Purity 275 11/26/2020
Today’s photo was taken by me while I was working out on Sullivan Rd in Esperance NY yesterday. It may not be terribly stunning but at the moment I was taken by the way the sun’s brilliance made itself known even through the clouds over the pines and the way the road stretched into the distance.
I share it today because it’s the most recent picture that I have taken and for better or worse it reflects a part of my life in the here and now. On Thanksgiving we can fondly remember this day in years past, but we can also be brought into depression if we are looking back and hoping to recreate days gone by that are impossible to replicate. So while I’m pretty sure that we can say that we have all had better Thanksgivings before, especially this year, I want to focus on the fact that we still have much to be thankful for today.
Ironically, 2020 has actually been one of the best years in my life as I have been led by the Spirit to new accomplishments and a new home, all in the midst of the chaos of Covid-19. I kept hoping, praying, and living in the Spirit during this pandemic and the Lord has been with me every step of the way, bringing me from glory to glory. While there have been moments of struggle, I kept looking forward and doing what I had to do, and the Lord has blessed me beyond measure.
Part of the secret to successfully living in the Spirit is to continually stay in His presence through prayer and trying to follow the Lord’s will for your life, or as I have simplified it as: talking and walking with God.
I would also suggest adopting an attitude of gratitude as a daily spiritual practice.
So, if 2020 hasn’t been so great for you, here are some things everyone can be thankful for:
We are thankful that we are alive and have the ability to live the life we choose.
Although not in perfect health, we have the health we have and the abilities to do the things we can today. It may be less than what we’ve had in the past, and it may be less tomorrow as we age, but it is what it is and we should appreciate where we are here and now. We are thankful for our health.
We may have lost loved ones, but we have the memories of their love and the things they have taught us. We are thankful for the lost.
We have friends and family that are alive. They may not be spending the day with us, but they are still with us and prayerfully we will see them again. We are thankful for our friends and family.
We have a place to live. Although some of my friends have been homeless at times, none of them are homeless this year. We pray for those who are. We are thankful for our homes.
We have work or benefit from those who do. Some have the ability to work, some are retired, some are out of work, some are disabled, some have a job, and others are working today. We are thankful for what work, that of ourselves or others, has provided for us.
We can rest. Many have the day off, some don’t, but all of us have times where we can rest and enjoy our lives. We are thankful for rest!
We have a God above it all. Whether you believe in Him or not, He has created the universe we live in and shaped the history of this planet and continues to be sovereign over it all. He provides the weather and causes the world to produce air to breathe, water to drink, and the conditions for food to grow. He does this for all. He sent Christ to die for our sins and offers freedom over sin and death to all who place their faith in Him. This is His invitation to all. I am thankful to God for all that He is and all that He does. It is my hope that today, we are thankful for God.
There is much more to be thankful for, from the mundane to the profound, we experience a better life when we focus on all that we have rather than the things we don’t have. We experience a life of peace, hope, love, and joy when we welcome God into our lives and remain in His presence. It is my prayer that all who read this have a Happy Thanksgiving and discover the life that God has for you.
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This morning’s meditation verse was:
Psalm 118:5 (NLT): In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.
If there was a verse that describes my walk with God, I would say that this one certainly could be it. I have literally cried out to the Lord, prayed for His deliverance and He has set me free in ways that I had never thought were possible.
This Thanksgiving, I am experiencing more freedom than I have in my entire life and it is only because God revealed the truth of Jesus Christ, brought me into His kingdom, and somehow I have endeavored to follow Him into the new life He made for me. . Every day I look out my kitchen window or step on my front porch and look out at the Hudson River, I am overcome with joy because I know what He has brought me through and that He has brought me here.
If you are not living a life of freedom, peace, joy, and love, commit yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Savior and Follow Him.
Today we continue to share from Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss taking every thought captive and detecting “viruses”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:
Taking Every Thought Captive
The most damaging thoughts we entertain are lies about ourselves and God. That is the subject of the next two chapters, but we should note here that the apostle Paul makes a critical connection between thoughts we have toward God and the potential spiritual battle going on for our minds.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5, NIV).
Computer programmers coined the term "GIGO," which means garbage in, garbage out. If we put garbage into our minds we will probably live a life that looks and smells a little bit like garbage. Jesus said, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart" (Luke 6:45).
We have to be very careful what we put into our minds; hence the urgency of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. It doesn't make any difference whether the renegade thought originated from the television set, the radio, a book, a speaker, from your own memory bank or from deceiving spirits. Even if it is an original thought of our own, we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
If what you are thinking is not true according to God's Word, then don't pay attention to it. Instead, do what the apostle Paul says to do:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8).
You don't get rid of negative thoughts by trying not to think of them. You overcome them by choosing the truth and continuing to choose it until the negative thoughts are drowned out or completely replaced by the truth. If you want to experience the freedom that Christ purchased for you and the peace of mind that passes all understanding, then choose to think only those thoughts that perfectly align with the Word of God.
Computer owners have all been warned about the potential for their computers contracting a "virus." A virus can cause severe damage to existing programs already loaded into the computer. Computer viruses are often not accidental, but intentional. They may come from store-wrapped software that gets contaminated by disgruntled employees. In addition, some devious people have purposefully created programs that are designed to introduce a killer virus into any system that accesses them. Therefore, most computer systems have programs that scan for viruses. Similarly, we need to have the capability to stand against the deceiver.
It is not always easy to detect a virus in our own belief system, because the major strategy of the enemy is deception. Every Christian is subject to tempting, accusing and deceiving thoughts. That is why we are to put on the armor of God. That is why we are to stand against the fiery darts Satan aims at our minds by taking up the shield of faith.
The most devious of Satan's schemes is deception. If you were tempted or accused, you would know it. But when you are deceived you don't know it. That is why Jesus prays for those who would follow Him, "'I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one....Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth'" (John 17:15, 17).
From the very beginning Eve was deceived, and she believed a lie. So Paul writes, "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Commenting about the later days of the church age, Paul also wrote, "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1).
We have seen evidence of this around the world—people struggle with their thoughts, have difficulty concentrating and even hear "voices." These voices or negative thoughts are usually self-condemning, suicidal, delusional and phobic. They result in feelings of guilt, hopelessness, sadness and deep despair.
These symptoms are what therapists typically associate with severely depressed people, both bipolar and unipolar. Of course, it's depressing to think those kind of thoughts! If a depressed person shared those symptoms with a secular therapist or doctor he would assume that a chemical imbalance is the cause and would likely place the client on some kind of antipsychotic medication and/or antidepressant. The consensus of opinion in the secular world is that severe depression needs to be treated with medication and milder depression requires therapy.
Again, we have to be careful that we don't rule out that possibility all together; but serious questions need to be asked. How can a chemical change a personality? How can our neurotransmitters randomly fire in such a way as to produce a thought that one is opposed to thinking? That is hard to believe. It should be much easier for the Christian to believe that those negative thoughts were patterns of the flesh learned from living in a fallen world, or the fiery darts from Satan that Scripture has clearly warned us about. A therapist with a secular worldview would not even consider such a possibility.
In our experience, the symptoms described reveal a battle for the mind more times than not. Instead of medication, or in addition to medication if they are already under a physician's care, we help these people resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts by submitting to God and resisting the devil (see James 4:7). The intervention we use is the Steps to Freedom in Christ (see appendix).
The apostle Paul spoke of "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension," that is able to "guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). Potentially, every born-again Christian should be able to experience that peace. Although most Christians apparently are not experiencing that freedom in Christ, we believe that they could, and that God desires it for all His children.
Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.
God bless you all!