image_print

Prefer God’s Wisdom and Knowledge

image_print

“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.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Greetings fellow sojourners!

The word translated ‘demolition’ in this verse is the Greek word ‘kathairesis,’ and it means to destroy or pull down.  We can think of it as, ‘taking down for oneself, i.e., forcibly yank down; destroy (demolish), leaving nothing ‘standing,’ or even in good working order (HELPS biblehub.org).  Kathairesis is built from the word katá, meaning ‘down’ and haireomai meaning ‘to take for oneself, to prefer it or choose it’ (Strongs, biblehub.com).  

So what makes this demolition so successful?  Because the stronghold or proud obstacle that keeps us from being drawn to God in His complete truth will get pulled down and destroyed by the power which is made available through God.  But we must first have preferred and chosen something else in order for this pulling down and destroying to be effective. What is it we must have chosen? God’s wisdom and knowledge over the rotten lie.

The power of God is sufficient to route any thought, behavior, illness, or any lying demon. Through the power of God, strongholds will be demolished.  Think of strongholds not as demons but places we have allowed lies to take root and; therefore, created a foothold where demons now have access.

The word translated ‘arguments’ is the Greek word logismós. These are a person’s “bottom-line reasoning that reflects someone’s values, i.e., how they assign weight in determining what they find reasonable. It emphasizes reaching a personal opinion, i.e., what comes out of a personal reckoning” (HELPS biblehub.org).

With the assistance of the divine strengthening power of God, we are well able to demolish any and all arguments that exist within ourselves as to: 

Why we are not equipped

Why we are not able, and 

Why we are hindered from being able to pulverize our worn out excuses and self- defeating thought life.

The word translated ‘stronghold’ in this verse is the Greek word oxýrōma.  It is ‘a heavily-fortified containment, used figuratively of a false argument in which a person seeks shelter, i.e., a safe place to escape reality.’ (HELPS Word-studies biblehub.com)

Any of the four following strongholds are areas in which a person uses to entrench themselves against reproach and are all areas in opposition to Christ.

Arguments.  Arguments are calculative reasonings we use to attempt to convince someone that our opinion is correct.  Some people love to be right and will defend their position because to back down would be considered a confession of mental inferiority. We even use arguments to convince ourselves why we should not budge from an idea, such as why we should not forgive someone, or why our thoughts and behaviors are completely justified. 

Wisdom.  Wisdom is knowledge gained by our natural life experiences.  This comes with an ability to understand the circumstances of the world.  It is different than the wisdom of God, as it is the wisdom of man. This wisdom concerning life experiences can inflate with pride because we are tempted to think we understand matters that other people do not have the ability or experience to understand. 

Logic.  Can we logically deduce God?  God indeed gave us intellect, and we are not availing ourselves to His resources if we refuse to use it.  However, some things about God cannot be traced out (Romans 11:33).  Creation is a witness to Him (Romans 1:20), but we are also commended to live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Help us, Lord, when we use our God-given intellect to serve our own pride.

Pride.  When we exhibit a kind of deep pleasure resulting from others admiring us personally or our achievements, it is then when we are most closely aligned with the enemy. Pride desires accolades from others because in this way it keeps itself elevated. Pride seeks more and more adoration to keep it lifted high.

Thank you, Lord, for your truth and freedom. You are the only stronghold I desire, and the only one I was fashioned to cling to. You make me safe and secure; every other stronghold is sinking sand and a trap.

In His grace,

Amanda

Thoughts Captive to Christ

image_print

“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.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) 

Greetings fellow sojourners loved by God! Praise God that because we are his children, he has given us HIS powerful weaponry, and when we deploy it, we can destroy every prideful thought and argument, we attempt to exalt above God. Prideful thoughts are perversions of the truth and have their origins in deceitfulness. When we allow prideful thoughts to have their place in us, they only result in our harm. Consider this point: “It is not a case of the Christian’s effort to force all his thoughts to be pleasing to Christ. Rather the picture seems to be that of a military operation in enemy territory that seeks to thwart every single hostile plan of battle so that there will be universal allegiance to Christ” (Expositors).

We must not elevate any thought above God and the truth of his Word.  Our thoughts that are in line with God’s Word are truths that will set you free, inspire you, empower you, and equip you for life and ministry.  Thoughts you cling to and elevate that are in opposition to His Word create a stumbling block for yourself and others are prideful, dissuade you, and dismantle you for life and effective ministry.

The strategy we utilize to maintain our mind for Christ is to take every thought captive to obey Him before any defeating thought has the opportunity to settle into our heart, which then influence our life.  Taking thoughts captive is how we will guard our heart.

We absolutely decide on what we allow our mind to meditate on.  We are responsible for taking control of what we are allowing our mind to accept as truth, what it meditates on and considers, as well as what we will enable it to imagine.  We alone are the ones responsible for allowing our mind to become fertile for works of light.  We must exercise the ability to say ‘no’ in regards to allowing destructive thoughts permission to proceed and demanding not an inch of allowance be made toward a mind fertile for works of darkness.

What are some things that will keep your mind fertile for works of light?  

~ Yielding to the Spirit of God. 

~ Studying the Bible and fully reflect upon the entire counsel of the Word.

~ Prayerfully considering the writings of men and women who give glory to God through Biblical truth.

~ Meditating on the excellencies of Christ (ex: his taking of human nature, his earthly life, his sacrificial death, his exaltation in heaven, and his final subduing of all evil when he returns glory).

~ Maintaining an active and daily prayer life.

~ Keeping a regular habit of repentance.

~ Maintaining a heart eager to forgive.

~ Desiring for God’s will to fully become your will.

What are some things that will keep your mind fertile for works of darkness?

~ Not doing the things mentioned above.

~ Poor entertainment choices.

~ Unbelief.

~ Insisting upon your own will.

Our mind feeds and fuels our heart.  We must continually instruct ourselves regarding what to think. We must not allow the brokenness of our heart the reigns to dictate what we should think, which results in what we feel.  Our God fearing thoughts must dictate the strength and direction of our heart.  What is out of sync will catch up if you persist in it.

Transformation is vital concerning your mind and heart.  When your mind is renewed, it is as if it was being made young again.  When we put off the old man and the resulting decay which was brought on by fleshly thoughts and behavior, we replace those thoughts with the life-giving thoughts of God.  The resulting effect is a renewed mind.  As we yield ourselves to the Lord, our mind is quickened and sustained by the Spirit of God. Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda

The Freedom Humility Brings

image_print

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners! I want to encourage you to do all you can to be strong IN the Lord. Be willing to identify what makes you weak and squash it. Today we will consider how competition effects humility. It doesn’t matter what you are competing for, the ideal job, the most interesting possessions, the largest bank account, the best vacation, or even if it is for attention. The flame of competition is stoked by the prod of pride.

In a world that teaches we must compete for everything, being humble is entirely counterintuitive. According to Jesus, however, those that are humble will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). So how do we break free from the relentless yoke of competition and settle peacefully into the freedom humility brings? It will require a change of mind. Humility means “humbleness of mind” (Colossians 3:12) so in order to behave humbly, we must begin with humble thoughts. Help me Lord with my thoughts.

The Lord is the One who commands our humility so if we are putting on an outward show of humility, but our heart remains full of pride and arrogance we are an imposter. The mindset of the world scorns humility so if you continue allowing your mind to be influenced by the competitive world, humbling yourself will never work because it limits the flesh. We must supremely value Christian humility if we ever intend to change our mind from a competitive thinking viewpoint. The mindset of the Kingdom requires humility, and when we recognize the value of Kingdom ways over worldly ways, it will tear off the yoke of competition. Help me Lord to trust You, to understand that Your ways are higher than mine, to know that You will give me the grace I need, and that exaltation comes as my life is lived victoriously through You.

In my experience, I have found the fastest way to humble myself is through fasting and prayer. These two practices are prescribed by our Lord as the means of connecting ourselves to greater power than we would otherwise possess. Prayer links us to heaven and fasting separates us from earthly things. We will also enjoy closer communion with God through prayer and fasting, and we will be better equipped to handle the more distressing issues of life. Lord, I hunger and thirst for YOU, help me to do so even more.

Scripture illustrates humble patterns we should adopt in our lives. Here are a few:

Waiting brings humility. It denies our own ability and is patient (Psalm 33:20).

When we take on God’s humility it exalts us (Psalms 18:35) and brings wisdom (Proverbs 11:2) and honor (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12).

The result of humility is the fear of the Lord, along with wealth, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4).

Moses was known as the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).

Humility brings joy after joy in the Lord (Isaiah 29:19).

God looks favorably on the humble and submissive in spirit (Isaiah 66:2).

Jesus himself was gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29).

God looked upon Mary with favor because she was humble (Luke 1:48).

The disciples ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. Acts 2:46-47

God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud (1 Peter 5:5).

Thank you in advance, Lord, when you show me the pitfalls of living a life of competition. Even though it can be painful, I welcome Your discipline when my thoughts desire to compete with someone else instead of living in Your peace. I value You as the Shepherd in my life and the sanctification Your leadership brings. Reveal to me any area where I have allowed my knee to bow in an unhealthy way to competition. I desire to repent from prideful competition and I receive your forgiveness and cleansing. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Memories Are for Our Good

image_print

But this I call to mind; therefore I have hope. Lamentations 3:21

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners! I desire, Lord willing, to bring resolute action to the forefront of your thinking regarding how you handle your memories. Before proceeding, let’s settle a vital truth. God created your memories; therefore they are for your good. The next time you are tempted to exalt your misery and afflictions to a place of power in your mind, quickly conclude the thought with a memory about God’s goodness and love he has already demonstrated towards you. The power of God can strip a miserable memory of all its harm and clothe you with the goodness he intends for you.

The verse in our text tells us Jeremiah put his memory to work which enabled him to have the ability to declare his true hope. In the previous verse, the prophet spoke about how the memory of his affliction was so great that it brought him to despair. Yet he allowed this same memory to bring him life and comfort! What shall we learn from this? If we exercise our memories a little harder we could, even in our deepest distresses, recall just how good God has been to us and that His compassions never fail (verse 22). Just as we can recall a distressing memory, we can also recall a blessed one. God does not need to create a new thing in order to restore our joy! We need only stoke the ashes of our despair into a flame of beautiful, prayerful praise!

Jeremiah says the Lord is his portion; therefore he will put his hope in Him (verse 24). This verse does not say God is part of our portion but that He IS our portion. How then, can we be cheated of anything if our treasure is in heaven? Lord, may you grant us grace to rejoice in our deepest distress because You are our sure possession, our continual legacy of joy.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young (verse 27). Imagine a sick young child who must be firmly persuaded to take his medicine. The medicine is bitter, and the child cannot bear to swallow it because the child cannot see how it can possibly bring his cure. How can something so bitter bring about something good? As an adult, however, we no longer wrangle with the idea of not wanting to swallow the bitter pill because experience has taught us that it will provide our remedy. When the fruit of healing comes, we bring to our remembrance all that God has done for us and bless His name. The memory of our past misery and afflictions are now nothing but water under our Majestic bridge. Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda