A few recent miracles
First, a couple of miracles. Some of you may know that Steph has been dealing with some health challenges. To be honest, her health challenges put her in the range for possibly dying from Covid. While we refused to live in fear of this, we did try to be somewhat cautious. That said, when she went into the hospital, and then into the ICU, it was a very scary time.
Although Steph is on Oxygen, she’s in almost as good of shape as she was in before she got out. She did not have to go on a ventilator. She made it through Covid. To those of you that have lost loved ones due to Covid, I am so incredibly sorry. Given Steph’s health, I am keenly aware and incredibly grateful that God moved. I am also incredibly grateful for your prayers. I kept thinking of the vision from Revelation, where the angel takes a bowl of incense before the Lord – and that bowl of incense are our prayers. Thanks to you and to everyone who prayed – there was a very full bowl before the Lord of fragrant prayers, petitioning our Heavenly Father, asking for my wife’s restoration of health.
Second, a much smaller miracle: some of you know that two days before Steph came home from the hospital, I turned my ankle. It was very badly strained. It’s been almost two weeks and it’s still swollen and bruises are still coming to the surface of my skin. Last Friday, I was awaiting a call back from the Orthopedic doctor to schedule an appointment to look at my ankle. They never called. Over the weekend, I asked myself the question, “Why haven’t I been praying that my ankle feel better?” Prompted by that, I joined all of you who have been praying for sprain. By Monday, the swelling had gone down tremendously and the aching went away as well. God is good.
Dealing with Negative Thoughts
Now to the main point of what I want to cover: Dealing with bad thoughts and feelings when you are in the midst of a battle
If you are in a medical fight for yourself or a loved one, I guarantee you have been visited by a negative thought. There’s a good possibility you keep seeing terrible scenes flash in your head. There’s also a high probability that you are currently feeling a sense of dread. You may not know it, but you are under attack.
This is fear, and it’s a very real part of spiritual combat. The bible says that faith is the evidence of the things hoped for, things unseen. Did you realize that you can have faith that negative things will happen, and it’s evidence of your fears.
Why do I bring this up? There’s another passage I want to explore, and it is when Jesus went to visit his hometown, Nazareth. The bible points out that Jesus wasn’t able to do many miracles there because there was very little faith that He was the Messiah in Nazareth. If you think through this logically – Jesus is saying that He, God incarnate, was not able to operate in the miraculous because the PEOPLE didn’t have faith.
Your faith – your expectation that God will do what you ask – is a spiritual conduit for God to be able to operate in this world. You can’t afford to let fear consume you, to push you to expect or to fear the bad.
So how do you fight that negative thought, the vision of your child dying? How do you fight against that sense of dread that hangs on you like the stench of not showering?
It’s not enough to simply force yourself to think positive thoughts. Your attempts at thinking positive will seem puny compared to the very real fight against fear, and it is. You fight negative thoughts with POSITIVE WORDS.
The core tactic of my battle plan for Samuel was my confession of God’s word, that Samuel would live long in the land and grow strong in the land. Every time a bad thought came, I confessed that. Every time I would see Stephanie and I sobbing on each other, dressed in black in front of a tiny casket, I would confess it. Every time I felt terrible or fearful about what lie ahead, I confessed it.
If you don’t believe me, try it. The first time I ever used God’s word to fight against negative emotions and thoughts was when I was trying to lose weight in 2007. It had been a constant struggle, and I was continuing to move backwards despite all of my best efforts.
Every time I made a mistake, the condemning thoughts would pour into my head: “You should just give up!” “You’re always going to be fat!” The feelings of shame at having slipped and eaten fries, or a donut that was offered to me, would leave me emotionally beat up.
It was in this time that I was reading through Romans and I stumbled across Romans 8:1 – For there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This verse LEAPT off the page as I read it, and I got super excited.
The very next day, I slipped up again. The voices of condemnation and shame came rushing in to do their dirty work. But I was ready. I came ready to fight, and my gun was loaded. When the negative thoughts came rushing in, I replied out loud (but quietly because I was at work) “There is NO condemnation for those who are in Jesus.”
The wildest thing happened. A split second before, where I was filled with shame and I couldn’t hear myself think with the condemning thoughts – I now found only stillness. Every time I made a mistake and they tried to come back, I declared out loud the same thing. Pretty soon, I no longer had condemning thoughts. Because of that one verse, I was able to lose over 100 pounds and was able to get back to a normal weight for my size.
When Samuel was in the hospital, and we were fighting for his life, I confessed a different scripture, but from the same Word of God.
When Steph went into the ICU with Covid, and was very close to going on a ventilator, I confessed another different scripture, but from the SAME word of God.
See the Bible says that faith comes through hearing the Word of God. There’s no better place to hear it than from your own mouth.
If you don’t believe me, try it. If you are in danger or afraid of danger, find a verse in Psalm 91 and confess it. If you are dealing with condemnation, try Romans 8:1. There are plenty more, but I would encourage you to adopt this tactic. I think you will find you begin to win a lot more than you lose.
You can catch the next post here: Principle 7.1 – The Other Relationship
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