Thoughts – Week 1 Print Bible Studies
Who Are You Listening To? (Part One)
“The mind is one of the hardest areas to get under control and keep under control. Part of why it’s hard is because Satan will attack you with lies and deceptions. You need to guard yourself against that. If you don’t, your life could be one miserable day after the next.” Joyce Meyer
1. Call your prayer partner for your 10-minute prayer call. If you are having trouble connecting, keep trying!
2. It’s time to meet with your Beloved, your Savior and the Lover of your soul! Come to Him today as you would want your children to come to you… accepted and loved for who you are. Ask Him to speak truth to your heart today about any lies you are believing and thoughts that are from the enemy.
3. Read Matthew 16:21-28. If you have time, read the whole chapter. It’s awesome!
Who Are You Listening To? (Part One)
Do you ever have troubling thoughts? It happens to everyone. We all can experience times of intense fear, worry, temptation, self-destructive thoughts, or simply negative thoughts about our husbands, children, and our lives.
In my own life, I find myself struggling from time to time with negative thoughts. These thoughts remind me of the sins of my past and cause me to worry about my future. I also can struggle with discouragement and depression. Sometimes, the spiritual battle feels so intense- like I just can’t keep going.
If I were being honest, ever since I started working on the Help Club for Moms, I have felt more discouraged in my thoughts than ever before. I have felt like a failure and wonder how on earth will God ever going to use me to accomplish all that I feel He has called me to do to encourage women.
I didn’t realize where all of those negative thoughts were coming from until recently. Now I know, and I feel so much stronger! God is so great!
God taught me this truth by bringing me to “The Cove” to spend a week learning about Discipleship Counseling- who we are in Christ, the truth about our thoughts, and anxiety and depressive disorders with Neil Anderson from Freedom in Christ Ministries.
While I was at the conference, I learned that many of the thoughts that had been swirling around my head were not mine- they were straight from Satan! Neil explained that Satan has the ability to plant thoughts in our minds that are in “first-person,” which means they seems like they’re our own thoughts, but they’re not. He talked about Satan being the father of lies (John 8:44), and that he lies to God’s people all the time.
In today’s Bible reading, you see Peter being tempted by Satan to discourage Jesus from going to the cross, and you see Jesus’s apt reply:
“But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matt 16:23
Satan was filling Peter’s mind with thoughts that were set on destroying Jesus’ ministry on the earth. I love what John MacArthur says about this passage:
“Jesus had spoken almost the same words to Satan himself after the temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:10). Satan continued to tempt Jesus throughout His ministry in every way he could. Now he put into Peter’s mind the same idea He had tried to put into Jesus’ “God’s plan is too difficult and demanding. Give your allegiance to me and your life will be immeasurably better. My way is superior to God’s way.” That is basically what Peter was saying to Jesus . If such a thing could happen to Peter it could happen to any believer.”
The truth is that Satan can plant a thought in a believer’s mind at any time to attempt to destroy their life, and also destroy the work of the Lord.
That explains why I have been experiencing more dark thoughts since I have started the work on the Help Club!
In fact, when I first came to the conference, I found my thoughts constantly condemning me. It was like there were two conversations going on in my head at any given minute. I could have one conversation with the person I was talking to, and a separate one where my thoughts were telling me lies about myself and my future.
Right after the first session where Neil began to address the truth about our thoughts, it dawned on me where all of my condemning thoughts were coming from. I prayed with the group and a sweet new friend and awoke the next day with a clear head. The thoughts were gone! It was truly a miracle from God!
Now my heart’s desire is to encourage everyone I can to change their thinking and “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
What about you? What work is Satan wanting to destroy in your life? Your marriage? Family relationships? Friendships? Ministry?
We all need to be on our guard and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Tomorrow we will be examining what God’s Word says about how to think true thoughts, and doing an exercise to learn to think the truth.
My prayer is for the Holy Spirit to speak to you this week and change your life by changing the way you think.
4. Questions to ponder: Write the answers to these questions in your journal.
-Let’s revisit the statement, “Begin with the end in mind.” When you are at the end of your life and are looking back, what one word would most accurately describe you. Ask God what He thinks your word should be.
For example, I would say my one word is “Accepting.” I always want people to feel that I accept them, just as they are, where they are in their faith and walk with God. If a person is not a Christian, I want them to feel that I accept them for who they are and that we all are in need of a Savior. None of us is exempt or beyond needing the salvation from Jesus Christ. Your word could be faithful, loving, generous, kind, etc.. Write your word and then why you want this said about you.
-How can you begin today to live out your life this way? Give specific examples of how you could best represent this word today and every day.
-Write your word on a sticky note and put one in your kitchen, your bathroom mirror, and your car.
-Talk to your children about your word that you want to represent your life. Pray with them to figure out their word too. Have them write it on sticky notes and put it on their bathroom mirror, bedroom wall, etc.. Encourage them to pray about how they can live out this word in their lives.
6. Prayerfully pick out your Mom Tips for the week.
Who Are You Listening To? (Part Two)
by Deb Weakly
“We have to choose to think and speak positively. It doesn’t come naturally—and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lot of practice.” Joyce Meyer
1. It’s time to meet with your Jesus! Take a moment to make a cup of something hot and delicious, light a candle, and go again to where you meet with Jesus. Take a moment to pray and ask God to speak truth to you about your thoughts. Ask Him to give you freedom from condemning, tempting, or untrue thoughts, and to teach you what it means to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
2. Read Matthew 4:1-11. Notice how Jesus overcomes the devil with scripture. Ask God to help you to learn to do the same.
Who Are You Listening To? (Part Two)
Yesterday, we talked about thoughts and the fact that we can all be thinking untrue thoughts that God never intends for us to think. It’s important for us to know that our thoughts can come from four places: God, our flesh, the world, and Satan. How on earth can we figure out if what we are thinking is true?
I’m glad you asked!
First of all, the best way to be able to identify if our thoughts are true or not is to know the Truth. Remember, the Bible says that Truth is a person, Jesus is Truth! (John 14:6.) It also says that the Bible, the Word, is a Person. (John 1:1.) Jesus is the Truth and the Word. When you know Jesus, through a personal relationship with Him, spending time reading, meditating on, and memorizing the Bible- the Word of God, you are also spending time with a person, and this Person, through the Holy Spirit, (John 16:13) will teach you all truth.
**Note- If it’s hard for you to understand this type of concept about Jesus, don’t worry. Simply spend time with Jesus as much as possible through prayer (talking to Jesus), Bible study, and obedience, and He will teach you what you need to know. Ask Him each day to speak to your heart and help you understand and know Him. He will do that for you.
So, the bottom line is this, the better you know the Truth, the less you will believe the lies. Spend time getting to know Jesus and you will be able to think true thoughts. You will be able to identify a lie and train yourself not to believe them. Also, the simple habit of asking God to help you to recognize when a thought is from the devil is helpful as well.
Today’s Questions to ponder has a great exercise to help you to think true thoughts. I highly recommend doing this exercise to help you to overcome the thoughts in your head that are lies:
3. Questions to ponder:
-Pray and ask God to help you to identify the thoughts that are not from Him and write them in your journal. Thoughts from God are true, noble, right, excellent and praiseworthy thoughts. (Philippians 4:8) Everyone is different in the types of thoughts and temptations that affect them. You might be like me, where you hear condemning thoughts that remind you of your past, and make you feel inadequate and fearful about your future, or you may hear something like this:
- “I am a bad mom,” “I have messed up my kids,” “There is no hope for me and my family.”
- “I’m so fat!” “I hate myself!” “I will never be healthy!” “I may as well give up trying to eat healthy.” “I don’t feel pretty enough to be intimate with my husband.”
- “My husband doesn’t love me.” “Maybe I married the wrong person.” “I wish he was like so and so’s husband.” “He is so grouchy with the kids.” “I wonder if I would be happier with someone else.”
- “Is God real?” “He never answers my prayers.” “I don’t feel like He cares.” “God can never forgive me.” “I have let God down again.” “What if I’m not truly saved?” “I don’t think I should pray anymore.” “Church is not for me.”
-Be like Jesus. He overcame the devil with God’s Word! Ask God for a true statement from scripture for you to say out loud and meditate on that overcome the lies. Write these scriptures in your journal under the thoughts that you have identified as not being from God. When those thoughts come, take them captive to Jesus with the Word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
For example, if you are discouraged by all of the hard work associated with being a mom you could be hearing the thought, “I want to run away!” or “This is too hard. I don’t want to get out of bed.” Then you could say, “Jesus, I give you this thought and thank you that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13)
Or if you had a bad day and lost it with the kids and you hear the thought, “You blew it! Your kids are going to remember you as a bad mom!” Simply go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Then say, “Jesus I give this thought to you! Thank you that you are not finished with me yet, that you are always making me more like You! (Philippians 1:6) Thank you that God’s mercies are new every morning, and that I have your grace to help me every day!” (Lamentations 3:22-23) (Hebrews 4:16)
-Record these scriptures on your phone and listen to them over and over until you have memorized them! Also write some of the scriptures on your bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker, and also on sticky notes. Place the notes at your kitchen sink and also in your car. Saturate your mind with the truth. Remember, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.
4. Thoughts Faith- Filled Idea #2.
Speak out loud to Satan like Jesus did. ( Matthew 4:10) When you are having thoughts that you know are not from you, tell Satan to leave you alone in the name of Jesus, and the truth which is that you are a child of God. (Galatians 3:6) Speak this out loud, “Satan, in the mighty name of Jesus I command you to leave me and my family alone.” You don’t have to yell. It doesn’t have to be loud. Don’t freak out your kids. You can simply speak in a matter-of-fact way, tell Satan to leave, and go on with your day. Believe that he has to flee, and move on.
Remember “Whose” you are, and how greatly you are loved! “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1) You are God’s child and have the power in you to overcome Satan. Never forget that! You have God’s power in you!
Jesus came to set us free! As Christ followers, we don’t have to live in bondage to the lies from the enemy. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7.)
Stay close to Jesus. Spend time with him. Obey. Learn the Truth. Give Jesus your thoughts and you will find yourself getting stronger and stronger in the Lord.
Next week, we will be learning all about the Armor of God and the importance of humility in the area of thoughts and your relationship with Jesus.
Overcoming Destructive Thoughts
“Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.” Judith Benton
1. Gather your Bible, prayer journal, and something warm to drink. Ask God to speak to you during this precious, intimate time with him.
***A note from Deb. Today’s study was written by my dear friend, Faith, who I have always said has “lived up to her name.” I watched my amazing sister walk by faith through incredibly difficult circumstances, all the while clinging to the One who still calms the wind and the waves. This is her story of faith, (Hebrews 10:38) and also an amazing example of overcoming destructive thoughts.
Overcoming Destructive Thoughts
Have you ever had to wait to hear the results of a medical test? Have you ever had to wait for the results of a medical test about your child?
Many people can relate to this frightening experience and the sheer panic that sets in when Satan attacks your thoughts. He knows when you are most vulnerable – when you are tired, fearful, faced with the unknown…this is what happened to me when I experienced a full blown panic attack, brought on by the deepest fear I have ever known.
I was in the grocery store with my mom and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe – I had to get out of the store as fast as I could. I said a few words to my mom and bolted for the door. The more I struggled with breathing, the more Satan took control of my thoughts and body.
Two days before this episode our family received devastating news that my seemingly healthy, happy 17 year old, Shane, had a very rare form of cancer. What we did know was that this tumor had been slowly growing in his neck for years. The doctors had mis-diagnosed this tumor as “just a swollen lymph node…nothing to be concerned about.” The next day Shane underwent a scan to determine if the cancer had spread to his lungs or liver…this was on a Friday…no results until Monday.
Saturday was my panic attack. Satan was telling me…”you know this cancer has been in his body a long time, chances are that it spread”…”I’m going to steal his peace, kill his joy, and destroy his life”…”your child is going to suffer”…”you can’t do anything about this”…on and on… In the grocery store, at the most unexpected time, Satan attacked.
My mom came out to the car as fast as she could…I thought I was really going to die.
Now the advice I’m going to share with you, that got me through this panic attack and countless other times since, are words that my mother said to me and words that most people have to pay hundreds of dollars for during a therapy session with my mom. “Faith, be in the moment. Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.” So simple!
Satan wants us to think about our past experiences that aren’t so great, he wants us to worry about our future, and he delights in himself when we put all these things together to come up with the worst possible conclusions.
God wants us to know that right now nothing bad is happening…right now I have control of your thoughts, not Satan. I will protect you from Satan…call on me.
“…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16.
God is so good to give us the shield of faith. When we choose to put our faith in God and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5) instead of panic and fear, it disarms Satan, and he no longer has power over us. When we choose to rest in God, to remember to “cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us,” (1 Peter 5:7) we are choosing to have peace, the true peace that comes from trusting God.
The cancer didn’t spread throughout his whole body. We praise God everyday that after successful treatment, Shane has been cancer free for four years!
Jesus says that we will have trials. I chose to pray mighty prayers and to remind myself that “Right now, at this time, nothing bad is happening.”
3. Questions to Ponder: Write the answers to these questions in your journal. (Be honest with yourself, confronting thoughts from the evil one can be very painful)
-What thoughts are you struggling with? (i.e. The disease will take over my body, my health is not good, I am not a good mother, daughter, sister, wife…I am not good enough to hear God, I am not smart enough, I do so many things wrong, I can’t handle anything,…)
-When do you have these thoughts? You can be ready with the shield of faith when you are most vulnerable. Is it when you are tired, hungry, lacking quiet time, distracted…?
-What is God saying to you? Ask God to take care of all these “flaming arrows” that are coming your way. If Satan is telling you that you are not good enough – God is telling you that you are perfect. He made you perfect!
4. Faith-Filled idea
-This week, be intentional about taking each destructive thought captive to Jesus when they first enter your mind. Can you imagine how much stress you will overcome if you can release these right away and let God handle the evil one?
-After you have released the thought, replace it with a truth from the Bible such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13