Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I Strengthen Myself in the Lord by Jenna Vick Silliman

When I find myself in times of turmoil, trial, or testing, I don't give way to them, but PRESS into the Lord more than ever. He is the Prince of Peace for peace to be restored in my life. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter when I need comfort. When things look dark, I go to Jesus for He is the light of the world. His light illuminates my path. I run to my strong Tower, my Fortress and my Rock, as David wrote about in the Psalms. God has all wisdom, knowledge and understanding, so if I have questions He has the answers. I belong to Him and He knows me and loves me better than anyone else; so He is the Person to go to when I need help. When storms hit, I know the One who calms the sea! I am hidden in Christ, a little bird in the cleft of the Rock, in the secret place with my almighty God. I can do everything through Christ Who strengthens me. In the Amplified this verse says Jesus infuses inner strength into me! (See Phil. 4:13.) 

Many times the battle is in our minds. We need to take every single thought captive. The enemy wants to distract us and get our focus off the Lord and onto the trial. When I am down-hearted, depressed, discouraged or any of those awful ‘d’ words, I like to go to be alone in my closet—my prayer closet that is. I turn my thoughts heavenward and tell God all the things I am thankful for. The Message Bible says “Thank you is the password to His presence.” See Psalm 100. When we dwell upon whatever is positive, lovely, beautiful, noble, of good reputation, and worthy of praise and let our minds dwell on all the good gifts and all the awe-inspiring things of the Lord, it lifts our spirits. (See Phil. 4:8.)

A friend told me whenever she is feeling down she will call ten people and give them encouraging words and it lifts her right out of the dumps and she feels encouraged herself. A guy I knew about twenty years ago shared that whenever he felt lonely he went and found someone more lonely and needy than himself and befriended him and then he wasn’t lonely anymore.

I know I need to constantly turn my eyes, my heart, and my thoughts to God and steadfastly fix them upon Him. There are many Scriptures on looking to the Lord and trusting in Him. God is first love, He said to seek His kingdom first, and He said to love Him with all we’ve got. I like how Isaiah says it, “I set my face like a flint.” Jesus tells us to abide in Him, live in Him, and stay with Him. (See John 15.) He cries out in prayer that we would be one—inseparable. (See John 17.) God is my BFF! I want to be habitually walking in intimate fellowship with the LORD of my life 24/7. (We are even right with Him when we sleep, for the Bible says He gives to His beloved in sleep.) This is how Enoch lived and also his grandson, Noah. (See Genesis 5:24 and 6:9 in Amplified Version of the Bible.) This is the life that pleases God. If we live this way as a lifestyle, and not just in times of crisis, we will be ready and right close to God, when stormy times hit.

Three practical things I do when I am struggling. First I put on praise music and start singing my heart out. (Usually I dance too and dancing ALWAYS makes me feel better. Hahaha! A brisk prayer walk with praise music on my ipod/headphones works the same way.) The enemy hates it when we worship the Lord because He knows God inhabits the praises of His people. (See Psalm 22:3.) When we draw near to God, God draws near to us (See James 4:8.) AND that means the enemy exits in a hurry. Yay! Usually while I am worshiping with dance and singing I experience a shift in my thinking and the Lord gives me a new perspective on my life.
The second thing to do is to pray in tongues. In the book of Jude verse 20 it says that we build ourselves up in our faith when we pray in the Spirit. The enemy comes against praying in tongues because he hates it when we start praying in our heavenly language those sweet, spirit-filled prayers! Our prayer language is a powerful weapon we have ready to use at any time.

Thirdly, I read and meditate on the Bible—when I’m struggling I read it more. When we think and meditate and mull over the Word, it washes us and renews our minds to be thinking truth and living in faith and trust and hope—the ways of the Lord. Ephesian 6:17, “Take and use the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” We are His children of light and it is His will that we have the Word so much a part of us that we are literally “brainwashed.”  Sometimes a thought creeps in that is ugly, suspicious, negative, or downgrading in some way. I try to ask myself, “Is this from my beautiful, loving Papa God?” If it is not something HE would say, then who is saying it? Ah ha! I smell a rat! The enemy is a sneaky, lying, scheming, and accusing snake that tries to steal, kill, and destroy. (See John 10:10.) Let’s never give him any room in our thoughts and be sure to extinguish his little darts. We crush his head under our heel and quickly raise our faces to the beauty and splendor of the glorious, love-filled eyes of Papa God once again.

Romans chapter eight in my Amplified Bible is a favorite to read when I need to strengthen myself in the Lord. Verse 6 says to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Verse 15 talks about what bliss we enjoy as His adopted sons and daughters, chosen to belong to Him. Verse 31 says, “When God is for us, who can be against us? Verse 35 says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Verse 37 says, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!”

I also like to dwell on how we are dead to sin and instead we get to enjoy eternal unbroken fellowship with Papa 24/7. (See Romans 6:11 Amp.) Eternity is now! Heaven is on earth right here with us! Whooohoo! The Kingdom of Jesus is right here and now and we can reach out and touch it (Jesus said it is “at hand” right?) and we can enter right in, if we haven’t already.

In Acts we read how God’s people seemed to be drunk. The fullness of the Holy Spirit is right here for you and I to tank up on and enjoy. Don’t let the enemy tell you any different. Papa has everlasting joy for each one of us, no exceptions! My favorite verse of the Bible is in two places. “You show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (See Psalm 16:11 and Acts 2:28.)


Heavenly Father, we come to You and praise You for power and dominion over darkness and for Your joyful presence that makes the enemy flee. We thank You for the privilege of being Your sons and daughters. We love You, Papa! Thank You Papa for giving us victory in the battles of life!


Kerry Luddy said...

I love your joy, Jenna! I think the comments from your friends regarding calling others to encourage as a way to combat their own inner struggles are actually good cognitive/behavioral strategies for change. I am going to recommend them to a person I know struggling with anxiety and loneliness.

Linda Maynard said...

You truly are a friend of God.
It i evident in all that you say and do. I love what you mentioned about what was in the Message Bible “Thank you is the password to His presence" I love that.
I can remember years ago when I was in AA there was a saying " A Grateful heart is Always Sober"...when we are grateful or thankful...things are not looking bleak but are salted with hope.
Thanks again