January 14, 2017

Belief, Hope and Faith

It is a blessed Saturday, and I am sitting at the computer and thinking about all that I have to be thankful for this good, good day. I slept well, that is a HUGE praise, but I also am feeling better, and as such, I am lifting up a sacrifice of praise simply for the blessing of feeling well again. I was very concerned yesterday, after having woken up with a sore throat, that I was going to come down with the same “crud,” that my Dad had last week (headache, sore throat, upper respiratory congestion, etc.). I felt pretty poorly last night, and then after dinner, I really thought I was going to be down for the count this weekend. This is MY WEEKEND for writing my dissertation, so I simply could not have any sickness way me down. But, praise be to God, I woke up feeling better. I still have some lingering scratchiness in my throat, but overall, I am feeling much better. At the least, I am feeling rested, and well, that is such a good thing.

Today is Saturday as I mentioned, and it is January 14, and that means we are almost mid-way through the first month of 2017. I cannot believe that we are at the mid-point of this month, and that in less than two months, I will be finished with my dissertation. Of course, I have a lot more work to do, but for now, I am content to put to paper what I do have completed. I have placed all my faith in God for this outcome. I have let my entire career, my academic pursuit of the “illustrious” PhD go, because I simply couldn’t manage it and my jam-packed school/teaching schedule. I have too much on my plate, and as such, I am struggling to keep my head above water. Yet, I know my God, and He is faithful, always faithful. My belief, my hope, and my faith run together today as I look to His mighty hand of blessing to see me through this last phase, this last push. I am ready, so ready to graduate, and I need His help — 100% of His help — to do this last bit of work. I need my God to show up and to defeat the giant that stands before me. I believe He will do something wonderful today. I believe He will show up and do this good work through me. I believe and I hope that in His Name, in His Power, and in His Strength, I will do what He asks of me this good, good day. I believe it. I stand committed to it, and I place all my faith in His Character, and in the fact that my God, my Lord, is faithful!

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV) says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it,” and I say, “Yes, Lord! I believe your word to me this good day!”
This morning, as I sat here at the computer, I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed regarding my current situation. I mean, I have everything to be happy about, to be filled with joy, and to feel so content — yet — my enemy was hard pressing doubts into my mind, and with those doubts, I began to “self-talk” in negative ways. We all do it, you know, talk negatively about ourselves, but often we forget that the negative self-talk is one of the ploys of our enemy. The devil desires us to be condemned, and though we are no longer condemned by God for our sins (former, present and future), he uses negative talk, hate speech, and whatever other tools he can to make us feel defeated and deflated. If we give into self-talk, this negative behavior, and we allow our enemy to persuade with these thoughts, we will end up believing his lies as truth. It is so important to stop this pattern, to short-circuit it, and to keep these lies at bay. 

One of the best ways to do that is simply to recognize it when it happens. I find that sometimes the words just pop out of my mouth, and they have no rhyme or relation to what I am saying or thinking at the time. I might be driving, and all of a sudden I will say, “Lord, I want a new life!” I will hear myself say this, and then I think, “Wait a minute! My life is pretty good. I like my life. I love my job. Where did this come from?” Or, I might say, “I am no good at teaching. My students hate me.” I will hear myself saying these words, and think again, “This is not true. I may not be a great teacher, but I am not awful, and I know for a fact that my students do not hate me.”

I am not sure why these words come out of my mouth, because most often, they do so without me really being in control. I think it is because my mind is overwhelmed right now. I have so many details that I am trying to process, to keep in line, and I am often so exhausted that I cannot control my thoughts. I think my enemy has chosen this time, in particular, to attack me. He knows that my mind is filled with so much, that I am not resting as I should, and therefore, I am easy “prey” for his influence and spite-attacks. 

I know what to do, as I said, and I need to make it a point to stand my ground, and to refute these lies as they come. The more I ignore them, the more my enemy will take pot shots at me. My plan for today is to stand against these thoughts, to do as the Word instructs and take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (MSG) says that it is the Word, the very Word of God, that is the weapon we use to counteract the thoughts, the ideas, and the philosophies of the corrupt world we live in. I love the way the Message translation phrases this verse because I think it brings the truth home, so to speak:

We use our powerful God-tools [the armor of God including Word of God] for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

In verses 3-4 (AMP), we read "For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. 4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” Yes, God has equipped us with powerful weapons of warfare, the weapons we need to fight with our enemy and win. We must not forget that we are well-equipped for this battle, but that we must remember to use the Word of God, to use the very words of God whenever our enemy attacks us or tries to persuade us with lies.

Today, therefore, I rest in the fact that I am well-armed. I have the tools needed to do battle with my enemy. I can defend myself, and I can claim victory over my enemy simply because the Lord Jesus Christ has already been made victorious. He has overcome! He has overcome, and He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. This battle belongs to the Lord, but I must do my part and stand strong against the lies, the wickedness and the deceit that my enemy throws at me. I must stand, and today, this is exactly what I intend to do.
In Closing

This morning has been challenging of sorts. I woke up after a good night’s rest, but my enemy was bound and determined to have his way, and unfortunately for a short time, I fell prey to his evil lies. Thankfully, after some time in God’s word, and an affirming message from Joyce Meyer today, I was ready to stand strong against his vile attack, and with the Word of God as my weapon of choice, I was able to defeat my foe and send him packing. God is good, so very good to me! Praise be to God, He is good! Always, He is good!

Today, I have a lot on my plate. I have to write my chapter 4 (dissertation), and I have to work in my online classrooms. Moreover, I need to run to the store for some needed items, and in and through it all, I have to focus on everything that “must needs” be done. I realized while I was showering that I cannot do all that is being asked of me. I simply cannot do it all, but my God and my Savior, can. So I rest today. I let all the tasks and to-do’s go, and in this way, I trust that He will see them done. He will help me, guide me, and provide for me so that I can do everything that must be done this good, good day. He is good, always — He is so very good to me! Selah!

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