Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

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Angry Lion

How to Avoid the Bitter End

What is your biggest regret?

It’s one of those questions where your stomach drops out, and your brain thinks, things are about to get real. The question was raised in my small group, and I knew the answer immediately. I should have been a better friend to Jodi. We had been roommates, and she had been the maid-of-honor in my wedding. One girl’s night out, I’d been responsible for holding her car keys, and they’d somehow fallen out of my pocket. After a frustrating hour of searching, we found them in the ladies’ room, but in the process of looking, I overheard her call me stupid.

Admittedly, there are worse things to be called, but I was hurt. Instead of talking to her and trying to work things out, I acted badly and gave her the cold shoulder. My nonconfrontational way of dealing with the issue strained our relationship. We started to bicker and eventually parted ways never to speak again. Because I wasn’t willing to overlook something trivial, I ruined our friendship which I now realize was the greater of the two sins. Why didn’t I say something? Why did I let a minor issue destroy a great friendship?

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.– Proverbs 17:9

4 Oxen back to back

There’s an old Aesop’s Fable about Four Oxen and a Lion that goes something like this: A lion used to prowl about a field where four oxen lounged. He tried to attack them many times looking for a savory meal, but whenever he came near, they turned their tails to one another. Whichever way the lion approached them he was met by a pair of horns. The lion stalked off to wait. Eventually, the oxen began to argue. Each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. The Lion seized his opportunity, attacking them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

Okay, so this isn’t a happily-ever-after story, but there is a lot of meat to this tale. (Sorry I couldn’t resist the bad pun.) Bickering among friends can be deadly. It might not be a lion-gnaws-on-your-bones type of deadly, but it inevitably kills the friendship.

Friends protect each other’s backs. When we’re turned against each other, nitpicking and bickering, then our backs are exposed, making us easy prey for the devil. His main tactic is to divide and conquer so he can pick us off one by one. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Don’t become divided. Set your hurts aside, and talk things out. Don’t let bickering and bitterness destroy relationships. Don’t be like me and live with the regret of losing a good friend. Be aware of the devil’s tactics and don’t let foolishness or pride keep us from forgiving one another or extending grace. We are stronger together.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12.

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woman coasting on bicycle

How to Avoid Coasting into Deadman’s Land

coasting on bike

One of my favorite things to do when I was younger, was ride bikes. My friends and I would pump our legs and work up a sweat getting to the top of the neighborhood hill. The reward came when we’d loop around and coast back down. I used to stand up, lock my knees, and let the wind lift my hair and whip it about like a banner behind me. It felt like true freedom. Eventually, we’d roll to a stop, turn around, and work to get back up that hill.

Famous actor, Sam Waterston, said, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back.”

That is the problem with coasting. Eventually, we coast to a stop. King David, discovered this concept the hard way. In 2 Samuel 11, it says that “After the year was expired, at a time when kings go forth into battle… David tarried still in Jerusalem.” I love the word expired because it not only signals the end of something, but it gives the impression of breathing out, like a long sigh after a hard day’s work. David had seen many battles with his mighty men. He was war-torn and probably exhausted. He decided to sit one out, and who can blame him?

C.S. Lewis in his book, The Screwtape Letters, eloquently demonstrates the idea that the devil’s best weapon in his arsenal is complacency. If he can get us to coast, eventually, we’ll roll to a stop. We’ll forget our purpose, become bored, and that’s when the trap is set. For David, the trap was a lovely woman bathing on the rooftop, named Bathsheba.

mountain biking uphill

I’m not saying don’t coast. We need to celebrate our successes, take a breather, and let the wind whip through our hair. However, don’t roll to a stop. Give God the glory, then turn that bike around and climb the hill again. Be on your guard while you’re coasting. Don’t become complacent. Don’t let boredom lead you down a dark path. Don’t get stuck at the bottom of the hill. Rethink taking a break if you’re prone to losing motivation. Whether it’s in work, personal, or your spiritual life, push yourself to keep growing, learning, and seeking God’s face.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward, that way you don’t wake up one day and look around wondering how you got so far from all the things you once valued.

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man with drawn muscles

How to Handle a Bully

words describing a bully

I was petrified of a bully on my bus. She looked tough, acted tough, and sounded tough. She dressed in all black and always sat in the back of the bus. I intentionally avoided sitting near her and never made eye contact lest I became her next victim. I stayed off her radar, until one day, she needed a quarter. She asked the people around her, but either no one had one, or they wouldn’t give it to her. She started moving up the aisle seat to seat saying she needed a quarter. I could tell something was wrong. She looked a little paler than normal. Her voice was a tad more shrill. She seemed panicked. She passed by, overlooking me. (That’s how good I’d gotten at going unnoticed.) But something inside me told me to give her a quarter.

“Wait!” I yelled.
 Her head whipped around, and a pair of dark eyes locked on me.
“I have a quarter.” I dug into my backpack, pulled out a quarter, and handed it to her.
She took it, issued me a nod, and got off at the next stop.

The next day I was standing at my locker when I heard “Hey!” I turned around to see her walking with her friends. She held my gaze. I fought to keep my knees from shaking while she walked by me. I was now on her radar. So much for doing the right thing, I berated myself. Then the oddest thing happened. After her friends passed, she glanced back at me over her shoulder and waved with a smile.

I can’t remember smiling or waving back. I think I was too dumbfounded to move. I just stared at her as she walked down the hall. From that day forward, she always waved to me. We never held a conversation or socialized, but she had become an ally.

Over the weekend, my sister-in-law, Liz, and I discussed how to handle bullies. This Tuesday marked the first week of school for our kids, so I thought it might be helpful to impart some of her wisdom. Here’s what we decided to tell our children:

Man with chalkboard drawn muscles
  • It’s never wrong to do the right thing – It’s good to defend the defenseless. Our courage must be stronger than our complacency. Standing by and watching a bully only makes them stronger.
  • Know who you are and who you represent – Be confident in the person God has created you to be. No matter what a bully says, God made you beautiful, and He made you for a purpose. He has great plans for you. Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Stand bold and speak loud – Bullies feed on weakness. If you stand tall, speak clearly and firmly, often they will back down.
  • Don’t take yourself for seriously – Bullies can often be set off-guard especially if you can laugh at yourself. They’re trying to upset you, but if you can take their insults and joke about it, they won’t know what to do. If they say your shirt is ugly, say “yep, the 1980s called this morning and asked for it back.”
  • Remember bullies are broken people – Bullies bully to feel more powerful. The reason they need power is because they feel insecure. Someone has hurt them in their past, and they essentially are crying out for help. Remember that God also created them and He loves them. If you see a need or an opportunity to help them, it can go a long way as a peace offering, but it can also be a way to show them a bit of God’s love. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture, like giving them a quarter.

This advice doesn’t necessarily apply to cyberbullying. Technology takes things to the next level fast. Sometimes too fast for a young person to fully understand the danger and the consequences. It’s always good to discuss situations where you believe you’ve been bullied with an adult, trusted friend, or in some cases the authorities. You don’t have to struggle with a bully alone. Remember you are the head, not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13), that you are to be a light to the world – a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16), and part of a chosen people, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). This is truth, and nothing a bully can say or do will change it.

For more information on bullying go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/.

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Back to school ispelled out n Scrabble pieces

Reserved

Getting Rid of First Day Jitters

Back to school spelled in Scrabble pieces.

Nothing can be more horrifying then carrying your tray across a crowded school lunchroom when you don’t know anyone. A new student can blend into a crowded hall, and in a classroom, there’s always an open desk, but lunch is a different story. I’ll never forget the first day of my senior year. We’d just moved up to the Boston area, and I didn’t know a soul. Kids dropped into seats next to their friends, laughing and catching up after a long summer. Girls clustered together at certain tables and boys at others. I lifted my chin and scanned for an open spot, trying to act as if I belonged.

There were open seats at the freshman tables, but I was an upperclassman, I couldn’t eat lunch with them. Juniors and seniors had a specific room sectioned off for us. I thought I found one, but as I attempted to sit, a girl’s hand covered the chair. She informed me it was reserved for her friend. I stood back up and glanced around for another open spot while the girl promptly forgot my existence.

I swallowed down my rising sense of panic and considered skipping lunch. How strict was this school on their hall pass policy? Could I make it to the library and hide among the books? As I stood there dripping with insecurity, a warm friendly voice said, “Hey, new girl. I think you’re in my physics class.” She slid over and patted the place next to her. “Want to sit here?”

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I don’t know if my friend, Jessica, knew how much that simple act of kindness meant to me.

I was no longer alone.

group of people

Elijah, God’s prophet, knew an even more extreme version of loneliness. King Ahab had killed all of the prophets and his wife, Jezebel, threatened to kill Elijah within twenty-four hours. Elijah ran and hid. He told God he wanted to lay down and die because he believed he was the only one left, but God tells him in 1 Kings 19:15-18, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal.”  

Elijah thought he was alone, but he was actually number seven thousand and one of God’s prophets. He didn’t see God’s bigger picture and plan. The whole time Elijah was struggling, God was working the situation. We may think we are alone like Elijah did, but we are not. God is aware of our situation, and He is preparing a way, strengthening our faith, connecting us with the right people, and working our circumstances for His glory.

My children start school this week. My oldest starts high school, and my youngest starts junior high. I always remind them to be friendly to the new kids because I know firsthand how rough the first day can be. If you are the new kid or you’re starting a new job, new church, new program, or you just feel lonely, please know you are not alone. God is with you, and he’s not only reserved you a seat. He’s reserved you a people.

To paraphrase Michael Bublé, you just haven’t met them yet.

“God sets the lonely in families” – Psalm 68:6

My boys getting ready for school
My boys getting ready for school. They don’t get as excited as they once did.

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Don’t Stay in the Safety Zone

Our first house

My husband and I bought our first home within a few months of getting married. We were excited, a little scared, and definitely a bit naïve when it came to owning a three family and managing tenants. Our first obstacle came when no one was willing to move out of the house we purchased and planned to dwell. We sent notices to quit, but no one was willing to pack up. We even offered them significant money to leave, but no one would budge. Meanwhile, the lease on the apartment where we were renting was up. We owned a home but somehow were homeless.

We did the only thing we could. We retreated to a safe spot. We moved in with John’s parents while we navigated the eviction process.

Last week I talked about rope swings and how we need to be all in like Peter, but even Peter had to retreat to a safe spot. It was a scary time after Jesus died. Jesus had been their leader and Peter’s friend. Jesus had been here to save the world, but he’d just been crucified. Now, what were the disciples to do? Not only that, but Peter struggled with the grief of having denied Jesus, not just once, but three times after Jesus foretold it. Peter “the rock’s” life had been rocked. So, he went back to what he knew best – fishing – to absorb and regroup. Peter rowed the boat back out, tossed the nets overboard, and went back to being a fisherman.

We may often do the same. Go back to safe ground. Take a step back to gain perspective. But we are not supposed to stay there. It’s okay to stop to take a breath, recharge, get our barrings, but then get back on track. When Jesus came to visit Peter after His death, Peter was fishing with some of the other disciples when Jesus called out to him. Peter didn’t recognize him, but James did and whispered to Peter, who then dove overboard and swam to shore. It was not God’s plan for Peter to go back to being a fisherman, so Jesus called to him and told him three times to feed His lambs.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, Peter boldly spread the good news to thousands of people, both Jew and Gentile. He became the spokesman of the apostles and the rock upon which God built his church.

My husband and I knew we weren’t meant to stay living in his parent’s house. It was a temporary place for us to develop and execute a plan. We eventually moved into the multifamily home and eventually into a single-family home. And now we are often giving real estate advice to other young couples looking to purchase their first home.

Many of us want to stay in the safety zone, doing what’s known and comfortable, but that isn’t God’s will for us. There will be obstacles, but those problems help us to mature. God has great plans for us, but we will never know the sweet reward of stepping out in faith and the joy of walking in God’s will if we continue to stay living in our parent’s basement.


John and I fixing up our first house (red one seen above) once we were able to move there.
You can see the naivety of the first time home buyer smile on my face.

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Man diving into lake

Dive in

Boy swinging on rope swing into lake.

Rope swings aren’t something you can do halfway. You either swing out over the water, let go, and go all in. Or, you swing back and crash into the trunk of a tree. Somebody tied a rope to a tree near the reservoir not far from my house. It’s been taken down now, but we used to hear the whoops and see the splashes as they plunged into the lake. I know it’s only time before the boys try to make one of their own.

Peter was a rope-swing kind of disciple. He jumped into things with both feet. He was notorious for getting out of the boat to walk to Jesus on water and sinking a few seconds later when he got distracted (Matthew 14:28-30). He spoke before he thought and often put his foot in his mouth. One minute, Peter was having divine revelations about his Lord, and the next, he was being reprimanded, “get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:13-23). He told Jesus, even if the others fall away, he would not. Even if he died, he would not deny Him. And then, before dawn that next day the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:33-34).

Man diving in lake

But despite all Peter’s mess-ups, God loved him and had a great plan for his life. He chose Peter to be the rock upon which He built His church. When Jesus returned from the dead, he stood on the shore calling out to Peter and his fishing crew. As Peter recognized his old buddy Jesus, he couldn’t wait a second longer to see him. He dove into the sea and swam into shore. The rest of the men were left to reel in the nets and row in the boat (John 21: 4-9).

God favors the excitable. He blesses those who step out in faith. He desires us to be all-in.

He wants our fervor.

But how do we do that? Part of it is letting go and letting God (like I mentioned in my last blog), but here are some suggestions of ways I’ve dialed things up a notch when I feel like I’ve plateaued or started to coast in my faith:

  • Crank up worship music and dance around the room. Not a dancer? Lift your hands, and see where it goes.
  • Sing along until your voice won’t let you.
  • Not a singer? Chant scripture like it’s your war cry. Repeat it like a mantra. Let it sink into your entire being.
  • Give something away, whether it be a free meal or just a smile. Feel the love of God flow through you into others.
  • Lay prone on the floor and pour your heart out in prayer for someone.
  • Watch a sunset, or go for a hike, or sit under the stars, and praise God for his creation and the great work of his hands.
  • Support a new endeavor upon which your church or pastor is embarking. Join the vision to make it happen, serve, and be blessed by how God moves.
  • Join a church group or lead a church group. Nothing strengthens your faith like being accountable to and for others.

Don’t worry about messing up or appearing silly. Peter sure didn’t, and God is good at covering faults.

So go ahead. Dive all-in. 

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Girl hiding under comforter

When the World Wants You to Worry

Two mass shootings thirteen hours apart – this past weekend’s news headlines instills fear into the hearts of all of us.

Woman under comforter: Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Circumstances like El Paso and Dayton have become all too frequent. My heart breaks for those killed and injured community, and my prayers go out for their families and communities. Worrying about what is happening to this world and where things are headed makes me want to squeeze my eyes shut, crawl back under the covers, and stay there. However, I peel back the covers, and not only face each day but do so with joy and hope.

In May, my phone rang as I pulled up in front of my son’s elementary school. It was a robocall from the town. My car automatically puts my calls on speaker as a driving precaution. My son and his cousin listened in the back seat to the broadcast announcement that a possible threat had been made upon the Ashland High School and there would be a heavy police presence at all the town schools. The drop off teacher peered at me through the window and cars lined up behind me. I had only a moment to decide whether to throw the car back in drive and peel away or open the car door and let my baby out when I could tell he had fear in his eyes and a million questions for me.

I held up a one-moment finger to the drop-off teacher and prayed Isaiah 54:17over my son and nephew that no weapon turned against them would succeed. I put on my brave face and opened the car door. I told them I loved them like I do every day but added, “God has got this, and He’s got you.”

Baby birds in nest

It’s hard to relinquish those that you love. I have to remind myself, that even though these precious boys are for a time in my care, they are God’s children. His love for them is greater than my own. Even if I want to protect them from every hurtful and hateful thing out there, it is God’s will, not mine. He has big plans for them, and it doesn’t entail keeping them locked away for safekeeping. As hard as it is, I have to let go and let God, and not only that, the Bible says I have to do it without worry.

Don’t worry; be praying. – Philippians 4:6 says it straight out, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” In order to allow my boys to become young men, I’ve had to stay put and let them venture from the nest, but not without prayer cover. My role has changed from Mommy guardian angel when they were little to a prayer warrior.

Don’t be a joint worrier. I will sometimes pray as if expressing my concerns is going to evoke God to worry also, enough to take action and save the day. Praying like this isn’t honoring God. It’s trying to control God.  1 Peter 5:7states, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Cast means to throw. Not throw like a game of catch where you wait for it to be thrown back. It means to relinquish it, surrender it to God completely.

Let tomorrow worry about itself. Don’t exhaust yourself worrying over what the world is becoming, if layoffs are coming, or about your son or daughter leaving to get their driver’s license, for college, or the military. Worrying about tomorrow today only causes you to worry twice and leaves you exhausted. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Worry is good for one thing only: to help us recognize an area of our life that we need to surrender.

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Hands holding question and answer balls

For When You Don’t Have the Answers, and for When You Do.

Hands holding question and answer ballss

Ever try to assemble a trampoline? If you ever get the chance… well, don’t. It is not a fun experience. We purchased our trampoline through Amazon. They claimed to have a company who would come out and assemble it for us for a small fee. The problem is the company never came. After rescheduling multiple times and our boys staring at the unopened box promising hours of fun and jumping, we decided we’d assemble it ourselves. It even came with a how-to-video. How bad could it be? We’re fairly intelligent people. My husband can read building plans. We should be able to follow seven pages of instructions.

By midafternoon, springs rocketed into the air nearly missing us. We had the instruction video playing on repeat. By nightfall, each of us sported bruises, blisters, and dripped with sweat. It was a miracle we got the thing assembled. As I lay exhausted on the couch, I decided some things I was never meant to understand. The group, Go Fish (their tag line is music for kids that won’t drive parents crazy), has a song called, Planes, Phones, and Microwaves. They sing about the mysteries we don’t understand, but that we should thank God for the people who can – Amen to that.

Boys on trampoline

Often, we think we deserve an explanation. God, why did I not get the promotion? I thought it was your will? Why can’t we have children of our own? Why would I have cancer? Sometimes, our intellectualism gets in the way. We think we can figure everything out on our own. We are okay using phones, computers, and the internet without fully understanding how they work, but when it comes to God, we demand answers before we can believe – before we can trust.

Here’s the thing: we’re not meant to have the answers.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

We are not supposed to have it all figured out. It’s God’s way of building our faith and strengthening our confidence in Him. Just as we the microwave to heat our lunch and the airplane to hold us in the air, we need to trust that God is in control. We will never have it all figured out, at least not this side of heaven. However, we can have peace because God, who knows us completely – our desires, wants, and needs – does have the answers.

And He is for us.

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Forget Your Potential. There’s Something Better…

My youngest saying, “No!” to having his picture taken.

Why is the word No so easy for toddlers to say yet adults stumble over it? It’s a simple word, the two letters should roll off the tongue, but I admit, sometimes I can’t form the letters. They stick to my lips and swell my tongue.

We don’t realize how crucial No is to fulfilling our purpose.

We hold unlimited potential. Scripture tells us, you can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13). The real question is whether we should strive to reach our potential… or maybe not.
In one day, I feel the pressure to do the following:

  • write,
  • be a good mom,
  • be a good spouse,
  • paint (because I have some talent),
  • be a leader in the church,
  • run a small group,
  • work to earn a living,
  • mentor young women,
  • keep up with my girlfriends,
  • read and learn.

God has given me the gifts and skills to do the above list, and I enjoy all these things, yet if I did them all, I would become a failure. As much as I want to fulfill my potential, it’s not realistic in the time I have been given. Instead, I try to follow Jesus’ example.

Even Jesus didn’t reach his potential. I know it sounds sacrilegious, but hear me out. Think of all the things the Son of God could have done. The earth was and is his footstool. Not only could He have gotten Himself down from the cross, He could have snapped His fingers and had us all bowing at His feet. Jesus, however, focused on fulfilling his purpose. He only had three years of ministry. Everything Jesus did was intentional. Going through Samaria was supposed to be a shortcut, but He stopped to visit with the woman at the well because He knew many of the Samaritans would believe because of her testimony (John 4:39-43). He ended up staying for two days to draw more because He was focused on accomplishing his purpose.

Focus on fulfilling your purpose, not your potential.

arrow hits target

Sometimes we get stressed because we feel the desire to reach our potential. We say yes to everything.  Then, when we make a mistake or have a setback, we feel devastated. We spread ourselves too thin, and it becomes hard for us to catch back up. In our attempt to be the best of everything, we burn ourselves out. We fall short of our expectations, lose focus of our purpose, and feel like we let ourselves and God down.

God gave us unlimited potential through him, but we need to focus on what His will is, what he needs us to do, and what His purpose for our life is. It will mean saying “no” to things that we may be good at doing, things we have the skills and abilities to do, but they can be a distraction from what God intends for us to accomplish.

Below is my middle son saying, “No,” to cake, of all things.

My middle son saying no to cake of all things!

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Arerial view of doctor's supplies

The Doctors Killed Garfield

“The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him,” claimed the assassin, Charles Guiteau. Guiteau’s strange words were not entirely wrong. James Abram Garfield, our 20th President, died eleven weeks after being shot.

Aerial view of doctor's supplies

He’d been on his way to a family vacation at the Jersey shore when Guiteau’s bullet pierced his body and lodged in his abdomen near his spine. Doctors rushed to the scene. They poked and prodded the wound with unwashed hands in an attempt to remove the bullet without success.

In tremendous pain, President Garfield was brought back to the White House where the doctors continued to surgically probe the wound, turning a three-inch-deep hole into a 20-inch-long incision. Infection set in turning the wound into a puss-filled, rotting mess. What we now know as germs and bacteria attacked the President’s internal organs, rendering them septic. President Garfield died on September 19th, 1881, technically not from a bullet but the following infection. (Markel, The Dirty Painful Death of President James A. Garfield, PBS.com NewsHour, Sept 2016)

We may not have taken a bullet, but many of us have open gashes festering like President Garfield. Whether something horrific was done to us or whether our actions left a physical, emotional, or mental wound, we wrestle with the negative thoughts and doubts that seep in. Guilt, worry, and stress corrode our well-being and steal our joy.

Ephesians 4:27 says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”

A foothold isn’t much, but it’s just enough to keep a door from closing. It’s enough to let something unwanted inside. Once it’s in, the septic thoughts infiltrate our hearts and minds like those doctor’s unwashed hands. But we have the power to stop them.

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to, “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We have the power to rein in our thoughts and take them captive. We can flush out guilt, self-doubt, and shame and rid ourselves of their toxic infection. We can let the blood of Jesus cleanse us – wash us clean.

Sheep in the snow

I find it best to shut off those negative thoughts as soon as they begin. I remind myself I am a child of God, that He delights in me, and that Jesus’s blood has washed me white as snow. When you come under attack, if you still question whether you are worthy or capable of being cleansed of all sin, let me remind you of what the Bible says:

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Colossians 1:13-14 – For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:14 – How much more, then, will the blood of Christ… cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death.

Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

1 John 1:9– If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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