares to You, Your might, and Your faithfulness, Lord.

Lord, through Your guidance and Your wisdom, let me leave a legacy of honor and glory to You.  Bless my home and my family.  Let my children seek You as they would seek a treasure.  Help me to show them how to give when it is in their power to do so.  Help them to be just.

Blessed are You, O Lord!

jamie