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

At the feet of The Teacher

Who is the man that fears the Lord?  Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.  He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.  The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.  My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” Ps. 25:12-15

The Lord will teach His way to those who fear Him.  I like that!  The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.  He will show them His covenant.  Do these words warm your soul like they do mine?

Our God is so generous and good.  He has longed for relationship with His children since creation.  He came down in the cool of the day to talk with Adam and Eve.  He opened the Holy of Holies for us when Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can speak directly with Him.  He pours out His Holy Spirit on His children and speaks to us through Him.  He wants to share with us.

Not only that, but He offers protection, inheritance, and prosperity to us, as well.  What a good and amazing God we have!

We have done nothing to deserve His generosity.  We have not earned His respect or His esteem.  He has simply chosen us.  He wants us.  He loves us.

Do you want to know His ways?  Do you want to see His covenant or hold His secret?  It starts with a relationship.  When we fear Him: respect, worship, submit to, and be in awe of Him, then these things are available to us.  His word tells us so.

I don’t know about you, but I want to tap into that so deeply!  I want to know as much as I can.  I want to be as close to Him as I can get.  I want more and more and more.

Let’s dig in and draw closer.  Let’s let Him teach us even more.

Breathless,

jamie

Godly feet

Pr. 7:11: “She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home.”. 

Being a stay-at-home mom, I can easily understand what this harlot should have been doing.  (Hang with me, men).  It says her feet would not stay home.

She had responsibilities she should have been home taking care of.  She had a husband that relied on her to be trustworthy while he was away.

She was loud and rebellious, not caring about what she ought to be doing.  No doubt the phrase, “I’m going to do what I want, when I want, and no on is going to stop me” was something she believed.

In Titus 2, Paul writes out some of the qualities of a sound church.  Older men are to be sober, reverent, temperate, and sound in faith, love, and patience.  In other words, men are expected to behave sensibly and respectfully.  They should be able to show restraint because of their faith.

Women are asked to also be reverent, not slanderers, not given to much wine, and to be teachers of good things.  They are also to be a good example for younger women, demonstrating how to love their husbands and children, how to be discreet and chaste, obedient, and how to be good homemakers.

Eeeeek!  This goes against so much that our society teaches right now.  I know.  I get it.  I’m sorry.

The thing is, though, the Word hasn’t changed.  God has not changed.  He still expects us to live lives that are godly and reverent, and that being honor and glory to Him.

The harlot in that verse wasn’t doing any of the things she should have been doing, and was, in fact, doing exactly what she shouldn’t.

When we serve the Lord, we cannot just act any way we want.  No, we aren’t going to be perfect, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to not even try to live a godly life.

When we choose to serve the Lord, we are expected to make some changes.  If our lives are to point others to Him and to glorify Him, we must make every effort to live as examples.

We need to keep our feet at home, which for us means we need to be about our own business and about the business of the Lord.  We also don’t need to be loud or rebellious, but instead we should be discreet, respectful, and submissive to the word of God.

Those things don’t make us weak or mindless, they make us strong, full of integrity, and influential for Christ.  And, contrary to what the world tells us, being influential for Christ is why we are here.  That is the goal.

Let’s be loud in our obedience to Christ, and be faithful in our example.

In charge of my feet,

jamie

How can I save those I love?

Pr. 24:11:  “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”

I have not been able to shake this verse since I read it yesterday.  My heart breaks when I think of people I know and love who are stumbling towards the slaughter.  Some are walking there willingly, and others are being deceived.  I want nothing more than to grab them in an embrace and lead them to the Lord.  But what can I really do?  I can’t make up people’s minds for them.  I cannot convince them with smooth words, or even stop them with my insistence.  How can I deliver them?   How can I hold them back?

The fact is, I can’t.  This is where I have to pray and trust that God will be able to get hold of them, to deliver them and hold them back.  Maybe God can use me in some way, but the truth of the matter is, it is between them and God.

Genesis 3:4 is where the serpent convinced Eve to sin against God.  “…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan is still using this same tactic–telling us we will get something from the sin.

“You will know what it’s like to really feel loved.”  “You will finally have peace.”  “You will get what you’ve deserved for so long.”  “Your pain will finally go away.”  “No one will ever know.”

This is how he leads people to the slaughter.  His empty promises that are actually lies in disguise.  1 Timothy 4:2 tells us that our own consciences can become seared with a hot iron.  When that happens, we no longer view sin as sin.  It becomes a right to which we cling.  Our lives become about us, our wants, and our desires.  Our lives become about what we deserve…just as Eve ‘deserved’ to have her eyes open to know good and evil in just the same way that God did.

The truth is that it is God’s will for us on this earth is to tell people about His kingdom.  We can find this truth in His Word.  When the focus of our lives is only our own will, then we have departed from God.  God has and is all that we need, and more.  All the things satan promises, are things that only God provides.  Satan has wanted to be like God from the beginning, so he tries to promise what only God can give, but his path only leads to pain, destruction, and death.

Knowing this, my heart breaks that people I love are being led to the slaughter.  Oh, how I long to open their eyes!  God, please open their eyes.  Holy Spirit, please bring back to their remembrance the truth of Your Word.  Lead them away from death, and hold them back from the slaughter, dear Lord, I pray.  In Jesus’ saving name, Amen.  

Trusting,

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

Under whose authority?

“Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray away from the words of knowledge.”  Pr. 19:27

In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him.  He also called to James and John, sons of Zebedee, who left their father and went after Jesus.  How convincing must Jesus have sounded to these men?  Seriously.  They were at work, doing their jobs, making money, and this stranger speaks to them and they just leave it all and follow him.  That’s out of the ordinary.

After they went into Capernaum, Jesus taught in the temple and spoke “as one having authority.”  A man with an unclean spirit then approached Him, and Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”  The spirit came out of the man.

They left the synagogue and went to Simon’s house.  His mother was sick, so Jesus took her by the hand, lifted her up and her fever immediately left her.  That night, the whole city was gathered together at the door of Simon’s house, where Jesus healed their diseases and cast out demons.  He wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.

A leper later came to Jesus to see if He was willing to heal him.  As soon as Jesus spoke the words, “I am willing; be cleansed,” the leprosy left the man.

Have you seen the same pattern I’m seeing?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable.  He spoke to strangers, and they gave up everything for Him.  He spoke to demons and they obeyed.  He spoke to sickness and it left.

What is He speaking to You right now?  Another pattern I’ve noticed is that we tend to try to resist the Lord’s instructions to us.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something we hesitate, we debate, we put it off.  We’re afraid to obey for various reasons.  Why?

Have we given something or someone else more authority in our lives?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable in Mark.  He still has the same authority today.  He does not change.  The only thing that changes is us.  We stray.

How sad that even the demons obeyed Jesus, and yet we try to ignore or debate with Him.

When the Lord speaks to You, listen.  He has the power to make things happen.  All He needs us to do is be willing to be part of His plan.  When we obey the Lord, the outcome is up to Him.  Don’t put Him off any longer.

In fact, may I be so bold to say, let’s be better than the demons, and ask Him in advance to speak to us.  And when He does, let’s simply obey.

Listening for instruction,

jamie