Taking Our Thoughts Captive

by Chris Manion

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

The year felt hard. My work as an author overwhelmed me. My shoulders and spirit sagged under the burden of what I felt called to do. Long signs gave evidence my lungs needed air after my thoughts pressed it out of me. Christmas neared and my heart hung heavy, not like the light-hearted child of God I am.

God spoke to my heart through a friend. “Your body is telling you you’re doing too much. You need to rest.” I heard the truth and embraced it. I went to bed early and slept nine hours, more than I’d slept in one night all year.

I recalled my husband’s words as we looked at the flowering bush in our yard that December morning: “Praise you, God, for your daily encouragement. Praise you, Creator of all beauty and life. Praise you, O wonderful Counselor, for your wisdom and truth that blooms in my heart.”  The bush continues to bloom.

When I finished praising Him, I noticed I was smiling. My heart lifted like a joyful child. I analyzed what just happened. I’d been obedient to His word of truth spoken through a friend. I rested my body, the temple of the Lord. The morning light filled that temple with grace and beauty. My spirit sang its praise. The overwhelming exhaustion as well as my focus on my shortcomings disappeared with the dark of night.

This practice of obeying God as He directs my life confirmed Paul’s command to the Corinthians above. I also heard Isaiah’s proclamation in my soul: “See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

More Scripture verses bubbled up in my mind like sparkling water. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me” (Psalm 28:7 NIV).

His directive to rest my body shielded me from my burdensome thoughts and gave me strength for this new day. Praise God and His blessings! Once again, God had shown me my childlike need to trust and obey Him. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Dear God, help me to control my thoughts by obeying you and enjoying your gifts of peace and joy that continue to bloom. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Chris Sauter Manion loves to speak from her core Scripture verse: “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). She’s an award-winning author, leadership expert, and inspirational speaker who uses skills from building a $20 million sales organization to help people of all ages embrace the give and take of a deepening relationship with God. Chris lives with her husband of forty-plus years in Florida‘s panhandle where she kayaks and photographs the Gulf coast’s natural beauty. She is a grandmother of five wee ones and loses all sense of time when gardening, creating and cooking. Reach out to her at www.ChrisManion.com

Join the conversation: How do you attempt to control your thoughts?

This Really Happened.

by Nan Corbitt Allen

Years ago, when we were serving in a small country church, a lady stood up in the Wednesday night prayer meeting and requested prayer. It was not for herself, she said, but for Laura. Seems Laura was going through a difficult time and needed God’s touch. Well, the church member went on to describe Laura’s woes. It seemed that Laura had a premonition that something bad was going to happen and it did. A friend of Laura’s was shot by a deranged acquaintance, Mickey, who has had amnesia since he returned from the Korean war…

Wait. What?

It didn’t take long for the rest of the congregation to realize that this prayer request was for characters on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. The pastor looked at the lady with sympathetic eyes, and, finally realizing what the rest of us understood, he prayed for Laura while most of us snickered under our breaths.

But for most of us, it was a time to realize that the truth can be skewed by a perception—even a sincere belief.

Many years ago, I heard this story that has stuck with me:

The three-alarm fire started in an upstairs bedroom. By the time the first responders arrived, the building was in full blaze. A young couple and their three-year-old son stood outside huddled together, all sharing a blanket.

“My baby, my baby is still in there!” the mother shouted. “She’s still in her crib.”

The brave fire fighter rushed into the burning building, battling the smoke and flames. Finally, he saw the infant’s crib. Quickly, the man grabbed the child, wrapped it in a blanket, and prayed that he’d make it out of the house alive with the baby. Outside, the mother rushed to the fire fighter, grabbed her baby, and began to thank the man for the rescue. But then, her relief turned to horror. As she peeled back the layers of the tiny blanket, she didn’t see the beautiful face of her child, but the artificial features of a life-like doll that had also been lying in the crib. The fire fighter truly believed that he had picked up the child, but he had been mistaken. A classic case of being sincere, but being sincerely wrong.

Sincerity and even honesty are revered in our culture. In fact, these are admirable traits in a biblical context as well. Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9 “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). How do we know what is true? It will align with what the Bible teaches. Period.

I later found out that the lady in prayer meeting had a history of dropping out of reality, and I was truly sad for her. Yet sometimes, we can make the same error by assessing a situation before having all the facts or by accepting a half-truth as the whole. That’s how gossip and spiritual tangents develop.

Paul addressed this in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV), “…[take] every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” To me this means that we should test everything that we hear or read before we start to believe or internalize it. Many core beliefs are not based on truths (those found in Scripture), but on what we want to hear, “…wanting to have [our] ears tickled …”  (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV).

It’s easy to mistake sincerity for Truth. So, test everything. Pray about everything. Don’t believe everything you hear.

P.S. As for Laura and Mickey, I’m sure they figured it out. We prayed for them anyway.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Nan Corbitt Allen

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books. Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.jpeg

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: What truth has been skewed in the past for you by a misconception?

Trusting God in a Season of Uncertainty

by Lee Ann Mancini

I have heard your prayers. I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.  2 Kings 20:5 NIV

“Hi, Mrs. Mancini,” I heard a faint voice saying. Slowly, I opened my eyes and began to register that, once again, surgery was finished. This time, I had required a complete removal of my thyroid. Only three months prior, I had undergone surgery for avascular necrosis of the third metatarsal. What is that, you ask? It is when the bone in the middle toe of your foot begins to die.

I was carrying a large biblical commentary when, all of a sudden, I somehow managed to drop it on my foot. Unfortunately for me, the book did not land on its flat surface, which would have allowed the weight to be evenly distributed. Instead, the corner of the massive book struck my middle toe like a sharp-pointed knife! Wincing in pain, I told myself with resignation, “Well, that’s going to hurt for a while.” Little did I know that, only eight months later, I would require surgery.

Why do I mention my surgeries?

Well, I suffer from anxiety. Normally, just the thought of having to lie in bed for two weeks with my foot propped up above my heart—or the thought of possibly never being able to talk again should my vocal cords accidentally be cut—would normally have sent me into full panic mode. However, I am thankful to say the Lord was gracious to me, and this did not happen.

We all go through seasons of tests and trials, however, during those two recent health issues, I decided that I would earnestly focus on learning to trust God completely first and foremost. I wanted to rely on the Word of God, pray to the Lord in confidence, and trust in His promises without reservation.

Whenever a fearful thought began creeping into my mind, I would take that thought and bring it directly to Christ. “We demolish arguments and ever pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

Do you earnestly seek the Lord in prayer during difficult times? Do you recite a particular Bible verse to help ease your mind as you feel anxiety creeping in? Or do you focus on the situation and dwell on the problem?

This time I didn’t dwell on the problem, but told my Father that I would accept whatever outcome He had planned for me. I was determined to praise Him no matter what the result. The Lord rewarded me by giving me peace and comfort through the entire process both surgeries entailed.

May the Lord protect and guide your hearts and minds during these very stressful days. May you be drawn closer to the Lord, trusting him and praising him. He promises to give you peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)!

TWEETABLE
Trusting God in a Season of Uncertainty – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lee Ann Bio PictureAbout the author: Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Sea Kids book series and an executive producer of the new Sea Kids animation series.

Lee Ann’s book, Forever with Jesus, teaches children how wonderful heaven is: no more tears, pain, or suffering. When their neighbor passes away, the children in the story learn that they do not have to fear death, because their belief in Jesus guarantees they will live forever with Him.

Join the conversation: What has helped you in dealing with anxiety?

 

How to Resist A Donut

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

On a recent morning at 6 a.m., as I walked home from our neighborhood work-out room, I felt drained by the unusual humidity along with the 90-degree temperature (yes, I live in the desert). Tomorrow morning, I’ll have to drive the car. And then the most delicious thought entered my mind.

After I finish, I’ll go get a donut.

Oh! What motivation to drive the car to the gym. I felt delightfully sneaky. I could already taste my favorite donut—the sugar cinnamon spice. What does it matter I’m trying to eat healthier? I deserve a donut!

Then my spiritual eyes were opened and 2 Corinthians 10:5 came to mind: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” ( ESV).

I saw Satan’s ploy to destroy my self-control by using a tactic of mine I developed in childhood. I often felt like the possibilities offered me were promises. Most often they were not fulfilled. I shared a room with my sister and always wanted my own room. At one point, most likely when I was a pre-teen, my mother mentioned, “Daddy and I are thinking of making the garage into your own bedroom.” What great news! I felt important and valued.

Emotionally, I waited on the edge of my seat for the next mention of the coming transformation. But my parents never brought up the idea again. In my insecurity, I didn’t ask about it because I feared hearing, “We aren’t going to do it.” Such an answer would feel like rejection, affirming my mistaken belief that I didn’t deserve anything special.

My hope died a slow painful death. I’m sure my parents thought I’d forgotten. I’m not even important enough for them to tell me they changed their mind.

Somehow in my complicated way of thinking, I began to hate being disappointed, even by myself. I believed “a broken promise equals rejection.” My warped need for self-control made sure I kept any promise to myself—like getting a donut—even if I couldn’t control other people.

All this was involved on that morning when I promised myself a donut. But I was willing to allow God to empower me to take every thought captive to obey Christ. 

Kathy, if you continue to promise yourself this donut, by tomorrow morning, it’ll be even harder to resist. Praise God, I saw the lie and refused to be caught in Satan’s web.

As I studied the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:5, I began to envision any thought as an arrow headed toward my heart and mind. I could take each thought “captive” and examine it whether it aligns with Scripture and its the truth. Then I could reject the lie and receive the truth.

By commandeering our thoughts and evaluating them, asking for the Spirit’s power, we choose obedience, resulting in God’s power being seen by others—to his glory.

TWEETABLE
How to Resist A Donut – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about teaching how to trust God more. The author of more than 55 books, one of her most recent is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her books include Bible studies, Bible commentaries, and Christian living topics like parenting, spiritual transformation, marriage, and God’s nature. She is a popular women’s conference speaker who has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Join the conversation: Do you have a lie that keeps running through your mind?