“I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.” – Psalm 3:5 I awoke at 1 am this morning, frustrated that I couldn’t sleep – yet again. I got up and went to get a glass […]
Month: August 2015
I awoke around three am Sunday morning, not able to sleep a wink. I was already tired from the night before; it’s not often I get weekends off, so I made the best of it. I continued to wake up until it was time to go to church, I really really didn’t want to go. My spiritual fervor was depleted as was my physical energy. I kept having this run on sentence going through my head – it said, “Stay in the lifeboat.” I started dreaming about Noah and the ark, and my mind kept running on further. Thoughts of how the ark was like a church, a place of safety in a storm. I forgot about it later, and pressed on – made myself get up and get ready regardless of how I felt.
Later on as I sat in church next to my significant other, I noticed we were uncannily lined up with other couples ahead of us side by side, almost freaky how we fit like a puzzle….two by two, like it was planned out somehow. I wondered if anyone else noticed… I went back to the ark again…
Then the preacher said loud and clear as if it were directed at me,”The safest place for you, is in the church, stay in the life boat.”
In Acts 27 Paul, among the other prisoners were put to the test. They went through may storms during their travels. There was a time they wanted to abandon their ship; but Paul was a man who heard the voice the God, and he knew the safest thing would be to stay in the ship and face the storm. Sometimes we believe out in the world is the easier course, in our own little life boat, floating aimlessly. Seems freeing at first, but there is no real freedom in that. Jesus is the master of the wind. (Luke 8:24) We must stay aboard the ark and complete the mission, to get to our destination.
“Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away. – Acts 27:30-32
I immediately knew then that God was speaking to me at three am. There are so many times that I want to quit…take the easy route. Being a christian isn’t easy; I fail God daily, and am a huge mess at times. But I am His mess, and if I’m willing to hang on for the ride, he will complete the work he started in me.
“My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26 Jesus was strong enough to endure the cross; maybe not in flesh, but His inner strength came from God. He knew what He had […]
The other day I noticed a small splinter in my finger. It hurt so bad, that it affected me the whole day because that’s all I could concentrate on . To be honest it’s still there! It’s amazing how the smallest of things can hold our attention. The smallest of afflictions can become strongholds, and affect everything we do.
An affliction is something that causes pain or unhappiness. Sometimes we fight it and other times we simply learn to live with it. We ask it to move in with us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well with roommates. And the old saying, “Misery loves company,” is such a true statement. The moment you entertain negativity, that’s exactly what you attract. Pity party anyone?
A stronghold according to Merriam Webster, is a fortified place; A place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic.
Satan loves to use strongholds, especially when it comes to our minds. We must be careful to not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27) Anger and un-forgiveness can be a type of stronghold, that keeps us from ever moving forward. We in our minds think we are free when we express ourselves in anger, when really it has us trapped in a viscous cycle. It eats away at our very core and damages us internally. You may feel good for a moment of time, but afterward you almost always feel remorse. If you entertain horrible thoughts even a little, the devil will take that inch and turn it into a mile. Be careful what you feed your mind with. (Philippians 4:8)
The Lord is also a stronghold for us. And He can deliver us from our afflictions if we let go of them. (Job 36:15) We can either bow down to our affliction or bow down to God. And God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Why do we feel the need to let our afflictions dominate us, when we have access to such power! Sometimes our past can become an affliction. We can walk so far with Christ, but in the back of our minds, we still entertain our pasts. God has given us new life, and through Him we can renew our minds and let go on these strongholds. Sometimes it does take time, but there’s never a better time to change your life than now.
“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” – 2 Samuel 22:3
Afflictions are strongholds. They can be physical, spiritual, or emotional. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of having a thorn in his flesh, as a type of torment from the enemy, or persecution. Sometimes afflictions are there for a purpose, to remind us, or test us, or simply something we have allowed for ourselves and need to pray over. There is nothing Satan can do to a child of God, without God okaying it, do not give the devil credit. Sometimes our afflictions are tests; reminders that we are weak and in need of an all powerful God. God will never give you more than you can handle, and his grace is made perfect in our weakness.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Mental illness can be a type of spiritual affliction. At times we feel defeated, and simply give in. When we have an all powerful God that can deliver us from the strongholds of our minds. What we focus in on, is what we give power to in our lives. If you are consistently negative and let your temper flare out of control, you are giving the spirit of anger control over your life. If you ask God to take prisoner your thoughts, you allow room for positive things to happen.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
I have come to the conclusion that this splinter will remain a part of me, until my body forces it out. I tried squeezing and chemical methods to draw it out; however it remains. I’m told the more I pick at it, the deeper set it will get. But the less I focus and pick on it, the less I feel it, and it will work itself out naturally. It is nearly gone now, but until then I wait and think on positive things, it really is such a tiny splinter. It’s like having a rock in your shoe. Doesn’t really hurt it’s just an annoyance. A wise man once said, “There really is no comfortable place for a rock in your shoe.”