What We Think Is Not Always Trustworthy

A friend sent a message a few days ago and asked if I could give her some verses to help with her thoughts about herself. I gave this a couple of days of reflection and sent these words back to her:

One of the verses I often go to when my mind gives me all kinds of negative thoughts about who I am and what I am and what I’ve done is Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. To me, that says put all of my trust in God. My own understanding is my thoughts of things that have happened or things that might happen. That is not what God wants. He wants me to consider His Word so that I will know what is really happening.

Sometimes I have to think through Philippians 4:8 over and over and over until my thoughts are focused once again on my God and not on the things running helter-skelter through my mind.

Abba, Father, help me (us) focus completely and totally on Your Word whenever our thoughts are troubling us. Remind us to put You in control of the things that are out of our control.

Think

What are you thinking about?

These are some of my favorite words of the Bible. Actually, Philippians 4:4-8 give me support for almost everything. I say it that way because there are other verses that apply, too.

Living in this time is tough. It’s easy to let our minds wander to the madness of this world. The evil one wants us to do that. He wants us to think about anything that takes our minds off God and the good things of life. We can not allow him to do that.

Recognizing our disobedience is the first step. Any of our actions or attitudes that cause us to think we know better than He does separates us from Him. Sin, unforgiveness, disobedience, lack of faith, pride, ignoring His Word, other gods… Each of these takes our thoughts captive and away from what He wants.

Overcoming our negative, hurtful, judgmental, thoughts is a necessary part of becoming the people He wants us to be. We can do that by refocusing our thoughts on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy, and good.

Abba, Father, guide and guard our thoughts. Open our hearts, minds, and souls to You and Your Word. Keeps us constantly aware of Your Presence.

When In Doubt… DON’T

Many years ago a former pastor gave me a piece of advice that I’ve kept in my mind and heart.  When in doubt…DON’T!  This four-word sentence has had a huge impact on my decision making.  When I’m even the least bit uncomfortable with a choice I ponder it carefully.  I question, will it have a positive or negative impact?  Will it support or tear down?  It’s amazing what an influence these four words have had on my life.

Here are a few more don’ts:

  • DON’T judge people for the choices they make when you DON’T know the options they had to choose from.
  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind DON’T matter and those who matter DON’T mind. ~ Dr. Seuss
  • DON’T give up! Great things take time.
  • DON’T talk about me until you have talked to me!
  • DON’T do it!

How about these from the Word:

  • DON’T worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6
  • DON’T panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)
  • Tell everyone who is discouraged, be strong and DON’T be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Isaiah 35:4 (CEB)
  •  Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we DON’Tgive up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
  •  That is why we DON’T give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

Do you have a favorite quote or Bible verse about the word DON’T?  I’d love to add them to my collection.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

Life Interupted

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami' al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami’ al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Have you noticed that when life is going smoothly something happens to interrupt?  It can be something small like the phone ringing when you’re trying to finish a project.  It can be something much larger like a life-threatening disease or accident, severe weather (blizzard, tornado, earthquake), birth, death, loss of a job…  When you start getting a case of the ‘why me’ syndrome give some thought to these lives that were interrupted by God Himself.

Moses             2 forty year visits to the desert

Noah               Stop, drop and build a boat on dry land

Abraham         Leave everything and travel to an unknown location

Sarah              Baby at 90

Joseph            Dropped into a pit and sold as a slave

Mary                Suddenly pregnant

Dramatic and sudden interruptions happen all the time.  Case in point…Jonah.  He was living a great life but God wanted more for him.  So God told him to go to Ninevah.  Jonah wasn’t having any of that.  That city was known as the ‘Sin City’ of that era.  So, Jonah decided to run to another place.  Really!?  Did he really think he could hide from God?  Yes, he did.  While on that journey, in the opposite direction, the ship he was on was hit with a threatening storm.  Those on board determined it was Jonah who was causing the problem, so they threw him overboard.  We know the rest of the story…

Let’s look at this from a different angle.   This is a story of many miracles.  The first two are in verse one.

Jonah 11

First – God spoke!

Second – God allowed a person to hear His voice!

When He allows one of His creation to hear His voice it’s a huge privilege.  We often hear His voice and don’t recognize it.  The difference with us and Jonah is he knew exactly Who was speaking and choose not to obey.

Then, how do we know we’re hearing God?  How do we know He’s interrupting us?  Have you ever been listening to a speaker and the words seem just for you?  Have you been reading the Word and it’s speaking to your heart?  Henry Blackaby says we hear God through His Word, prayer, other Christians, worship, and life circumstances.  God talks to us often through the Holy Spirit living in us and He expects us to listen.

When we hear God what are we to do?  Easy answer, yet hard to follow through.  We’re to drop everything and listen.  He is saying I have a plan and I want you to be part of it.

The interrupted life is not always the big events I mentioned earlier.  It can be a crying child, a husband or wife’s attention, a new friendship, an unexpected phone call, a knock on the door….  God wants us open to His voice!  Anytime!  Anywhere!

He is calling.  Are you listening?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Voices

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Do you hear voices….?  We all do!  All those thoughts and ideas that roll around in our minds, competing for first place, sometimes shouting, others whispering, making us the person we are at the moment …  Most importantly, in all the clamoring and cacophony, are you hearing God’s voice?  God’s voice needs to be the loudest ‘voice’ we hear.

How to really ‘hear’ God’s voice…that is really the question.

Create a place of stillness.  Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know Him.  He can’t be heard above the din of the world and the thoughts that go with living in it.  Quiet your mind and your heart.  How does that work?  I have a window in my study that my reading chair faces.  All I have to do is look up and out and there is a tree that personifies God’s creation.  Every season, spring, summer, winter, fall, it’s there.  A spirit of peace, calm, assurance, love, descends to my spot and I know He is God.

Cultivate an attitude of trust.  There is no way to hear God’s voice if we don’t trust that His voice is the only one we want to listen to.  Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in Him with our whole heart.  (Not just a piece of it but every part of it.)  It goes on to say (my words) don’t trust your own understanding (thoughts).  Our culture teaches an attitude of independence that contradicts the dependence on God that allows us to totally trust Him.

Learn of Him.  Do you really know all there is to know about God and His Word?  Probably not!  None of us do.  I suspect that if you’re reading this you want to know more.  Psalm 32:8 tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”  Did you get that?  He wants to be our personal teacher.  Not only that, He already knows what we need to hear and learn.  Wow!  A personal, life coach!  All that’s required of us is to HEAR Him.

Pay attention!  Block that voice that says quit wasting your time on that stuff.  There’s a report that has to be written before the day is over.  There’s laundry, lawn mowing, dishes, dusting, and a zillion other chores and distractions.  Hebrews 2:1 tells us that we must pay closer attention to what we have heard (about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Word).  If we don’t we’ll start drifting off.  We have to use all we have at our disposal to ensure that we are really listening.

It is totally possible and probable that you already know the sound of His voice.  Give it your total attention.  He wants you to hear Him.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Abba, let me hear Your voice.  Let me know and trust You.  Take away outside influence and noise so that my attention can be totally on you!  Make it so in Jesus name.

alatsee-968598_960_720This beautiful song reflects this post beautifully.  Just click on the picture to listen.

 

 

This post is in support of Holley Gerth’s new study, https://player.vimeo.com/video/152491133“>You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide.  It will be released on March 1st.  Watch for the review!