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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How a 4-year-old fights temptation

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

We’ve been learning this great verse about self-control in Sunday school this month.  Yesterday I heard the perfect example of what it means.

My friend’s 4-year-old son told her that the devil was trying to get him to break his bed.  He said, “I’m going to tell him to leave, and I’m going to read my Word of God!”

We all have different struggles and temptations.  For a teenager, it might be stealing.  For a married adult, it could be adultery.  For another, it could be hate and unforgiveness.  For a 4-year-old boy, it might be the temptation to break his bed.

We can learn a lot from this 4-year-old.  He had enough rule over his own spirit that he didn’t simply give in to his temptation.  As adults, our justifications and excuses sure make it seem complicated to resist our temptations; however, it couldn’t be more simple.

Note what he did:  He identified the desire as coming from the devil.  He told the devil to leave.  He read his Word of God!  Isn’t this what the Bible tells us to do?

Thank you for the lesson, Isaiah,

jamie

The proof is in the pudding

Pr. 21:3:  “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

I know what God means.  Last week my daughter got in trouble.  She said she was sorry.  🙂 Very nice.  The next day, it happened again.  The next day, again.  Those words, “I’m sorry,” sure lost their meaning.

I explained to my daughter that she could tell me she was sorry 1,000 times and it wouldn’t mean anything unless I saw her making different choices.  Her actions were contrary to her words, and the actions were the ones that ultimately counted most.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Certainly, we are not saved by our works.  It is Jesus’ death and our belief in Him that saves us.  However, our actions sure speak loudly of who we really are.

We can say we trust God’s word to be true, but just like in the case of my daughter, our actions speak much louder than our words.  Do we show we believe God’s word to be true by the way we behave and the choices that we make?

When we see needs around us, do we respond, or just walk by thinking God will use someone else to provide?

Does our trust in God show up when we need something we cannot provide for ourselves?

When we commit sin, do we tell God how sorry we are and then go right back to that sin, or do we show Him that He is more important, by making the choice to stop sinning and run to Him?

Do we obey the Lord’s voice we He tells us to do something?

When we fail to be obedient to the Lord, does our regret cause us to be obedient next time, regardless of our doubts or concerns, or do we do the same thing over and over again?

Like it or not, our actions show who we really are.  Just like my daughter, I sometimes forget this truth.  It’s great to be a believer in Christ, it’s even better to prove it.

This one stung a bit,

jamie

 

 

Those enticing deceptions

Pr. 7:27:  “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.”

This chapter in Proverbs is speaking about the immoral woman and the young youth who yielded to her enticements.

Certainly he was not the first one to whom this has happened.  We have all been seduced by sin.  We must learn by our mistakes; however, and the mistakes of those around us.  We can see clearly that the end result of sin is death and hell.

We don’t want to believe that.  We really want to justify and rationalize.  We are so good at trying to figure out the loopholes.  Sin is attractive.  Just like this harlot, sin is alluring.  It fascinates us with its sensations.  The rationalizations that accompany it tempt us to believe that it can all work out.

However, just as this simple youth was led to the slaughter by this enchantment, we are also led to death when we succumb.

Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to “exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceitful.  The rationalizations and justifications that accompany sin are deceitful.  The bewitching package of sin is deceitful.  It is all a ploy.  Satan wants us to give in to sin.  He wants us to allow our flesh to win the war against the Spirit.

When faced with this seducing bait, we must remember that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit are contrary to one another.  We cannot live in intentional sin and still be walking in the Spirit.  That is a lie.  If we find ourselves believing this, we have been hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

We must be vigilant to guard ourselves from giving into temptation.  We must continue to feed on the Word of God and allow His Spirit to be our guide.  Temptations will still be presented, but when we are walking in the Spirit, His wisdom will keep us from stepping where we should not.

Jesus is still on the throne where He is able to aid those who are tempted.  (Heb. 2:18)  We have the ultimate ally, who will literally supply us with every single provision we need to stay true to His desires.  Let’s take advantage of all we’ve been given through Him.

With Jesus, there is life, and the victory of death has already been won!  Instead of allowing sin to lead us to the slaughter, we can allow Jesus to lead us to eternal life.  Praise God for this amazing blessing!!

It’s still Today!

jamie

Walking safely

Pr. 3:23:  “Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.”

After I got out of the vehicle at church last night, I promptly tripped.  Although there was nothing noticeable on the ground in my path, I stumbled, but thankfully didn’t fall.

In this chapter of Proverbs, Solomon tells us about the benefits of having wisdom.  One of the benefits of keeping sound wisdom and discretion close is that we will walk safely in our way, and our foot will not stumble.

God’s wisdom helps us to be more aware of the obstacles and roadblocks satan places in our paths.  When we have wisdom, we are more able to recognize those obstacles for what they really are:  temptations positioned to trip us up, cause us to fall, and cause us to lose our bearings.

Discretion allows us to prepare to purposefully avoid certain obstacles.  Instead of walking straight towards them, we are able to make choices that lead us away from or around them.

Unfortunately, there are times when we still make missteps over certain obstacles.  We may hesitate to choose God’s will over the flesh, or we might actually fall.  However, God gives us the wisdom to keep us from staying down.  He gives us discretion to help us put plans in action to keep from tripping over the same obstacles over and over.

As long as we are on this earth there will be stumbling blocks in our path.  If we want to walk as safely as possible, we must keep wisdom and discretion close.  They will enlighten the path before us, and lead us to those streets of gold.

Watching my step,

jamie

 

Lessons from Captain Hook

This morning I saw a cartoon where Captain Hook was sitting in some water.  He asked, “What is underneath me?”  Surprise, surprise, it was Tick-Tock Croc.  Isn’t that crocodile always right there, waiting to take a bite out of Captain Hook?

It reminded me of temptation.  It seems that we all have that one vicious temptation that seems to always be there, just waiting to attack.

But what does Captain Hook do?  Well, first he flees.  I’m reminded of 2 Tim. 2:22 that tells us to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Next, after the Captain gets away, he just keeps on going about his swashbuckling business.  We can’t live in such fear of our temptations that we hide away and stop living our lives.  We have to keep moving.  Just as Captain Hook has a job to do, so do we.  We have been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world preaching, teaching, and baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One more observation:  that crocodile was underneath him.  Romans 16:19-20 implores and reassures us, saying, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”  Sin and temptation have no authority over us.

So, our lessons from Captain Hook today:  flee, don’t give up, continue to learn God’s wisdom, and remember that God has already won the victory!

Not just blathering,

jamie

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!