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 courage

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'” John 4:34

I was reading about courage this morning: Courage being the act of doing what you are afraid to do.

It occurred to me that I most often hear people (including myself) express fear about doing God’s work.  People aren’t as hesitant to go back to school, move to a new state for work, go skydiving, or start a new business as they are to begin a new ministry, teach Sunday school, sing on the praise team, or speak from the pulpit.  Forget moving to another country to minister in missions…that is almost incomprehensible.

Why in the world are we more afraid to do the work of the One who is our Provider than to do ordinary things?  Why are we more willing to commit to the PTA than to helping in the nursery at church just once a quarter?

Is it possible that we are feeding on the wrong things?  Jesus’ food was to do the will of the One who sent Him, and we have been sent by that same God.

When the Lord lays some new work on our heart, here are some helpful things we will need to have been feeding on:

  • God has commissioned all of his followers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  (Mt. 28:19)  This is our job.
  • God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Ph. 4:19)
  • God has already sent pastors and teachers to equip us for the work of the ministry  (Eph. 4:11-12)  We are ready.
  • We’re invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb. 4:16)  We are not alone.
  • And finally, if we our obedient and choose to give in to God’s leading, trusting that He will take care of our needs, we can be certain He will meet them as He said because Heb. 5:18 reminds us that, “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Karl Bath said, “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.”  I can’t think of a better way for us to take on our fears.

If the Lord lays a work on our hearts, it’s ok to be afraid.  Moses was afraid.  Joshua was afraid.  Gideon was afraid, too.  However, we need to take our fears to God’s throne of grace and receive the help He has waiting there for us.

Don’t we know that the One who created the heavens and the earth, owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and holds this world in His hand…that same One can certainly help us teach a class, preach a sermon, sing a song, minister to the sick, or any other thing He has asked us to do?

He has given us His Word so that we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim. 3:17)  If we are feeding on the right things, then we have all we need.

Let’s get to work!

jamie

In God we trust?

Pr. 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”

What I have found over the years is that obeying the Lord doesn’t always make logical sense.

One time the Lord told me to take a card and drop it off for a girl.  I got to the store to get the card, and the one He pointed out to me was very specific and personal.  I barely knew this girl, much less what was going on with her.  But I bought it anyway.

I obeyed, and it turned out that it was the Exact card she needed.  (She later told me)  I didn’t know her circumstances, but God did, and He was able to put a healing balm on her pain through my obedience.  It didn’t make 100% sense to me; in fact, I almost felt embarrassed, but I trusted God’s leading over my own understanding.

In my experience, when we trust God over our own understanding, He is able to do wonders in the lives of those around us.

Our own understanding is limited and ever-changing.  It’s easier for us to trust in what we can see or have experienced.  And just like we once believed in Santa Claus, but later changed our minds, what we understand isn’t static.

God, on the other hand, does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He does not change.  We can trust in Him as much today as Abraham could trust him when God asked him to sacrifice his own son.

We don’t always understand His ways, but His was are perfect, His Word is flawless, and He shields all who take refuge in Him.  (Ps. 18:30)

Trusting in God will never be the wrong decision.

Go for it!

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

Not to fear

But now, this is what the Lord says–He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel:  ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west…’. Is. 43:1-3, 5

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Is. 43:18-19

Go forth, with Him!

jamie

Dreaming into the New Year…

This is the week after Christmas.  Most of the gifts have been given.  Gatherings have almost all been attended.  Snacks and candies have been savored and devoured.  I hope you all had moments of happiness during this Christmas season.

At my house this week, everyone is home.  Work, school, and outside responsibilities are on hold.  Time for recharging, intentional play, togetherness, and snuggling reigns supreme.

It is easy during this week of winding down and relaxing with the ones I love most to feel as though anything can be accomplished.  (A couple of naps will do that for you!)  So many ideas, goals, and dreams flood my mind, and I feel an eagerness to bring everyone along.

I understand; however, that once school, work, and church begin again, we will once again be on a schedule that will dictate a lot of our time.  How I long to hold tightly to this time of unadulterated togetherness!

My goal for 2017 is to make more time than ever before for dreams.  Things I wish I could do more often need to be scheduled into my days.  Ideas need to be spoken out loud, so that everyone can have a say and come up with ways to flesh them out.  Goals need written out and planned, so they can be accomplished.

I don’t often do the whole “New Years Resolution” thing, but it is a good idea to reevaluate things once in a while.

If you’ve got some dreams or ideas you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to speak them out loud and begin the process of fleshing them out.  And if some of your dreams, like mine, include more time to sit on the couch (or a blanket in the yard) beside a family member for some quality time, that’s ok.

If the Lord has been urging You to do something new, take some time to talk it out with Him and commit.  Anytime He gives us an assignment, He always equips us to carry it out.  That’s a fact.  So, maybe it’s time to simply trust, say, “Yes, Lord,” and step out in faith.

I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!  I pray that in 2017 we all grow closer to God and feel His peace and His presence in our lives more than ever before.  I pray that we share His love with those around us, and pass out forgiveness and mercy generously.

God bless you,

jamie

Keep traveling

Pr. 16:17:  “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

This verse reminds me of driving home to our new house at night.

In Oct., we bought a new home with a few acres.  It’s so far out in the country that my father jokes that when we visits he needs to stop at a hotel on the way to spend the night because it’s such a long journey.  ha!  Not only that, but once you finally get to our road, our house is a mile down at the dead-end.

Last night I had to go to the ‘big city’ to pick up some new rabbits for my kids.  I was supposed to be there at 5:30, but didn’t take in to account all the after-work traffic.  I was stuck in long traffic lines 3 separate times.  Wow!  I do Not miss that.  I inched along in town, survived the somewhat terrifying interstate/exiting traffic, and headed back towards the country.

My favorite thing about driving home is that as my journey continues, less and less cars are with me.  As I go, the cars fall away.  They turn off on other roads, until finally, my car is the only one on the road.  I literally sighed with relief last night once I was free from all those cars.

This verse says that the highway of the upright is to depart from evil.  A lot of times when we are living lives of sin, we are surrounded by people.  There is a lot going on around us.  We get caught up in the activities all around us.  There is a terrifying, yet exciting feeling of being surrounded by others like us; and sometimes we comfort ourselves with the justifications that we clearly aren’t the only ones doing it.

The Bible tells; however, that to preserve our soul, we must keep our way.  This is where I’m reminded of the part where I’m headed out-of-town.  Once we’ve made our decision to follow God’s path, we need to keep on that path.  All the crowd will fall away.  At this point, others will be turning off on other roads.  Some may come a little ways with us, but then change their minds and do a u-turn.  We may even lose some of our closest friends.  We may find that we are the only one we know that is on that road.

What are doing; however, is preserving our soul.  We are choosing to trust and follow God.  And we will be rewarded in heaven.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind us all that we are not actually alone.  Not only does God never leave us or forsake us, but there are plenty of people who have also chosen God’s way.  It does us good to go to church and meet with others of like mind.  With their help, we can be encouraged and then we can go out and show the lost a new way.

Keep on the way,

jamie