Who Told You That?

Who Told You that?

A ticker tape of negative thoughts scrolls across my mind. I squeeze my eyes shut to “take every thought captive” but the increasing brain fog prevents my ability to focus.  Exasperated, I talk to myself aloud; this stinkin thinkin is not true. Who told you that?

Recently, the battle of self-doubt and my identity has resurfaced. I am two years into my chronic illness. I have learned to accept most of the changes (though this is still a continual process). However, barbed negative thoughts snag my thinking, and scar my identity, self-doubt, and purpose.

Within a few days, I can usually pray and shake off the negativity, but instead of diminishing, this battle has gained strength. I began fighting back with vengeance. Now, each time a negative thought scrolls across my mind, I question myself aloud, “Who told you that?”  Then I rebuke the negative thought and replace it with truth from God’s Word.

Here is a list of I am proclamations of truth:

I am…

  • A valiant warrior (Judges 6:12)Strong shoes for Stony Path Corrie Ten Boom via Pixabay
  • A secret weapon in God’s army (Isaiah 49:2)
  • Unstoppable–Nothing formed against me shall prevail (Isaiah 54:17)
  • Not afraid of evil for God is with me (Psalm 23:4)
  • Taking negative thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
  • A marred pot being transformed by the Potter into something He deems best (Jeremiah 18)
  • A child of the Most High King (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • Clothed in God’s armor (Ephesians 6: 11)
  • More than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
  • Seated in heavenly places with my Father and King (Ephesians 2:6)
  • Actively listening to my Father’s voice each day during my #CoffeeWithJesus (John 10:27)
  • Sustained and strengthened day-by-day though my sword is marred and my shield is dented (Psalm 89:21)
  • Chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Loved by God (John 3:16)
  • Forgiven by God (1 John 1:9)
  • Sustained by God (Psalm 119:116)
  • Strengthen by God (1 Peter 5:10)
  • Led by God (Psalm 23)
  • Guided by God (Isaiah 30:21)
  • Comforted by God (Psalm 119:48-52)
  • Secured by God (Psalm 16:8) *This is my life verse.
  • Belong to God (1 John 4:4, NLT)
  • Unable to hide from His presence (Psalms 139:7-12)
  • The head and not the tail; Above and not below (Deuteronomy 28:13)
  • Blessed when I come and blessed when I go (Deuteronomy 28:6)
  • I am His. (Isaiah 43:1)

 

The enemy is a master deceiver who wants us to keep on believing the lies and negative thoughts in our mind. When those thoughts arise ask, “Who told you that?” if it did not come from God’s Word then it isn’t true.

Do you wrestle with negative thoughts or doubt? If so, who told you that?

Is there anything in your mind that you need to take captive to turn it over to Christ?

Which of these I am proclamations resonate with you the most? Consider writing a prayer on an index card to help you battle the next round of stinkin thinkin.

~April White

©2018 Red Chair Moments, All Rights Reserved

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Victory Perspective

What if you approached your battle from the stance of victory? Click To Tweet

Photo courtesy of 88.5 Lite FMThe biggest battle I face is not wondering about direction in my current season. The biggest battle I face is trusting God has already won the battle on my behalf.

I love to highlight passages of scripture where God uses past tense grammar to describe a current or future victory. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

Joshua and Jericho

“See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” (Joshua 6:2, NIV)

Joshua stands before a small city fortified with tall walls. Assessing the giant walls, God said, “See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” I wish I could see the look on Joshua’s face at that moment. Queue the climatic music. Staring up at the walls, did he have a look of skepticism or determination? Before God offers an unusual battle plan, He assured Joshua, “I have delivered” this city into your hands.boots PIxabay

Joshua entered into battle from the stance of victory.

Moses’ Commission

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20-31 (NIV)

Moses led a million march–a motley crew of former slaves, out of Egypt through the Red Sea towards freedom. God in is mighty way parted the Red Sea and the people marched right through toward freedom. Before the split, God assured Moses, “I am sending an angel ahead of you…to a place I have prepared.”

With Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army closing in behind, Moses walked in a stance of victory on dry ground as he crossed the Red Sea.

Gideon’s Call

“Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” (Judges 7:15, NIV)

A chapter before, the Lord finds Gideon hiding from the enemy. Now God has called him to fight. Before God issues an unusual battle plan (by the way, most of God’s battle strategies are unusual) He assures Gideon, “The Lord has given” the enemy into your hands.

Gideon enters into battle from a stance of victory.

The victory is yours. Go get it! Click To Tweet

sword-790815_1920 pixabayWe can learn from Joshua, Moses, and Gideon. These men faced insurmountable circumstances, yet they entered into battle from a stance of victory.

Before God issues an unusual battle plan, for our lives we can rest assure He has already prepared our future and delivered the victory.

What battle are you facing?  The victory is already yours. Go get it.

If you need musical motivation, I recommend listening to Go Get It by Mary Mary.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Pixabay and 88.5 Lite FM

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

The Sheep Gate

One sunny morning, on the way to church, Jesus interrupted a man’s life near a Sheep Gate. I’ve been meditating on this story, found in John chapter five for nearly a month. This is my abbreviated version of the story, which is by no means a substitution for the real Word:

Jesus was on his way to church when He saw a man at the pool of Bethesda, near the Sheep Gate, who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. This was a place where the sick came for healing. From time to time, the angel of the Lord would stir the waters, and the first one in the water would be healed. Jesus approached him and asked “Do you want to get well?” The man offered excuses that he couldn’t get to the water. Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Instantly the man was healed. The unnamed man Jesus healed was unaware of who had healed him. Later, when the man was in the temple, he learned it was Jesus who had healed him. The man told everyone “it was Jesus who had made him well.”(John 5: 1-15, NIV)

Each time I read this passage, the words Sheep Gate, leap off the page. Since, all Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16), every word included has significance. Why did the author John, include that detail? What was important about the Sheep Gate?
 
Last night I brainstormed everything I could think about in reference to the Sheep Gate, gates, sheep, shepherd, green pastures, and the twenty-third Psalm. As I jotted down snippets from memory, I felt as though I was working a puzzle.  When I work a puzzle, I start with the edges first. Here are the puzzle pieces I’ve been working with:

The Sheep Gate
The Sheep Gate is the first gate mentioned as a gate in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:1, 32). It was the gate where the sacrificial sheep entered the temple. It is interesting to note that the Sheep Gate was the first and last gate mentioned in the rebuilding of the temple in Nehemiah. Historically, this gate points to Jesus when John the Baptist said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, NIV).

Jesus is the Gate
Jesus described Himself as the Sheep Gate – the only door for salvation. “I am the gate for the sheep…I am the gate; whoever enters though me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:7-9, NIV).

The Good Shepherd

A shepherd’s primary responsibility is to provide protection, safety, and rest for the sheep. Hundreds of years before Christ’s birth, David the shepherd boy turned King, penned these famous words from the twenty-third Psalm:


“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…”

Jesus describes His personal role as providing protection, safety and rest as the Good Shepherd. “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11, 15, NIV). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”(John 10:10, NIV).
Called by Name
Jesus knows us by name. In a conversation with the disciples, Jesus said
“the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice”(John 10:3-4, NIV). 
           
The Unnamed Person
I find it intriguing that Jesus, the Good Shepherd who calls his sheep by name, does not call this person by name. Instead, He refers to him by his condition.  Notice Jesus did not ask, “Do you want to walk?” No, Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” I believe He was referring to physical and spiritual healing. It is also fascinating that the unnamed man, who I call “Matt” (a.k.a. mat man), does not know the name of the man who healed him. It isn’t until “Matt” goes to the temple that he learns it was Jesus who healed him.
             
Green Pasture
As I ran past the fence posts and red gate on my morning run, I pondered the meaning of the Good Shepherd leading His sheep to pasture. In an article titled Sheep and Green Pastures in the Christian Worldview Journal, Colley Tettelbach writes:

Green pastures in David’s time were bare, rocky hills with just enough vegetation to sustain the sheep for that day. The sheep were dependent upon the shepherd to lead them to the forage that they would need for the next day. “Green pastures” for the ancient Israelites were symbolic of the fact that they could trust God for their daily sustenance. “Green Pastures” meant that they had enough for this day and that they could trust God for tomorrow’s portion.” http://www.breakpoint.org/the-center/columns/worldview/14818-sheep-and-green-pastures


Near the Gate
Notice in John 5:2 the author describes not only the character’s physical location, but also the proximity to the Sheep Gate. “Now there in Jerusalem nearthe Sheep Gate a pool…” I have read this story every day for almost a month. Until this morning, I never noticed the word “near.” (Imagine how stinky that place must have been to be near the sheep gate.) This man was near the temple, but because of his condition, he couldn’t get inside.  Jesus met him where he was! Praise God, He meets us where we are at! Jesus came near to him. The Sheep Gate Himself walked up to the invalid and called him: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8, NIV).

Opposition
As soon as the man was healed, he did what he was told. He picked up his mat and walked. Jesus healed him on the Sabbath. Ancient Jewish tradition prohibited any work on the Sabbath. Carrying a mat was considered work. Matt was questioned by the local Jews and reminded that it was forbidden to carry his mat on the Sabbath. I wonder if he was thinking “Who cares? Can’t you see I’m walking for the first time?” When God calls us and performs a miracle in our life, expect some opposition.

The Temple

This miracle occurred outside the temple. Most miracles in the Bible and in our lives today occur in our everyday locations. I had never considered that until I read this story. Yes, God can heal His people in church, but it is a good reminder that most of the healing takes place outside the church walls. The church is a place of encouragement and strength for our journey.


For weeks, I’ve been trying to work the puzzle of this story. With each piece God has taught me something new. I think the greatest lesson learned is that God doesn’t always give us all the details at once. Instead, He reveals what we need when we need it. I am still working on the Sheep Gate puzzle.  I know the Lord is my Shepherd.  He is the Gate. His was our perfect sacrifice on the cross. I will follow my Shepherd through the Sheep Gate. When I enter the gate to heaven, I will be carrying my unfinished Sheep Gate puzzle. Perhaps Jesus Himself will add the last piece.

What about you? What part of God’s word has you puzzled? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. 

~April Dawn White
Connect with me email redchairmoments@gmail.com

Twitter @RedChairMoments



If you give a boy a stick…

My favorite children’s book is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. As the story goes, if you give a mouse a cookie, he will ask for a glass of milk. The playful mouse antics continue on and on. Recently, I discovered what happens if you give a boy a stick.

In the backyard I played tug-o-war with weeds while the kid’s picked up sticks. We all know what happens if you give a boy a stick, he will find a reason to fight. While I battled the English ivy, I looked up to see Andrew raise a four-foot stick high into the air and exclaim “The Lord is with me!” In our yard King Saul (Andrew) and David (Rachel) battled the Philistines.  I laughed; the recent episode of the Bible mini-series had an obvious impact on our children.

Worn out, I poured a glass of iced sweet tea and took a break on the screen porch. My hair clung to my sweaty neck and crimson face. Saul and David follow after me and we sat under the breeze of the whirling ceiling fans. Andrew asked if I would like some water. “Absolutely”, I reply. He opened the water bottle and ceremoniously states “I anoint you!” I laugh and ask, “What am I being anointed?” (Thinking to myself I will be anointed “queen of the weeds.”) He raised the same stick he had been battling the imaginary army and proclaimed, “I anoint you Beautiful Mother.”
Photos courtesy of Unplash at Pixabay.com


Tears pricked at my eyes. I wanted to scoff. I had to bite my lip to hold back the flood of emotion going on inside my heart. I had just been anointed Beautiful Mother.

If Andrew was to hold up a mirror before me, I would argue with my anointed title. To be honest, if he held a mirror to my heart, I would continue to disagree with that title. This child knows who I really am. He knows that I love the Lord, but I am short-tempered, impatient, and prone to perfectionism. Yet, he still anointed me Beautiful Mother!

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
(Proverbs 31:28-30)
If you give a boy a stick he will anoint you “Beautiful Mother.” When he anoints you “Beautiful Mother” you will be reminded to see yourself the way God sees you.
~April
Connect with me email redchairmoments@gmail.com

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