Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
5. Foreboding Thoughts are Not of God.
The first thing that pops up on my computer when I open up my laptop is a weather forecast. I laugh each time because there is always rain in the forecast. Most of the time it doesn’t rain but I thought Isn’t that the way we look at life sometimes? We expect a rainy day rather than a sunny day. We focus on gloom, not gladness.
I first became aware that I am guilty of foreboding thoughts at a conference I attended this year. The speaker said “Foreboding thoughts are not of God.” Let’s define “foreboding.” Foreboding: “Fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen.”
Foreboding is like launching into your emergency plan the minute you wake up.
I often think, “What would I do if something happens to my husband?” “What if I get really sick?” “What if we have a financial crisis?”
I am often on the George Bush Parkway in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, Several times a week, I have to take a dangerous exit for IH35 that slows down to almost a stop. As I approach that exit, I’m looking in my rearview mirror the entire time, speaking to the other cars—saying repeatedly, “Please don’t hit me. Please don’t hit me!”
What I’ve learned is that our words can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Be careful what you speak. I did get hit from behind on a highway earlier this year. Instead of worrying about getting rear-ended, I should be praising God that He is protecting me.
Popular speaker and author, Joyce Meyer said at one time her thoughts were “poisoning her outlook.” I believe the enemy of our souls wants to keep us in a vacuum of negativity because then we miss out on the joy of life. We live each day in fear rather than victory as God designed.
What does the Bible say about foreboding thoughts? In Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul said, “..whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent and praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Jesus did not leave us with foreboding thoughts. He didn’t say, “Now I am ascending to the Father, so since I am not here, I want you to fret and reflect on everything negative.” No, He left us with peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you .I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Peace is available if we ask Jesus for it.
Worried about people? Jesus said, “I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him, who after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.”
Worried about money? “Look at the birds of the air, they do to sow or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more value than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26–27).
The Bible says that when we have a foreboding thought, we need to take the thought captive, so I am trying to do that. I don’t attempt to predict the future, because God has my future in His hands. If the worst happens, He will cradle me. When I try to slip into concern about my kids, I praise God for His hand on their lives. When I hit that worrysome exit, I’m thanking Him for protecting me and my vehicle.
Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Sometimes we must speak that kind word to ourselves. It’s the antidote for foreboding thoughts. (LBW)
4. NO REGRETS
Do you wish you could have a do over?
Is there a path you wish you had taken?
Are you disappointed in something that you didn’t do or effort you didn’t give?
Regret can be sadness, guilt, and remorse over a mistake, whether it’s a perceived big or little mistake. Regret can also be the negative feeling of a PERCEIVED missed opportunity. It’s that ONE word that the enemy uses to stir your emotions and mind with negativity. Both definitions are filled with what could have been done in the past. I am many things, but a time traveler isn’t one of them. Yet I spent so much of my time in the past regretting my words, actions, reactions, and sins.
Seven years ago, I met this amazing woman and we became fast friends. Elle had a sparkle that I was in awe of. Her confidence was something I deeply desired. During one of our extra long lunch dates, I asked Elle how she did it. How are you so positive and confident? She said something I hold dear to this day. “I don’t have any regrets.” I grilled her. “What! No-do overs? No sin you would want to undo? No words you want to take back? No missed opportunities? Nothing?” She smiled and me and said, “Of course! If I could go back in time I would change so much, but the reality is I can’t change the past. No one can. BUT what I can do is learn. I have learned so much with every mistake, missed opportunity, and sin. I have learned to lean on the Lord. I have learned that HIS plans are greater than mine. And I have learned that because of HIS grace and forgiveness, my sins have been washed away. Most importantly, I realized that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So I know that God will take all the negatives in my life and use them to glorify HIM.”
As I listened to Elle, my mind exploded with all the baggage I could unload. My heart melted with His love, and my eyes were finally opened to life without regret. That’s what I hope for all of you. May you realize that NOTHING can keep you from the Lord, and He sees EVERYTHING, AND LOVES YOU ANYWAY. So live life with no regrets. Learn and grow into the child of God you already are. (DLS)
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
3. Start Your Day with God
Do you remember those years in school when you crammed for tests? In college, I pulled many an all-nighter studying for an exam. The problem was by the time I got to the test, I was exhausted and couldn’t remember anything. The result was never positive. I am confessing today that I also used to cram for Bible studies.
Over the years, I’ve participated in countless Bible studies: Bible Study Fellowship, Community Bible Study, Beth Moore Studies, studies by Priscilla Shirer and others. The photo above is of a closet shelf in my old house where I placed completed studies. You get the picture. However early on, instead of reading the material daily like it was designed, I would wait until the last minute and try to do all five days in one sitting. Have you ever done that? Maybe you still do! 🙂
I had a good excuse. I was working full-time and was a mom of two young boys. I didn’t have time to do the study daily, nor did I have any extra minutes in the mornings to carve out since I had to get ready for work and take the boys to school.
However my thinking made a sharp turn at an evening Bible study that I attended. At one of the lectures the teacher said, “How can you complain about your day at the end of the day if you don’t start your day with God?”
That question was like an arrow that pierced my soul.
I chewed for a while on this concept. I had complained many times about my day when it was over. There might have been work problems, kid issues, or household inconveniences. I realized that if I gave each day to God, whatever happened had his covering, and I needed to trust him to guide me through it.
So I was convicted and started getting up thirty minutes earlier each day to begin my day with God. It wasn’t easy. I remember my alarm was already buzzing at 6:00 a.m., so when 5:30 a.m. rolled around it seemed extremely early. But I drug myself out of bed, and with a cup of hot coffee in my hand, I did my lesson, read the Bible and prayed over the day. You know what? My day did seem to go better because I asked God to bless it.
There are many passages about the importance of morning-time with the Lord, and Jesus set the perfect example. In Mark 1:35 it says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Psalm 143:8 says, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
That was twenty years ago, and I cannot imagine not starting my day with God. In fact, I look forward to this special, intimate time with my heavenly Father. Instead of thirty minutes, sometimes my morning quiet time goes an hour or two, because I cannot get enough of the teaching and I want to scrape everything off of my plate onto His world-sized plate. He has the capacity to handle what overwhelms us!
As I think about my morning ritual, I realize God represents three C’s in my life, my Confidante, Counselor and Caretaker. I can tell Him anything, He shows me how to live my life, and I know He watches over me. It’s a profound truth. He wants first place in our lives and it starts with giving the Lordship of our days over to him— first thing in the morning.
When I was in my mid-thirties, I was having a horrible time with friendships. I gave all I had, but I still couldn’t seem to avoid getting hurt.
Then I met Moina. With her warm heart and Oklahoma accent, she swooped me up and explained to me that we’d be friends for life. I tried to explain my doomed friendship history. You see, when it comes to friends, I haven’t had the easiest time. But over chai and a bagel, Moina explained that I didn’t have a friend problem but a perspective problem. “Let me tell you, beautiful (she always uses terms of endearment), we all have friends for a reason, season, or life. It’s up to us to determine which type of friend the person is. Now you, gorgeous (she winked at me), are my friend for life.” I was dumbfounded by her simple but insightful revelation.
As I began to ponder Moina’s words of wisdom, I realized that I have had some beautiful friendships that developed from school and work; however, our friendships faded once our reason to gather was gone. I still have some very close friends; but as with the seasons, we have all moved to different states and seasons in our lives. Some friendships just faded, others exploded, but some have stood the test of time. Those few whom I love to call “Lifers” are truly treasured friends.
Sadly, I lost a beloved Lifer to cancer, but as I look back on Moina’s wisdom, I realized we were and still are “forever” friends.
I am now in a time in my life where yet again, friendships are fading as life changes are pulling me into a new season. I am sad that there are friends whom have slowly left my life, but I try to thank the Lord for them while they were in my life. Through the years I have said good bye to many amazing friends; however, I am forever grateful by the gifts their friendship gave me. The lessons I’ve learned and the memories I have are truly immeasurable.
So, do you have friends who are in your life for a reason or a season? Who are our “Lifers?” Take a moment to take stalk in who you have in your life and why. You may need to release someone as their reason or season is over, or you may need to elevate someone to “Lifer” status. You are blessed and you are a blessing! (DLS)
A friend loves at all times… (Proverbs 17:17).
Remind me of this the next time I blog about a “problem,” but this was a profound teaching I received over the weekend at the Global Media Summit I attended. Brad Bright, CEO of the Bright Media Foundation and son of Campus Crusade for Christ founder, Bill Bright, convinced me that I don’t have problems. He asked, When we have what we call a problem “What attribute of God are we struggling to believe?”
I just wrote a book about the Father’s attributes like God is loving, God has a plan for us, God provides for us, God gives us strength when we don’t have it ourselves. You get the picture. So when we have a “problem” why is it so difficult to see it as a part of a much larger picture that we are not privy to?
I know that every time I begin to have a pity party, God will put someone in front of me who has it worse. But I was enjoying feeling sorry for myself. Inevitably I will repent of my complaining and ask to trust God in the scenario, no matter how dire.
Brad Bright also said that instead of viewing something as a problem, look at it as “an opportunity to see the Master work.”
As I scan my life, I’ve overcome fatherlessness, a mentally ill mom, major career and financial crashes, illness and situational depression. However, in all of these cases, it was an opportunity for the Master to work. He was adjusting something in me or my family and it was all for His glory and for our edification. Instead of coming out weaker, I emerged stronger and was able to help others through what I endured.
In the Message translation, Hebrews 12:2 says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”
I want to follow Jesus’ lead, don’t you? Just this morning, I was pleading with Him, “Help me to stay focused, Lord! Help me to remain fixed on whatever gives glory to you, and not anything that takes me away from your plan for my life.”
At the beginning of his message, Brad Bright asked us to raise our hands if we had a problem. Almost everyone in the room raised their hands high in the air. At the end, he asked again if we had a problem, and aloud, I confidently replied, “NO!” People laughed at my assuredness, but he had convinced me. What about you? Do you have problems? (LBW)