The Great Exchange

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10

Fellow pilgrims, let’s stop playing around and start living seriously like Bible-believing, children of Almighty God. This will require a real understanding of who our enemy actually is (Ephesians 6:12) and that God is the wonderfully Sovereign, giver of life (1 Timothy 6:13, 15). We have one shot in this skin, so let’s live as authentic as our bold proclamation of faith.

The thief (our enemy here) prowls around only to steal the promises of God from us, sacrifice (kill) us for his unholy purposes, and render us useless (destroy) to the Kingdom of God. We are told these things so that we may be on our guard. Don’t think we are talking about mere earthly treasures that are being stolen, or that our earthly adventures are being sacrificed, or our fun is what is being destroyed here. The world is the idol of this age, and as a distraction, the enemy would have us think God is the thief. Jesus says quite the opposite of what the enemy would have you believe. Jesus says He is the giver of life and not only that but gives life in abundance.

The enemy steals what is legally yours by being in a covenant relationship with God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Cross of Christ is the place where an extraordinary exchange takes place. Through the Cross of Christ, you are continually invited to give Jesus your lack, rejection, shame, sin, and your old ways. By faith, when you release these burdens over to Him, He exchanges them for His abundant life. As a child of God, you are invited to exchange:

your lack for His abundance

your rejection for His acceptance

your curse for His blessing

your alienation for His forgiveness

your shame for His glory

your iniquities for His healing

your death for His life

your old self for His newness

your sin for His righteousness

Thank you, Lord, for your abundant provision.

Lord, I want to believe Your promises with all of my heart, my soul, and my mind, so when the enemy attempts to steal them from me, he will fail. Help me be on guard for the enemy’s attempts to deceive me regarding the provision in the Cros of Christ for my life. I desire to yield to Your Spirit, so I am alerted when deception is at work. Thank you, Lord, that even though the enemy lurks around seeking prey, the prey is not always caught! Help me to be self-controlled and alert by the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth at work in me!

May the Lord direct our heart to God’s love and Christ’s endurance,

Amanda


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“Whatever is” and “If there is any”

Do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners! If you notice from the opening line of this verse it says, do not. It is an imperative and not to be taken as trivial. As any parent tells a child, “Do not __________,” it is meant to be listened to, adhered to, and remembered. It is not the start of a negotiation, it is a command to be followed. The same goes for this statement. It continues with, and let your request be made known to God. When we stop worrying, and instead pray and petition God with thanksgiving, the peace of God will guard our heart and mind through the power of Jesus Christ. Amen.

So what are we to do while waiting on the peace of God to surpass our every thought? We dwell on the “whatever is” and the “if there is any.” Not only is this an act of faith and obedience, but it paves the way for a solid foundation of thankfulness, which is the command we are given as we pray and submit our petitions before God.

Worry envelops our thinking to such an extent that it becomes a hindrance to faith. Choosing fear over trust indicates we have elevated our concerns to a choking position of power, and it controls our thinking, emotions, and behaviors.

When we become distressed regarding circumstances or people, nervousness and uneasiness typically creep into our soul due to the uncertainty of the situation.   In other words, we want the outcome to work in our favor, but when there appear to be obstacles that could swing the result out of our favor, it causes agitation, angst, nervousness, concern, fear, and tension to arise within us.  Perhaps you have experienced this in your life. Begin practicing now as you recall current conflict in your life and identify, confirm, and dwell on the “whatever is” and the “if there is any.”

When anxious thoughts threaten to weary you with their burden,  direct your thankful heart to the Lord and bring your worship and request straight to Him.  Joyfully thank God for the “whatever is” and the “if there is any.” Even if the only thing you can identify right now is a tiny “whatever is” that hardly seems worth mentioning….mention it to God with thanksgiving. When you do this, you will receive a peace you never knew was possible. If we dwell on this and even encourage ourselves to identify more, God will equip us with His peace which has the power to rise above every petty concern our human thoughts can concoct, and His peace will protect our entire mind and heart.  Stunning.

We do not need to withhold any part of our intellect and separate it from Him for worldly endeavors. Nor do we need to retain a portion because we believe He couldn’t possibly understand the depth of our emotions and the history surrounding them.  We are deceived if we muse the only choice we have is to maintain our mind and heart ourselves.  Help me Lord to trust You with my entire mind and every one of my musings. I welcome your peace as I pray, and as I identify, confirm, and dwell on the “whatever is” and “if there is any.”

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Power of God’s Peace

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Greetings fellow sojourners!

This exhortation starts off running. Don’t worry about anything. Not one… single… thing. In everything you do, ask God to help you.

One thing we frequently partake of from this world’s banqueting table is its anxieties. There never seems to be a lack of tempting things to worry about (finances, spouse, kids, elderly parents, health, jobs, friends, future, etc.).  Just a thought, but when was the last time you heard someone say, “If only I had more to worry about!”  I bet never. Our plates are full. The Lord is providing an alternative, a better way of life when He says His obligations are easy, and His burdens are light (Matthew 11:30)!  When we rebelliously decide to go it alone and store up anxious concerns within us, the result will be a mind that is in agony every day (Psalm 13:2).  Anxiety is a scheme the enemy uses to dominate, confuse, and derail us.  Worry’s endless ability to distract and our personal desire to find our own solution results in us taking our eyes off God and putting them squarely on worldly remedies.  When we seek God and wait on him, he gives us his powerful wisdom and understanding.

In contrast, the enemy says, “Look around you, the answer to all your problems lies here in this world’s remedy.”   Resist the enemy and decide to give God your whole mind; frailties and all.  He will help you.

Don’t leave any portion of your mind inaccessible to the Lord.  Allow Him complete access to your questions, concerns, thoughts, hang-ups, doubts, fears, and insecurities.  Leave nothing hidden from Him.  This path will be the heavenly highway to the healing of your mind and heart. Ask the Lord to set you free from the shackles of slavery you have knowingly or unknowingly wed yourself to by believing the lies of the enemy.  Allow the Lord’s wisdom to enter your mind, and His understanding to delight your heart (Proverbs 2:19). He is faithful.

Thank you, Lord, for your priceless gift of grace offered me through the Cross of Christ. Through Christ, I am redeemed out of the clutches of the adversary and lovingly welcomed into the Kingdom of your Son in which I have freedom, acceptance, and provision made available to me so that I may possess your peace which continually guards my heart and mind. I am grateful. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Our Thoughts Are Not The Product Of An Out-of-Control Thinking Machine With No Navigator.

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners!

We are instructed to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).  When a thought presents itself in our mind, we take it captive by holding it in our mind and immersing it in the richness of the Word.  Does the thought line up with what the Word says is true or is the thought out of agreement with the Word?  Does the thought edify your soul and spirit in truth, or does it tear down?  If the thought, whether it was ours or someone else’s is true, we allow the thought permission to pass through to our heart.  If it is a lie because it does not line up with the truth of the Word of God, we cast the thought down and never return to it. Pay close attention to not being bitter when the thought is cast down. We simply sort our thoughts as truths or lies according to the Word and deal with them accordingly.

When we are deeply rooted in Christ, and our hope is in Him, it will be much more difficult to be caught in the snare of preoccupation with a person to the extent that we crave their approval above the approval of God (Galatians 1:10).  We are setting ourselves up for a colossal disappointment when we think a person can fill the lack, patch the hole, or light the darkness.  This exalted role can only be wholly accomplished by God.

“No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.”  (James 1:13-15) Let’s take a look at this verse.  We are tempted by our own desires.  Thoughts are in our head.  Desires are in our heart.  When we allow an evil desire permission to proceed, it becomes a sin which if left unchecked brings death.

When we allow thoughts that are out of line with God’s instructions for our healthy lives permission to proceed, we are in effect telling ourselves it is okay to allow carnal thoughts to exist alongside godly thoughts.  James calls this being ‘double-minded” or divided in interest (James 4:8).  James’ remedy for this is that we should be humbly cleansed and purified.   We can also see this in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” Considering patterns of thoughts we allow ourselves to entertain and not fleeting thoughts, examine the thoughts that are in direct opposition with the Word as an impurity of the flesh and ask the Lord to help align you with His truth.

We must keep a vigilant guard on what thoughts we allow ourselves to entertain.   If the Word says God loves you (John 3:16), do you consider thoughts that suggest He does not?  If the Word says Jesus came to give you abundant life (John 10:10), do you entertain thoughts that indicate following Him means a life of restrictions?   If the Word says, humble yourself (James 4:10), do you consider thoughts that suggest the humbling will mean having a marginal existence?  If the Word says to crucify your passions and desires (Galatians 5:24), do you entertain thoughts that suggest you will surely lose your individuality and the right to your emotions?  If the Word says our battle is not with each other but against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12), do you entertain thoughts in opposition to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?   If the Word says not to be prideful in your lifestyle (1 John 2:15-16), do you entertain thoughts that your situation can be the exception?  

The life Jesus came to give is abundant spiritual life, and it is what we have right now in Him.   Take control of your thoughts and stop believing untruths about the abundant life and start fueling your mind with His efficaciously captivating truths.

Because our mind is immensely powerful, we can choose to think truthful and edifying thoughts.  We indeed have the power and ability to direct our thoughts.  Yes, we have random, even ill-conceived thoughts at times.  But we have the powerful ability to stop these thoughts and re-direct our thinking.  We must direct our mind to work for us and not against us.  It is not an out-of-control thinking machine with no navigator.  We can choose to have godly thoughts and therefore, godly actions. When we direct our powerful mind to the things of God, our askew emotions will also begin to change. Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Prefer God’s Wisdom and Knowledge

“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

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Thoughts Captive to Christ

“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

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The Freedom Humility Brings

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

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Memories Are for Our Good

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

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National Day of Prayer ~ Love One Another

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” John 13:34

Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners! Below is an excerpt from the National Day of Prayer website describing the history of the Day of Prayer and the hope for unifying prayer that results in a transforming work of God in our hearts. This year the theme for prayer is love one another. You are invited to fast and pray this Thursday and ask the Lord to revive your and other’s hearts to His ways.

“The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.” (nationaldayofprayer.org)

“Our hope is that individuals, churches, and spiritual leaders in America, will humble ourselves and unify in prevailing prayer for the next great move of God in America. We can come together in clear agreement that this is our greatest need. We can become a visible union, standing together in prayer. We can pray more than ever before, and practice extraordinary prayer for the next great move of God in America that will catapult the message of the gospel nationally and internationally.” (nationaldayofprayer.org)

In the law of Moses, love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18) assumed self-love as the starting point. A higher standard than self-love measures this new commandment to love one another. The love Christ showed His disciples was self-abandoning, self-sacrificing and to this degree, we are to love one another.  When we love one another we are loving Christ; we are loving an object of His tender love.

Thank you, Lord, for leaders that desire to bring this great nation together by encouraging our humble repentance and asking for Your extraordinary mercy to heal our hearts so that we are freed to love one another sacrificially. You have shown us how to love one another by your self-abandoning, self-sacrificing love towards us. Forgive us for seeking our own interest to the detriment of someone else’s. Forgive us for not boldly living Your message and even sitting on the sidelines as if we knew not what to do. Revive our hearts and set them ablaze to your ways Lord. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Word Provides Health

Greetings fellow sojourners! Recently I found myself enthusiastically reading about the health benefits that occur in a person’s life as a result of proper teaching. The health benefit occurs when we receive the proper teaching and then align our behavior with the Truth.

Teaching that “does not agree with the sound (healthy) teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness,” (1 Timothy 6:3) it is not considered healthy. The Gospel message brings health to us as we live it out ~ that is exciting news! The Greek word ὑγιαίνουσιν translated “healthy” or “sound” in this verse has a practical, external aspect to it. “To be healthy,” is a medical term describing the physical effects of proper teaching. “Godliness” describes a life totally consecrated to God, with emphasis on how that consecration shows itself in the person’s life. ‘Right teaching’ and ‘right practice’ are inextricably bound together in this verse. (Word Biblical Commentary pg. 336)

Opponents of the Gospel message teaching a different doctrine, not in agreement with the sound (healthy) teaching of Jesus and not promoting godliness (1 Tim 6:3) are said to be conceited, understand nothing, and have a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words (v4). Their behavior consists of envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement. Their motivation is for material gain (v4-5).

Just like we choose which foods we want to put into our mouths, we also decide what information we want to put into our mind. Depriving our body of the nutrients needed for proper functioning by unhealthy eating results in health complications. The same is true when we deprive our mind of the “healthy teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It will result in confused thinking.

In verse 4, Paul says the opponents’ false teaching is foolishness and produces a “sickly craving for speculations, and they spend their time arguing over words.” In this atmosphere, envy and strife are natural results. Just as we have seen the Gospel message has health benefits, alternatively, “to have a sickly craving” means “to be sick and ailing, and it seems to refer to a serious illness. It is parallel to the medical imagery of healthy words” in v3 (WBC pg. 338).

Guard for your mind and heart, watching what you accept as truth. Acts 5 gives an example of how this plays out. Satan (1) filled Ananias’ heart to lie (v3) and (2) Ananias then allowed his mind to plan evil (v4) and as a result, death immediately came upon him (v 5). We may not see death as an immediate result in our own lives, but we should not be fooled into thinking a death does not occur. Before Jesus returns, we will find death manifesting itself in many ways (death of relationships, death of hope, death of peace, death of understanding, death of love). Do not be fooled, death comes. Let’s receive God’s healthy teaching that promotes godliness and live.

In His grace,

Amanda

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