To take captive everthing that enters my mouth and to take captive everything that comes out of my mouth so that I can give my mouth to God for His good pleasure

Friday, January 29, 2010


Who wants it? No one really! Nope, no one wants to be responsible, unselfish, and delay gratification. What I want, I want and I want it now....and not self-control. I don't just want soup and salad, I want steak and potatoes. After dinner I want pie, but pie alone won't satisfy, I need the slice to be really big with huge scoops of ice cream.

What is self-contol anyway? I hear it most when it comes to dieting. "I need a little self-control so I can lose a few pounds." How about a lot of self-control? How about self-control wholistically and not just here and there, wherever it suits or looks good?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power."

The way I see it, the lack of self-control has a lot to do with the list here in 2 Timothy. If I lack self-control I will make selfish decisions, I will hoard my money or spend it on myself, boast, disobey, etc...I just see the lack of self-control all over this. Let's say I have a little self-control, maybe I will not be treacherous or brutal but sometimes a little conceited or rash. I just don't see why not seek for as much self-control as I can get. But then I would have to give up something, the flesh!

Did you notice the last part of the 2 Timothy verse? "Having a form of godliness but denying its power." Woe! Guilty! Again, this is just more evidence of little self-control. Imagine a God"s people relying upon the power of the Spirit and giving up the flesh. Imagine God's people living by the Spirit. I am supposed to be a lover of God! I am supposed to be self-controlled.

Proverbs 25:28 says "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." In other words, when the devil attacks (which is all the time) I won't be able to defend myself or my boundaries, mostly because I won't have boundaries. I will most likely lose the battle.

I am a child of light and of the day. I don't belong to the night or to the darkness. I m not to be like others who are asleep, but I am to be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6) I am to be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (vs 8) I have been called, chosen, and equipped to fight the attacks of the devil. I am to prepare my mind for action, to be self-controlled, setting my hope fully on the grace to be given to me when Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)

I'm going to be in action. I am going to be attacked. Will I just surrender my life, my body, my soul because I just didn't have enough self-control? Should I live a life of pleasure, giving into the flesh because its easy and available or the fight is just too hard? I mean, how could a little giving in hurt me or anyone else? Why can't I have a little of the world and its pleasure? Because the flesh is weak giving in to sin which leads to death! How about I listen to the God who has called me? How about I get prepared? What if I avoid death and choose life? How about I start living in His power rather than denying it?

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:11-14

God is the source of self-control. He is the reason I need self-control and the reason I want self-control. He is the the provider of self-control. I just need to submit my own will for pleasure, indulgence, material goods, power, fame, etc., and I need to praise my God for His abundant power to give my more than a little self-control, but all the self-control I need to live an upright and godly life.

God will give me self-control that not only empowers me to resist a little chocolate, but the attacks of the flesh that call me to be lazy, unloving, selfish, hateful, angry, bitter, impulsive, materialistic, vain. pleasure seeking, ignorant, lacking in hope, and denying the power of God.

I haven't reached the point of full surrender. I still hold on to my own will. I may have released my little pinky finger, but my fist is still holds a grip. I struggle to submit my desires and live for God. The world just tastes so good. Don't get me wrong, I have been drunk on the Spirit of God and it is awesome and powerful and fulfilling. A life of Spirit would be ultimately satisfying, it would be a life with God, all His glory and power. Why wouldn't I want to live on the Spirit?

I pray that over this year my life will no longer reveal little self-control, but a life living on the power of God for full self-control....God-control. May God have control over my mouth and my life. It will take time. May God and all of you be patient with me. May God give me the power to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life.

Friday, January 22, 2010


"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6
Wow, the journey this year has already had some interesting days. Through normal everday vision, you might say the days have been ordinary, very typical. You might say, "I don't really see the challenge!" Oh, there has definitely been a challenge. Praise God for the journey!
God warns us of the spiritual battle and tells us to take up the armor of God. The Living Bible states it this way in Ephesians 6:13, "so use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up." 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roarying lion looking for someone to devour." We know the devil will attack. He attacks the ones he does not already own. He attacks the children of God. The devil attacks. Praise God for warning us!
I went into the year knowing the devil attacks. I knew that reading and studying the Bible and praying would give me strength. However, I forgot something I learned awhile ago: when the devil attacks. The devil attacks anytime we draw closer to God. He will do anything to stop us on our journey to be more like God. Anytime we set our minds and our hearts to serious devotion (which should be all the time), the devil attacks to stop us in our tracks! If he can stop us, he might just gain an extra soul to spend eternity with him in eternal death. Praise God for keeping us from eternal death!
Misery loves company! Actually this is a lie. Misery loves loneliness. He will drop you and leave you suffering all by yourself. There is no gain, no friendship, no joy, no fulfillment, no satisfaction. And no, there is no party in hell. Misery loves company only means that devil in all his misery only loves one thing, and it comes from hate. He hates you so much, that he wants you to suffer, too. He will attack when you are not self-controlled and alert. Praise God for truth and revealing the lies of satan!
So, I'm on this challenge to learn self-control. I am paying so much attention to self-control by listening to both flesh and spirit trying to determine which is which. I am trying to recognize the Spirit and rely upon him to make my decisions and ignore my fleshly desires to indulge, especially the indulgence of my stomach, more precisely my mouth. Not only does my flesh want food, it wants to say whatever I think is clever, funny, smart, self-promoting, and even hurtful if I'm angry. The Spirit leads me to be full, to only feast upon the Lord's provision. The Spirit helps me not to steal/take more than God intends. The Spirit let's me know when I've said things that are ungodly. I am trying to rely upon the Spirit to keep me from saying ungodly things at all. Praise God for the gift of his Spirit, the counselor who guides us in God's path.
To get to the point, I was so busy focusing on self-control, I had forgotten to be alert. Over the past few weeks, the devil has attacked and therefore making what seems like ordinary days, not so ordinary. Why does chaos, hate, indulgence, and all the tactics of the devil appear ordinary. I think we get so accustomed to the devils tactics that we don't even realize the battles before us. We just dismiss these events saying, 'that's life' or 'life happened.'
Woe. Eventhough this world has been given over to the evil one, who roams around looking for anyone and everyone to devour, we must remember the author of life. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Genesis 1:1. "Then God formed the man form the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 1:7. Jesus says, "The theif (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (all people) may have life, and have it to the full. I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 10:10 and 14:6) Who is life? God is life. Praise God for he is life!
I'll say it again, GOD IS LIFE! He is not the reason for the stress and ordinary battles we endure regularly that we are so accustomed to. We can not dismiss the problems of this world to "life," for God authors life. What we are dealing with is this fallen world being ripped apart by the devil. Praise God who authors life and protects life with extra ordinary measures!
The devil found me giving myself over to God in a whole new way. He sees that I don't want to be a slave to my flesh any longer. He sees my challenge for self-control and sees my focus on it. He then recognized that he would lose another foothold on my life. So, the evil one searched for a way to attack. It really wasn't hard! I wasn't on alert. Praise God for his revelations!
He took ordinary everyday means to attack me. Yep, I wasn't on alert. Here is a list of some of the attacks of the evil one in just 22 days:
1. I experienced nausea from January 1-4.
2. Sadie coughed during the night from January 1-9 rendering me exhausted.
3. Michael borrowed Sadie's cough rendering me fearful that I too may catch it.
4. The weather dropped below freezing for a record breaking time period, leaving me cold and captive in my own home.
5. Michael worked overtime due to factors at his employment requiring his time, rendering me alone at home.
6. I take on a diet and feel my flesh craving food, food, and more food. I have given in to eating past 8 o'clock several times, which is something I am trying to avoid.
7. Some one approaches me for being offensive. This breaks my heart and opens the door for attacks of the mind. (yes, I had offended and took responsibility for it. Now, it is okay.)
8. The mind games begin. I experience a few days (nonconsecutive) of depression. Just what I call "down days." These could be hormonal...who knows!
9. I get sick again with a cold for three days.
10. I miss church two sundays out of three.
11. Mind games: Loneliness
12. Mind games: Self-criticism
13. Mind games: keeping a ledger with loved ones
14. Sadie won't take a full nap making it more difficult for me to spend quiet time in study, prayer, and writing/posting.
15. Television calls out to, watch, watch, sit, do nothing, relax, watch.
16. Busy: I am busy, friends are busy, family are busy and leaving little time for fellowship.
17. I catch myself saying something I wish I hadn't. Then I call myself names that don't help. (mind games, a tactic the devil uses often on me)
18. Material things: I have found myself thinking about the things I want but don't need.
19. Distractions on the know, facebook, email, youtube, tv shows, googling...anything that I'm fiddling around with that keeps me from his word and his work.
20. Exercise: I gave myself a two week break. Ahhhh! I needed the release that comes through exercise.
21. Laziness: I had days I just wanted to be lazy, sleep on the couch a couple of hours while Sadie watches Sesame Street.
22. Chores: I get so tired of laundry, dirty dishes, and the relentless kitchen chores: sweeping, cleaning, cooking. I avoided this some and felt guilty.
23. Tinker had to stay indoors with us for most of the past 22 day due to the weather. It just gets annoying keeping up a gate, Sadie and the dog arguing, and the floor being dirty.
Woe. Sounds negative? Not really, this is just normal stuff. The devil has thrown all this at me just to slow me down or to stop me from drawing near to God. I list these things just to be honest about the challenge I am experiencing. Had I been alert, I wouldn't have experienced this. On the contrary, the devil would have still attacked and I still would be challenged. However, I would have been prepared to resist. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Praise God for His living Word!
First, submit to God. Do this first! You will only be able to resist the devil under this condition. Give yourself over to God's will, His plan. Dwell in his word. Only then, resisting the devil is possible. It will be possible because God has the armor properly designed for battle. God is the victorious one over evil. Only God is good. Only God wins. Only God gives victory. Praise God for victory!
Needless to say, I'm becoming alert. Now, I expect the attack. These days are not what I consider ordinary because of my God. He is an extra ordinary God who provides me with all that I need to resist the devil. Then, the devil will flee. Again, Praise the Lord.
The Lord's prayer offers me hope and peace in the battle that lies ahead. "and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13) This is another prayer I will be offering up to my Lord. I beg Him to deliver me. Praise God for teaching us to pray!
Praise the Lord for He promises deliverance. Praise the Lord for He promises life. He is worthy of praise. This week I took a look at the word praise to draw near to God and to develop self-control. Psalm 145:1-3 reminds me to praise God everyday. Psalm 146:1-2 reminds me to praise God all my life and with my life. Psalm 148:13 says, "Let them praise the name of the Lord for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens." The rest of the book of Psalms speaks of praising God. This is the psalmist's final thought: "Praise the Lord."
What if I offered myself daily to praising God? I would definitely have my mind set on things above. I would be thinking about the greatness of my God. I would be submitting myself to the Lord. I would recognize and reflect upon the graetness of God all the time. A life of praise to the Lord will reflect the Lord who is worthy of praise.
Get behind me satan, today I praise God! Praise the Lord.

Friday, January 15, 2010


What is confession? Well, it's the act of confessing! Oh, that really helps. So what does it mean to confess? Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary, gerneral edition, states "To confess is openly to acknowledge one's faith in anything as in the existence and authority of God, or the sins of which one has been guilty (p 180). "

Can you imagine the great and glorious day when "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11)?" It will be the great and glorious day we who put our hope in God anxiously await. We want this day to come. It will be the day when God will fulfill all His promises. We wait in earnest expection...huh? We wait with confidence, wanting the day to come quickly. We don't wait with worry and with anxiety that sins will remain and the resurrection will not take place. We don't wait with the desire for this day to be prolonged. No, we want it now! We know our Lord will make good on His promises. He is so big and so mighty that He forgives sin and gives life eternal. This day will be spectacular, the day of praise. It will be the day God deserves, to be given the full honor, respect, praise, glory, etc.!

So, I confess to you, Jesus is Lord and has all authority on heaven and on earth. There is no authority over Him. He left His home with all pure love and completeness and came into this broken and sinful world in the lowest conditions to live amongst broken and sinful people. He endured temptation relying upon the Father and remained faithful, without sin. He endured a horrible death for me so that my sins would be forgiven. He didn't stay in the grave. No, He came to life again. He has the authority to lay down His life and to take it up again. Therefore, He has only one confession: the good news, God is life, the author of life, and the authority over life."

So, I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, yet use my mouth for great destruction. What is wrong with me? Seriously, how can I allow my mouth to do this? James 3:9-10 states, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brother, this should not be." I agree. How can I use my mouth to degrade and destroy the beautiful creation of my God, especially the creation designed like God? How can I give my mouth over to evil works, yet claim Jesus is the authority and life? This is quite a controversy! Jesus warns against this in Matthew 12:34-37, "for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." So, the problem lies within my heart? Oh, this is just getting worse. Not only is my mouth being used for destruction, my heart is evil. Jesus continues to say, "the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words yo will be acquitted, and by your words yo uwill be condemned." So, I am standing condemned before my God?

What about those promises of God in which I hope: forgiveness and resurrection? Ah, Let's talk about the promise in forgiveness. 1 John 1:8-9 says, "if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins." Did you catch that? He is faithful to forgive. Acts 19:18 gives us a great example of confession, "many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds."

Can you imagine people coming together and confessing? I'm not talking about the confession of "I sinned." I'm speaking about confession of evil deeds, admitting the deeds done, acknowledging guilt."James 5:16 says, "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." There is more purpose in confession: healing. Does this mean, my mouth will eventually stop the destroying and tearing down? I sure hope so!

This is just the beginning for me. I am learning about confession and its link to forgiveness and transformation. What I do know, I want my mouth to be used for God's good pleasure. I am tired of hurting others, bringing down others, disrespecting, cutting, destroying God's most precious creation, the creature He designed in His likeness. These creatures were made just as God made me. Confession is just part of the plan for giving my mouth over to God.

Here are some confessions about my mouth:
1. I haven't had my mouth checked by a dentist in almost 7 years. Yuck! I know....
2. I don't floss regularly...again...this is gross!
3. I use my mouth to indulge in food...all kinds of food...the more I can taste the better!
4. I have used my mouth to share my frustrations with people not invovled in the situation!
5. I have used my mouth to disrespect my parents and my husband.
6. I have used my mouth to protect my vainity and to self promote.
7. I have used my mouth to dishonor and speak unkind words about others.

May I be courageous to go to those I have sinned against and to the Lord to confess these sins. May a righteous man (check Ecclesiaster 7:20 for another discussion topic) pray with me and for me so that I will be healed. May God keep His promise to forgive. I want my mouth to be His forever!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Each week I will be studying a different word found in scripture and using scripture to guide my in this challenge. This week I am taking a deeper look at the word "meditation." Meditation means deep continued thought; solemn reflection on sacred matters as a devotional act (Webster's New World College Dictionary). Without deep continued thought or reflection over the Word of God, I will not be successful this year in my goal "captivating my mouth for His good pleasure". Psalm 19:14 states, "May the words or my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." I want my words to be pleasing, and those start in my heart. Therefore, I must watch carefully over my heart. My deep continued thoughts need to be over God's Word. Only in the Bible will I find anything worthy of meditation. Once I fill my heart with God's Word will my heart and my mouth become pleasing to Him. So I pray the same prayer as David.

Earlier today in study, I found more meaning in meditation. I set out to read through the Bible in a year using a daily genre method. (If you want to know more about this, just ask.) Today's planned reading was Joshua 1-5. Immediately I came across 1:8 stating, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate upon it day and night, so that you may be careful to do accoding to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." Wow! God has spoken.

The only way my mouth will be transformed, they only way I will successfully reach my goal for 2010, they only way my mouth will be pleasing to God.... I must meditate upon His Word and do what it says.

Ok...the challenge has already been a challenge! Sadie has been keeping Michael and myself awake through the night since January 1st. Odd? I don't think so. Even though Sadie has always been a good sleeper, I don't find this odd. I believe it is my first lesson, and a challenging lesson at that. How hard is it to have the right heart and pleasing words at 4am when your child has been coughing for hours and there isn't much you can do. Boy does my heart need to meditate upon God's Word. So here is my first mile marker in 2010...I have a lonnnnnng way to go!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Challenge

Praise our Lord for 2009. He provided a wonderful year. I praise Him for carrying me to a victory that just a few years ago seemed impossible for me. To give God due praise, I must back up and tell the story from the beginning.

When I was young, my parents taught me the value of a strong work ethic. As a child, others pushed and motivated me to accomplish and succeed. I never really relied upon myself or our Lord to set a goal and move toward that goal in victory. I even took credit for the things accompolished as if they were challenging, when truly I had not really challenged myself. I was displeasing to our Lord.

During my senior year of high school, I injured my back and pretty much gave up all forms of exercise. Over time, laziness took hold of my life. It gave the devil a foothold over my mind and my body. Eventhough I had a strong work ethic, I truly lacked discipline. I knew about God. I loved God. However, I didn't understand what God could do for me. I didn't really know how to listen to His Spirit or how to let His Spirit guide me. So, I listened to my flesh. I battled with my flesh. I gave into my flesh. I lacked discipline to delay gratification, and I indulged. I sinned. Eventually, like I stated before, it took its toll upon me. However, God wasn't finished with me.

God taught me lessons along life's road. He gave me several tutors. Some of the lessons didn't make sense alone. Over time, the lessons compiled and my God brought me to the "o, my Lord, I have sinned against you," moment that He desired. (This isn't something that happens just once. I am just speaking about a particular moment necessary in my growth as a child of God.)

He showed me how lazy and indulgent I had become. This isn't the life God wants for me. It tears away at my mind and breaks down my body with age and illness. God wants an abundant life for me. My lack of discipline and self-control was/is evident in my life and keeping me from the fullness God promises. God has plans for me.

I don't know what God plans for my future other than eternal life with Him (which is all I need to know). I do know that God plans for me to bear fruit. Galatians 5:23 states self-control as fruit of the Spirit. God wasn't finished with me. He gave me opportunities and His desire to learn self-control. I am still learning and will through out my life.

To move this story along (yes it is already too long ask me if you want the longer version) 2009 I set out to run/walk 1000 miles. God had me in training over the past few years with tutors like Gillian and Lindsay (as well as many others). These ladies reminded me of the statement Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

So, God and I set out on our journey together. He took me back to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, a lesson I thought I had learned in 2007. (Oops, I guess I needed a review of that one.) Here, he reminded me that I am weak and only in Him will I find strength. God shows his power in weakness. Therefore, I had to proclaim like Paul, "for when I am weak, then I am strong."

God took me to other places in 2009. He took me to Hebrews 12:1-2. Again, this was another review lesson. This time it took on more meaning. I had known about the witnesses that have lived and struggled and walked with God before me. I had known about Jesus, the cross, and fixing my eyes. The new lesson here..."throwing off the sin that so easily entangles so that I can run with perseverance the race marked out for me." I've been learning about confession and repentance. A friend of mine recently wrote in his blog about the psalmist David and God's promise to forgive (Psalm 32:5). This scipture has a recent power in my life. I am beginning to understand 1 John 1:9. I am learning to trust God at His Word. "You really will forgive me Lord, me, a _______?" (I leave this line blank. God, my self and a few of my brothers/sisters in Christ have heard my confession. I have prayed. They have prayed. This blog isn't being writen as a confession.) I want to be forgiven. I firmly believe confession is the way of throwing off the sin that so easily entangles. God took it to the cross.

So on our journey in 2009, God lifted my eyes to Him so that I could see that my help comes from Him, the maker of heaven and earth (psalm 121:1-2). The Lord is my helper. He sent His Spirit to help me. He not only helps me to throw off the sin, but to lift my eyes. It is like I had been blind trying to feel my way around not really able to fix my eyes upon Jesus. Now, I can fix my eyes upon Jesus, "who endured the cross with the joy set before Him, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God."

My helper lifted me to new heights in 2009. Like the you read in Habakkuk 3:19, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights." Eventhough, you can see with your own eyes that I am not a fast runner, it is the Lord that carries me further than I can take myself. He receives all glory for the victory in our 1000 mile journey.

He taught me that "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." God gives me strength. God is my helper. God recieves all glory and praise.

He isn't finished. We have now entered into a new year, 2010. The Lord has given me a new challenge: to captivate everything that enters my mouth and to captivate everything that comes out of my mouth, so that I can give my mouth to Him for His good pleasure.

Yep, it's going to be an exciting year! I hope you will stick around. I will be blogging about this challenge. It isn't as tangible as 1000 miles, but it is the next set of lessons in learning self-control in my life. My next blog will explain the plans for this journey. I don't plan to be as lengthy next time. I should have another blog sometime this week. Check it out!