A Devotional Bible Study
Again today I have listed for you a passage which may express your current feelings. It is a cry unto the Lord from the depths of a heart that suffering.
Read Psalm 143. Twice this psalm requests the Lord to deliver from enemies. Make a list of your enemies in your particular situation. Things like grief, isolation, depression, even Satan himself. Once you can recognize these enemies, you will be more able to defend against them and ask God for assistance in battling them.
Notice in verse 11 David asks God to preserve his life and bring him out of trouble. I want to be blunt right now, okay? I touched on this in the introduction, but it’s important enough to bring up again. Oftentimes when people struggle and are in despair they can become depressed or even suicidal. I hope and pray that you are not in that position, dear friend. If you are, seek help, whether from a trusted friend, pastor, therapist, or a suicide hotline. Don’t wait. Your life is valuable, even if you don’t feel that right now. God creates life, and only he can decide when it should be ended.
Even if we despair of life we must continue living, as in staying alive, and living, as in going about our daily lives, even though our world may seem as if it is coming to an end. We must continue to interact with life, people, situations. We can’t isolate ourselves from friends and family. Why?
Look at Psalm 138:7–8. Pay close attention to verse 8, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…do not abandon the works of your hands.”
Now read Philippians 1:6. The Father began his work in us before the foundation of the world. Ephesians tells us that he prepared good works for us to do, and he prepared them beforehand. He will not neglect to finish the work he began. We don’t need to hinder that work but cooperate with it and thus fulfill our purpose.
Next read Romans 8:28–29. This verse is quoted a lot in times like these but don’t fail to notice what comes after verse 28. What is his purpose? Verse 29 says to conform us to the likeness of his Son. He uses the good and the bad in our lives to make us more like Jesus, our example.
Now skip down to verse 31, then 35–39. What powerful words! Make a list of the things that can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. (Pretty short list, huh.) Now make another list of the things that cannot separate us from his love.
Wow, what a comparison! He has a purpose for each of our lives and everything we go through, both good and bad, conforms to that purpose if we are submitted to him and his will.
You’ve read a lot of verses today. Take a few minutes to think about all the Father has taught you through his word and meditate on those truths as the day goes on.
Okay. Today we are really going to get down to the nitty gritty. Very often we must be proactive in our walk with the Lord. He does all the work of salvation, but we have to claim promises and obey commands, which is our part in his work in our lives.
You are going to look at verses about controlling our thoughts. Hang in there, there are several. Why do we need to see what Scripture says about this? Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…”
So, the first verse to look up is Isaiah 26:3.
The word steadfast implies established, resting in, leaning on. How can a person make his/her mind steadfast? This verse says it is steadfast because the person trusts in the Lord.
Flip over to Philippians 4:6–8.
Paul says that we should not be anxious about anything. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
But when we present our requests to God, verse 7 tells us that his peace, which transcends all understanding (How can a person have peace when they have lost someone dear?? It transcends our understanding.) will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Guard them from what, do you think? Guard them from many things, not the least of which would be Satan’s attacks on our thoughts, his attempts to make us doubt, to discourage us, to make us think life isn’t worth living.
Now verse 8. This well-known verse helps us see how important it is to “take every thought captive unto Christ.” Write down the things Paul says we should think about and compare that to what we are tempted to think about, especially in times of despair.
Skip down to verses 12 and 13. That is how you manage. Only through Christ. He is the one through whom God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches (v. 19).
I want you to see Psalm 112:6–8 next. In this passage it’s the heart of the righteous person that steadfastly trusts in the Lord. But that’s another way of saying mind.
I would like to encourage you to really pray over these verses. It is so easy to let our thoughts run away with us, especially when life seems too much to bear, and we languish on a continual diet of desperation and heartache and despair. But one of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control.
Again, we must take our thoughts captive, make them submissive to the control of the Spirit to prevent Satan from achieving his purpose to discourage and defeat us.
I want to leave you today with 1 Peter 5:8–10 as my prayer for you. Amen and amen.