Day 22: Take Them Captive

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Lately I have noticed a few things about my thoughts.

Some of the dramas I have enjoyed watching on TV work on my mind long after I get in bed. Every creak of the floor, any slight shadow movement causes me to jump and my heart to pound as my imagination runs away with me. In an attempt to forget what I just watched, I try to take my thoughts captive so I can fall asleep.

I’ve also noticed I need to remind myself of a few things. Things like … my identity in Christ or the attributes of my God. Sometimes I remind myself of dreams which have been in my heart for a long time.

Basically my thoughts fall into one of two categories – good thoughts and bad thoughts.

Scripture instructs us on our thoughts: “Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5b, NIV).

I have pretty much always heard this explained in the negative, meaning we are to take captive sinful thoughts and make them submit to Christ and Scripture. But Mark Batterson, in his book Draw the Circle, shed new light on this verse:

“This verse is not just about capturing sinful thoughts and getting them out of our minds; it’s also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in our minds. It means stewarding every word, thought, impression, and revelation inspired by the Spirit of God. (page 60)

Think about this one. God has given us ideas and dreams which He deposits into our lives, throughout our lives. If we are not careful, they can easily and quickly and subtly slip through our fingers.

Paul, in writing to Timothy, has this to say twice to Timothy:

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.” (1 Timothy 6:20, NIV)

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”  (2 Timothy 1:14, NIV)

The word ‘guard’ means “to keep things from escape; to keep things in safety” (from the New Testament Lexical Aids). Paul was telling Timothy to keep safe the things which God had placed inside his heart. And that is true for us as well.

God gives us dreams which need guarding so that they will not be taken from us by a thoughtless comment or a hurtful circumstance. We take captive those good thoughts so that our lives come into the fullness God has for us. There are times, pursuing our dreams will take an act of obedience for it to come to fruition.

There are thoughts we want to get out of our minds with the help of the Holy Spirit.

And there are thoughts we want to keep in our minds by the help of the Holy Spirit.

 

GetInline-8This is Day 22 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Tell His Story and Wedded Wednesday and Wed. Prayer Girls and Works For Me and Coffee & Conversation and Wholehearted Wed .

Day 21: Remain Unoffended

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So how is it that a morning Bible Study Im-Maximizing-My-Mornings-300and The Circle Maker imagescan cross paths? Seriously, only God can work the timing as such …

Ever feel like the prayers of everyone else seem to get answered but yours? It can often make us feel exasperated with God.

In Matthew 11, we find Jesus an interesting incident which follows a times where Jesus does miracle after miracle. He heals the sick, casts out demons, restores sight to the blind, and more.

Yet the one man – John the Baptist, the forerunner to Christ, remains in jail. No miracle happening for him. It is at this time Jesus receives a message from John asking, “Are you really Him? Are you the Messiah we’ve all been waiting for?” (Matthew 11: 3)

I cannot help but wonder if John was not expecting Jesus to do something, perhaps miraculous even, to get him released. Jesus sends him this response instead …

“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:6, NKJV)

Our morning group spent a little time on this one. Jesus offensive? What does this mean?

“Have you ever felt like God was doing miracles for everyone and their brother, but you seem to be the odd man out? It seems like God is keeping His promises to everyone but you?” (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, page 90)

There are times we can feel like throwing up our hands in the air or perhaps throwing in the towel, or maybe just throwing something. And it is at that very moment, offense can enter. We can give up on God. Think He’s not all that He says He is. Or able to do all that He says He can do. We may feel He has not kept His promises.

What do we do then?

Are we going to walk away? Are we going to be angry with God? Resentful even?

Or we can choose to live unoffended lives, knowing Jesus promises blessing if we are not offended by Him and what He does for others.

John the Baptist chose to live unoffended by Jesus. He did not get released from prison, in fact, he lost his life. Yet Jesus said there was none greater who had ever lived than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11).

I have spent some time thinking about this. In Hebrews 11, the chapter hailed as the hall of faith, we find many who did undeniably amazing exploits for God because of their faith. There are also the nameless who were tortured, chained in prison, sawed in two, destitute, persecuted and mistreated (verse 37). And there is one verse tucked at the end which says this:

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40, NIV)

They had equal faith but did not receive the answers to their prayers. But here’s the thing – they still had faith. They remained faithful. Unoffended. And who knows what awaits them in the future Kingdom!

“Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Remain unoffended by Jesus!

 

GetInline-8This is Day 21 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining …. Testimony Tues. and Unite and Titus 2 Tues. and True Story and Teaching What Is Good .

His Kids Christmas

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His Kids Christmas Vol 1 CoverI will admit from the start – I LOVE Christmas music. I buy a new CD each year and have quite the collection as I never tire of listening.

His Kids Christmas Vol. 1 is quickly going to be a favorite in our family. This collection of songs is delightful as it is a contemporary, upbeat blend of music which is sure to appeal to children. There are several genres of music so there are tracks that everyone can enjoy.

There are old favorites as well as new songs which are sure to become favorites. There are twelve songs in all, among them including the classic carols:

  • Here We Come A-Caroling
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • Away In A Manger
  • Hark! The Herald Angels

Children will get the heart of the Christmas message in each song as they both listen and sing. This is a CD which will delight both kids and adults alike. This will surely be played plenty at our home as I just loved the upbeat music and joy which was heard throughout this CD. This is a well done Christmas collection filled with talented musicians and singers.

*** I received these MP3 files via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

 

Day 20: He Is Able

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“Is there a limit to My power?’

Let’s face it, if God were to ask me this question, I would quickly respond, “NO!”. Yet how often I have lived, and prayed, as if His power had limits. It’s as if I said, “Well, He can do this, but not so sure on this…”.

Our doubts lie in a limited view of God, not of His power for God is omnipotent, which actually means – there is not a single thing He cannot do or which is outside of His power. To put it another way … NOTHING can limit His work in our lives.

Again I am reminded of the Israelites …

In Numbers 11, we find God promising to provide meat to the people, who had been complaining of their limited menu. He tells them He will provide so much meat (aka, quail), they will get sick of it, even to the point of gagging.

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Moses, in response, points out to God there are 600,000 soldiers and even if they butchered all their herds, there would not be enough meat for them all. Basically, Moses had developed a vision problem.

Moses looked at what was available rather than looking at God’s ability.

And I do the same thing at times. But I often remember the lesson taught to me by my dear friend Audrey, an older woman in my small group …

Audrey was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 cancer, given approximately 6 months to live. It was a prognosis that sent family and friends reeling.

Treatments began and Audrey endured both the side effects and multiple hospital stays. There were periods in which she enjoyed great quality of life, seeming to beat the disease. And about two and a half years passed from the time of diagnosis and receiving the news of remaining time.

I visited Audrey often. Sometimes several times a day. They were difficult and sweet times. We laughed and cried together. We shared many a hospital lunch and garden tomatoes with a hidden salt shaker in her hospital nightstand drawer. There was not a single time, not once, where just as I got to the door of her room to leave, I did not hear her call out my name. And each time, I would turn to see her, with her quirky smile, and she would say,

“Remember, He is able!”

Countless times, we said it together. Countless rides home with tears streaming as I prayed for God to heal my friend. I always thought she was reminding herself of God’s ability.

It was the day of her last breath when I went to visit. She was unconscious and I read to her from the Psalms. I knew I would not see her again until we met on the other side of life. It was then, I realized, Audrey was not reminding herself. She already knew that truth. She knew whether He healed her on this side of eternity or the other, He was able and one day, she would be whole.

No, she was saying it so I would remember. She was making certain I heard it enough times so I would not waver or lose faith. Mark Batterson, in his book Circle Maker, says it this way:

“With God, it’s never an issue of ‘Can He?” It’s only a question of ‘Will He?’ And while you don’t always know if He will, you know He can. And because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence.” (page 75)

That Audrey was one smart woman who rested in the confidence her God was able. And she made sure I learned that lesson as well.

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We can pray with holy confidence.

He is able.

 

GetInline-8This is Day 20 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Playdates With God and Unforced Rhythms and Blessed but Stressed and Salt & Light and Mon. Musings and Create With Joy and Making Your Home Sing and Motivation Mon .

Day 19: Walk in Truth

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“God is not looking for spiritual giants. He is looking for believers who believe for a change.”

Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name (Psalm 86:11). Do not allow anything to snatch the word of truth from my  mouth, Lord, for I have put my hope in Your laws (Psalm 119:43).

Glorious God, in Your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness. Let Your right hand display awesome deeds (Psalm 45:4). I don’t need to be afraid of truth. It is the key You will use to take me forth in victory.

You are near to all who call on You, Lord, to all who call on You in truth
(Psalm 145:18).

(from Praying God’s Word Day By Day by Beth Moore, page 51)

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GetInline-8This is Day 19 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Spiritual Sundays and Sunday Stillness .

Day 18: From Circling Around 3

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Hard to believe we are slightly past the half-way mark in the challenge, Write 31 Days. In the midst of so many struggling to write each day, they are doing it and coming up with some great posts. So grab your coffee, find a comfortable spot and spend a few minutes here ….

1) We all need places to play and pray. The places in which we can go to gain strength and healing. In this post, Melanie shares how she is training her eyes to look for beauty.

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2) We all ask the question, “Am I enough?’ at one time or another. In this post we learn – “We can praise and worship Him even when nothing in life goes as we want, because we know that He is enough.”

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3) If you read or write a blog, you know there is usually space to leave and read comments. In this post, we learn 5 reasons to leave comments on the blogs of others. Love the insight in this practical post on blogging.

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4) Every story matters. We all say and believe it about the story of others. But what about our own stories? Do we tell them? In this post, Kaitlyn shares her experience, “Trust the One who wrote the pages and is authoring your life into a best seller.”

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5) And this week I thought I would include a post from the one who started this 31 day challenge, The Nester.

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And that would be it for this Saturday. I hope you take some time to enjoy these posts. May you take time to rest, to relax and to just be.

Love,

Joanne

GetInline-8This is Day 18 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining with …. The SITS Sharefest and Faith Along the Way and Friday Finds .

 

Day 17: Long

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I’m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. All of us writing on that same word. For the month of October, I will incorporate the word prompts into my series, 31 Days Of Going In Circles.

Today’s word is ….

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Ever notice how a night can be long? All you need is a night, or a span of nights, where sleep is elusive and the night seems to be endless. As if morning will never come. The night is long.

I can well remember walking the floors with our first born baby, who was colicky for what seemed like – a long time. We walked the floors, rocking her at night for hours, until she would finally fall asleep. The night was long and the morning would come too quickly. But the moment, when we would get to lay her gently down in her crib, was the sweetest sense of accomplishment.

It was in that moment our hearts would swell with love for this little human. We would realize so much about ourselves – our love for her, our hopes, our dreams, our responsibility, our fears, our inabilities.

Prayer is sort of like that. It is hard work and can seem long. Even Jesus upon praying in the Garden of Gethsemane found his disciples asleep … “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?”, He asked.

Praying through a trying or difficult time seems long … long in duration of the time. Long for God to respond. Long to find relief.

But long in this as well – I discover anew how long is His love for me. For each of us.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (Ephesians 3:18, NLT)

It is as this understanding of His long love for me develops, in which I find I am being made complete -

“Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life, and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

Prayer is long.

It teaches me of His long love for me

and

makes me complete in Him.

 

 

GetInline-8This is Day 17 of 31 Days Of Going In Circles. You can find the entire series here .

Today I am joining … Five Minute Friday and Everyday Jesus and Friendship Fri. and Fellowship Fri. and Faith Filled Fri. and Faith & Fellowship and Blessing Counters .