Category Archives: Self-control

The Deep (Audio Message)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Gen. 1:1-2, NIV).  Biblical scholars say that this is an ancient way of describing chaos. As God brought order from chaos in Genesis, so too he will address the chaos in our personal lives.  This message offers some practical principles to help deal with the chaos that stirs in the lives of people like you and me.

Proverbs 8:27-29 I was there when he set the heavens in place when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above – and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.

Matthew 25:21a, His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

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Sticks and Stones

As children we recited the popular idiom, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.

If only we could have gossip2remained in that state of unscathed innocence. Immature and uncontaminated we launched benign attacks with words like poo poo-head and stinky-feet.

Then we grew up and our naiveté was lost. The sweet youthful banter was replaced by malignant assaults of adult gossip, lies and slander. We learned that names do hurt.

As Christians we are called to submit our hearts, minds and souls to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When in right relationship with Him, it is not difficult to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13). We ought to strive to reflect His character by getting rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language (Colossians 3:8).

Then why do such things persist? According to the scriptures, the words that flow from a loose tongue are directly related to evil in the heart. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

The issue of slander has become a serious one for the church. Author John Armstrong  writes, “While Christians currently debate a host of ethical issues that are very important to the life and well-being of the church I fear that too few of us are willing to actually address a sin that destroys the work of the Spirit as fast, if not faster, than almost any other sin. I refer to the sin of slander”.

Truly the wounds from the battering of sticks and stones are more easily treated than the damage caused by a reckless tongue. Whether couched in prayer, whispered in conversation, or openly declared, slanderous words launch a vile attack on the character and well-being of an individual. As Christians we must do better.

George J. Carroll  wrote the following poem.

Those that slander you
with lies and deceit they say,
Show them mercy God

This is my prayer. May God teach us and show us mercy. Putting aside the sticks, stones and name-calling, as Christians we can do better.

James 1:26 NIV If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Matthew 12:36-37 NIV But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

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

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/8/2010 5:36 PM

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Some Things are Final or “Oops”

dreamstime_xs_26038741While lying at the foot of the bed, our puppy, Maggie, sat up twice in response to an unusual sound coming from the kitchen.  I was nursing a stomach ache, so I chose to ignore her.   I later learned that ignoring her was a mistake.

I had placed some eggs on the stove to boil earlier that day and left the kitchen to take a short rest.  Unfortunately I forgot about them.  Sometime later Maggie cried to go outside.  We no sooner reached the front yard when I heard an explosion from inside the house.

Returning, I quickly realized that the water had boiled out of the pan and the eggs had burst throwing their shells and innards not just onto the nearby stove, wall, and cabinets, but also across the room onto the table, under the table, and upon the ceiling.  Maggie started to eat what was on the floor while I opened windows and prepared to clean the mess; not a fun task with an already upset stomach.

As I cleaned I remembered the childhood rhyme about Humpty Dumpty who was also a splattered egg.  The rhyme goes, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again”!

Spraying pieces of Humpty Dumpty with Windex and wiping his remains into the trash, I contemplated how final the end of a matter really can be.  Humpty Dumpty fell to his death by foolishly sitting his rounded bottom on a high wall. The three eggs in the pan – well they simmered too long under hot and pressurized conditions.  In such extremes, fatality is inevitable.

The rhyme points out that even the resources of kings could not un-scramble the consequences of a poor choice.  If we desire different outcomes, then we should make better choices, and the Word of God is available to guide us.

Here are a few examples:  be self-controlled and alert (1 Peter 5:8), live a godly life (2 Peter 3:11 ), settle matters quickly (Matthew 5:25 ), walk in the truth (3 John 1:4), forgive (Colossians 3:13), esteem wisdom (Proverbs 4:8), seek understanding (Proverbs 2:1-3), be humble (Ephesians 4:2), persevere in trials (James 1:12), love God and our neighbor (Luke 10:27), and put aside works of darkness while there is still time (Romans 13:12).

If you are reading this entry, you still have time!  There is no need to simmer under pressure, or teeter in a precariously high place – come on down!  God’s own Word is there to help, and He is infinitely wise!  After all, He created the egg! Hmmm… or was it the chicken?

Romans 8:12-13 NLT Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/3/2009 8:52 PM

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Managing Anxiety and Depression (Audio Message)

This audio recording is a summary of the lessons that I learned over the years concerning the management of anxiety and depression. This particular message was delivered live and was edited on the run, so please forgive any personal references between the speaker and the audience.

A great victory can be won just by understanding the truth about what we fight in the arena of anxiety and depression. By applying our faith, and by using the various tools available to us, we can be free to live a joyful and abundant life. Please click above to listen. I pray that you will be encouraged and changed by God’s power through the truth that you hear!

Psalm 94:19 NIV When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Colossians 1:15-17 MSG He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Philippians 4:5-9 MSG Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/22/2009 8:02 PM – Played: 226 | Duration: 00:58:27

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Ready to Live

She sat in a frozen-like position on her couch. Preoccupied and bewildered, she stared at nothing, but fearfully expected anything. Supposition rushed through her mind like frenzied traffic, terrifying and hollow. She was desperate to run anywhere, but stayed in fear of everywhere.

Her hands tingled, and chills and sweats alternately washed over her with every sound that she heard. Her body had become emotionally and physiologically reactionary; sounds were magnified and people were complicated, yet silence was stifling, and aloneness brought dread.

In moments of intense fear she would whisper the name, “Jesus”.  His name was her entire prayer.

The woman described above was me. For some of my adult years I struggled with anxiety, depression, and finally panic attacks. I was in emotional bondage; dying inside, but desperately wanting to live.

heavenly raysEverybody has their own version of happiness. Mine was to understand and liberally embrace the life that Jesus died to give me. So, even in the dark times when I could not see beyond my fears, I fumbled and reached in God’s direction. Thankfully He was there.

The Bible tells us that God would dwell in a dark cloud. So even in our most desperate times, He is with us. He became a very personal help in my time of need. He showed Himself strong when I was weak, and He embraced me with a love that radically transformed my spirit, soul and body.

I still pray the name “Jesus”, but not out of fear, as I am no longer the woman on that couch. One day I looked up and HIS light had undeniably pierced my dark cloud. I was thawed, calm and unafraid; ready to live that life that He died to give me!

2 Chronicles 6:1 NIV Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud…”

Psalm 46:1 NKJV God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 7/25/2009 11:21 PM

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Guard Your Heart

The scriptures tell us in Proverbs 4:23, to guard our hearts for out of it flow the wellsprings of life.  In fact, in the Message translation of 18413182_l 200the Bible the words are, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts!”

What do you allow yourself to listen to? What words do you permit into your heart?  According to the Bible, words have the power to pierce like an arrow, cut like a sword, and trickle down into our inmost parts. They have access to our insides where they can latch onto our character, so we must learn to keep the gateways to our hearts closed to unwelcome traffic.

Our Pastor preached on the many gates that led to Jerusalem in ancient times.  Each gate was constructed and governed to allow strategic access to the interior of the holy city.  Likewise there are gateways to our human interiors. Whether the spoken words bring healing or harm, they have equal access if we do not vigilantly guard our gates.

When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem, he set guards at each gate. It was the responsibility of the guards to monitor welcome and unwelcome traffic, to and from the city, and to open and close the gates accordingly.  Gates offer protection.

There are many things in life that we cannot control.  However, where we go and what we listen to are not among them. God thoughtfully designed the human body for portability, which gives us the ability to step away from unhealthy influences.

In my case I’ve learned that I am easily affected by movies, so I rarely watch them. When people say, “I was sitting at the edge of my seat”, or, “I cried through the whole thing”, it is a compliment to the effectiveness of the film. But for me, a movie can be a wild ride of emotions, exchanges, and impressions that leave me feeling undone, and sometimes haunted.

So, protect your heart by setting high standards concerning what crosses your personal gateways.  As the Proverb says, “this is where life starts”.  Guard yours.

Nehemiah 7:2-4 NLT I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day. And even while the gatekeepers are on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts and some in front of their own homes.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/8/2009 11:40 PM

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