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I Refuse

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Who am I?

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Your head reels . . . again . . . this time the torture is like the rocking of the sea sloshing about in your brain–lightning, roars of thunder, a tsunami of thoughts that just don’t belong. Trying to paddle through the waves seems like a lost cause; the driftwood of those ships have sailed. You feel like you’re drowning in the tossing and turning of all the crashing clutter. The devil loves nothing more than to steal our joy . . . our peace . . . our self. Are you giving him a foothold?

The battlefield of the mind. Like a chess board. You make a move, the devil analyzes and counters. But, we’re not seeing the whole picture. God. He’s right next to us. Forget about Him, did we? He’s much more powerful than the one who is in the world, and He’s the one fighting inside us . . . He fought for us and died for us because we are worth dying for. And, He already conquered what’s tying us down–our thoughts. I challenge you to read through 1 John. Yes, the whole book. Don’t roll those little spiritual eyes at me! =) Just grab this link, and read a few verses a day. 1 JOHN CSB. I feel like the CSB version really helped me when cleaning out my thought closet and replacing the dirty clothes in their for Christ’s garments. “Ay, that’s the rub,” replacing those thoughts the devil thinks for you with God’s glorifying thought process. Remember something. Think intentionally, with a purpose. Because empty space is a place in your head where the devil will think something for you if you don’t fill it with whatever is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.” -Phil. 4: 6-8. Think upon such things.

Let me tell you, Scripture is the best sword and the only sword with which to counter the devil’s attacks. And, we do not wage war as the world does. If we did, we have lost already! But, on the contrary . . . the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world; they have divine power . . . excuse me, let me re-emphasize . . . DIVINE POWER (in you because of Jesus . . . take it and use it!) to demolish strongholds. We demolish every argument and pretentious thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. AND WE TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST! Wow. -2 Corinthians 10:3-5. It’s a war out there. Are you ready?

Here’s some “whatevers” to get you on your way to spring cleaning in your brain and equipping you with the helmet of salvation and the shield of faith with which you can and will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. -Eph. 6:10-18.
Let’s put on some armor:

Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” So remember that “Who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing.” The truth is, you are a child of God (period, no counter arguments hold water when it comes to this truth). You may be struggling with _______, but that doesn’t mean you are _______.

Zephaniah 3:17, one of my favorites: “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.”

“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 structure of 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 Cor. 10:3-5

Okay, I’m going to make you do some work now: =)

Psalm 40:5

Psalm 92:5

Psalm 139:17

Isaiah 55:9

Jeremiah 29:11

Colossians 3:2 tells us where to fix our minds.

And some truths to pin on your wall, your door, or wherever you look. Pretty soon, wherever you think will be wallpapered with these guys:

YOU ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT . . .

New creations… 2 Cor. 5:17

Forgiven Eph. 1:7-8

Gifted with power, love, and a sound mind! 2 Tim. 1:7

Chosen to be fruitful! John 15:16

Complete!!! Col. 2:9-10

Secure…that’s an awesome one.

Rom. 8:31-39; EVEN MORE THAN a conqueror in Christ!

Confident! Phil. 1:6

Free!!! from the bonds of Satan and this world. Rom. 6;18; 8:1

Capable… Phil. 4:13 through Him who is able to give us strength!

Spiritually alive!! Eph. 2:5

God’s workmanship Eph. 2:10 created to do His good works, which He prepared in ADVANCE for us to do! He has a plan!

Welcome in God’s presence! Eph. 2:18; Hebrews 4: 14-16; 1 John 5

Sheltered/protected in God…under His wings… Col. 3:3

Valuable to God… 1 Corinthians 6:20 and Zephaniah 3:17

Member of God’s family 1 John 3: 1-2 and Eph. 2:19

God’s TREASURE 1 Peter 2:9-10

Dearly loved! Col. 3:12

Being transformed…that’s process! Sometimes we slip…then we overcome in Him 2 Cor. 3:18

An heir of God. Whoa. Talk about being royal . . . Rom. 8:17

A FRIEND of God John 15:15

God’s DELIGHT! Zephaniah 3:17!!! (Can you tell that this is one of my favorite verses?) =)

We are welcome to DRAW near to God . . . Ephesians 3:12

!!! Let’s just add a few more of those to get the point across–these Scriptures and these truths are BIG DEALS!

What verses help you in the battle against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?

Post them below!

~ Taylor B.

When Will My Life Begin?

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 7 AM, the usual morning lineup:
Start on the chores and sweep ’til the floor’s all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine up
Sweep again, and by then it’s like 7:15.

And so I’ll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I’ll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I’ll play guitar and knit
And cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

I sing this at the top of my lungs as I whirl around the house, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes. Hey – it’s catchy, and it’s (kind of) about doing chores, right?

But there’s a problem with this song. It’s from my favorite animated movie Tangled (How to Train Your Dragon and Beauty and the Beast are close runners-up) and thanks to a good friend, I got the soundtrack for my birthday and have memorized all the songs.

As cute and fun as this movie is, it shows a much more ‘modern’ view than its Princess predecessors. Rapunzel isn’t content with her daily at-home life, full of chores and ‘drudgery’. She doesn’t see herself as ‘living’ – according to her, her life hasn’t even started yet. And it doesn’t, the movie tells us, until she leaves home against her ‘mother’s’ wishes.

Now while Rapunzel’s situation is quite a bit different than most people’s and can perhaps be viewed with a bit more lenience, the message is still quite clear.

“Get out of the house and live! Do what YOU want to do, and you’ll be happy.”

Not exactly a Biblical view of things. Paul tells us in Philippians that he has learned to be content no matter his situation. We are supposed to love being daughters at home, and not spend our days looking wistfully out the window longing for the day we can ‘leave the nest’ and live our own lives (Titus 2: 3-5).

Our lives are not ours anymore, they are His to do what He asks of us (1 John 3: 4-10). As Jasmine Baucham puts it in her book ‘Joyfully at Home,’ “We are to love the Lord and cherish His commands (Ecclesiastes 12: 13, Mark 12: 29-31, JOhn 15: 8-10, 1 Corinthians 10: 31) – our steps are to be guided by His precepts, not our own desires.”

Our role as pillars in the home is pretty clear.

“But I DO stay at home,” you might say. Good for you! You’re obeying the King’s commands. But how are you obeying them? With grudging sighs and grumbling? I know that I, for one, tend to ‘obey’ in a way that more closely resembles a convicted felon on a work detail than a joyful, contented princess.

We, as daughters of the High King, are the true princesses – not Rapunzel. And instead of viewing life as an endless cycle of chores, suppressed hopes and unfulfilled dreams that have yet to hold any sign of liberation, let’s learn to love life where we are.

Let’s trade the “When-will-my-life-begin” mentality for the “Flower-gleam-and-glow” mentality – let’s bloom where God has planted us instead of longing for personal ‘freedom’ from… well, real life.

Because in Christ is the only place where we’ll find true fulfillment, joy, and ultimately a different kind of free – the freedom that comes from Above. Instead of dreaming of a charming rogue to come popping through the window, focus on the true Lover of your soul. Instead of longing for ‘outside,’ learn to love your tower until God sees fit for You to leave it.

I’m not condemning the movie Tangled – I still love it, and probably always will. But I need to remind myself not to fall into the Rapunzel’s tangled (literally) mindset and love where I am. In fact, I’m off to go make jam with my mom and sisters right now – see? Life at home IS ♥sweet♥! 🙂

Credendo Vides,

Mirriam

Why Did I Say That?

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Why did I say that? A friend and I were chatting, and suddenly I opened my mouth and out came a stinging critical comment. Hours later I agonized. How could I have been so insensitive? Where did that rude sentiment come from? I’d never intended to come across that way.
     Have you ever felt the same way, wishing you could press rewind on life and undo an impulsive statement? Ridiculing your sister amidst the tension of making lunch, repeating an off-color joke in a fun conversation with friends, wounding your mother with an angry accusation during a disagreement. Where do those words come from? We didn’t intend them, didn’t plan them, didn’t want them, but in the heat of the moment we opened our mouths and – out they came.
     Jesus gives us an interesting insight in Matthew 12:34: “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” And a few chapters later He repeats Himself: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” – Matthew 15:18.
     Where do those impulsive statements, those words so quickly regretted, where do they come from? They don’t come from nowhere. They come from the heart. The words we never meant to say spring directly from our thoughts.
     That’s why I criticized my friend so harshly. I’d spent the previous week dwelling on critical thought – comparing myself with others, figuring that I was more spiritual, rejecting them and their activities and ideas. I didn’t intend to think these thoughts, and I certainly didn’t intend to speak them as words. And yet I allowed them to fester in my mind. I particularly remember one instance when I drove through the small town of Hamilton, letting my mind wander down a long list of critical thoughts all the way home. No wonder, when I found myself in a friendly conversation, did those thoughts suddenly take the form of words. They were just waiting for an opportunity to express themselves.
     Our thoughts define our personality. Our thoughts determine our outlook on life. Our thoughts direct our words and actions. We are what we think!
     Dear sisters, trying to control the tongue is a wise effort. All of us should pay careful attention to the words we say, and all of us should work to avoid evil and to speak what is right. But unless we also learn to control our thoughts, unless we first shine the light of God’s Truth on the heart, any attempt to control the tongue will be vain hypocrisy. It’s like painting a dying plant green, when what it really needs is water.
     We must get to the root of the problem. The true solution to wrong words is not silence, or a superhuman effort to just be nice. The root of wrong words is simply this: wrong thoughts. The solution to the problem is then obvious: right thoughts.
     It’s easy to ignore the thought life. We want to please people, and we often judge our righteousness by how accepted and affirmed we are. People notice, and praise or criticize, our words and actions. God is different. “…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7.
     Thoughts do not fall outside the realm of right and wrong. Jesus made that clear in the Sermon on the Mount. The act of murder is sin. But the one who thinks a murderous thought is equally guilty. God sees and judges our innermost thoughts. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.
     If you are like me, that’s a discouraging realization! Words and actions are difficult enough to control. But controlling my thought life? Thoughts tend to run away from me, like a million ants in a million directions, some right, some wrong. I’m innocently driving to the store or taking a shower, cleaning the kitchen or trying to fall asleep at night, and my thought life starts up. It’s easiest to just lie victim, to let my thoughts take over and run wherever they please. Down into the dregs of impurity, through the valleys of bitterness and rejection, wandering through criticism and comparison, worry and fear. I’m not doing or saying anything wrong. Is this still wrong?
     Yes, it is still wrong. And these thoughts, if allowed to run free in my mind, will eventually express themselves in my words and actions. These thoughts will drain my joy and destroy my perspective.
     God lays before us a directive in His Word. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ….” – 2 Corinthians 10:5.
     Controlling your thought life is difficult. But it is not impossible! God never fails to enable us to obey His commands, which means in this case that He will give, that He in fact has given to you and me the grace we need to control our thoughts, and not be controlled by them. We must take every thought, these millions of scurrying ants, captive, and bring them under the light of His Truth.
     The thoughts that are wrong we must reject. In a practical sense, this means that as I’m driving home through Hamilton, I recognize my critical thoughts as sin. I repent before God. And I immediately direct my thoughts in a right direction.
     What is a right direction? What should you and I think about – on the road, in the shower, doing dishes, falling asleep?
     Focus your thoughts on Jesus Christ and on His character. Let your mind dwell on His work in your life, and His Truth proclaimed in His Word.
     I’m not talking about some “super-spiritual” exercise like reciting Scripture all day long to try to earn extra brownie points with God. I’m talking about the special delight of focusing my thoughts on what is true and lovely. Instead of thinking on bitterness and criticism while I comb my hair, I try to be thinking things like:
     “God chose me before the foundation of the world. He loves me with an everlasting love. He will never leave me nor forsake me. This specific situation He’s working out for my good. He has prepared good works for me to do today. What might they be? How should I do them? Who can I love today?”
     Do these thoughts come naturally? No. I must actively choose to think them.
     And where do these thoughts originate? The Word of God. I must spend time daily reading and studying His Word, memorizing it as I am able, immersing my mind in His Truth, and thereby recognizing which thoughts are lies.
     The devil is always looking for a foothold in our thoughts. We are sinful by nature, and temptation continues. Daily the struggle against wrong thoughts repeats itself. But it must be a struggle – we must not give in!
     Wrong thoughts rejected. Right thoughts accepted. And the next step will flow naturally. We will open our mouths to speak, in the heat of the moment, at the peak of a conversation, and our words will reflect where our minds have been. In the Word of God.

~ Lisa Bode, The King’s Daughter Magazine