Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Well when you explain it like that, even I can get it <3

So did you meditate and ponder the Scripture from yesterday?

Here is is again…

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Or perhaps this version is more helpful…

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way –  never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structured life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.    2 Corinthians 10:3-6   The Message

Ok…now I just wish we really were sitting across from each other with plenty of hot coffee and time enough to really dig into this.

But we can’t so…

just grab your favorite beverage and imagine me waving my hands in the air instead of tapping out these words and here are few musings to start us off.

First look at the language describing how our thought lives can lead us astray:

arguments…high-minded things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God…strongholds….tools of the world…manipulation…marketing…warped philosophies…barriers erected against the truth of God…loose thoughts…loose emotions…loose impulses…obstructions

Next observe the expressions applied to their removal…

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So let’s take one of my examples from yesterday and work it through here.

For the sake of illustration I will set the stage with a scenario.

I find myself feeling particularly down around 3:00 in the afternoon as I stumble across a reminder that triggers a new wave of sadness. In an effort to shake it off, I do some mindless checking of email which leads me to a visit to Facebook and there I see some happy somebody celebrating some event that just enhances my sense of loss. I begin to ask God why I can’t be them and then immediately feel remorse because I realize all the wonderful things I do have and why can’t I just be happy…which leads me to think of several uber positive friends I have who somehow take life in stride so much better and no wonder God is blessing them and I don’t deserve anything good anyway and so … more tears…more guilt…

Ok…hopefully that is general enough that you can plug yourself in there.

Maybe it’s you are sitting at your desk at work and starting to assume what the powers that be think of your value.

Maybe you are sitting in a gym and your child has been riding the same bench you rode twenty some years ago and it’s getting old.

Maybe the house didn’t sell or the stocks dropped or the test results were positive or…whatever…and suddenly your head is filled with all manner of thoughts that are stacking themselves up against God and Truth and He is getting smaller and His plan for you is diminishing and the more He shrinks the bigger the lies grow.

And you don’t realize it but you have exalted your thoughts above your God.

I recently listened to a random sermon  as I was driving south to meet Sarah for lunch and antiquing a few weeks ago.

Only God would provide me with this wonderful picture as I was brewing this series in my mind.

Matt Cassidy, from Grace Covenant in Austin, Texas, gave a perfect illustration of this passage.

He said that we have a tendency to invite thoughts that are counter to God’s truth in to our homes. We basically welcome them in like an honored guest and offer them a cold drink and the best seat in the house.

When what we should be doing is to handcuff  them, put a restraining vest around them and tie them to a hard back chair.

Look again at what we are to do with those thoughts…aggressive, violent words.

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So don’t let just any thought occupy your mind today.

If you are feeling trapped by your emotions, look at your thought life.

Is it leading you toward Christ or away from Him?

Any thought that leads you away from what He says in His Word is a liar.

Lock. It. Up.

Philippians 4: 8-9 tells us how we can identify the things our minds should be camping on as we journey…

Is what I am thinking really the truth?

Is this thought noble?

Is it reputable and authentic? Is there fact to back it up, or just my embellished narrative?

Is it a gracious thought…towards me or towards others?

Is it beautiful? Is it worthy of my praise of God?

Is it the best thought I could be spending my energy developing?

If not…just imagine escorting it to that time-out chair in the corner reserved for misbehavior.

And if you think you don’t have that kind of imagination…you were the one that developed the thought to the point that it’s tearing your world apart. Think about it..

Take some duct tape and strap it down…and use a little across it’s boasting mouth for good measure.

And then take yourself to some truths you can sing or say out loud and let the peace of Christ RULE your heart and your mind.

God bless you today as you visualize thoughts you need to kick to the curb.

May the LORD bless us with wisdom and discernment to begin to grow up into right thinking about ourselves, our circumstances and others because we are thinking right about our God!

 

 

 

Corralling those wild thoughts <3

We have moved to Page 2 and Item #3 of my brainstorming notes.

Which means we are a few points away from the conclusion of this series.

I would say it has been a good one…at least for me…and I know for some of you as well.

You have been troopers as I stomped on your toes with my own bandaged feet and I love you for it.

So today we tackle that battle of the mind that rages on even the best of days but can really throw a damper on the healing process.

As I look at my notes and my to do list before I leave for work (via the post office with a hefty stack of assorted mail that needs to be metered and paid for) and the clock…I have made an executive decision to forego well-written paragraphs and just give you the bullet points from my legal pad for this section.

You in?

Good

I am writing from my experience because not everyone is like me (can we all just shout hallelujah and high-five Jesus for that???)

So again, if you don’t relate to my wiring, maybe it will help you understand someone who is a hypersensitive, over-thinking, neurotically analyzing of every detail person such as yours truly.

Oh…you stayed…great…well, here we go…

1. It is imperative to corral my emotions when something shakes me deeply. Since I am pretty much the worst poker face person, I don’t fake “fine” very well. I am never the person, even on the BEST.DAY.EVER who answers “How are you?” with ….wait for it…and enthusiastic

GRRRRREEEEEAAAAATTTTTTTT!!!!!

I’m one of those who actually tells you how I am, in a thousand words or less.

So when I am experiencing a season of deep sorrow, I find it helpful to remember that I don’t have to share the details of what is going on with every single person or even one single person.

I can just say I’m doing okay and if they press me further with that concerned look and dreaded “Are you sure?”, I am not fibbing when I say Yep…I’m sure.

Because by faith, I am doing OK.

I am upright and breathing and God is doing a work in me.

I am passing through the waters and He is holding me up so I don’t drown. I am passing through the fire and it’s hotter than hell, but my clothes are not even going to smell like smoke.

That’s Isaiah 43:2 if you don’t recognize it.

So yes, by God’s grace and mercy. I am OK.

2. I also absolutely MUST put the kibosh on comparison.

Looking around at what others have never ever helps with the work God is doing in M.E.

This also means steering clear of social media on my more fragile days.

And I will speak into this to others here…if seeing sweethearts happily declaring their love on Valentine’s Day sends you into depression or a barren womb means those lovely tributes to Mothers and Fathers mid-May/June burn hot tears on your face or your family is scattered to the four winds and the “This is Us” pics of happy Thanksgiving gatherings is a slap in the face…YOU are the one who controls checking Facebook and Instagram. 

3. And finally this one I mentioned yesterday, but thoughts of how this friend or that person would do this grieving and healing so much better than I am.

So there’s my big three areas of thought life that I have to reign in so God can get me back in the land of the living.

And the only way to do it is to take those spinning and spiraling thoughts under control.

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Like you I always find this passage encouraging but difficult to apply.

So let’s meditate on it a bit and meet back here tomorrow for some practical application.

Deal?

I hope so.

 

 

A little break since it’s Thursday <3

The last couple of days have been a little intense for me…maybe for you as well.

So just a simple word of encouragement to you today and then we will pick up and finish with the last few thoughts I have on the Deep Healing Series in the next few posts.

Deal?

I hope so.

Deep wounds need deep healing and while it is a very personal and individually unique process, there are commonalities we all can relate to.

Sometimes when I have struggled longer than most people would have thought necessary to get over some kind of painful experience, I have wondered why God continues to bother with me because even I am getting a little tired of dealing with myself.

Then I remember how He is an equipping God and when He commands us to do something, He also gives us the ability to follow through.

And Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.

To love Him with your WHOLE heart..your complete heart…your 100% intact heart…

.and it occurs to me that in order to have a whole and complete heart…sometimes we need the Heart Doctor to mend that puppy and put it back together.

Psalm 34:18 promises that God is close to those who are broken hearted. I love the translation that says He is “nigh unto”…old English for snuggled up right beside, I think…and it says He saves those who are crushed in spirit.

We can take encouragement that our God is not just putting up with our aching hearts…but that He is pressed up against it, gathering the pieces in His loving hands and shaping it more into the image of His own heart.

He loves us so much and He is working diligently to make our hearts whole and holy.

Be blessed today and as you thank Him for the way He loves you, remember and obey the second commandment…to love others as you love yourself. Think how deeply you are holding on to the love you are receiving and then look for ways to extend it…with His help…to others <3

The freedom gained when we forgive and are forgiven <3

Oh I am so thankful to be reading through the Bible again this year!

I missed it in 2017- cheated myself out of a good year in God’s Word!

Yes, I read Scripture – but honestly…just taking chunks in every day is amazing.

Do it.

Because you find nuggets that can be stored up like a treasure that is richer than gold and will feed that soul hunger that we don’t even realize we are trying to satiate in other ways.

Like today.

Today I watched Jacob pack up his large family and flocks and possession and head on back to his homeland.

Back to his father and his family.

And, oh yeah…

back to face his brother.

The one he had traded a meal for an inheritance and then stole the blessing from.

That one.

The one he had run away from to avoid death by revenge.

And now he is going to have to encounter him and face the consequences.

So he sends an outrageous amount of gifts ahead of him and lines his family up in order of who he feels he could spare the most…Rachel and his beloved Joseph at the rear…in hopes they will be able to escape unharmed should Esau and his army decide to fight.

But what a delightful surprise the Lord has worked in Esau.

Granted, his descendants will be a constant headache and heartache for the nation of Israel in the centuries to come and even to this day and til Christ returns.

However, on the road back home, the two brothers meet and Scripture records this exchange between  Esau and his younger-by-seconds brother….

Then Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company which I met? (the gifts of flocks and such that had preceded Jacob and his family on the road)

And he (Jacob) said, “These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.”

But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”

Genesis 33:8 & 9 NKJV

Imagine.

Imagine all the years that Esau had bitterly mourned the loss of his father’s blessing.

All the years he had to nurse the bitterness of his brother – AND MOTHER’S – betrayal.

And now he had Jacob, all the abundance of his gain…his wives and children…all of it…vulnerably hand-delivered to him and his four hundred men.

But something had happened.

Something took away the anger and the bitterness.

Something in him was softened and able to let go.

It had to be forgiveness.

Oh to let God do such a work in me that when I see face to face the one who’s hand worked pain and loss in my life; who seemingly stole the blessing I had thought would be mine…that I could say…you owe me nothing.

The Lord has richly blessed me.

Keep what you have.

Jacob told his brother that this being forgiven so graciously was like seeing God’s face.

This short passage touches my heart today.

Only God can work that kind of forgiveness in our wounded hearts and spirits.

And when we give Him that space and authority, others will see Him and He will receive the glory.

Blessings on you today dear ones.

Life is hard and we get hurt.

But to forgive and be forgiven is like seeing the Face of God <3

 

Of the Brits and Esau and such

So yesterday I mentioned that we started watching The Crown on Netflix. Friends told us about it over Christmas with such enthusiasm we just felt we were making a regrettable life choice by not partaking.

If you are like us before we got the memo and have not a clue what I am talking about…

(I actually have so much dental work, that I assumed it was a documentary on capping teeth, but don’t tell anyone….)

The Crown follows the story of the Royal Family beginning with the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter of King George VI, to Phillip Duke of Edinburgh.

One scene that caught my attention involved a conversation Elizabeth has with her uncle, who had abdicated the throne years before, choosing to marry a woman who was unaccepted as a wife of the King of England.

She points out that he never apologized for vacating his responsibilities.

Assuming she meant an apology to her own father for causing him to assume duties he had never wanted, he assured he did indeed apologize.

No, she says – you never apologized to me.

And then she briefly shares the high cost to her own life, to her marriage, to her husband and to her family that his choice had left her.

His choice had caused repercussions that would continue for generations.

On Monday morning, my Bible reading had me in Genesis 25, where Esau comes in from the field hungry and Jacob offers him food in exchange for his birthright.

The notes in the commentary portion shed a view of this that was new to me and reminded me of the dialogue above about how one man’s decision affected so many others life course.

Careless, and apparently disinterested in the benefits and responsibilities attendant to the birthright, Esau unknowingly forfeits his opportunity to be the one in his generation through whom the blessings promised to his grandfather Abraham would pass.” *

Ouch.

Careless.

And apparently disinterested….

in the

BENEFITS

and

RESPONSIBILITIES

that came with the birthright.

What about us?

What about me?

I have been born into a time and an area of influence with benefits and responsibilities.

And…

AND….

I have been born again…

into an inheritance of Promised Blessings.

Oh my.

These words churn deep in my spirit today.

They make me ask myself if I have been careless and disinterested in the benefits and responsibilities that come with receiving Christ and being made new in Him.

They urge me to be neither careless nor indifferent to the benefits of my salvation AND the responsibilities that accompany God calling me one of His children.

I want to take every opportunity in my generation to be one through whom God’s blessings flow.

I think of young moms and dads out there, swimming upstream in a culture gone awry.

I think of teens and tweens and young adults forging the bridge between the faith they were raised on and the place they will walk it out in the real world of school, work and relationships today.

I think of older people who are starting to wear down and wear out. Our time is drawing closer and its easy to think maybe we might just coast it on out.

Esau, we are told, came in from the fields weary.

Tired.

Exhausted.

Hungry.

We can get that way and when we do it is tempting to settle for creature comforts and forget to fight the good fight.

Let’s not do that.

Let’s you and I be known as people who seized the birthright of being born again as new creations and use our influence to call forth God’s blessings into the day ahead.

 

*From The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order, NIV, with Devotional Commentary by F. LaGard Smith; Harvest House Publishers, page 53