Shalom, dear friends;
“When the LORD returned Zion from captivity, we were all visionaries. Our mouth was filled with laughter, our tongues with joy, then the nations said: ‘The LORD has done wonders for those people.’ The LORD did wonders to us, we were overjoyed. Return us from captivity as the streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Though he walks along weeping, carrying his store of seeds, He shall return carrying bundles of sheaves.”Psalm 126
In ancient times these Songs of Ascent were sung by the Israelites as they approached Jerusalem for any one of the three great ‘travelling’ Feasts. It is also sung often today during feasts. Jay and I certainly have experienced the ‘visionary’ part, along with the sowing and reaping.
I love the ‘Grace after meal prayers’ and a portion here for you to savour.
“Have mercy LORD, on Israel Your people and on Jerusalem, Your city, and on Zion where Your glory dwells, and on the kingdom of David, Your Messiah, and on the great and holy temple, which was known by Your Name. Our God, our Father, keep us, sustain us, support us, maintain us, deliver us. Deliver us speedily, LORD our God from all our troubles. Please, LORD our God, do not let us become dependent on the gifts of flesh and blood, or need their loans, but rather need only Your full, open, holy and generous hand, that we never ever be ashamed or embarrassed.”
Now on to the HARD stuff:
I received a phone call yesterday from a young person plagued by dark and troubling thoughts. The solution taken in the past had been more medication. Well, obviously they are not working. But, don’t we all have troubled thoughts at times? I share with you some insights that I passed on to my young friend.
How well I remember the awful thoughts pommelling my mind, as a young nursing student. Telling me, I was never good enough and would amount to nothing. UNTIL I actively believed what the Bible said. “God is love.” 1 John 4:7- 21. I began to fight in the invisible realm, realizing; “Wait a minute. I didn’t choose to think that! This thing is not me! I got indignant and a little wiser.” Slowly I saw, I had an enemy. Call it fear, the devil or Satan. Choose your words. I began to resist those poisonous thoughts one by one. But, my resolve had the strength of a wet Chinese noodle. At first, I couldn’t resist the plague of discouragement and darkness that filled my mind. I cried, feeling helpless.
Then I learned how the Holy Spirit actually allowed Jesus to be tempted by the devil. See Matthew 4: 1 – 10. Take time to ponder this sinister kind of warfare against His very person, calling and legacy. Pause and think of that! It was the same insinuating voice of the serpent that tricked Mother Eve. The serpent said, “Can it really be that God said…?” Genesis 3:1b. She was unsure, confused, tempted, she doubted the Almighty’s word given to Adam. And she sinned.
I prayed and again I resisted. Reluctantly, the dark thoughts loosed their grip and began to recede for a short time, only to return and pounce again. I kept at it, resisting, sending them away: separating them from who I am. After some time I awoke one morning realizing I was winning this war. What triumph. I have worked at keeping the victory all of my life. Trust me and my family, I do not always succeed. But the important thing is, eventually, ‘meditating’ on the instructions of the Bible, I learned how to resist the evil insinuations against my very life.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”Proverbs 23:7
This has now been proven by science, but we shouldn’t need science to believe! I dared to believe that I was loved by God Himself. He wouldn’t speak to me in that ugly hateful way. I didn’t speak to others like that. I asked to hear the Still Small Voice instead and I learned to be ‘led’ by the Ruach ha Kodesh or Holy Spirit.
Jesus used the written word of scripture to fight off the tempter. He was active, not passive. In every temptation, he refuted the lies by quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures. He knew; ‘the source of conflict always begins in the mind.’ We are given charge of our minds and bodies. They are our responsibility. Jesus had an enemy. He did not second guess Himself. He understood the different kinds of temptations Satan devised to break him. He was not tricked into thinking the lying voice was His own. This war IS called spiritual warfare – a real fight for Truth in your mind and life! Every human being fights this fight! How many win?
The first step is to separate your thoughts.
Ask. Did that dark thought come from me?
NO! Not if it is a torment, hateful and hurtful.
Now your work is to drive it away.
How do you do that?
“Bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Messiah.”2 Corinthians 10:5
This is hard work. “We demolish arguments… and take EVERY THOUGHT captive.”
All Satan is capable of is hatred. He is actually afraid of … Light! Remember Father God banished him forever from His Presence. Ezekiel 14 speaks of the evil nature of Satan. Jesus said, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a bolt of lightning.” Luke 10:18
– Be aware of the activity going on in your thought life. You must own it.
– Learn to separate the dark thoughts just as soon as they enter your mind.
– Forbid the broken record from playing on and on.
– Demand the dark thought to STOP at once.
– Send it away! You can say, “Go to hell for that is where it came from.”
- Authority is yours, use the words in the Bible.
- Overcome every wicked thought.
PRAY: “Our Father, deliver me from this evil thought. Let me be open to receive your Spirit. Teach me to sing in Your Spirit and worship from the Psalms.”
“Finally, brothers [and sisters] whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things … and the God of peace will be with you.”Philippians: 4:8.9b
Remember, Your voice! Your choice!