Untruths Which Can Unhinge Your Faith Series - Part 1
The conversation began hesitantly as one of the women asked, “How do you minister to a mom whose child has chosen to take his/her own life.” A collective moan arose from the circle of women as each of us wrestled with the weightiness of this topic.
The tragic death of a child is one thing, but when one’s child chooses to take his/her own life and commit suicide? Unfathomable. We quietly leaned in as she shared the mom’s sorrow. The “What ifs?” The “Whys?” We all grappled with what we’d say if we were in the same situation ministering to a mom with a shattered heart. Providentially, two untruths (lies) sifted to the surface and became the focal points of our discussion.
Lie #1 - Suicide is an unpardonable (unforgivable) sin.
This lie about "those who commit suicide are damned to hell forever" has pretty much planted itself as truth in the mind of many Bible believers. The evil one does not want us to know the truth, especially when grappling with life’s tough questions. How slimy of him to plant the lie that suicide is unforgivable.
- It empties the grieving of any hope of a glorious resurrection of the lost loved one.
- It causes us to question God and His goodness if there is no hope of seeing a loved one again because they chose to commit suicide.
- It creates a chasm between God and us in our thoughts and beliefs when we need to be leaning into Him most.
1. Truth exposes the lie.
Scripture states in Matthew 12:3, "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."
To the point, the only sin committed by humanity which will not be forgiven is to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Henry Morris states, “The unforgivable sin of speaking against the Holy Spirit has been interpreted in various ways, but the true meaning cannot contradict other Scripture. It is unequivocally clear that the one unforgivable sin is permanently rejecting Christ.”
Yes, I believe suicide breaks the heart of God just like lust and envy and pride and gluttony does. But the act of taking one’s life does not permanently separate us from Him, only rejecting Christ as Lord does.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, He stated one of my favorite, full of hope sayings, “It is finished!” John 19:30 Because of that statement, God forgives my sins and your sins if we call Him Lord even if we choose to commit suicide.
By faith, I believe Christ’s death on the cross paid for all our sins including suicide.
2. Hope replaces the lie.
Renowned pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay lost their son, Matthew, to suicide in 2013. Kay said, “Matthew’s body was buried in brokenness, but will be raised in strength.” That’s hope, my friend. That’s truth found in 1 Corinthians 15:43:
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
By faith, I believe Christ rising from the dead on the third day promises a glorious resurrection for those of us who call Christ Lord, despite our sin, because of the cross.
3. Jesus defeated the lie!
I want to show you a nugget from my morning reading of Christ's death in Matthew 27:52. After Christ gave up His spirit in verse 50, look at the cool events God orchestrated to show He kicked death in the teeth:
- The veil in the temple separating man from God was torn from top to bottom.
- The earth shook and the rocks split.
- The tombs were opened.
Yes, you read that correctly! The graves were opened. You know which ones: The ones of the saints, those who believed but died. Not all of them, but just enough to show God’s power over death!
I bet those raised again were sinners just like you and me with a myriad of physical and emotional issues. I don’t know nor do I claim that one might have committed suicide. All I’m pointing out here is God’s love for all of mankind and His power over death. The day Jesus died, God raised a group of believers to live again, just like Lazarus.
Remember my post about the demon-possessed man? Jesus crossed a sea to rescue one deranged, out of his mind, senseless man. That shows the heart of our Savior. Even those whose minds are sick are precious in His sight, including those who choose to end their life with suicide.
He is the God of hope who does not change nor does He lie Hebrews 6:17-19.
The only unforgivable sin is denying Jesus as Lord. The tragic choice of suicide has not nor will it ever separate us from the love of God. Remember 1 Corinthians 15:43. That is hope you can bank on, my friend. How kind He truly is.
Next week, I’ll uncover the other lie we discussed that day, Lie #2 - God never gives you more than you can handle.
How about you? What has been your thinking on suicide and eternal life? Do you know the only one who can give your life meaning and hope? Oh, friend, Jesus loves you and longs to have a relationship with you. If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
I sat in the waiting room, at moments shaking, at other moments thinking I was going to be sick at my stomach...waiting. I had to wait over an hour. I was in a room full of women, all of us waiting for the results. Silence. I read Psalm 121 over and over and over until I thought, “Ok, just memorize it.” So I began to just memorize it.
Fear. Worry. Gripped by its icy, bony fingers.
What is your deepest fear?
“Fear, you say? Christians aren’t gripped by worry or fear.” We read verses such as Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” and we march boldly into tomorrow with no worries.
Or we could be honest.
We worry about money, death, our children, fear something happening to our children, our marriage, our job security, our aging parents...or health issues as we sit in a waiting room, gripped by fear, powerless to do anything about the impending outcome.
When the inevitable worries and fears come, and our world is shaken to the core, what do we do?
Jesus calls us to an unbelievable faith. If we are a Christ follower, then we must follow the ways of Christ. I know this sounds like a statement that would get a “Well, duh!” reaction from my middle school students, but think about it. Christ calls us to a simple life: we want to complicate it.
So here goes:
● First, I must be ok with the unknown.
As a Christ follower, I must admit and live by faith in Christ. This means that some days, most days, every day, I have no idea what will happen next. I must be ok with that.
This requires lots of prayer. “Lord, I cannot do this. Help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24). You are a Sovereign God, and your ways are not my ways. Teach me to have faith that starts childlike but will grow as you lead me and I continue to trust in you and you alone. God, when I start to lean towards my understanding of things and trust in myself and my own power, please jerk me back to you. That jerking may hurt, but help me, God. I am desperate.”
● Second, I must accept that I am part of a large master plan.
“Father, I am a glorious piece of a larger plan that is beautiful. Help my issue with pride, that makes everything about me. Nothing is about me. It’s all about you. Help me to be find contentment in that.”
● Third, I must be grateful.
That’s where my waiting room story picks back up.
Ladies came and went from the waiting room, all of us waiting for our name to be called, like some ominous lottery. And then someone spoke.
Light, casual conversation began. “I am so nervous that I can’t even speak,” I thought.
But as I was reading Psalm 121 over and over, the obvious began to kick in. “Why do I even continue to read this yet not trust in it as truth? God, help me. Free me, Lord for I am in bondage.”
“It’s not about you. Speak. Open your mouth. Are these ladies believers? Do they know the hope in Christ?”
So I began to speak. Weather, flu, schools, “I am a teacher”, and then God “lobbed me a softball”, an accurate reference to this moment as stated by my pastor Rodney Alexander.
The conversation turned to deeper matters. God allowed me opportunities to speak of His goodness, that attitude of gratitude that I am compelled to have, God’s ability to heal physically at any moment, all sorts of small tidbits of peace. I always walk away from these moments feeling that I never said enough, but remember, piece of a beautiful puzzle.
Something wonderful happened in that moment, besides the obvious golden opportunity to speak life and peace: I was no longer nervous. I realized that there was no way I could control the results that were coming any minute, but I could control what I did right now.
God is calling us to follow Him in every moment, every second. Those moments add up to a lifetime of following, blindly, obediently, trusting in a Sovereign, good God. The focus is off of me and on my King. Therein is peace.
The rest of the story: I was clear. The patient right before me was not.
I am grateful, trusting in the good and the bad to an Omnipotent God Who loves me.
“What time I am afraid, I will (by His will over mine, moment by moment, second by second) trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
Kathy McBroom is a middle school English teacher who resides in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, ten minutes south of Louisville. Her husband Robert is the Missions’ and Assimilation Pastor at Little Flock Baptist Church. She is an author, blogger, bible teacher and has recently begun “Manic Monday” a group which can be found on Facebook. She and Robert have two daughters, Rachel and Hannah, who are also teachers. You can check out more of Kathy's great writing on her blog.
This booklet is filled with God’s Words of peace for His children. They do not promise us a perfect life without pain, but they do promise that Our Heavenly Father will walk us through each situation, each day, each step, each second of our lives. He dwelt among them in those days, and for those of us who have chosen to believe in Jesus and follow Him in these days, He dwells inside of us. Put this booklet beside your bed, in your purse, or somewhere you can grab it when doubt, fear or worry tries to creep into your heart. There is blank space to add more Fear Not verses as you come across them!
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in e very situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”
Be strong and courageous. Bo not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.
Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on ever side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most-High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most-High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
“Be strong and courageous…The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of your by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
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!
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How a Year of Thanking God For Everything Has Changed Me
As 2016 wound to a close and anticipation for 2017 filled my heart, I began asking the Lord to give me a new word for the New Year. The word of the year is my theme for the upcoming year; an area where the Lord is directing my focus in order to grow me spiritually. This practice has proven to be far more effective than making any well-intended yet short-lived New Year’s resolutions.
I was hoping for a strong word like COURAGEOUS or FEARLESS. That didn’t happen. Instead of giving me my preference, the Holy Spirit impressed a word upon me that I was not so eager to claim: THANKFUL.
Umm, can we have a redo?
It seemed too vanilla and unexciting to me. I pretty much told the Lord, “Any word but that word!”
Certain that I had gotten it wrong, I persisted in prayer and hoped that a new word would soon emerge. But, nothing else came. It took me weeks to accept that – like it or not – THANKFUL was indeed the Lord’s intended word for me for 2017.
Claiming the verse to accompany my new word was much easier than claiming the word itself. The Lord started sowing this verse into my heart earlier in the summer when I read The Hiding Place, a book about Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. This book had me hooked. I found myself laughing, crying, gasping, and wanting to jump into the pages and change the course of history. Its message of unflinching faith in the face of extreme adversity stuck to me in the weeks ahead. Also, tucked inside its pages was a simple yet profound story that taught me about the transforming power of thankfulness. In unbearable circumstances, Corrie’s sister, Betsie, showed Corrie how to thank God for everything, even the perceivably bad things. It reads:
It will be better, everyone assured everyone else, when we move into permanent barracks. We’ll have a blanket apiece. A bed of our own. Each of us painted into the picture her own greatest need.
The move to permanent quarters came the second week in October. Betsie and I followed a prisoner-guide through the door at the right. Our noses told us, first, that the place was filthy: somewhere plumbing had backed up, the bedding was soiled and rancid. Then as our eyes adjusted to the gloom we saw that there were no individual beds at all, but great square piers stacked three high, and wedged side by side.
At last she pointed to a second tier in the center of a large block. To reach it we had to stand on the bottom level, haul ourselves up, and then crawl across three other straw-covered platforms to reach the one that we would share with – how many? The deck above us was too close to let us sit up. We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw.
Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
“Fleas!” I cried. “Betsie, the place is swarming with them!”
We scrambled across the intervening platforms and edged our way to a patch of light.
“Here! And here another one!” I wailed. “Betsie, how can we live in such a place?”
“Show us. Show us how.” It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
“Corrie!” she said excitedly. “He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!”
I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. “It was First Thessalonians,” I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen. In the feeble light I turned the pages. “Here it is…‘Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus – ‘”
“That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”
I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
“Such as?” I said.
“Such as being assigned here together.”
I bit my lip. “Oh yes, Lord Jesus!”
“Such as what you’re holding in your hands.”
I looked down at the Bible. “Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all the women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.”
“Yes,” said Betsie. “Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re placed so close, that many more will hear!” She looked at me expectantly. “Corrie!” she prodded.
“Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.”
“Thank You,” Betsie went on serenely, “for the fleas and for – “
The fleas! This was too much. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”
“’Give thanks in all circumstances,’” she quoted. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.
Like Corrie, I often imagine a better life ahead. I paint a picture where my greatest needs are met, desires are fulfilled, and life is comfortable and happy. I say, "It will be better when..." And, when that doesn’t happen, I wallow in depression. I get anxious. I fear the unknown. I feel weary. I focus too intently on the fleas, the minor nuisances, and make them bigger than what they really are. Worst of all, I never thank God for any of it. None. What would be the reason?
So, here I am with perhaps one of the hardest verses in the Bible to live out, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances,” as my verse for 2017.
Why that word? What that verse? Why?
Yet, I knew why. The Lord wanted to cultivate in me a spirit of thankfulness. And, if that’s what He desired for me, I could trust that there was a good reason for it.
Being a born procrastinator, I wanted to put off the task. But, very quickly into the New Year, the Lord decided it was time for us to get busy. It started with my middle child. His health history is long. Our journey with this child has been a decade in the making and not one stage has been easy. I have lamented SO MANY times to the Lord and pleaded for Him to make my job as his mother easier. The beginning of 2017 found me doing more of the same. But, instead of listening to my lamenting, the Lord would say, “Tell me 3 things you are thankful for right now.” What I really wanted to do was continue on with my whine, let my imagination about the “what if’s” run wild, and shout, “Help me Lord!!”
Yet, the Lord wanted me to give thanks instead.
Like Corrie, I would squabble with Him at first. But, ever so slowly, it would happen. I would push pause on my anxious thoughts and search for something positive in the whole situation. With diligent focus, something good would start to come into view.
“Oh, yes, Lord, thank you for ___________.”
“Oh, and thank you for ___________.”
Sometimes I listed three things. Sometimes five. Sometimes seven.
Here’s what happened – my mindset shifted. My mood shifted. My attitude shifted. My worries became praises. My exasperated moans and groans became intelligible words of life.
The same thing happened with my older son. He was struggling to make new friends in his new school. My heart has never been so burdened for him! It produced an anxious spirit within me that kept me up at night. I silently transposed my own childhood fears of rejection onto him which proved to be a surefire way to crank my anxiety up even higher.
“Thank me,” the Spirit would whisper.
And, pushing pause on my anxiety, I would do just that:
“Thank you Lord that you are a man well-acquainted with rejection for you know how he feels.” Isaiah 53:3
“Thank you Lord for the one friend that he has at school. He would be so lonely without her.”
“Thank you Lord that he doesn’t sit alone at lunchtime.”
Was this easy? No. My heart cried while my tongue thanked. But, wrapped up in my thanksgiving was peace in knowing that my burdens were safe at my Savior’s feet. Having placed them there, I could begin to see all the ways that the Lord was working in that situation. And, by faith, I believed that He would weave it into a greater purpose.
These two situations have continued to come up throughout this past year along with some others. Each time, with a racing heart and “what-ifs” bubbling to the surface of my mind, I have begun to go into autopilot and start my thanksgiving. And, do you know what? My anxieties are gone!
This discipline has shown me that the antidote for anxiety is thanksgiving! An anxious mind cannot co-exist with a thankful heart. They operate on two completely different wavelengths. It’s as if you have to flip the anxious switch off in order to flip the thanksgiving switch on. What a discovery!
Corrie and Betsie’s story goes on to tell us what happened in those flea-infested barracks:
Betsie and I made our way to the rear of the dormitory room where we held our worship “service.” There were services like no others. Betsie or I would open the Bible. Because only the Hollanders could understand the Dutch text, we would translate aloud in German. And then we would hear the life-giving words passed back along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, back into Dutch. There were little previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the lightbulb. I would know again that in darkness God’s truth shines most clear.
At first Betsie and I called these meetings with great timidity. But as night after night went by and no guard ever came near us, we grew bolder. So many now wanted to join us that we held a second service after evening roll call. There on the Lagerstrasse we were under rigid surveillance, guards in their warm wool capes marching constantly up and down. Yet in the large dormitory room there was almost no supervision at all. We did not understand it.
Over one thousand women crammed into that tight, putrid space where the Gospel was shared night after night in six different languages. All of this was done with no disruption whatsoever from the ever-watchful eyes of the Nazi guards. But how?
Corrie and Betsie later found out that the guards wouldn’t come into their dormitory because “that place is crawling with fleas!’”
And, to think that Corrie was sure the fleas had no good purpose. Imagine if she had refused to be thankful for them?
Why do we have to walk through difficult circumstances? Why has this past year been hard? This past week? I don’t know why. But, I can say this…the fleas have a purpose. Each one can draw us closer to the Lord. He wouldn’t allow them if it weren’t so.
2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
You can thank the Lord for your light and momentary troubles today. And, you can thank Him for them tomorrow. And, the next day. And the next. Day after day you can thank Him until thanksgiving is an automatic response that spontaneously erupts from your lips. Your troubles may not change, but, I can guarantee you, you will.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural, an even 50/50 split of introvert/extrovert, and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
I don’t know about you, but I often find my mind wandering into enemy territory. Just to list a few examples:
I’m sure you have your own list of nasty places you can “lose your mind” to if you aren’t careful. Maybe you struggle with sexually sinful thoughts. Or maybe thoughts of bitterness or unforgiveness plague you. It could be things so bad that you would never tell another person, or seemingly innocent day dreams that really don’t seem to matter.
2 Corinthians 10:5b tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Since I am a practical kind of girl, I need examples. I need steps to take. So, in case you are like me, below are a few tips for taking your thoughts captive.
1. Start by identifying the culprit who lured your mind to that nasty place in the beginning. Satan does not have control of your mind, but he can whisper lies and suggest thought paths that will lead you to destruction. He is our enemy!
John 8:44 Jesus is speaking about Satan “for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
John 10:10: The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.
Matthew 4:1-11: Satan even tempted Jesus.
Ephesians 6:12: We are at battle!
2. Call Satan out in Jesus name. It has power! Throughout the New Testament, we see demons being cast out in the name of Jesus. Sick people being healed in the name of Jesus! The dead being raised to life, in the name of Jesus! But, unlike God, Satan is not “All Knowing”. Satan cannot hear your thoughts. So you'll need to tell him out loud, that you are a Child of God, saved in Jesus' name, covered in Jesus' blood, and that he has no control over you or your mind! Quote scripture at him and tell him to flee!
Mark 5:2-13: Check out how demons respond when they see Jesus.
Luke 10:17-20: Read about the power in Jesus name.
3. Immediately, in that moment, pray! Ask God to help you focus your thoughts on things that are pleasing to Him. Pray scripture over your mind.
Matthew 6:13: The Lord’s Prayer
2 Thessalonians 3:3: Protection from the evil one.
1 Corinthians 10:13: The Lord will always give you a way out.
Philippians 4:7: Peace for your mind.
4. Decide what you’re going to turn your thoughts to. Don’t just leave it up to whatever the next thing is that comes to your mind because we all know where that will lead. Tell yourself, “I am going to think about_________.” The Bible gives us a very clear list of what kinds of things we are supposed to be thinking about. Philippians 4:8 says:
"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!”
I could be thinking about how upset I am with my husband because he came home late from work, and now dinner is cold, and he hasn’t even taken out the trash today, (which everyone knows is his job). He didn’t ask me about my day when he came in, and on and on, and further and further I get into giving my mind over to sinfully bashing my husband.
Or, instead, when I sense that resentment or bitterness rising, I could choose to focus my mind on why I am thankful for him. I can list some of his good qualities and traits in my mind that will help redirect my thoughts to pure and lovely things about him, which are both in the list that the Lord provides us.
Here are some ideas to help you prepare BEFORE you lose your mind again. Because let’s all be real...its going to happen. Satan will be back and we must be ready for battle!
Don’t allow your mind to be lost to the enemy anymore! Make an action plan and fight back!
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.
Have you ever found yourself in a period of weakness, confusion, and uncertainty? That’s where I was at the age of 26. I had two beautiful children, a husband who loved us very much and provided a home and a great life for us. We had a wonderful church, where Dr. Charles Stanley was our amazing Bible Teaching Pastor. And yet, I was going through a very difficult time personally. I described many of the physical symptoms I was experiencing in my last post. Those symptoms, paired with living in a new town, being a new mom, and trying hard to be involved as a minister’s wife were a heavy load to bear. On top of that, no doctor could find any actual problem and no medication they prescribed gave me any help or relief. So I came to the conclusion that this was my new normal, and this was just how pregnancy and childbirth had changed my body. I would tell myself I was going to have to get tough, push through, and keep going. After all, I had two children to raise, a husband to love and a city full of people who needed Jesus.
I mentioned back in one of my first posts, that the night I lost my first baby, Satan planted a seed of fear and doubt in my heart. After that tremendous loss, the reality of death seemed so close. Would I ever be able to carry a baby to full term? I was pretty nervous through both of my pregnancies. Every pain, every abnormal symptom I was afraid was another miscarriage. And even though I did give birth to two beautiful healthy babies, the fear didn't end there.
I specifically remember one occasion when the stomach bug went around our house. It was Jordan’s birthday and we, along with 22 month old Jailee and 9 month old Asher met some friends at Dave and Buster’s to play games and celebrate. Two things occurred that evening that possibly contributed to our upcoming illness. Jailee brought me a piece of chewed gum that she said she found on the bottom of a chair, and at one point, Asher, who was walking by now, chose to crawl across the game room floor. Blah! Yuck! Gross! Funny thing is, I don’t remember being all that concerned. We went home, took baths, and settled in to bed. Asher, who had been a fussy baby from 0-6 months was now a great sleeper. But for some reason this night he was awake in the early hours of the morning. I went to rock him to try and settle him down and that’s when it hit. Asher, a helpless 9 month old baby, had the stomach bug. Before long sister was up sick, too. When I called for Jordan to help he quickly came, but soon left as he, too, was sick.
Now, I am very opposed to throwing up. I will do almost anything to keep it down. So for the next three days, I didn’t eat. Not only do I hate to throw up, but moms, you know, The Mom Can Not Go Down! Even when sick, she still has to take care of everyone else. And I’m sure you've all experienced it, but 22 month olds and 9 month olds, do not run to the toilet to throw up. It just happens wherever they are at the moment. And it’s hard to take a little one down. When an adult is sick we want to sleep, lay around, do nothing until we feel better. Not my kids. As long as they weren’t in the process of actually throwing up, they were still going strong. Needless to say, I needed to be well. I’ll never know if I had the same illness as the rest of my family or if my stomach just hurt so bad from not eating, but I was successful in my mission to stay upright and in control of the situation.
This, of course, is an extreme example, and now somewhat funny, but it was a true picture of me always doing my best to stay in control of the situation. Every situation! And when something threatened that control that extreme anxiety I mentioned in my last post, would rise. Like the time Jailee ran out of the entrance of a store into the street and the sliding glass doors closed behind her. I had to walk (run) all the way around the registers to the exit before I could get to her. Oh, and I had Asher in the basket with me! I’m sure that was a sight. Or, the time that Asher fell out of the dining room chair onto the wood floor and hit his head. I immediately assumed this had caused major injuries. I’m pretty sure my reaction was much more terrifying to him than the actual fall. Even a child with a slight fever would send my pulse skyrocketing. After all, God had given me these precious children, and it was my responsibility to take care of them.
As I searched the pages of Scripture for answers, I felt God leading me to start at the beginning of the Bible. When I say I felt God leading me, it was really just kind of a thought when I would be praying or reading my Bible. An idea, it seemed. But as I began to follow the idea, I soon found Jesus leading me through His Word. Stories that happened thousands of years earlier had so much similarity to my own life. One of my favorites (that I still remind myself of often) is the story of Joshua. Following Moses, one of the greatest leaders Israel ever had, came Joshua. He was to take over the lead after Moses died. This meant having to not only give direction to God’s people, but he would have to do some really scary things, like lead them into war! But from the very beginning God promised Joshua that He would be with him. God said that no one would be able to stand against him.
One of my favorite verses, Joshua 1:9 says, “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.”
Verses and stories like this began to give me courage and strength. I knew that if God was with me, I could make it through everything that was on my plate. I learned that He could take care of my kids in ways I couldn’t. Although the illness was still there, and the kids still scared me half to death some days, and there was no way I could control every situation, with God by my side, we would persevere! Now I would like to say the fear and anxiety immediately disappeared. I would like to say I’ve never had to deal with any of it again. But that just wouldn’t be true. There have been many days that the nasty old devil has brought me to my knees in fear or many nights that he has wakened me with whispers of ‘what if’ scenarios. But each time I turn to the Lord in prayer and look for answers in His word, He builds my faith and shows me that He is with me and He is able!
If you struggle with fear or anxiety, below are some additional verses and stories that have brought me comfort! These real people lived extraordinary lives and did things that many times didn’t make sense, but they trusted God and followed the plan He had for each of them. By Faith They... lived the lives God called them to live. I pray for myself, as well as for you, today that we will do the same!
Check Out These By Faith Stories:
Abraham - Genesis 12-25 (Especially notice Genesis 22)
Moses - Exodus 1-14
Esther - Esther 1-10
Two great options that I recommend if you're looking for a Bible:
The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible
The Daily Bible In Chronological Order 365 Daily Readings With Devotional Insights to Guide you Through God's Word
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.
I mentioned in the About Me section, I had a lot of anxiety and fear as a young mom. I think it all started the first time I became pregnant. I surprised Jordan with the news when he came home from work one day. We could not have been happier! And for a couple of weeks we got to live in the joy that we would soon become parents. But at the end of a long week as a school teacher, I ended up in the ER. That night after many uncomfortable tests and exams, all they could tell me was that they were sorry, but I was no longer pregnant.
On the way home from the hospital I was devastated. How could this have happened to me? Wasn’t God watching? Didn’t He have control of the situation? I had been praying since it all started that God would save my baby, and here I was going home without. Although I didn’t get my wish that night, what I do remember and hope I never forget, is the unexplainable peace that flooded me. I had never experienced any trauma or loss like this before. I had heard of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. Now in my own life, it was true, a reality. I was so sad and in pain from the process. But through it all was a crazy, unexplainable peace. I didn’t know it at the time but God was taking me on a journey to know Him better and to learn to trust Him.
Although I was unaware of it, at the same time, Satan was stepping up to the plate as well. He was ready to up his game. And that night, a seed of fear was planted in me. One that would take root and be a booger to try to dig up in the future…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
In time the Lord did answer my plea for children. A beautiful, girly little girl and a handsome little guy who is still 100% boy! We are truly so very blessed to be their parents.
When my babies were little, most days were good days. It was a marvel for me to watch them grow, watch them learn, and watch them change. On any normal weekday you would find the three of us playing at home. They loved racing down the little hill in our side yard and throwing the ball against the garage door to see who would get it first. Our favorite activity came only in the summer. We would spend entire afternoons at the neighborhood pool. Our waking hours were filled with happiness and adventure!
But, I was so tired. Our daughter was only 5 months old when I found out I was pregnant with our son. So with only 13 months between the two of them, they kept me on my toes! And our son was one active little man. In order to keep up with his big sister he was on the move at a very early age. You might say that being tired would be normal, it would even be expected. But there was more… the brain fog that I had started to experience in pregnancy, what many people called baby brain, still hadn’t gone away. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse. And now it was accompanied by dizziness and very bad depth perception.
On many occasions when my kids were doing normal kid stuff I would become overwhelmed with anxiety for their well-being. Anxiety so strong it was a physical pain I could feel throughout my body. Sometimes my heart would skip beats and I would become out of breath just laying in bed or sitting in a chair. I had major stomach pain that almost sent me to the ER the first couple of times I experienced it. And some days if I did anything out of the ordinary, anything that took more energy than normal I would soon begin experiencing flu like symptoms that cleared up only after I slept. Although I was sure I was very sick, every doctor told me that what I was experiencing was pretty normal. “Of course you’re tired,” they would say. “You have two babies!” Or, “It takes your body a while to get back to normal. Give it some time.” They ran tests. They did X-Rays of my stomach. They even prescribed medicines including anti-depressants, which I gladly took hoping to fix the problem. None of the tests found anything wrong and none of the medicines cleared up any symptoms.
The overwhelming responsibility of not only keeping my children alive, but teaching them everything they needed to know, paired with these physical disabling symptoms quickly drove me to prayer. Many days the prayers would be as simple as “God, please let them sleep so I can, too,” as I was falling into bed for a nap. As I continued to understand my desperate need for the Lord, I began to search the Bible. I had been in church forever and heard what the preacher had to say about God. I had given my life to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me for all of my sins. I had even read my Bible often. Every decision I made was made with prayer and much consideration of doing things the way the Bible directed. But this was different. I needed answers. I needed help!
In my next post I will share with you how this time of struggle led me to a strengthened faith in the God I had decided to follow many years before but had never known in such a real and intimate way.
If your searching for answers in your own life today, I recommend starting at the beginning just like I did! This is the Chronological Bible with commentary that I like to use. It will help walk you through the entire Bible in one year. Or, if you don't have a very strong understanding of the Bible and would like something more simple, Angie Smith's six week overview of the Bible is a great way to get started. It's called Seamless. Either way, I encourage you to find some time each day for just you and Jesus. Dig in to His Word. Pray your heart out! And let Him take you on the journey of your life.
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys gluten free cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.