3 Points to show that SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE agree on the importance of our THOUGHTS:
1. “When you make a conscious decision to focus and direct your attention CORRECTLY, you CHANGE PHYSICAL MATTER – your brain and your body change in a HEALTHY way. Purposely catching your thoughts can control the brains sensory processing, the brain’s rewiring, the neurotransmitters, the genentic expression and the cellular activity in a positive or negative direction. You choose.” DR CAROLINE LEAF
2. “Science now is able to demonstrate that we are “wired for love”, and fear (which incorporates anything toxic), is therefore NOT our NORM. This means our natural fashioned-after-God inclination is one of optimism and good, healthy thinking. God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad and get rid of them. The importance of capturing those thoughts cannot be underestimated because research show that the vast majority of mental and physical illness comes from our thought life rather than environment and genes. An undisciplined mind is filled with a continuous stream of worries, fear, and distorted perceptions that trigger degenerative processes in the mind and body.” DR CAROLINE LEAF
3. “The condition that your mind should be in, is described in this scripture: ‘…whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE—if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY—think about SUCH things. Phil 4:8. You have the mind of Christ. Begin to use it: if He wouldn’t think it then you shouldn’t think it either. It is this continual watching over your thoughts that you begin to take EVERY thought captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is quick to remind you if your mind is beginning to take you in the wrong direction, then the decision becomes yours. Will you flow in the mind of the flesh or in the mind of the spirit? One leads to death the other life. The choice is yours.” JOYCE MEYER
Welcome to Tuesday Tidbits!
The purpose of Tuesday Tidbits is threefold:
- as a counsellor I want to be able to reach out to others in an encouraging way while unable to work during the Covid-19 Lockdown
- to share something I have learnt or experienced that may be helpful
- to give insight into some of the tools or methods I may use in my counselling sessions
Please note that Tuesday Tidbits are NOT research articles – there is more than enough information out there on each topic for you to investigate. There is also no set structure to how they will be presented and each week will look different. These “tidbits” are exactly that- nuggets or bite sizes of information relating to a specific topic or issue that hopefully may assist you either spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Some will be factual, while some will be personal. Enjoy!
TUESDAY TIDBIT 1 – Fear and Anxiety
We all experience fear and anxiety at some time in our lives, and it is important to keep in mind that both fear and anxiety are reactions to various stimuli in our environments – signals to us that something needs attention – neither is a disease or illness. However, left unchecked, they can lead to illness and disease. There is a universal biochemical response (increased heart rate and adrenaline, “butterflies” in the stomach etc) and a highly personalised response (based on our personal perceptions and beliefs).
Fear and anxiety are mainly stored in the stomach and intestines, and as a result can lead to a host of stomach or digestive issues, while anxiety can also be stored primarily in the chest area linking to breathing difficulties (e.g. asthma) and various heart conditions. Interestingly, in Luke 21v26, it says that in the end days “men’s hearts will fail them for fear”. The more fear is suppressed, the more the physical reactions will manifest and lead to toxicity in the body.
If you are regularly experiencing anxiety, worry, withdrawal, a need to control or battling with drugs and alcohol, it is possible that your issues stem from the major “door” of Fear which has been opened in your life. Through various steps Holy Spirit will bring revelation and understanding and through forgiveness and repentance, Jesus brings healing. These are specific steps that I would work through with a client.
4 Practical Tips for Easing Symptoms:
- Acknowledge, Embrace and Address the anxiety in order to weaken the memory (we would do this in more detail in a counsel session)
- Reflexology & Acupressure are proven to help with improving relaxation, sleep, asthma, and easing depression, grief and pain.
- The Homeopathic Remedy Aconite (which I use regularly for my children) and the Essential Oils Lavender, Ylang Ylang or Frankincence are beneficial for calming and grounding. (I have a combination of these and other oils in my personal blend “Nervs No Mor”)
- Taking a combination of Vit B1, 3, 6 and Magnesium reduces lactic acid in your body. Studies show that a high accumulation of lactic acid in the body can increase anxiety and cause panic attacks.
Today’s word from the Lord is ‘SHAMA’. Shama means to listen and obey.
When God first told me to set aside 7 days to do this blog, He started by reminding me of the dreams I mention in my post titled “Snakes in Boots”. (http://sparklingforest.co.za/snakes-in-boots/)
In those dreams, He warned me of the coming storms of life, but also encouraged me that if I LISTENED and OBEYED His still small voice, I would be kept safe during those times.
He then showed me how Covid-19 was just one of those storms to which He had been alluding. There will be more. He challenged me to set aside 7 days purposely to listen to what He was saying, and then to share it publically on this blog in order to encourage others. It was NOT intended to be a “devotional” with any specific structure or theme, and it was NOT planned. I had no idea what He would do or say. The result has been these 7 articles.
As I have mediated tonight and waited on Him to speak to me, amazingly, I see a message thread forming, through these 7 articles. It’s not a new message in any way, but one He clearly wants us to hear again!
Let’s do a quick overview of what He has been saying:
Get Hungry: We need to empty ourselves of all that keeps us ‘full’ and ‘satisfied’ without Jesus. We need to let go of so many worldly pleasures that are keeping us from experiencing and enjoying the fullness of intimacy with Jesus. Turn down the ‘noise’ of life and really lean in to hear His voice.
Shine your Light : Jesus is in us and so we need to walk in faith, not fear, activating the authority we have already been given, in all areas of our lives. We need to be that ‘city upon the hill’ so that people can see Jesus’ light in us.
Wash Hands and Heart: God longs to purify and sanctify us as we apply His blood daily through humility and repentance. Pride must fall as we daily follow the conviction of Holy Spirit and repent. This is not about being saved. This is about becoming a pure Bride for Christ.
Come away with Me: Gods hand is stretched out to us. The invitation is there to follow Him into the Desert/Wilderness. It may not be easy, but He is faithful to be with us. As He ‘speaks tenderly’ to us, He brings healing and restoration to the dry and broken places in our hearts. Are you willing to be led by Him?
Nothing is too hard for Me: This is a reminder for those who think that God couldn’t possibly forgive or heal them. Also, a reminder that during this time of Covid-19, no prayer is too big for God to answer.
Pomegranates or Apples?: A challenge to really trust in God’s goodness, even when, in the natural, it doesn’t seem evident. Learning to trust His voice and our spiritual senses is vital for these times. We need to refresh our spiritual senses and be led by them – not our circumstances or fleshly ‘feelings’.
Shama: Shama means to Listen and Obey. First and foremost God desires OUR HEART. He wants our heart to be purified and undefiled, so that everything we do and are flows out of a heart of Love. If we ‘obey’ without Love, then it is religion. But when we obey out of a place of pure love, there is a freedom and intimacy like no other. Out of intimacy comes blessing and God blesses us to be a blessing to others.
God says,”Will you walk with Me, listening to My voice and doing as I ask of you or will you compromise and live a life where you walk with Me as it pleases you, when it pleases you? Come away with Me on this journey so that I can prepare you, so that I can make you ready where I find oil in your lamp when the bridegroom returns”
Reading for today is Psalm 91.
You can also read “Crumbs or Cake?” about the Groom and His Bride. http://sparklingforest.co.za/crumbs-or-cake/
A personal note:
If you enjoyed these articles, you can find more similar ones under the category, “FAITH” on my blog. God often speaks to me through visions and dreams and now and then, I like to share something. Please feel free to leave comments that will be an encouragement to others.
Today I was reminded of a vision I had during worship one day:
In the vision I saw an angel standing in the front of the church holding a large fruit in his hands. In my spirit in knew that he was holding a pomegranate, but to my natural eyes it looked like a big green apple! I was slightly confused – was I seeing an apple or was I seeing a pomegranate? What I was seeing in the spirit did not coincide with what I seemed to be seeing in the “natural”.
I asked the Lord to clarify it for me. As I waited for His answer, I noticed that some people were looking at the fruit in the angel’s hands and were shaking their heads in disappointment and disbelief. They were holding themselves back from reaching out and grabbing the fruit, because it was not what they were hoping for and because it didn’t look how they thought it should look. In other words, I knew they wanted the pomegranate, but they could only see the apple. They remained standing where they were, immobilised by doubt, suspicion and even fear.
The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14
In the vision, I stepped forward and took a big bite out of the apple. When I did that, pomegranate seeds spilt out! Only then, I heard the Lord say that He was offering gifts before us, but we were not reaching out and grabbing what He was putting before us because we were only seeing them from one perspective. We weren’t fully trusting in Him and in His Goodness to provide what we truly needed. He was longing for us to step forward in faith and thanksgiving for what He was offering us and in doing so we would unlock the potential for so much more. Our trust in Him, and gratitude, unlocks His blessing.
I also realised that He was emphasising the importance of focusing on the spiritual rather than the natural and that what we see with our physical eyes is not always the reality in the spiritual realm.
We need to ask Him to open our spiritual eyes to see the TRUTH of a situation, so that, even when we think He has not heard our hearts’ desires, we can know and trust that He still has the absolute best for us.
We can Trust, Taste and See that He is Good. He has so much more for than we can even imagine or begin to expect.
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”. Psalm 34:8. KJV
Prayer: Thank you, Father that we can always trust in your goodness to us. Open our spiritual eyes to discern the things that come from you Holy Spirit. Embolden us with courage and faith to grab hold of all that you are placing before us. Teach us to step forward even when we cannot understand what we are seeing in the natural. We want to discover and receive all that you have for us. Amen.
Holy Spirit, are there any other areas in my life where I need to be ‘seeing with my spiritual eyes’ instead of my natural?
Today, I heard God say, “Nothing is too hard for Me“. He led me to share this excerpt from ‘the 30 Day Praise Challenge’ by Becky Harling:
‘I am never shocked, surprised, or caught off guard. I know there are moments in your life when circumstances feel impossible, when you cannot see any solutions to the challenges you are facing. Trust Me in the midst of your difficult moments. Seize them as opportunities to praise Me for My sovereign power.
As you thank Me in advance for the solutions I hold, I will enlarge your heart to hold greater faith. At first, focusing on My sovereignty may feel scary, but as you grow more comfortable in your times of praise it will become a source of strength and comfort. Recognise how small you are in comparison to Me. This is a form of worship. As you bow before Me, your ability to trust Me will grow. Watch and see what I will do. Nothing is too difficult for me Me. Did you catch that? Nothing, absolutely nothing, is too difficult for me.’
Today I have the Norah Jones song, “Come Away with Me” in my head. I can’t think when last I heard that song, but God often uses it to speak to me!
Today He says:
“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ Hosea 2:6-7.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly. 15There I will give back her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-16
The Lord is jealous for our attention and time. He is relentless in His pursuit of us. During this time of “Social Distancing/Isolation”, some people will welcome the escape, while many will really feel like they are in a Wilderness. Regardless of your view of this time, God is calling you away with Him into a place of deeper intimacy.
Even though we may be ‘walled in’ and even though he may be ‘alluring us’ – it is still an invitation to come away with Him. We have the choice to say yes or no. The encouragement is that He is there with you in the Wilderness, speaking tenderly to you, not leaving you to fend for yourself!
How will you respond? Will you be willing to step into the Wilderness with him to see what He has to reveal to you? What will you sacrifice for a deeper relationship with Him today?
‘My people are diligently washing their hands, but they don’t ask Me to wash them and cleanse them from their filthiness (and brokenness) so that they can enter into my presence with clean hands and pure heart.’
For a while, God has been speaking to me about His desire for His people to have a new heart. Many of us are ‘saved’ but we still have filthy hearts from pride or brokenness from unmet needs and hurts. God’s longing is to heal and restore us completely so that we can truly enter into the fullness of Him and all He is. However, we need to humble ourselves and, with an attitude of repentance ask Him to cleanse us- daily!
If we are willing, Holy Spirit is faithful to show us the ‘spots on our gowns’ that need ‘cleaning’ and healing.
Last night my four-year old daughter and I went to the room to read the bedtime story, but the light was off. Usually, she would be hesitant to walk into the room until the light was switched on for her. However, on this evening, she didn’t. As she entered the dark room, she said, “Look mommy, I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m brave!”
“And who made you so brave? I asked her. “Jesus!” she said right away.
“Oh, is that because ‘Jesus shines His light in the dark’? I asked, quoting one of her favourite songs.
To my surprise she answered, “No, Jesus didn’t need to shine His light this time, because I had my own light inside me to see.”
Well, needless to say I was quite blown away as this was not something I had ever told her or that we have really spoken about. In that moment, I felt the presence of Holy Spirit and a spirit of Revelation acknowledging this innocent statement, which was actually such a declaration of faith and truth!
We do indeed have a light within us. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus calls us the “light of the world”. Yes, He IS the light (John 8:12), but as a follower of Jesus, we have Jesus- and His light- within us. He wants us to let Him shine through us, but also to walk in the faith, authority and confidence that is given to us.
Today God is saying, don’t succumb to the darkness around you, but stand brave and full of faith. Be that ‘city on a hill’ whose light cannot be hidden, and help others find their way back into the light, and into hope.
This morning the Lord reminded me of a vivid vision He gave me during a time of worship while I was living in China. Although it was a word given long ago, He said it was relevant for many people at this time.
In the vision I saw a very long, ornate dining table beautifully set in a large banqueting hall. On the table were the most incredible and delicious looking platters of food. Some of the food I could not even distinguish, I had never seen anything like it before. There were dishes and plates and bowls of food that covered the entire table, and I knew that Jesus had prepared each dish himself, especially for the guests.
There were people seated all around the the table, but they weren’t eating a thing. They were just sitting there looking at all the food with such regret and disappointment. I saw that they weren’t eating because their stomachs were SO FULL! The actual word that came to me was STUFFED! They really wanted to enjoy the feast, but because they had already ‘stuffed’ themselves with their own food, they could not enjoy a thing that was in front of them.
I could sense Jesus’ absolute desperation in wanting to share so much more with each person sitting there, so much more of Himself, but everyone was too full to receive all that He had for them. I could also sense His sadness that their own meal had satisfied them, knowing that what He had prepared was so much better.
Jesus is desperate for us to really ’empty’ ourselves and get back to a place of being hungry for Him and excited for all He has for us.
This ‘Lockdown’ time of ‘slowing down’, being stripped of all that keeps us busy and ‘full’, is a great opportunity to stop, rest, breathe, be…and grow hungry.
The other thing I heard today was Him saying, “A change of perspective” and then I saw Him flipping the words “Lock Down” around until it became “Freeing Up”!
I immediately understood that God wants His people to view this time of being ‘housebound’ as liberating, not restraining! This is not easy for many- I can totally understand (I have two small kids!)
The change of perspective comes in focusing not on what one can’t do anymore, but what one can do!
For some of you, aside from finally having time to take that bubble bath, do that hair mask, build that puzzle with your son, or have that family supper together at the table; there also may be time now to be like Mary, and sit at His feet, incline your ear, and really, really get to know Him.