Friday, August 8, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight of JOY!


I spent a lot of time awake last night, struggling with my thoughts. By the time I woke up this morning, I came to a conclusion. Satan cannot lick me.
Why not? I am Christ's, and Christ destroyed him who had the power of death (that is, the devil) and through Christ I take part in that victory. I am already the winner, if I don't quit.
I read a bit in proverbs this morning- always a good place to read when you need to curtail your emotions.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Sometimes I hate the strife and bickering that can happen with four children at home all day. This says I can lead with a gentle answer, and turn away anger.

Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
So it's my choice today, if I will talk about myself as if I am well, or if I will say what the devil says (which is usually: you'll die young, you must have cancer, you are very afraid... The usual rigamarole). But that kind of talk crushes the spirit. This very day, I can use my tongue to speak healing in my home, to my body, to those around me. This will in turn produce more and more life and health.

Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Again, this is my choice. It may not seem like it at first, after all, if I don't have a happy heart, then there's nothing I can do, right? Not so. I am a spirit, created in the image of God. I tell my heart what to do, think, and feel. It doesn't tell me. David said in the psalms, "Bless the Lord, o my soul"! I must tell my heart today how it's going to be. I did that before I even got out of bed. Today is going to be a good day, and I am going to be cheerful. Even if I don't feel it on the inside, I will SMILE.
If heartache crushes the spirit, I will not meditate on any places of heartache. I will bring them before the Lord, like Much Afraid did, and then leave them there as a sacrifice. I don't need to carry heartaches around with me and let them needle me all day.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
He wouldn't have mentioned this if I had no choice about it. What good is it to be oppressed, and then have God tell you that the rest of your life will be wretched? No! I WILL have a cheerful heart, and thus, a continual feast! (For help with this, go over to Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Journal, and see how life can truly begin to be a continual feast, newly refreshed each day.)

Proverbs 15:16-17 Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
*Better is little accomplished, and a simple meal eaten in fellowship, than a harried mother, and a snarly supper.

Verse 18 A hot tempered man (or mommy) stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
*Blessed are the peacemaking mommies, for they will be called the daughters of God.

19 The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.
This one bothered me at first. Whenever I read it it says to me: your way is blocked due to your lack of true devotion. I may not like hearing that, but I praise God that He keeps saying it, because I do want the path of the upright: a highway.

Proverbs 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
I here have the opportunity to do for my children what will give them a joyful heart (giving my cheerful looks) but also this benefits me, because who doesn't love the adoring gaze of a smiling child. It's like a reciprocal circle. I sow smiles, gratitude, joy, and I get it back from them. Isn't that how we could be with God? Last night I felt angry at God, bitter. Couldn't I instead come to Him in childlike faith, and say, "Lord, I believe in You, I rejoice in all You do. You are a good God, and I am happy to know You." I suspect that then my late night stewing would have quelled. Blaming God for what very well may be my own fault just isn't a source of peace. Coming to Him and acknowledging His true goodness is. It helps us to trust Him, and when we use our faith, it pleases God. (By the way, I should have just gotten out of bed and read my bible, rather than lying there stewing. I've learned this lesson before, but I guess last night was a refresher.)

Lastly:

Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
The Word tells me that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. This verse is for me. He hears (gives audience to) my prayers. This is cause to rejoice. I have no reason to be bitter today. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

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