Meditation: Life-Giving Thoughts

If you are ever tempted to question what God is doing in your life, I encourage you to read Job 38, 39, 40, 41, 42:1-3. It will bring you right back into righteous perspective.

God is so great. His wisdom is beyond anything we can comprehend or grasp. Here is one verse to meditate on. Job 38:36 says, “Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?”

I was meditating on Genesis 2:7. It says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Think about this scene with me. Dust. No life. We are created in the image of God. When he created Adam, he fully equipped his body to function through His breath. That means the brain and all of its intricate work. All the vital organs, miles of blood vessels that carried oxygen to every cell, the right stomach acid and healthy gut bacteria to digest his food.

Adam had no sin. The wisdom of God was within him. In Genesis 2:19-20 it says that God formed animal life, and then brought them to Adam. He named them: cattle, birds, and every beast. Think about birds. Here are a few: cardinal, finch, sparrow, and eagle. With his brain, fully functioning, he named every creature that God made.

Psalm 145:5 says, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.” When we meditate on God’s work through His word, we fill our bodies with life-giving health and energy. It is the negative thoughts, and the unresolved issues that destroy our health.

Proverbs 3:5-8 says that when we trust Him with all of our heart, acknowledge Him in all of our ways, and fear Him through awe and worship, it will be health to all our flesh and strength to all our bones. The Hebrew thought in meditating was to utterly abandon all outside distractions. When I was meditating on Genesis 2:7 I felt like the walls of my brain were expanding because of the marvel and wonder of God. He is awesome beyond words (or thoughts).

Calming Anxiety

(I was two paragraphs into this when FB suddenly ‘had an error’ and I lost it all). Hmm. This must be very important to some)

Prolonged anxiety is very destructive to our health. Here are some symptoms of anxiety that I picked up from various Scriptures: worry, fretting, fear, smoldering anger, impatience, overwhelmed, wrought up, self-hatred, and self-rejection. 

The Lord created us with an internal mechanism which turns on when we are faced with danger. It is called fight or flight. It increases our heart rate and breathing as adrenaline pumps into our muscles. It readies our body to fight the danger or flee from it.

However, the brain does not distinguish between real danger and perceived danger. Therefore prolonged anxiety keeps our body in that fight or flight state. When I had the hidden mold in my house, my heart raced all the time. I dropped 21 pounds in three weeks. When I got out of there my heart stopped racing. The mold was hidden until the Lord revealed it to me.

Unresolved issues are also hidden. They keep our bodies in a constant state of anxiety. Why? It takes a lot of energy to keep something hidden. It may be unconscious. We may try to suppress or ignore it, but our brain doesn’t see it that way. The limbic system in our brain has everything locked in its memory.

How do we calm anxiety? First we need to recognize where it is coming from. If you feel anxious, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal its source. The root to any prolonged anxiety is lack of trust.

Matthew 6:25-34 is a great passage to help us grasp this truth. Verse 25 says, “…do not worry about your life…” Verse 26-30 says that the Father feeds the birds, He clothes the lilies, and the grass of the fields. At the end of the verse He gave the root of worry. It is a lack of faith. It is myopic vision. We are looking to ourselves or others, while burdening our heart with our circumstances that we have no control over.

Mark 11:23 says, “…Have faith in God.” If we put our faith in our own strength, others, or in hope that our circumstances will change we will be anxious. That is the flesh way which is futile. Philippians 4:6 Amplified says, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” 

The Lord knows what we need. He does not want us to carry a burden that is not ours to carry. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” True rest is releasing everything that constricts our faith. When our faith is freely flowing to and from the Lord, our inner being will be tranquil or serene.

Spiritual Acid Reflux

There are spiritual roots to disease. I was startled when the Holy Spirit showed me this one. I had never thought about it before. I do know that unresolved issues seep into our thought process.

What would spiritual acid reflux look like? Let’s take unforgiveness. Though the emotional pain is buried from your conscious thoughts, it is alive and oozing acid. You emotionally trigger if something reminds you of the person who hurt you, or the circumstance that radically changed your life.

True heart forgiveness destroys the record of wrongs, which is a detailed internal list. Forgiveness leaves no painful emotions to fester. The slate is clear. Forgiveness neutralizes the acid build up.

Here is an analogy from Proverbs 18:21. Death words are caustic or acidic. They corrode. Life-giving words are peaceful. They are full of encouragement, acceptance, and love. They are alkaline and therefore impart grace.

Bitterness causes chemical changes in our body. Toxic thoughts drip that ‘acid’ onto our neuro pathways in our brain which corrodes them. Bitterness is poison to our bloodstream. Acts 8:23 says, “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

Resentment is like cement that lines the bottom of our heart. Why do I say this? That is how I felt in 1983 when I began my healing journey. I had no idea how deeply ingrained it was until the Holy Spirit showed me. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Gossip, that juicy morsel, enters the chamber of our memory. It springs up unconsciously. Gossip taints our view of the person who spoke it, as well as the person who received it. Gossip creates inner defilement.

I hope this gives you something to think about. It did me. I do not want anything hidden that will fester and destroy my health from within. Confession of sin is God’s perfect way.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” That is our standing. It will never be changed or altered.

We are responsible to deal with painful issues as they come. That is our state. If we sin, we must confess it. When we acknowledge our sin, we are agreeing with what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

Discerning Thoughts

Who is truly in control? Job 34:14-15 brings everything into righteous perspective. It says, “If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.”

There are three types of thoughts. They can come from the Lord, fiery darts, or they seep up through unresolved issues. Yesterday morning, when I had the visual thought that created instant fear, I made my next thought praise.

When peace instantly returned to my body, I knew the thought was from the Lord. Praise opened my heart to receive the insight He wanted to give me.

How did I discern that? There was no fight that ensued. Had it been a fiery dart thought, I would have been engaged in a battle. Deuteronomy 20:12 stated a principle in warfare that we can follow. It says, “Now if the city will not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.”

The fiery dart is designed to penetrate. It can only do that if we do not fight. It is a suggestion. It usually comes in the first person, sneaking in stealthily. If we do not discern and block it, it will become a stronghold that the enemy uses to fight us from within.

Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Discernment comes through ingesting strong doctrine, and from dining with the Lord through intimate communion. It also comes from diversity as we read and walk in the full counsel of the Lord.

Therefore when we have God’s word hidden in our heart, the Holy Spirit will alert us to use it. He knows when the fiery dart is lobbed. He is our General in warfare. He is in control. When we follow His orders, we will wield our truth-sword and whack the fiery dart to pieces.

Redirecting Thoughts

The Lord popped a thought into my mind the moment I woke up. He wanted to illustrate a significant truth. In my mind I saw myself in a chairlift swinging out over a very deep canyon.

I would not be doing that in the natural! Instantly I felt fear. My whole body reacted. I redirected my next thought to praise. I praised the Lord for His power, and thanked Him for being in control of all things. My body calmed down.

Then He spoke these words into my heart: emotions are driven by your thoughts. I quickly got out of bed and wrote the words down in my notebook.

I have read numerous times that all disease starts in the gut. Fear is a great contributor. Why? When we are fearful, our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight. Yet, our brain does not distinguish between real or perceived fear. It reacts the same. Our heart rate goes up, our breathing increases, but our digestion either stops or decreases.

God has given us an amazing digestive system. However, we can compromise our health by entertaining unhealthy thoughts. According to the Hebrew thought, our gut is the seat of our more passionate emotions such as anger, love, or hate.

We need to translate that into our thought process. Can disease then be created by our thoughts? Constant anger or fear certainly negatively affects our digestion. Without healthy digestion our body would not function as the Lord intended.

Job 3:25-26 says, “For the thing that I feared the most has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.” Notice his words. His fear and dread caused his negative physical symptoms.

I am told, but have never searched it out personally, that there are 365 ‘fear not’ verses. I want to encourage you to recognize how your thoughts are driving your emotions. It is for your future health. Here is one ‘fear not’ verse that I love.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Setting The Course

Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” The Greek is to direct the mind. How do we do this? First we need something to direct it towards.

Picture this: on a blackboard there is a dot far to the left and a dot far to the right. When you draw a line from the left to the right is it straight? Not if I was drawing it. I need a ruler to connect the dots.

Truth within our heart is the ruler. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” We read about Job’s issues as they spring up through his questions. Yet in all the weaving back and forth he finds truth. Like a compass, his heart hones into true-north which is truth.

A cardiologist will use a heart monitor on their patient to find any heart irregularities. A dedicated believer has something far superior. The Holy Spirit is our Heart Monitor. When we are attentive to Him, He will reveal any irregularity in our heart’s beat.

What causes it to be irregular? Our negative thoughts, digested morsels of gossip, hidden unforgiveness, or buried emotional pain are classified as unresolved issues that spring forth when we least expect them.

Psalm 119:11 is a very familiar verse. It says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” When we dissect it, gems of truth are revealed.

God’s word is truth. Jesus said that it sanctifies our heart, or sets it apart for holiness. It is His word hidden in our heart that will spring up instead of unresolved issues when we are stressed, or emotionally hurt. May this encourage you to release your hidden issues to the Lord so He can truly be your Heart Monitor.

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He Drew Me Out of Deep Waters: encouragement for hard trials

Emotional Freedom: releasing the heart

Daily Thoughts: rich insights from my quiet time

Conversations With Impact

As I read through the book of Job this time, I have noticed something I wasn’t aware of before. Job is in the present. He is pouring out his heart to the Lord. Yet, his ‘friends’ are dragging things in from the past. They are questioning Job’s heart-words.

Yet Job’s questioning brought his heart back to stability through truth. Job 23:6 says, “Would He contend with me in His great power?…” The answer would be no. No one or thing can stand under God’s power. Job went on to say, “…No! But He would take note of me.” Aren’t those precious words?

Job 7:17-18 says, “What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?”

God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. At 5:30 this morning I was walking in the cool of the day. Everything was quiet. I was the one to break through the cobwebs. I was enjoying the sun’s blush of light. I was walking in the Presence of the Lord.

Job 10:12 says, “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.” The word preserved in the Hebrew means: to guard, keep, protect, watch over, care for, and safe keep.

At every moment of Job’s complex trial, the Lord was preserving him. He never took his eyes off Job. He did not get angry at Job’s questions like Job’s ‘friends’ did.

Here is what I noticed. When someone is upset, and they are pouring out their heart’s woes to us, we need to remain in the present. We will not be able to hone in on their present pain if we are reaching back into what we know about them in the past.

When we are not present with them, we will pull data from their past experiences which will cloud the moment. Our words, like Job’s ‘friends’ words, will tear them apart, rather than build them up. Their past does not define them. We need to hear their words in order to minister in the now to their heart through God’s stabilizing truth.

Processing In The Present

Though Job was in a deep trial, he processed his present through the hope of what he knew. Job 19:25-27 says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Job did not allow his calamity to define him. Neither does anything in our past define us. We can change our present thought through truth that will bring inner transformation.

We reinterpret our past through Jesus’ death. Here is what we know. Our past, present, and future sins are forgiven. They are cleansed through Jesus’ shed blood. We are freed from our slave block of sin.

Sin’s record against us was nailed to His cross. He took our place, paying the full penalty of our sin. Our past is passed. If you still feel bound to something from your past it’s only in your mind.

We have been set free to live in the present through our thoughts. Our old thought patterns will be transformed when we bring His freedom-truth to reside in our heart.

Even though Job was in absolute misery, he brought truth into his heart. Truth was his focus. Through his truth-focus he processed his past through his present. Let us do the same. Remember, a few minutes ago is now our past. We can’t change it, but we can change our attitude towards it.

What Do You Think?

Everyone has an opinion based on their past experiences. Job was hounded by his ‘friends’ because of what they thought they knew. Job 13:2 says, “What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.” Verse 4-5 says, “But you are forgers of lies, you are all worthless physicians. Oh, that you would be silent, and it would be your wisdom!”

These are words that we need to take to heart. Human (flesh) nature is quick to judge. Why? Romans 2:1 is the answer. It says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Hmm.

God’s judgment is what counts. At the beginning of the book of Job we read His judgment. In Job 1:8 God called Job His servant. He went on to say, “…there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.”

Psalm 15 is a great Psalm for us to adopt as a lifestyle that pleases the Lord. You can read it for yourself. I’ll recap: walks uprightly, speaks truth in his heart, does not backbite, does no evil to his neighbor, takes up no reproach against his friend, despises vile people, honors those who fear the Lord, stands by their word, and doesn’t exploit others.

I want to go back to ‘speaks truth in his heart’ because that is the key to sound judgment. Micah 6:8 says, “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” What we think becomes our words, actions, attitudes, and then habits.

What do you think? If it isn’t based on the truth of Scripture, it is your opinion based on your own erroneous belief system. A judgmental spirit is critical in their assessment, because they first judged in their heart against another. Beware of being a faultfinder. Your words will be void of heart and therefore not able to reach another’s heart.