UnComfortable Christianity?

is 61 1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1 (NIV Bible Hub)

I usually cry when I read this. My heart is so stirred for the hurting people both in the church and in the world. But being stirred is not enough.

What do I do?

Searching for people, books, blogs, etc that possibly put into words my inner turmoil has consumed my time lately.

The book Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker, put much of what is happening in my spirit, (or rather between me and The Holy Spirit) into perspective. book interrupted

First, as I read pg 14, I was shocked that someone else is having a similar experience. The question looming over my head lately is “Do I really love Jesus?” “If so, what does LOVE JESUS look like, act like, sound like?”

The institutionalized religion of Christianity has me somewhat bumfuzzled. I’ve been raised in it. I speak it’s language. I pray the prayers. I shake hands the right way. I know the nods. I know all the songs (old hymns and new worship). I am even “spirit filled” which means I raise my hands and move when I pray and sing too!

However, I can’t remember the last time I led a sinner to Christ. I feed the hungry “spiritually”. I’m a teacher, a prayer warrior, mentor…

We feed many people at our house in the name of fellowship but they can all feed themselves just fine. We enjoy their company.

I never took blankets to the homeless or visited prisoners.

The scripture “feed my sheep” is repeated in my spirit…

John 21:17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

A lightbulb came on in my head. I don’t get to choose which parts of the command I fulfill  in Isaiah 61, John 21:17, and …

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35

I don’t get to choose to do those acts of love and service that I want to do or like to do. I shouldn’t refuse to do some acts of service because I don’t like doing them and they make me feel uncomfortable.

In my life I chose teaching as the preferred method of “feeding the sheep” I even occasionally preach and desire to preach and teach more. My preferred method is not God’s desire for me…or so I am beginning to comprehend.

I must serve people that no one else wants to serve for starters.

I am uncomfortable in modern Christianity.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable with the status quo of institutionalized religion that has forgotten how to love the unloveble, the poor, the broken, the imperfect?

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

 

Hi I’m the Trash Lady

trashNegative thoughts cause negative emotions.  Thoughts like “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t”, “I was born this way”, “my parents are like this, so I have to be”, “Why try?”, “I’m no good”. Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts that run through your mind constantly. Some only at certain times. Nonetheless, they seem never ending sometimes and come at the most in opportune moments to amplify weakness, destroy hope and tear down our confidence.

Are these thoughts ‘normal’? Doesn’t everyone have negative thoughts?

Thoughts like these are the garbage of the mind.

It’s time to take out the garbage. It is not normal and you don’t have to live with them, tolerate them and believe them.

My confession:

No one ever told me to think about my thoughts. No one ever said ‘hey, those thoughts aren’t healthy’. No one ever said that every thought you have may not be your own. Sure, I knew about Satan from the Bible. I read the scriptures that said he seeks to devour, to steal, kill and destroy. But no one ever said HOW that happened. Or HOW to overcome it.

The war for the mind is much more subtle than an ugly creature carrying around a pitchfork like the cartoons.

There isn’t an angel on one shoulder and a little demon imp on the other. But that is a good depiction for the battle for your mind. If the enemy whispers thoughts that make you doubt, fear, lose hope, despair, feel rejected, feel unimportant, feel abandoned, like no one cares, can’t do anything right…

Then your emotions follow suit. How do you feel when you have these thoughts? Not too good, huh?

Ever wonder why when you are feeling really down the thoughts seem to be more severe?

What’s the answer? How can we take out all this garbage?

The answer:

Matthew 6:9-13     9 Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

13 And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The answer does not have to be some complicated ritualistic or psychiatric event. God makes it very simple.

Prayer

Above is an example of how to pray and defeat all those negative thoughts the enemy uses to oppress.

There is no science, no formula. Just believe that the God that created you can also help you. He takes out the trash for you. All you have to do is tell Him about it.

1. Address Him. It’s by His power and authority that everything is done.

Heavenly Father. He loves you no matter what you think about it doesn’t change it. Even if you don’t understand the kind of “agape” love that is self sacrificing and loves with no strings attached; He still loves you.

2. Repent for believing those thoughts.

“Heavenly Father, I repent for agreeing with those lies about myself. (say each one out loud that you have thought about yourself). I break all agreement with them.”

3. Let them go.

“I purpose and choose to forgive myself for saying those lies. In the name of Jesus I cancel all Satan’s authority I have given through believing these thoughts about myself.”

4. Allow God to heal you from the damage of those thoughts.

“Holy Spirit, come and heal my heart and tell me your truth about who I am and what I am.”

You can hear God speak to you. It may be a feeling, a release, a peace, good thoughts that bring joy and peace. Just wait. God is faithful.

This is just the beginning:

God desires to heal every wound you carry. Every dark secret. Every sin. Every bad thought.

Nothing else works. Give Him a try.

See these other posts for more information on the subject.

Thoughts Reveal Your Heart

Why Don’t I Feel Loved

Answers To Our Own Darkness

Authority & Power

How to Overcome the Past

Contact via email if you would like someone to pray with you. Someone from our prayer team will contact you.

isaiah54project@hotmail.com

Or, for 1 on 1 counseling with a reputable prayer ministry contact this group. http://akwellspring.com/

Be blessed!

 

Idol of Self

Spennyelf absorbed reads the Bible from a purely individualistic view forgetting the eternal, global view. It forgets the higher purpose.

I recently realized that I tend to read the Bible from a certain perspective. Even though I am a teacher at heart I read the Bible from the perspective ‘how can I teach this’ or ‘who needs this’.

 

That sounds very unselfish doesn’t it? Sounds like my motives are for the greater good.

But are my motives really unselfish?

 

Maybe it’s not an argument of selfish or unselfish but of glory of self versus glory of God. I love the Bible. No kidding. I get all giddy and joyful when I read it or listen to it on MP3. Yes, I am a nerd. I love to study it. I love to get fresh revelation. The Bible is living and active. So a verse read 10 years ago can have new meaning today. It’s so cool.

I have to watch my motives because they could be driven by the idol of self. It’s that part of  all of us that enjoys the accolades, the glory, the ‘wow, you know a lot’.

If I never heard another compliment or shared a revelation or scripture would I still study it with such conviction?

That goes for anything in our lives. Many people have a calling or a gift or talent that brings them much fame and admiration among believers. But would they still do it if they never got another “atta boy/atta girl”?

The apostle Paul was so thrilled when he was put under house arrest. When he asked everyone to pray for him he asked for boldness and that the Good News would be spread to the Romans.

What if fear of failure was the other side of the idol of self coin?

That is the other thing that keep people from being effective. The ones that don’t do anything because ‘what if I fail’, ‘what if someone says something bad to me’?

The focus is still on self and not God. Idol of Self. It keeps all those gifts, talents, teaching, preaching, love, testimony, etc. from being used because we might fail.

Ask God to show you your inner motives.

What motivates me to serve the kingdom of God?

If I never received any glory from it would I still do it?

Am I willing to try and face the possibility of it not going the way I want but still see God glorified in it?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, reveal my motives behind my actions for your Kingdom. If there is anything not pleasing to you I repent of those behaviors. Show me your truth and love for me. Show me your way. Thank you for loving me and using me. Amen. 

Authority & Power

keysKeys to Freedom
• Name of Jesus –Authority & Power
• Blood of the Lamb – forgiveness
• Word of God – weapon

Are you struggling with hang ups, issues, addictions, depression, etc…

God has provided freedom for you. Yet many believers still struggle because they don’t understand the authority and power that God has given them through Jesus Christ. Believers get the whole forgiveness, repentance thing, yet leave the authority part on the table thinking that must be for the pastors. teachers, and evangelists.

The truth is that all believers are afforded the privilege of the delegated authority and should be using it. God is waiting for you to put your faith to work by exercising this authority.

Here is a brief word study to see how the authority and power is not in our own might but in the mighty power of God through the name of Jesus. Understanding this helps to realize that we can never be powerful enough in our own strength to tear down the strongholds and lies of the enemy. But through the power of the Lord and applying it to our lives in a real and practical way we can see the enemy defeated and live in bondage to all those hang ups.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

Strong-endunamoo (Grk), meaning to empower, enable, increase in strength, make strong

Power-kratos (Grk), meaning dominion, power, strength

Lord-kurios (Grk), meaning supreme authority

Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you

Authority = power, exousia (Grk) from a root work exesti (be lawful), meaning privilege, capacity, competency, freedom, delegated authority, strength
To tread on serpents= ophis (Grk)a snake figuratively as a type of sly cunning or artful, malicious person, Satan
And scorpions= skopeo (Grk), from root word skopos, akin to the idea of concealment, watch like a sentry or scout.
Over all power of the enemy= dunamis (Grk), force, miraculous power, violence, strength,
Authority is given, not taken, involves privilege, it is delegated power and influence.

God is the ultimate authority & authority giver: Matt 28:18, Col 2:15, Heb 2:14,

How to walk in authority:

• Soaking in His Word-listening, reading, studying, & talking about His Word
• Meditating on His Word
• Stand in boldness and speak the Word of God
• Can only walk in authority if you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, there is no authority without Him

Jesus’ authority is recognized by nature, physical bodies & spiritual entities:

• Demons recognized His authority
• Healed the sick
• Calmed the storms

What are the things He gave authority for us to do?

• Do greater works than these, John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
• Signs shall follow: cast out demons, speak in new tongues, heal the sick,
Mark 16:17-18 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
• Have the Holy Spirit, John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
• Resist the devil and he will flee, James 4:7
• To edify others and bring grace to others 2 Cor 13:10
• To be examples to others 2 Thess 3:9
• Bind and destroy the work of the devil, Matt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
• Use the keys to the Kingdom, Matt 16:19
• Call ourselves by His name, 2 Cor 4:5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
• Use His name and the power of His blood Claim the inheritance
Eph 1:11-14, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory

• Ask for His grace which is sufficient

• Raise the dead Luke 4:18
• Speak the Word of God in power to change situations
• Do the will of God as it is in Heaven
• His power works in us, Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
• His power is in earthen vessels 2 Cor 4:7

We are commissioned to:

Teach, baptize, heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples, and to proclaim the good news
We are warned to stay away form a form of godliness that denies the power (2 Tim 3:5)

You may have all kinds of thoughts go through your head when you first start taking authority over the issues, sicknesses, and hang ups in your own life. Be aware that every thought in your head is not always your own. The enemy will accuse you, accuse God and make you feel powerless. Know that God hears every prayer. There is no formula or magic wand needed. He just loves you and hears you when you pray sincerely from your heart and it moves Him. Even when you don’t see a reaction or change immediately, know that He hears you and is working. He ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours. We don’t always understand but we can always trust. Keep praying.

Why do we not walk in the power & authority given to us?
Fear, powerless feeling, victim mentality

Prayer:

Father, I purpose and choose to repent for my fear of ….(fill in the blanks). That keeps me from walking and trusting in your authority over all power of the enemy. In Jesus name cleanse me from all this fear and unbelief. Give me revelation of your glorious might, power and authority that you freely give me. Show me how to use this authority to glorify you. Amen.

Prayer for powerless feeling:

Father, I purpose and choose to repent for this feeling of powerlessness that I have believed the lies of the enemy. I relent from this belief and turn away from this lie. In Jesus name cleanse me from all the power of the enemy that has affected me through belief in this lie. I forgive myself for believing this lie. Lord, help me walk in your truth and give me revelation of your power and authority for my life. Amen.

Prayer for victim mentality:

Father, I purpose and choose to repent for believing that I can do nothing or shouldn’t do anything. I repent for waiting for someone else to work for me in this area of delegated authority for my life from you. I turn away from all beliefs that this isn’t for me, or I can’t, or I’m not strong enough or don’t know enough to fight the enemy. I choose to believe what your Word says. I choose to take up my sword (Word of God) and my shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness and fight. Lord, give me the wisdom, knowledge and strength to do your will. Show me how to fight the enemy in my life. Amen.

 

How to Deal With Conflict in Marriage – by Daniel

isaiah54project:

This is a reblog from one of my favorite daily reads, peacefulwife.com
It doesn’t matter how great a marriage is there will always be conflict. God help us to be more humble in our relationships!

Originally posted on Peacefulwife's Blog:

checkmate

This is a guest post from Daniel Robertson at God’s Help For Marriage.

I used to scoff when someone would say that you can’t have a healthy marriage without fighting. I thought that fighting was a bad thing, and so obviously a couple that fights often must not have a healthy relationship.

But the reality is that we are all fallen people living in a sinful world. Anytime you get two people living in close quarters together there is going plenty of fuel for arguments. This is especially true when you have kids, because with each kid you are adding another fallen person into the mix, and one who is still developing their sense of right and wrong.

And there is nothing inherently wrong with conflict itself. In fact, learning to deal with conflict in a healthy way is an important part of building a successful marriage.

Two Ways…

View original 642 more words

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Living by Faith-Part 4

large-blank-tombstone-md

Acting on our faith is the true test.

That is the moment when we move from doubt to faith.

You can’t have faith without action.

The last three in this Faith series walked us through the steps of faith. First, we ask, then we believe, then doubt seems to always come next. But, we get to make a decision to continue in doubt or cross the bridge into action. Just as a runner must pick up one foot and take the first step so is the first step to action toward faith. You don’t know until you try.

Rom 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that  comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

 

We have a choice to walk by the flesh (our own sense and reason that can be faulty and emotions that can be affected easily) or walk by the Spirit (God’s wisdom and statutes). That choice is what leads us from doubt to faith. God said “my ways are higher than your ways”. We cannot begin to understand life and all that is in it to the extent that God does. Our finite minds only  comprehend in part. The world’s wisdom is many times contrary to God’s knowledge and wisdom. God’s logic may not always make sense but he made everything and set the laws of the universe in motion. He can do whatever He wants. I would rather follow Him and His ways.

How to Act in Faith

1. What we say is important.

Faith can be shut down by what we say. Our speech has to line up with what we believe or what we really believe will come out.

2 Cor 4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,

What do you really believe? It is evidenced in your words. What do you speak?

“I can never get ahead, something always happens”

“Murphys law, story of my life”

” If I were better I could”

“I can’t do that”

Griping, complaining,and talking negative nullifies our faith. It squashes  it. Have you ever heard someone talk about a situation in their life and how they are believing for a miracle and then in the very next sentence complain, gripe and or even blame someone or themselves?

Disciplining your tongue is the first step in taking action and walking in faith.  What we say can cage us or set us free.

2. Speak what God says

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Power comes from God’s word because His word is spoken power and authority.

Find scriptures that speak to your circumstance and pray it and declare it.

3. What you say will determine what you do

Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I have heard people refer to the power of confession. What you continually profess will affect your actions, your thoughts and eventually where you go.

4. The tongue directs where you go

This list is pretty simple. It’s all about the tongue. Discipline your mouth and speak what God says and you are already walking in faith and in power.

As humans we don’t understand faith. I believe God knows that and gave us a practical guide to follow called the Bible. It is very clear and the wisdom is meant for us to study and use as our weapon in life to overcome things that weight us down, bind us or weaken us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that is power and has all authority to break things that bind us, to loose power in our lives and to set us free. Thank you that you meet every need. Show us your wisdom. Lead us by your Spirit. Teach us your ways. Give us strength and wisdom to discipline our tongue. Amen.

 *adapted from Pastor Shane Warren from First Assembly of God, West Monroe, LA

You can get his entire series on faith from his website I highly recommend it.

http://firstassemblywm.org/author/pastorshane/

Fits of Rage

Feelings and thoughts of anger are intense. So uncontrollable. Blood pressure rises. Ears turn red. Eyes shoot fire. (at least we wish they could) Where does all that anger come from ? Why does it seem so friendly, so intriguing to be in the rage of anger? It’s not just a lure, it’s an enjoyment. All other possibilities of love or joy or peace are forgotten. All nice thoughts seem lost. Love seems too far away to be felt. Have you ever been there? I read  somewhere (sorry can ‘t remember where to give credit) that anger is kindled by hurt or fear. When you think about it there is really no other reason to be angry. We are either hurt (whether we admit or not) or fearful of someone or something. Marriages are torn apart by angry words used in the heat of arguments. When the dust settles the underlying cause can be determined – hurt or fear. Anger Management is a common term. There are tools and resources available to help in those uncontrollable angry times. For those that believe their anger is not that bad there are common tricks we pick up like counting to 10 or leaving the room. There are real answers to anger and how to overcome it before it overcomes you.

Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 

So, there is a possibility to be angry and yet not sin. If anger comes from fear or hurt then those emotions are not sinful in and of themselves. The emotion tied to it is not sin. The sin happens when we dwell on the anger or target of our anger. What you dwell on, think on, meditate on will come out in your actions.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.  http://thinkexist.com/quotations/action/

This quote may not be from the Bible but it is biblically based.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he:

After we dwell on the target of our anger for awhile we begin to list other things that make us angry. Soon, we are angry at other people or situations that were not even the original issue. In the south we call that “getting yourself worked up”. That is exactly what happens as we are consumed by angry thoughts. Then sin comes in. Our actions are affected. We begin to move from angry thoughts to angry words. Our actions change and become an extension of our anger. Hurting others is an effect of anger. Rage is only appeased by retaliation. At this point the anger feels too good to stop and ask why and where are these emotions from. Analyzing the root issues to solve the problem is not appealing in these moments. Although, it is not impossible, it requires a great deal of discipline and self control. If you are not disciplined in other areas of your life you will find this particular time very difficult to overcome.

The Unnamed Consequences

Before we discuss the solutions and root causes so we don’t find our-self that far gone let’s look at the consequences of anger when it becomes sin. Look back at at Ephesians 4:27   and do not give the devil an opportunity.  Some versions use the word “foothold”. It means a place or a seat. The consequences of sin is that you give the enemy a foothold in your life at that point. A place of control and power in your life. If we look at sin, the weight of sin is death, then maybe we will begin to understand just how important it is to recognize the sin while it is still a thought before any action takes place. Giving the devil power in our lives is not a welcomed outcome.

The devil is described as the “accuser of the brethren”. You will notice that during times of anger thoughts of accusation are instrumental. A small off handed comment can quickly become a raging argument when we entertain accusatory thoughts. Learning to listen to your thoughts (think about what you are thinking) will help in these times. Realizing that every accusatory thought is not complete truth. Some truth mixed with some lies are strong accusation”You always…” “You never” are strong statements are usually not completely true.

What is the solution to anger?

Hurt or fear, as we discussed earlier, is the predecessor to anger. Anger becomes sin when we don’t immediately obey God by forgiving the person that caused the hurt or fear. That unforgiveness becomes a tool for the enemy to accuse others to us. Then it is only a hop, skip and jump into easy anger, quickly kindled.

It takes practice to forgive that quickly and it takes a lot of prayer and trust in Jesus. He gives us the strength, through Him, to live a forgiving life. Forgiving people quickly before we have time to brew over it seems almost abnormal. Yes, it is from the worldly view. However, Jesus spent a great deal of time explaining how to forgive, the importance of forgiving, how to pray to forgive and then He died for it. So I would say forgiveness is a pretty big deal to the Lord. Maybe because He knew just how much power it gives the devil in our lives to act out his accusations, bitterness and resentment.

I personally am tired of anger, bitterness and resentment in my life. I am tired of uncontrollable outburts (even if only in my thoughts) of anger.

Jesus has the answer. I practiced it today. I forgave and it made all the difference.

Who do you need to forgive?

Heavenly Father, I forgive this person that continues to do hurtful things to me. I let it go. I will not hold this behavior against them anymore. Instead, heal my heart and cleanse me from all the anger, bitterness and resentment towards this person. Heal my heart. Renew my mind with your truth in Jesus Name. I command all the anger in this situation to leave. Jesus give me your peace and comfort. Tell me you truth about this. Amen.

 

The Answers to Our Own Darkness

Let there be light

Real answers for darkness. Thoughts that plague our mind. Relentless anger, resentment, shame or guilt. Everyone deals with it. How can it be overcome?

This is a break from the “Living By Faith” series. I believe the Bible is real, practical and helpful to teach, confront and encourage. The Bible says -My people perish for lack of knowledge. And we truly do suffer in aspects of our lives because of our lack of knowledge of the spiritual things.

I want to take this opportunity to give you practical application from the Bible for dealing with your own “demons”. Whatever you deal with, whether it is thoughts, accusations, addictions, etc. I wish I had the space to write in detail about each issue.  I will get to them eventually. Check back.

The Bible is our road map. God gives us all the answers to live a life of freedom. The secret is really not secret. Just apply the principles Jesus gives us.

I read a post from one of my favorite blogs, Peacefulwife.com, “What’s the story on ‘My Demon’ now?

As I was reading, my heart was stirred for the many people that deal with the same issues. We all deal with them in some form or fashion. Here’s the answers to overcoming them.

1. Your thoughts do not define you.

We beat ourselves up so much for thoughts that run through our mind. Maybe you’re like me and even thought “Am I really that bad of a person to have those kind of thoughts?!” I spent much of my time condemning myself for thoughts that were just temptations. Shame, guilt and self criticism would then consume me. Even if I didn’t act on those thoughts I believed it revealed something maybe I had hidden that made me a bad person.

You are not every thought that goes through your head.

We can discern our thoughts and take captive the thoughts that are negative, sinful or just plain depressing.

2. Thoughts reveal a hidden hurt or self identity that arose from a hurt or sin (either our own or what someone did against us)

Any memory that has pain in it is an opportunity for God to heal. If it causes pain, regret, shame or guilt, God wants to heal it.

3. Here’s the secret (not really a secret, God gives us step by step directions)

Ephesians 4:26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil.

How do we “give place” to the devil? When we sin but do not repent (turn away) quickly or forgive quickly the other person.  That gives the devil a foothold in our lives. We give him permission to enter a portion of our lives. That results in temptation, bad thoughts, negativity, anger, resentment, shame, regret, guilt, etc.

Let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer…

Matthew 6:9-9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Verse 12&14 &15 in the Amplified: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses their (reckless and willful sins,leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses. 

When I read this for the first time in the Amplified version it changed the way I think about the word “forgiveness”. It includes the action of “letting go”. We will discuss how to do this in a minute.

First, let’s look at why forgive…

In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story about a man who was forgiven a debt he could not pay but refused to forgive a fellow servant a small amount.

34“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.35“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Jesus is describing the result of the Ephesians 4:26 we discussed earlier. Giving “place” to the devil is like being turned over to the “torturers”. The devil has a foothold in our lives and causes pain, hurt, grief, strife, etc. (I’m sure you can fill in the blanks)

If I understand the consequences of unrepented sin or unforgiveness in my life as the permission for the devil to steal, kill, and destroy in my life, it will change the way I live. The consequences are not just going to hell as so many people see it. Far off into the future some place that we don’t really understand the existence. But, it happens right now. My life is affected by my actions now.

Jesus gave us the answer in the Lord’s Prayer. He did not leave us defenseless or without knowledge.

He tells us to forgive or repent (whichever is called for).In verse 13, the NLT translation ends with…

Matthew 6:13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

The forgives releases rescue and deliverance from our life’s enemy. I want that freedom from the clutches of the devil. I don’t want him having any foothold in my life.

4. Let it go (this is when healing begins and the bad thoughts begin to leave)

How? it’s simpler than you think. Forgiveness is a choice. You make choices all day, everyday. Forgiveness is just like any other choice you make. And you don’t have to feel like you forgave. You will notice a change over time. Feelings can be deceiving.

Forgiving someone does not mean you condone their behavior or validate what they did to you. What do you gain by holding onto unforgiveness? It doesn’t hurt the other person. It only hurts you.
Jesus didn’t say “forgive if you feel like it” or “as long as the sin wasn’t really horrible”, no, he said do it all the time, all day long if necessary.

“My demons” as discussed in the blog post linked above is common among humans, period. Jesus gave us the answer. All we have to do is obey.

Are you tired of hearing those thoughts? Are you tired of feeling guilt, shame, regret? Are you tires of the anger?

Step 1

Pray a forgiveness prayer for any person who has hurt you. Spouses have a lot of pain that needs forgiveness. Forgive for each situation that causes painful memories.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive __________(name) for doing______ or making me feel ________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Easy huh? The hardest part is taking the first step. Our unforgiveness sometimes feels like a security blanket. It brings false comfort thinking we got something over on someone. It’s a lie.

Step 2

Forgive yourself. This is usually the hardest part. Forgive yourself for any mistake you hold against yourself. Forgive yourself for being duped by someone. You feel stupid? Forgive yourself.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive myself for doing _____________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Step 3

Discern your thoughts. Think about each thought. Is it good or bad? Decide where it comes from. If it’s bad throw it out. Don’t dwell on it.

This takes practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes.

I have a very active imagination. When I start thinking bad thoughts against my spouse I can get really carried away. I even start to feel angry for something done the day before or a year before. I now recognize that I am rehashing old situations and encouraging bad thoughts. I then forgive my spouse for what he did and I move on. Sometimes I have to think purposely about good things or declare good things over him. Almost immediately my attitude changes. The anger leaves.

Here is a link to a post that may help related to this. (here) How to Overcome the Past

Live a forgiving life you will find you joy and peace in your life.

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