I haven’t journaled in a while. My return to Gabon, Africa for only 2 months before leaving again to go to Belgium was a bit hectic. I had a lot to accomplish in 2 months and God was faithful to help me get those things done. What I want to talk about today is an inward journey, not visible from the outside. About 6 months ago I told the Lord that I wanted a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him. Oh, I read my bible every day, pray often throughout the day, but I knew that I wanted to go deeper, wanted to really abide in Him. This started a process of “sifting” or “pruning” out some things in my life, so that I could take hold of that deeper relationship. Through several trials (knee surgery, breast biopsy, leaving my family again, heat and bugs of Africa- just to name a few) I have been learning how to take every thought captive and how to use the weapons that God has given us. II Corinthians 10: 3-6 says “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.
This process recently came to a head at a prayer retreat for our team where we studied “The Warrior’s Prayer” (Matthew 6: 9-13). I wish I could share all that we learned, but there isn’t sufficient time or space, but I will share the most significant part that I took from it. We learned that Jesus taught his disciples to pray for protection from the Evil One. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”. We need protection because we are in a battle to bring His Kingdom here to earth. Satan knows our “soft” spots, and that’s where he goes. So, it’s important for us to know his tactics and what our “soft” spots are, or we will fall prey to the enemy. I realized my “soft” spot is my thoughts. If I give into certain thoughts and allow my brain to “run” with them, instead of taking them “captive”, he defeats me. When I returned to Africa, I immediately jumped back into the ministries I was involved in, and as usual, I loved it, and eagerly went about serving God. But then negative thoughts started coming… “I miss my family so much”, “I just really bonded with Emma, and now I am leaving again”, “I miss talking to my grandkids and kids, and being a part of their lives”, “I hate some things about Africa- the heat, the bugs and ants, the power outages” … the list goes on. I allowed those thoughts to play out in my head, instead of taking them captive, and I fell into a depression. This lasted until our prayer retreat. When I realized that I had fallen prey to Satan’s attack on me, I got proactive and told Him to get lost! I asked forgiveness for not taking those thoughts captive. Then I started to praise God, thanking Him for all the good things in my life. I reversed the process that Satan wanted to do in me, and I immediately received emotional and spiritual healing.
I understand this will be an ongoing process. Just Sunday, as I arrived in Belgium, I started having negative thoughts… “another new place to figure out, new language, new culture”, “I don’t know a soul in this whole country, I am so alone”, “my room is so small, can I live in this for the next 3 ½ months?”. But thankfully, I quickly recognized Satan’s attack. I started praising God for all the good things in my life… “Wow, a new country I get to learn about”, “Wow, new people to meet and new friendships to develop”, “Wow, this room serves all my needs… a desk, a comfortable bed, my own bathroom”. “Thank you God for this amazing journey you have me on”. Immediately, those negative thoughts left, and I was glad to be here, and started my journey here in Belgium with JOY, not depression. James 4:7 says that if we submit to God and resist the Devil, he will flee from us. I am taking my Stand here and now, I am learning to take my thoughts captive and experience the Joy that God has for me.
I have caught a cold, and need to be well to attend class every day. I don’t want to miss out on anything I can learn here.
That I will make friends in my “all French” setting. We had our first class today and I met a couple of possible friends that I connected with a little.
That I will understand this difficult materiel presented in French and that my language learning will continue to grow.
Signing out from Antwerp! God bless you all!