“When guilt rears its ugly head, gratitude is the best strategy to defeat it.”~TB
The Shame Game
I have an annoying tendency to downplay my talents and strengths while drilling down on my areas of improvement. More interesting, I know a lot of people who do that too, which makes me wonder why? I could be “killing it” in different areas of my life, but if I’m not paying attention, my inner video of “greatest shame hits” plays, attempting to eclipse the victories that have occurred. When we lean into those shameful periods and feelings, we fall trap into negative cyclical thinking that ultimately steers us back to the very behaviors we’d like to avoid. An untethered mind is a dangerous place. We all have different inner voices, ideas, and thoughts that can uplift or deter us, which is why it’s so important to know who and what you’re listening to.
Attitude of Gratitude
So instead of focusing on your past transgressions (we all have them) look at the gifts and grace that God provides you with gratitude. We’ve all been spared the wrath that we each justly deserve and there are so many minor miracles that we all tend to forget about, but they occur each and every day. If you find yourself in a new position, be grateful and reflect on the situations you’ve experienced that prepare you for this new road. The opposition deceives you when you believe that being down and out is the only way of life. Gratitude defeats the nefarious schemes of shame and the opposition. It allows us to see ourselves as God sees us. God’s Will is mighty and wondrous, but it is up to us to individually and consistently put down our cup of shame and pick up the peace of gratitude.
Are you listening to the lies of shame or embracing God’s mercy with gratitude?
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1This is the message the LORD gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah:
2“Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the LORD ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.”
3So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families.
4I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper.
5I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink,
6but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine.
7And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’
8So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters.
9We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops.
10We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor.
11But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.”
12Then the LORD gave this message to Jeremiah:
13“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me.
14The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me.
15Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me.
16The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’
17“Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’”
18Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’
19Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”
“God will release you from your bondage, but you must leave your mindset of captivity.”~TB
Vital lies occur when you tell yourself not to expect better ot that your chains aren’t so bad. When you’ve felt trapped for prolonged periods of time, a survivalist mentality sets in. In times of trouble, many rely on their own understanding and not God’s, often doing more harm than good! Don’t lean on your broken thinking unless you wish to remain enslaved. Friends, God did not call you to live in fear or captivity. In order to move past the wilderness, you have to throw off old behavior and cling to the Truth.
The Israelites took 40 years instead of 11 days because they did not trust in the Lord nor did they abandon their old ways. The wilderness is no longer a physical desert, but a negative cyclical spiral within the mind. In Christ you can overcome this, but you must face your reality. Ask yourself, how long with you allow a broken mindset hinder your reliance on Christ? What could you accomplish if you stepped out in faith and left your chains? God has set you free, but you must act on it. If you do not know where to start, ask Him and He will show you.
Are you letting broken chains hold you in the wilderness?
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1The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
2O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,
3do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.
6Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress.
7Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.
9Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
19Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
“As you grow in Christ it’s important to discern the difference between conviction and condemnation.”~TB
Each step you take, following Christ, you will see that your old misdeeds of yesterday no longer bring you the same pleasure as they once did. Even still, as you mess up, you will feel the Holy Spirit correct you in your wrongdoing. Conviction is the tug from the Holy Spirit letting you know that you’re doing wrong. It brings you closer to God. Friends, take joy in the correction of conviction. This means that your flesh is being tamed day by day. While we will always fall short of perfection, the conviction of your sin and the condemnation that may occur after are two separate things.
Once you’ve confessed your transgressions to God and have turned away from your wayward behavior, that’s it. Notice how God does not harp on you about who you were yesterday, let alone a decade ago. If you feel the weight of sins that you’ve confessed and fled from creep into your life, that is not of God. Condemnation is the recurring guilt of old behaviors you left behind. Condemnation brings guilt and shame, making you feel stuck, ultimately leading you away from God. The opposition will use this to get you off your walk Consult God daily to understand what is conviction and what is condemnation.
Have you spent time with God and the Word to know the difference?
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1Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.
2The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life.
3Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.
4Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.
5Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.
6Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?
7The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
8When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
9Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
10False weights and unequal measures — the LORD detests double standards of every kind.
11Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.
12Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD .
13If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!
14The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain!
15Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.
16Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.
17Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth.
18Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.
19A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.
20If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness.
21An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.
22Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.
24The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
25Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.
26A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them.
27The LORD ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
28Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.
29The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.
30Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.
“Don’t give the devil more credit than he deserves.”~TB
To understand what you’re up against, you must know your battlefield. There are three things that will constantly test you. Know what you’re up against so that you can pass your tests. Give credit where it is due, but don’t let these things rule over you.
There is no reason to fear the devil. The enemy can only do so much to you. When you give credit to the evil one for all of the struggles in your life, you are abdicating your responsibility in the decisions that you make. You have to make the choice to act on his influence, he can’t force you to sin.
As sin-fallen creatures, your flesh will always desire ungodly things. Power, sex, money, these are temptations that you must control your flesh around, otherwise, you will be ruled by them. You control your flesh, not the devil. So when you screw up, credit yourself, not him. Read the Word to tame your flesh. Lean on the Holy Spirit to form a disciplined thought life. You can to actively choose to deny your flesh, don’t sleep on your authority.
The world is a vile place that will chop and screw you up if you let it. Society mocks what is good, branding it as ‘lame’ or ‘uncool’. Do not fall for the illustrious ways of the world. It will seduce you into debt, jealousy, shame, violence, and destruction. The world is quite influential if you give it credit. But even still, you make the choice to buy shiny things you cannot afford. You make the decision to adhere to sinful practices in order to gain influence. You choose to deny God because you bow down to the pressure of your peers.
Are you taking credit for your choices or is it always someone else’s fault?
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1My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.
2If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.
3Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
4Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
7Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
9Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.
10Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.
11My child, don’t reject the LORD ’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
13Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.
14For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
15Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
16She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.
17She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.
18Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
19By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens.
20By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky.
21My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them,
22for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace.
23They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.
24You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
27Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
28If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”
29Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you.
30Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm.
31Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways.
32Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly.
33The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright.
34The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.
35The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!