My train of thought has jumped its track and is chugging off toward Comparison Station with a proposed stop at You’ll-Never-Be-Good-Enough Landing. But wait! I will cry out to God for help. Then I can choose to stop the train and back it up. God will help me get my thinking onto His track—remembering His love and grace and power.
Okay, Thoughts, “All aboard for the destination of a mind set on things above where Christ is!” (See Colossians 3:1)
We tend to say things like: “Today was OK, but I think tomorrow is going to be really hard.” What we really think of as most important, or most powerful, we but after that ‘but.’ Leah was a saint who had a very difficult life. People considered her ugly. Her husband didn’t love her, and it didn’t seem like that would ever change. But (!) she learned to put God’s love after the but. We too, can find incredible life and grace by learning to put eternal truth after the ‘buts’ in our life.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Living Crucified Part 4
“What does glory look like?” I asked the question as I looked at Colossians 1:27. It says that God lets the Gentiles know “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (NIV).”
Part of the answer may come in asking, “What results from ‘Christ in me’?” As Jesus lives in me, He produces Holy Spirit fruit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Again, what does that look like? Maybe it shows up as my listening to the news the way Jesus would if He were me—not feeling threatened and not getting angry about things I can’t control. And I might remember to ask Father what parts of the news I need to pray about and how He would have me pray.
Perhaps it appears as compassion and joy in the Lord pushing out envy and self-seeking. Or a time when I experience contentment instead of jealousy and when I triumph over people-pleasing with confident trust in God’s love and care.
That sounds glorious to me. And Jesus Christ in me is making me like that.
“And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).”
Journey Toward WholenessReblog #15 10/6/2020 (Originally published January 16, 2018)
This is a journal entry from January 2017:
Dear Lord, I wish other people would deal with these fear thoughts for me, but I guess they can’t. Please forgive me for seeking other people instead of looking to You. Only You can help (Psalm 62:1, 5). I am Your child (1 John 3:1). You have chosen me for Your own (Colossians 3:12). I will praise and love You with all my heart.
The feelings of panic aren’t so bad this morning, but fear thoughts tumble in. Today I slept an extra hour. I felt afraid to face the day. Now I’m afraid that I won’t get everything done that I need to do, and that would be awful.
Today, many Christians face persecution, loss of loved ones, lack of basic necessities, etc., and here I am—afraid to do household chores, write some checks, and make phone calls because I might not get it all done. “Shame on me,” I think.
When I think of Scriptures like Hebrews 12:2 (“Keeping our eyes on Jesus…”) and Colossians 3:1-2 (“Seek what is above where Christ is…. Set your mind on things above…”), all I can think about is that I haven’t been doing that, so shame on me again.
Jesus, what are You saying to me when I get into these disturbed thinking patterns?
Maybe you are saying, “Don’t be ashamed. Just repent and turn back to Me. Trust in Me. Let your body and mind rest so healing can begin.”
It seems like I’ve come a long way since I wrote these things, and day by day I am learning to love and trust Jesus more.
Oh Lord, You are so merciful and faithful and good! All praise belongs to You. Amen.
Psalm 62:1 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:5-6 “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” 1 John 3:1a “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved….” (All NIV)
An “Inner Healing” retreat brought four of us ladies to Texas that weekend. I don’t remember much from the retreat itself, but I do remember something I learned on the return trip.
We had a huge lunch as we departed the conference. At a stop on the way home, the others bought ice cream. They offered to share some before they dove in. I was so full that I didn’t want even one bite of their ice cream.
Thinking about it: What if I walk into each day knowing how loved and blessed by God I am? And if I also remember that Jesus is more than enough to satisfy my soul? Then the jealousy that so often attacks won’t have a chance. I’ll be so filled with the love of Christ that I won’t want “even one bite” of someone else’s experience.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives….” –Colossians 3:16 NLT
“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” –Psalm 63:5 NKJV
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).
This verse says that all of us who are new in Christ can do the good things God planned long ago for us to do. I wonder what those things are.
I used to think they were big things like preaching, prophesying, or doing miracles. I didn’t do big things like that, so I feared that I missed doing the good works God prepared ahead of time for me to do. But maybe God’s good plans include smaller, less noticeable acts. It could be that He plans for me to show kindness and mercy, forgive those who offend me, help meet another person’s need, write a devotional blog, or pray for a friend (or an enemy).
As I seek to follow Jesus, He shows me good things I can do.
Can any good come from overwhelming panic feelings? Yes, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that when I struggled with them day after day for a few months. One day, I wrote this in my journal:
‘“In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am Your servant.’ –Psalm 143:12 New Living Translation
“Lord, I wake up each night in panic after sleeping only a couple of hours. And when I get back to sleep, again I wake up in about 2 hours. Then I wake up each morning in panic. I try to hold onto Your unfailing love, to Your faithfulness, but the fears overwhelm. Please help me!”
Then 3 hours later I wrote, “The anxiety continues to overwhelm. I remember some lines from a Chris Christian song: ‘Don’t give up; don’t give in. Give it all to Him cause He cares so much more than you know….’*
“How do I give it all to You, Lord? I reached my hands up and said, ‘I give this anxiety to You.’ I still feel anxious. But maybe my feelings are lying to me again.”
Today on my journey, though, I can look back and see that in that time of misery, God worked in my heart. He prepared the soil. He planted seedlings like greater humility and deeper trust in Him. In the time since those months of difficulty, I have seen God’s seedlings grow. Patience flowers bloom. Fruits of faithfulness and joy develop.
So I can encourage those Christians who struggle today: God is holding you close. He is working. He will bring you through this wilderness, even as He has brought many others through their rough seasons.
To those who have never made Jesus their choice, could He be calling you with your current troubles? Jesus makes all of life, even problems, worthwhile.
When someone suggested I call customer support about one of our office machines, I grumbled, “They’re never any help.” I added in my mind: I’ve had nothing but trouble with that stupid machine from the beginning! Also, communicating with tech support totally frustrates me.
Really? Am I thinking that people should immediately solve the problems and if not, I need to get angry? Or do I believe that because I’ve had difficulties before, things can’t change? Maybe faulty thinking is behind my irritation. How can I change?
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 New Living Translation).
I can start with prayer. Lord, please help me! I have harbored anger and frustration in my heart. which have come out in angry words. I also felt resentful toward people who seemed to get better service than I did. I confess these things as sin. Please forgive me.
I could follow up with choosing God’s way over mine. I choose to “cease from anger and forsake wrath because it tends only to evil-doing” (Psalm 37:8–Amplified Bible). I will “put on” the new me which is being re-created in the likeness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Now I can forgive others and choose to overlook someone’s fault. I will walk in an attitude of generosity which rejoices when others are blessed.
As I follow Him, Jesus leads me to experience abundant life. What a relief to be able to accomplish my tasks without tripping over my old non-renewed mind!
In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.
I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”
Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?
Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.
I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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 10:4-5 NIV).
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3a NIV).
“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. [Other versions say, “and the unrighteous their thoughts.”] Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously” (Isaiah 55:6-7 New Living Translation or NLT). [Other versions—“freely pardon,” “freely forgive,” and “abundantly pardon.”]
Holy Spirit, I need Your help to forsake my old negative ways of thinking that I learned from the world and culture around me. I want to come and drink living water and partake of the bread of life. Please point out to me where I’ve chosen the wrong ways so I can repent. I will choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs me to get rid of my old corrupted nature—my ways of thinking and doing which aren’t under Your control. Instead, I am to “let the Spirit renew [my] thoughts and attitudes,” and to “put on [my] new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (NLT). So with Your help, that is what I’ll do.
I’m determined to quit feeding the old me with its negative thought patterns and behaviors which have no life. I want to start feeding my new nature which is becoming more and more like Jesus. He is life and the Giver of life. I will partake of Him and His Word, and I will grow.