By His Grace

Discernment And Our Thoughts

Posted on: April 25, 2012

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

My thoughts are all over the place today.  I’m very frustrated by it and it gets me concerned when I’m like this.  Concerned for what?  I don’t know.  To make a bad choice, or maybe I know anxiety or a panic attack could be right around the corner.  Is it the devil messing with me?  How do I know?  I pray for discernment. 

Discernment means understanding or an insight.  Before I can decipher my thoughts, I have to be aware of what I’m thinking about.   I try to do what Joyce Meyer tells us in her book, “Battlefield of the Mind” to,

“think about what we are thinking about.”

I’m exhausted just thinking about what I’m thinking about.  Has someone ever said to you, “you think too much.”  Don’t you just want to smack’em?  I’m kidding of course…kinda.Smile 

I believe God blessed me with a thinking brain.  I also just need to turn my mind off sometimes.  I will watch something on tv that’s silly and doesn’t serve a purpose except to make you laugh.  I like the sitcoms from Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens.   Those usually do the trick and give my mind a much needed rest.  Watching TV is all well and fine but I still need to keep my thoughts straightened out and not go to bed with a mind of confusion. 

Even if I read some Scripture before falling asleep, I swear the devil attacks me in my dreams!   I have very vivid dreams and I can remember them.  I wake up feeling heavy, like something terrible just happened.  I feel like have sinned!  I talk to God right away and get the connection between Him and I started before my feet his the ground.  I even ask for forgiveness for what I was doing in the dream, just in case.  It’s important for me to have no seperation from God and if my mind believes a stupid dream can do that well then……I’m asking God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name……don’t know it’s something I should do but……what can it hurt?  I’m doing what we say C.Y.A., in other words I’m covering all the bases.

I read an article by Father Dan Burke about discernment.  He says,

The unmanaged musings of an injured soul can easily lead us away from the peace that Christ has for us and into further sin or destructive behavior.

Father Burke is telling us we have to maintain our heart and keep it in right standing with Christ.  If left unmanaged or neglected, it is much easier to sin.  Although the devil can’t read our thoughts, he has been watching us for our whole lives so he can learn what makes us “tick”.  The enemy knows our strengths and weaknesses just as our Lord and Savior does.  That is why it is so important we study God’s Word and know it for ourselves.   We’ve all heard the saying, “knowledge is power”,but knowledge is strength too.

I think there is a certain level of faith involved in discerning our thoughts.  I believe sometimes we just don’t know!  And that’s okay.  It’s not always easy for me to discern my thoughts.  My way of thinking can be very messed up because of my past, but God is a healing God.  He has healed my mind as well as my soul.   Just reading the Bible has brought me so much healing in my mind and thoughts.  I shouldn’t say “just”.  It is very apparent in my life that reading the Bible has had a major impact on me and my thought life.  In fact, my thinking is more clearer now than it ever has been my entire life!  That may sound good, but I get confused and think too many things at once.  I want to know the “why” of things.  In being like this it makes me open up God’s Word and search it out.   Search it out and find out what’s going on in my mind and how I can get rid of this inner turmoil.  I want peace, not racing thoughts that give me unrest and anxiety. 

God is a peaceful God so any thoughts that are giving me anxiety or unrest are most likely not from Him.  So I pray and believe my loving Lord and Savior will help me discern my thoughts and keep me strong and intact.  Satan will use my thoughts of reasoning and wanting to know the “why” of everything against me and keep me away from the will of God.  For me, all I can say is I will have to stay very close to my Lord when my thoughts are like this and keep my nose in the Scriptures.  The thoughts will then start to slow down and I’ll find rest in my thinking.

In closing, this article has been difficult for me to write because my thoughts were all over the place and it has taken me a week to finish it.  I am asking my friends and fellow readers, to enlighten me if the post sounded rambling and I would love some wisdom about discernment of thoughts from  you!  I cherish all of you as I know God works through people!

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32 Responses to "Discernment And Our Thoughts"

“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.” – Corrie ten Boom
I found this quote last week as I was struggling thru some things which were stealing my peace, and it helped me. I tho’t of it again after I read your blog. This time however, I came from a different perspective. When I think of Corrie ten Boom and all that she suffered in her lifetime I cannot imagine the hardships she endured; yet she kept her faith and she kept her perspective, and she kept her focus on God. What a faith! What I tho’t of this time when I read this quote from her is, that at times the faultfinding is not directed towards other people, it is directed at ourselves. We have been forgiven and we do not live in condemnation if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. (Romans 8:1) It is thru our faith in our prayers, that we just simply believe God will bring us his peace. The only one without fault was Jesus Christ and he makes us clean with the washing of the Word. (Ephesians 5:26) I pray that you experience God’s peace that only he can impart

As it says in the New Living Translation Philippians 4:6-9 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

I love that Scripture in Philippians! Yes…..stealing my peace…..why do I allow people to do that? This person has mental health issues. I take that into perspective but you know what? I still allow myself to be verbally abused. Why? My genuine reason is LOVE. It’s not a selfish love. It’s a genuine Godly love. And I take into account peoples character flaws. I have to set boundaries. I thought I did but obviously I still allow for people to use me as a doormat. I’m sober now. I shouldn’t take that crap. Once I’m seperated from it, I am strong. I forgive and Christ’s Holy Spirit fills my heart with love and acceptance. But sometimes when I’m in the face of insults……I may not react in a Godly way. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your wisdom and I take it to heart. God bless!!! :=)

Hey Michelle,

Nice to meet you, just found your blog, and I really enjoyed your post. As a thinker, I can definitely relate to you. The promise in this scripture, along with the discipline of keeping my minds eye on God has been something I’ve kept with me for some time now. Just like everything else God is true to His word. Blessing and again I really enjoyed the post.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
(Isa 26:3)

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I look forward to looking more at your site and I’m happy to hear you liked the post. Many blessings to you! 🙂

Hi Michelle, I’ve been gone for awhile and today I had a chance to write something on my blog because I couldn’t Wi-Fi at the hotel because that was extra so now that I got home early this morning I wanted to post on my blog. Thank you so very much for the birthday greeting.
>>>>HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MICHELLE<<<<<<
Thanks for being a caring friend and your right they're something special about April babies 😉

Your welcome and I wish you the best dear friend. 🙂

Hi Michele…I was blessed by your words today…and I can relate! 🙂

Thank you so much! I’m so glad you were blessed. I appreciate you commenting and stoppying by. God bless! ~~Michele

Blessings to you and I am thankful for your writing. I am sure God orders your words and thoughts just as He desires. I know sometimes I just have to press “publish” trusting He has written what He desires! I know that when my mind and thoughts are scrambled I turn to praising Him and looking to Him somehow my thoughts come into order. The path the LORD’s prayer takes me seems to redirect my thoughts.Blessings to you sister!

Thank Tom And God bless you! 🙂

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and insight. It is much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to help me with your kind words. Many blessing to you! ~~~Michele

Oops – didn’t know my this original comment posted. I thought I had lost it and I was trying to remember what I had said. That’s why the two comments are similiar but not exactly the same. Feel free to delete one if you like. 🙂 Sorry for the redundancy.

Okay thanks. I just now realized it myself. 🙂 Thank you for the advice and insight. It is much appreciated. God bless!

Sounds like you are on the right track. The more I work at and practice controlling my thoughts, the easier its gets. Or should I say the more percentage of the time I am successful at guiding my thoughts to where they should be or where they are in a good spot.

If you have heard Caorline Leaf talk about how our brain and mind works, it makes sense. For those that don’t know, she is a doctor that studies how our brains and minds work. Our thoughts are pathways that we follow whenever we think any particular thought. So when we have a thought that leads us to other thoughts that we don’t like or want, we literally have to think other thoughts to guide us on other pathways.

To me its like highway construction. We have to put up road blocks to some pathways. Caroline says it is even possible to totally “tear” up some pathways to “lay down” new ones. So, I believe that’s where the passage in Romans that talks about renewing our minds, comes in. We can get rid of the negative pathways and establish new positive ones. And then continuing to “lay down” positive pathways by not allowing negative thoughts to get “layed down”. That’s where the 2 Corinthians passage you quoted above comes in, controlling our thoughts so that the negative ones get destroyed and the positive ones are kept to be used to lead us to even more positive thoughts.

Be patient with yourself. You are under construction and renovation and that takes time. Haste makes waste, as the saying goes. You want those good pathways established where they will last. So, keep up the good work and keep working on discerning your thoughts and establishing beneficial ones, one pathway at a time.

BTW – your post didn’t sound like rambling to me – hugs 🙂

Thank you so much for your wisdom and advice. I take it to heart. And thanks for letting me know I wasn’t rambling. haha Many blessings to you!

Hi Michelle
Oh, my thoughts and prayers have been with you!
Please don’t take this as wierd but there have been times the Spirit has led me to say a prayer for you during several days
I think we all struggle with our thoughts – like you said about Joyce Meyer in the Battlefield of the Mind – her books would not be as popular if we all did not struggle
I read that book (or try to) every year because of this problem
I also do not want to sound “religious” but when my mind is not settled I run to the Psalms and when I cannot not sleep I pray and say over and over: Jesus, left me peace or Cast your cares upon the Lord
Also please please please – You have been so honest with your struggles – let us know and we can all start Intercessory Prayer for you
Prayer is an amazing process – we don’t have to know the details – just a quick post telling us you need prayer – We all have a “Blog-Network” of friends out here in cyber-land – people who care and people who feel the same as you do – USE US – We can all help each other through our faith!
God’s Grace is amazing and He wants us to call upon Him 24/7
Fall into His arms and REST!

Can you explain what intercessary prayer is? I’ve heard this word before but never understood what it was. Thanks sis!

Intercessory prayer is praying on behalf of another individual. That person doesn’t even have to ask to be prayed for rather it is freely given for that individual(s).

Thank you! God bless! 🙂

Well I can explain my limited knowledge of intercessary prayer – my brother-in-law (who died of brain cancer) was a true Prayer Warrier and had full knowledge of Intercessary prayer – He and others took trips all over the world for a week at a time and prayed for a break-through for the Word and for the hot-spot areas in the World – at that time Russia, SW Asia and India
When I speak of intercessory prayer, I keep a book near my desk and in my purse – when I tell someone I will pray for them – I place there name in the book – then in my daily prayers I ask the Lord for His Will in the lives of the people in my book
Sometimes I have a name, sometimes I see someone and just write “Women at the store who was crying”
Truly, I feel the Spirit lead me sometimes towards this area
to me: Intercessary Prayer is just the simple act of praying for another
Sometimes I post an email for some of my “prayer friends” to pray for a needed area in someone’s life especially when they have lost someone or are struggling with an area of concern
I will try to write about this message soon and maybe we can all start a Prayer Club
Hope this helps and if you find out that I am mis-guided – Please let me know – we can grow together
God Bless

Thank you! That’s an awesome idea about the prayer club. I feel like I pray for myself too much, although I do pray for my family everyday, I need to prayer more for others as well. God bless!

Dear Michele,

I found your post very well-written, thoughtful and concise. You stated your point and flowed from one example to another easily to substantiate your main point. This is a difficult task when you are in a “jumble” with your thoughts. All I can say is the days that you used to put this together were well-spent. You have a very readable end product.

Your struggle with whether or not to pray for dreams made me think of the verse in the Bible that says that whatever is sin to you, is sin. (Romans 14:23). If covering dream behaviors seems necessary to you, you certainly need to lay it all down before the Father. I think first-thing-in-the-morning prayers are your first line of defense.

Any time you are trying to discern, I think it is good to have a good witness, someone well-grounded in the Scriptures to hear what you think you’re hearing and witness to your interpretation. Like you said so well in your post unmanaged musing can really get us off-course.

Great post and comments, too!
Dawn

Ohhh Thank you sister! That was what I wanted was a ‘readable end product’. Last night after talking to a friend on the telephone how I’m struggling with getting this post to come together, I just had to leave it alone, and for whatever reason this morning I was able to re-organize (finally) and get it to where I was relatively happy with it. 🙂 You are a blessing to me! I always appreaciate your wisddom Love you sister. God bless!

Ohhh Thank you sister! That was what I wanted was a ‘readable end product’. Last night after talking to a friend on the telephone how I’m struggling with getting this post to come together, I just had to leave it alone, and for whatever reason this morning I was able to re-organize (finally) and get it to where I was relatively happy with it. 🙂 You are a blessing to me! I always appreaciate your wisdsdom Love you sister. God bless!

I could have written this post word for word, describing myself and my thoughts! I, too, have a mind that just won’t quit. People often tell me, “don’t think so much.” But I seem to have been made without an on and off switch. I don’t know HOW to not think. And I don’t get much sleep. My mind just goes and goes and goes. I can’t control that part. But I CAN control WHAT I think about. And when I cannot sleep, I choose one of three things: Pray — usually as different people come to mind, I’ll pray for their needs and ask the Lord to reveal to me if there is anything I can do for them. Second, I’ll start reciting all the verses that I’ve ever memorized throughout my life. Since I’m getting older, sometimes I can’t seem to remember, so it is a mind exercise. Third, I start singing (silently) all the hymns and beautiful songs I’ve learned that draw me back to Him and to the cross. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I tend to fall asleep for a while. This all may sound very Godly and “overkill” for the mind problem. But for me, I was headed in a very very destructive direction. My thoughts would be so dark, depressing, and back in my 30’s even suicidal at times. When I took a good look at what I was doing, I realized I was just rewinding and replaying the same tape over and over and over. Almost word for word every.single.night! Our thoughts are as much a habit and addiction as any of our actions are. So we need to change the tape. Paul in Philippians gives a good list of things to think about: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil. 4:8. Believe me, NONE of those dark, depressing thoughts fell into any of these categories. So I think of this list as the “4:8 rule of thinking.”

So remember, you aren’t the only one in the world struggling with this. But we can make it work FOR us. Thank you for your honesty in your post today. It was good for me to read all of this and to know I have a kindred spirit with someone!!!!
http://www.hiddenrichessecretplaces.blogspot.com/

That’s right, stop playing the tape and start telling yourself a different story. (A friend told me this some time ago). I’m glad you have figured out a way to get your head in the right place before you lay down for rest. Very wise and whatever works for you, just keep doing it! Nothing silly about it, I would never judge anyone who has found a way that helps them. Thanks for commenting and God bless!

Michele you’re so welcome and I like your style and honesty in your writing,keep up the good work,that’s what our trials are all about others and not just us. God is using you to help so many.
😀 😀

Thank you so much for your comment. I apologize for not seeing it sooner, as I see you wrote it a couple days ago. But you know God’s timing is PERFECT. Because what you said about how you recite Bible verses, and even singing silently to yourself was EXACTLY what I did today when I was at work. I was working alone doing markdowns in this huge store before we opened (TJ Maxx) and was trying to remember all the verses I had memorized because I’ve been feeling really cruddy lately. Real heavy-like and anxious. I could only remember a couple and then I silently sang to myself.:-) Thank you for commenting and stopping by. Many blessings to you!~~Michele

I found it interesting that you talk about television. As you know God brought me back to him. Ever since then I have watched less television than I use to. What I do watch tends to be watched differently. You have talked about an overactive mind and I can say I no longer have one. I have to credit God for the changes in my life.

You talked about the evil one in your dreams. I don’t know if there are any right answers. Before I was saved I would say that my dreams were shrouded in hatred. Since God bringing me back I would say if I have a dream (ie recalling it) that God is telling me something. Is it possible the Evil One has a connection to you still though something?

I thought it was a good idea about praying when you wake up. I know I do that everyday. Your idea about praying for forgiveness for anything you can’t remember is never a bad idea.

There was something in which I came across in the article. I wrestled with even mentioning it. Then I came across (Proverbs 24:26) and the answer was sealed. It was the word father. This word is something which has gotten to me anytime I hear it. The reason it gets to me is Matthew 23:8-10. I will let you read it and see what you think about it.

I absolutely agree with you about the Holy Scriptures. I believe we are growing in our relationship with Our Heavenly Father when we do so. I also believe it gives us guidance, wisdom, and more. I believe that when we are connected with God we are receiving the Holy Spirit. As such we are receiving those gifts.

I know that you have asked for discernment may I inquire if also have prayed for it? I know someone might found it redundant. However, if I have a concern or anything at all I pray and read the Holy Scriptures. Did you know that Our Heavenly Father seeks us to talk to him throughout the day? I did not find your post confusing or bewildering. I apologize for the long reply.

Thank you Tyler for your valuable insight. I just read the passage you mentioned. Yes, I do pray every day and on the days I’m struggling with thoughts I prayer for discernment. Thank you for taking the time to write back. Have a blessed day friend! 🙂

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A little about me........my name is Michele and I am a born-again Christian. I was saved as a teenager and graduated from a Christian high school. I am a mother of one son who is the world to me. Despite my upbringing, later in life I fell into a life of self destruction which led me down many dark paths. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and I have a great passion for Christ and His amazing power to heal even the worst cases. I am living proof of the miracle of God's power to change your life and way of thinking. Nothing is impossible with God.

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