CAUTION – HOW TO GET OUT OF THE PIT

Have you ever fallen into the pit of despair, feeling deep sadness and hopelessness?  Have you ever dug a pit of despair? Are you in one now because of the pandemic? Thoughts of despair lead to depression and illness.  I remember when I found out my brilliant son was a heroin and meth addict.  My heart was broken beyond despair. The emotional anguish caused me to become crippled from muscle cramps.

I am reminded of the scene in the movie, “The Princess Bride,” when Wesley is taken to the pit of despair by the albino (you can Youtube the scene). Have you ever felt stretched beyond what you could bear, and your life was being sucked out of you from the stress of loss and hardships? What were you thinking?  To learn more about the power of thoughts, read What Controls Your Thoughts? and Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

How do you dig a pit of despair?

In my last post, I explained how difficulties and hardships are inevitable throughout our lives and maybe every day.  Hardships are supposed to make us stronger and increase our ability to persevere through hardships, thus, making us more patient and mature. Romans 5:3&4 states, “but we rejoice in our sufferings (tribulations, afflictions), knowing that suffering produces endurance (patience), and endurance produces (prove) character, and character produces hope.”  Ironically, we are to be happy for hardships because they create hope.  But instead, we think about what we don’t like and what is unfair, and we lose the hope for what we desire. So, we dig the mental pit of despair and writhe in the mud of sadness. The pit is where many people will commit suicide, so look out for those who are in despair, and give them hope.  Read my post about how to have hope:  HOPE: How it Motivates and Inspires BUT God’s Sovereignty….

Why do you fall into the pit of despair?

  1. Negative thinking helps you dig the pit of despair in your mind and will keep you there. Change your thoughts from negative to positive and you will see your way out of the pit.  POSTS on Thoughts
  2. You fall in the pit because of disappointment when you think you will never get what you want.
  3. Focusing on your loss blinds you, and you fall into the pit and remain there until you begin to claim the promises of God. 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

How do you avoid the pit of despair?

You already know—change your thinking. The best way to change your thinking is to replace your false beliefs with the truth of God’s Word.  Read the following Scriptures and record in your journal what mental changes you will make when going through hardships and you find yourself in the pit. Identify wrong thinking and false beliefs you may have in your particular hardship that needs to be loosed/put off from your mind. And then write out the truths in these Scripture passages to bind/put on to your heart and mind, to transform your wrong thinking and false beliefs.  To learn how to replace your thoughts, read Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul.

Matthew 6:33-34 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34) Therefore, do not be anxious (worry) about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Read my post called, How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?)

1Peter 5:6-7 states, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”  (Pride keeps us in the pit because we have the false beliefs we have the right to be anxious and deserve to be miserable.)

Philippians 4:6-7 states, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 states, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.

Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

2Corinthians 4:17-18 states, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Trusting God’s promises help you triumph over the hopeless thinking that comes with every hardship. The demonic world uses hardships to cause you to doubt God and pridefully live independently of Him. Everyone battles a prideful, self-centered, sinful nature. Hardships expose your pride, wrong thinking, and false beliefs.  To learn more about pride, read HOW PRIDE DESTROYS.

Conclusion:

The pit of despair and deep sadness is easy to fall into, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in one. Your thoughts control how you feel, believe, and behave, so changing your thinking will keep and get you out of the pit. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, think on the positive truth found in God’s Word.  I remained in the pit of despair and depression over my son’s addiction problem for over a year. I got out of the pit when I changed my thinking and put my son in God’s care and prayed for Him to fulfill His purpose for my son’s life.  I had a positive vision of Jesus being with my son as He leads him out of the pit of addiction.  When looked up to God and changed my thinking, I was no longer crippled by muscle cramping.  What thoughts do you need to change?  What lies do you believe that is keeping you in the pit of despair? Look up and seek God’s help.

You have hope for complete healing as you transform your thinking and painful memories.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

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Pt. 2: Why You Can and Cannot Trust God? 

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Pt. 2: Why You Can and Cannot Trust God? 

Have you ever felt forsaken by God? Jesus has, I have.  So, why does the Bible say, “He will never leave you or forsake you?”  We feel forsaken when our expectations are not met.  This is true with our human relationships as well.  The next time you feel forsaken, asked yourself what expectations were not met.  Were they realistic expectations?  Remember, God is the only one who can be faithful and loyal to you.  My last blog post explains how to recover from broken trust, and I encourage you to read that if you haven’t: Pt. 1: Forsaken? Betrayed? How to trust again.

Maybe you feel God has abandoned you when He did not answer a prayer.  Unanswered prayer is an unmet expectation that causes an offense to form in your heart. God did not answer my prayer to heal my abusive first marriage and keep my family together. I felt forsaken and despaired as I faced divorce.  I felt abandoned by God.  I poured my heart out to Him and told Him I was going to walk away from my faith. And God answered, “What is the alternative?” I thought about it and knew that Satan would love to destroy me and my children.  So, I stayed tight with God by submitting my many troubles to Him while going through the divorce.  I do not encourage divorce but sometimes we don’t have a choice.  I experienced many miracles because God was faithful to me, which I share in the post, Trust God to Keep His Promises.

The Bible says, He will never leave you nor forsake you when you seek Him (read Deuteronomy 31:6&8 and Hebrews 13:5). This promise is for those who are followers of Jesus Christ who believe and confess Him as their Lord and Savior.  When you believe, you are promised forgiveness of your sins and are promised eternal life (see John 3:16). Read my post on the 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

―Are you afraid?

What are you afraid of?  Deuteronomy 31:6,8 says you must “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.” Again, in verse 8 God says, “Do not fear or be dismayed.” These two verses are part of Moses’s last message to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land (Israel). When I think about being courageous, I think of David and Goliath.  David knew he could take Goliath because he compared the size of Goliath to the size of God.  By faith, David conquered his foe with God’s help.  Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Also, read James 4:8.

Are you afraid you don’t have enough money? Hebrews 13:5 says to, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”  You can trust God to provide for you, so you don’t need to be anxious about how much money you have or don’t have. Philippians 4:19 explains, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  When I was a single mother with two toddlers and no job.  I began a sewing business and God provided for my every need when I trusted Him.  I was never in need of anything. Because there was a 90% chance I would marry another abusive husband, I did not date. After a time of healing, God provided an awesome husband, who is totally submitted to Him and compatible with me. God is truly good.

My favorite promise is in Isaiah 41:10, which says, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Really think about this promise and claim it when you are facing a tough situation.  Fear and worry are indicators you are not trusting God. You will have peace when you keep your mind on the Lord God through prayer, praise, and pondering scripture.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”  I wrote in a previous post, how you know you are trusting God when you attain righteousness, peace, and joy.

―How do you make God your refuge in times of trouble?

      Psalm 9:9-10 states, “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.

What do the following phrases mean?

  • The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed”?  Refuge means a place of shelter and protection from danger. The word oppressed means to feel burdened or heavy by troubles in your body, spirit, and mind.  We make the LORD (God) our refuge through prayer by giving Him all the things that burden our hearts and are heavy on our minds.
  • A stronghold in times of trouble.”  A stronghold is a strong fortress that we can run into and be safe.  Psalm 37:39, also states, “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”
  • Those who know Your name trust in You for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You Are you seeking God? Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Also, read Matthew 7:7-11.

God can be trusted, though He may not answer all your prayers the way you want Him too.  His knowledge and ways are greater than ours, and He has a good purpose and plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Isaiah 55:9).  You will never know His good purpose for your life until you have submitted to Him.  Submitting to God means accepting His sovereign plan for you and give Him the authority to take over.  I wrote a post on how to submit to God.  When I finally submitted, I became free from an anxiety disorder.  Read: Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE


Pray the following truth statements if you find it hard to trust God. Found in TRUST AND FAITHFULNESS Issues.

It is safe to trust God and do what is good, and He will direct me. Ps. 37:3-5.

I can trust God’s faithfulness to be a shield around me as I put my trust in Him, and I will not be afraid. Ps. 91:4; 56:4,11.

Trust believes the good thing God is doing, and my heart need not be troubled, for He is my salvation.  John 14:1, Isa. 25:9.

I can be trusted, and I am faithful with what God has given me. Lk. 16:10.

I can trust and believe my life has a purpose, and God has a plan for my life, which gives me hope… Jer. 29:11-14.

As I trust in God, He is my refuge, and His unfailing love and favor surround me. Ps. 32:10; 7:1; 5:12.

When I trust and believe in Jesus, I will not be disappointed.  Rom. 9:33; I Peter 2:6b.

I will not put my hope in the uncertainty of riches but in God who richly supplies me with all things to enjoy. I Tim. 6:17; Phil 4:19.

I am blessed when I trust and hope in the Lord, and I make him my confidence.  Jer. 17:7.


There is hope for complete healing when you seek God with all your heart and trust Him. The short book on my website is the result of God healing my heart when I trusted him to show me my wounds and sin so I could repent and be healed.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

I am praying for you.  If you have a prayer request, I would love to pray with you, send me an email, or if you comment with a request, I will not publish your request, unless you give me permission.

RELATED POSTS

Read my posts on Psalm 91 found in Psalm 91 Posts

How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  I wonder if I am seeking first the kingdom of God and what does that look like?   I found a variety of interpretations during my research that were interesting but not enlightening.  I would like to know what your thoughts are.

Context of This Verse

I began by looking at the context of this verse.  The context, history, and who the audience is helps us understand the meaning.  After Jesus is water baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God leads Him into the wilderness to fast 40 days.  While in the wilderness, the devil tempted Him to sin, which He did not sin (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  After the 40 days, He begins His ministry.  Matthew 4:23 and 24, describe His audience, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  24) So, his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.  Seeing the big crowds following Him, he went up on a mountainside and preached His first sermon.  The picture with this post is of the mountains around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus was ministering.

The Apostle Matthew records Jesus’s first sermon in Chapters 5-7.  Jesus begins with how they can be blessed (made happy).  He explains how they are the salt and light of the earth as they do good works (Matt. 5:16), and He taught how He came to fulfill the Law (see Romans 8:3-4). Other topics He preached in chapter five were anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, and loving your enemies.  Chapter six continues with giving to the needy, how to pray, fasting, investing in heaven, not being anxious.  Chapter seven begins with judging others, asking to receive, the golden rule, the fruit of false prophets, who will enter heaven, and obeying His words.  Matthew 6:33 is in Jesus’s explanation to not being anxious (see Matthew 6:25-34).  I wonder if this is the message He received from His Father while He was in the wilderness.

In Matthew 6:25 Jesus identifies the problem, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  Then, Jesus explains the solution in verses 32-34, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34) “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The Apostle Paul told the Philippians: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication (requests) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7. Based on these verses, it is safe to say that being anxious is a natural reaction of our flesh when we don’t trust God.  Not trusting God is a sin because being anxious is not faith in God’s ability to help us.

Interpretation Based on Context

The key belief is our heavenly Father knows what we need, and He will give us what we need (see Philippians 4:19).  So, instead of being anxious about how to get our needs met, we are to seek Him and His righteousness.  Seek means to look for or inquire.  And the Greek translation for the kingdom is rule or reign.  So, if we seek (look for) the reign of God in our lives and seek to do what He says is right, then He promises to give us what we need.  James 4:7 says to “submit to God”  that is, be under God’s authority and yield by surrendering to the action, control, and power of God.  Romans10:3 states, “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Romans 14:17 explains, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Only as you renew your mind and submit to God, will you experience righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Your sinful flesh prevents you from entering the kingdom of God (see Galatians 5:19-21 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10).  So, you need to put off your sinful thoughts and put on His character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. through the Holy Spirit.  Read my post on Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two).

During several tough times in my life, I submitted to God and His righteousness, and I can testify, that God does provide for what we need.  One difficult time was enduring a nasty divorce and custody battle for two toddlers, and I had no job or a place to live.  God provided miraculously when I humbled myself and sought His help through prayer, praise, and pondering the scriptures. I do have to confess that I was going to walk away from my faith in God.  I was so angry at Him for not answering my prayers to heal my abusive marriage because I did not believe in divorce, that I told God I was going to not follow Him anymore.  He has only spoken to me a handful of times and this was one of those times.  He said, “What is the alternative?”  I thought about it, and I knew the devil would destroy me, and I probably would have committed suicide because I was so depressed.   Read my amazing testimony in Trust God to Keep His Promises.

To not be anxious, you must first submit all your concerns to God as you seek Him through prayer, praise, and pondering His promises.  Because I grew up in a dysfunctional home and married an abusive first-husband, I developed an anxiety disorder.  I share how God set me free in the blog post called  Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE.

Know for Certain You Will Enter The Kingdom Of God

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

The Bible uses the term “born again” two other places.  1Peter1:3-5 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven (the kingdom of God) for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  By believing that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:11), then His Spirit dwells in us, and we are born again by His Spirit.

      1Peter 1:22-25 states, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news (gospel) that was preached to you.”  God’s Word is living and abiding, which means when you internalize His truths, it creates life in your soul and will abide with you and help you to purify your soul as you obey its truth.

Painful memories and our sinful desires corrupt our hearts.  My short book on my website called, “Hope for Complete Healing,” was written to help you put off wrong thinking and sinful desires and put on right thinking and righteousness, so you can love with a pure heart.  Begin reading: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Part of seeking the kingdom of God is to seek for God to keep His promises.  In Ephesians 1:3, we learn that we are “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  Heavenly places are where God’s kingdom is.  And, when we are saved through grace by faith in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:6 states that God, “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  So, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is for our advantage and a matter of priority and position.

There is hope when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, that God will provide what we need because He promised.

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Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

People are like an iceberg, there is so much more under the surface than what you see.  I knew I was forgiven and saved, but I struggled with wrong thinking for most of my life.  I never had victory over my thoughts and emotions until I learned how to renew my mind and take my thoughts captive and heal my painful memories.  Unfortunately, most people who receive forgiveness and salvation do not live in victory over their sinful thoughts, so they are hypocrites to the rest of the world who then don’t want to be forgiven and saved.  In this post you will learn how to be victorious over your thoughts and sinful behavior, so you can be holy and righteous.

The following two promises define what being forgiven and saved are.  God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sins (Psalms 103:3 and 1John 1:9).  And, you have salvation from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 10:27, 14:6; 28; 3:16 – Romans 5:12; 6:23; 8:2; 10:9 – Ephesians 2:8 – Titus 3:4-7 – 1 John 5:13).

So, what is sin?

Webster’s dictionary defines sin as the disobedience of the moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act. The definition of moral is to know the distinction between right and wrong conduct or action.  The truths in Deuteronomy 9:18, 1Kings 16:19, 1 Samuel 15:23, and 2Chronicals 12:14 explain that we do evil when we do not seek the LORD with our whole heart.  Evil is to harm or destroy someone.  Evil people are also called wicked and depraved.  When we don’t seek the LORD with our whole heart then we too will do evil.  Some of the sins listed in the Bible are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, evil desires, covetousness, greediness, witchcraft and sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, factions and divisions, dissensions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and orgies, outbursts of anger, hate, resentment, lying,  stealing, and idolatry.

What is salvation?

Romans 3:23-24 explains salvation.

  • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and
  • are justified by His grace as a gift, (see Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8,9)
    • Justified– just as if I did not sin.  Grace – getting what I do not deserve.
  • through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    • Redemption –payment to restore a right relationship and to transform
  • whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
    • Propitiation– to pay a penalty to appease and make right again (reconciliation).
  • to be received by faith.
    • Faith is choosing to believe and trust that what God said He would do, He will do.  Webster dictionary defines faith as believing something is true, real, etc., and to have confidence in a statement or promise.  Though we did not see Jesus die to pay the penalty for our sins, we also do not see our justification by His grace.  But by faith, we are confident we have it.  We believe what is written by the Apostles because they went through the experience and witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They saw the curtain in the temple Holy of Holies being ripped in two and the great earthquake when Jesus died for us.  Then over 500 people saw Jesus ascension into heaven, where he is now making intercession for us (see Hebrews 7:25).

2Thesolonians 2:13b states you are, “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (The Holy Spirit is truth, see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and 1John 5:6).  To be sanctified is to be made holy and consecrated through belief in Jesus Christ and the truth (see John 17:17).  1Corinthians 6:11 explains that you will be “washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Now what?

Though you are forgiven, saved and sanctified you now must renew your thinking to be victorious over sin.  All sin begins in your mind as a temptation.  Temptations are enticements based on lies that generate unhealthy, false beliefs and create thoughts of offense. So, your mind needs renewing and transformed every day by the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2 states to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and Ephesians 4:23 states we are “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”  Titus 3:5 states, “he [Jesus] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and 2Corinthians 4:16 states, “our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Renewing your mind is removing sinful, evil desires and lusts by putting off these thoughts through prayer, then putting on the things of the Spirit; truthful thoughts found in the Bible.  Ephesians 4:22-24 explains we are, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true.  Deceit is the act of representing as true what you know to be false; a lie; a trick.  Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.

Next week I will explain three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life.

There is hope to be victorious over wrong thinking and out-of-control emotions.

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Free from Anger–County Jail Testimony and Teaching

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Bondage to Unseen Controls

Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

Abolish New Year’s Resolutions

Every year we resolve to change our eating style, exercise more, lose weight, get in shape, declutter the house, etc. and every year we last maybe a month or two at the most.  There will be advise on how to be intentional and set goals and anything in between.  There is nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions except we don’t have the strength nor the will to see them through.  I found I need God’s help to accomplish my goals.

Instead of resolutions, I can’t resolve to keep, I pick a Bible passage with a spiritual principle I want my life to reflect.  Then I pray for that principle in to my life each day or at least once a week.  My co-worker chooses a word to focus on like, “endure” or “revive,” etc.  Dayle’s blog, called One Word, explains this well.

This past year, I picked 2 Corinthians 5:14a,15b, which states, “For the love of Christ controls us, … those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  I chose this passage because I struggle with loving people enough to sacrifice my desires and give preference to their desires.  So, I prayed I will be controlled by the love of Christ and not to live for myself but for Jesus.  So, throughout the year, I prayed to be controlled by the love of Jesus.  Then, I imagined being controlled by His love and what Jesus would do.  Christ’s love reached out to the lost, and He had compassion for people.

So, how did I do this past year with this prayer?  I could have done better.  When I prayed this scripture into my life, God led me to repent of my pride and of self-centered living so His love could control me.  Then, God led me to repent of self-control issues so His love can control my reactions.  You can read my transformation testimonies throughout this year in the following posts.

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE (anxiety disorder is gone, YEA!)

Relationship and World Changing Kindness

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Self-control and Maturity

The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control

I will continue to practice being controlled by the love of Christ and the previous year’s verses to rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful in everything (1Theselonians 5:16-18).  In the coming year, I want to pray for God to help me memorize scripture. So, I will focus on praying Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You.”  Knowing God’s Word is vital to fight against the unseen evil forces of the world.  I will hopefully write about the many battles we fight each day and the scriptures we can use to be victorious.  Plus, as I memorize scripture, I am developing right thinking which then creates healthy beliefs and behavior. According to Joshua 1:8, when I meditate on Scripture then I will be prosperous and I will have good success.  Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

There is hope for complete healing and transforming negative heart issues.  May God bless you richly in the coming year as you abide with Him and meditate on His Word.

Being Thankful During Hardships

How does being thankful help me?  No one can escape hardships, it is part of living in an imperfect world.  We can’t choose our hardships either, but we can choose how we respond.  Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning.  The following is a quote, “Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl’s soul.”  Though your hardship may not compare to torture in a concentration camp, hardships cause you to focus on your loss, which causes stress on your mind and body.  I must admit, it is hard to be thankful if you are in an abusive relationship.  I will write more concerning this in the next post.  Please understand, Satan wants you to stay focused on your hardship and bring destruction in your life (see John 10:10).  To learn more, read: Four Realities of the Spirit World

No matter the hardship, we can be thankful for something.  Being thankful is an inner-life attitude that determines if we rise above our problems or sink deeper into despair.  You see, it is God’s will for you to be thankful in all circumstances (see 1Thes. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20).  If you find it hard to be thankful, call out to God for help (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  If you want to experience peace in the midst of your hardship, then do what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6,7Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I focus on my negative thoughts, I became anxious and stressed again.  The bible says God gives us hope, Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Also, peace and joy remove the effects of stress in our bodies and minds.

Hardships are the main cause of offenses and resentments, which come from wrong thoughts of unfairness. If you don’t capture and loose these wrong thoughts, they will generate negative feelings and your negative feelings will produce false beliefs, which then direct destructive behaviors like anger fits, drinking, doing drugs, hurting others or yourself, depression, etc.  Being thankful transforms wrong thoughts and results in peace and joy despite the hardship.  I heard from a missionary to China, that the Christian Chinese people are joyful despite their hardships when many times everything is taken from them and they are put in jail.

During my job loss, I focused on God’s goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness, and how He will cause all things to work together for my good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Abuse and loss through death is different because that involves a loss of love, which I will cover in the next post.  Being thankful and focused on God and not your loss will fill you with peace and joy.  Read my story called Trust God to Keep His Promises  and how I experienced many miracles despite my loss in my divorce.

So, what can we be thankful for?  You can begin with the following 15 promises.  To learn more about each promise read 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

  1. We are saved from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life.
  2. God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin.
  3. God will never leave you nor forsake you because He loves you.
  4. You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, and nothing will separate you from His love.
  5. God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  6. God will cause all things to work together for good according to His purpose for those that love Him.
  7. God will supply all your needs according to His riches.
  8. When we come to God and do what He says, we will dwell secure and will find rest, without the dread of disaster.
  9. God is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
  10. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear it.  With the temptation, He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  11. God gives power and strength and helps us when we trust Him.
  12. God is doing a new thing in your life, and He will make a way where there is no way.
  13. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind when you trust Him in every situation and pray with thanksgiving as you present your requests to Him.
  14. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know He hears us in whatever we ask; we know we have the requests we have asked of Him.
  15. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Practice makes perfect.  Practice being thankful every day so when hardships come you can be thankful and not let the hardship steal your peace and joy.

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Identify and Replace False Beliefs

Psalm 91:14-16 — RESCUED FROM TROUBLES

Where does the Bible state, we will not have troubles? It doesn’t. In fact, troubles are a part of everyday life. Webster defines trouble as something or someone who causes pain or discomfort; mental agitation; worry; harassment; etc. One of the devil’s schemes is to cause trouble in our lives so we focus our minds on the trouble and not on God. Troubles can come from our own foolish decisions and wrong choices. When troubles happen because of wrong choices, we can humble ourselves and call out to God for help, and He will help us (see Hebrews 4:15-16 and James 4:6-8).

The next two verses describe how God wants to rescue and protect us from the troubles that come from the unseen demonic world, but there is a condition.

Psalm 91:14-15 states, “Because he holds fast to Me in love, therefore,

I will deliver (rescue) him;

I will protect him, (set him securely on high) because he knows My name,

15) When he calls to Me, I will answer him; (Also see, Psalms 138:3)

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue (deliver) him and honor him.”

WOW! What promises! These five promises are for those who hold fast to God and love Him. Other Bible versions translate verse 14 as “Because He has set His love on Me...” Since the above five promises depend on how well we love God, I want to explore a few scriptures that clarify how to love God well.

      [!] How do we know we love God?

John 14:15 explains, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” 1 John 5:3 also states, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” So, what are the commandments of God? We all know the two greatest commandments recorded in Luke 10:27, “And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ (Also read Matthew 22:37 and Mark 12:30.) 1 John 3:23 further explains, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. 24) Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” Abiding in God is the same as holding fast to Him and setting our love on Him. How well we love people, shows how well we are abiding in God and holding fast to Him in love.

At one time, I struggled to love people. I was judgmental, critical, disrespectful, impatient, etc. I asked God to show me why I could not love people well. He revealed I did not love myself and in fact; I hated myself. I asked God why I hated myself, and He disclosed I was full of guilt for all my anger fits. During a bible study, I learned there were two sacrifices in the Old Testament; an animal sacrifice for sin and a freed animal for guilt. For the guilt sacrifice, the priest laid his hands on a goat’s head and set it loose into the wilderness as a symbol of their guilt being taken away. God then disclosed to me I had received His blood sacrifice for my sins, but I still held onto my guilt. When I asked Him to take my guilt away, I began to love myself and love others better. When I failed to love others well by not being patient, humble, forbearing, etc., I felt convicted. So, I would repent by asking God to forgive me and show me why I sinned. Then I put off my old way of reacting and asked Him to help me love better. Pride is the most common sin that causes us to not love God and people well. Read Colossians 3 for a detailed explanation of how to put off your old ways of reacting and to put on new behaviors.

     [!] In what ways can you love God and people better?

    [!] How can you set your love on God and hold fast to Him in love?

You set your love on God by keeping your mind on Him and living a new life through Him. You love God by doing what pleases Him, communicating with Him through prayer, delighting in Him through praises, and finding security in Him by trusting Him. The following promises are ours when we truly love God.

God will protect and set us securely on high because we know His name. Ephesians 2:5 and 6 explains when we are saved by His grace, we are “raised us up with Him [Jesus] and seated us with Him [God] in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The word securely means we are safe and free from danger or attack. God’s name means many things and when we know His name Proverb 18:10 states, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and are safe.” Psalm 9:10 explains what happens when we know His name; “And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” God does not forsake those who seek Him, how wonderful is that.

[!] According to the previous verses in Psalm 91, what is God protecting us from?

God protects us from the schemes of the devil and the troubles he brings on us. God never said we would not face troubles and persecutions, but He promises to deliver us “IF” we humble ourselves, love Him, and call on His name in prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.This verse tells us that God promises to hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our lives from our troubles when we humbly seek Him and turn from our sins.  Sin brings trouble into our lives, which is why we need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and help to overcome our sin nature.

The next verses verify the fact that God will deliver us from troubles and persecutions.

Psalm 107:6 states, “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.”

Psalms 34:19 states, “Many are the afflictions (troubles) of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

Psalms 55:22 states, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved (shaken).”

John 16:33 states, “…In the world you will have tribulations (troubles). But take heart; I [Jesus] have overcome the world.”

2 Timothy 3:11-13, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12) Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13) while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 4:17b-18, the Apostle Paul states, “…So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.

Psalms 25:18 states, “Consider my affliction and my trouble and forgive all my sins.” [King David makes the association between trouble and his sins]

[!] After reading the above Scriptures, what has the most meaning to you and why?

[!] What kind of afflictions have you endured that resulted from sin?

The last verse in this Psalm is another promise we can trust God to keep. Psalm 91:16 states, “With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” The following supporting Scripture is one of my favorites and is a great encouragement to me, and I hope it is to you. Isaiah 46:3b-4 states, “…who have been borne (upheld) by me from before your birth, carried from the womb (since conception); 4) even to your old age I Am He, and to your gray hairs I will carry you (sustain you). I have made you, and I will bear; I will carry, and will save (rescue you).” The Greek meaning for salvation is “to be made whole,” rescue, save, or to be delivered. When God says He sustains us it means He will keep us supplied with the necessities we need.

[!] Knowing the truths in Psalm 91, how will you refrain from being fearful or angry when you experience trouble or persecution in your life?

!! Memorize this Psalm, so you never forget these truths, then turn it into a personal prayer.