Holding Thoughts Hostage

By Lisa Tobias, GFC South Tampa

I have a daughter who challenges me and often exhausts me.
If you’ve ever dealt with a defiant child then you’ve probably experienced the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions that comes with constantly trying to figure out another way to discipline that child. After all, we are to “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

One year when she was experiencing extreme anxiety at school and fits of rage at home, I was in the process of trying to get her the right help, but I had a complete meltdown myself. I’m sure you’ve had meltdowns before? Gone through a box of tissues? Me too. But this one was different. I wasn’t just sobbing uncontrollably; I was spewing hateful and destructive words at myself. Whoa.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Thoughts about being an inadequate mother had taken root in my heart. I had to realize I had a defiant, disobedient spirit inside of me. How could I reign in my own child if I couldn’t reign in my own thoughts?

I didn’t always understand the scripture from 2 Corinthians 10:5 that says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” After this scary, personal meltdown I leaned into this verse. How can we make negative, destructive thoughts obedient to God’s truth?
We have to view those thoughts as a disobedient, defiant spirit that is NOT of us, because we were not given a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

See yourself as the authoritative figure over these defiant thoughts and speak to them with the authoritative power of the Holy Spirit in you. Make them obedient to you and the Holy spirit by replacing the lies with God’s truth. This takes practice and discipline, and it’s often an internal wrestling match. When I can wrestle well between my faith and my feelings, I find I have more patience and wisdom when dealing with others, including my daughter.


By Jennifer Clements, GFC Land O’ Lakes


When an offense comes, are we controlled by our emotions? Recently, I learned a very valuable lesson after one of my Zoom calls.  I led a meeting to discuss a new process roll out.  There were a few questions, so I addressed each and asked if everyone felt secure about the information I provided. The response was crickets, and I mean absolute silence. It was awkward, but I gave the right answers, and then moved on.


Later on, someone asked my superior a question, the same question they had asked me, and he provided the same directive. When he finished, there were smiles and nods of confirmation, and I was frustrated. After all, he communicated the same thing I had just said! I didn’t stop to think about why this information could have sounded better coming from someone else.


I was upset but didn’t say a word because the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry but do not sin,” and I was literally repeating Psalms 141:3, under my breath, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” I must admit, sometimes my lips need deliverance. After several hours, I was still upset, and decided to call a friend/co-worker to vent. But, first, I asked how she thought the meeting went, and she said, “I thought it was productive, but we couldn’t understand a word you said, your internet connection was terrible.”


Well, there it was! It wasn’t that they didn’t like the information coming from me; it was a bad connection! The result of seven people working or e-learning from home! I was about to embarrass myself because I allowed my emotions to control me.  Being offended is often the choice when failing to understand. This week when there’s an opportunity to get upset, let us strive to understand and not be offended.

Freedom to Rest

By Nathalie Corniel

My desire is to be a source of encouragement as we grow deeper in God’s truth to give hope to a hurting world. We can only give that which we have. So, how do we nurture our spiritual health?

When considering my own spiritual health, one question I ask myself is whether I have margin in my life for self-care and rest (the Bible calls it Sabbath)?

You may be asking, “What does that mean?”

Let me tell you, when I am tired and empty, I am not the easiest person to live with. As a working mom, wife, and student I get exhausted, can lose joy, and enthusiasm. Because of that, I need to reflect on how my soul and physical health are doing. I can crave a better attitude and a closer relationship with Jesus, but am I making changes to my routine to allow me the freedom to rest?


John Maxwell said “See what a person is doing every day…. and you’ll know who that person is and what he or she is becoming.” When we rest and take intentional time for our soul, it allows us to have a clearer perspective in life. God modeled relaxation for us by resting after creating the universe (Hebrews 4:4). Rest allows us to hear the voice of God by inviting His presences in our lives.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to measure our rest this week.

How do we find rest in a restless world?

How do we find rest in a time of a pandemic?

How are we carving out time to rest and invite God in those difficult dried places of our souls?



By Pam Otto, GFC Van Dyke

Earlier this year, my daughter encouraged me to choose a word that would be used as an inspiration or encouragement for 2020. She thought it would be fun to each have our own words and then paint them on a canvas as a daily reminder. After contemplating a bit, the word I chose was Attentive, which means: to pay close attention to someone or something; to be observant, perceptive, noticing, aware.

I loved it! I knew I certainly could improve on being more attentive with listening to God, my friends and family. I started the year out by being more mindful of others, having a focus on being fully present in conversations and noticing the little things…But, it wasn’t long before my ‘attentiveness’ got lost in the shuffle of busyness, schedules, distractions, and then a global pandemic.


The shift of my attentiveness slipped into the background as I tried to maneuver all the changes that came from Covid-19. But then came God’s gentle reminder…I love that God sees us and knows just what we need from Him, in each and every season we are in. God led me to Proverbs 8:34-35, “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.”

God quietly reminded me to refocus my attention to Him, to listen to Him, to watch Him and wait for Him. When we place our attention on God rather than the endless distractions that can fill up our minds, we are changed; we are blessed. He says that those who find Him find life and receive favor from Him. What an awesome exchange – we lay down our distractions, give Him our attention and He gives us His presence, blessing and favor! What a win!