Earlier today I had a thought that came out of the blue. I’m not going to say what it was, because it wasn’t something I would normally think of and not anything I would ever act upon. It involved an area of sin that is not one I regularly have an issue with at all. The thought surprised me and I wondered, Why would I even think that? There is nothing appealing or enticing about that so why would I think it?
This past Sunday our preacher spoke on Mark 5:1-20. This is the story of the man with a legion of demons living within him. The demons had led this man to hurt himself in a variety of ways. When the man saw Jesus, the demons begged that He not send them into the abyss. Jesus agreed and sent them into a herd of pigs instead. The pigs then ran off a cliff and died. The ESV study Bible I was reading on Sunday made a note that the demons wanted only to hurt and destroy man, God’s creation. When that was no longer a possibility, they asked to be cast into the pigs where they were able to destroy another of God’s creations.
Satan only wants to destroy us. He will do it from within or without, in whatever manner he can manage. Something I read recently, I think it might have been Lysa TerKeurst, said that the devil has had thousands of years to study man and to know how to manipulate him. The devil knows how to hit us below the belt without us even realizing he did it.
Which brings me back to that errant thought I had today. Satan knows how to speak to our weaknesses. To whisper thoughts we would never consider on our own and paint them into a beautiful picture that beckons us. He tells us half-truths, excuses and justifications that encourage us to dip our toe into the well of worldliness. It is so easy to listen.
Interestingly enough last week I began working on memorizing a Bible verse.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
Bringing into captivity every thought. Keeping a reign on what we are thinking.
I love that I had just learned this verse and today I saw how it is played out. Satan is always trying to get a toehold on us. We have to be vigilant and take control of what we are thinking. This unexpected thought was not something I could control, but I could make the decision not to act upon the thought. I brought the thought into captivity and held it to the light of God so I could see the truth of it. That is what we need to do with our negativity and false thoughts. We need to dwell on the truth and not on the lies the devil tirelessly feeds us.
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. Phillipians 4:8 (KJV)
There is something about this excerpt that speaks to my heart. The entire time I was reading it I was thinking, “I want to be more like that, but I am not a good hostess.” Then I get to the bottom and she admits she isn’t a good hostess and has not been given the gift of hospitality. Wow! That one hit home a little, God.
Hospitality is the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity. — Hospitality, Louis, Chevalier de Jaucourt 1
Lori and Mike first came to my table on one of those frigid November evenings where the light had seeped out of the day well before dinner and entertaining was the last……
via Hospitality: Open the Door — FaithGateway
A couple of weeks ago I went to the copy room to make some copies (obviously). I stood at the copier, waiting for my papers to be completed. I glanced across the hall and read the classroom door of a co-worker. “Believe there is is good in the world.” Hmm. Not enough of it. Racial tensions escalating. Politics heating up. I get really tired of this world sometimes. It seems the good is outbalanced by all the rest.
My negative thoughts continued as I smirked at the offending door. Then it was time to change classes and students began passing through the hallway. One of my paraprofessionals walked by with one of my students in a wheelchair. As children passed by my student I was surprised to see several boys stop and speak to him. One or two patted him as they walked by. He was grinning from ear to ear. My eyes welled up with tears.
Students with special needs are so often ignored. They may be stared at and whispered about, but it isn’t often they are made to be a part of things. Yet, here were all of these children stopping in the hallway to speak to this boy.
I glanced up and saw my co-worker’s door again. This time “Be The Good” stood out to me. There are many people who are “being the good,” and I need to try harder to be one of them. I too often let my world-weary negativity affect my outlook and I know it affects others. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer.
I’ve been reading a devotional on my Bible app that is adapted from Joyce Meyer’s The Mind Connection. Joyce talks about how important it is to control the thoughts we have. It is so easy to hear the devil’s lies and believe them for the truth. Joyce recommends speaking out loud God’s truths we find in the Bible. For me, it is a continual struggle to stay positive, but I’m trying.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
This is a link to a writing blog, but I especially love the quote below. Something I need to remember when I’m trying to balance paying the bills with the writing dream.
By Debby GiustiIf you’re like me, you’ve probably grappled with the Quality vs Quantity question. At first, my focus was on improving the quality of my writing. I studied craft and worked to ensure my stories had all the key facets that would make them shine. After writing a number of books, my pace increased,…
via Best of the Archives: Mission Impossible…or Quality vs Quantity — Seekerville