By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘devil

“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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God never leaves us.  It’s hard for my mind to grasp that He is right here with me as I write this post.  But that’s what His Word says so I believe it, even though I may not feel it.   

For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.  (Phil. 2:13 NLT)

How many times have I stumbled and He was there with open arms to welcome me back?  How many times have I grieved the Holy Spirit, yet He always gave me just the right amount of strength to turn from sin and ask for help?  While God cannot look upon sin, how many times has He assigned angels to protect me and see me through?

The answer is…… EVERY TIME!

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.  (1 John 1:9 NLT)

I have struggled with depression as long as I can remember.  I went through many years of my life wondering if God really wants me happy.  In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I found out that He does want me happy!  I believed Satan’s lies.  I believed the lies I told myself.  Satan had told me for years that I shouldn’t be happy after all the things I’ve done.  I believed the lie that because of my sin, people will think I’m not sincere in my recovery if I walk around happy.

Something was working in me.  I was conflicted about this lie because some part of me told me not to settle for that and to seek out the Truth.  The Holy Spirit was always working in me, I just didn’t recognize it.  Although I was a born again Christian, I was very far from the Lord at that time in my life.  Yet, He was always there and working in me.

NEVER STOP GROWING.

“For it is God who is at work in you, but to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13 NASB)

God wants us happy.  He wants us to never stop growing.  He wants us to draw near to Him in our darkest times and through happy times as well.  He wants us to know Him intimately.  He wants us to hunger for His Word and pray to Him about everything.

I feel God working in me because I’m allowing Him to work in me.  When there is unconfessed sin in my life I feel…….different.  I’m uncomfortable even though I may not know why.  9 times out 10, it’s because He is convicting my heart about something.  I ask Him to convict my heart.  I ask Him to bring to the surface things I need to change, things I need to stop, and things I need to start.  One of the greatest things about God revealing these things to me is that He doesn’t judge me or think I’m a bad person because I have faults and weaknesses.  He gives me the desire to obey Him.  He also gives me the strength (the power) and just the right amount of faith I need to please Him.

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He is a wonderful, magnificent and all-powerful God.

Nothing is impossible through Him.

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For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:9 AMP)

The Bible promises Christians a sound mind.  Mental illness, personality disorders and any form of psychological damage may result from childhood trauma, domestic abuse, demonic activity or disobedience to God (Deut. 28:15,28).  Thoughts are jumbled, chaotic and there is an inner turmoil that feels like torture.  A chemical imbalance in the brain can cause mood swings, aggression and depression.  Sometimes medication is needed.  Sometimes therapy, one-on-one counseling or a support group is needed.  But one thing for sure, CHRIST IS NEEDED!

I believe for some people that going to professional secular help is necessary.  It was for me.  Equally important is help from our pastor and keeping a biblical perspective about our emotions and thoughts.  God desires us to be whole.  This would involve every aspect of our life—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

So how do you get to that point of healing?  Healing is certainly a process.  It can be an ongoing thing, but I also experienced an “instant” healing that changed my life!  I have a earlier post titled The Freedom Of Forgiving Myself .  I will tell you…..I am a hard case.   I don’t know why that is and I wish I wasn’t like this because I could have saved myself from years and years of hardship and suffering if I would have just listened and obeyed!! 

I’m one of those who has to experience everything for myself all the way down to rock bottom before I say “okay, maybe you’re right”.  And in the meantime, I become a self-hater, self-loathing, never understanding why I do the things I do or why I WANT to do the things I do.  Blaming others doesn’t work.  Feeling sorry for myself doesn’t work.  But God’s grace does work!!!

And you know, bottom line is this…..it doesn’t matter what others think you should do or how you do it, or what you do to get well, or how you do it to get well.  What matters is the connection between myself and God.  God is the only One who knows my heart.   He is the only One who knows what I need and how I need it.  So in a sense, for me, being healed and restored involved me being selfish and not letting anything or anyone influence me in the process.  It’s between me and God.  And if my heart is aligned with His heart and my thoughts are aligned with His thoughts, then I am living on purpose and according to His will.

So the healing begins by allowing myself to forgive myself.  To allow myself to put my foot down and say, “this is what I have to do to help me.”  It may seem very self-centered and selfish to those looking from the outside.  But let me reassure you, that once I was able to forgive myself and allow Christ to heal my inner being, I came out a better person and a more likable person.  This opened the doorway for me to get well and stay well for longer periods of time.

I certainly haven’t perfected this whole sobriety thing, but I’m much healthier mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I understand now what God means when He says He wants us to be made “whole”.  And in this wholeness I found inner joy and peace.  I know that God has healed me from the guilt and shame I carried because I am able to open my eyes to things I couldn’t see before.   He has opened my heart to things I haven’t felt before.  He has opened my ears to things I haven’t heard before.  Because of what Christ did for me on the cross, I can be healed and restored.

Kutless – That’s What Faith Can Do

Thank you so much for all your prayers, encouragement and support. God has answered those prayers and I now have the employment I need!! In fact, now I have to figure out how to balance 2 part-time jobs. However, one of these may want me more than part-time, so my prayers are now for God to help me balance the two without overwhelming myself. LOL

I can’t say enough how blessed I am to have met all my new friends since starting this blog. You all have been such a major support to me and God will certainly bless you for what you do for me. I really am a loner and don’t socialize or do too much outside of family & work, so the blogging has been a God-send.

Even though I may complain about how life stinks sometimes, I will say this……life is much better sober!! It still is hard but it’s not any where near as hard when you have a clear head. The hard part is that I have to “feel” the pain of life, but the best part is I get to feel at all! Facing life without something in my system to help me cope was the biggest fear and the biggest roadblock to me getting well. And I believe that is probably the biggest fear of anyone with an addiction or stronghold of some kind.

I don’t know how many readers are recovering addicts themselves. I know of a couple who I’ve gotten close with through emails and such but I just want to encourage those who are still struggling to just don’t ever give up trying to get and stay sober. Life is so much better without it but you have to replace it with Christ in your life.  The reason I’m bringing this up is because I could have easily re-ruined my life a few months ago because of that relapse.  Coping with life wasn’t a strength of mine but “not” coping will only lead to jail or death, in my case.  So I tell myself as well, DON’T STOP TRYING!  KEEP GOING!

So much for the “quick” thank you! 🙂 Now that I can rest my mind abit I look forward to writing more on my blog about the things I learn from Scripture study. Thanks again my brothers and sisters, and many blessings to all of you this day!

My God is an awesome God.  He has so many magnificent attributes.  One of these is Hope.  God tells us that if we trust and believe in Him, we will overflow with hope,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Regular, ordinary hope is when we express uncertainty, like a “keep your fingers-crossed” type of hope.  Biblical hope is different.  Biblical hope is not just desiring something good, it is a confident expectation that something good will happen in the future.  We don’t just expect it to happen, but we are confident that it will happen.  Hope is a strong confidence, not just wishful thinking.  Biblical hope looks to the promises of God, not of man. 

Have you ever met someone who seemed hopeless?  That person that keeps doing the same wrong thing over and over again, never changing, never getting better?  You say to yourself, “What can we do, they’re hopeless!?”   How is it possible to go from hopelessness to overflowing with hope?  The answer is in Romans 15:13, “….by the power of the Holy Spirit”.  If we only had one word to describe the Holy Spirit that word would be power!  All things are possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave us His Spirit to strengthen us, guide us and comfort us.

But Christian hope isn’t just to help us get through this life for it extends beyond this life into eternity.  We have assurance of our salvation through Christ Jesus.  Jesus gave us His Spirit to dwell in us as an assurance of our salvation and to guide us into all Truth (John 16:13).

God is good to those who keep their hope in Him and wait with confident expectation,

“The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him.  It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25,26)

Hope is a type of emotional strength I can draw on when I need it. For example, if someone puts me down or criticizes me, I can draw on that emotional strength of hope to return good with evil. Without the power of the Holy Spirit I would sink into self-pity or return insult for insult. Hope gives me the strength to not give up and keep going. Hope gives me the strength to turn from temptation and not give in to the lies of the enemy.

I was one of those people who were hopeless.  From my inner core I believed there was no hope for me to get well, because no matter how many times I tried to get well, I could never stay clean and sober.  It is only by God grace and incredible mercy that I am sitting here today to tell you there is hope!!  Don’t give up, no matter what.  If you fail 1000 times, just keep trying, don’t quit on yourself.    It was that 1001 time that I finally succeeded and so can you.  My God is an awesome God.  He is a God of Hope.  He loves us beyond measure and will pull us up out of any pit we find ourselves in. 

What does it mean “to be established” in God?  Established means to make firm, stable, secure, settled, be fixed upon, steadfast.  When you are established in God, negative circumstances will no longer immobilize you.  Where there was once confusion, now there is confidence.  Fear is replaced by faith.   The Apostle Paul encourages us in Colossians 2:7 to,

“Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.” (AMP)

Notice this verse and all the action phrases in it;  deeply planted, being continually built, becoming increasingly more, abounding in and overflowing in.  These are “doing” words.  We are instructed to be doers of the Word (James 1:22).  In order to be established in God we will have to be actively doing what the Bible tells us.  We have to:

~ Reject doubt and embrace belief.  Unbelief hinders you from receiving solutions to your problem.

God tells us that if we adhere to, trust in, and rely on Him we will enter His rest. (Hebrews 3:19) Doubt will cut us off from His blessings. The opposite of belief is doubt. The enemy loves to put doubt in our minds. If the devil can keep us doubting ourselves, doubting if it’s God’s voice we hear, doubting our inner knowing, then the devil is doing his job and he’s winning. I’m tired of letting the devil win in my life.  I’ve allowed that to happen for way too many years. It’s time to reject doubt and put our confidence in God.

~ Obey and live righteously.  The result of obedience is righteousness.  “In righteousness you shall be established…” (Isaiah 54:14)  To be established in God we have to be obedient which in turn makes us right with God.  In my pastor’s sermon yesterday he asked the congregation, “Are you right with God?”  For the first time in a long time I felt comfortable saying yes, I am right with God.

~ Look at the direction of your life.  Are you thinking of the consequences of each decision?  Do you act before you think?  Proverbs 4:26 tells us, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established”.  Sometimes we get caught in a difficult situation because we didn’t think first and made a decision too quickly.  Remember, today’s decisions will determine your tomorrow.

~ Be grounded in your faith.  We need to be grounded in the basic doctrines of God’s Word.  Know your Bible, know the Truth, and follow what you have been taught.

The result of being established in God is security and stability.  Oh, how I wanted to be stable and secure!  The way I had lived my life in the past was like standing on shaky ground.  Have you ever been in a fun house at your county fair?  Do you remember walking on a floor that kept moving under your feet, shifting up, down and sideways?  You would have to hold onto the railing to stabilize yourself in order to walk across it?  When I was using, that’s what my life felt like every day, every hour, every minute.  Except I didn’t use the railings to secure myself.  I would just try and make it across the moving floor all by myself.  I failed every time.  It wasn’t until I grabbed ahold of the railing, my Lord Jesus Christ, was I able to make it across that shaky floor.

I longed for stability and a sense of security, yet I wasn’t willing to give up my destructive lifestyle.  Why it took me so long to finally give it up just baffles me.  But I don’t keep my mind on that.  I can’t.  If I do, I get stuck in it and it’s not a good place to be.  I wasted so many years trying to figure out the “why”.  Forget it.  It’s of no use.  I had to ask for forgiveness and I had to forgive myself and not look back.  How can I move forward if I’m always looking back?  I can’t, so I keep my eyes on Jesus, His Truth, and doing the next right thing with a hope that I can be a positive influence in someone’s life. 

No more shaky ground.  My feet are planted and rooted in Him.  I am nowhere near where I want to be but I keep moving forward, believing in Him and His ways, rejecting doubt and being established in God.  It’s a good place to be!

 

“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Psalms 32:8 (LB)

When have you sensed God’s guidance leading you in a difficult direction? If so, what did you do?

We may be called to do something that nobody else will understand.  He may be leading us in a direction that we have never tried before.  In fact, I believe that most of the time this to be true.  Does God keep sending us back through the same situation or does He give us His loving guidance to move forward, to step out into new things?

If the only step that is clear is the next step, then just take it!  I don’t often know what the next 2, 3 or 10 steps will be.  But God will give me an inner conviction on the step that’s right in front of me.  So I take it.  That involves strong faith and trust in the God who has brought me through some very dark times.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9(NIV)

I think about how scary my life was at one point.  The situations I put myself in.  The near-death experiences when my body shut down.  Waking up in a locked-down mental ward in 4-point restraints and not remembering what happened the night before.  But even through all that, I don’t remember having a lot of fear.  I was full of chemical courage.  The only time I got scared was when I started getting some clarity.  And boy is clarity hitting me in the face these past two weeks!  The devil is reminding me of that chemical courage and I have had a fight on my hands.  But my Lord is pulling me through this, it’s only Him.  My history shows that I do not have the strength on my own.  The Lord is my strength!  All credit and glory goes to Him!

What are your priorities in your daily schedule?

Do you include seeking God’s guidance as one of those priorities?

I encourage you to seek God’s loving guidance on a daily basis.  Add it to your morning prayer.  Stick a note on your coffee pot or your steering wheel to remind yourself before you leave for work.  We are faithful followers of Jesus Christ, aren’t we?  With that comes a responsibility to seek Him, talk to Him, ask Him and TRUST Him.

As we seek His loving guidance, don’t forget to see His blessings in the process!


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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